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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Last evening Bette and Audrey went with Peg to a party!If I could change the pattern on the sweaters, then I could certainly change the way I wore the sweater. The pattern in the book showed the cardigan being closed with a shawl pin or a nice button, or I-cord ties. That looked great on the model, but she was sitting still! Sometimes with these closings, they make for pulling, bunching and other happenings that don't look great on the model - me! So, I simply let the cardigan hang open and was much happier. I am so glad that I did the three inches of ribbing on the shell as is on the cardigan, as they flow together nicely. We had a nice time. It was an installation dinner for the new president and board of the Rotary club my DH belongs to! Thankfully it was a cool evening!

Now let's take some time out from knitting to make some cheese!

I have been listening to podcasts from Geek Farm Life and Andrew made some 30 minute Mozzarella cheese - he even put pictures on of each of the steps and I thought that is doable, so I sent away for the ingredients. Today I took a half hour and made some fresh mozzarella. Tonight we will eat it with tomatoes, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, black olives, balsamic vinegar cream (reduced balsamic), olive oil and a crusty bread!

The first photo is of the different ingredients all laid out for the cheese making! It requires citric acid, rennet and Lipase (this is optional)! Any milk that is not ultra pasteurized is suitable, including milk made from milk powder. Andrew uses goat's milk, as he has a few dairy goats that they get their milk from and I would use that too, but no goats live with me!
You can see the milk heating on the stove!

You can see the curds forming in the milk after the rennet was added. In the white bowl is the cheese after it has been in the microwave twice and had extra whey poured off and it has been kneaded a bit! Now it is starting to look like cheese!

Below is the finished product, and then it sat in the bowl in a sink full of cold water. It is looking a bit more golden now - on the surface only, but it smells like fresh cheese and it is probably very much like cheese curds - don't try them - they are addictive!!

The book the recipe came from is Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. There are lots of recipes and the instructions are simple and easy to follow. I want to try some of the hard cheeses in the book, so this could become as addicting as knitting. When I went looking for cheese making supplies, I just 'googled' and found a great company to deal with. Thanks to Andrew and Misty of Geek Farm Life for making the entire procedure sound like it could be done in any regular kitchen with minimal supplies and tools!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The set is completed and so the temperature is expected to get to 25 C!The set is complete. I am pleased and happy to have two FOs and ended up with a nice addition to my wardrobe. I am also wearing a different shawl pin - this one is of antiqued silver and I think I will stick with it and save money on the button I had thought about! I probably will add a button loop on the left side and a button on the underside of the right side!

Just to prove that Audrey is not just a flap under the sweater, here I am with Audrey on her own! I knit it shorter than the pattern, as I did not want it to hang below the cardi. Audrey was supposed to be knit with Silky Wool or Silky Tweed. Shan asked me about Hempathy, but I am afraid, Shan, that I cannot tell you much about this yarn, but I think you could use it for Audrey! Just do a swatch!

Thanks to the good responses. It seems that most people prefer to cast on right away for the 'mate'. One knitter knits the two socks in tandem! Usually I knit the two sleeves at the same time, but the two fronts can be distracting, as you make different shaping on each side. Knowing me, I might just get it wrong, and I will really not have saved any time. Frogging does take time!

Now I am off to finish up the Rib Warmer #7 and also the Garnstudio lace cardi! It may warm up soon and a lace cardi would be nice!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Here is, Audrey, Bette's twin!This is the back or front of Audrey - they are both the same. You can see that I am doing the baby cables up the front and i did 3" of baby cables for the bottom of the sweater. The details around the armhole makes for a bit of interest and a change in knitting - both of which I enjoy! It is a cascading leaf pattern, but there was a mistake in the chart and I read it over and over - worst of all, I knit it over and over! What is it they say about stupidity - "It is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". After a few attempts, and a brief period of second guessing my skills, I just sat down and Googled the pattern - Hooray! I was not wrong. There was a mistake and once I had the correction in place I was on my way.
Here is a close up of the cascading leaves! It mentions in the pattern that you can do a single crochet around the edge of the strap, if you wish. I am thinking I will leave it, because sometimes it makes the edge more prominent than you would like! this picture is closer in colour to the true colour of the Cotton Glace!

We have something to go to on Tuesday evening, and I am wondering if I can finish Audrey so that she and Bette can make their debut! As I say, I have about 1/3 of the 'ribbing' done, so it should be possible.

Something I wonder about other knitters - when you have a pair of something - like socks, fronts for sweaters, etc. do you cast on immediately for the second one or finish one, sit in a bit of a glow and wait for another day to start the second? I have learned over time that it is best to at least cast on for the second one, ASAP after finishing the first. I can often procrastinate if I have to cast on and not do any knitting for some time - if I have cast on and I have 15 minutes to knit, I will sit and knit!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Peg and Bette on their first outing!
I am pleased with Bette and I know we will go to lots of things together. I do not intend to use that particular shawl pin as a closing device, but it works for the photo op!!

I was not looking forward to the sleeves with all the 'baby cables' but they went very well and do make for a nice fitted sleeve! I am also pleased with the change I made in the directional cables on the borders! All in all, I love the yarn, the pattern and the finished sweater. I used 10 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace and it took me about two weeks to knit the sweater. I spent $73.00 on yarn and I plan on a beautiful antiqued silver button that will bring the cost of the sweater to close to $85.00! What would you charge if someone wanted you to knit one? Probably very few people would pay you the price you would need to even make $5.00 an hour!~ Bette is not for sale, because to me she is priceless!
This little shell is called Audrey and she is in the same Elsebeth Lavold pattern book as Bette. I am now knitting her to go with Bette, but I am doing the three inches of baby cable on the bottom of the front and back and changing the interrupted ribbing up the front and back of Audrey to the 'baby cable' pattern. I will knit the body the same length as Bette. I will keep the cascading leaves about the armholes, as I really like it and I think it will add something to the sweater! If I have enough yarn, and I probably will, I might also make a short sleeve for Audrey. She is shown with detachable sleeves - sort of 'arm warmers', but they would look good on a younger body than mine.

I have never had a really nice sweater set, but I think I will enjoy this set and it will be going to lots of nice gatherings! As it is a matte cotton, I have no qualms about wearing it in all four seasons - I love to get as much mileage out of something like this as I possibly can.

Have you gone to the latest Knitty patterns? I received an email to state that new patterns had been posted and I took a look. Many appeal to me, but I fell in love with Tangerine Twist
I do not plan to knit it in a tangerine colour, but I have about ten balls of the same Grignasco Merinogold that I knit my granddaughter's shrug from and I would like to make Tangerine Twist and knit it with long sleeves! Seems I am on a roll with changing patterns to my liking. That is why we all knit! I would never have had the confidence early in my knitting life to change anything on a written pattern, other than perhaps the length of something, but now I feel confident enough to make changes where I know they will give me the finished garment I want.

Thanks for the compliments on my blocking board. As a few people said, sometimes the simpler the better! It works for me! Also, I got a very nice note from my granddaughter to say that she loves the shrug and it fits - a little loosely, but that is okay! She is becoming a knitter and she seems to appreciate the finishing details on her shrug. That makes Nana happy!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bette has hit the 'boards' again!
My blocking board is complete! Here lies Bette's back and both fronts. I have completed the first sleeve and have started the second sleeve!!

I do my blocking by pinning the piece of garment to the board - of course, now I can use the gingham for measuring!! After it is pinned in place, I take a mister full of water and give it a good misting, cover with a towel for a bit and let it rest and dry!

I have tried 'wet' blocking, but I do not like this method, as I found that the garment piece stretched too much and was difficult to work with. If anyone has any hints on blocking, I would love to hear about them! This works for me, so that is what I use. I have thought of getting a book on finishing, but so far I have done it 'my way'.

On the previous post, I got many compliments. Thank you, but I got the idea from the days when I used to do needlework. Somewhere I found out about using gingham, then your measuring is done by counting the blocks on the fabric! I used to 'stretch' my needlework on the old frame, but it got lost in moving - probably I just took it apart, as I had used styrofoam that was about an inch thick! I also had my DH make me a board when I was quilting. We used the large sheets used for insulating - they were about 1.5 inches thick and I covered it with flanelette. It did not even need pins, when I was trying colour configurations in a quilt. I could pin the pattern to the board, or pictures for inspiration! This board is particle board, and when not in use, it will be stowed away and since it is a fair size, it needs to be sturdy.

That is my yarn baller in the upper right hand corner!! Another tool that I love, but my DH did not make it. He made me a swift that I talked about in a much earlier post! If you go to May 25, 2006, you can see my swift in action. It is wonderful for me to have a spouse who is willing to make the tools I want for my hobby! Thanks, J.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Blocking Board! Using up our Stash!

I had read on a blog, or heard it on a podcast about making a blocking board! I know, I could buy one, but we have lots of stashes - wood, old blankets and, of course, yarn! This piece of particle board was cut into two pieces, and then my DH put it together for me. We also need to add the pieces on either side, or when I have it on the table to block, it would rock. Perhaps you do not understand, but trust me, I am sure it will work.

As some of you know who have read my blog before, I used to be a hooker. I always haunted the Sally Ann for old woolens and blankets. I often made pillows and used the old blankets for the backing of the pillow, and the hooked burlap for the front!!

Now we have it all stapled in place and we turned it over. It looks like a table top, but it actually is sitting on a table we made from an old sewing machine base! The table comes in handy in the yard in summer - even for making blocking boards!

My DH had to go to a meeting, so I have just placed the gingham on the top to take a picture for you. I went shopping for the gingham and lo and behold this is actually decorating fabric and it is nice and wide and the squares are exactly 1". I had a blocking board from the days when I did needlework, but I had not used it for quite a while, so I got rid of it! Oh well, it was the much smaller gingham, and I am thrilled to have found the 1" gingham.

I thought you might like to see a pot of coleus that is sitting in a pot on our patio!

Tomorrow we will finish off the blocking board and then I can block the back and both fronts from Bette! I have a huge table that this board will sit on and now I can block my knitting without crawling around the floor on my hands and knees!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It Works! Should I write to Elsebeth Lavold!

I posted yesterday and mentioned that in the sweater design the cables in the panel on the edges of the front were designed with the cable spots both going the same way. I kept looking at this in the book and thinking about it and decided that I would reverse these cables. I mean the large group of cables in the middle that do not really show up as cables, but that is how they are knit. On the left side, you put the 3 stitches in back. On the right side, I put the 3 stitches in front. I think that is a nicer effect and I am sticking with it!

If you want to see how it goes in the pattern, you can have a close look at two posts ago and see the picture from the front of the book. Would Elsebeth mind that I changed her pattern a wee bit? Sorry, Elsebeth!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bette's Moving!!

Believe it or not, this is the same sweater. You can see that my camera, or perhaps the operator, does not always come up with the best colour. The one on the right is more the true colour, but not even it is perfect!

In the closeup, you can see the details of the three' angled bits. These are accomplished by doing 6 stitch cables. You put the first 3 st to the back and then knit. First one is the 6 stitches in the middle, then 4 rows later it covers a combination of 12 stitches, but the exact same cable. The next time, you do the 6 stitch cable completely across the 18 stitches between the baby cables. I like the effect, but on the sweater it is the same on both sides. What I am wondering is if on the right side I change and bring the first 3 sts to the front if I can get the angles going the opposite way. I will try it for a row or two and let you know. I would think that Elsebeth Lavold would have done this if it works, but perhaps not. I can always frog back a few rows and at least satisfy myself that I tried. I am really liking this pattern and I want to finish it soon, as I am hoping there will be enough yarn to knit a simple shell to go under the cardi! There is a shell in the same EL book and it has interrupted ribbing down the front, but it could easily be changed to the baby cables! Now, if I knit faster, will it make the yarn go further?

I have been thinking about answering people who visit the blog and comment. If I can find an email address, then I will certainly email the person. If no email is available, then I will thank them and answer questions on the comment section of my own blog! What do people like Yarn Harlot do? I am sure that with the number of comments she gets that no one expects a comment back.

Last post, I was asked what pattern book this sweater was from, and it is in (actually it is on the cover and that is what sold me on the book; also it was marked down at my LYS) Elsebeth Lavold Designer's Choice - Book Four - The sophisticated Lady Collection. There are a few more patterns that I would like to try in this book, so I am happy that it is in my knitting library.

Hettie thanks you for all your kind comments. She is about 9" tall and I won't insult her by telling you her waist measurement. She sits on the top of my knitting cupboard, and I hope to have another knit before Hettie heads off to Edmonton, Alberta. I have seen a few on blogs that were knit in 'funky' colours. Lime Green bodies with pink variegated 'spines', etc.. They are cute and I can see a teen loving one to sit on their desk!! Now is probably a good time to get some of the eyelash yarn on sale. It is not exactly scarf weather!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Please Meet Hettie the Hedgehog!

It has been awhile since I last knit toys or felted! This was a quick knit, but one of those where each row was different. It was difficult to see on the 'back' of Hettie just where I was, as the 'Funny' eyelash yarn combined with the Galway wool makes it a bit trying at times. However, it did not take me long to do it and I think she is cute. I made her for the big sister, Cate, of a new baby due in a couple of months. I have an Elizabeth Zimmerman simple sweater ready for the baby, but I always like to give a little something to the older brother or sister. It gave me a chance to have some 'knitting fun'.

Below, Hettie, is wearing a little red hat from Kristin Nicholas' book, 'Knitting for Baby'. I did not have much of the superwash merino left after knitting the little hat, but I did pick up stitches along the edge and knit a brim - I just hate having those little tags of yarn left, so this way I could use the entire ball! Take a look at the photo of the baby on this book of Kristin's knitting! Isn't that just the most precious little guy! He reminds me of my son, who is now almost 46! The pattern for the little aran style sweater he is wearing is in the 'Knitting for Baby' book. I ordered myself a copy of the book, as I knit the hat from the book while I had it on loan from the library. It is a book I want to have in my knitting library!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Four Projects - Remember - no more than Four (4)This yarn - Rowan Cotton Glace is going to become the sweater on the model below, I had started to knit a Debbie Bliss Moss Stitch pullover with the yarn, but it was not working - I think wool would be a better selection for the moss stitch, as the cotton was showing where I might not have perfect tension! Now perhaps this would have blocked out, but I just was not feeling it with the pattern. So, I wrote down the gauge marked on the ball band, how many balls I had and went looking. I had admired this sweater before and when I came upon it and realized that the gauge was obtainable and I loved both the sweater and the yarn - it all sounded like a good plan to me. There is also a pattern in the same book for a sleeveless tank that could be changed to match this cardi! I have enough yarn, and a sweater set! Perfect!

The picture is of the 'Baby Cables' in the pattern - they are easy, as every fourth row on the RS, you k2tog, leave the two stitches on the left needle. Insert right needle between the two sts and knit the first st again, slip both sts off left needle at same time and proceed on! It is great that they are 'easy' as both sleeves are completely done in baby cables. I am hoping that something like this pattern will keep the cotton from 'stretching' too much.
I love the closing on the sweater. Here they have used a 'shawl' pin with a beautiful shell backing. My LYS got a shipment of new buttons and there is one that is pewter with a few details on it and about the size of the shell backing on this pin. The button is about $8.00, but I think a sweater like this deserves a distinct closing! Now I am happy with the Rowan Cotton Glace. It is very nice to work with and does not split, tire the hands or feel rough. It is soft and smooth and just the nicest colour!

Isn't this just the most beautiful red for a wee baby's hat? The yarn is Grignasco's Merinogold. I have knit a lot of projects with this yarn and I love it! In fact, I love the colour red so much that I might get my LYS to order enough to replace a wonderful red cardigan I bought and wore out - like leather patches on the sleeves to cover the holes out - a few years ago. The baby in the photo below is modeling the little hat. It is from "Knitting for Baby" by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas. I am beginning to realize that I truly love garter stitch! I have linked you to Kristin's blog 'Getting Stitched On the Farm'. She has co-published several books, and is due to come out with a book soon. She does lots of embroidery on knits as well. I have one of her books on order and also plan to get her latest book - the title escapes me now. It could be from the paint fumes!!
This is EZ vest #7. It is for my DD and she is a little bigger than I am and a lot taller, so I added a few stitches and then added a few more ridges. The point where the needles are is where you start to go up the back. I will stop when I finish the first half of the short rows, go back to the stitches I cast on for the neck, get rid of the waste yarn and knit the other front and then meet at the second turn where my needle is now and proceed up the back! This is a great knit for just picking up when you are so tired you do not want to think, but really want the joy of the rhythm of the needles and the lulling effect that can have on me!!
This is my fourth project and it is the Muskat yarn from Garnstudio and this pattern from Garnstudio! Click on pattern #32 and you will see this little ss lace cardi! The beauty of the Garnstudio patterns, is that you choose one and print it off - all for free! Now don't be alarmed if you do this and the pattern has a chart and the symbols are in another language. In the body of the pattern, they show you what the different symbols are in English, so I just enlarged the chart and then typed in the English terms and drew in the little symbols. There symbols are a bit different than what I am used to, but it works! I always do this when I knit from a chart - enlarge it, as I can then mark it up if I wish and keep the pattern book clean. Also, it is easier on my eyes.

Most of these patterns were started before the house painting, but the little red hat I just wanted to try! I have a charity that will gladly accept baby hats, sweaters and blankets! It is a clever little pattern and I know I will knit more than one of these. The little sweater is a cutie too!

Now that I look at them, I realize that I do have a bit of diversity in the four projects, but two are much easier, and that is always my goal. When I have something with a bit of a challenge - like having to pay attention - I like to have at least one project that is like the vest - just knit for that pure joy of moving my fingers, the lull of the needles - wood is actually soothing in sound - and the ability to look away and dream!

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