Regularly scheduled programming has been interrupted.

Last week Hudson committed what the vet calls a "Dietary Indiscretion". Don't worry I will not put too fine a point on it, nor would I likely raise it here at all except that it has gotten in the way of knitting activities.

In particular the ensuing mayhem distracted me to the point I missed the application deadline for the Work of our Hands Fashion Show.

And the persistence of the "condition"  now means I can't even attend tonight to watch the show as a spectator as the dog cannot be left alone and everyone else will be out or away on what we like to think of here as their "paying gigs".

All hands were on deck over the long weekend though which meant I was able to make good progress on winding the re purposed Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran.

In its recently freed-from-another-sweater state it's less lofty than the fresh remnant ball with which I swatched so I'm going to make another with the used yarn and check out the difference.

And the winner of the "what shall I cast on this weekend" lottery was the Orkney Angora Mitten project...

It has not disappointed one bit. Colours, yarns, pattern - all fantastic on their own and together!

Except for the headache of moving between dpn's, two-handed, stranded geometric colour work is blissful knitting indeed.

Blissful too is now having a medicated pooch resting comfortably, hopefully back to normal by next weekend and the ability to put a post together without a nasty interruption. To "celebrate"  I might even treat myself to taking a lunch hour and dedicating it to knitting! I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, thanks for dropping by!


Tomten Jacket (#3) by Elizabeth Zimmerman FO

Pattern: Tomten by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Source: Knitting Without Tears
Yarn: 2.5 balls Rown Pure Life British Sheep Breeds Chunky
Colour: Steele Grey Suffolk
Source: Romni Wools Toronto
Needles: 7mm
Modifications: Button Bands Added Prior to Completion of Hood

The recipient of this little knit was born Friday so no wonder when I sat down to embellish it just for her yesterday morning I had Valentine's on my mind.  Details on that below but first, a bit of gushing about this pattern.

This is my third run at this for an infant gift and it once again has my mind racing to work up a bigger, me-sized version. Selfish, selfish knitter!

The modular formula is so fun to play with - especially in chunky-sized yarn - boy is this one going to be warm! This time I left the hood stitches on a holder while I knit on two wide, 4 ridge garter button bands (one with two button holes) from the hem to the hood edge.

Then I continued the knitting across the hood over top of the ends of those additional ridges before seaming it up to create a bit of detail just over the forehead. No reason really, just felt like it.

The buttons are mother of pearl and big-for-a-baby-knit but I think it matches the gauge of the knitting nicely while the shine of the buttons offsets the mat, woolly warmth of the undyed yarn. They would have worked for a boy or a girl but I'm very pleased with the girly impression given by the soft rose embroidery wool bisecting them.

Taken together, yarns and buttons, natural and un-messed-about-with, do just what I want in a baby gift - give the new parents something that shows off their miraculous creation without competing with it (not that mere knitting ever could but you know what I mean).

This little girl is a first born so she'll likely spend more time being held than anything else.
My hope is they's use this as a little cocoon around the house rather than a jacket for going out. Imagine a wee thing swaddled in flannel, wrapped up warmly in chunky wool with her head all cozy in the hood. (The sleeves can just hang ornamentally at the sides!)

And then there are the Valentine's "features". First off, softest blush "hugs" and a "kiss" across the brim of the accompanying hat...

...A little pink heart just where the hood shaping begins behind the head...

And another inside the jacket on the reverse of that point, this one embellished with a little "j" (new baby's first and second initials).

Finally a card  I made tucked into the hat and hood...

I've pinned the whole thing into this arrangement so it looks like this when they open it (I hope!)

I'm going to miss this little one when she heads off in the mail tomorrow morning!

P.S. 'Had to create this post 4 times today - something was up with Blogger so apologies if you get various versions a bunch of times on your feeds!


Meanwhile On Other Knitting Fronts

Bottle Green's Renovation is finished, ready for Darling Daughter to help me take photos this weekend.

The repurposed yarn project continues to crawl along with winding the washed and dried skeins into balls and working out the math for a yoke pullover.

The baby for whom recent infant-knits have been produced will be entering the world via C-section today. (Yup 'being born on Friday the 13th!). I'll affix buttons as soon as I learn the gender, take finished pictures and wrap it up this afternoon.

In other words I've nothing to actually knit over the weekend.  With the windchill factored in, the forecast is for temps in the -25 to -30 Celsius range. It would just be wrong not to knit by the fire (or in a sunbeam if we're lucky enough to have any of those) in that kind of weather. I've got to cast on for something and I happen to have a couple of delicious new projects waiting in the queue!

Both are in the intriguing new (to me) yarns I received for Christmas. When the non-knitters I know give me yarn I want to use it quickly to show them I like and value it. 'Not sure they understand They the notion of something "marinating in the stash" awaiting just the perfect project.

So I've been puzzling about how to use them for weeks now and think I've arrived at a couple of good solutions.

I've decided I'm going to combine the Orkney Angora Number One Son bought at Loop of London with some Rowan Baby Merino Silk dk in this beautiful, soft colourway called "Dawn". I'll knit them up in these mittens from DROPS designs.

Soft colours for soft yarns - I think they just go together so nicely.

The second project, one that's been stumping me for months since Darling Daughter brought some Shetland wool home for me from Edinburgh, There's too much yarn for one pair of mittens or a hat, not enough colours for a full on colourwork piece - especially with no contrast colours...hmmm.

 Finally I decided to drop one of the three colours from consideration.

I'm going to keep this beautiful yellow that has wee hits of grey, bright yellow, orange, blue and green and maybe even some lavender in there for something on its own or paired with one of the colours from within the yarn.

Then I'll combine the brown and khaki green in a shawl - specifically the Travelling Shawl by Veronik Avery (Knitting 24/7).  The plan is to use the brown as the central colour and the green in the garter stitch edging.

Only question left is what to cast on first. What a wonderful problem to have heading into a frigid Toronto weekend in February!


Hawser by Jared Flood FO

Pattern: Hawser by Jared Flood
Source: Brooklyn Tweed - BT Fall 14 Look Book
Yarn: 7 balls Diamond Galway Heather
Colour: 1940 Red 
Needles: 4.5, 5, 6mm
Modifications: None

'Very little to say about this one...

'Waited for the Fall '14 BT Look Book to launch - I just knew there'd be the pullover pattern in it I'd want to knit and sure enough there it was, right on the front cover!

A week later, in Romni I got the last 9 balls of the yarn I wanted in my preferred colour way - very close to the one pictured in the pattern - a crimson red with a blue undertone just a bit more red/less pink than it appears here - on my monitor at least.

After fiddling around with various tubular cast on techniques The knitting was straightforward and pleasant.  just as promised in the pattern description a novel approach to working these big 14 stitch cables keeps them from being too bulbous or the fabric too stiff. Then check out how the cables came together at the shoulders!

After blocking to the pattern measurements I realized I didn't need quite so much length so I re-blocked to a length almost 3" shorter. The sweater worked up in just over 6 balls of yarn so if I'd been more careful with calculating length I could have knit it shorter to begin with and never had to start that 7th ball. Something to remember going forward.

So no struggle to find either yarn or pattern. no trouble with gauge, knitting or assembly then post blocking no disappointment as it fits just as I'd hoped.

Is it possible I knit a sweater with no drama?

I've been thinking about submitting something for the upcoming TKG Work of Our Hands Fashion Show and didn't really consider this because it doesn't have a story to tell but its just now occurring to me as I type this - that is the story! It was actually easy, without obstacles and turned out as planned!

It feels like some kind of knitting miracle - that's kind of story in itself! (For me anyway, I've still got a bit of time to think about it - the deadline for submissions is Friday.)


Baker Street Hat by Courtney Kelly FO

Pattern: Baker Street by Courtney Kelly
Source: Free Ravelry Download
Yarn: 1 Ball Rowan Kid Classic
Colour: Peat
Source: Romni Wools Toronto
Needles: 4.5, 5mm
Start: February 1 Finish: February 4, 2015
Modifications: Knit Ribbed Band 2.25"

Making post Christmas returns to a clothing store in late December I saw a picture of a model styled in an outfit that featured a hat like this in a coat like one I've worn for many years.

So during my colour-search shopping trip at Romni last month I picked up three balls of this gorgeous aran yarn with a plan to find a pattern to match it then wear it with, and so update, my old coat.

At first the yarn looks black, then closer up, dark, rich brown and then in differing levels of light it reveals a surprising array of other colours like red (which you can see in the photo above) and purple (seen below)!

I also like the lovely soft halo.

I expected to use at least two balls to get a proper slouchy hat but this knit up in well under one ball.

Its a great hat - warm but light! It somehow stays put without feeling like you're wearing much of anything and it makes no impression on even freshly washed and dried hair. Then when you take it off it slips easily into a pocket or purse, folding up into the smallest little square.

Its trendy but not to a degree that would make it look silly on someone of my "advancing years". Darling Daughter suggested I make the ribbed band more substantial so I added an inch to it.

It gives a bit more length for pulling it down over my ears when necessary (This kind of move could well eradicate the trendiness factor but form must follow function when the windchill is -25 as it so often is these days.)

As an added bonus its reversible and I would think, is also, a unisex design. (Is that still a term people use - "unisex"?)

Thank you Ms. Kelly for free access to a great pattern. Thank you for dropping by today!


Reno's Always Take Longer Than You Think

I know this to be true of home reno's and now, also about renovating knits.

I thought Bottle Green would take no more than a couple of hours. Instead, with more than a couple into it over the weekend the seaming has only just begun while the new and improved collar is still very much in progress. Apparently taking care takes time.

'Case in point with the collar facing done and ready to sew down , 'seems I prefer the yarn in the ball above over the yarn already knit into the collar.

Bottle Green had so many knots standing in the way of it's dismantling though, I thought a seamless (hence knotless) top-down piece would take no more than an hour to dismantle. 'Didn't take into account shaping maneuvers throughout the yoke/shoulder sections where "north/south" knitting of the body interlocks (and I do mean locks) with east/west kitting of the sleeves.
That left me with an unravelled body stretched between and "one" with the unable-to-be-unravelled sleeves until the connection between the two was disengaged. Still not sure how that worked but it did both hold the sweater together and release the yarn from it.

So that yarn only made it into skeins after dinner last night and only with the invaluable help of my custom made skeining "machine" (The thing really works!) and that was only after working on it all day Sunday and several hours Saturday.

'Good chance these dripping-dry skeins won't be dry before tomorrow...

Bottom line though I'm happy with the results even if they're slow to come. Thanks for dropping by!


I Feel A Yoke Coming On

Renovating Bottle Green had me casting about with a fresh eye on under-loved knits lurking in the shadows around here.

But when I noted the sweater quantities of yarn in the house were already knit up into sweaters I forgot tweeking and started hunting something to totally frog.

This piece saw a lot of wear  a few years ago despite the fact I was always bothered by the wavy front edges.
 And the too-wide neckline after the garter stretched out...

Eventually I stabilized the wavy edge by adding a contrasting line of crochet/matching button loops and attached matching grey buttons to make the whole look more neutral.

 An inverted dart at the centre back took up some of the slack and improved the fit.

So I wore it a few more times after that but I think I'm done with it now.

Yet I still I love the yarn and I've a couple of unused balls I can swatch up before I'd have to rip. As for what I've in mind to swatch for, I've been feeling a yoke coming on for a while. It started when I saw "Trillium" by Michelle Wang, based on EZ's seamless yoke formula from Knitting Without Tears.

"Gable" by Hannah Fettig - a seamless yoke pullover also caught my eye.

My yarn is Aran weight - heavier than what's used in either of those designs but I could start by seeing what a swatch of it has to "say" knit up in stockinette at a loose-ish gauge while aiming, with EZ's guidance, to work up my own idea.

The Baker Street hat is blocking and I couldn't be more pleased with how that turned out so I'm feeling smug or to put a finer point on it, ready for a proper project to smack me back into my place.


My recent trip down the (knitting) Rabbit Hole or what I was doing while I wasn't blogging last week.

Early last week, memories of the Eaton Centre Pingouin Store came flooding back, fuelled by the comments of local knitters who also frequented the place in the 80's.

It got me wondering how many of the knitters I know today were in that shop all those years ago when I was in there too... Maybe I once chatted with Lorraine...bumped into Sandra... noted how cute Lisa was tagging along with her mom Cheri to the yarn store as they chose some fabulous turquoise yarn with faux-silk slubs?

Its entirely possible my then brunette self saw Trish choosing yarn and wished back then as I do now for a statuesque figure on which to show off my hand knits!

That all got me thinking of my earliest days knitting when I struggled to sort out or even recognize dropped stitches. When I'd just change direction mid row or forgot to purl on wrong side rows. That was then the reality of my knitting but in my mind I was greedily optimistic in a rich, vicarious knitting "life" where I effortlessly (and without errors or even looking at my needles) cranked out one fantastic, perfectly fitting piece after another...those Pingouin images brought it all back like it was yesterday.

All that remembering prompted a re dedication of what should have been blogging time to instead digging up photos of the FO's I did manage to knit back then. Then, in an effort to reconnect physically with those Acrylic-filled evenings and weekends, I began madly dismantling my Bottle Green Pullover from those first days with my needles. (The two pairs that I owned at the time!)

By mid week that exercise had spun off into a frenzy of filing, purging patterns and remnants, sorting needles, receipts and taking pictures/cross referencing knitting notebooks, paper files and Ravelry pages. Hence a walk down memory lane joins up with today prompting thoughts of another Rabbit Hole adventure entering pre-blogging-knits onto my Ravelry project page.

(The infant hat exercise also underway last week had me wishing I could easily reference the details related to some of those long ago gifted baby pieces.)

Of course digging stuff up and filing is a far cry from entering 20+ projects onto Ravelry but I am seriously considering taking that plunge, especially since I've no big knitting targets at the moment. I haven't an idea for a sweater or a long-neglected one needing completion.

I'm down to the final crown decreases for the hat I cast on Sunday night and the only "place" there's a sweater's worth of yarn in this house is in previously knit sweaters.

Fond memories, intriguing possibilities and a wide open knitting horizon! (My Knitting) Nature abhors a vacuum. This can't last for long and you can be sure I'll keep you posted!


Baby Hats Project FO

Four options from which I'll be able to choose to include with Tomten for a big or tiny newborn, a boy or a girl due in three weeks or so...

2 "Troll" Hats by Gabriela Widmer-Hanke
Source: Free Ravelry Download
Yarn: (Biggest Hat)Worsted size: Berroco Ultra Alpaca "Winter White"
        DK size (Second Largest Hat): Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino "Denim"
Size: "Baby" on 60 stitches
Modifications: None
'Love the neat, graphic decreases all slanting one way and the thick-looking garter stitch band across the forehead. It infers a watchman's cap roll without having to organize one on the baby and handily echoes the garter stitch of the Tomten. 'Bet this one goes onto a little head easily and stays put once its there!

After working up these modern caps I moved on to Vintage patterns beginning with one for a little girl...
Infant Girl's Bonnet
Source: Vintage Baby Book "Beehive for Bairns"
Yarn: Viola Sock "Blossom"
Needles: 2.25
Modifications: Affixed ties to alternate point and only sewed 1/4 of neck edge closed.

Another garter stitch piece, I followed the knitting instructions for this exactly but then moved the spot where the ties that go under the chin are affixed substituting blush satin ribbons for the knitted band with button closure.

I love the little detail on the sides of the bonnet where the chin strap is intended to go (That little band edged with eyelet yarn overs) and how about those adorable swirling eyelets around the back of the head!
I worked it up right on the recommended 8st/inch gauge but 50 years ago when these patterns were written people (and their babies) were a lot smaller. I don't think this will likely to fit an average newborn today.

Nonetheless I finished it and dove into another garter stitch vintage pattern. this time for a boy...

Infant Boy's Helmet-Style Bonnet
Source: Vintage Patons Baby Book
Yarn: Koigu KPM Sock "Cloudy Sky Blue"
Needles: 4mm
Modifications: Tacked sides back, substituted ribbons for knitted ties and buttons for ribbon trims

The pattern states this Layette is knitted on "big needles" and after the 2.25's of Little Blossom Hat, that's just how 4mm  dpns seemed. Despite the bigger needles on the same sized superwash wool sock yarn this one, on 10 more stitches than required for Blossom didn't yield a piece all that much bigger.

The zigs and zags in garter bring the finished piece "in" quite a bit I guess,

I felt the "zags" protruding either side of the ears onto the cheeks were a bit excessive so I tacked them back with a button detail when adding ribbons for tying under the chin.

I've wondered for years about this question of relative size for Vintage patterns and what the effect of using different yarns for newborns versus babies might yield with baby patterns in general. This little exercise has given me some idea about that and has me looking at my remnants with a newly enlightened eye.

And a new desire to cast on a hat for myself which is just what I did during the Super Bowl last night. Its a slouchy toque but in Aran weight yarn at a much larger gauge, its on roughly the same number of stitches as the two vintage bonnets which is kind of interesting.

Oh and by the way, I saw the expectant parents over the weekend and gave them "Gus in his Dog House". They were tickled by the likeness to their "first baby" as they call him. Pregnant mom noted I've given her gifts related to the dog in the past that she cherishes and so was very pleased to receive this as a nod to both dog and soon-to-be-arriving daughter or son.

Lots of finishing over the weekend=lots of fun over the weekend. 'Hope you had a good one too!