Copy Cat!

I've been trying, since Saturday to download "Elmont" from the Brooklyn Tweed web site. They've responded to my emails with a temporary password that should get me in but so far, no luck.

Meanwhile I've got a washed, blocked swatch with a lovely, light fabric bang on the yarn's recommended gauge of 26st/4" and an almost manic desire to cast on already!

I've also got a rising sense of panic as Cottage Opening approaches yet I've no project to enjoy during the multiple hour drive there and back, an evening by the fire and a Sunday morning pot of coffee lakeside.

Sooooo what's a knitter to do? Be a "Copy Cat"! (Remember, in grade 2 or so, when being accused of copying was among the worst of possible accusations? Funny how, once grown up, doing just that morphs in the "uber" positive label of "being on-trend"!)

But I digress...

Yesterday, during subway rides downtown and back - knitting in my head if not my hands - I hatched Plan "B" wherein I embrace Copy Catting for all I'm worth...

After a virtual visit at Steven Self's blog this morning revisiting his 2x4's I've dug out remnant sock yarn from these...
in preparation for casting on what I will refer to as "Self Socks". After noting down the details Steven so kindly and clearly includes in his post I plan to shamelessly copy them - right down to the Eye of Partridge heel I've been meaning to use for years. They will serve as an insurance project in case my second copied idea flounders (don't want to waver on my year of project monogamy!) and may well stay at the cottage in the unlikely event I arrive there some time without knitting or finish something ahead of schedule while I'm there.

As for "Elmont" - I'm going to copy the ideas therein but work it without benefit of having the pattern. Its very similar to what I've just finished with the repurposed yarn and will give me a chance to work EZ's bottom up raglan decreases just now on the heels of working her yoke neck instructions.

I've used the eyelet detail before on this cowl...
And I'll work it again here in remnant cream yarn from my late mother's stash. This blanket...


...didn't come close to using it up. The creamy white will be of minimal contrast, like the version pictured in the pattern which, after looking at the other projects on Ravelry, is most appealing to me.

Kind of like this fellow...

Most appealing! Now I'm off to get this guy walked with a happy and now relaxed knitter's head atop my Copy Catter's body! Thanks for dropping by!


Job Done!

Re-blocking worked!

'Sprayed that whole bottle of water into the sweater without ever lifting it off the board. Spritzing with my right while squishing the fabric with the finger tips on my left. As the yarn absorbed the water I could feel it beef up, take charge and return a sense of resiliency to the the knitted fabric.

I then left it, rumpled just as it was for half an hour to allow the wool to really have its way. Then I gingerly kneaded it out, again without lifting it from the board and still using only the tips of my fingers to move it towards the pins that marked the margins I wanted to achieve and maintain.

Around the yoke I left the reintroduced puckers amid the decrease rounds as it dried thinking I'll see what pulling it on does to the fit. If its tight-ish as it was right off the needles the puckers will be pulled back out. If not they can always be touched up with a bit of steam without "disturbing" the rest of piece.

I learnt a big lesson through this process about using and blocking blended yarns. While the power of wool is not to be underestimated, neither should the value of careful handling post assembly. I feel like I've gained a better sense of the opportunities (and hazards!) of even the most careful of blocking efforts!

Darling Daughter (chief FO photographer) drove to Chicago for the weekend. (Hudson oversees all departures from the front window.)

So an FO shoot to capture the power of water and wool was out of the question Saturday or Sunday and since the ice went out on the 21st up at the lake we'll be heading there this weekend. Hopefully the longer days we're now enjoying will allow for taking a modelled "snap" or two one evening this week. I can't wait to post this finished product! 



After standing in the sunny but cool line with many dozens  of other knitters waiting for the doors to open I was able to get in a quick tour of the show before it got crowded.

I was shocked, along with a lot of others, to see Emily of VIOLA yarns standing at the Purple Purl booth.  After her own beautiful booth was literally swamped by seriously crazed women at the Frolic a couple of years ago she and her wonderful hand dyed creations moved to England and all but disappeared from our local scene. So it was great to see and handle her lace weight and fingering and even be able to chat a bit and share how much I've appreciated her "dirty pink" colourway "Blossom" (that I got as part of that riot of colour crazed women - see above.).

As I was telling her of my appreciation for how this colourway "does" pink but in such a cool, contemporary way she remembered the colour and said she too loved that kind of pink. Maybe she'll offer more in that vein in coming months! Fingers crossed!

Next it was time to actually make some purchases.

I spent some time drooling over giant cakes of  Briggs and Little Country Roving. I think I'll need to work with that someday soon - not sure if that's because of the yarn, because as a proud Canadian Knitter I probably should work up a Cowichan sweater at some point in my knitting career 'and that's the yarn to do it with, the fabulous red colourway or because the cakes are so amazing looking. ('Can't believe there isn't a good image of them on line!

I spent quite a bit of time hemming and hawing in front of the Peace Fleece yarns contemplating various tweed options for a casual pullover until one kind woman asked how many skeins I needed and pointed out none of the options had sufficient for my requirements. Man its always the details that get you!

So in the end I only came away with one sweater's quantity of yarn - Debbie Bliss Donegal Fine made in Ireland. I picked up four balls at half price from the Purple Purl booth.

I was drawn to the thick and thin texture as well as the tweedy bits in blue and white.

I bought it with a "Clayton" cardigan by Julie Hoover in mind, but since coming home, cruising through my Favourites and starting to swatch I'm thinking it might instead become a Julie Hoover "Elmont".

I'm having trouble signing into the new and "improved" BT website so I won't be able to decide for sure until I can get in there and buy a pattern or two.

It was a fun morning, a bit of visiting, a bit of shopping and little bit of yarn to bring home at the end of it. Many thanks to all the TKG volunteers that make this event possible every spring!

And thank you for dropping by!


Stupid. Me.

Seamless Yoke grew significantly after blocking. Without schematic measurements to aim for, I focused on getting a bit of extra width when pinning it out as well as easing the yoke out sideways to eradicate a bit of puckering around the decreases rounds.

I realize now I was thinking "wool", without giving the other fibres in this yarn their due, and so taking that extra width (I wanted two inches) would naturally bring the length up.

I dismissed the potential affect of the 10% silk and 5% cashmere in this yarn, neither of which, of course, favour full wet blocking.

Sooo now I've got a top, that aside from having a lovely neckline,  has effectively lost all style and shape.

Its hammered home what a magical, forgiving fibre wool is. I just hope at 85% of this garment it has the power to pull and hold those other fibers back in line once I put them where I want them to be!

Having read and re-read my go-to quick blocking resource on Knitty here and plan to start with a light spritzing, followed by steam, a cup of coffee and patience. ("Coffee" isn't in the Knitty article but it'll help with the "patience".)

If steam isn't enough I'll work the spray bottle some more. I'll put a small fan on it to speed up drying so I can see if what I'm doing in working before coffee-fueled patience has to give over to the wine fueled variety.

Full immersion will be my last resort. Wish me luck!


The Knitting World is My Oyster

The seamless yoke is drying on the blocking board.

I haven't a WIP - even a long languishing one tucked anywhere.

Save yarn for a couple of pairs of socks there isn't a project's worth of yarn in this house.

I've a couple of things in the queue but nothing super compelling and I don't have an idea or a need or a long loved pattern for which I must source appropriate yarn.

I got zip, nada, an "echo" in the project basket.

I do have the Toronto Knitter's Guild Frolic coming up this Saturday.

I've a printed copy of the vendor's list/floor plan and a mind to strategically plan my "attack"

'Just need "targets" to 'better understand what I'm hunting for.

Off to Ravelry with my tea I go!


"Fast and Brutally"

Okay, fit and sleeve length is fine. 

According to EZ's instructions its time to decrease "...fast and brutally..."
 Who else uses words like that in a knitting pattern?
I just love that!

'I also love it that you dropped by today. Have a great weekend!



Uniting body and sleeves on one long needle...
 'Takes more tools than you think!
'Couldn't believe how many times I had to reach down into my basket for gadgets to get this done.
After running back upstairs to retrieve my glasses.

(I've only had glasses for about 4 years now - 'Hope I'll get used to it soon!)

Anyway 'looking forward to more long stockinette rounds on the horizon then the decrease rounds that finishing a bottom up seamless yoke sweater like this feel like running downhill.

Thanks for dropping by today!


Sleeve Length

I'm only just becoming aware how sleeve length can impact a sweater's proportion.

Recent successes have taught me how narrow, straight sleeves balance generous positive ease through the body but I never considered how their length came into play. Until now.

As I prepare to join sleeves and body for my EZ seamless yoke, again using a narrow sleeve shape I'm concerned with how long they should be.

The body is boxy with a wee, wee bit of positive ease across the bust. Its planned to hit at my hip bones with the overall impression being casual and a bit boyish.

...I'm feeling like sleeves and sweater being the same length might be a bit too boyish.

...3/4 sleeves,  ending just where the waist will not be evident, I think might be a bit too boxy.

...My intention to wear this sweater in spring and early fall makes a full length sleeve outside what I'm going for and might also make the sweater, in comparison, feel as though its verging on being cropped - a look I think is too young and trendy for me at the moment.

So I'm leaning towards a bracelet length that will hit my wrist bone.

I should finish this last sleeve tonight over the course of my trip down to hear Fiona Ellis speak at the Toronto Knitter's Guild. So by tomorrow I'll be done worrying about sleeve length and on to wondering about the collar!


At Last!

Early on in the year I happened on a test knit going on for a casual pullover pattern and right away wanted to knit it up.

I thought Daelyn would be perfect for my repurposed yarn. When that yarn and I were ready to go, unfortunately, Daelyn was not. Hence the EZ seamless yoke is on my needles now.

Just yesterday though I saw among the top ten patterns on Ravelry that it had finally been released. In almost the same moment I also realized I don't want it in wooly wool, as I did in the middle of the winter's cold weather, I want it in a cotton blend so I can wear it like a sweatshirt-type of piece rather than a sweater.

I just love how the garter stitch back continues down past the point of the underarms and curls around the front until neatly joining into the bottom band of ribbing. Very clever and all the test knitters just raved about it.

So now I finally know what I'll be (primarily) on the hunt for at the Toronto Knitter's Guild Frolic April 25th.

And speaking of the TKG, Fiona Ellis is speaking tomorrow night at the meeting. I'm going to go and finally see the newly renovated Innis Hall and check out what seems like a whole new breath of fresh air stirring through the Guild.

I only recognize a couple of the names on the newly acclaimed Executive. It seems bursting with new people and no doubt with them will come fresh energy and ideas too. Many thanks to those who put their names forward!

Now I'm off to the garden centre - I "feel" some Pansies coming on...at last!


And so spring really begins...

Washing windows and screens...
My Beloved's a cleaning machine. Everything for 20 feet around gets soaked but boy it all sparkles when he's done!

There's stuff ready to harvest in the garden too!
 After a long winter snipping chives for Sunday's dinner made me feel positively agrarian!

Until I started thinking about Saturday, when we made our spring time trip to My Beloved's home town smack dab in the middle of some of the most beautiful farm country in Ontario.

Up there its expected that whether you're an actual farm family or not you'll grow/freeze/preserve sufficient to prepare/serve your family 3 squares a day. You will probably  "own" if not "keep" a steer and maybe even a hog. You'll raise chickens for meat and still others for eggs. You'll also "put away" jam, relish, pickles, seasonal fruits, berries and vegetables.

The Garden isn't a hobby of Mom's (as mine is).
Its a collective effort the whole family makes towards actually feeding themselves.

And here I am feeling "fancy" snipping chives...

Nonetheless I can continue to buy direct from local Ontario farmers as often as I can while
trying to work in my own little plot as well!
I've already started! 'Even "posting" a "Guard Turtle" to protect the emerging spinach plants. He ought to keep that rabbit away right?

"Positively Agrarian". Ha!



I'm a big fan of men. (I particularly "like" the one I live with who told me the other day he enjoys coming home and seeing fresh flowers in the front hall as he walks into the house. 

Men are a bit like hen's teeth in the knitting world but their contribution "by weight" ;) is vast. So today, a little nod to the men who enrich my knitting life...

Asplund (Sweden)

This guy's knitting is high art. He doesn't pick up a needle without creating something remarkable. I've tried to adopt his approach of playing around with a pattern until each element is just as you want it to be. 

In his most recent pullover he followed a pattern for a stockinette sweater but finished it with the inside out. Such a manipulation would never occur to me. 

If you stop by here with any regularity you know I'm having a "thing" with BT patterns. Interesting to knit, always on trend and they're graded so as to give me a reliable fit. Knitting Gold! As of yet I haven't tried his yarns but as we finally have a source for them here in Canada I'm hoping that will change soon.

Patrick Madden (Toronto)

An integral part of the downtown Toronto knitting community and driving force in the Toronto Knitter's Guild, the course on finishing I took with him a few years ago bumped the quality of my finished product up a whole bunch of notches. It also gave me newfound respect for the virtues of the knitted fabric that comes off my needles, the importance of treating it accordingly and the opportunities that lie within doing so.

Beyond that I still swoon thinking of a chunky, marled, zipped jacket he knit himself and wore in the DKC fashion show. It made me want to stop knitting for myself and just focus on pieces for My Beloved. (If you click on the link for this sweater and scroll down you'll see a shot of him in that very fashion show.)

(BTW he'll have a booth at this year's Yarn Frolic as he's recently started an on-line yarn business - Signature Yarns.)

When I found Steven's Ravelry page I was thrilled to see a blog went with it because I wanted to know more about his projects. The things he knits himself look stylish and interesting to knit yet they look like reasonable men's wear without seeming tedious to knit up.

I've found he sees potential in patterns I've previously dismissed, interpreting and wearing them in a way that makes them fully compelling to me.

As a bonus he's always got an entertaining comment to leave when I post to my blog. Blogger gold that is!

Stephen West (Netherlands)

If there is one knitter I'm aware of that makes knitting look crazy fun its him! Right? This guy literally sets the bar on knitting outside the box while (usually) making very wearable pieces at the same time.

Benjamin Hole (England)

 A "new guy" to my "knitting world".  This interview with him gives a little peek into the process of starting a new line of wool yarn. I love how he "talks" about being surprised by the appreciation his product is receiving from the "yarnophile" community around the world.

His instagram feed makes me seriously think of signing up myself just to follow his bucolic pics of sheep and life on his farm.

In closing,  a little nod to another knitter's "Beloved". Last June the GTA knitting designer Lorraine Condotta spoke at the DKC and her husband was there as her tech support. He was utterly engaged with and involved in facilitating her presentation - the centrepiece of which was a power point presentation that brought the whole thing to life for everyone in the room.

Bottom line, when I think about it, my knitting life sure benefits from the men (few in number though they may be) within it. Thanks guys!

Have a great weekend everybody!


Ahhhhhhh Stockinette!

Yup. Rounds and rounds and rounds of it, without having to look or think and out of it a wonderful, drapey-soft felty-flat fabric flowing shapelessly out of a broken rib band just exactly as I hoped it would.

As it grows I get to ruminate on what this fabric might be suggesting about neckline and shoulder style.

The last 4 sweaters I've worked have have been in finer yarn than this. 3 of them had 10+ inches of positive ease. All required shaping, tracking charts or both.

This little thing though, in light aran weight on 6 mm needles will have only a wee bit of positive ease (<1") on 142 stitches.

The thing grows appreciably between commercial breaks and sitting down for a single cup of tea or coffee easily yields an inch of added length by the time I take my last, still hot, sip!

Its also lovely working on something that isn't wooly wool but still carries a hint of warmth about it as our cool spring weather persists.

It feels like there's time to finish and wear it before any full-on heat arrives - 'talk about motivation!

Yup. Rounds and rounds and rounds of satisfying, soul-soothing, productivity out of stolen moments and down time.

Do you ever feel sad for people who don't knit?
 I do!


Slimming Down for Spring



About 7 hours total time invested and eating treats throughout the process too!
 Oh that it were so easy for  us "lowly" humans!


Long Weekend Review

I had a very Good Friday making a box into a basket!

For Darling Daughter to fill with goodies for the new baby...

Then Saturday morning we loaded up and off we went for a wintery Easter weekend with the wee one's family..

Hudson's "cousin" Gus was waiting when we arrived...

A fresh snow fall meant the bikes had to stay inside...

But each afternoon we enjoyed a nice long walk down to the lake...

Which still has significant ice cover...

Dinner was delicious...

And the House was cozy...

Perfect for visiting!

...All the activity got some of the "party goers" tuckered right out!

'Hope you had a good weekend too.

Thanks for dropping by!


"Chocolate" Bunny FO by Jackie Erikson-Schweitzer

Pattern: "Knitted Bunny" by Jackie Erikson-Schweitzer
Source: Free Ravelry Download
Yarn: Remnant "Chocolate" Worsted
Needles: 4mm straight
Modifications: None

Just in time for Easter a one evening project (despite being "chocolate" its even zero calories!) to get this knitter in the mood despite our "little boy" being across the ocean and no reason for the Easter Bunny to visit our house! :(

This ingenious little pattern has you start by knitting a square. Using either the knit or purl side up you gather a section in the middle of one side and stuff it to make a head.

Then stitch the corners together so the section in the middle becomes the body and the sewn corners the legs for this wonderful crouching bunny shape.

The final touch is also an excuse to make a pom pom!

We're meeting the new baby today - the one for whom I knit the most recent Tomten (here). This little bunny is for her. We'll take it along tucked into this giant basket of goodies Darling Daughter assembled for her.

Hope you're having a great weekend too, whatever you're up to! Thanks for dropping by!