Wednesday, February 29, 2012

we've all thought this, haven't we?

Happy Leap Year Day!

A friend of mine is turning "14" today. 8 more years, and we'll let him get a driver's license...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Channelling Kenny Rogers

Knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em...

Meet the demise of the the floral yoke sweater.

I tried to make it work. I sewed and cut the steeks, and tried it on, and even had myself almost convinced that it would work. But a sweater should fit, no matter how you place it. This one had to be tugged down over the shoulders, to make the flowers lie across the yoke. that brought the armholes down to around the vicinity of waist, but held my shoulders tight in a straitjacket-like position. And every time I moved, it slid upwards, creating a thoroughly unattractive look.
I should have spent more time before casting on, doing some math and really trying to work it out, but honestly, I think seeing what I did wrong is a better teacher than anything else. I may revisit this project one day - I have tons of wool leftover, and could easily do it again. I'm thinking of using the contiguous method of sleeve and shoulder construction, and keeping the floral yoke pattern in place.
We'll see.
In the meantime, I bought some patterns and have filled my Knit Picks cart with potential "make up yarn". I haven't yet hit the purchase button, but we all know that's just a matter of time...

R.I.P floral yoke...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Susan has been busy

Since Susan (aka LuckyCanuck) stopped blogging oh so long ago, she had no where to showcase her fabulous knits. That's where I come in. When she remembers to send me pictures of her knits, I always ask if I can post them, and she always says yes (hence the wedding shawl post a while back). This time around, she has sent me TWO projects she recently completed.

Some Mittens:

and a Hat:

The hat you may recognize - she and I bought the same Chullo pattern from Knit Picks, but used dramatically different colourways. (Mine was in greys and greens for my son, and hers are this wonderful warm combination of oranges, reds and purples. Her words:
"the colour choices really did the work. Something about that Lilac just made them pop. I'd absolutely revisit making another one. You're right, it was a fast knit once I got through those silly ear flaps. (I had to convince her that the ear flaps were a pain, but the rest of the hat just flies).Now if only it would get nice and cold so I could wear it". (The Greater Toronto Area has not been experiencing our normal winter - we've been noticeably warmer for months.)

The mittens - Well, I can't remember the name of them - They are from Interweave (the most recent one, I think) - Susan will chime in in the comments to name the pattern. She used Fleece Artist Sea Wool, fingering weight. Again, her words: "something that's been languishing in my stash for a few years, I think, and I didn't even use one skein. I cut off the colour name from the tag it appears. But it does look great with my kelly green coat. Now if only it would get cold enough to wear the coat, I'd be a lot happier!"

Susan is one of those that likes the cold weather so she can wear her multitudes of coats and accessories. Me I'm waiting for the really warm so I can get back to the flip flops...

Friday, February 17, 2012

another new project

This is a project I've had in mind for a while. Especially since we are having the whole extended family for Christmas this year, I'd like to showcase more of the hand crafted items I love so much.
I gathered up a selection of Briggs and Little wool (sadly, this is but a small slice of what I own...) and researched some patterns. Some were free, but the greatest resource was a Knit Picks one I bought.
I want to make stockings for myself, my husband and our son to hang from our mantel. Yes, it will look nice this year when the whole family is here, but it's also something that we will enjoy for years to come.
You can see the start of the first one - I'm doing Latvian braids at the top, then a plain section where I will duplicate stitch a name, and another braid to define the name area. Then I'm picking motifs as I go. I've completed a reindeer motif already, and I think the next one will be some gold bells on a blue background. I'm doing rounds of purl stitches between each motif, just to give some definition. Considering I got this much done in about 2 days, these shouldn't take as long as I was expecting them to. And with a long weekend starting tonight (Family Day in Ontario is Monday), this is great cottage knitting.

I'll update this project as I go - I don't expect it to be an exclusive knit - I will probably be putting it down and picking it up throught the year. The plan is also to knit some ornaments and such for the tree and elswhere in the house - eventually I'd like it to be almost completely hand knit. (It will never be exclusively that - we have too many keepsake memories that have to be there).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

barter sweater finished

I finished all the edging on the barter sweater. I did an attached i-cord all the way around, but in two sections. I started along the centre front, but not at the neckline - I started further down, where the v-neck begins. So I i-corded (i-corded??) down the front, along the bottom hem, and up the other front. Then I created a regular unattached i-cord for about 30cm, then attached it at the top of the already attached i-cord, and i-corded up one side of the v-neck, around the neck and down the other v-neck, finishing with another 30cm of loose i-cord, thereby creating two attached ties for the sweater front.
the i-cord is much more noticeable when it runs horizontally, rather than along the vertical stitches, but I like how it defines the corners.
It's a nice finish, especially since I'm not that fond of the look of ribbing.

I'm very happy with how this turned out, and it was a quick knit because, as Eagle-Eye Brenda noticed, the parts were all done on the machine. Sewing and i-cording took a few evenings, and now I'm just waiting for the newly married Bea to return from India so I can gift her with this. (and see the silk she's bringing me back!!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

still hoping it works out

So, yes. I do work on multiple projects at once! (the socks, the friend sweater, the blanket, and some others that are still hanging around...) I've decided to do one of the sleeves first, then I'm going to cut the steek. I was going to cut the steek first, but I wanted to see if the weight of the sleeve would have an effect on how the yoke lies.

I've also ordered some more cables and connectors (and possibly some yarn...) from Knit Picks for my interchangeable needles - I want to be able to pick up all around the front, the bottom and the neckline at once to see how the edging will work out.

I know it looks funny here, but I have high hopes for this sweater...

on another note - I am spending the day working at home in between basketball games. My son's school basketball team is playing in the Area Tournament today, and it's at a nearby school, so between shuttling kids from our school to that one, and coming home between games, I'm getting a bit of work done. I have a very understanding boss, obviously! If they finish 1st or 2nd in their pool today, they have the playoff round on Friday. Luckily, I always work at home Fridays, so that's a little easier. I've sent the kids off with these:
You can tell we're a basketball family, when the only icing colours I have stocked in the house are orange and black. I'm hoping it's motivation for a win! Or at least a sugar rush for later in the day...

Friday, February 10, 2012

the barter system is alive and well

I have a friend that is in India right now, getting married. It's a two month affair, and I've been getting some pictures here and there of all the festivities. (It's a great story - the met here in Canada, fell in love, and approached the parents back in India about the relationship. Turns out the families are familiar with each other, and it's an approved and highly regarded match.)
Anyway, Bea knows I am a fan of the fibre arts. She offered to bring me back lengths of silk in exchange for a cardigan sweater. It took me about 0.00004 seconds to agree to that!

The colours in this sweater are a little rustier-orangier than they show, and are all the colours she wears and loves, so I'm sure she'll be happy with it. I'm doing an applied I-cord edging all the way around, and will extend it out from the centre fronts to be used as ties. I've actually opened up the neckline more than what shows here - it was a little too close around the neck here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

too much...

I have a lot of yarn. I admit it. Most of it I have for a good reason (It's wool, and I love it. reason enough). I usually know where I acquired most of it, but this stymies me.

This is a huge bag of Handicrafter Cotton. (that piece of paper on top is a regular letter sized sheet for scale)I know I went on a dishcloth binge a while back, but not to this extent. I'm not sure if I bought it all, or was gifted with some of it, but whatever the reason, it's a boatload.

Since I've gotten back to the machine, I thought perhaps I could knit up some stripes for blankets. Cotton blankets for summer babies are always a good idea. While wool is always best for babies (it won't melt if it catches on fire), Cotton is not a bad alternative for ease of care. I've knitted it kind of loose (the only way the LK-150 will handle it), and once the blanket is done, will wash it in hot water and toss it in the dryer. That should tighten it up and make it perfect for a baby.
At least, that's the plan - Susan will have to tell me if it works - I'm trading a cotton blanket for all the Pink Shine she gave me (that became my Sunday sweater), as well as assorted other wools and fibres she has given me.
I hope it works out.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

update on travel socks

As you know, I knit a lot of socks while carpooling, and during swim lessons, basketball practices (when I'm not coaching), basketball games and tournaments.
My son's school team has had two tournaments so far, and another this week, all leading up to the Area Tournament next week. So far, they have been after school affairs, giving me 4 or so hours of knitting time. Plus carpooling nets me a couple of days a week as a passenger, Saturday morning league basketball is an hour, swimming is 45 minutes every Monday... and, well you can see where this is going.
I get a lot of sock knitting done.
My output since Christmas:

from left to right - A new pair I started this weekend, a pair of green tones Misti Alpaca Sock, and a blue/grey pair or what is probably my new favourite sock yarn - Tanis Fibre Arts Purple Label. Merino, Cashmere and Nylon. Yum.
The Alpaca ones are for my father in law - he loves this wool with the passion of a thousand suns. He has three pairs in it already, and some bamboo ones, but it seems he will wear the socks for multiple days. To combat the "eeewwwwww!!!" factor, I'm on a mission to get him at least a few more alpaca pairs. I don't care what he says, and how inactive he may be, wearing socks for more than one day is gross. Of course, he may be saying this just to move to the top of my sock queue...
The Tanis cashmere socks are for my husband. His birthday is in April, so I'm ahead of the curve here. I've got one heel put in, and will do the other one sometime before April 1st. (knowing me, probably March 31st...)
The variegated red is an unknown. Found it in my stash, already wound into a cake, with no tag. At first I thought Socks that Rock, but it's too crisp for that. Possibly Fleece Artist - it has the right kind of colouration. Or it could be something completely different. Whatever, it's kind of a small cake, so I'm going to add some black heels, and ribbing, as well as some stripes leading up to the ribbing.
These have not yet told me who they belong to - I was thinking my 31 year old nephew that lives in Montreal - he adores the hand knit socks, and I sent him some for Christmas, after I heard through the grapevine that he was hoping for some. HOWEVER... he got them for Christmas, it's now February, and he's 31. He has my email address. He has my cell phone number, and knows how to text. No thankee, No more sockee...

Also - someone asked me about the Steve Jobs book (seen in above photo). I started it, then took a break because some books I reserved at the library became available and since they were on a time limit, I read them first, and have now gone back to Jobs. I always knew he was somewhat tyrannical, and a bit difficult, but I tell you, after reading this, I has lost any respect I once had for him. He may have been a visionary, and he may have been brilliant, but he used people and their ideas, and was just the biggest dick of a person. I could forgive a lot of what he did, but the fact that he refused a "reserved for the CEO" parking spot, instead parking in the wheelchair accessible spots (often across two of them), well, that just did it for me. It's a fascinating read, but it has coloured my opinion of him.

Friday, February 03, 2012

why I don't write patterns

Who the heck could translate what is happening here?

The sweater continues, it looks the same as before, but with a body's worth (almost!) of a green stockinette tube under the patterning. I'm about to put the bottom stitches on a thread, and start the sleeves. Then comes the steek, then I have to decide on an edging. Again, I've consulted Susan, and we have thrown a few ideas about, I will swatch a few to see how they work, and I may post the results to get opinions. Or not. I may just go with what I like. Because after all, it's for me!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The finished Sunday Sweater*

*name courtesy of Brenda...

Here's the sweater in our office loo. I wore it the other day with grey pinstriped pants and a sleeveless turtleneck. I got a ton of compliments on it, which leads me to believe that maybe I should wear pink more often. I probably won't because it's not among my favourite colours, but it worked well in this case.

I used a bunch of Knit Picks Shine Sport. The exacting measurement "bunch" is courtesy of the fact that there were some already wound balls, and some rewound cakes from a failed sweater attempt earlier. The cotton modal blend was great for running through the machine, and created a nice fabric - very drapey, but with some heft to it. It was weighty enough to hang nicely with just the one button closure. (I actually had one lone pink button in my button stash! This was meant to be.)
I knit the sweater on my LK-150, using schematics from a pattern created in Sweater Wizard. I input the size, the gauge, the style etc. into the software, and it spit out a pattern with schematics. Great for the machine, as it gives row counts as well as measurements. I kit the pieces as is, using waste yarn at the top and bottom. After sewing it together, I picked up the sleeve hems, and around the neckline, using the live stitches were available, or picking up along the side. I debated an attached i-cord edging, but after consultation with Susan, decided on a garter edging. I like it. I know I can knit edgings on the machine, but I hate rehanging stitches, and hand manipulating the needles. The only hand manipulation I do is increasing and decreasing.
It's funny - although this was knit on a machine, and I've got the pieces of another sweater waiting for sewing and edging, and I have many plans for more machine knit sweaters, I don't really think of myself as a machine knitter. Yes, I knit by machine, but I have to say, I get way more enjoyment from knitting by hand. I use the machine when it's a sweater that is in flat pieces, when it's a cotton or cotton blend yarn that hard on the hands to hand knit, or when I really want a sweater quickly. (Because the machine is in the basement, it's also handy for when I want to get away from the men in my family!)