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

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Three FO's in a morning!
Remember the little boleros and hats I made for the girl and boy twins? Well we have been invited to a shower for them tomorrow, so I already had the yellow Baby Surprise Jacket finished and the yarn for the green sweater. I got busy this week and finished the little green sweater. I had picked 'orange' flower buttons for the yellow sweater, but I though if it fit the little boy then the simple little round buttons would be better. I used a 3.75 mm needle for the green sweater, so it is smaller than the yellow that was knit on a 5 mm needle. The yarn is Basics by Lana Grossa and contains 50% viscose and 50% acrylic. It is machine washable - who would have time to hand wash many things when caring for twins?

I am sure some of you already do this, but I use embroidery floss to sew on buttons. You can use as many strands as you wish, depending on the size of the button, and since the floss comes in so many colours, you are sure to find a colour that matches your yarn! I used to be a cross stitcher and have boxes of the different colours - all neat and tidy, I must admit. I used three strands to sew on these little buttons. I know that both sweaters are buttoned from the left to the right, but I was thinking more of the buttoners - both Mom and Dad are right handed!!

Then I got busy and put some buttons on this milk-chocolate brown Rib Warmer Vest. It appears more grey in the photo, but I assure you it is the colour of milk chocolate. I got three nice bone buttons and made some cord and left long ends! I am not sure but what the vest might not be a bit large for the wearer, so I thought the buttons and ties would keep it from 'flapping in the breeze'. There are knots hidden by the buttons. I had thought of having to tie the cord after securing it around the button, but this might be a problem, as the intended wearer will be working with young children and will want to get it on and off quickly. Sometimes when we make things that don't turn out quite the size we wanted, we can find various ways to make them be the size we want.

Knitters and bloggers are just the best. Thank you very much to all who gave me some sources of the Lang Jawoll yarn. I am now in the process of exchanging some yarn for the same colour Jawoll - different dye lot, but I am not concerned about that. I have some sock yarn that she may be interested in, so we will make a swap!! Then I will have a fourth FO!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Lesson Learned!

Thanks to those who are trying to find me some yarn. I thought I had found a source for the yarn, but I now have learned that Jawoll has discontinued that colour - 820164 and so my chances of finding any are slim.

However, all is not lost. You know those little spools of reinforcement thread that come with the skeins - if all else fails, pray that it is enough to finish the shawl. Since it is a round shawl I would carefully fold it with the odd bit underneath - works for me!!

Necessity and no more yarn of a certain colour makes a knitter become very inventive!

NO, NO, do not even tell me to frog it back and make the border smaller - it is just not going to happen in my life time!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Can anyone out there help me?

I forgot to mention in the previous post that I am looking for a skein or part skein of Lang Jawoll colour # 820164. I am not fussy about the dyelot, but mine is 46188. I tried to get some from an out of country source, and it would have cost me $15.00 for shipping. That is a heavy price to pay for a skein of yarn!

Thanks, Peg

PS If you know of any yarn shops in Canada that carry Lang Jawoll, let me know and I will write and see if they can help!

There are three pairs of socks in this shawl!

Yes, there are six balls of Lang Jawoll superwash in the shawl so far! Look!! Sadly there is a 'bite' out of the shawl! The LYS I bought this yarn from has no more, but there are a few other sources to be checked out, so all is not lost! However, I might not be finished by the end of July - all depends on how long it will take for the yarn to get to me!

Here is a close up of the 'bite'. I cast on for the Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi Shawl and knitted plain with a few little yo, k 2 tog for interest. By the time I got to 288 stitches, I wanted a bit of variety, so I knit in the 'diamonds' which are an option in the pattern. At 566 stitches, I changed to the gull stitch, which is the pattern used in the February baby sweater in EZ's Knitter's Almanac. The diamond and gull stitch patterns were all suggested in the pattern, but the edging is the same edging of the Spanish Christening Shawl by Cheryl Oberle. It is a clever pattern and very quickly memorized. I can see myself using this edging pattern again.

However, thinking six balls of the sock yarn would be more than enough was a bit of a simple mistake. There was no way for me to know just how much the pattern would take, as there are so many variables. Not a big problem, because as long as I can get the same colour - which is entirely possible - the need for the same dyelot is not crucial - at least not to me!! The shawl is 42 inches across and that is with no blocking!!

I got a phone call from Jackie, who owns another LYS that I frequent, to tell me that she was having a little pre-sale shopping for valued customers!! Turns out less than eight gals were there, but it was great to shop without a store full of bargain hunters. I had gone in hopes of finding some yarn to knit two cardigans I have in my to-do list, but there was nothing in either the beige/tweed/oatmeal colour or the just-right red, so not wanting to come away empty handed, I did buy some goodies.

Being a valued customer may be stash enhancing, but it is so nice to know other knitters (there were four of us in the shop at one time who will be going to Fun Knits knitting retreat in October) are good at keeping the stash from having a 'low-level' light flashing!! It was nice to see all the other enthusiastic knitting and so nice that Jackie has been in Cumberland for a whole year. Well done, Jackie, and I hope you are there for many years to come!

These two balls are Santa Fe from Tahki Yarns. I got 7 balls of the orange/violet/green/beige colour and 8 balls of the charcoal/grey/beige/brown colourway. I think that will be enough for two Elizabeth Zimmermann Rib Warmer Vests!! It is 95% Extra Fine Merino Wool and 5% Nylon. The nylon wraps around the yarn and has a wee bit of a shine. There are some large slubs here and there, but I think they will make great vests!! This was on for 50% off, so what is a knitter to do.

This is saving the 'best for last'. Here is a skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk. Isn't it just the colour of raspberries, my favourite fruit? I plan to knit Montego Bay Scarf by Amy R. Singer which is on page 47 in the Summer 2007 Interweave Knits! The display of Sea Silk had a bit of knitting in the basket and Jackie, the clever LYS owner had this particular scarf on the needles and it looked wonderful. How many of you get sold on a yarn when there is a sample of it knit into something that you know you would be able to wear or gift? I, for one, have bought many yarns because there was something knit up in the yarn that I liked.

Clever shop owners, I say, who show you what a yarn will look like knitted up. Both my LYSs say that this bit of marketing does sell yarn. I say good on them! I am so lucky to have two wonderful shops withing less than 30 minutes of driving and another one where I can take a 10 minute cruise across the Strait where folks sail past to get from the South to Alaska on cruise ships. Lucky knitter, me!
Thank you to all who dropped by to wish me a Happy Birthday. It was a wonderful day and I continued to celebrate for a few days after!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summertime and the living is easy!

This is my Pi Shawl in progress. Down in the left corner of the picture, you can see the border I am knitting - it is from the Spanish Christening Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's book, 'Folk Shawls'. The white you see amongst the stitches is the piece of cotton yarn that holds the 576 stitches that will be picked up as I do the edging. I got the idea from Kelly Petkun, who is the gal that came up with the idea of knitting each month's project from Elizabeth Zimmermann's 'Knitter's Almanac'. It must have been cooler where Elizabeth was living in July, as there were a few days last week when this project was entirely too warm to be knitting on it!

I am using 3.75 mm needles and Jawoll Superwash sock yarn to knit the shawl. So far, I am on the 5th ball and I will definitely need the 6th ball to complete the project. I knit the circular part on a 3.75 mm circular needle, but for the 20 - 24 stitches (they vary with each row), I decided that two dpns were better! I have enjoyed this project, and have sort of put other things aside to finish it before the end of the month. There are two projects so far in the 'Knitter's Almanac' that I won't do, but will substitute another EZ pattern. I do not need anymore Christmas ornaments, although I might try the star and the tree, and I certainly have no need to knit myself wool leggings. I think EZ would not think it wise to knit things you had no use for, nor did you have anyone that you wanted to gift them too - just my thought! Instead, I will knit another Baby Surprise Jacket, another simple baby sweater by EZ and probably another Rib Warmer Vest! I think Elizabeth would give me approval on this plan!

Before I go any further, I must say a big Thank You to all who commented and wished me a Happy Birthday. Much appreciated, much celebrated and much enjoyed. I will try to write to all of you, but in case I don't get to everyone, thank you! We really should celebrate all occasions, life is short and should be sweet!
Above is my salad garden. We have such a problem here with slugs and earwigs that I try to keep things off the ground where possible. The 'table' they are sitting on is made from old fence boards on top of an old Singer sewing machine treadle base! In fact, once I post this note, I will go out and pick some lettuce for a salad for dinner!

The salad above is made from basil from the garden, tomatoes (both fresh and sundried), my own freshly made Mozzarella cheese, pine nuts, etc. It is perfect on a summer day with crusty rolls.

This is a tray of Mozzarella Cheese with fresh fruit. The little mouse sitting on the cheese is a pewter mouse I brought back from my holidays! The cheese looks like he might have taken a huge bite out of it, but I made it into balls and put them in a circle with one in the middle in a casserole, so that is the shape they took on! It was eaten with the Chocolate Bread below and a glass of wine. The bread was made in a local bakery and had a bitter chocolate flavour with chunks of chocolate and dried apricots through the slices. It is delicious!! The bakery has a huge brick oven that she gets up to 700 degrees and then puts in the breads. They are wonderful!

You can see I am not a food stylist, as they would never leave crumbs on the cheap vinyl cutting board! This bread will also be great toasted with cream cheese spread on it!
Lastly, this is a trug that my DH made for me, and yesterday I picked my lavender and got 15 bunches to dry. They are hanging in the shade of the shed, which I go to often, as it smells heavenly! There are several lavender farms here on the Island, but I am no competition for them. Oh yes, the deer do not eat lavender!! They do eat phlox and sunflowers - I went out last week and the phlox were just about to bloom, but the little 'dears' had nipped all the buds off. They do it neatly, but I was not amused!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Would someone like to give me a birthday present?!

Help! I turned 67 today, and so I need to change the header on my blog, but it might be the age, but I do not know how to do this!

I swam my age this morning - 67 + 1 lengths, as I needed to get back to the end of the pool I started from. I usually swim 64 lengths (1 mile), but want to swim my age each birthday. Do you suppose I will be able to swim 80 at age 80? I certainly plan to and if you had told me that in December of 1996, when I first learned I had breast cancer, I would have never believed you!

Here in Canada, we get our 'gold' card - which is our health care card, but at age 65, you get a gold one and it is quite significant - you start getting your pension from the government. So to mark that birthday, I swam 3 miles non-stop! It felt great! I have always been a goal setter, and now my goal is to live well and live long, oh yes, to finish the Pi Shawl before the end of July!!

Life is great and I plan to have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I am still here - just not much knitting to show!

This is our back patio with the newly painted house in the background! I usually sit at the patio table and listen to podcasts or audio books and knit. Today I took my Pi Shawl outside to knit, but the heat drove me inside. Now I know it is not that hot here, but we were looking for long sleeved turtlenecks to wear last week and this week we needed minimal clothing!

I would show you some knitting, but 576 stitches on a circular needle that will become a Pi Shawl that looks like a 'bag' is not pretty. It will be, but at the moment, it is not much to show! I did borrow Cheryl Oberle's book on Folk Shawls from the library, as Kelly Petkun
of Knit Picks, who has a most wonderful podcast that I have mentioned before, said that in looking through this book, she found the most beautiful knitted cast off in the Spanish Christening Shawl that would be great for the Pi Shawl. I like it and I am going to use that method. I have about 30 more rounds of 'gull stitch' to do on the Pi Shawl and then the adapted cast off! Once it is completed, I will show you and it may be a birthday gift! I will have used 5 balls of Jawoll sock yarn to make the shawl, so it gives me a new appreciation of sock weight yarns!

It is things like finding a way to make a beautiful finish to a piece of knitting that makes reading blogs so worthwhile. If you had looked at Rambling Rose in the Interweave Knits magazine of Summer 2007, you will be surprised when you go to Lisa's blog to see how it looks without the scallops. I like Lisa's version and I now like the sweater much better. I have learned about terrific books, yarns, gadgets and possibilities in knitting by simply checking out blogs. I have laughed, smiled, frowned and cried, but I always come away wiser. Sometimes I think I waste a lot of valuable knitting time by reading and posting on blogs, but this is my 'knitting group' and how will I know what everyone is up to, if I don't check in regularly? Knitters, readers and bloggers are just the best!
This is a view of the back again and you can see the wider trim in the charcoal grey (Evening Hush) that my DH put around the windows. He did most of the work and I was the helper. It is great to have this job finished. There is still some work to be done inside on the new windows, but we will take our time with this and not kill ourselves in the heat!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day - Our 140th birthday!

I have mentioned, I think on this blog, about how much I admire Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is her Baby Surprise Jacket and I was skeptical during the knit, but after a bit, I could see just what was happening! How did this woman's mind work? I have also said that if I were having a dinner party and could invite people alive or dead that I would invite Elizabeth. I am sure she would be a witty and enjoyable dinner guest. I would ask her about how she came up with her wonderful patterns and what does she think of blogs, podcasts and all the renewed interest in her gifts to the knitting world. Would you like to join us!

Above looks like a 'marigold' blob, but below is the sweater folded. I have not blocked it and the buttons are just lying on the sweater. I was not sure about one part of the knitting - the part that after you m1 on either side of stitches 44 and 135 and then there is talk of 3 ribs. I am beginning to think the 3 ribs are the ones created when you are increasing and you do not need to knit 6 more rows to get a further 3 ribs. I knit the six more rows! However, I am happy with the sweater and think it is brilliant. This is not the last baby surprise sweater I will knit. I have not sewn on the buttons, as I will await the arrival of the baby and also get some turtles or something boy like! I found it interesting when a gal wrote in to a website and asked why Elizabeth put buttons on both sides. Young women probably know the sex of the baby they are awaiting, but way back in the 'good old days' you did not know until the baby was born. Also some folk are not aware that boys/men and girls/women actually button their shirts on different sizes. It is not important to me which side it buttons on, so long as it fits!!

I will say this about Elizabeth Zimmermann's patterns - they are short, to the point and you have to do some thinking for yourself. All that said, they are just the nicest patterns and get the most compliments of any patterns I have knitted!

I am following along on an Elizabeth Zimmermann KAL that uses her 'Knitter's Almanac' book. For the month of July, the project is a Pi Shawl, so I will post some pictures later on. It is knit on a circular needle, as was Elizabeth's favourite tool!

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