And Hence a Knit Blog!

Your kind words on my crazy coloured leggings have been so gratifying! You understand them! However unlikely you might be to knit a pair for your yourself or even wear a pair if they were given to you, you see them as a successful knit.

Whereas they mystify non knitters as witnessed by recent real life comments like...

"Don't they make you feel itchy?"...
"When/How will you wear them?"...
 "Where did you get the idea to make those?"

 And of course, that perennial non-knitter's favourite...
 "Wouldn't it be easier to just buy tights?

So your enthusiastic but more importantly understanding responses have been more than fun to receive!

By contrast "Devlan", (FO shots today, hoping to twist Darling Daughter's jet lagged arm to take modeled shots tonight), will likely be a knit that's universally "understood" among the non-knitting public I encounter.

Devlan is the kind of sweater that will prompt non knitters who know of my interest in knitting to smugly ask "did you knit that?".

Their recognition borne of their observations that it is a sweater in what they universally think of as "wool coloured". Its also probably not like anything they might have seen for sale anywhere - often another important "clue"!.

In my experience the likes of sweaters such as "Tinder" do not enjoy such wide recognition, but then nor do they toil under the glare of critical examination. They appear commercial, hence, understood, accepted, "normal".

There are times when blogging feels draining rather than energizing. Times too when events in the life of this knitter have made it just plain impossible - sometimes for weeks and months on end.

For me though, its always worth it in the end to get back to blogging, not because the comments are complimentary but rather because they come from people who "get it". Its become an important part of my knitting experience. From England to Australia, distant parts of the U.S and
Canadian knitters literally around the corner, the city, the province and the country I can't thank you all enough for your kind contributions to the Sel and Poivre comment box!

As ever, thank you so, so much for dropping by!


Ahhhh That's Better!

Camera back in my hands, daughter back in Canada, a coherent professional leader back in the Mayor's Seat in Toronto.

(Very) Darling Daughter brought her mother some yarn from Edinburgh...
Authentic Scottish. It smells divine and fills the void of aromatic yarn left by the final knitting up of the Shearer Yarn last week. What remains is too small to give a good woolly "sniff"! No matter, I have a remnant - not a sweater to rip out for lack of yarn to finish it. Whew!

The plan is to work up either Gloaming Mitts by Leila Raabe (I'm on quite a Brooklyn Tweed jag these days!) or Herdsman Mittens by Outi Kater. Currently the generous jet lagged shopper is weighing the options.

Devlan is almost dry...'thrilled with the fit of this one! Can't wait to have pictures to share!

The behemoth Double Knit Dog Mat is down to the final two skeins. I'll measure when I'm getting to the end of this one and decide whether to add in the last skein or not. 
Lots of fun and exciting things happening around here!


A Big Day

  • Darling Daughter returns from her "UK Vaykay"...She will have, with her, My Camera!!!
  • I'm currently soaking Devlan in preparation for blocking this morning...With the help of the yarn harvest from Shearer I squeeked it out!!
  • With Devlan/Shearer off the needles I'm putting a push on to finish Hudson's Double Knit Dog Mat and indulging in queuing up some Stuffed Dog Knitting Projects from this fantastic book I found at the Libary.

  • Having voted Number One Son's Proxy Vote during the advance polls, the rest of us will cast our municipal votes together tonight. 'Looking so forward to having the "Circus move out of town"!!!
A Big Day Indeed!


Rainbow Olympics "Nethergarments" by Elizabeth Zimmerman FO

Pattern: "Nethergarments" by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Source: Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Assorted Worsted Remnants
Needles: 4 mm
Start: February 8 Finish: September 22, 2014

Stripes! Colours! Remnants! All fun gauge-based knitting according to simple length/circumference measurements all through the Russian Olympics right up until I hit the shaping for the hips and waist. The striping stopped and the frequent exercise of taking the thing off the circular, putting it onto string, trying it on, taking measurements, doing calculations, putting it back on the circ...blah, blah blah, spring came and I got distracted...you know how that can happen right?

Anyway...during the fun Olympic bits 'meted out yarn quantities/colours so colour changes were balanced without matching.

'Used the brights to enhance the shape of the legs and the darks to minimize more expansive sections.

As ever, 'enjoyed EZ's "Pithy" directions and recalling the origin of each remnant as I knitted it in.

The few runs to work out something for the waist were aimed at getting a low rise to keep bulk to a minimum without sacrificing fit or comfort. I'm happy with what resulted via...

  • Two little "v"'s of extra stitches at the back for extra room where there's extra "me".
  • 12 short rows divided into 2 groups of 6 rows each separated by 4 rounds straight for extra rise at the back. (The downward swoop of the red illustrates the short rows pretty clearly below...

  • 2x2 ribbing started after that point draws in the shape to follow mine in a forgiving, comfortable way.
  • Finally decreased 1" each side then 2" at centre back nipping things in further before adding eyelets and binding off.
  • Eyelets accomplished via binding off the first stitch of each pair of purls in the ribbing on one round, replacing it with a YO on the next round.
  • Atop the eyelets 'used a contrast colour for one round straight before binding off.

I admit I could have fiddled with the fit/rise endlessly lower down on the butt/thigh sections adding decreases and spacing between them to eradicate the need for so much ribbing but EZ's have a wide band of ribbing and honestly, the slightly negative ease of the fit on these is fine so this is how they'll stay.

Prior to giving them their Eucalan bath and blocking I wore them for an hour or so with no issues related to itchiness. After the Eucalan they're softer still, totally comfortable and warm!

Did I also mention these were free? Right down to the drawstring, made entirely from leftovers.

Like I said, lots of fun! Can't wait to wear them!
Thanks for dropping by!


Thoughts of "The Harvest" Running Through My Mind

As I'm picking out the cuffs and collar of "Shearer" harvesting yarn enough to finish my "Devlan-made-of-remnants" two thoughts keep running through my head...

"Am I really doing this? 
Partially dismantling this knit, over which I slaved and that I finished less than a year ago?"


Isn't knitting just the best that it allows for adjusting and improving one garment while making it possible to complete another!

I'm also quite pleased with the results on the first cuff. I played with it a bit, decreasing to a single purl stitch between the K2's of the cables while leaving pairs of purls to separate them. I think the result is more elegant than the boxier original 2x2 ribbing.

Good thing too because I need something positive to focus on as I still don't know if I'm gaining enough yardage for Devlan and trying to knit with my fingers crossed messes up my gauge! ;)

Have a great weekend. Thanks for dropping by!


"Deco" Cardigan by Kate Davies FO

Source: Kate Davie's Website
Yarn: 6 balls Sadnes Garn Tove
Source: Romni Wools Toronto
Colour: Green
Needles: 2 mm, 2.5mm, 3mm circulars
Size: 44?!
Start: April 2013 Finish: August 2014
Modifications: Added 2" to length/Changed sleeves to cropped length

Can't believe this piece has been done for two months and I'm just now posting it! Absolutely everything about this project has taken longer than expected to complete.

As for the sweater itself (rather than the process of making it) I've gone on and on and on about its issues in past posts already so suffice to say now that...
  • "Tove" is beyond fabulous, 'really makes the sweater, so glad I fretted over choosing it.
  • As reported on Ravelry, the pattern knits small, so small that with gauge and a very severe blocking, all but the sleeves were knit twice - the 2nd time in a size 6" larger than I wanted.
In the end, I have a cropped, boxy, almost shrug like cardi rather than the standard fitting, neat cardigan I was originally "going for". Its still a wee bit narrow through the bust but I'm nonetheless happy with the result for a few reasons...
  • The colour! Very tricky to capture on film (hence the delay in getting FO shots that actually represent how the thing looks) but just as pictured in the pattern - fresh and modern, classic and a little bit vintage. Love it!
  • The buttons! Ditto the colour. Beyond that, I like their slightly over sized appearance. The balance between slightly big buttons and cropped cardi pleases me immensely.

  • The gros grain ribbon facings! I resisted the urge to get something with a multicoloured print and I'm so pleased with how the gros grain echoes the lines of the slipped stitch detail without "shouting" and drawing attention away from the yarn and knitting. The facings really make the sweater front hang beautifully too.
Love how the slipped stitches of the yoke work with and into the detail around the collar!

As for the knitting, the yarn made it wonderful right up to the point where I was doing the short rows at the shoulders the second time. At that point, nothing could make up for doing the short rows for the shoulders for the second time. GAHHHHH!

I chose the pattern for all the interesting knitterly details and I did learn from doing them (twice!).

Isn't it clever that she visually mimics ribbing around the bottom and cuffs using the slipped stitch motif of the yoke?! It gives that classic impression of ribbing while maintaining a nice boxy line and matching the rest of the sweater.

Finally, how refreshing to work up and wear a DK rather than worsted weight piece.

Going forward I'll have an eye out for patterns using DK yarn and I'll continue to check out Kate Davies patterns but only with a clear understanding that whatever it looks like on her site, her sizing and my "sizing" do not match! Lesson learned!

Thanks for dropping by!


Harvest Time (con't)

Things are going quite swimmingly on Devlan. Both saddles are complete as is the short row shaping on the shoulders. I'm confident about the fit too but as I approach the cuff of sleeve one, with sleeve two just underway and the neck edge awaiting ribbing, I'm woefully short on yarn.

So my harvesting eye has turned to the Shepherd and Shearer - specifically what you can see above - that too long, too wide cuff hanging out of the coat in this shot from last winter. I'm going to make time for re-working those sleeves now because I need the yarn I'll harvest from the effort!

I knew I was going to be close with Devlan - my calculations based on the weight of the yarn I had on hand told me I only had 50 yards extra but something was amiss there - I'm way short of that. Ah knitting, if it isn't one thing its another!

Speaking of which, fingers crossed and breath held for Stephen over at Knitting Sweaters Sitting Still. He's had an issue with a crochet reinforced steek on the most gorgeous stranded men's vest. Eeeek!

P.S. My "Turkey for Two" (deboned turkey breast around a classic bread stuffing rolled and tied for roasting) was the best turkey I've eaten in my adult life! Thick slices of moist white meat around a core of perfect dressing and it was steaming hot! (Unlike tepid 1/8" slices at a big family dinner relying on gravy to bring them up to luke warm!)


Harvest Time

'Not the harvest of squash or apples or thinking of Thanksgiving or turkey. I'm talking yarn.

Harvesting yarn I like from sweaters I'm done wearing.

Like this basic top down pattern of my own devising from four years ago.

The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed (Aran that looks and knits like worsted!) I adore the colour and the tweed bits keep it from feeling like the "electric blue" I wore in the 80's.
Last winter, feeling less than happy with the sweater, I updated and sorted its wavy front edges by adding a contrasting crocheted detail in grey and changing the buttons to match.
'Also addressed the gaping neckline by adding a little pleat to the back neck edge. Nonetheless I'm over the asymmetrical front and I'm especially done with the sleeves (originally my favourite part!)

Now I really want this yarn to instead be either Bray by Jared Flood or Trillium by Michelle Wang.

The second "harvest" might be 1200 meters of Bulky Alpaca won at a DKC meeting currently knit up as this...

 It's one of my knitting triumphs in many ways...lots of fiddling with drape and size, gauge and pattern mods to accommodate the weight and stretch of the heavy Alpaca worked in a Debbie Bliss pattern designed for wool.

I wore this sweater almost every day last winter. Its warmth is not to be underestimated. Once again, though, the sleeves are bugging me while the spectacular yarn continues to draw me in.  I've no specific plan for this stuff beyond a big, luxurious wrap - maybe using the darker grey as a stripe along one end. Maybe even maintaining the broken rib stitch of the current sweater.

Of course I'll do a pattern search as well - the idea to harvest this one is still in its infancy.

I'll contemplate these ideas a bit over the long weekend as I work on the sleeves for Devlan and Hudson's Double Knit Dog Mat and take in the autumn ambiance of the woods outside the cottage windows.

Its just My Beloved and I (and a "bit" of a Poodle!) for Thanksgiving weekend this year. Darling Daughter took to the skies last evening and I've received word she's safely arrived at her London destination. (My camera is with her. I feel like I'm missing a limb!)

I've sent her with a Proxy form for Number One Son to sign so his vote can still be counted in the upcoming mayoral election. He'll sign it today and she'll drop it in the mail to me in London this afternoon as she only arrives home on election day. In case her flight is delayed I had her complete and leave behind a Proxy form too.*

As for turkey this weekend, I picked up a turkey breast which I'll de-bone and pound into a paillard and roll it with stuffing rouladen-style. I'm done most of my closing-related chores at the cottage so other than cooking I have a fair amount of knitting time to look forward to while I day dream about ripping apart things I've already finished!?

Have a great weekend,. Thanks for dropping by!

*There is never a reason not to cast a ballot in the kind of democratic elections we are blessed to have and as far as I'm concerned there has never been a more important election in this city or one with more at stake. I want our kids to know voting matters and that its not just that its worthwhile, rather, like jury duty, its a responsibility of being an adult. I don't meddle in their lives or with their grown decisions but I believe it is a parent's responsibility to convey and model the importance of civic engagement, hence the Proxy frenzy!


Wandering Mind

As with my experience of this Shepherd and Shearer yarn last autumn, I'm finding this wool demanding attention. It draws my mind away from the knitting with its lingering aroma of lanolin, the stickiness of the fibers, the deep creaminess of the natural colour almost lit from within and the bits of hay and grass reminding my fingers of the place from which all this was borne...
   Its not unlike cooking with perfectly ripe, field grown tomatoes sourced from a local farm stand...
Spaghetti Sauce Prep 2014
Or the wonders of mixing flour, water, butter and leavening...
Buttermilk "Kiss" Biscuits
Rising biscuits, wintertime dinners from summertime harvests, natural stuff transformed so simply into practical and beautiful  things.

So too this wool reminds me, the sheep grazed and grew their fleece, the Shearer relieved them of their "burden". Cleaned and spun, I washed it to yield sweaters to keep us warm for years to come.
When I'm done with this lovely stuff, I'll miss its "nagging". This morning, as I'll roll the final skein into a ball I'll be a bit sad to see it "go" but by doing so, a wonderful new knit will get done and soon be ready to wear!
Good thing too - because everywhere I look are reminders that fall is well underway...
Winter can't be far behind and its going to be a lot more comfortable with this knit in my wardrobe!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Brenda had an autumn road trip yesterday to Camilla Valley Farms with a bunch of other knitters. Lucky Girl!

Cheryl seems to take one awesome trip with her husband after another these days giving great detailed accounts. The slot canyons of her most recent trip are just magical!

Lyn has undertaken another of her amazing adventures - this time to Europe - yarn shops, museums, the loveliest little towns, architecture. She could plan a trip for me anytime! I love the places she visits and the things she sees along the way. I also admire her determination to make what seems like a huge undertaking leaving Australia to go so, so far afield!

Its putting me in a mood for a "trip" too so I'm "visiting" yarn shops in London, Edinburgh and Dublin...on line!

Darling Daughter is off on vacation next week, visiting those three great cities (and her brother!) so I'm scheming about sending her on an errand or two for her "Mum"/"Maithair"/"Mither" depending on her location!

I also had a wee outing of my own yesterday to Romni Wools. My order of Briggs and Little "Super" was in and I need it to finish Hudson's Double Knitted Dog Mat.

The Briggs and Little was at the front of the store in a display celebrating Canadian Wool Week but I didn't stop there, also travelling to the Wall of Worsted, the Sock Section and what I think of as the 'British Bit" (Debbie Bliss and Rowan).

Heading "slightly" further afield than I did, My Beloved flew to our "left coast" yesterday morning. A car picked him up to take him to the airport just as Hudson and I were arriving home from our morning walk. Hudson naturally wanted to visit with the driver who was standing beside the car so I chatted with him for a couple of minutes before driver, car and Beloved were off.

On my way home to the north end from Romni, hours and hours later, winding my way through this city of millions of people and hundreds of thousands of vehicles, past traffic snarls and trying to avoid construction sites, schools letting out and the like I was sitting at a mid town red light, and who did I see in the car right beside me? That same driver!

He had no doubt spent the day driving - as had I, to some degree - what are the chances of us ending up side by side like that?

Ah the wonders of "Travel". I'm having a good dose of it via bloggers and daughters and drivers without even having to pack a bag!

Meanwhile I'm pretty quickly also "travelling" from hem edge to dividing for front and back on Devlan - with this yarn its a lovely trip indeed!

Thanks for dropping by!