Frolic 2011 Did and Didn't

'Did line up to get in but in the best, warmest sunshine I've felt all year - a fabulous way to start the day.

'Did see Brenda at the Cabin Fever Booth with Deb Gemmell.

'Did get a signed copy of Brenda's Cabin Fever Book on Socks.

'Did get told by this most adorable and charming 7 year old spinner ever that it is hard for grown ups to learn new things and so it would have been better if I had learned to spin when I was 5 - like she was when she learned but that if I really wanted to learn I could try.

Did get told that spinning can make your feet very very hot.

'Did rave over the Viola Booth as the best, most fitting display of any retailer I've ever seen at a Frolic. Viola yarns are, in my opinion, the most sophisticated and subtle local hand dyed yarns and the booth utterly supported that impression.
(Yes that is essentially a line up to get into the booth!)

Did treat myself to a skein of that very yarn in the "Graphite" colourway.

Did have a fabulous conversation with Veronique Avery asking her opinion on various things related to patterns of hers that I'm keen to try. What kind of a great opportunity is that? I love the Frolic!

Didn't manage to find Curlerchick Sandra - not in the loooong line to get in or over the 4+ hours I wandered the show.

Did buy some St. Denis yarn to make these sweet little gloves. (Yarn and pattern both by Veronique Avery) 

Didn't speak to Glenna C. any of the 5 or 6 times I crossed her path.(this makes 3 Frolics I've done this but she is very popular and always surrounded by many others - especially in the Tanis booth where the local bloggers were too numerous to believe.)

Did see Tanis wearing her Whispy Cardigan and confirmed this is not a knit that would suit my larger frame the utterly charming  and  appropriately Whispy way it looks on her. I love crossing things off the "possibility" list - it naturally opens up more opportunities to consider other things!

As I said, I also love the Frolic. Its funny to think that as I type this, the show is probably already pretty much packed up. Tomorrow morning when I head back to the Japanese Cultural Centre for my all day class on Traandsstickning Mittens I'll walk back into the same hall that was buzzing with knitters and yarn when I left there mid afternoon today and it will be utterly empty, still and quiet. That is until I get upstairs to where all the happy chatty knitters are preparing for their classes! 


Merino Lace Socks FO

Love love love these socks!

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks
Designer: Anne Woodbury
Source: Interweave Knits "Favourite Socks"
Yarn: Schachenmayer Regia Nordic Color
Colour: 5517
Needles: 2.5mm Bamboo dpns
Start: April 14, 2010 Finish April 20, 2011
Modifications: None

'Love the combination of yarn and pattern. The centre motif  reminds me of a ripe stalk of wheat and the colour fully reinforces that impression. (Number One Son thinks the centre motif looks like scales, making the overall impression more snake like than wheaten. I prefer my view but now that I know his I'm finding it hard to get that out of my head.)

I also like the fact the colour variegation adds interest and depth to the pattern without obscuring it.

Be it Wheat or Snake, whatever the yarn brings to it, the pattern really is the star of the show.

The way the cuff transitions to the leg...

The nifty heel where the pattern flows right down and disappears under the foot...

The treatment of the heel gusset in terms of where and how the pattern splits...

They're also springy and squishy and grab hold of the leg most confidently.

I planned this yarn/pattern combination many, many months before casting on and then was repeatedly sidetracked once they were started so that they took a full year to complete. This despite the fact there was never a problem with any aspect of this project. In fact this pattern would go on a very short list of knits I might revisit someday.

For the moment though I'm just going to enjoy the fact these are finally done. (Okay I'm also going to enjoy the fact tomorrow is the DKC Knitter's Frolic. Maybe I'll see you there!


Loooong Looooong Weekend - The End

As I mentioned yesterday, I set aside Easter Monday for knitting. I had a few things knitting related that I needed to sort out.

In preparation for Frolicking, I needed to work up a list of things to look for in the marketplace. I'll be there when the doors open and I want to be able to scoot around and check out everything quickly before the crowds close in and racing back and forth makes drawing comparisons too difficult.

I'm taking an all day class at the Frolic on Sunday - and so needed to select two contrasting colours of worsted for the Mitten Class and get the appropriate needles organized as well.

Also on my list was getting FO shots of the Merino Lace socks I finished last Thursday so the FO post can go up. It's usually possible for me to take the necessary pics myself but the heels are my favourite part and I  can't get the photo I want without some help.

Finally I needed to get a "craft" organized to take to an informal crafting gathering I was invited to Monday evening. What are the chances such an invitation would come when my knitting basket is empty for the first time in three years? I wanted something I could work on but something that would measure up to the other crafts in the room - crafts I suspected would be substantial. In the end I took along Glenna C.'s "Nouveau Gloves"with the recommended yarn (Tanis Fiber Arts DK). I figured once I worked a few rows I'd be familiar enough to keep going once I was in crafty company. I was wrong. I knit one round plus 4 stitches in 2 hours. I have such a problem not talking. Oh and my craft didn't hold a candle to the rest of the fibery demnstrations arrayed around the table either!

Anyway the whole thing has me resolved to work really hard and silently in class on Sunday, to "keep my lip buttoned" (as my mother would say) so I can get as much out of the class as I can. We'll see how that goes!

Wish me luck! 


Looooong Weekend Part 2

Sunday started with much relief (for Number One Son that is) because the Easter Bunny did in fact find and visit our house Saturday night. There was some uncertainty on the part of the man/child I guess so once that was cleared up,we'd walked to, attended and walked home from Church, significant exhaustion had to be addressed...

Smart boy to move his tie to safer, higher "ground" before nodding off while others just curled up and napped unencumbered by holiday wear...

Since we were hosting Easter dinner, Darling Daughter saw to the table arrangements...

Meanwhile I was kitchen bound, first with the finishing touches to a batch of my mother-in-law's Homemade Mustard and then on to Sharp Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits. (9 full ounces.of cheese - thanks to Ms. Stewart!).

They are a spectacular accompaniment to Ham! This year I tried a Martha recipe for the Easter Roast I've never done before...Fresh Ham with green Herb Paste...scored and tufted with sprigs of Rosemary and Garlic...(Holidays around here are all Martha Stewart, all the time - so well worth the effort!)

Tied and rubbed with a garlic/rosemary/oregano paste and settled onto a bed of onion, Rosemary and Bay and slow cooked with the benefit of basting with white wine and fresh dollops of herb paste applied at regular intervals.

All this yielded a deliciously flavoured and moist ham and the most delectable sauce you can imagine.

Rounding out the dinner menu we enjoyed Beets with Feta, Medley of Spring Vegetables and Herbs and a lighter, vegetable laden version of the Passover dish of Potato Kugel wonderfully prepared by my sister.
Before all this we'd enjoyed a lighter variation on Guacamole than I usually make - this recipe calling for the addition of mint and oregano and a plate of those great little cream cheese and Red Pepper Jelly thingies
Afterwards, a tray of Grandma's Butter Tarts were passed around as the coffee and tea were poured. Then thanks to all hands helping, little more than an hour later the house was quiet, the kitchen was clean and we still had another day to look forward to in this looooong looooong weekend and I had it earmarked for nothing but knitting! A (Very) Happy Easter chez Sel and Poivre.


Looooong Weekend Part 1

It started Thursday with a long night. After picking up Number One Son from a party our "Waltons" moment  came about 1:00 a.m. but at 1:45 the dog leapt up barking in such a way My Beloved and I decided we should investigate. I peeked out the window to see a neighbouring house engulfed in flames but with no fire trucks in sight. We called 911 to learn they were on their way then opened the door to hear yelling that everyone was safely out of the house. It was a two alarm blaze that brought 5 firetrucks, a transit bus to house the displaced residents and those evacuated from the adjacent houses, media trucks, police and ambulance all to our otherwise quiet little street .The cause was an attempt to BBQ inside the garage during a party held by the residents - several 20-somethings whose parents, the owners of the house, were away in Beijing.

No one was hurt beyond minor smoke inhalation. Shortly after last fire truck on scene left aboiut 7:30 the next morning we headed out to walk the dog and saw the aftermath up close...

What a way to start off Good Friday...already a day I experience as most sombre and sad.

So after that is was nice to walk through a local ravine and see signs of Spring springing up everywhere. Raccoon prints beside the river...
And then the big fat fellow himself asleep in a nearby tree...

The remnants of a Beaver hard at work...

Canadian Geese and a pair of Mallard Ducks...(Trust me they're there!)

All accompanied by a sound track largely dominated by the Red Winged Blackbirds

Its not a terribly verdant scene yet but with the rain and warm temperatures that are in the forcast this week it shouldn't be long until things start to look as springy as they are starting to feel!

Thanks for dropping by today.  I hope your loooong weekend was a good one!



  • Just saw the teacher line up for this year's Sock Summit - I recognize 5 of the 60 teachers as being from Toronto - this is one great knitting city! (The teachers are of course Show Organizer Ms. Pearl McPhee herself, Denny McMillan, Kate Atherly, Amy Singer (founder of Knitty) and the incomparable Fiona Ellis.
  • Last night's DKC meeting featured the usual parade of incredible knits in show and tell, great door prizes and then a really helpful talk about the features of Ravelry - I use Ravelry all the time but I learned a bunch of new tricks in the course of the presentation. I think the most amazing thing the 120+ knitters in attendance saw though was a shadow knitted wall hanging (4'x4') replicating Andy Warhol's famous work "Marilyn". It was so outside the box and so brilliantly executed it was a real inspiration to see. Aaaand Cristina Simionivici who conceived and knit the hanging is teaching two classes at the DKC Frolic - one of which is shadow knitting!
  • I'm registered for a class on Frolic Weekend Sunday on Tvaandstikkning Mittens - can't wait!
  • During the meeting I finished my Merino Lace socks. (FO post tomorrow I hope.)
  • My next goal is to finish the Saddle Shoulder Tee in time to wear to the Frolic. Once that project is out of the way my knitting basket will officially be EMPTY! (Really can't wait for that!)
  • I have a parallel goal of coming up with a project for a Monday night "craft" gathering to which I've been invited. I don't know anyone on the guest list other than the woman who organized it and if her skill level is any indication of the caliber of those attending I must have been added to the guest list for comic relief. I've offered to bake something and bring it along to share - I'm a better baker than knitter so I'm hoping whatever I take along will create a sufficient diversion that my actual craft stays under the radar.  I know, left to my own devices I can produce acceptable stuff but doing so on something portable and in a room full of accomplished strangers with whom I'm supposed to interact adds a whole other level of difficulty.
  • And then there's Easter. Just for fun and variety I think I'll clean and decorate the house and front yard, bake a bunch of stuff, cook and serve a big dinner and then clean it all up. Nothing like a "holiday" weekend. Oh well, 'good thing I have knitting to think about amid the domestic "festivities"!
Thanks for dropping by!



Over the last ten years or so I've developed a penchant for purging.

It seems its a progressive thing. I started with getting rid of obvious junk, moved on to things that were never used through to now things that maybe I do like but don't necessarily love.

So it is with these little baby knits. Made a couple of decades ago for Darling Daughter from at-the-time-oh-so- chic Pingouin Patterns in breathtakingly acrylic Pinguoin yarn.

I was so thrilled to knit them for my own baby as I had been churning out Pinguoin knits for a couple of years as baby gifts before I got to making these for my own wee one.

They saw lots of wear and have many memories attached.. Darling Daughter has now, in the fullness of early adulthood, had a good chance to recognize her young mother's efforts on her behalf so I think its time to pass these on.

I never thought I would want to do such a thing but like I said its a progressive condition and I've already purged all the infant clothes and accessories I made for her during my pregnancy. Number One Son's hand knits were worn by other baby boys and never returned to me so these lingering little sweaters just feel ready to go too.

Besides I have to make room for "clothes" for our most recent addition...

Actually this dog wear is actually a device capable of creating knitting time;

Creamy White Poodle + Springtime Mud + Coat Clinging Burrs = Massive Time Suck of Dog Grooming 
 White Dog + Muttluks Rain Suit = More Time for Knitting!

I'm happy to report I'm down to the bottom of the heel flap, about to turn the corner on my long lingering sock project and head for home at the toe.  All this while I still have one more day until the anniversary of casting on for these and only a couple of years after buying the yarn! 'Talk about purging...I don't know what I'll be more excited about when these are finished, having them done, or having them finally purged from of my knitting basket!

Thanks for dropping by today!


On the Road Again

Another weekend, another road trip.
We headed west from the city this week to get our snow tires taken off in My Beloved's home town out in the middle of some of the best farmland in Ontario.

In the course of our day long jaunt we picked up local meat for our freezer in the city, had lunch with family and visited a Maple Syrup Festival. There we enjoyed the fiddle and step dancing show, naturally picked up a liter of syrup but also homemade butter tarts for the trip home, fresh local eggs, honey, beeswax candles and the handmade natural soap we use at the cottage.

This is our custom for the Spring run up there.  The quality of the products is outstanding, its nice to support the local farm community and it sure simplifies grocery shopping here at home when I have so many products already on hand.

The evening at home featured working on my sock and watching a great ball game on TV between the Jays and Angels. The extra innings were fabulous to pass the time until Number One Son et.al. were ready for pick up from their party early Sunday morning.

Surprisingly Sunday yielded no knitting time at all - it was just one thing after another - so sock completion didn't occur. It sure felt like Spring finally arrived though!

All in all it was a very nice weekend -'hope yours was too - thanks for dropping by!


Close Call?

On a recent walk Hudson and I were passing the field where many dogs in the area (and some who are driven in just for this field!) run off leash.

Hudson was carrying a stick in his mouth he had found at the park and he was walking very carefully as a result (When he does this he looks like he's walking with a plate on his head - perfect posture and measured steps, eyes forward.)

Nonetheless a German Sheppard about 150 yards out into the field caught Hudson's eye so Hudson carefully turned to face the field and watch him. For his part, the Sheppard had also seen Hudson. He paused for a moment looking and then he just took off running top speed right at us.  I have never seen this dog before. I couldn't know if his intentions were friendly or not.  His owner yelled and yelled for him to come back but on and on the big black and brown dog ran straight at us as fast as he could.

I quickly considered my options.  There was no where we could run fast enough to get away from this dog and I knew the stick Hudson was carrying was half rotten and would be of no deterrence to a dog bent on an attack.  But then I didn't know whether his intentions were friendly or fierce.  There was only one thing I could do - let Hudson "read" this dog and handle the situation one dog to another.

We have been working tirelessly for months exposing Hudson to as many new situations with other dogs as possible.  He has encountered balanced and unbalanced animals.  Young puppies and tottering ancient dogs clearly in the last days or weeks of their lives.  Small dogs and Great Danes. He has romped freely with dozens at a time at off leash parks and exchanged polite sniffs with leashed dogs along the sidewalk. Other dogs have growled and snapped and it seems Hudson has learned from each of these encounters. Whatever his accumulated wisdom and natural instinct at this point, I felt it was the best we could muster in the face of this racing animal bearing down on us.  I held on tight to the leash but let its length go slack to give Hudson room to move, I forced my own fear down where I hoped it wouldn't be detectable to the dogs and make things worse.  By this time the Sheppard was 50 feet away - usually the distance at which friendly dogs slow their approach and start to veer a bit to the side but this dog just kept coming.  What I saw next was amazing.

Hudson, with the stick in his mouth had been watching the dog approach head on.  But now he wagged his white plume of a tail ever so gently a couple of times, keeping it high and visible like a white flag of surrender. The he slightly turned his body and eyes away from the dog.  Not so far as to loose track of what the dog might do but far enough to clearly communicate deference and an absence of aggression towards the other dog.  Immediately the dog's frenzied running let up a bit.  As he reached us Hudson turned away even more, allowing the other dog to walk, stiff legged and bristling, up to sniff him from behind.  Hudson didn't move to sniff the other dog or engage him in any way - I have never seen him behave before like this. He just stood there with his prized rotten stick and waited.  Once the Sheppard was satisfied with sniffing and moved away a bit Hudson again gave his tail a very slight wag. At this the Sheppard turned away and loped back to his owner.  He never wagged his tail or sought to play or interact with either Hudson or me.

Next I swallowed the huge lump that had climbed into my throat, gave Hudson a big pat and a dried liver treat and off we went. Hudson again walking perfectly with deference to his stick while I thought about how lucky we had just been and how glad we had invested time and energy in socializing our big white ridiculously fluffy pup! I now have a lot more confidence in Hudson's judgement.  He handled himself very very well - not bad for a one year old!

What's Next?

Right after an FO post I feel like the whole knitting world is my oyster - ready to crack open and enjoy. This week that feeling is even stronger because the FO used up so much stuff I had on hand. Naturally the notion of buying new yarn for an all new project seems all the more appropriate then doesn't it? And after all the DKC Frolic is coming up in a couple of weeks!

Nonetheless I'm proud to report the first thing I did was get back to work on these fabulous socks.

I don't know why its taken me so long to get these done but I'm hopeful the combined power of enjoying knitting them and looking forward to wearing them will spur on their completion this weekend.

And if I got these done just imagine how fabulous I could then feel about shopping at the Frolic!

I hope you enjoy whatever your weekend has in store for you. Thanks for dropping by!


Spring Stripes FO

A fun, satisfying project using remnant yarn, finished in time to wear in the season for which it was intended!! Does it get any better than that? (Yup, every bit of material for this was on hand and the pattern was out of my head so it didn't even cost me anything!)
Pattern: Generic Top Down Seamless Pullover
Yarn: Assorted Worsted Wool Remnants
Needles: 6.5mm circular (Body), 5.5mm dpn's (Sleeves)
Start: March 4, Finish: April 4, 2011

I was going for an A line effect - which, given my shape, is typically difficult for me to achieve.  So I tried to use colour and horizontal stripes to visually flatten the plane of the sweater - minimizing my shape while accentuating the sweater's. Here's what I did...

The yoke alternates rows of knit and purl. The colours go from lighter to darker from the collar to yoke's  completion just north of the widest part of the bust where navy blue (the darkest colour in the palette visually narrows the bust at its widest point.
Next the sleeves and body of the sweater as well as my body and the sweater's shape part ways. The sleeve stitches were put on hold and I knit on down towards the hem.

My body gets narrower at this point but the A line shape demands the sweater get progressively wider.(2" around over 15" of length between bust and hem). To accentuate this divergence, the next two colours - bright teal and even brighter apple green, visually advance.

Below that, at my natural waist, I do want to appear narrower while maintaining the increases so I moved to wide bands of a darker colours - grape purple and then lilac both of which visually recede bracketed as they are top and bottom by narrower stripes of brighter, advancing colours - especially those that play up the hem around the bottom.
Just for fun I also added a couple of stripes after turning the hem!
For the sleeves I wanted a straight shape and narrow fit so I quickly crammed 8 decreases or 2" worth into the first three rows of the dark navy stripe at the top of the sleeve where the K2tog's disappear from view. (In the photo above you can kind of see how there is a little puffiness where the yoke ends where things got skinny fast. 5.5mm needles (vs the 6.5mm used in the body) made gauge help out to get a slimmer shape with fewer decreases. The striping on the sleeves nods to the body without matching exactly. Then just for fun I flipped the colours at the cuffs from those at the hem.
The narrow sleeves being a foil to the A line of the sweater I tied them in with the sweater's shape by not decreasing any stitches in the sleeve hems after turning. Thus the bottom of the sleeves flare out a bit. (I did decrease 10% of stitches after turning the hem at the bottom edge of the sweater though to keep that hem hanging straight down.
For jogless, stationary wide stripes I slipped the first stitch on the second row after each colour change. Thank you for the how to TechKnitter!). This approach wasn't possible on the yoke section, because of the narrowness of the stripes (2 rows each) and the fact I was switching from knit rows to purl rows. I tried to fudge things but in the end was quite unsatisfied with the results sooooooo those buttons are there to minimize the offending section by making it look like the two sides of the yoke meeting along that line are buttoned together . I think this makes the variance of the stripes there a bit less offensive to the eye. The buttons are from my stash  harvested from worn out dress shirts.
To indulge in the striping a little more I sewed them on using the four button holes to create parallel lines and used threads for each to mirror the colour changes in the yoke.

Finally I'm quite tickled to say that I'm even happy with the gauge for this knit. At 4 stitches to the inch it is a soft and pleasant fabric with drape that really helps keep the shape from being too stiff and tent-like. So refreshing to feel in this instance at least, gauge was my friend!

Well I think I know what I'm going to wear tomorrow!

Thanks for dropping by!