Wool in my soup

I am a 67 year-old grandmother living on Vancouver Island. I have crocheted, cross-stitched and rug hooked, but I always had yarn on needles. Recently knitting has become my primary hobby!

Location: Canada

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What Yarn Will I Buy?

I am off in a few days for a 2.5 week holiday in my home province of Nova Scotia. It will mean a week at a cottage with a long-term friend, visits with family and my nursing school reunion. I am getting excited. Many of the girls from my nursing class I have not seen for 45 years. We will have changed. As for me, I am now snow white, about 30 pounds slimmer and a whole lot wiser. I am one of the lucky ones. I married a wonderful man, had two terrific kids and now two grandkids and a step grandson. I am a ten year breast cancer survivor, healthy and still have my sense of humour intact. It just does not get better than that, in my estimation.

Now I have out a few pattern books that have some projects I would like to knit. I only have three upcoming sweaters in the stash! Nevermind, I have plans to get to London Wul Farm, Fleece Artist, Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop, and L K Yarns . I am hoping to get in to see the dye house at Fleece Artist. I will be buying some of their product at other shops, as they run the dyeing end of things at the factory, but to not have a retail outlet there. I have never seen wools dyed before, so this will be a wonderful experience. I plan to wear my Clapotis from Fleece Artist Silk Stream that I showed you earlier when I visit Fleece Artist.

When I travel, I always try to bring back a souvenir of my current craft. My main aim this trip is to get some Sea Silk that Fleece Artist carries. I have my trusty book - the kind that if you lost it you would cry - with me and in it I write down the requirements for hoped for projects. I write the name of the book it is in, the yarn recommended, the yardage of the recommended yarn, the needle size, the gauge and always buy an extra ball or skein. I knit up the yarn I buy with lots of memories swirling through my mind of the wonderful time I had in the shop where I bought it and the people who were with me, etc.

I am not sure if I will get time to post again, but I will be back after 20th of September. Just now I have the guest room bed in a tizzy. It is that time of year where you are not sure just exactly what the weather will be, so you pack for all types of weather. I put something on the bed, rethink it, hang it back up, etc. I do not bother with worrying about what to wear in rain storms or hurricanes, both of which NS could dish out, as if that happens, I have my knitting and a good book or two!! I try to pack less than 30 lbs, as I move about a bit on my holiday and want to be very mobile!

I called and I can take my needles on the plane. I am knitting the shawl/shrug from my LYS in the beautiful red DROPS on a bamboo circular. I must say my holder of long needles is definitely feeling neglected. I love to knit on circulars and if I am knitting on an aircraft, I do not have to worry about where that other needle has taken up residence. It is not pretty seeing a crying knitter on all fours as she tells the sleeping passenger behind or in front to please move and lift up their carry-on luggage from the floor!!

I checked my links to a few of the shops I mentioned, but they do not seem to work, so here are the web sites. Fleece Artist is at www.fleeceartist.com, Lismore Farms is at www.lismoresheepfarmwoolshop.com and LK Yarns is at www.lkyarns.com. I know how to link these things, but today it is not seeming to cooperate and I do not want to lose the post - I have lost it before!!

Take care and I will return!

Monday, August 28, 2006

If I Can Knit 'Breasts', Why Not Tiaras?

I got started back into knitting with a vengance when I read an article about knitting breasts. As some may know, I had a double mastectomy for breast cancer and so I need two 'tit-bits'. The pattern is here You can get two for the price of one ball of delicious yarn! Anyway, if I can knit breasts then a tiara should be easy!

Here is my tiara. The crowning will be later when the mailman delivers this priceless jewel to my friend and hat girl Cate!

I did make a few changes to the pattern which is here

I threaded the beads onto the yarn and then knit. I wanted the little 'flowers' to be secure. Kate is two and I worried she could pull of sewn-on 'bling'. I also wanted the tiara to be a bit large, so I knit the largest girl size and then made a crocheted chain, wove it through the back and it can be tightened up a bit and Cate can be a princess for another year or so. The beads have made the little tips a bit droopy with their weight. Guess two year olds don't really care!

I also hear from the gal who designed Tater's Cotton Cardi. She was helpful, but I still had more questions and she asked me to write if I wanted further help - so I did! She responded very quickly, so I was pleased. I used my own judgment and I am currently working on the pattern of the front/back/front and with the variegated yarn it is really cute.

Do we knitters have an obligation to let pattern designers/writers know when there is a problem with the pattern. I think we do. Better to tell them than tell 20 other knitters who will not buy or download their patterns and they are none the wiser as to why their pattern is not 'selling'. I did it nicely, my Mom taught me well, and she, I think, appreciated the fact that I chose her pattern to knit and cared enough to make sure it was done correctly.

I am going to post this now, even if it needs tweaking, cause blogging this am is fraught with troubles!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Blue Skies, Nothin' But Blue Skies!

Here is my Saturday sky and I think that is a fly pass (or is it past) of two crows. I wish they were eagles, because we have lots of them here in BC. Soon, when you drive past any of the salmon rivers, the eagles will be thick in the trees awaiting their annual gorging of spent salmon! The smell is not great, but the site is wonderful. What a wonderful summer we have had! So many days to garden, eat outside and knit!!

Here is a picture of the shrug I knit for my DD for Christmas. I used the 4 balls of Garnstudio Angora Tweed, which you might remember from a previous post only cost me $4.00 a ball and it is a beautiful soft grey. If nothing else, it will keep her warm as she sits and reads, knits or watches TV. She is in Germany for four years, so watching TV will be minimal and she is not the knitter her Mom is, but oh how she loves to read!

I am also knitting clogs for felting. I think I need to meet a Sasquatch, but Jen at my LYS assures me that these will fit my son once they have become one with hot water and my washing machine. They are a quick knit, but one you need to do when you are alone, as each row is different and the first rows in the sole (you need to knit 2 soles) almost drove me batty! I was determined that if others could knit these clogs that it was doable for me! It is doable, but I am anxious to make the second clog and then spend time in the laundry room!

I wanted to watch some TV last evening with my DH, so clog knitting was set aside and I picked up a pattern I have been wanting to knit for a little girl's sweater. It is a free pattern from The Garter Belt and is knit top down! There is a problem, I think, in the sleeve, and I plan to make it smaller. I notice on the little model that the sleeves seem too large, it is such a cute pattern and I wish the instructions were more clear. I plan to write them, not to complain, but to ask that if they want less experienced knitters to try their patterns, that more information is better than less! If I follow the instructions, as I read them, I will have 62 stitches for each sleeve. Does this seem to be too many for a size 2 sweater knit on 3.5 mm needles with Gong Cotone Egitto Mako (it is Italian Cotton)??? If any of my readers can help, I would appreciate it. I just might put a query on Knitter's Forum Review. I will also write to The Garter Belt and see if they can help. When I am ready to take off the stitches for the two sleeves, I will have 292 stitches on the needles!! Sometimes free patterns cost a bit of grey matter!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Who Said I Was On A Yarn Diet?

I was at my LYS yesterday. I am going away to NS in about 10 days, so I wanted to have some easy knitting to take along with me! How is my excuse for falling off the "Buy NO Yarn until 2007 Diet" sounding so far?

I am loving the little shrug from the pattern at my LYS, so I want to make a third one for myself to wear with a little black dress I own. The dress has a jacket, but there are times when I think it would be just the right thing to wear, if this little shrug were worn with it instead of the sheer jacket. Can you see the shrug peeking out of that ball of Garnstudio Cotton Viscose. I actually have five balls to make one shrug. It has a bit of sheen and is a beautiful ruby red colour. How could I walk out of the LYS without it? The yarn was $6.99 a ball, so I will have a beautiful shrug for less than $40.00 .

I always have to look at the mark-down baskets, and here was Rowan Wool/Cotton on for 40% off. I am sure it is the same dye lot as the one ball I got for $2.00, but at the moment I have misplaced that ball! It will show up, but when is the question! Anyway, instead of $11.49 a ball, it cost $6.90 a ball. It is a beautiful blue and I can always tuck it away for a gift once it is knit!

A week or so ago, I was in the LYS and they had a beautiful lace cardi in the window. I admired it - my LYS always has wonderful samples! Anyway, I found myself with a bag over my arm and the yarn and pattern for the cardi! The pattern looks cropped from the photo, but the gal is wearing jeans that start about two inches below her navel. At age 66, I am not into these type of jeans, so the sweater will fall about at my waist. I am knitting it with Phildar Canasta (Brillance discrete) in a colour that looks like deep coffee, but when it is in the light, it has a plum hue to it. It is a colour that could be worn all seasons!

So much for dieting. I found with food that I actually ate less and lost weight when I decided to stop dieting. Do you think this might work for yarn diets?

I just cannot say enough about my LYS. They are the most friendly, helpful and accomodating group of gals I have met. It is owned by a young gal, Jen, who is perhaps in her early 30s! Her Mom, Judy, is her right hand and the other gals are just as helpful. They always have great samples, and as soon as a new yarn comes in, they knit up a sample. They are great at showing you alternatives for a yarn choice. You know sometimes you will spend more on a project, but sometimes if you are not sure the recipient will enjoy it, you want to spend less. Also, the care of the yarn can be very important and they will help you with all these situations. The shop is small, but everything is nicely displayed. They cater to new knitters and those of us who have been knitting for much longer. They have a SnB twice a month and in the Fall, they intend to have a Yarn Sampler evening. They will feature the new yarns and some swatches on needles that you can knit up a yarn you might like to try. There is something about knitting with a well-behaved yarn that makes the process so much better. Sometimes I have put up with snarly, ill-behaved yarns, just because I loved the colour and/or design, but a well-behaved yarn is still my favourite. That should be a fun evening! You are always made to feel welcome and they ask about your projects and are delighted when you take in your projects! Here's a glass to my favourite LYS!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Didn't Know I Had So Many Needles!

I have been thinking about organizing my needles for some time. I still am looking for a good, inexpensive way to store the circulars, but here is what I have done so far!

I bought some plastic 'sleeves' at the stationary shop with a means of securing the top. Who needs to pick up the book the wrong way and have an unruly porcupine at your feet! I did not realize I had so many duplications, but I inherited needles from my Mom and also a friend. Both were great sock knitters, so I have lots in the smaller sizes! I just wrote the size on a slip of paper and stuck it in with the needles. It is not fancy, but I hope it works. Time will tell!

Here is what I did with the needle sizing gauge. I just cut a slit in the front of the book - through the vinyl, but not the inner cardboard. I am continually losing the gauge! Now if I could only find a way to keep my measuring tapes at my finger tips.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Just A Little Hat!

I CO and knit a little peach/pumpkin hat yesterday for Cate, who is seen here wearing the strawberry hat I made for her, only to find out that this little girl really 'loves' hats! What a sweety! Cate and her Mommy are anxiously awaiting Daddy Pete's return from Afghanistan in two weeks. Had sent the little hat as something to cheer up their days, and it seems to have done the trick.

I just could not resist making Cate another hat. This one is a peach or a pumpkin. I guess at Halloween, her Mommy could put eyes and a mouth on the hat for a Jack-'O-Lantern! I am not thrilled with the way that the green carries behind the 'orange', but I did not want 11 little balls for each leaf and then all those ends to sew up! I don't think Cate cares, just so long as it is a hat. Both hats are made from cotton! The colour is really more a deep coral than the deep orange it appears in the photo.

I have currently got a new shrug on the needles. This one is being knit from the Garnstudio's Angora-Tweed in a beautiful soft grey and is for a Christmas gift! When I have knit more, I will include a photo!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Knitting Taking Place Under A Blue Sky!

This is the sky from my back yard this morning! We have had such a wonderful stretch of sunny skies and warm weather. Now it is about 25C/74F during the day and about 12C/55F at night. A nice breeze will blow during the day and sometimes at night, but it really is perfect for sitting outside with my knitting.

I have now completed the fingerless gloves for my granddaughters. You will notice that on the red pair, I knit four more rows of the 4X1 ribbing. The others are not too short, but I thought a little length would be better! The purple pair do not show up as dark as they truly are and I think a lime green hat to go with them would be perfect! The red pair are not quite as orange. I read in another blogger's post about how difficult red and black are to photograph.

This is the first pair of felted clogs to knit. I have four guys to knit clogs for this Christmas, so I want to get started soon! I will start them once a little 'peach' hat is knit for Cate - a two year old who loves hats. I had knit Cate a strawberry hat and she loves it, so now it will be a peach hat for the little hat girl.

This is the back of the shrug for my DIL and then the front!

Here is what I did with the little bit of left over yarn. One for me and one for my DIL! I stitched little pins to the back, so we can wear them on a jacket!

I am hoping the snowman I made for my DIL will help her and my son cool off a bit in hot and sunny Norman, OK.

I am sorry the words do not always line up perfectly with the photos, but I think you can get my drift! Sometimes what I preview while doing a post is not always what shows up on the blog! Still a lot of learning about blogging to do!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Shrugs as Gifts!

Here is a picture of my current shrug. It is for my DIL as a thank you for sending me a beautiful blue quilt and shams and some Burt's Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair and not taking any money - I had asked her to watch for a summer weight quilt, but I was more than ready to send money. She is so kind and thoughtful, but I want to say thanks. I hope she likes the shrug, and as she is currently living near Oklahoma City, it is being knit from Brilla - 58% rayon and 42% cotton. It has a bit of a sheen and knits up nicely on 4mm bamboo circular!

The beauty of knitting shawls, shrugs and scarves is that size is not a problem, as well, there is no need (at least by me) for gauge! I think I like the shrug when it is a 'slippery' yarn, as it might stay on the shoulders better. I would like to find a good source for shawl pins - any suggestions would be appreciated!!

When in my LYS the other day, I found this ball of Rowan cotton/wool in the $2.00 basket. Just had to have it come home with me. It will make up a hat with a bit of something else if necessary. This sells here for $11.95, so a savings of $9.95 was not to be passed up by me.

I mentioned to Jo of Celtic Memory Yarns that I was not crazy about the Addi Turbos I had. They are 5mm and I find the actual needle part is too short; they are too blunt and too slippery for most yarns I knit! I do like wooden and bamboo needles, but want to try Lantern Moon and Rosewood needles. Can a knitter ever have too many needles?

I went to our new LYS yesterday. Many of the same yarns as my favourite other LYS, but somehow I almost felt guilty being in that shop. I have come to really love the girls who work in my favourite LYS and felt a bit of a traitor. I did not buy anything, but probably will try to support the new shop.

I get such good service from the LYS I regularly shop in and I find from reading other blogs that this is not the case in other shops. The gals in my shop are friendly, helpful and make great suggestions. They all are terrific knitters and there are always lots of samples to entice me - such as the shrug I am knitting! When I find good service in any store, I try to patronize that store and I also tell them I appreciate their service. Unfortunately, I do not tell the stores that give poor service what I think, I just don't go back. That is not always helpful to the shop owner, as how can they correct things that are not perceived by the public as great when we do not tell them.

Carrying a bit of guilt with me, I did go to my favourite LYS and bought two balls of yarn I had ordered to match two balls I had to make leg warmers! I also purchased an Elsebeth Lavold book. It is book number four and it was 50% off. I love her patterns, and want to make the cardigan on the front of the book! It will have to take its place in line well behind the Christmas knitting, but I at least have the book!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Christmas Knitting or Is The Knitter Sick!

I know it is early to start this Christmas knitting, but I needed some quick projects to get back in the groove and my needles are flying. I love these short knits at times, but then again I have two shrugs to knit and I will cast on for one of them soon. There is a time for larger projects, but it is great to get quick satisfaction from finishing smaller projects.

A few years ago, we cut back on our Christmas gifts. We give more to charity, but less to extended family and friends. It was becoming out of hand and Christmas is stressful enough without adding to it by having a gift list as long as my forearm! Also cut back on the card list - many get an email letter now. Am I getting older, lazier or wiser? Whatever the answer is, I am feeling so much better about the holiday season. Often I will make a quick bread or give some jam or pickles to a good friend or a person in need of a neighbourly "hug", but who created this need to have a woman, usually, work herself into a frenzy about this holiday! Holiday for whom - not for Moms or those of us who have grandiose ideas of what we should do and by darn we are going to make it happen. Often she can be seen wrapping gifts ten minutes before the family descends on the living room to a creature that looks like the cat dragged her in during the night and then gave up and went to look for some kibbles. The poor creature is mumbling and grumbling, but she has made everyone, including her hateful great aunt Hattie, something with her own little hands and her yarn bill is through the roof!!

No, the knitter is not sick, but maybe she is becoming a grinch!

I finished the leg warmers and started on a pair of "Fetching" fingerless gloves. I have a great hat pattern from Kathy at Grumperina called Odessa and that would be great to go with the gloves and leg warmers for the granddaughters - all quick projects.

Here is a photo of "Fetching" knitted with Grignasco Merinogold! I have used this yarn before and have always been pleased with the result and the process. My new find in merino wool is SMART, but then I have already told you about that. Good things cannot be told about often enough!

Sorry for the colour, the gloves are actually a beautiful deep purple! I have not mastered both the taking of the photo and uploading it and then cutting it down to a manageable size. After 46 years of marriage, I have learned to do the things that I do well and leave the other things I do not do so well to the man I decided was to be my help mate for life. He does a terrific job, but he cannot do anything about the colours in the photos!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Sky and How Would You Feel If Your Knitting Turned Up at the Local Thrift Store!

This is our sky today. The pictures were taken early and I wanted you to see the blossoms of the Cardoon plant! We are enjoying a beautiful August day and the heat of summer is gone to be replaced with nice warm days, nice breezes and cool nights.

They were talking on the radio today about the "Dog Days" of Summer and I looked at our two Cairn Terrorists and told them they must be talking about the days of summer when dogs cannot go in the car while we are running errands, as it is just too warm for them and so they must stay home. The pitiful looks and soft whimpers almost persuade us to stay home, but groceries must be purchased and libraries must be visited!

Very near our library is the Sally Ann thrift store. When I have a bit of time, like today, I pay a visit. I have made some terrific purchases, but today I only got a belt and a nice black skirt - falls to just below my knees and is spandex for Summer - not tight, but will be great for travelling! The skirt had belt carriers for a large belt and then the design has a large fastening bit - it goes through a carrier as well. Now why would I also put a wide - the carriers are meant for a belt at least 2.5" wide - belt on to emphasize my middle! I will wear the skirt with t-shirts and blouses out probably! Anyway, I came home and carefully removed the carriers (but not the one that the piece of fabric goes through to fasten the skirt with two hooks and eyes! It is now airing on the line. It says to Dry Clean, but it is clean and fresh now and when it needs cleaning, I will carefully hand wash the skirt! All that for $4.49 and if I only wear it a half-dozen times, I am not a lot of money out!

Now why I put the comment about knitting in the thrift store was due to seeing a beautiful handknit cotton sleeveless top in cream lace for $3.49! I tried it on, but the swimmer's upper arms although firm did not do much for the top. It was so beautifully knit and finished that it made me wonder why it was there. On the back it had a label - "Hand Made by Noni". I must admit that Noni made the neck opening more than a little snug, but it could have been fixed by just opening the shoulder seam a titch on each side! How would I feel if someone I gave a knitted piece to put it in the thrift shop bag?

I am currently knitting leg warmers and "Fetching" fingerless gloves for my granddaughters for Christmas. Did I buy the most expensive yarn? NO! I never know with 16 and 13 year old girls just what will be worn and what will languish in the drawer! However, the lime green leg warmers, which two folks loved the colour of, are made from a Superwash Merino and it is wonderful. The leg warmers called for a 4.5mm needle, but they were just too slouchy, even on me, so I dropped down to a 3.5mm needle and they are much better! I will finish off the second one this afternoon and then start on the other pair!

In the photo of the leg warmer that is completed, I made a crocheted string, but that is not going to stay. I will look for some satin coordinating ribbon! The fingerless gloves are being knit in a beautiful merino - one pair red and one pair a deep purple. The second pair of leg warmers will be deep mauve! Now who will get which colour - I think I will wrap them in the same paper and let them choose - they can always switch - their Mom can sort out the arguing!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Knitting Has Started Up!

I made a little trip to my LYS yesterday and now I am back in business! I started a pair of leg warmers from the "Oneskein" book by Leigh Radford. However, using 50g skeins, I need two skeins and I chose a beautiful lime green for one of my granddaughters. The yarn is SMART from Norway and it is a superwash wool. No need to knit anything that needs special care for a teenager. I love the way the yarn is knitting up and I think I will head over today to the LYS again and get some to make a sweater for myself. I also plan to make each of my granddaughters a pair of "Fetching" fingerless gloves! The girls are 13 and 16 and currently live in Germany. They seem to be quite popular in books I see and they are not terribly long projects or overly expensive. I love to knit for them, but you just never know if it will be worn! The 16 year old had started to knit herself a pair of leg warmers while they were still here, so perhaps these will be a hit!

Do you remember how what was in and what was out in fashion was so important when you were a teenager? Now that I am 66, I like to look in fashion, but comfort plays a much bigger part in my choice of clothing! I have told my DD and DIL to tell me if I dress too young or old for my age. So far, they have been a big help and I apparently dress age appropriate! Seems I still must worry a bit about what is in and what is out of fashion for a 66 year old!

I have been thinking of "Cutaway" for some time, so let's see if the SMART will work. I will make the sleeves longer than is shown in the picture, but it is a pattern I have admired for some time. If not, there are other sweaters I would like!

I want to replace a red cardigan I wore out a few years ago! I loved that sweater to death! I even bought leather patches to cover the sleeve elbow holes and got a few more years out of it - even if it was only worn at home. It was a sweater that made me feel cosy and happy. I am not sure if it was the colour or the feel. It was a beautiful Scottish knit that I bought in a store in Charlottetown, PEI and then it moved with me to Toronto, Ontario, Comox, BC, Winnipeg, MB, Greenwood, NS and finally in Halifax, NS it went on to its great reward. Red has been my favourite colour since childhood, so I guess that says something. It has to be the real true red - nothing with lots of orange or blue in it!

There is my Clapotis. Shorter than I wanted, but finished!! I do love it though and have worn it twice already and compliments both times!! Nice to have your knitting noticed.

We have a new yarn store opened near here, so I will have to pay them a visit. I try to support them all, but also get a bit antsy if I get too many projects ahead. I did find a pattern at my LYS yesterday for a simple shrug that may be made up for my DD and DIL for Christmas. It uses 5 mm needles, 122 sts, a simple pattern of multiples of 4 + 2. You *k2, yo, yrn, p2*, repeat, and end the row with k2. You have a k2 garter stitch on the edge. You knit until it is approximately 28 inches long (or you run out of yarn a few inches short). Fold the CO edge in half and from the edge stitch in about 6.5" and do the same on the BO edge - these are little arm openings. The beauty of shawls for gifts is no need to worry over much about sizing. Just pick a nice colour you think the person will like and I do not do gauge for shawls, scarves or wraps!

I am now off to the LYS! How many of you head first to the bargain table? ME TOO!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Now I Must Knit!

The bedroom is about 99.9% completed and I really want to knit again!

I also want to start posting again, so this is just a quick post to let you know I am still here and with it. The needles are calling!

Here is a photo of part of our new bedroom! I need some art for over the bed, as the three wreaths that were there before are 'tired' and the wrong colour. No rush!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Saturday Sky - Two Days Late!

The sky looked like it might not be a perfect day - but it turned into a more than perfect day! Unfortunately, we spent the day with our noses in paint cans, drip cloths and brushes!

A gal we know was getting married on Saturday, and by evening it was warm, calm and perfect for a beautiful couple to say, "I do!". They were married at her family home overlooking the Georgia Strait with the mainland mountains for a backdrop. If the wedding celebration went on until about 10:30, cruise ships on their way to Alaska or back to Vancouver would be seen in the Strait. Not a bad setting for a wedding.

Very little knitting happening, as my hands are sore and tired by nightfall. It is almost over, so the knitting will proceed again.

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