Olympic Knitting Update

As of last night I'm onto the second sleeve - those are the thumb holes I was initially planning on doing without but which in the end I did include.

As for yarn, at the halfway point in the knitting save the generous cowl, I think I will probably have just enough of the light grey to finish (hopefully!). The announcers frequently say "anything can happen in the Olympics!" I'm trying to accept that (and the lack of a dedicated sports/knitting psychologist!) and just keep working away despite the uncertainty."

The back and first sleeve are done, the sleeve having been shaped on the fly, the back stopped and put on stitch holders twice but then lengthened after judging stretch and so as to match the sleeve cap. There are just a couple of increases between wrist and elbow for a narrow sleeve fit and to preserve yarn but after that I increased two stitches every right side row so the  sleeve would work with the body pieces.

To further ensure  decreases for the shoulder would match I did them per the pattern while trying hard not to freak out at the difference in the stitch counts for my Alpaca gauge (16/4") and that stated for the Wool yarn (13/4") of the pattern.

Live Olympic coverage here in Ontario runs from about 7:30 pm until the wee hours. I start out strong but after three hours or so start to loose mental steam. Like a finely trained speed skater, I no doubt have lactic acid build up. Its just mine is in my brain rather than my legs because I only have some pattern numbers, measurements, kind of an idea how the pieces should go together and how the whole thing might stretch once assembled. I can exert that effort at the end of the day for only so long before it really "hurts" to to maintain speed and form!

Like an Olympian I'm trying to feed on the "pain" and perform despite it. Knitting to my body rather than tracking through a pattern goes well with watching TV, however, being half asleep doesn't go so well with knitting so there has been some ripping back but not too much.

Bottom line, "The Challenge" (knit only while watching live Olympic coverage and without using a fully planned out pattern) is, well, challenging so I guess I'm on track as far as that goes!

Whether I'm going to finish on time? Like I said at the outset of this project, only a few athletes "medal" I may not be one of them but still I'm nonetheless getting a lot out of my "games". "Own the Podium"? How about just look at it with great admiration  from a distance! I'll be good with that too!

Oh and if anyone still cares about poor Tangled Yoke (I know I've pretty much lost all affection for the thing!) I've had some stupid errors in the last few inches of the button hole band suddenly come to my attention as I sewed on the buttons. I will not share with you the words I said when I discovered that little "treasure". I will however say... I WANT AN FO POST ON THAT BEAST BEFORE MONTH END!


Preaching to the Converted...

...Because knitters know that...
"If your everyday life seems poor don't blame it,
Blame yourself.
Admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches.
Because for the creator there is no poverty
And no indifferent place."
                                                                         ...Rainer Marie Rilke, German poet  
Whatever the setbacks and occasional challenges...
Ain't Knitting Grand!

'Hope you have a grand day of knitting wherever you are...thanks for dropping by!


Interweave Knits Spring 2010

It arrived with the Friday mail. I think all knit magazines should arrive on Fridays - what a nice thing to look forward to cruising through over the weekend! (I know it isn't 9:00 a.m. Saturday yet and I've already devoured the thing but I was up at 5:30 to cook breakfast for my "little" skier who had to be on the bus by 7:00!)

In her letter from the editor Eunny Jang makes the analogy of having a long cool drink of water to considering Spring knitting from the still cold days of late winter.  For me, its more about light than beverages - the daylight is getting brighter and hanging around much longer these days. Yesterday's downhill at Whistler looked to have the same warm mid afternoon sunshine we enjoyed here in Toronto (3000 kms/2000 miles away) so it must be happening everywhere!

On first glance I would describe this issue as modern - not "mod"or "trendy", more "moderne" (think Chrysler Building in New York). Clean but detailed, structured yet open and with flowing lines. And it features a range of wonderful fibers for knitting and wearing.  Beyond that, the designs are fresh and pretty but not fussy. "Pretty" doesn't generally suit me - but I think it does suit Spring to a tee so I often find myself lamenting its absence in my Springtime wardrobe.

Besides, what better way to inject a bit of a lift into the Springtime Toronto closet than with a couple of warm hand knits that look like the season outside instead of the dark days around Christmas! This is especially so as the "tulips" and "warm breezes" type of Spring can occur at our latitude just a week or two before full on summer weather and anytime up until then, snow is a definitely possibility. The reality is we have to dress with warmth in mind long after winter knits have been put away. Springtime knits are thus most practical and in this edition IK offers lots to consider in that category.

In the "New Lace" section the "Double V Cardigan" by Melissa Wehrle in Zitron "Savanna" really caught me eye. Daffodil Yellow, feminine yet tailored. A fabulous layering piece and as a cropped cardi, not a lifetime to knit despite the lovely all over linear lace pattern.

The Chevron Market Bag in ivory (Nashua Handknits Creative Focus) cotton- a more substantial take on the traditional string bag really appealed to me. It has a flat bottom that, along with the lower sides is knit in purl brioch stitch (that sounds fun to try!) which would keep small items inside where a typical string bag might let them slip through. The purl brioch is also used in the handle to make it more comfortable over the shoulder when fully loaded.

The cable lover in me is also drawn to the piece featured on the cover - a long cotton/wool blend tunic. It looks like it would be cozy to just the right degree in cool Toronto spring weather. I don't have the lovely slim figure that piece demands but still I love the look of it!

Ann Weaver's boxy "Transverse Cardigan" from the section on knits done side to side looks like it would be very fun to knit and it features asymmetry and big buttons - both of which I love. My fear with hand knits featuring off centre designs is that instead of looking interesting and inventive as they do on some people, on me they look like I made a mistake in the knitting. This cute cardi is tailored so as to eradicate that concern. I picture it in a light blue tweed yarn. Plus knitting from cuff to cuff? It just sounds fun!

"Betty's Tee" by Tram Nguyen using entrelac, the "Ringlet Tank" with short row cap sleeves and the "Jellyfish Bag" with its ridges and folds also scream "knit me" but also aren't too fussy to also suggest "wear me" or even "look good wearing me!"

The other thing I really like about this issue is the use of finer gauge yarns. The "Tissue Cardigan" knit in Misti Alpaca Lace is a particular favourite with its lacy yoke and eyelet detail mid sleeve and around the lower hem line. (I think eyelet is as well suited to Spring as polka dots - speaking of which - how about The" Audrey Cardigan" stitched in a Swiss Dot pattern!)

Okay, okay, I've got to land and face a bit of reality - it is mid February! Whatever the sun is doing, the Winter Olympics are on and I've got a bunch of wintery knits to finish up! The prompting of Ms. Jang. can be devilishly compelling but I'm going to bury this sunny, springy issue under a stack of winter knit mags and right now see to that other Jang-esque item in my life - TY!

Thanks for dropping by!


A Week Already?

With the back on stitch holders acting as a huge swatch I'm  trying to quantify the stretch factor of this gorgeous alpaca.

I am clearly out of my mind with optimism if I believe its all going to work out but isn't that what the Olympics are all about?

This mock rib grows from 22 to 24 inches in length with just a few unsupported bounces! Once assembled I assume the pieces will support each other a bit. My body within the sweater will of course also be a factor - what kind I don't know but a factor! My guess is to assume an inch of lengthwise stretch. As is my usual custom I will also add width to the front relative to the back - I'm not sure how much yet, generally I add 1/2 to 1 inch - to get a rather loose fit I may add 1 1/2" -2".

As for the width of the sleeves I want them more narrow and straight than the voluminous ones in the pattern. The thing is because of the ribbing my "giant swatch" pulls in between two and three inches when laid flat for measuring but my dried, blocked swatches really held their width measurements so I'm banking on that being the case with the sweater.

I knit the thumb hole cuff with about 1/2 inch negative ease because I assume having it wrapped around my hand will prompt stretching. I'm just about to graph out an inch of positive ease around the arm en route to an inch and a half at the join with the body.   I don't want the seam there to be so tight as to resist staying on top of the shoulder but I do assume the combined weight of the sleeve and the seaming will make this a tricky element to get right. I'll see how that looks on paper.

Its a big fat guessing game and therein lies my Olympic challenge so its all good!

I also found a site that listed ways to manage the stretch in alpaca. One of the "don't"s is to avoid patterns that feature large pieces as these are more prone to stretching.  This sweater, however, is all about the large pieces...hmmmmm...

On the other hand, one of the primary "do"'s is to incorporate ribbing which is the all over pattern for this sweater (well mock rib actually but its got to be better than nothing!) so I'm hoping that counteracts the effect of the large pieces, at least a bit.

I also plan to add bias tape to the shoulder seams to keep the top of the sweater from being pulled out of shape.

Another recommendation is to knit tight. I love that one - its my specialty! How nice to just this once not have to fight the tight and just let it happen! The smaller needles they recommended also help with this. My swatch done on 5.5mm was my favourite but recognizing the need to address the stretch I am instead knitting with 5mm straight and again looking forward to having a wet blocking give me the drape I'm looking for.

So that's my Olympic knitting at the moment.

Have a Great Weekend and thanks so much for dropping by!


Unknitterly Conduct

In my stated mission of trying to catch up with the knit-a-verse I crawl around it quite a bit but its only recently that I experienced my first nasty, negative knit blog.

This particular blog features "reviews" of knitting magazines etc. and within these reviews is significant  criticism for the contents and its designers.

It seems negative feedback to these reviews is left by unhappy readers in her comments section (could it be that hers begets theirs?) Eventually she posted an expansive counterargument, the crux of which voiced her outrage that knitters and the knitting community have such little tolerance for criticism. In fact she laments the demise of another negative knitting-related blog that ceased to be because the authors were so sick of the backlash to their critical posts.

(The term "Ironic" springs to mind here.)

Honestly though I've noticed the same thing...knitters do seem to reject negativity....and I think its one of the things that makes knitblogland GREAT!  It's what makes me want to visit a little part of it each day to see what people are up to....what positive things they have to say and what creative things they are doing.

When I sit down to post I feel the weight of that expectation - that people drop by here to find tid bits that stay on the high road and don't seek to entertain or engage at the expense of others. I love that too!

So thanks for dropping by and ( I hope and assume) holding me accountable to the wonderful high standards of knitblogland!


The Olympics are Underway but where's TY?

I have a confession to make - I didn't get TY finished before casting on Friday night during the Opening Ceremonies for my Olympic Sweater or, for that matter my non-Olympic knitting sweater.

The problem lies with an old flossing injury to an otherwise healthy molar. (I'm not kidding - floss, but floss carefully people!) I developed a sudden and wickedly painful abscess under that tooth last Monday that had me on stomach churning and sleep robbing antibiotics and mind numbing pain killers just as I was to work the buttonhole band on TY and graft the underarms. It was also a jam packed week where the evenings I usually dedicate to knitting were instead filled with a birthday dinner here for 14 on Wednesday and a Business function Thursday night that had us out until the wee hours.  I could have forced myself to do the button hole band but it probably would have looked sloppy, or more likely, I would have made errors so I left it until the "fog" had cleared but by that time the Olympics were upon me.

I have now figured out and marked placement of the buttons and which ones I would use and having taken the last antibiotic capsule last night I hope to fit in executing that button band forth with.

Truth be told my stomach was such a mess during the opening ceremonies I only managed to cast on my Olympic Sweater and knit half of the first row before I set it aside for the night.

I did better during the days over the weekend and last night worked the arm hole decreases for the back so its well on its way.

The aspect of this knit that is providing me my "Olympic" challenge isn't the knitting but the thinking.

I wanted something that wouldn't be so manually challenging I couldn't watch the televised action. 'Still wanting some difficulty I turned to my true knitting challenge...thinking things through before I set my hands in motion. So I've got a pretty simple sweater that I'm generally altering and significantly adapting the sleeves from voluminous to essentially straight. These changes affect the sleeve shaping for all pieces. I'm also using an utterly different yarn than is called for as I sub Alpaca for Wool. this is adding a stretch, droop, grow factor for this long knit that I have to anticipate and incorporate as I go.

I am hoping the Olympic distraction allows me to avoid overthinking and instead allows me to use whatever meagre intuition I have to make decisions more or less on the fly and based on how things seem as I go. (I did swatches that I washed and dried and streched before I started to give me an idea of what to expect but that is about it.)

Finally, may I say the Opening Ceremonies were extremely evocative of the country of my birth and life with two notable exceptions.
  • The celebration of our First Nations was more and better than I have ever seen at an important public ceremony. It struck me, as the assembled Chiefs in the Royal Box with the Governor General clapped along and welcomed the Athletes to the stadium with their own ceremonial gestures that they felt genuine ownership and partnership over the Country as we welcomed the world to our shores. I hope this marks the beginning of how we do things from now on!
  • The demeanor of the PM and his wife by contrast seemed flat and cold. His forced smile with its roots in political ambition. Her face, evocative of a deer in the headlights. Neither seemed proud or moved. They seemed utterly detached. Theirs was the only appearance that failed to make me feel as though - Yes! This all represents me and my country!
And the most moving aspect of the televised coverage for me...shots of our armed forces watching from Afghanistan...so far from home...trying to make things better...eyes glistening during our National Anthem - true Canadians!

Finally - here are a couple of links...

Knitting on Impulse, living in Whistler is posting daily peeks into the action in the village there - you might want to follow along

Tina in Germany posted her thoughts about the Opening Ceremonies and about her Olympic days that I also enjoyed reading because it gives the perspective of someone from so far away and yet, like so much of the world very engaged in the Olympics.

Thanks for dropping by!


The Spirit of the the Thing

Whether its carrying a flame out of the history of Ancient Greece to criss and cross a Continent or lacing the skates on a 3 year old for their first time on the ice, or casting on the first stitch of a knitting project, these things are acts of belief in the future, in the inherent cumulative potential in small steps and all of them are hopefully done mindful of just how wonderful each step can be - whatever the ultimate goal.

How much like a sweater does the first cast on stitch appear? To the untrained eye there's no hint of the connection between the two. We twist a bit of spun fluff around a needle. It looks insignificant and meaningless. But as knitters we believe if we persist with it, make many, many more simple twists we will produce something.

That's the thing I'm going to try to keep in mind during my Knitting Olympics. To feel accomplished in  understanding that potential in casting on rather than only in what I accomplish in these next two weeks. The spirit of the thing and the fun and enjoyment of the process are just as important!

Its like the Spirit of the Olympics themselves. By the end of the games there are just a handful of "winners" The vast majority of athletes go home without a medal. But our collective view of the Olympics - especially the spirit of the games is that we see all the athletes as winners. We recognize that just becoming an Olympian is a significant accomplishment and the parading of athletes in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is clear testament to that.

In Calgary at the 1988 Winter Games, Elizabeth Manley overcame a career of challenges to skate the performance of her life  after working with a sports psychologist on skating for the joy of it rather than towards a goal.  When she came from behind to take the Silver she won the hearts of Canadians because she showed us success borne of the love of the thing not from the hunger for a prize. If you click on the link and watch her perform and then see her face at the end she is full of surprise and wonder at what she had just done. 

That's how I want to feel after the next couple of weeks of small knitting steps. I want to be thrilled that I did my best and I had a good time while I did it. Elizabeth ended up with a Silver Medal. I hope I end up with a sweater that I love (and that fits!) but I want the real joy of it to be in the doing not just in having it done!

If you're casting on an Olympic project tonight, I hope the same for you! Whether you are going to be an Olympic Knitter or not, I hope you have a great weekend and personally, I hope Wayne Gretzky carries the flame into the stadium tonight!

Thanks for dropping by today!


The Class

As promised here are a few pics of the goings on in the little knitting class I'm working with Wednesday afternoons. I couldn't get around to snapping a photo of everyone's work but I'll be sure to get a shot next week of anyone who isn't represented here today.

This is the beginnings of a set of hand warmers...

(She already finished and cast off a striped piece that was about 7" long she reports she is using for a "Doll Blanket" (If the knitters in my class are any indication Ravelry might well consider a new category for Doll Blanket Patterns - they're all the rage with the young knitting crowd!)

I love this red and white version...look how nice and even her tension is already! (That waviness is because she's stretching it out in the photo.) 

This little grade two student is at the end of casting off...at my suggestion her friend showed her how to do it.  (I explained that one way to learn is by doing, another is by teaching someone else to do it.)  The friend was very proud to be able to demonstrate how it was done for a couple of stitches but then it was back in the hands of the original knitter to take it the rest of the way.  Between the two of them they got the job done!                            
Here's another Doll Blanket in the works...I love the colours on this one! 
This grade 5 student is now onto her second project - that's about 30 minutes of her knitting output you see there.  Her tension is beautiful and here product error free.

Here's the work the "Casting Off" Teacher had done on her second piece - again, check out how even her garter stitch has become. This child is 7 years old.

This quiet knitter has been busily working away each week, needing nothing from me in the way of help.  I've chatted with her about her colour choices and how she is enjoying the process and how much she knits at home but I haven't examined her knitting.  I want the kids to develop their own eye for accuracy and mistakes.  I also don't want to flag something as "wrong" if they are comfortable with what they're producing. Yesterday, however, this child asked me for help because her work kept falling off the needles.  When I went to see what the problem was I was stunned to see she had multplied the number of stitches she was working to the point of running out of needle room!


It turns out from the original 30 stitches she started with, she now had over 100! Here it is released from the needle...
To save her work (aren't the colours fabulous?!) I brought it home and got the number of stitches back down to 30 but without ripping all the way back. Instead I made a few corrections and then knit a couple of rows with some drastic decreases. She's keen to have her knitting back before the weekend so I'm going to return it to the school this afternoon. I'll be interested to see next week what she thinks of how it looks now and how she has proceeded in the meantime.
Once I saw her compounded stitch count error I asked everyone to count their stitches and check their number against their pattern to see if they had the right number and it turns out only a couple still had the quantity with which they started - nothing more than a couple of stitches in any one case though.

So I launched into a lesson on decreasing and spacing out decreases across a row. "Knit two together" was demonstrated and then quickly picked up. They did the rest of their necessary decreases themselves and soon they were back on track and knitting happily away.

After last week's class there was too much lingering (according to the janitorial staff) so I had to rush everyone to be ready to walk out the door the minute our hour together ended.  This really ate into our knitting time  forcing everyone to stop before they were either ready or willing.

But then isn't that always the way with knitting?!

Thanks for dropping in today! (To my blog and (kind of) to my class as well. I wish you could all see them in real life, clicking away together - its absolutely wonderful to watch! )


I See! (I Think!)

I understand Gauge as the mathematical count the test knitter or designer uses to achieve the pattern.

My simplified notion of "achieving the pattern" was contained by the concepts of physical measurement (how big or small does the thing have to be to fit) and visual design detail (adding in cables etc.).

Then when Sandi Wisehart on the Interweave blog focused on "Ease" in her posts, I incorporated that into my rudimentary understanding of achieving a pattern. Now I also thought not only about size and design but also about "Fit" -  whether the thing should be tight or loose or somewhere in between.

Last summer, knitting the Ribbon Edged Cardigan by Debbie Bliss in her Baby Cashmerino I was surprised to be using larger needles than I have in the past with that yarn.  Once I had a sizeable piece of fabric knit at that gauge I recognized this new (to me) gauge was producing knitting that delivered a measure of Drape that was absent when knit at the tighter gauge with which I was more familiar.

Sooooo... Drape, created by manipulating gauge can be used at the discretion of the designer to influence the outcome of a knitted garment as well!

And I understand Drape is different than Positive Ease...when I considered a loose fitting cabled sweater with no shaping I recognized such a design probably wouldn't drape at all. By virtue of the cabling it would have relatively significant structure. This would make it hang away from the body if fit with Positive Ease but in a self supporting manner free of Drape.

Aha! I must remember all this, I thought.

Now about to cast on the for the Minamalist Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2007 and 'honouring my resolution to read all the detail from every pattern I undertake, I read the following about this sweater...
"...knit in allover moss stitch giving solidity to a soft alpaca blend..."
Ohhhhh! "Fiber" can contribute to Drape as well!!! She's used moss stitch to manage the Drape of her chosen fiber, to "give solidity" to the soft alpaca!

Suddenly I had one of those racing moments of cognition where many things all came together at once...The sweater's design in alpaca assumes a softness that will yield Drape. If  I'm NOT using alpaca, but using wool instead I won't have that Drape so I need safeguard that element of Drape by.....Knitting at a looser Gauge!!!

Oh but then how will I make the thing my size without redesigning the whole pattern?

Again, the Lightening struck and I thought - I know! I'll make a smaller size - fewer stitches at a looser gauge will make a garment that's bigger than the measurements given when the piece is knit at the correct gauge.

So I'm going to go against gauge to nonetheless achieve the design because I'm using stiffer yarn but still want the Drape intended by the Designer. Then to avoid having a garment that's too big for me, I'm going to make a smaller size.

I couldn't believe it could work that way, I didn't trust myself not to be missing something obvious in the reasoning.  So I started knitting swatches, I invited a more experienced knitter over for lunch and I went through it all with her.

She said my reasoning was correct aaaaaand she chose the swatch with the biggest gauge as having the nicest drape without being so loose as to just be sloppy.

With her word of approval and TY teetering on the very brink of becoming an FO I'm now excited to start on this in the next couple of days. I'm also going to be using my fledgling Continental technique for this. Its supposed to make moss and ribbing faster. It won't at first but maybe by the time I'm done! My plan is to knit on this during the Olympics when I'm NOT watching but still want to be knitting and so don't want to work on my Olympic sweater.

TTFN and thanks for dropping by!


Busy Busy Busy! Knitting Knitting Knitting!

My weekend was crammed with knitting. This little blog needs to catch up!

Friday afternoon I got to pick the brain of a real, live, very experienced and very patient knitter. Over lunch chez Sel and Poivre she let me pepper her with a whole list of questions. We talked gauge and drape and the characteristics of different fibers knit with various stitches, embellishments and button placement, sizing and pattern revision. We handled swatches I'd prepared, read labels and did a fair amount of math. By the time we were on to coffee and dessert the living room looked like a knitting bomb had gone off but I felt like had my feet under me on several projects, some headed for the launch pad, others about to become FO's.

Friday evening into the wee hours and from very early, Saturday morning until dinner time, I dedicated my efforts to Tangled Yoke. (Thank you Number One Son - your social/ski calendar really came through for my knitting time!) With the charted section finally finished I got the short row shaping done en route to the neckline, the collar done and the button band complete.

I could probably have finished the sweater but I was feeling badly that I've yet to produce the mitts I promised Darling Daughter I would make for her at Christmastime.  So Saturday evening I took a break from TY and frogged the snowflake mitts. DD really wasn't loving up the cuff detail on those so why continue? Instead I cast on for a pair of Yellow Harvest Mittens from VK Fall '08 about which she is quite excited.

I've never done an I cord cuff before so that was fun and a nice departure working with the 5mm wooden dpns and worsted from the much finer 3.25 mm Addi circular and the sport weight Felted Tweed of Tangled Yoke I'd been working with all day.

Then yesterday, again up very early to send the skiers, of which I am usually one, off without me but with a hearty cooked breakfast, I took a day long class with Fiona Ellis at the DKC Winter Workshops Weekend.

The class, called "Diving into Design", focuses on the creative process of being open to inspiration, capturing that inspiration and then translating it into knitting.

Fiona has the perfect personality for such a class and a huge body of published work and design experience from which to draw.  Her class was stimulating yet relaxed and free of pressure.  I think most of us struggled at some point but by the show and tell at the end of the day everyone could hold up something that revealed they had quite successfully met her challenge to us.

Well, almost everyone...

Before I go on I should let you know that Fiona did say that sometimes, in the design process, a whole swatch may be worked only to provide a wee square of usable inspiration. How lucky everyone was in the class to have me there to demonstrate just how awful an incomplete swatch can be and yet contain a smidgen of an idea! ;). Everyone else very successfully finished amazing pieces, some of which might even well stand on their own, never mind just function as swatched concepts!

And what was that idea, that "flash of brilliance" I came up with?

I separated the plies of three colours of yarn (lavender, grey and cream) then knit one section of my embarassment swatch using a varied combination of those three. (In the photo above whole strands are in the foreground, separated ones just behind and in focus) So one section had 2 strands grey, 1 strand lavender, the next, 1 strand of each colour, the next 1 grey and 2 strands lavender which I then transitioned back to a straight lavender section.

This did yield my desired effect of having the colours kind of  "melt" into each other and surprisingly also produced a much softer hand to that section since the yarn had no twist with which to produce stitch definition - either tactile or visual.

Yes, well, whatever. Despite the size of my "breakthrough" and quality of my execution I had a very pleasant day with very pleasant knitters and at least I don't have to worry about VK or Interweave hearing of any design brilliance on my part and pestering me with requests to design for them. Phew!

Thanks for dropping by!


Fixing a Cable Crossing 20 Rows Back Without Ripping 20 Rows Out!

This morning I noticed I'd made an error in one cable crossing on the left front.

As soon as I got home I spent about 10 minutes fixing it. (Soooo much faster than ripping all those rows back!) This is what I did...

First, notice the two errant stitches at the top of the crochet hook. They should be going underneath that cable crossing rather than over top of it...
First I drop one stitch down to where I can manipulate it. I'm almost there...

Now, I've gone far enough. The stitch on the right in the photo has passed the crossing. The vertical stitches in the middle are the crossing.  The open stitches in the ladder on the left is both where that open stitch has come from and where it needs to get back to. I've just released it from passing over and now I need to pass it under the crossing using a crochet hook...
Here the hook has come from the back of the work to catch the stitch in question...

Now I've pulled it underneath the crossing and I've poked the hook and stitch back up on the correct side. I'm ready to pick up the stitches in the ladder on my way back to the top...

But not before I reverse the hook to allow me to work on the right side of the fabric...

Now the stitch is back at the top, temporarily held in place with a split ring type marker, I'm ready to fix its neighbour to the left...

Back down we go.  See how there now remains only one stitch to move underneath the crossing (its the one with the prominent white flecks in it)...

Here the hook pokes out underneath that crossing to catch the lowered stitch...

Here the stitch has been moved beneath the crossing to come out above the point of crossing...

Once again I reverse the hook and working the right side of the fabric, pick up the stitches in the ladder all the way back to the top...

Problem solved!

That feels better!

BTW I forgot to put the memory card in the camera before class yesterday so I'll have to post pics of the kid's work next week!

Thanks for dropping by!


Olympic Knitting

Four years ago this week I dove back into the world of knitting after about 15 years of dabbling. For 7 of those years my knitting had been hostage to a situation similar to my Tangled Yoke ordeal. In the end, I finished the thing and it is one of my all time favourite knits...
Its a fingering weight unbleached cotton pram cover from a Pinguoin pattern. Anybody remember Pinguoin?

With that behind me just before the last Winter Olympics and riding high on a wave of self satisfaction I timidly ventured into Passionknit (then still at its old location) where Debbie - founder and then owner of the shop took me under her wing to find the yarn with which I then cast on to make this...

I knit the majority of it as I watched the Turin Olympics. In fact when I don that blue pullover I'm reminded of the exciting Men's Curling final in which Canada won Gold.

At that time I was unaware of knit blogging, knit bloggers, Ms. Pearl McPhee's Knitting Olympics, Ms. Pearl McPhee herself or pretty much any aspect of the on line knitting world from which I now derive so much inspiration.

Fast forward to 2010. The Yarn Harlot posted about how she started a big ball rolling with the Original Knitting Olympics but since it has morphed, multiplied and raveled into many variations - just the kind of thing knitters are wont to do! (Think February Baby SweaterLady SweaterFitted Pullover, Socks kind of thing - all based on the Gull Wing Lace Pattern - really nothing to do with February except the appearance of the baby sweater pattern in the February chapter of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Almanac!)

This is one of my favourite things about knitters! The variations, differing approaches, adaptations knitters come up with. So I've been happily reading about everyone's Olympic knitting plans over the past couple of weeks...

Knitting on Impulse - living right in Whistler B.C. is working a sweater now to wear as she gads about her very own Olympic town during the games, is posting her process and has invited others to follow along. The sweater is a top down funnel neck featuring a design evoking the waving lines of multiple skier's descending through virgin powder.

Veronique Avery is running a kind of on line class in designing your own mittens now to knit during the Olympics. I love this. What's more evocative of winter knitting than mittens?

Of course Ravelry has the Ravelympics - first run during the last summer games and now apparently bigger and better and more diverse than last time with hundreds of teams and thousands of members. I don't know much more than that I'm afraid, the details as listed seem to likewise have hundreds of aspects and thousands of links - too much for my impatient mouse to click through.

Brenda's amazingly prolific bunch of knitters has formed a team I'm keen to watch no doubt produce mountains of FO's over the course of the games.

So much variety.  Wouldn't it be fun to do them all? (I'm still working on how to get Einstein's theory on the dilation of time to apply to knitting - but I won't have anything ready by a week from Friday ;) )

My plan for the Olympics is to use that gorgeous Alpaca yarn I won last fall at the DKC, with the addition of a darker charcoal grey I have since sourced from Romni and to make a big cozy cowl based on the red and navy beauty from the Winter 2009/10 Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine.

I know the idea is to make something slightly challenging to encourage knitting that is better, faster and stronger. The pattern is straightforward but I plan to adjust the sleeves to make them less voluminous and in so doing less straightforward. This will require less yarn - I'm worried about running short. It will affect the shaping for all pieces. My hope is it will also make the finished piece suit me better. Bottom line I think the changes will make it more challenging for me to work, however simple the mock rib stitch may be to knit.

Since my last "Knitting Olympics" I've had my mind blown open by knitblogland et.al. but it seems I'm still happy to be in my own little knitting world during the games. Again, I'll dive in on the heels of a bit of a knitting ordeal which should make a new project all that much more sweet.

And as for the current ordeal?....
Things are looking pretty sweet there as well! (Again thanks so much for all the support in getting me through it!)

Short Row Shaping for the neckline here I come!

Thanks so much for dropping by!


The Class

I didn't get to posting about my little group of new knitters last week! And that's what they are now - bona fide knitters. The progress is visible, their classic knitter's enthusiasm for their yarn, its colour, texture and performance unmistakable.

At one point last week, after I'd remedied issues and/or gushed over each child's work I stood back and noticed the room was silent, save the soft little sounds of plastic needles. Silent! Two weeks after our first session and only at the start of our third class these children were sitting together silently knitting! Then one little girl started to sing a song from the musical "Annie" (the school is putting on a performance of the play this year.) Spontaneously, all the others joined in. None of them looked up or stopped what they were doing.  They just all sang sweetly together.  When the last sustained note wafted away the single boy in the class pointed out "that was out of tune!"

Maybe they agreed with his observation, maybe they were all just too engrossed with their work but no one reacted, knitting continued (his included). It was wonderful to watch!

During the first class I had them record their ideas on a pattern sheet and I'm holding them to it, or, if they insist they want to change, getting them to document the changes.  This keeps any one child from  getting caught up doing whatever their neighbour or friend is doing. Its also making them really invested in their own work.  I'm often quoting EZ, encouraging them to be the boss of their own knitting. They seem to find this quite empowering and its bearing great fruit in terms of motivation.

I'm also encouraging them to help each other both during class and between classes.  This too is helping to keep things moving forward for everyone.

The big basket full of a rainbow of worsted is, as I'd hoped a much coveted place to be - getting more yarn, picking new colours, now making their own little balls as I'm showing them to do.

Each week I wear something I've knit and each week they ask whether I knit it and how many stitches are in it and how long it took me to make. It shows they're recognizing the cumulative effect of sequentially making multiple stitches and rows. They are seeing it takes time but yields results. Fantastic!

I also take some knitting along for them to handle and examine.
That garter stitch cowl and fingerless mitts I posted a peek at last week prompted some discussion.
Having seen mine, one child is now making a pair for her own tiny hands. 
Despite interest in the shaping of the cowl it seems to be more than any of them want to undertake knitting or wearing! (I beg to differ on that point! ;) )
Tomorrow's class may include a new student which will bring us to full capacity of 10 children. If she joins it will be interesting to see how she works her way into the activity and the group. 

Its also my hope tomorrow to take a picture of their work and invite them to come and see it here on the blog. If you happen to drop by and see that post, (probably Thursday) it would be great if you'd comment - I bet, like any knitter, they'd love to hear what you think of their work!

I sure always do!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Added Wednesday February 3......no photos this week - I forgot to load the memory card in my camera before I left for class...next week for sure!


NO TY FO :(.....YET!

Since posting 6 days ago I have dedicated...
22 tediously focused but error ridden hours
on Tangled Yoke. I had originally hoped to have it ready as an FO by last Friday, which would have been the 1 year anniversary of casting on for the the thing. It didn't happen Friday and it won't happen today either.

As I worked away on it I did use the many helpful suggestions you kind knitters left in the comments of that post...
  • As Barb suggested, I did write the pattern out - very, very helpful! Thank you Barb!
  • I checked for errata as Lorraine recommended. I appreciate the reminder on this - its such a basic thing but one which I so often forget. There were none. (Does Eunny ever have errata in her patterns?)
  • I sure did hang in there as so many of you kindly encouraged me to do.
  • Likewise I focused on just how really close to being finished I was.
  • I wondered whether Shari in Nova Scotia had dug her Tangled Yoke out from "hibernation" and was perhaps having no troubles at all.
  • I particularly focused, as Lyn suggested, on just how lovely it is to work with all that Rowan Felted Tweed which despite excessive handling, has shown no wear or tear. 
I'm so disappointed they dropped their Canadian distributor - I'll probably never work a Rowan yarn again! :(

All that taken into consideration though...in those 22 hours of knitting time I knit, ripped, re-knit, re-ripped, did all that again once more before finally, correctly, getting past row 7 of the chart. Thus, in all that time I only worked with a grand total of...
 31 meters of yarn
(an average of successfully knitting 27 linear inches of yarn per hour!!!)
I should hang my head in knitting shame before you. I do shake my head with personal exasperation. Nonetheless I do hold my head high because, through
'though I'm not done yet I have endured the insanely stupid mistakes and kept on going.

You're knitters - think of the most basic of knitting mistakes and whatever you come up with - I did it at least once. Some I even did more than once!


Now I believe I've broken the back of the thing for I'm past halfway through the chart; currently decreasing in row 11 to take the stitch count from the low 400's to around 320. (See the fab pink and green stitch markers I won from Cheryl over at Acorn to Oak! Using them on this phase of the project was a very nice treat amidst all the other issues!)

February has arrived. The Vancouver Olympics and Olympic knitting loom ever larger. I've got to keep at it...'got to keep at it...'got to keep at it.........that's all I can do - that's all it will take!

In the meantime, I've other knitterly things a-goin' on! I'll post about those in coming days as I work on TY in coming evenings. (If there's good news, maybe I'll add the odd line about TY progress as well.)

Thanks for dropping by today and for all the wonderfully supportive and really helpful comments last week that kept me going - I'm going to keep drawing on those - I'm going to need them but I'm going to get the thing finished!