Women of Note

'Just in from the latest shopping frenzy and I'm struck by some inspiring women I've seen in my retail travels...

  • The older ladies who have doubtless been making holiday dinners for many decades, pushing their carts about in search of the ingredients for long ago memorized recipes for family favourites.
  • The ladies in the big box book store explaining to sales people either how exceptional their grandchildren are or conversely how they did wish kids today would read more....while their husbands sit and read.
  • The woman who calmed her near hysterical husband in his quest for a parking spot as I was about to vacate mine by jumping out, asking if I was leaving and then offering to return my cart so he could park that much more quickly.
Finally and most impressive - the women who Christmas shop while parenting a toddler and wearing a baby.

May hat goes off to all of you ladies!


DKC Fashion Show

Wednesday night was the annual holiday fashion show event at Toronto's biggest knitting guild - The Downtown Knit Collective.

The DKC's own Fiona Ellis, who has run the show for the past few years really outdid herself this time with an accompanying power point presentation on the massive screen behind the podium.

For each garment worn in the show there were slides showing the name of the pattern, the designer, the pattern photo. This was especially great for knits being worn that had been made with a modified pattern because it allowed the audience to compare the two and see just how the modifications played out in the finished garment. There were also details on yarn and construction of each piece outlined in the commentary.

Afterwards there was the spread of Christmas Goodies and mulled cider and coffee to sip as everyone chatted and looked over the knits still being worn by the models.

I modeled my Olympic Sweater from last winter - made with yarn won in a DKC door prize draw. I was also lucky enough to model a couple of Fiona's sweaters from Twist..."Gwendolyn" from the Fall 2010 issue and "Georgie" from the current issue.

Both knits are now firmly in my mind to think seriously about trying out in 2011.

Also in the show was a full blown collection of knitted skirts! Among these were three done and modeled in a variety of colours by the ladies from Passionknit. Store Manager Tamara has been focused on skirts, knitted and crocheted, since late last spring. If you are thinking of trying out a knitted skirt (I know I am!) Passionknit is the place to get advice from a real expert on the subject!

Also of note to me were the inclusion of men's sweaters, knit and modeled by Patrick Madden. Not only are Patrick's knits fabulous but he looks so great in them it makes me want to add knits for My Beloved to my queue.

I always feel pressed for time to attend this show - given the inevitable list of things I'm still rushing to do so close to Christmas but really I'm always pleased I went. In the spirit of the season the entrance fee is even waived for non members so if you are curious about the DKC, think about putting the December fashion show on your calender for next year!

Thanks for dropping by!


Parenting and a Poodle...

...the things that have prevented knit blogging (and even knitting) around here for weeks now. 

The Parenting was about helping Number One Son deal with the effects of a just now resolved concussion he suffered October 1st.

The Poodle part...there's the walking and grooming but also stuff like having a creamy white, now 60 pound "pup" jumping on Number One Son carrying a full chocolate shake, the shake becoming airborne, landing on the thick creamy coat on the back of the bounding dog before depositing a significant amount of the thick dark chocolaty stuff into his fiercely wagging tail. Picture spraying shake, scrambling people and a dog having great fun playing "tag".

It was all so "exciting" it took me a while to notice the Christmas lights he'd been chomping just prior to exhuberantly "greeting" us.  'Seems I set the bags of lights too close to his crate and he managed to grab a string or three through the bars while we were out of the house.

Don't worry, he didn't ingest any...I know, I forensically reassembled the shattered and mangled bits and pieces with the missing sections of the strings. (Right after cleaning the shake off the carpet, furniture and of course the dog)

I hope to get to the splattered walls and woodwork later today.

I've added the choclately rags and towels to the laundry - its piled in baskets to take to my mom"s for washing. The new last year washing machine broke down 10 days ago and we're still waiting for parts...

I've already schlepped one week's worth of laundry over and back to Grandma's place - it only took two days to do what would have taken half a day here but it was handy I had My Beloved's vehicle to use (he was in Europe on business) since my two back tires were utterly flat when I went to leave the house that morning. 

I shouldn't complain though, the furnace (the one that had extensive repairs last January and was fully serviced and checked in April) is back working after the fresh air intake pipe was replaced early last week!

I've added  "get more lights for the tree we don't yet have", to my "Way too many things to do before Christmas" list. I could do that tomorrow except we'll the spend the entire day driving to and from My Beloved's home town to get winter tires put on the the cars.  We're a month late on this but on the weekend we usually get this done My Beloved was in India.

I could still go on and on but if you've read this far you probably get the idea by now...a lot of things have been getting in my way of late.

Nonetheless I hoped to post an FO today...a long overdue pair of mittens for Darling Daughter - a third run at this project with as many different patterns starting about a year ago. It turns out though I opted to make two left handed mittens and since our daughter fortunately has both a left and right hand I'm having to scramble to correct that little problem...

...'Can't imagine what was distracting me while I was working on those...Parenting or a Poodle? Probably both with a bit of domestic mayhem thrown in for good measure!



Yesterday My Beloved and I headed north to check the cottage one more time now that all the leaves are down and pull the last boat out of the water to be stored for the winter.

We had already done all the real closing up work three weeks ago.
...The summer blinds were already taken down,
...Replaced with sheets over the windows. These old cotton bed sheets work as painting drop cloths in the summer and window coverings in the winter. They yield a soft, creamy white light inside the cottage...
... on everything clustered away from the windows to avoid sun damage.
...This sign Number One Son made with his wood burning set years ago to let people know when the washroom was occupied suddenly had a new meaning when I saw it as we were about to leave yesterday for the last time this season.

Closed. Fermé.

A la printemps! See you in the spring little cottage!


As I stumble along trying to get my knitting to fit, trying to choose patterns that suit me, trying to figure out what yarns to use or substitute I love to visit Knitted Bliss where the "trying" seems to be nonexistent because home runs out of the knitting ball park are standard fare.

I happened on this blog via a link over at Tanis' Fiber Arts blog (Tanis borrowed Julie's wedding dress for her wedding. Read Tanis's account of how it all happened - its a fabulous story.)

One of the best features of Knitted Bliss is a feature Julie calls "Modifcation Monday" in which she highlights how great knitters have modified existing patterns to create truly inspired knitting. This week, however, had me gasping in disbelief. The featured knitter took the chart from a colour worked sock pattern and turned it into one of the most magnificent hand knits I've ever seen.

The colours are bright and contrasty but work perfectly.  The fit is flawless. Check it out - its worth the click!



I'm now well into integrating the adjustments from the first sleeve to the second on the saddle shoulder tee and so far its going well.  I should have been done within a couple of evenings except that immediately after completing the last sleeve there was a yarn-related incident with the dog that has forced a quantum adjustment to my process with this knit.

Like lots of knitters, I set up little knitting camps for projects with multiple or complex (for me) charts or when I have to track rows across more than one element at a time. I spread my stuff out on a table and leave the knitting atop all of it - needles splayed out to the sides just as I was holding them when I stopped working.  This facilitates stopping and starting with very little time spent reorienting myself to where I left off.  I can knit a row or two if I have a couple of minutes rather than a whole repeat and I don't get confused or lost. "Nibbling" away at projects can yield surprising progress for me. Unfortunately I'm having to adjust to working without a handy little camp.

This is because of a "visit" of sorts last week by Hudson to my saddle tee "camp". It was set up on the living room coffee table. We were enjoying a spaghetti dinner in the adjacent dining room at the time and I guess he felt left out. He headed for a small messy tangle of fine cotton yarn I keep with my knitting stuff (it won't stay rolled in a ball) for running life lines, basting etc.. Number One Son saw him go and followed to take it away.  Sensing an impending confiscation, Hudson made sure no one was going to get it by - SWALLOWING THE WHOLE THING!

This immediately prompted a range of reactions.  My Beloved, raised in farm country, surrounded by animals, found Hudson's act hilarious, chuckling away as he predicted a rapid, possibly dramatic reappearance of the stuff. Darling Daughter, aghast at her father's lack of concern began an impassioned lecture on insensitivity as only a twenty-something, chastising a parent can muster. Number One Son and I were kind of stunned, sickly grins frozen on our faces, wanting to laugh but less certain about the prospect for a quick or painless resolution. Hudson, licking his lips, with a distinct air of satisfaction at his victory, settled into a corner and with a big and contented sigh, went to sleep...

I spent that night and much of the next day dreading an imaginary scene at a Vet's office where I would be asked to decide whether to mortgage the house to bankroll a canine colonoscopy or say goodbye to my only just purchased pup. For his part Hudson slept soundly keeping all recently ingested items right where they should be and the next day had a grand time enjoying extra food and walks (to get and keep things "moving") and a visit with every dog that came within a hundred yards of us as I asked the other dog owners what they thought I should do.

In the end, My Beloved was right - the "dispatch" of yarn coming a scant 20 hours after its disappearance. Neat, tidy, painless and drama-free - at least for Hudson!

Now of course in the interests of Poodle longevity, bank balance and peace of mind I have abandoned the "knitting camp" system, packing up after each knitting session. I could do several rows in the time it takes to lay everything out and figure out where I am in preparation for starting. Of course this also eliminates the possibility of knitting during the day so I'm having to adjust to the fact  things are taking a bit longer than usual.

Eventually this shall pass. Hudson will be trained to leave my knitting alone but right now in this current phase of  "see it, chew and possibly eat it" I'm going to have to adjust my approach right along with my suspicion of how much trouble he can and will get into.

Currently our household routine is being adjusted because My Beloved is in India on business. Fortunately since he travels a lot I'm used to adjusting my evenings in his absence to include more knitting than usual so hopefully this week will see the end of this knit in my WIP column - an adjustment to my Ravelry project page I can't wait to make!
As I'm sure you know, I will keep you posted!

...oh there is one other adjustment resulting from the string "event". Darling Daughter reports she is suffering terribly during her daily morning walks with Hudson. 'Seems "everyone" she sees walking a dog asks her if the string has "passed"...its soooooo disgusting! Why did I have to tell everybody?!!  Oh well, I guess like the rest of us adults she'll just have to adjust! (Just like I've adjusted to the school papers Number One Son has "filed" under the armoire beside Hudson in that shot of him sleeping. I'm told they are all important and that he will be getting them out of there as soon as I stop "freaking out about everything". Apparently unlike adults, teenagers don't have to adjust to anything, we all just have to adjust to them! ;) )

Thanks for dropping by!


Grommets II

My Aunt saw my bag last spring and decided to make her own - and it really is just that - 'such a different take on the pattern with her choice of black cotton yarn and the fabulous lining she chose...
She asked me to install the grommets for her so yesterday I did just that but noticed something else about hers that was quite different from mine...
Its quite a big bigger.  When I made mine I had a complete ball left over to return to the store so I told her I thought the pattern overestimated the yarn requirement. Well it may have been the case for my gauge but not for hers. She finished the bag itself but now will in fact need the whole quantity stipulated in the pattern in order to complete the project by making the bag's "rope"  handles.

Its a real eye opener for me to see a demonstration of just how much gauge can impact the amount of yarn consumed by a given pattern!

Happy weekend everyone!


Last Night at the DKC

Last night's presentation at the DKC was one of the best I've seen by a newly published knit designer.
Elise Duvekot herself was clear, well spoken and entertaining and the patterns in her book, Knit One Below are lovely. Elise is a resident of Holland but wrote the majority of the book while living in Toronto. She acknowledged the wonderful concentration of local test knitters as being a big part of that process. The focus of her talk though wasn't on her patterns but rather on the technique of knitting into the stitch below on which the book is based. Her encouragement to us was to use the book as a jumping off point with this wonderful technique rather than an end in itself.

When using this stitch every alternate stitch on the right side of the fabric is simply knit into the stitch below the next one rather than the one actually hanging on the needle. Purling one below is done on the reverse. Each alternate row both sides is a resting row worked straight and in the stockinette manner. When two colours or even two radically different yarns are used on alternate rows there is an interplay of texture and colour that is quite unique. The treatment of the purl row is what sets this stitch apart from the likes of Fisherman's Rib or Brioche Stitch.

The knitted fabric with this stitch looks a bit like a flattened rib or even a very well blocked stockinette with absolutely no rolling at the edges or ends so no added edging is required to control it.This was evident on the scarves like the stunning Tattersall Scarf (rav link) and wraps like the Gossamer Square (rav link) she brought along to show, all of which sat very well on the body and had gorgeous drape.

Elise assured us it does not take any more yarn than regular stockinette and the gauge is so much bigger she reported her socks like the Pinwheel Socks from the book (rav link) are done on 40 stitches rather than the usual 63 or so.

The fabric is similar in heft to garter stitch but feels much lighter. I modeled a pullover knit in bulky wool but it felt surprisingly soft and light to wear.

The stitch also yields fabric that felts very well into a generous and sturdy material well suited to hats and bags.

Before the meeting I spoke with one woman who I know to be an extremely skilled knitter and she said she uses the book in just the way Elise suggested, as a reference for variations on technique. (Just to give you an idea of this particular knitter's ability, her current project is working Norah Gaughan patterns in Noro.  The thing is, she explained, the Noro is not at all like the yarn called for in the patterns and with the structure of Norah Gaughan patterns being generally pretty novel she finds it difficult to make accurate adjustments before thoroughly understanding the process for any given knit. So this woman knits each piece first in something close to what's called for and then once she has the gist of what that piece requires calculates her adjustments and re knits it in Noro.)

The knitting skill and knowledge that is in the room at a DKC meeting is amazing.

Another example of knitting excellence last night was that Wanietta Prescod, Canada's fastest knitter was in the front row. While I was up on the stage helping with the fashion show of Knit One Below Knits I have to admit to staring. Her hands just fly!

The other speaker was the founder of SOAK also gave a brief presentation. She is from Toronto and came to the knit world via machine knitting but was wearing her first hand knit wrap. She told us how SOAK is expanding its product line beyond knitting. I was interested to hear her explain that many "unscented" products aren't truly without scent they just have a masking agents added to prevent the consumer from being able to smell the actual odors (off gassing)  of a product.  Yuck! (BTW SOAK's unscented version is a truly scent free product.)

I had my Australian wool that Lyn sent me in my bag because I was swatching with it while on the subway ride downtown. When I mentioned to the knitters around me how I had come to own this yarn and told them of my tentative plans for it several knitters commented on it and wondered aloud between them at its weight and twist and noted its lovely halo - imagining how it might bloom after blocking.

Its so fun to mingle with knitters! Thanks for dropping by eh!


Getting Back to Feeling like a Knitter - Not just Knitting

Crawling out of the knitting hiatus I suffered this summer has been slow and painful. Without my knitting being top of mind I can't just pick it up and go. like I'm used to doing.

Without taking advantage of all the opportunities to knit each day there are no satisfying FO's.

With no knitting or even thoughts thereof, there is no knit blogging or the attendant enjoyment of reading about the knitting conquests of the knitters I follow on line.

Without day to day knitting and gratification I found my desire to scheme and plan future projects or activities also evaporated.

Of course just letting the knitting go wasn't an option so I have just been white knuckling my way back into it trying not to be scared at the prospect of maybe not making it at all.

So yesterday while at the library to get poodle grooming reference books I nipped over into the knitting section and came home with some great books to flip through in the next couple of weeks.

I also picked up Vogue Knitting Fall 2010. Magazines are only loaned for a week at a time but I've never found a current issue before this so it feels like a great stroke of luck.

This morning I took some time to check out the Vogue Knitting Live show scheduled for New York City in January. I had thought I might go down and take a class or two. The list of "knitterati" designers that will be teaching is formidable plus there will be a marketplace plus its in New York so its got to be great whatever happens.  In the end the only class that really appealed to me (at least on my first flip through the lengthy schedule) is on short rows and is being taught by Fiona Ellis. Fiona lives in my neighbourhood. I know she is a great teacher because I've taken a couple of her classes. In fact I'll see her tonight at the DKC meeting.  Anne Hanson and Veronique Avery are also offering classes that caught my eye but I've already taken lessons from both of them too and part of the fun would be experiencing teachers of note that are still unfamiliar to me. If I can't find a couple of classes that interest by designers I'm not yet familiar with I may rethink the New York idea but at least I'm dreaming and I feel good about that.

The DKC meeting is of course another great thing on tap today in my little knitting world. (I missed the September meeting because for some reason I thought it was a week later and came very close to going down on the wrong night.) I'm going to help with the portion of the meeting when Elise Duvekot's designs will be modeled. Hopefully I'll knit en route to and from the meeting as well!

All this, is making me feel more like a knitter than I have in weeks and weeks. Its making me realize that just because I may be knitting with my hands sufficient to achieve progress on something, feeling like a knitter seems to be dependent on what's going on in my head and my day around the topic of knitting. Just the knitting itself, it seems, isn't enough.

Anyway, if you're in the GTA, why not come down to the DKC meeting tonight! Maybe I'll see you there! Wherever you are while you're reading this, thanks for doing so!


Taking Rae's Advice

Rae is an accomplished knitter and spinner, among her beautiful pieces recently completed is a gorgeous version of Jared Flood's Juneberry - a knit to which I barely dare aspire. So when Rae commented that rather than frog and restart with the correct foundation stitch count I should just try to make the otherwise acceptable saddle sleeve work, I decided to follow her advice. A Juneberry knitter ought to know don't you think?

Well here is how Rae's advice played out over the weekend...
I sorted out where the stitches should have been picked up (using the other arm scythe as reference). Then, I spread the decreases out over three right side rows to minimize bunching up or gathering. I was careful to confine the decreases to the underarm area of the arm scythe leaving the 8 stitch section that makes up the sleeve  under the arm to lie flat. (The stitches just to the right of the lowest orange marker in the shot below.)
You can see the visible lines of decreases running parallel to the arm scythe in the above photo but that isn't entirely out of step with the rest of the top. In fact I think its quite in keeping with the visible darts at the waist and bust front and back. 
It looks a bit like a puffed sleeve when lying flat but after decreasing the overall size of the arm scythe the sleeve's fit is sufficiently snug the puffiness is not visible when its on my shoulder.
Now I need to quickly do the other sleeve before I forget exactly what I did on the first one!

Thanks for dropping by and thanks to Rae for the great suggestion!


Loose Ends All Rolled Up

I won't be teaching a little class of new knitters this term. I had hoped the children enrolled last spring would come back to finish the projects we had yet to begin when we ran out of time (my fault, I overestimated how much time they might devote to knitting between classes).

Since they had all paid a materials fee the leftover worsted wool yarn belongs to them so I promised that if a class didn't happen I would distribute the remainder of it evenly between them.

So with the help of my little digital scale I divided it all up.

I love hand rolling yarn.  'Seems as long as the stuff is sliding through my hands I'm having a good time (unless its because I'm frogging that is!) To tell the truth, I'm a bit relieved at the cancellation of the class.  The money was very good but now with the dog to deal with I'll welcome  the bit of extra time I didn't think I'd have - it takes a lot to keep up with him!
Thanks for dropping by!


Progress of Sorts

I have all but completed the first saddle shoulder and having taken it off the needles onto a piece of yarn, I'm quite satisfied with the fit.  The trouble is my stitch count either side of the saddle, in the section that runs under the arm is waaaaaaaay off. I have 13 stitches each side of the saddle in excess of what I should have.

This goes back to the number of stitches picked up and knit in the first row that joins front and back and forms the foundation for construction of the saddle.

At the time I was picking up and knitting stitches along that edge I did find the language in the instructions as to the total stitch count for that row to be confusing...

Anyway I've spent a couple of evenings trying to sort out the correct way to go about things by working on the other sleeve. Unfortunately the language for that sleeve basically says to do what was done for the other side except reversing directions so...I cast on for some socks...

I didn't finish the socks I have in progress...

I cast on new ones.  Why does that feel better than spending time on another WIP?


Warning: Photo Heavy Post But No Shots of Knitting!

A few kind readers have asked for more pictures of our "little" guy.
When we first got him he had never really done anything other than play with his litter mates and be viewed by potential owners.  He didn't know how to do every day things like walk down stairs or calmly watch traffic going by. He'd never been in a car or a boat or been in the woods but all that changed in a big hurry when we took him straight to our water access cottage after picking him up at the breeders out in the country north east of Toronto.

We spend many hours a week in our ski boat while Number One Son does what he loves to do at the cottage... Wake Skate, Water Ski, Wake Board and "Ski" Bare Foot. In the shot below he's wake skating only wearing running shoes on a board covered in the same grip tape they use on skate boards.
Of course Hudson needed to learn how to behave in the boat that kind of situation. For example to know to sit still and well braced (as in the shot below) in preparation for the moment the boat lurches forward to pull the skier up out of the water. (Pulling speed for slalom skiing is about 36 mph and the boat goes from zero to that in a few seconds!) This shot shows Hudson's Parti Poodle colouring - it runs pretty symetrically down his back and then down the back of each leg.
He also had to learn not to jump around while the skier is up...
He also discovered ways to entertain himself. (Biting the wake waves is a particular favourite but only in the first few minutes of the ride - after that he doesn't bother with it again until the beginning of the next outing.)By the way he was always on a leash so as not to fall overboard!
Here's another favourite pass time he found...chewing on the end of the ski rope.  He spent hours in this position. I'm worried he won't be able to fit in that spot by next year!
Of course on occasion he would also just relax and enjoy the view as he's doing in the photo below. I think you can really see how he matured as the weeks went by if you look at this shot versus the one at the top of the post...
He also found a favourite spot to sleep (If the water conditions are favourable, these "runs" as we call them, often last more than an hour!) Can you see him there sound asleep under the steering wheel?
I like the look on his face in the shot below - he looks as if he's saying "do you believe this kid? Look how high the moon is and he still wants to keep going!...
In the end Hudson was very comfortable and knew the "drill" to the point of being quite easy to have along for the ride.That boat is now in storage and after this weekend the whole place will be closed for the season and all the boats out of the water for the winter. I think he'll miss it - as we all will until next spring when we start all over again!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! (Ours is earlier than American Thanksgiving because our shorter northern growing season means we have an earlier harvest for which to be thankful.)

Thanks for dropping by!



In the last three weeks since school started I've had the attitude that if I don't have time to knit, I don't have time (or fodder) to blog and If I don't have time to blog I don't have time to read anyone else's either.

With a couple of posts under my belt by yesterday I finally felt I could do a bit of "visiting" and after starting to catch up with my list of favourites I was struck by how much impressive stuff has been going on while I've been away. (And I've only been able to catch up on a few so far!)

For example...
  • Brenda launched a sock book she co-authored with Deb Gemmel
  • Cheryl has been knitting and felting and weaving and decorating and travelling and taking photos of it all!
  • Les launched 4 more adorable children's hat patterns into the world
  • The ladies at Passionknit cranked out more knitted skirts than I knew patterns existed for. 
  • Girl Who Knits finished a sweater that she just loves in every detail and every way (how often to you read about an FO like that?) Unconditional satisfaction can be a rare knitting commodity!
  • Sandra has had an unbelievable output of knits and sewing and jewelery.
  • Stephanie has been the University student equivalent of Sandra - output galore but with studies.
  • Laurie became a telecommuter and started spinning.
  • Elizabeth is changing the way she eats and adding regular exercise to her life!
  • Glenna ran her first half marathon
  • Rea passed the Bar Exam!!!!
Its a pretty diverse and impressive list isn't it?

Congratulations all around (especially on that Bar Exam Rae!)!

Thanks so much for dropping by!


Summer Highlight

One of the knit blogs I follow and most enjoy is Shades of Grey. Knitblogger Lyn is one of my Ravelry "neighbours" as we have several projects in common. We also share a similar hair cut and colour but Lyn lives in sunny Australia while I shiver away here in Canada.

Its fun to note when checking my blog roll before going to bed that Lyn's pre-workday post has just gone up as she is already into the morning of the next day. Its also motivating to follow along as Lyn and a few other Aussi bloggers get back into autumn-induced knitting enthusiasm as I come into the summer knitting doldrums here in the northern hemisphere.

In the year or so I've been following Lyn she has of course shown many lovely knitting projects both in progress and finished. She has also posted a wonderful travelogue from her trip to France and documented her moving house complete with details of renovating her new apartment.  As part of the renovation project she had a little contest asking readers to contribute storage and organization ideas. After putting in my two cent's worth she sent me an email telling me I would be receiving something for my participation.

Then sometime mid summer I received this!...
All the way from Australia - a lovely lavender cake of fingering weight Australian wool! With the yarn was a lovely note written in a graceful hand on creamy, heavy hand made paper. It was of course from Lyn!

I can't tell you what a thrill it was to receive that package. In our little cabin in the Canadian woods in the midst of my knitting drought I was suddenly holding an unexpected knitting treasure from the other side of the world! It was just a delightful treat. I set that lavender cake on a shelf in the kitchen for a while then moved it to a book shelf in the living room for the next couple of weeks so I could look at it and of course give it the occasional pat as I walked by.
As for what I'll do with it, I'm leaning towards mittens...something with some lacy detail at the cuff. I like the idea of that lavender to wear in early spring!

Many thanks to Lyn for giving my knit-less summer its only knitting highlight and many thanks to you for dropping by today!


Actual Knitting Content!

At last some knitting to post about!

This project , from the IK Spring issue this year, was started at the end of June.
The yarn is a DK Mirasol cotton/linen blend. and yields a very beautiful fabric. (Not surprisingly, as the weather turns cooler the fabric becomes less and less engaging.) I am determined to get this project done before I indulge in anything deliciously woolly though so onward I am pressing!

My plan with this (other than to have it finished and ready to wear a couple of months ago!) was to focus on shaping for a better fit. Anne Hanson (in the workshop I took with her at Purple Purl last spring) suggested I might generally try moving shapings in from the edge to create kind of darts both above and below the bust line to better address my shape and measurements.
Before I tried that approach with this pattern, I did a trial run with knitting the back as written.  It didn't take long before I decided it was worth trying something different because with the shaping out at the edge the knitting seemed stiff, the shaping a bit awkward.
So I ripped it back, restarted and this time placed increases and decreases just as the pattern recommended except that below the bust I placed them 4" in from the sides and above the bust, 3.5" in.
So despite its appearance, the right side edge of the piece above is actually dead straight!  The shape of the piece, driven by the increases and decreases about 4" in from that straight edge. When I hold it up to myself it hugs me all the way across the front rather than just being necessarily narrow at the sides. 'Just what I was hoping for!
If you look closely at the larger photo you might notice that the shaping below the bust (close up photo directly above) looks a bit like a plant stalk with little buds on alternating sides.  They are "paired" on alternate sides of a mark to yield that slightly wiggly line. I figured that since the cotton/linen yarn in a stockinette background was bound to make the decreases and increases visible I decided to play them up to go with the viney leaves on the saddle shoulders.  By contrast, above the bust I left them in a simple line placed inside the markers...
...I didn't want too much of a good thing!

At the arm holes I wanted to keep the arm scythe narrow so I went down one size in terms of the height of the arm hole. I did this both because it seems to be an adjustment I need to undertake with most patterns but in particular, the photo in the magazine and on the website shows quite a bit of bunching under the arm on the model so I'm assuming there is unnecessary extra room there to begin with. I'm playing with fire on this count but since the saddle shoulders are made right on the sweater I should be able to tell by the end of the first sleeve if any changes need to be made to things work well together.

I worked on sleeve number one yesterday for quite a while and made good progress. Hopefully by the end of this evening I will have that one done and know whether I've dug myself into a hole by reducing the arm scythe as I have.
Wow. a bona fide knit blog post about knitting! I'm sure my new "knitting supervisor" is much more impressed than his expression indicates!

Thanks so much for dropping by!



There aren't enough hours in the day! They've all been swallowed by a big creamy poodle pup! And in fairness by a busy adolescent son, a cottage that needs closing and a house that needs to be wrangled back onto the rails so it can run without having to be pushed along like a dead weight!

The first week back from a summer away is always crazy with laundry because it all has to come back here to be done. Our last trip home before September was early August so I had weeks of dirty cloths plus I change all the bed linens to flannels after Labour Day and the many, many beach towels we use swimming also have to be done. Add that to the linens and towels and soiled clothing waiting for me here at home and it means about three solid days of work to get it all done. (I have yet to tackle the backlog of ironing!)

The cold I complained about last week ended up sending me to bed (one pillow under the head, the other over it)  for two days.  Unheard of for me but I know of a couple of other people who had the exact same strange set of symptoms (dizziness!) and they too were sidelined by it. Having said that, Darling Daughter and Number One Son both had it with much less drama so I should put some of my experience down to being ancient.

As for the dog, he has been wonderful and at the cottage where he spent his first six weeks with us, he has come to be almost effortless to manage.  Back in the city though he had to get used to a whole new set of very different aspects of "normal".

At the cottage, we are always all together and largely live in a couple of rooms.  Here at home people come and go, we are much more spread out, and the sounds of the house were unfamiliar to him. Hence he has spent much of the last two weeks pacing around after people and trying to find somewhere to settle without having yet discovered where his favourite spots might or should be.

This was all commensurate with his new found interest in toilet paper (just nibble the bottom corner and start walking - the thing follows you!) So I too was frequently moving about the house to make sure he didn't get into any trouble while he settled in.

Another pup-related challenge was that his face and feet were disappearing - 'being steadily swallowed by creamy white curls yet I had not sourced the necessary tools to manage that nor had I attended the grooming session back at the breeders that would enable me to use the equipment to alleviate the problem. Resolving that issue took two full days. Another day was required to prepare the area in which we want him to take care of his, shall we say, personal business,  at the back of the yard behind a big maple tree. Meanwhile the largely neglected gardens and lawns around the house were screaming for attention. Chaulk up two more days outside.

Of course there was virtually no fresh food in the house and anything prepared in the freezer had been consumed by the city bound folks in July and August so I had to at least begin to attend to that as well.

A couple of brief visits with my mom, taking my turn to host the weekly coffee group and a back to school gathering of squealing girls and ravenous boys were also on the agenda as well as two full Friday to Sunday weekends back up north when I took my long neglected knitting but left the pattern at home not on one occasion but both times!

I'm worn out just reading the above account of all of it!

Thankfully as each of these big tasks gets wrangled into completion I feel closer to being able to get back to a more usual routine. The dog will of course continue to be an additional feature in my days but like anything it will get easier.

I spent a couple of years researching this purchase before we made the leap into owning a Standard Poodle and had sorted out, in my mind just how things would work, where they could be stored, how to work in the walks etc. so even though its a lot to contend with right now I know things will be manageable in due course.

Most of the surprises he has brought into our lives have been pleasant and some will no doubt occasionally find their way into the odd post but I want to get back to knitting, and to blogging about that.  The two seem to go together for me very nicely. I miss them both and I miss corresponding with other knitters that blogging and following blogs allows me to do.

Yesterday as I canvassed my tribe for the detailed plans of their coming week I discovered that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Number One Son will be away at a Leadership Camp, Darling Daughter will be working at the University Fair and My Beloved has Client events each and every evening. So, I've put a great big target on those quiet evenings without having to cook as "getting-back-to-my-knitting" nights.

I'm so out of touch with it I'm not sure what I'll be working on or how I'll attack it but at least it seems a reasonable goal to plan on focusing on it for three glorious evenings in a row!

For now though, its back to the Laundry room - the ironing awaits!


Half Full?

Yesterday I was hit with a tsunami of a head cold which I could lament but then at least its making me feel better about the KW Knitter's Fair...even if we weren't going to the cottage (which we always do the first weekend in September after Labour Day) I wouldn't be up to heading to the Fair tomorrow.  At least that's what I'm telling myself!



Re Entry

Today is my first day at home since early August and about the 6th day I've spent here in the city since the end of June.

The summer was a wild, non-stop ride.

We had only two weekends without guests staying with us, and had two full weeks with house guests as well. When there wasn't someone staying with us we spent many late afternoons/dinners hosting local friends. We put about 100 hours on the ski boat (just for reference, the average ski school ski boat runs about 150 hours per summer!) As you know, we got a 4 month old puppy that demanded more than a wee bit of time and energy.

With lots of help from Number One Son, My Beloved and I stained and painted the entire exterior of the cottage, re-carpeted the interior or the boat we use to get back and forth to our car and cleared a large quantity of overgrowth from around the cottage.

(After my brother's passing last spring we did nothing last summer and you just can't let things go at a cottage. The reason for all the company was essentially the same.)

Can you just feel the report on a stunning lack of knitting that must be coming?

My usual early morning knitting time became racing the dog outside to avoid accidents, walking and feeding him after that and being an early morning spotter in the ski boat - again with dog along for the ride and needing to be trained on how to behave in an alternately lurching and speeding open boat.

I didn't have any time during the day with everything that was going on and in the evenings skiing also reigned supreme both before and after dinner as the water calmed down. Then as I sat down after everything was done I would fight to stay awake a few minutes and then it was lights out by 10:00 at the latest.

It got to the point where the kids started to worry. Number One Son offered several times to miss skiing so I would have some knitting time and Darling Daughter and My Beloved gave me more than a few lectures on doing less and just taking time to knit.

But every summer has its features.  I had a grand time knitting during the summers of '08 and '09. This year other things took precedence. Now, back at home during the week, with much of the major work taken care of with the dog, I know things will be different.

I'll post something of what I did manage to do tomorrow and also a knitterly something I was thrilled to receive from verrrrrry far away.

I hope you had a good summer (with more knitting than mine!) I'm looking forward to checking my blog list to see what you were up to!

Thanks for dropping by! Happy September!


Where Has All the Knitting (Time) Gone?

I haven't knit a stitch in at least three weeks! Its years since I've gone so long without knitting. If I had even one spare minute I would be missing it terribly.

I've been busy with cottage maintenance, water sports, houseguests and lakeside socializing. Probably the stuff non knitters go to the cottage to do.  Me? Not so much, but just as elementary school report cards  encourage, I'm trying to get along with all the other children in the schoolyard ;) .

I've been getting my work outs done which is also eating into knitting productivity but I know it'll mean a less curvier me come fall which will mean fewer shaping and fit issues in my sweater projects so I'm choosing to think of it as at least knitting related!

Although also seemingly unrelated-to-knitting, there is one event that has made a huge amount of "room" in my brain while taking up every last scrap of free time in my day. I finally decided to take the plunge and get a family dog.

I've researched and pondered this question to death until finally last week I decided enough was enough and it was time to decide yay or nay once and for all.
First I toured a big box pet store a couple of times just to get a sense of what this might mean - financially.  On Tuesday I visited a breeder whose nursery pages I often visit. On Wednesday, I took Number One Son and went back.
He and Darling Daughter had conferred en route via texting. His choice was the same as hers - although she only had the benefit of having seen photos - On Wednesday, My Beloved, not really a fan of the pet dog concept, but supportive of my wishes on the subject, Number One Son and I drove up and picked
up our new standard poodle who we have decided to call "Hudson" (his creamy colour is very close to the colour of the Classic Canadian Hudson Bay Blankets we have on the beds at the cottage.)
I considered over a dozen dogs ranging from 2 to 14 months old and in a variety of colours. In the end we went for a pup who responded best to us. He is four months old but shaved down to facilitate the next six weeks lakeside in the woods, he looks much older.  His size is also deceiving. He looks a lot like a full grown (largish) miniature poodle. He is very smart and quick - so much so we have to keep reminding ourselves he really is still very, very young.

While he is demanding a lot of time and attention I feel like things will soon be settling into a routine where I will be able to squeeze in a bit of knitting time again.  I hit the library last night and got an armload of knitting books to take to the cottage and of course I've also packed the new Interweave that was waiting here with the mail when I got home.

Hopefully I'll have some knitting related activity to report when next we hit the city!

I hope you are having a great summer!  Thanks for dropping by to share my doggy news!


'Popping In for A "Moment"

Well that wasn't very nice of me to just post an FO and leave town was it?

It was very very nice though to come home to an inbox full of lovely comments! Thank you all so much for your kind words and especially for taking the time to leave them!
I've been away at the cottage for a couple of weeks...this is my view when I'm knitting on the dock, which has not been often for a variety of reasons.

I'm in town for a few hours today and right after dinner we are headed back up with clean laundry, fresh groceries, a new sofa bed for the living room at the cottage (very long overdue!), Darling Daughter (finished work for the week) and a friend for Number One Son (the first time he has deigned to invite someone up - it should be interesting!).

Whatever you've been up to this first couple of weeks of summer, I hope you're enjoying it!

Again, 'sorry for just dropping out of the picture like that!

(FYI for anyone new to this little blog, in summertime my domestic base of operations shifts a couple of hours north of the city to our wee little summer cottage by the lake. The road ends at the opposite end of the lake from where we are so we make the final bit of the journey by boat. Once there we have no television or internet, no private telephone line...really nothing electronic or digital other than the camera.  There really isn't even any cell service.

I do come to the city at random intervals and try to post when I do - I'll have pictures to put up on my next visit!)

Happy Summer Knitting Everybody!