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, February 27, 2007

Glad to help!

Here is the page you can go to at Ram Wools, which happens to be in Winnipeg, Manitoba - where I lived for many years - http://www.ramwools.com/onlinecat/spring07/RamSprg07_pages_29_to_32.pdf to view and order the book that has the pattern I am planning to make. The book is back ordered, but you know there is plenty to knit with here at my house, so a bit of a delay is okay by me. Ram Wools also carries Rowan (one of my favourite yarns) and they have some good discounts on their yarns.

I picked up a good book from the library yesterday. It is called "Pause" by Katherine Gibson. I have had the opportunity to hear Katherine speak, as she lives in Victoria, BC. The talk she gave was on de-cluttering your life - I came home and got rid of so many things I had been hanging onto for - well the reason for hanging on had escaped me!! Anyway, this book is about talking time to pause and enjoy the small things in life, the moment, the joy of being alive, etc. It certainly hit a chord with me, as sometimes I can get too busy and forget to stop and smell the roses.

Yesterday, for instance, I volunteered for the music festival. Now this was a very pleasant experience for me, but I learned a few good lessons from the children and some of the poems they recited. First a young Mom and her son, who I have seen at a few productions with the other little boy and his Dad - confusing - there is a Mom, Dad and two little boys! Anyway, she brought in her little boy early, took him up on the stage, (he is 5 years old and this was his first performance) showed him where he would stand, what the lights looked like, what the sides of the stage looked like, and generally made him feel comfortable! This made me think about how many times we rush children - trying to keep to our schedule. We do not always take the time to remember what it was like when we were small in a BIG world! So many times I want to say to hurried parents who do not want to show their children what is up at the adult's level of vision - "How do you think the world looks when you only see feet, knees and crotches!"

The other moment for me was a poem about 'new clothes'. It was about how they make you feel special, shiny, happy, pretty, etc. - then it talked about the 'old clothes' how they make you feel hugged, happy, relaxed, comfortable and they 'know your shape'. It made me think - I love new clothes too, but the old ones do give you a 'hug' when you put them on and that is nice and we all need 'nice'.

I am not sure why some books and people come into our lives when we most need them, but this book is perfect for me just now and I plan to order a copy to keep on my bedside table to 'read at' when I have a few moments! A few bloggers have come into my life in the last months, and perhaps they do not realize how much they stimulate me to think, read and knit or how much I enjoy their work, outlook on life and friendship. Good things, like buses, come to those who wait, the secret is being at the right bus stop! I rode a bus to school and then to work for many years. I know lots of people have an idea that taking the bus is for those not fortunate enough to have a car, but bus riding is great - you don't need to fight the traffic, you are forced to slowdown in your life - you can knit on a bus, read on a bus, listen to music or books on a bus, and best of all people watch on a bus.

Have a great day and ride a bus if you can!!

I just re-read this post to check for errors, etc. and you know what puzzles me, the word 'okay' is underlined as it seems to not be recognized as a word! Go figure, I say! How many times in a day do we say 'Okay!'?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Finally, IK Spring 2007 arrived!

I have been watching on other blogs and thought my postie had turned into a knitter and was borrowing my IK! It did arrive today and I was excited, as the preview really intrigued me and I thought there were a couple of patterns I might like to knit.

I was a bit disappointed, and now I can see only one I might knit and that is the Cable Down Raglan on page 42. I love the colour, but I would make the sleeves longer. Most of the other patterns I find just too young for me. I do like the Roza's Socks by Grumperina - and maybe I will knit a pair of them.

The one sweater that really caught my eye was this one on page 71. I googled, after finding out that Westminster Fibers is a wholesale operation and my LYS does not carry those yarns. To make a long story short, I was able to run the pattern to earth. I called Ram Wools and they have the pattern book that this sweater is in! It is back ordered, but that is not a worry, as I have lots to work on at present.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Another One!

You may think I have had an obsession about Elizabeth Zimmerman's Rib Warmer vest, and you would be right! I really like this pattern and of all the knitting I have done and worn lately, these vests get the most comments - all favourable! It is a winner and for a gal who rarely wore vests, I seem to have one on every day! I am wearing the 'blue denim' vest today, so that is why I am wearing blue pants and turtle neck in the photo. If I had seen the photo previously, I would have lined the centre of the vest back up with the centre seam of my pants, but you get the idea!

That is is for Rib Warmer vests for a bit, but I know I will knit more of this pattern!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dogs and Tulips!

Here are my dogs. Isla, known as the 'couch queen' is found in her usual spot, doing her usual thing - resting! She is 9 years old and is the aunt of the other Cairn, Tibbie. Tibbie has become very fond of this pillow that I hooked a top for and now she claims it as her own. I know that many think dogs should not be on furniture and there is some they are not allowed on, but they have claimed these chairs and we have let them - of course, we could teach old dogs new tricks!.

In this photo, it looks like the couch needs a cleaning - a small price to pay for a happy dog! I plan to get the carpets cleaned next month, so will have the chesterfield/couch done at the same time.

These tulips are 'full' open and I think they are beautiful. I will buy another bunch today to replace them, but I also love the tulips at this stage - blowsy and arranged by themselves - I just stood them upright in the vase! Once my tulips in the garden start to bloom, I bring in one bloom at a time! I always have wanted a cutting garden, but tulips are just too beautiful in bunches in the garden to bring in too many at a time. I do not like bulbs planted in rows, I tend to put them together in a 'bunch', and I think they give greater impact!

Monday, February 19, 2007

My "Green" Vest!

I know, it is not green, but denim blue. The 'green' about it is the fact that I had bought a man's cotton sweater at Sally Ann, took it apart, wound the yarn onto my swift, soaked it and hung it to dry with a weight - that straightened it out very well, then balled it!! So it is 'green', in that it is recycled!! I used three strands and it knit up very well, I lost the 'content' tag from the recycled sweater, but I did remember it is cotton and it almost feels like it has a bit of silk in it, as it felt so much nicer than most cottons and has a beautiful drape to it.

Now to finish Rib Warmer #3 - all these vests for a gal who hardly wore vests before. This is just a neat pattern and it went so well while watching about three British murder mysteries back to back yesterday!!

Sorry about your having to turn you head to view the picture. My other HELP button, namely DH, is busy using his wood working tools, and turning it is beyond me - you probably needed a bit of exercise anyway!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Saturday Sky!

I wish I could show you how quickly the clouds were scudding along when I took this photo. It is now grey, showery and still windy.

Sure hope it stops raining by evening, as we are going to a village nearby that is having a lighted lantern foot parade and then a launch of lighted huge lanterns into the night sky. If you live near the Arctic Circle, and we launch the lanterns, you just might see them!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

This is a winner!

When I first saw this vest on Knitorius blog in her January 2007 posts, I knew I wanted to make the vest. I ran the pattern to earth and ordered it from Schoolhouse Press! I read the pattern, scratched my head, read it again and thought this is not easy, but perhaps if I just get the needles and yarn in my hands and think it out carefully, I can have this vest. I was right. I have found that with other patterns - when I read them they are as clear as mud, but once I carefully work the pattern through 'step by step', the muddied waters clear and I get it.

I knit the vest on a 5mm circ needle and used Paton's Chunky! I know, I know, it is an acrylic, but that is a 7 letter word, not a 4 letter word. I was not sure of the yardage needed, and I love the colour! Enough said about my Elizabeth Zimmerman Rib Warmer Vest. I can see why the lady has become an icon in the North American knitting world.

This is now a favourite and, in fact, I have another on the needles from some reclaimed silk and cotton that was once a man's long sleeved sweater. It is a beautiful denim blue, so I know that I will get lots of wear from it. It is warm, easy to wear and in the two times I have worn this burnt orange vest, I have had at least three compliments. I even impressed the gals at the LYS!

I was writing to Jo about yarns and she has some beautiful Silk and Cashmere on ebay that she mentions would be perfect for a lace shawl. I have knit a few shawls, and love knitting lace, but you know for the effort, I do not get much wear! Now with a vest or a sweater, I get a lot of wear and so my question to Jo was whether I could double strand the Silk and Cashmere to get a weight that would be perfect for a sweater or vest. She was in agreement with me about how much we wear a shawl and yet we spend considerable time on knitting a shawl! Right now, vests are in with me!

Now I leave you to knit a bit on Cul de Sac. She is a demanding lady and cannot be knit while watching 'Silent Witness'. She wants your undivided attention, especially when you are making the Celtic knots! I am loving the pattern, however, and perhaps more patterns with Celtic knots will be in my future.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Elsebeth Lavold!

I knit another of Elsebeth's patterns, remember that beautiful turquoise/green Silky Wool that made up Tilia, as shown in my October 12th post? Well, this is a different kettle of fish! The yarn I am using is soft like butter, the pattern is a bit challenging, but not too much and the gauge seems to be staying true. It is not a long enough (body length) project to 'sag' like Tilia seemed to do, so I am hoping and expecting better things from Elsebeth's Cul de Sac pattern.

If you want the Cul de Sac pattern, it is in the Fall 2003 issue of Knitters magazine. I had to back order, but it was well worth the effort.

I finished the burnt orange vest and only need my photographer to return home to take a photo. It was a quick project, and now I know how much yardage I need to make another. That is one downfall of the older patterns - they often called for so many ounces, and not all ounces give the same yardage. I am pleased to see in lots of newer patterns that yardage is given. It makes more sense to me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I first met my DH while working in his Dad's flower shop! John, my DH, knows I love yellow roses, as that is what I had in my wedding bouquet (made by my FIL) and so he surprised me today with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and even bought that beautiful large vase for them too! What a treat - he is a real keeper after 46.5 years of marriage!

I have the burnt orange Elizabeth Zimmerman vest on the needles still, but when I have some time to myself, I work on Cul de Sac by Elsebeth Lavold! I have never done Celtic knots before, but I loved that part, as it kept me on my toes! The yarn is a beautiful Silk and Cashmere that I got from Jo. I always tell Jo that anything that is that beautiful needs capital letters, thus Silk and Cashmere! It can split a bit, but it just feels like butter moving through the fingers. I saw some deer horn buttons at my LYS, and I think they might just be perfect for Cul de Sac. What do you think? What you see here is the back.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Has this ever happened to you??

What you are seeing is my version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Rib Warmer Vest! I was knitting on it last evening as I watched a murder mystery on TV, and you can see I have a problem. Is this problem fixable? I think it is. You can see the waste yarn on the two 'collars'. I plan to take out the waste yarn, frog to the row where I cast on 20 extra stitches, cast off where the 10 collar stitches were and then

carefully pick up 10 stitches at the other end and knit 10 rows of ridges and keep those stitches live! Will it work, I sure hope so, because I do not want to frog back to where I joined the two pieces together! I am enjoying the knit, and it was interesting to figure out what I was doing, but the error is strictly my own - nothing to do with EZ/s directions. Now I do admit that her directions are 'skimpy' by most new pattern standards, but I was so sure I knew exactly what I was doing. Oh well, I will probably knit this pattern again, and you can be sure I will not make this mistake again.

Below is my latest FO. It is a vest from the Sally Melville Book 2. I had ordered pewter button clasps for the closure, but with the slant on the right front, it made placement of the closures more than a little challenging. I remembered this shawl pin, took off the pewter clasps and now this will be my method of closure. I will save the button clasps for another project!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Antoinette, meet my fellow bloggers. Bloggers, here is Antoinette!

I really am pleased with this sweater. It was a joy to knit and a joy to wear. I have a summer dress on, as I wore her to a Beach Party that my DH's Rotary club had last evening!

I started this sweater about January 20th and it is knit from Rowan Cotton Rope and from the Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine Number 39. I really did not change anything in the pattern. I do, however, feel that Rowan patterns are for experienced knitters, as there is a lot left out 'between the lines'. I damp blocked it before stitching up the side seams, picked up along the front edges and back on a circular needle and then cast off in the knit way. You picked up for the collar on the fronts from the first neck cast off to the top of the neck front and knit about 14 rows of the pattern and held the knitting on the needles. After knitting both front collars, you seamed the shoulders and then knit along the right front, picked up along the neck cast off, knit the left collar and then knit about 22 rows of the pattern and cast off in pattern. I always wondered what 'cast off in pattern' meant, but I tried it and the collar lays perfectly flat! Must have done it correctly! This is a sweater I would probably knit again in a more summer like colour, but I love the black, even though it does not photograph well!

The yellow shrub in the background is Arnold's Promise Witchhazel! Also that is a stained glass hanging of wine being poured into a wine glass. My DH is big into wine, gives courses, tastings, etc., so it was gift from me on his 50th birthday! I see a few more things blooming in the garden, but today is Antoinette's Day!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thank You All - you are the best!

A big thank you to all the bloggers who visited and had kind words for me yesterday. It was a very special day and I want to celebrate more and more good things in my life. I found that the gals I shared with yesterday, and the men, were all supportive and felt that breast cancer could indeed be lived with and well. Take the time to celebrate life and include your friends. I did it through the blog and it was wonderful - I hope it gave many of you hope, cause heaven only knows that sometimes all we have is hope!

I did finish up some knitting. The sweater from Rowan Book 39 - Antoinette - is now sitting and drying from her final steaming. I will take her to the LYS tomorrow to get a button - a great one! I also have the vest sitting and awaiting the buttons from Schoolhouse Press - any day now! Once I have a button for one or both sweaters, I will show you. I am so pleased with Antoinette, as she fits beautifully and I love the collar!! Now I will start my Elsebeth Lavold Cul de Sac vest - the one with the Celtic Knots and cables. It will be a slower knit, but a challenge and it is being knit with Silk and Cashmere!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Here's to Living Well and Long!

Today is the day! My last cancer treatment, a mastectomy with no lymph node removal was done ten years ago today. I have a rare breast cancer. Its name is Cystosarcoma Phylloides - and that is the most exotic part of it - its name! It travels via the blood and not the lymph nodes - thus no lymph node removal. I must add that I had a partial mastectomy with a frozen section in December of 1996, so the surgeon knew what he was up against. The pathologists had recommended I have a further reduction of the breast or a full mastectomy with removal of the covering of the pectoral muscle. So, I would not buy partial insurance on my house, so I went for the mastectomy! I wore a prosthesis for about five years, and then I had a mastectomy on the remaining breast. My cancer does not respond to either chemo or radiation, so I was done with the first mastectomy.

I guess I am pretty comfortable in my skin, so I swim flat and hope that any woman or man who sees me will remember, when they have a loved one on this breast cancer journey, that life does go on and you can have a good quality of life. In fact, I think I have a better quality of life now than I did before cancer. It is rather sad, however, that sometimes we need to be slapped in the face with our mortality to really grasp how sweet life can be!

What many of you do not know, and probably do not want to know, is that a breast prosthesis costs about $500.00. Now I need two of them and I can think of a better use for $1,000.00 - wonder how much Cashmere and Silk I could buy with that. So I read an article in a national paper about a woman in Toronto, Canada who designed and knit 'tit bits' and they were for sale. I went to her web site, who does not have a web site, and found out that she was going to have the pattern on Knitty! I got the pattern, bought some beautiful yarn and made a pair - since then, I have made about five pair! I want to get some pink silk and a nice green and make a breast that looks like a piece of watermelon. I have a bit of black silk for the seeds.

I probably have given you all more info than you need or want, and you may think watermelon breasts is a bit much, but you know, if you are going to make it through this, you need to keep you sense of humour honed!!

Now, on to some yarn! This yarn is Canasta by Phildar. It is 79% rayon and 21% acrylic. It can split a bit, but I knit a brown lace cardi with it earlier and I just could not resist this colour for a summer top. I have 9 balls at 108 yards a ball. It was originally $7.99 a ball and I got it for $4.00 a ball. Now to find that perfect pattern.

I hope I did not bore you with my story of breast cancer, but all of us know someone in our circle of family and friends who has been touched by it. All I hope is that from reading of my journey that you know there is hope and life! Never complain about growing old! Think of the alternative!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Is it only me?

I seem to be having my problem with 'Blogger' these days. Both starting a new post and sending comments on other blogs have been a bit of a hassle!

On with the yarn purchases.

This Debbie Bliss Cathay is one of my favourite colours - remember the cotton pullover - same colour. Anyway, I got 9 balls and want to make a short sleeved summer top. It is 50% cotton 35% Viscose Microfibre and 15% Silk. It was originally $9.99 a ball and on sale for $5.00 - I took all that was there in this colour! I have 900 metres, so should be able to get a short top out of it! I see an off centre sweater in the Spring Interweave Knits preview and wonder if it could be made into a short-sleeve version. The magazine is here - well I was trying to link you, but perhaps my computer is not loving the fog and does not want to cooperate.

I also want to show you what was on the back of the Sunlight Soap box, as if you probably cared!

Just in case you cannot read what it says on the back, here it is -
Playtime rubs dirt into their clothes

Whatever your washing method
---you need
"Extra Soapiness"
for those extra dirty parts!!

Oh yes, I got the pattern yesterday from Schoolhouse Press for the Elizabeth Zimmerman Rib Warmer Vest! It is not that easy to grasp by reading, but if I can find the right yarn, I think it is one of those patterns you follow and it somehow works out. It must, as EZ is an icon in the knitting world and I like her finished products. I must say that I have been knitting the cropped cardi in the Rowan 39 book and I think their patterns are a bit sparse!! Maybe it is just me, but I have knit a few patterns lately that were excellent on the detail and then you get one that is sparse and you feel like you have been set adrift on an ice pan and don't know where to go!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Celebrate With Silk!

When I saw this Debbie Bliss Pure Silk for $8.00 (regularly $14.99) I took a little skein in a shade of cream and I had a project in mind. If I have lived for ten years, then I deserve pure silk 'tit bits'! They knit up so beautifully and are so soft. No one but me can see them, well my DH, but I know they are there and that makes me feel great. I know, you are probably thinking 10 years - why all this celebration. If you know of anyone who has had cancer, ask them what they feel about surviving 10 years! Celebrate every day with them. I will also add these to the Debbie Bliss KAL I joined! Probably I will be the only one who knit tit bits, but that is fine - no need to knit them if you don't need them, but if you do - pure silk - divine!

Oh yes, the little skein is resting on a 'flower' rock and it looks so different in colour than the actual picture of the knitted goods. If you look closely, you can see the 'flowers' that, on this rock, look like asters! I pick them up when I have been beach combing.

Cornflower, who is a faithful visitor to my blog, asked what my laundry room looked like after yesterday's showing of my little scrub board. Here are a few photos!

This is a photo of me at about age 2 sitting on the ground with my dog "Trix". My Mom would have made the hat, coat and leggings I am wearing. The laundry in the background is probably made up of my diapers and some sheets! One thing my Mom was very particular about was hanging things in order of length - first all the rectangular pieces and then the odd shaped pieces - you know shirts, pants, etc. She also prided herself in getting her laundry on the line before 9:00 am and all of it was done with a ringer washer and a rinsing tub - which had 'blueing' in the water to make sure the whites stayed white! You can see an image of me on the glass of the photo!

This rather faded photo is of me at about age six. I would be a knitter by now, although doll scarves were my limit. I am hanging out my doll clothes to dry. I would probably have 'washed' them in a little tub and scrub board I had and then pegged them on the line. I loved that little sunsuit I am wearing. I had a few of these and I can remember they were lovely and cool on a hot summer's day.

I was a little girl with lots of dolls, a doll carriage, high chair, cradle, and clothes for my dolls. I was the first little girl born after four boys, and my Mom was the best! I loved playing with dolls and I think she enjoyed making things for the dolls, both through sewing and knitting. I also remember getting an old cardboard box, drawing windows and doors on the side and Mom or Dad would cut out the windows and then partially cut the door, so it folded on a 'hinge' Mom would give me fabric, wall paper and buttons. I remember playing for hours - making curtains, pasting wall paper on the inside of the box, using heavy fabric for rugs, using buttons for door knobs, etc. I did not think I was building memories (or would be glad to have something to put in my blog) but I have such lovely memories of my early childhood! Now more photos of the laundry room!

This is the display over my sorting counter. I have collected sock stretchers for a bit, and the pair in the corner are for a child's pair of stockings! Sorry for the quality of the photo!

More Stretchers! The pair in the middle would most likely have been for the type of knee socks that my Mom made for my brothers to wear. All pure wool and all hand washed and then stretched over this type of stretcher to dry!

After I took the photos yesterday, I remembered the box of "Sunlight" Soap, so I put it on top of the scrub board!

Because it is too small to read, I will copy what it says on the bottom corners of the "Sunlight" box!

"$5,000 Reward will be paid to any person who can probe that this Soap, manufactured by Lever Brothers Limited, Toronto, contains any harmful adulterant whatsoever."

"This fine, all-pure soap gets the clothes naturally whiter, naturally brithers, and naturally sweeter smelling. Use pure, gentle SUNLIGHT for all washing and cleaning."

Perhaps another day I will take a photo of the back of the box, as it has children playing and a comment on cleaning those 'extra dirty parts'. I will also get a photo of the actual soap!

$5,000 would have been a princely sum in those times - I am think this box is at least 60 to 70 years old!!

Now for the finishing touch to the laundry room. My 'washday' mat. It was designed by a gal in Nova Scotia and she is getting famous for her work. Her name is Deanne Fitzpatrick and her website is here. I was lucky enough to take a rug hooking course from Deanne a few years ago. She is originally from Newfoundland and would give you the shirt off her back - especially if it was the exact colour you needed in your mat!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Sale Yarn!

I had admired this Berroco Ultra Silk when it came to my LYS with a beautiful short sleeved summer sweater as a sample. The sweater was in this exact colour - I call it Sea Foam! Don't you think that sounds better than Colour 6106? I got 13 balls - I am a bit superstitious, but I was not sure what I wanted to make, so I took all the balls of this colour! I am thinking of a short sleeved summer top and have been perusing patterns here and there!

The yarn is on a little scrubbing board that I used when my children were smaller for hand scrubbing their socks and undies. They loved to play in the 'dirt' and their clothes showed it, but with a bar of orange/yellow "Sunlight" soap and some elbow grease, I could keep them nice and white! Also putting things out on frosty nights helped keep the diapers white! Now I really show my age. The disposable diapers that were about when my children were babies were awful and I had a washer and clothes line, so cloth diapers were what I used. Once the babies grew up and were trained, I had a wonderful supply of dusting cloths.

That little scrubbing board, and old box of "Sunlight" soap and my collection of sock dryers hang in my laundry room! I also have a photo of me as a baby (sitting on the ground playing - guess my children got that gene from me) and my Mom's laundry is blowing on the line behind me. There is also a photo of me in a sunsuit hanging my doll's clothes on the line - I was about six and had just learned to knit.

I spoke with a gal who is a knitter, and she was not impressed with silk and said it would 'sag'. It is a finely knitted tube, and not a stranded yarn, so I wonder if this will solve that problem. No matter, it feels and looks wonderful and so far that is okay with me. What was really okay with me was that it had been $13.99 a ball and it was on sale for $7.00 a ball. It is 98 yards or 90 metres per ball, but I will get a beautiful sweater for $91.00 instead of $182.00.

I finished off the vest made from the Rowan Wool Cotton and I had lots of yarn! Phew, but I dislike knitting with one eye on the needles and the other on the dwindling ball of yarn! I have ordered the buttons, so once they come, I will give a showing. It fits well, so that is also a big relief!

I had been lucky with other Rowan yarns at a sale early last fall. I some Rowan Cotton Rope for $2.00 a ball - originally this yarn had cost $10.99 a ball! I have 18 balls and the sweater calls for 15, so I probably will have enough to also make a summer bag. That makes my sweater - a Rowan pattern which I will show you when my DH and the camera come home - is from Rowan pattern book 39 and is called Antoinette! It is a long sleeve cropped cardigan sweater with a nice pattern on the sleeve cuffs and the large collar. We have cool evenings here in summer and so I think I will get a lot of wear from this sweater.

Do you think in my LYS that the gals refer to me as the "$2.00 bargain queen"? I do buy yarns at regular prices, but when I see a good buy on a quality yarn that I know, I grab it up!

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