I found a couple of great things on line this week....

Check out this post by the Sherriff of Knittingham listing 10 great mitten patterns.

Next are these...oh I so want to make some of my own!

My friend Mary forwarded this link to Eunny Jang's current blog. I kind of knew she had one going but I'd never visited.

All week I've been following along as Kate Davies has been revealing the patterns in her about-to-go-on-sale-Dec-3rd Book on Shetland Knitting. I enjoy seeing her patterns. They aren't all for me but there is a purity in the connection between the yarns and colours she chooses and her designs that feels so right. Never mind the way she styles and models them in those spectacular settings. Its like a travel/knitblog all in one.

And finally if you've ever knit a doggie sweater there's this.

Have a great weekend! Happy December!


Shaking Hands

They say it takes a village to raise a child.

For this idea to work, however, the child best feel a member of that "village" too. We found teaching a proper handshake a great way to give the kids an instantly positive way to connect with adults. Without exaggeration that handshake has prompted numerous great interactions and even friendships and the attention of "The Village" has borne much fruit over our span of kid's lives.

This past summer one such relationship between Number One Son and a couple in their 60's was of almost indescribable benefit to him.

We are talking about benefits that a thank you note can't sufficiently acknowledge. My Beloved and I and particularly our son will forever be indebted to these people for their efforts on our behalf. We will always feel we "owe them". And of course, like any significant but heartfelt gesture they do not feel that to be the case at all.

So of course this is where the knitting comes in right? What better way to thank them than with a gesture demonstrating time, thought and care? Beyond that, what about something that evokes the initial connection between them and our once wee boy with the confident little hand outstretched in greeting? What about mittens?!

These are active outdoors-loving people. They are also the kind of people who appreciate craftsmanship and quality and take great pride in their own creations and projects.Don't you think they'll appreciate hard wearing woolly wool mittens? You're probably not surprised to hear I do!

So ...

For him I'm using a Newfoundland "Trigger Mitten" pattern that features an independent index finger to make it useful for working outside while the other three fingers cozy up together in a mitten-like section just for them.

I'm using Briggs and Little "Regal" for durability in "Fir Green" - the colour of the work pants he invariably sports on weekends.

I'm putting it all together with the twined knitting technique using the same 60 stitch count as I worked the ladies mittens on. This time with slightly heavier yarn and 4mm needles rather than 3mm or 3.5mm I'm getting a bigger size by about an inch around to better suit a man's hand.

I'm very happy with the results.

For the gentleman's wife (a competitive gymnast in her youth she is very petite.) I'm toying with a striped pair in finer yarn and smaller needles but with the same stitch count. (I'm not imagining this will be an interesting factoid to either of them but if it works out it will amuse me to no end!)

Working the tough yarn at the tight gauge is giving me knots in my shoulders the size of lemons but no matter. I distract myself with the satisfaction of feeling like I'll be making a gesture that starts to convey to these wonderful people how much their attention has meant to us. (And I admit maybe thinking more than a little bit about the mitts for his wife while I'm at it!)


Generous Knitters

At the hands of other generous knitters I have had a fortuitous couple of days!

(At the hands of Number One Son 'home from school working on a creative (messy!) project I have had no access to our desktop either! But I digress.)

Last Friday I was able to attended a Knitty Yarn Tasting at The Purple Purl because while I was at the cottage without Internet connection last summer my generous knitting friend Cheri was kind enough to sign me up before the spots were all filled.

Then when I arrived at The Purl Cheri popped something into my bag of needles where I utterly forgot it until, during my Monday morning tidy I went to put the needles away and in it I found...A Present! Wrapped in an adorable cotton scarf!

And just look what it was!

I love little note books. I love documenting stuff but especially my knitting and knitting ideas! This one has the added bonus of also containing great reference information.

I love the inclusion of an emergency rolled brim hat pattern for

 "...when you're faced with a long car ride, you're itching to knit but don't have time to focus on starting a complicated project..." 
(Measurements included to make it in any size from baby to man!)

Aaaand the essential elasticized thingy to keep the book closed in your bag!

She signed me up, saved me a seat and gave me a present!

Then this morning, with the computer once again to myself, I logged on to find I'd won a birthday draw over at Curlerchick's. Its her birthday and I'm going to get a fab pair of custom made PJ pants in the fabric of my choosing!

I've made a slew of PJ's over the years but never for myself and no one else has ever made any for me. Yet on Sandra's Birthday she's going to do just that.

Her birthday...I get the present!

Generous knitter indeed!

Now I have to run - 'have to select the fabric for my PJ's and take my measurements to send to Sandra. I have the numbers for my upper body documented and memorized for knitting but I've ever even taken them for the bottom half of me!

'Have a great day! I'm obviously having one already! Thanks for dropping by!


Black Friday

What an apt name. Following up, or nowadays finishing off, a day of thanks, with hysterical retail consumption is "black" indeed!

The way we spend money in our society sends very powerful messages to businesses large and small all over the world. I think of every dollar as a ballot that carries with it a kind of montetary vote for (or against!) the environment, society, international relations, human rights, animal welfare, the list goes on and on.

Earlier this week I "voted" for a project called The Shepherd and The Shearer - a limited edition of 200 Sweater Kits.

I discovered it on Kate Davie's blog and she does such a great job explaining it I refer you to her site to read all about it! (Not saying I won't go on and on about the knitterly goodies in the kit in future posts!)

What pushed me to invest in the kit (and it is an investment!) is that I will end up with an exciting and unique knitting project and hopefully an heirloom knit that will last and last but in doing so I will also directly support...
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Humane Animal husbandry
  • Small Businesses
  • Women who work in these areas
  • Our local (North American) economy
I feel good about that and, of course great about looking forward to

  • Knitting the Aran Sweater My Beloved has been asking for
  • Working on an Aran that Kate Davies designs - no doubt it will be great looking and authentic.
  • Casting on with the yarn that from the outset will be designed as a spectacularly woolly wool - my current yarney obsession.
So while it may be a bit cloudy here today there's will be no "black" in my Friday - in fact thinking about this project and looking forward to a yarn tasting tonight has me feeling quite sunny!

Thanks so much for dropping by!


Amy Singer Presentation Redux

After my little rant yesterday I wanted to say...

Amy Singer's presentation last night was awesome.

She is a witty speaker with a great presentation and lots of time in which to give the talk but also take quite a few questions!

Bonus points to the DKC Executive!

They kept the opening comments speeding right along so there was lots of time to enjoy the main presentation!

Amy told us she first announced her intention to start up Knitty at a DKC meeting in 2002. At the outset of her presentation last night she asked "how many of you here tonight were present at that meeting?".  How fun it was to see the hands shoot up!

One surprising comment she made was that despite the vast numbers of knitters using the site, more knitters have never, heard of Knitty than know what it is! Hard to believe eh?

Because Amy was speaking I thought it would be appropriate to wear my Beatnik from Knitty Deep Fall 2010  in Show and Tell.

As I stood on stage with the other Show and Tellers I realized there was no interesting story around this knit. I knit it without modification using the recommended yarn in the sample colourway. (Yawn!) I was only wearing it because Amy was there but I couldn't stand up and say that! As the others were called to the mic and spoke about their creations my mind raced to come up with something...anything to say about it! Then my name was called. I walked to the front of the stage and with stunning wit announced to the room of 100 or so assembled knitters that I there really was nothing to say about this sweater other than...

I knit it.

Yup. That's what I said.

Dead. Silence.

...for but a split second and then an eruption of laughter. The painfully obvious struck them as funny! Phew! I went to race off stage before the laughter could subside but someone from the audience called out...

"Tell us about the yarn! The pattern!"

Oh right! (duh!)

I recited the project stats that by some miracle I was able to remember off the top of my head and again headed off stage but stopped as Amy herself called out...

"Why don't you jump in the air like the Beatnik model on the Knitty pattern page! Of course I accommodated that request.

What a ham I am!

Again I tried to bolt.

Now the Guild President at the mic asked if I knit a gauge swatch?

"Of course I swatched!" I indignantly cried at the suggestion I might have skipped such an indispensible step!

What a liar I was!

Oh well, all in good fun. Thank you DKC for a great knitterly evening!

Thank you for dropping by!


In the Hopes of "Quality" Time with Amy

The Speaker tonight at the DKC is Amy Singer. The Amy Singer who started that little site called "Knitty" - 124 million visits - 10 years ago...that Amy!

Friday evening at Purple Purl I'll be seeing Amy again. This time for a Knitty Roundtable Yarn Tasting with 30 other knitters/crocheters who will test various yarns while hoping to win prizes and generally soaking up yarn fumes in one of Toronto's great Queen St.Yarn Shops.

(Phew I'm already a bit light headed just putting the word "yarn"  4 times into that last sentence!)

Being able to partake of all this Knitterly fun is one of the great things about being a knitter here in T.O.

I'm excited at the prospects for these evenings but also a bit reserved...

With regards to the DKC...I hope the Announcements, Celebrating Our Own, Show and Tell, Raffle Draw, more Announcements followed by a couple of Announcements blah blah blah...are kept to a duration that allows time to actually hear Amy speak for more than half an hour. (I am not exaggerating here!) The Guild is in transition to becoming more relevant, inclusive, welcoming etc. hence the inward focus. Still, put the brakes on, cut power to the microphone if necessary and, I hope, get on with the Show! I want to hear Amy!

At the Yarn Tasting Friday everyone rotates every 20 minutes around 5 or so different tables where the test yarn is set up. While we all know Knitters are generally big hearted people. Maybe its the yarn fumes but these events seem to bring out the 9 year old bully in even the loveliest of knitters. I hope the Elementary School Cafeteria-esque need of the test knitters to sit beside their friends/save a seat/get that chair-type jockeying for position (bodychecking) as 30 people shift around a shop crowded with tables, chairs and knitters is a bit less intense than I've experienced at these events in the past. Is there something terribly wrong with meeting someone new? Especially another knitter???

Ahhh...it feels better to have all that off my chest!

Now to figure out what knitting to take along tonight...

Thanks for dropping by!  


Garter Rib Baby Blanket by Orange Flower FO

Source: Free Ravelry Download
Yarn: 4 Balls Remnant Moda Dea Washable Wool(Yellow) 2 Balls Diamond Luxury DK (4995 Lt.Blue)
Size: 32"x25"
Needles: 5mm (Yellow Section) 4mm (Blue Section Yarn held double)
Start: June 30 Finish: November 18, 2012

It was bitter sweet knitting with Moda Dea the first time - 'loving the unique braided texture even as I cast on while knowing it was discontinued so there would likely be no "next time" knitting with it. I bought extra "just in case" yarn  then didn't end up even using as much as originally planned. This left four balls remnant - enough, in fact, to afford a "next time" after all!

Well almost...

Within a few days knitting of casting on the remnant yardage yielded a (pre blocked) 22" long panel - waaaay short of the 32" I was going for. I planned a gender-specific contrast coloured panel to complete the project to the requisite length once I had a recipient in mind and set the whole thing aside.

My Beloved's niece delivered an adorable little boy "recipient" a couple of weeks ago so I went looking for either a blue or cream yarn and decided on this lovely soft light blue DK.

The blue dk, lighter than the yellow worsted, demanded I hold the yarn double and move down to a 4mm Addi circ from the 5mm Bamboo I used with the yellow yarn. This took some fiddling around to get right but yielded a nice matching appearance and texture.

The doubled section was naturally a bit stiff but a Eucalan bath and slightly aggressive blocking created a heavenly soft, cozy cover with beautiful drape - perfect for tucking around a swaddled wintertime infant!

I have to say though my favourite feature of this blanket are the garter ends knit in even more remnant worsted.

These are woolly wool yarns - my current rage - each a bit darker/richer in colour than the sections they each terminate.

I love how they turn the practical necessity of the bi-coloured blanket into looking like an aesthetically planned pattern!

And speaking of the pattern...I could see this becoming a favourite baby gift to knit. Lovely mindless knitting yielding something modern and practical. It also does great justice to the look and feel of superwash yarn - especially when its hand dyed. Check out "Sketchbook"'s version on Ravelry. It makes me want to knit lap-sized one up for myself!

When knitting works out it's such a rush isn't it? Non-knitters can't appreciate that notion at all but I'm sure you'll agree that power of the rush helps keep you going through the tough moments that are (at least for me) always inevitably ahead.

Thanks so much for dropping by! Its such fun to share an FO!


What's Up?

Men UP the huge maple in our back yard today!

 The amount of "Woolly Wool" yarn in my collection is UP.
2 Skeins Briggs and Little Royale - "Spruce" colourway to become work mittens

7 Balls Galway Heathered Worsted to become "Tinder"

8 Balls Galway Heathered Worsted to become "Ranger"
   Time is waaaaay past UP on the last grooming Hudson received. (To be remedied today!)

The number of FO's on my Ravelry page is UP (Blocking in progress - FO post tomorrow!)

'Hope you had a good weekend! Thanks for Dropping By!


Just Racing Past...

...And wanted to flag, as a follow up to this post about the amazing wedding gown crochet project, that the Bride has posted lots of pictures and more detail about the project  on Ravelry here!


Knitting for My Man?

Its a thorny question!

I've got me a typical adult male sweater wearer - isn't big on colour,  comfort and great fit are paramount, he can't abide waiting for something to be finished and frankly, at over 6'1" he's large.

So knitting garments for him generally means drab, finicky, pressure filled and loooong knitting projects. Rather uninspiring.

My projects page on Ravelry demonstrates how I've dealt with this...the vast majority of my knits are for myself;  a lover of colour, willing to put up with a slightly itchy neck for the sake of wearing an FO and in all honesty, I work out to allow me to fit into smaller (aka faster/cheaper) knits!

I'm starting,however, to tire of watching My Beloved walk around in fleece and cotton all winter. Aaaand, like me, the dog walking is having an effect on his waistline too so that undertaking a sweater for him is starting to seem more manageable/less painful

Enter "Ranger".

Very similar in shape and detail to a sweatshirt/jacket, made from some unnatural fiber, that My Beloved wears a lot, Ranger is fairly short and close to the body so it shouldn't be like knitting a cover for a football field and its worked in Worsted weight, knit bottom up with seamless raglan construction and sleeves knit in the round. It all sounds pretty manageable and with the right yarn, maybe even entertaining?

So over the weekend I took the plunge. I needed the pattern for "Tinder" as I've already purchased the yarn for it so I thought while I was at it I may as well order "Ranger" as well.

So now I'm committed - so much so, on my way home mid afternoon I happened to drive past my LYS where there was a parking spot right in front of the store so I had a wee spin through the shop to get some yarn ideas. I'm starting to feel almost excited at the prospect. I should probably try to temper that ASAP. Better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed for 1500 odd meters of knitting right?


Elizabeth Zimmerman Square February Shawl FO

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Square February Shawl
Source: Knitters Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman
 Yarn; Gifted From Lyn in Sydney
Needles: 3.5mm dpn's and circular
Start: July 3 Finish: November 8, 2012

I said I had visions of a plump baby sleeping beneath this.


Off the needles and blocked to its' woolly maximum my vision required downgrading to something more like a sleeping plump guinea pig!

This is not altogether a problem. I don't know of a plump female baby to whom this might be given while I'm very familiar with a more aged than plump knitter -cough-me-cough- who hates having a cold neck!

Final dimensions are...nice scarf size, soft warm and light as air!

I'm smitten with how this woolly wool rather than the super wash I used here held the shaping I gave it through the wet blocking. Removing the pins and blocking wires prompted no shrinking or relaxing. It stayed put as if, contrary to what really occurred, the pins had been unnecessary in the first place.

I learned a lot though this project...

About visually judging the yield of a cake of yarn or maybe more accurately failing to judge the yield of a cake of yarn. (See comments above re plump guinea pigs)

About using decorative stitches in the round. As you can see in the blocking photo (above)I had trouble anticipating necessary row spacing  to accommodate the addition of elements while maintaining consistent borders of stockinette either side of the increases. So again, I guess my lesson was what not to do i.e pay closer mathematical attention to row count not just stitch count in advance of adopting a motif - especially with an expansive pattern like this one.

About Emily Ockler's Circular Cast On. (I've "used" it before but never correctly.) This time I didn't settle for less than absolutely right and it was worth the trouble to make it so.

About how the bag-like thing that results from knitting a square on a circular needle translates once the stitches are bound off. I managed to anticipate for and then correctly execute shapings at the corners while adding my own edge detail...a miracle!

And speaking of the edge, I wish I'd used a stretchier bind off.  Next time I'll try the one Brenda outlines at the bottom of this post.

From the yarn's arrival a couple of summers ago from Lyn in Australia to my neck today this project has been fun to work on mentally and physically. Now its a great practical and attractive addition to my wardrobe. A perfect knitting experience!

Thanks again Lyn!

Thank you for dropping by!


Just Like the Week...

...this one's done!

Have a great weekend!


Almost Done

I've started the edge detail on the EZ rectangular shawl.

'Taking a cue from the increases at the corners I've incorporated a "k2tog, YO" round to get little eyelets around the edge. After a knit round to frame the YO's I've done a purl then a knit then a purl round for a little relief  from all the stockinette but also to help with curling.
Yarn is running low so my planned second round of eyelets had to be abandoned. At this point its round by round, tracking the yarn quantity as I make the rest up along the way.

'Have to admit this is one of those projects of which I'll be sad to see the end!


Who Did The Knitting?

Is anyone else as much in love with the knits in this ad as I am?

When I first saw it on TV I expected to see references to it somewhere in my wool-centric "travels" across the digital knit world but I haven't run across a single reference to it.

The men's pullovers on the boat are the best but the cardi on the mom paired with that cowl is also pretty awesome and what about the way those kids are just wrapped up in great pieces too!

Aren't the colours they've used and the way they combine them amazing? How about the acid yellow/green garter hat on the little girl in the opening paired with the lacy yoked but still bulky golden cardigan!

I wish I could watch it frame by frame. I'm sure its possible ...I'll have to check with Darling Daughter - my technical adviser on that!

To all my American friends - I sure hope you're voting today - it seems like there's an awful lot on the line this time around!


Special Week

This is a big week for the woman in the fabulous crocheted sweater at the top of this photo. Last week was a big week for the members if the monthly craft group I am fortunate to attend.
This week the woman pictured above is getting married and as she stands with her back to the assembled guests at her ceremony in Florida this amazing creation will hang from the back of her Bridal Sari. 
Last week our craft group had the privilege of helping complete this amazing secret wedding project.

The project started out last spring with the Bride to Be sourcing first an ornate red and gold Indian Silk Sari then selecting silk yarn from two Indi dyers to get the weight and consistency of the thread and the colours just exactly right both on their own,together and with the Sari. There really is no eye more exacting than that of a determined bride!

I believe the Bride to Be then worked the framework motifs herself asking family and friends to make motifs that float within the centre of the piece.

Each motif, made by someone special to the Bride, represents an aspect of the two families, the heritage of the bride or groom or a detail of their relationship.

The artfully arranged elements were basted into position on a table cloth and rolled for careful transport. (BTW the colours in these photos are all waaaay too orange! I tried to adjust the setting in the camera to better represent the crimson colour but the brown of the table cloth was too visually bossy to overcome.)

The hands you see belong to the members of the monthly craft group in which I am somehow lucky enough to be included!

Using a blanket stitch they are connecting the pieces together before the whole thing was to be removed from the table cloth then affixed to a piece of tulle for stability and then finally to the sari.

With the sari the bride will wear a stunning custom made blouse wrought in gold silk brocade. There is also a custom made evening dress in Chinese Silk, again in red and gold for the reception when the sari will be displayed on a form for one and all to see and admire up close. (Yes she had the other pieces with her that evening. No I did not think to take pictures. Yes I am an idiot!)

When the Bride to Be outlined her plans at the craft group last spring she had nothing more than a concept and some sample yarns. I worried the whole plan would never be done in time but just look at the results!  As she unrolled the cloth out onto the table last week everyone gasped. My heart was pounding.

What a magnificant way for a passionate artist from a family of talented crocheters to present herself at this most important day in her life!

What an honour to have been in on this closely guarded wedding secret from almost its conception to its completion!

What a blast to be able to meet with these remarkable and talented women each month!

All the best this week Lara! We cannot wait to see the pictures!


Eye Candy Friday

If cream wool kilt hose aren't the best kind of Knitter's Blog Eye Candy I can' imagine what is.

These are not my creations. They are a collaborative effort between an inspired knitter/master crochet artist and a gifted and exacting knitter. My Number One Son is the lucky, lucky recipient but until he has the kilt to go with them I will be the careful custodian/guardian and I will probably always insist on remaining the one to launder them!

They are knit in Austermann Step Classic with ribbed rather than shaped construction and surprisingly (to me) the same number of stitches on the cuff as down the leg!

Look at all those little cable crosses!

 Have a great weekend! Thanks for dropping by!



Not Neglected

Recently posts here have been about the knits that insinuated themselves into time and places planned for another project.

Don't imagine though that these dalliances have diminished my interest in the current "Woolly Wool" project in my basket which, despite the interruptions, has made considerable progress towards completion.

It's the EZ square baby shawl I began swatching for back in July.

It's knit in the lovely lavender yarn Lyn sent from Australia about which I have been pondering and imagining all kinds of wonderful FO's ever since it arrived in the mail from the other side of the world.

As I wondered "aloud" in a recent post about adding a lace detail to the shawl Lyn herself suggested something "simple". I took that to heart and added this wee little flourish.

It reminds me of a tiny flower in bud just about to open.

I love how it compliments the soft colour of the yarn and imagine a sweet plump baby sleeping peacefully beneath it.

I've struggled a bit with the math of maintaining equal unadorned borders between the increases and the rather wide pattern repeat so I'm kind of winging it but loving it just the same.

Elizabeth in her Almanac famously touts the benefits of a shawl on a circular needle as ideal travel knitting and as ever, she's right. A simple shawl works well whether knitting while taking in new sights and sounds or filling the often long periods of waiting that travel today entails.  Of course that also makes it great car and TV knitting too!

So perfect a mindless knit is it that despite occasional neglect the shawl is rapidly growing so that I'm thinking I need to sort out how to treat the cast off edge. (At 600 or so stitches per round its probably hovering near the half way mark)

So I knit around and around and around...with ideas floating around and around and around...ahhh woolly wool!

Thanks for dropping by!