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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thank Heavens - Bertha and Beulah made me wait!!

You see, I told you I turned B&B into my guardian angels. I had looked and looked on ebay for yarn, but something (or B&B) in the back of my head said to hold off for a bit. Well the bestest kind of email came this morning. My LYS was having a 7th anniversary sale - 10% - 70% off yarn and books. What is a knitter to do? Well, she dons her coat, grabs her purse and heads out to the LYS.

I got a real nice lot of yarn - in fact, two bags full! I will slowly show you the yarn and then you can drool along with me. This yarn is probably going to become an Elizabeth Zimmerman vest. The kind that knitorius had on her 22nd of January blog. It is called a rib warmer! I ordered the pattern sheet, along with a few other Elizabeth Zimmerman sheets, from Schoolhouse press. The yarn is Grignasco Tango and is 50% wool 25% Alpaca and 25% Rayon. It should have nice drape and each 50 gram ball has 175 metres or 191 yards. It was on for half price - so I got the last six b alls for $3.50 a ball - I think it is a good buy and I had admired it before. It has a nice heather look to it in a soft taupe shade with cream and a soft yellow here and there in the yarn. I think the EZ vest will knit up well with this yarn!

I cannot always wear wool, but this vest will be worn with one or two layers underneath and it is a colour that will go with everything I have in my closet.

I am currently blocking the bias vest from Sally Melville in the 'violet' Rowan Wool Cotton and I have just over 3/4 of a ball to pick up stitches around the armholes and knit four rows; stitches around the neck and then down the two fronts and again knit four rows! I am starting to feel a bit better about having enough yarn, but then I probably should not have said that - the knitting imps will probably get me for that.

"Bertha and Beulah, go after the knitting imps!! Go girls!

Monday, January 29, 2007

An E-bay Virgin!

I must admit that I have gone to ebay, but have not worked up the courage to buy anything just yet. I did go looking for the Rowan Wool Cotton and I think I might buy some of it, but I want to finish this vest and see how it wears, before I commit to buying any more of the Wool Cotton! If any of you have had good luck with Ebay,I would be interested. I see on lots of blogs that people do buy yarn and although I try to patronize my LYS, sometimes it does not carry things that I want. I am knitting away with the 'violet' Rowan Wool Cotton, and I may have enough, but it is tiresome knitting with your fingers crossed!

I just wanted to share this photo of a 'prize' that I won on Saturday evening at a dinner we attended. At the end of the evening, we were told to look for a star on the back of our chair. I had one and that gave me the table centre piece! I photographed it here with a beautiful 'slump glass' plate with a dragon fly on it - a gift from a Rotary student we hosted. The figurine was made in Nova Scotia and is of an Acadian (Cajun) couple saying their goodbyes. I loved the couple from the start, as my DH and I said good bye many times because of his job. Now we are retired, so the good byes are for short periods of time and probably we have not had to spend more than two weeks at a time apart in about 12 years!

A few people commented on the mat that was hanging behind my head when I was wearing the raspberry cotton pullover.

Here is a full photo of the mat/rug! The caption on the border is "Bertha and Beulah Go To Dollar Day At Sally Ann". As anyone who has read this blog knows, I am a breast cancer survivor - of ten years next Wednesday, February 7.

When I was first in the battle against the cancer, I would awake at night and these 'voices' would go on and on in my head making me question things I could do nothing about, especially at 2:30 am. The questions had to do with my treatment, my prognosis, my handling the day to day of it all and #1 - would I make it through all this and live for at least a reasonable number of years. Of course, sleepless nights do not make for very happy days and my DH was at a loss sometimes as to what to say to me to make it better.

I finally hit on the idea of giving these voices a name - I am sorry if any of you are, or know, a 'Bertha' or a 'Beulah', but those are two names I don't really like, so that is the name I gave to the voices, because believe me one of them alone could not have pestered me that much - it had to be two of them!! So, if I awoke tired, my DH would comment that Bertha and Beulah must have visited. In time, I got scrappy with those two and told them what I thought of them and questioned what they thought they knew more than people who were trained to deal with cancer.

I truly think they were meant to be my 'guardian angels' but very new at the whole deal and had never met up with someone like me! Now, they are someone else's guardian angels and I have taught them well! So, the two heads on the outside of the mat are Bertha and Beulah when they visited me in the first months. The two in the centre are the same gals after I had put them in their place, but sent them to Sally Ann for the big dollar day sale, which here happens on the last Thursday of the month! Working through this mat was good for my soul and now I love the mat and sits near the computer! If you are a rug hooker, you frequent the dollar day sales to buy old woolen clothing to wash in hot water (I was felting before I really got back to knitting) and then it is cut into strips and hooked!

If Bertha and Beulah visit you, don't let them get away with their nagging - put them in their place! They certainly made me stronger, and I hope you have some gals in your life just like them!!

I think that I use garter stitch or stockinette knitting now to cleanse my soul! I love the rhythm of the needles, the throwing of the yarn, the click of the needles and the fact that the knitting 'grows' as I let go of stress! Knitting with bright colours also helps!

I know I divided the Bertha and Beulah story into many paragraphs, but I find on some blogs that reading very long paragraphs becomes difficult for my eyes! Just a comment!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Spring - if I call, will you come?

These are some signs of spring, finally, in my garden. The blue sky is looking down on a beautiful witch hazel that has just started to bloom! This shrub/tree has the most wonderful floral aroma on a sunny day and the little yellow 'spiders', which are the flowers, will grow longer in the days of sunshine that are forecast for the coming week!

The second photo is of the snowdrops - just about ready to bloom. You see I can only show these photos on my blog, as my friends and family that I write to each week really do not want me rubbing it in that our weather seems to have improved from the heavy winds and rains and snow that we have been having for the past couple of months.

Now I will show you my 'spring' mat - remember, I am also a hooker and a knitter! These funky sheep are actually from a cross stitch pattern and I love things to be slightly 'off' such as the picture flowing out into the border, or the border flowing into the picture! But, I know we will have some cool weather and look for the mittens and hot chocolate, so I will not put away this 'winter' mat for a bit yet!

I will now show you a bit of knitting. This is the vest/sweater in the Rowan Wool Cotton - what a wonderful yarn to knit with and I hope to get more - especially if I can get it for the price this yarn was - $2.00 a ball marked down from $11.95 a ball. I was able to pick up a ball here and a ball there, but all from my LYS and all the same dyelot. Do any of you know of a place on the web to go and see if anyone might have a ball or two of a particular yarn that you need to finish a project? I know you can destash for cash, but I want to try and get another ball of this yarn, just in case!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Knitting With 100% Cotton - Not my favourite type of knitting!

Before I cast on for the Not So Warm Coat, I had already completed the back and both sleeves for this sweater - also a Sally Melville design. I knit it with Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton. I love the colour, but cotton does not make for pleasurable knitting, and also it does not block like wool! I can see myself wearing this in summer with a pair of black linen - casual drawstring - pants, as it is meant to be loose and cool! It would be fine for now as well, but for a bit we need to part company! The yarn has a real twist to it, so it was 'splitty' and 'rough' on the hands. It is a mercerized cotton (not sure what that means) and it does have a bit of sheen! I have three balls left, so it might become a scarf, but then again it might just linger in the back of the stash! The colour is good with my white hair and it is from my stash, so all is not lost!

I saw the beautiful tulips on Cornflower's blog, (I tried to link to the blog, but it would not work properly) and so I thought I would show you a photo of my tulips this week. If you wish to go to Cornflower's blog and I think you will enjoy it as much as I do, go to http://cornflower.typepad.com/domestic_arts_blog/ I also have included a few things on the hearth - actually my DH did the editing and he left the photo larger than I probably would have. The little statue - can you call something you bought at Costco for under $30 a statue - is of a little boy reading a book to a little girl. When I saw it, I immediately had to have it, as our son used to read to his little sister before she had acquired that wonderful skill. I would hear her calling him to read to her and he would often sit for a few moments and read the book she had chosen. Such sweet memories for me, as they are both grown adults now. The little dog to the right of the photo looks like our older Cairn, Isla. She is also fond of sitting on the hearth from time to time or sleeping there too. The little statue does not sit in the middle of the hearth. In winter, it is to the left of the hearth and once it is summer, the statue goes out into the garden! There is a little piece of wrought iron there that is a nymph tickling the nose of the moon. This used to be a mirror from my grandmother. I have no idea where the little round mirror went, as I never saw it, but I love the little piece - again sweet memories. The rock that is sitting there is from France. It was in a vineyard that grew grapes for the making of Chateau Neuf de Pape - I hope I am spelling that correctly. I like red wines, and that is my all time favourite, so my DH was on a wine tour in France (it was with a wine society we were part of and I could not get time off work) so he brought me that stone back as a souvenir. Those stones/boulders are very important in the ripening of the grape - they gather heat during the day and then slowly release it during the night, so the grapes have a larger number of heat units! It is a bit early in the day to speak of wine, but I will perhaps have a glass this evening.

I had our dogs give me the SnB daily calendar for Christmas. I want to share the page for January 25! It talks about how Victorian knitter were so into making stockings, that they even wrote a cute thyme about it.

To knit a stocking, needles four,
Cast on three needles, and no more,
Each needle stitches eight and twenty,
Then one for seam stitch will be plenty.

Now if my math skills are still working it would mean that 75 needles would be on the needles in total. I seem to remember seeing lots of the older stocking with cording to keep them up! Perhaps because I have a slim ankle and leg, I cannot use more than 64 stitches on 1 mm needles or the stockings are just too sloppy. Of course, we do not know the weight of yarn or the size of needles, but it seems like a large sock to me.

Now I am knitting a vest from Sally Melville's second book. I am making it with a beautiful blue wool and cotton by Rowan. Oh so soft, and such wonderful stitch definition. It is stockinette stitch and no frills, but I only have 7 balls (each ball cost me $2.00) and so the vest was the choice. In the photo I had planned to use some of Jo's gift yarn, but she sent me quite a bit more, so now I want to knit something that would use the majority of Jo's yarn.I saw some buttons while searching through Schoolhouse Press that will be perfect for this sweater/vest. Scroll down the page and you will see the type of buttons that are on the sweater in the picture. I think there are some wonderful buttons at that web site.

I will finish off today by sending you a little plant. These primulas are in the shops now for under $1.00. This beautiful yellow one is the most perfumed, and many have no perfume at all. It will linger in the house for a few weeks and then be put out in the garden. In a few more weeks, I will buy up half a dozen plants and plant a big planter to put beside the front doorstep!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

No Pictures Today!

I have been busy knitting, but not taking pictures!

I thank all who commented on my Not So Warm Coat/Jacket! It is wonderful to have something we knit just be the way we had dreamed it would be! Heaven only knows there are enough disappointments when knitting! I know I keep knitting because there are more pleasant projects that were a pleasure to knit, a pleasure to give or to keep than there are the few disappointments. I always try to remember - 'Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!"

I saw a link on one knitter's blog to the new Interweave Knits - Spring 2007 issue and there appear to be some wonderful projects there that make me want to give them a try. Now I will await my mail man's delivery of my magazine! I know, it will be a bit yet. Now at age 66, I somehow don't think I will be making the thong, bra or nightie - just a thought!!

Take care and hopefully there will be pics next time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I'm Done - Don't Stick a Fork in me!

Here is my Not So Warm Coat/Jacket!

Finally, I finished this sweater yesterday about lunch time, and as it was a beautiful sunny day, I got my DH to take photos outside. I really am pleased with the result! I know that it will grow longer, and I could have had a few more stitches on the 'skirt' of the coat, but I love my Not So Warm Coat and I think it is cool!

You can see from the back view that my hair is growing. By the time summer comes, I hope to have it down past my hairline! I never had really noticed my back hairline until I started taking photos of my finished knits a few months ago. I am liking the new hairdo and wonder why I never let it grow before. I thought it would be a lot of care, but actually a blow dryer and some 'ruffling' with my other hand and then a bit of a comb and I am set to go! The pool is not so hard on my hair, as our pool is cleaned with ozone! If it were cleaned with chlorine, after a time, my hair gets like doll's hair - stiff and coated! I also like the back of the jacket.

You can see the colour of our house and the little wrought iron stand is covered with either sweet peas or morning glory in summer. Just now it awaits summer!

I am feeling good about my knitting at the moment, so I pulled out the pullover I am knitting with another Sally Melville pattern that I showed you a few months ago in the beautiful raspberry cotton. Both sleeves and the back are done and I am working away on the front. I have a clapotis scarf on the needles, but I am not thrilled with the colourway in this particular scarf, so I am deciding whether I will frog the scarf and perhaps start some socks! No rush, as I want to finish the pullover first!
The sweater facts:

Cast On - January 7, 2007
Completed - January 20, 2007
Knit with - Paton's Katrina 92% rayon and 8% polyester on 5mm Brittany needles
Buttons are pewter and I sewed them on with embroidery floss. I have all the colours of floss, since I used to do, and will again, cross stitch!
I would make the buttonholes a bit larger next time, but for now, I just pull it on like a pullover, as the buttons fit rather snuggly in the holes! Not a big problem in the scheme of things.
Satisfaction - Very High and I would knit it again!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So you need a second sleeve!

I have now completed the first sleeve and moved on to number two! I had started to always knit the two sleeves at the same time, but I think this would have resulted in a 'nightmare' in this sweater! I liked the fact that I could try the sweater on and make the sleeve as long as needed! I have seen several sweaters lately on blogs that are knit from the top down and I am leaning to this more and more! However, it isn't going to happen until about five other items get on and then off the needles.

One thing this sweater has taught me is that it is a 'good thing' for me to concentrate on one knitted thing at a time. I do have two other things (a cotton pullover and a Clapotis) on the needles, but I have put them away for the time being and concentrated on my Not So Warm Coat! I realize that this is the type of knit that travels well -- perhaps not so well now that it is so 'large', but it is easy to knit in company! I have a few knits in mind, such as the Celtic Vest by Elsebeth Lavold that will need my undivided attention at times, so then I need a simple knit on the needles!

I have a friend expecting twins in April, and today Knitting Iris had a great little tutorial for the Rosebud sweater from Erika Knight's book 'simple knits for cherish babies' and I made a copy and put it in the book. It is a simple little cardigan and you can see all the beautiful colours that Iris knit Rosebud with and I love the pattern. She makes it easy by eliminating side seams and also seams on the side of the sleeve! That will be a perfect little knit to take when there is chatter and undivided attention is not so critical. Thinks Iris! I love baby sweatersthat are not knit in the traditional pastels. You see more and more baby clothes in lovely bright colours and I like colours on a baby!

I also photographed the beautiful scarf I made from the Cashmere that Marianne gifted to me. In fact, I am sitting here with it around my neck and it is so soft and warm! I knit the pattern from Susan of her Branching Out Scarf. This was my first 'lace' pattern and it still is wonderful to knit and just needs enough attention to not get boring! Susan has a pattern for a Forest Canopy shawl that is beautiful and perhaps I need to knit one! Perhaps not too, as I find that I rarely wear my shawls. Perhaps in the spring I will get more wear from the shawls! Spring, Oh, Spring! Where are you?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Progress - Sleeves!

I have finished the body of the sweater and now I am working on the first sleeve. The beauty of this sleeve is that you start off with 102 stitches and work down to 42 stitches - usually it is the reverse! I like the idea of the stitches getting fewer, as it seems to be a great incentive to knit more and more!

I did lose a button - you know the beautiful pewter 'flowers'. Well, I emailed the yarn shop in Halifax, NS and sent a photo of the buttons (I still marvel at the internet and realize that it has made my life easier) and she mailed me back to say that YES they did have more buttons like mine. I ordered two buttons and will sew one in the side seam near the armhole - I love them and worry about losing one again! I think this works better than the putting the extra button in a safe place. I have a few things in safe places - so safe that I cannot find them!!

The above picture does not show the new place mat and serviette well, but the new dishes shine. There is a bread and butter plate under the bowl, so that is good. Many dish sets come now with a luncheon plate instead of a bread and butter plate. I am a dish collector! There it is out in the open. I saw these dishes yesterday in the grocery store and got eight place settings for just under $20.00. Now I love my red dishes and will use them always in December and for a few days around Valentine's Day, but these dishes help get rid of some of the winter blahs. I also got a set (just two for my DH and me) of chocolate brown place mats with sage green serviettes. The serviettes are actually dish clothes, but they wash up nicely and never need an iron!

There are some things in life that need quality and require a bit more cash, but there are things in life that I say just buy what you love and forget the fact it is "inexpensive". Spode these dishes are not, fun they certainly are and "inexpensive" they are as well. Inexpensive sounds better than cheap. Now I try to get the best quality of yarn I can afford, as it is easier to get a quality product when you start with quality ingredients! However, if it has a bit of acrylic in it and feels wonderful and has a terrific colour - remember ACRYLIC is not a four letter word.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More Progress

Last evening, I completed the right front! I also bought some tulips to brighten up the day, but it did turn into a cold but sunny day, but still the tulips are beautiful!

Here is a photo of the tulips in a pitcher that belonged to my grandmother. It is one of the things I have from her that I enjoy using. It looks lovely with daffodils in it too, but you just cannot mix daffs and tulips in the same container of water, so this time it is the beautiful burgundy tulips!

Now back to the sweater, this morning I picked up the 112 stitches for the back and now it is 50 ridges to the finish! However, there are no buttonholes to remember, so it is easy knitting and I have a good book on my MP3. It is "Digging To America" by Anne Tyler. Funny how things sort of come together. The start of the book is about two little Chinese girls being adopted by two American families. Yesterday I was late getting to the pool (car doors frozen shut at 5:30 am)and there was a young Mom there with her beautiful little Chinese daughter. The little girl, Waylee, was three and a pure delight! She is learning to swim and I used to teach little ones to swim, so I gave the Mom some hints to work with and this little girl is such a little charmer and so well loved, I am sure things will progress well. Anyway, we got talking and Waylee told me that she is going to China next month to get her little sister, Avalee. They are not sisters by birth, but they are sisters at heart. They talked about diapers and teaching the baby to speak. I told Waylee that the first word she could teach Avalee was 'Mommy'. Funny how these things sort of happen at the same time!

Well, back to knitting. It is another cold, but sunny, day here today. That means that the birds are out in full force. One of the pots of greenery with the red berries that I had shown you before Christmas had a huge American Robin sitting in the middle of it this morning eating the berries. I do not mind, in fact, I really enjoy the birds coming for the seeds, suet and the shrubs with berries that I plant for them to eat in winter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Progress from Day 2

I did add a little bit today (Day 3) but it is all mainly what I had completed by the end of Day 2! Remember I said that I would need to have 4 blue stitch markers and 5 orange! Well, can you see the 3 beautiful blue stitch markers (remember they signify the completion of 50 ridges)!

I had a few bloggers who were kindly willing to try and get me more yarn - thank you so much - knitters are just the best. I will use four balls for the skirt and that leaves me 9 for the rest of the coat/sweater. I have looked at how many stitches for the fronts/back and sleeves and I am sure I will have enough with a bit left over! Maybe I shouldn't have said that, it just might jinx the project!!

Also one blogger asked about a bit of sheen in the yarn. Yes, there is some sheen and I think it is from the polyester bit in the yarn. The yarn is 92%rayon,which is the less shiny, almost matte, part of the yarn and that little bit of sheen is likely from the 8% poly! It is not too bad to knit with, but you would not call it soft and it does split! Oh well, 3.5 balls down and only X to go!! I definitely get more done with all my other knitting put away and out of sight!

One thing I was wondering and perhaps someone can answer this question for me. The pattern called for knitting the sweater/coat on 4 mm needles, but I needed 5 mm needles to get gauge. Now I know it might be different if the knitting was controlled by measurements of inches or cm, but the measurements consist of counting the number of ridges! My question is - if you use larger needles, do you need more yardage? Just a question I had! I know that it takes a bit more yarn to wrap around the larger needle, but if you were using measurements of inches, wouldn't you require less rows to get an inch and would it all work out the same? Maybe it is something that I could ask on Knitters' Forum!

Anyway, back to the knitting. I did finish listening to "The Virgin Blue" and I really enjoyed the 'read'. Also listened to some podcasts from knitting and the radio. So far, my favourite knitting podcast is Cast On from Brenda Dayne or is it Dane from Wales!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Progress on Day 1

I have started! The little stitch markers on the right signify the number of 'ridges'. The orange are for 25 ridges and the blue 50 ridges. I only need to have 4 more blue stitch markers and I will have completed the 'skirt' of the coat!

I did call the yarn shop in Halifax, LK Yarns, but they do not have any more of the colourway I need. It will be fine, as I decided to make the skirt shorter by 12 stitches. If I were to knit the entire coat and find I had a few skeins left, I could always pick up along the edge of the 'skirt', and knit down! It would probably be easiest to pick up half the edge and knit down and then pick up the other half. And if I were tricky and it worked, I could pick up again a few stitches over the additional skirt I had just completed and the other half of the stitches and I would have a pleat at the back of the 'skirt'. This may not be possible or necessary, but it is plan "B" and just maybe the coat will be the perfect length when it is completed!

I think a knitter, by experience, has to be optimistic, or we would never cast on for a new project! I am off to run the vacuum over the high traffic areas, read a bit for my book club (Middlesex) and then knit! It is mindless knitting, but I have been listening to podcasts, both of knitting and from radio shows of the CBC and BBC. I also have a book on the MP3 player by Tracy Chevalier and I enjoyed her book, "The Girl With The Pearl Earring", so I am looking forward to listening to "The Virgin Blue".

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I Have Cast On my Not So Warm Coat!

That is the Times Colonist that arrived this morning, 7th of January! I did knit my gauge swatch yesterday and found that I needed to knit on 5 mm needles. Now, I am 1 yard short of the required yarn for my size! How did this happen - I think I thought I would knit a smaller size, but never mind. I just cast on 60 stitches for the 'skirt' part of the coat instead of 72! I thought that using larger needles would perhaps require more yardage, but then what do I know. I wanted to be sure I had enough, as the Paton's Katrina has been discontinued and the yarn shop I bought the yarn from is in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I just might call them tomorrow to see if they have any left, but I think I will be just fine with the shorter 'skirt' length on the coat!! This was the only area, except for the sleeves, where I felt I could make an adjustment.

I plan to get more knitting in today, but just wanted to let the other knitters in the KAL know that I did not start ahead of time and I will watch others with interest! Got a note from one gal today and she has yet to choose her yarn. I know how difficult choosing yarn for a project can be. My choice got narrowed down quite a bit, by the fact that I cannot wear a lot of wools. Katrina is a mix of rayon and polyester, so it is fine by me.

I read on a blog the other day that one gal cuts a snippet of yarn to see if she can wear it and then puts the snippet in her bra and wears it for a day. I have taken skeins of yarn and hung them about my neck like a boa for a few hours to see if they agree with my skin! The yarn snippet in the bra would NOT work for me. One of the side effects of having a double mastectomy is the fact that you have little feeling on your chest wall - not a problem really, except for the times you want to try a yarn for 'itchiness'!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Knitting Gauge!

You know how you think there are some things in life you would rather not do and yet you have to do and you put it off as long as possible. Well knitting gauge is one of those things that I have put off longer than I should have and tomorrow is the start of the KAL for the Not So Warm or Einstein Coat!

I love these buttons - they are like a flower and I intend to stitch around the area where the petals join the centre when I sew the buttons onto the coat! The one thing about this coat is that it will warm me before it is even finished. You cast on the stitches for the 'skirt' of the coat and it is knit in garter stitch with due care and attention to the number of ridges you create on the RS! When this 'skirt' part has 226 ridges from the beginning, you are finished! I will use stitch markers to count off the ridges and then leave a marker at every 50 ridges! That is 452 rows of garter stitch on 72 sts! A crochet cast on is used and also you slip the first stitch on each row in a purl way and then take the yarn to the back and knit. It makes for a very neat edge to pick up stitches for the remainder of the coat. I did make the Albert Coat just to try out the method! It is a good way to see how the larger coat will work!

Now lest you have left me, we will carefully pick up stitches for the right or left front, knit that up to the shoulder, then do the other front the same , but remember to put buttonholes in the right front! There will also be some buttonholes in the skirt piece. Now you pick up along the side of the 'skirt' for the back and knit up to the neck. Now, if you have strong arms, you pick up along the front, starting at the shoulder, go down to the 'skirt' and up the back to the shoulder! Knit and have a fan handy - this coat is getting warmer by the row! When you have completed both sleeves, you sew only two seams - one for the right side from the neck to the cuff and then repeat it for the left side - then, sew on the buttons and admire your efforts! What was I thinking when I signed up - likely I was NOT thinking, but a challenge is just right for this time of year!! Wish me luck!

As our climate "usually" does not call for a heavy wool coat in winter - it would constantly be damp, and who wants me about smelling like a wet sheep? However, this winter, I should be knitting with vulcanized rubber and have weights on the bottom of the coat!! Never mind, by the time my Not So Warm coat is completed, it will be spring - oh yes, I forgot about April showers!

This simple, but very well designed coat, is the wonderful styling of Sally Melville and can be found in her "Book 1: The Knit Stitch"!

If you care to follow along with this KAL, you can find it at London Wul Farm I am looking forward to watching everyone's progress! But first, that dreaded getting gauge thing - just too much yarn and time to spend and then realize it wouldn't/couldn't possibly fit me!! I have followed that wrong road before and the crying is not pretty!

Friday, January 05, 2007

St. Fiacra and St. Sebastian - I raise my needles to you!

I was lucky enough to get the SnB daily calendar from my dogs for Christmas. Yesterday there was a little blurb on these two saints. Did you know the first knitting guild was the Guild of St. Fiacra (est. in Paris in 1527). This guild regulated the production of knitted caps, so St. Fiacra is the patron saint of cap makers. He was thought to be Scottish, but he was Irish!! In Barcelona, the woolen-stocking knitters were protected by St. Sebastian! Just a bit of knitting trivia for you!

Two days ago, there was an article on the calendar about yarn standards. I checked out the site - www.yarnstandards.com and it has some great info. I like the system of the ball of yarn and a number on it to tell you the weight of yarn needed for a garment. I would like to know, though, if you combine two strands or more of fingering weight, just what weight you have then. How many strands of DK would you need to make a chunky weight? Interesting, especially when you have some stash and do not have a chunky!

I also got a gift yesterday from Erica of the Red Sweater KAL. It was a Red Letter Day for me. She sent me a beautiful skein of Pirate Yarn in colourway Brown Sugar and some stitch markers that remind me of hard candy! Beautiful yarn, but a less than beautiful picture taken by me. I will include a photo when I get the camera in hand and also a bit of sunshine! Thanks so much Erica!

I have been knitting away on the garter stitch cotton sweater and also when I have quiet time the beautiful cashmere scarf. One blogger asked if the scarf were for me - YES! It was a gifted yarn and so it will be mine all mine!

We continue with wind and rain here on the Wet West Coast! Toronto, Ontario has our weather - it is scheduled to be 13C there today! They probably deserve nice weather, as we folk here on the West Coast are usually calling relatives in that part of the country telling them about our wonderful weather and can they hear the lawnmower in the background. Also, we love to tell them that we went golfing this morning and are just back from skiing this afternoon. Maybe this will humble us here in BC - but probably not!

I am planning this year to blog more, but it will not always feature pictures of knitting. Often, it will be philosophical about my life, the news, gardening, reading, etc. I write a 'family and friend' update every week and have for many years. The people who receive it probably know more about me and my thoughts and beliefs than they wish to know, but I always say they can just hit the 'delete' button. I also mail out the update to eight people and they all have garbage cans, so they can deep six it. All this to say, if you do not care for my philosophy, you can just take it with a grain of salt or a gram of cashmere!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Full Needles!

I have a couple of projects on the needles just now. I am going to start my Not So Warm Sweater from Sally Melville this Sunday, so I hope to finish off the Branching Out Scarf, but the raspberry sweater is cotton and for summer, so it will be picked up from time to time. It is in garter stitch, as is the Not So Warm Sweater!

The beautiful blue cashmere in the Branching Out Scarf was gifted to me by Marianne and it is just so soft and easy to knit! It makes the cotton sweater seem like twine and a bit rough!

Our DS and DIL left today, so that made me sad, but it also made me drag out the vacuum while DH helped with the laundry and now the house is back to normal. It is a sunny day here today, so that meant I opened the windows, turned on the ceiling fans and blew away the blahs!! I got some fabric to make new toppers for the living and dining room windows, but I am a bit tired from the season, so those projects will be tackled next week. I also got some new black rods with a shepherd's crook on the ends to put the toppers on - all the fabric and hanging rods were half price! I love a change in the room - just like another breath of fresh air and I have been known to move furniture often - kept the family guessing - but it gives me a whole new outlook! I am not moving furniture this time around. Actually my bedrooms have one way for the furniture and that is it!

I feel much better today, even if a tad sad! However, my DS and DIL are so happy that I just cannot be sad for long. When my children were very young, I dreamed of them becoming prime minister at least, but as they got older, I dreamed of them being happy. I am happy to say that both my children - hardly children, really - are very happy! Our DS is 45 and our DD is 42 - how did I get these older adults, when often I feel about 30 myself?!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Usually at this time of year, I make resolutions! Not this year. I have made them and stuck to them and changed my lifestyle, but it is time to just enjoy life! I gave up on the diet resolution a few years ago and just did not eat anything made with sugar or never took a second helping. That was better than any diet. I did the resolution last year to not buy anymore yarn, and that was not for me. If I see a good buy and I can use it, I buy it!

Santa did bring me some beautiful yarn and a pattern - I will try the C3 cardi from knitty.com! I also got a gift certificate from my LYS and I will save that for something special!

I can tell from my writing today that I am having the post-holiday blahs. Do any of you suffer from this? I should be smart enough to know that this will happen and just get through it - it will pass!

I think I need to do a good clean up and tidy drawers, start the year fresh and that always makes me feel so much better. It does make DH a little concerned as I start packing up things for the Sally Ann and I am getting closer to his 'stuff', but I promise not to touch any of his goodies. However, I do have lots to sort through. My DIL is here and she is so good with choosing clothes, so we went to the Boxing Day Sales and I did very well! That should help chase away the blahs.

Happy New Year and Happy Knitting in 2007

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