4 in 4 weeks!

Well sort of. I knit 4 sweaters in 4 weeks, and not baby sweaters either. This statement is mostly true. I did knit 2 sweaters in about 5 days each, my Carbeth, which I showed in a previous post and this one: Tegna, from Caitlin Hunter.

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I almost got rid of this yarn. I had 3 skeins of Americo Cotton/Alpaca which I had bought ages ago. It was a rather dull grey/beige. I overdyed it with navy and now it is greyish-beigish-blue, much better! My gauge was looser than the pattern so it went quickly. Since this isn’t exactly a summer sweater (alpaca), I added 3/4 sleeves and made it longer. I think I had about 2 gm of yarn left! It is a bit itchy (alpaca) but I have a high threshold.

Now to the truthy section of my 4 in 4 weeks. I also finished this sweater, Shadow by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, from Brooklyn Tweed Vol. 1.

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Yes, Volume 1. That was quite a while ago. 6 years and change, ago. I would have guessed that I started this 3-4 years ago? So I now I really feel like I’m hurtling to the abyss since 6 years flew by like 3. But enough existential angst. As you can see, the sleeve bottom is a bit wonky. The sleeve turned out looser and longer than planned (hey, did you know that your gauge on a project might change AFTER 6 YEARS???) I will probably chop off the ribbing and tighten it up, leaving the length at just above my wrists. I think. I have extra yarn and loads of time apparently.

And then the 4th sweater that I finished is this beauty, Helsinki, by Janine Bajus (who taught at the Needlers’ retreat last year):

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I cannot even begin to express how much I love this yoke (she has a hat pattern with the same motifs which I plan on making too). Of course I should have finished this sweater last year, in time for the retreat, but of course I didn’t. Better late than never. I added length to the sleeves and knit it a bit looser and longer and with ribbing than the original pattern. This is a bottom-up pattern, but my modus operandi for these is bottom-up and then top-down. I use a provisional cast-on for the body and both sleeves, knit about an 1″ and then join them up and knit the yoke as per the pattern. Then I knit down, adjusting width and length and trying it on as I go. This method works fine if the colourwork is limited to the yoke above where you join the armhole because when you pick up the stitches and knit downwards you are 1/2 a stitch off from when you are knitting upwards.

So now I feel very selfish and guilty (but secretly a little bit self-satisfied – guess it’s not a secret anymore). Which means I have to knit for others a bit before indulging myself to knit for myself again. I will be heading off to see the grandkids soon, so am whipping up some crustacean kitsch for them.

This is going to be a pullover with a crab and I will knit a lobster for my other little guy. I am back to using invisible floats which makes knitting intarsia tolerable. It is working out quite well with the Berroco Comfort, even though the yarn is acrylic/nylon. I can’t get enough of sea-creature themed knitwear! I will, at some point, knit myself a cardigan with crabs on it. A simpler version of the Chesapeake Jacket.¬†With stripes and a few crabs thrown in so that I will actually finish it in this decade. Hopefully before Cape Cod is washed away into the ocean.

I will leave you with Frankie striking a rather regal pose in a completely superfluous shawl for such a hairy dog.

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Just a drive by…

This won’t be a long post. Both Kathryn and I are desperately trying to finish up a lot of things. It didn’t help that I was AWOL for two weeks. Here:1aSpending time with the grandkid! It went really quickly. Kathryn was back home slaving in the studio ūüė¶ ¬†while I was eating these ūüôā1b¬†courtesy my daughter, the expert baker, and seeing these ūüôā1bacBut now I’m back and helping her pump these out:1abadSpeaking of which, Kathryn will be at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild Exhibition and Sale. It runs from Friday Nov. 6, 5-8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm at the Glebe Community Centre. It’s a great show with lots of hand-made items, roving, fleece and yarn. I won’t be there because I’ll be at the Needlers’ Retreat, teaching double knitting and eating and drinking WAY too much.

Better late than never!

I am a bit late in posting about the Twist Festival that took place on August 22-23 because Cape Cod got in the way! We had a great time at the festival, there were tons of vendors and huge crowds. Here is our stall featuring Stephen West’s Dotted Rays. The grey and gold leaf shawl is a Berroco pattern called Mrs. Watson¬†(there’s a name that just rolls of the tongue) which only used 3 skeins of the MCN sport weight yarn.5For the dotted rays shawl, we used 4 different colours of our lace weight, held double. I made the golden one and Kathryn made the purply one. Here is the breakdown of how I divided the skeins:

Colour A: 2 x 21 gm (A+A), 14 gm (A+B)
Colour B: 4 x 14 gm (A+B, B+B, B+C)
Colour C: 4 x 14 gm (B+C, C+C, C+D)
Colour D: 14 gm, 2 x 21 gm (C+D, D+D)

This is a really fun pattern and even more fun to knit when you use different colours. I joined the yarn together using the Russian join. If you don’t know how to do it, scroll to the bottom of this Knitty article.

We met up with lots of friends, like Francine who sells shawl pins and stitch markers and Yvonne¬†who runs Yvieknits Yarns, featuring many of Natalie Servant’s patterns at their booth:14Also Sheeps Ahoy. Deb sells Shetland yarns in addition to Briar Rose. More of Natalie’s shawls! I was supposed to knit up that red vest in time for the November Needlers’ retreat but I won’t have time (the plan was for 3 or 4 of us friends to all do it). I am actual teaching this year, double knitting, and have loads of samples I need to finish instead and time to waste freaking out about the whole thing. Maybe next year…9Laura Sheppard pottery was there too with lots of sheepy yarn bowls and mugs:8Our friend Diane Lemire was there with the most beautiful and fantastical felted and silk scarves:11Another friend, who we first met at Twist, Veronique was also there. She makes jewelry from wire using bobbin lacemaking techniques. Her pieces are amazing.1312

We are now gearing up for the Mississippi Mills Fibrefest in Almonte, September 12-13. There a lots of fibre/yarn vendors, vintage clothing, quilters, buttons etc. Some of my favourite vendors will be there, like Windblest Farms with their lovely BFL yarn and fibre, and Kelly who runs Just Knitting, and who, it turns out, is a weaver extraordinaire! Please come and see us, and buy a few things. We are all in the Almonte Arena.

Did I mention Cape Cod? Right after Twist, I hit the road with hubby and doggy for a 10+ hour drive down to visit the grandkid. Didn’t have any knitted items for him this time, maybe for the fall, if I can find the time, gah! The weather was great:3And I learned a new trick from the grandkid, if you want to get sand off your feet ASAP, put some baby powder on it and it all falls away like nothing. Here he is showing his technique:

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And after all that sun and sand, some ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s!4I did finish one knitted thing in Cape Cod. A sweater for myself. It is Sugarcoat from Heidi Kirrmaier. I used Knitpicks Lindy Chain, a linen/cotton blend. ¬†I had 3/4 sleeves, until I washed it. I’m too lazy to rip back.

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I’ll leave you with our new toy, an industrial toy that I put together myself!!15A new skein winder!!! It does 3 at a time!!! It has a motor and a yardage/rotation counter that actually stops!!! Can’t wait for more yarn to arrive to give her a spin.

Retreat!

Well, we are gearing up for out little retreat at the end of May (29-31) here in Wakefield. Maureen is deciding on the menu, Kathryn is mixing her colours and I’m writing up my classes and knitting samples. This year I am teaching double knitting (as colourwork) and mending your knitting with the Swiss darning method (or over-stitching). Friday is meet-and-greet and show-and-tell after stuffing our faces over a fantastic dinner. Saturday will be¬†the¬†double-knitting class and dyeing (and more gorging), Sunday you’ll poke a biggish hole in your knitted homework and then mend it (just pretend Frankie put a claw through your sweater like he’s done to me more than once.) (Oh, and one last food-fest at noon).

I will have patterns available, and Kathryn is putting together kits, and participants can dye their own yarn for their future double-knit projects (or for anything they like, I wouldn’t force anyone to double knit, except in my class).

This is what I have been working on:aDSCF4488The yarn in this picture will all end up as samples, and then kits made by Kathryn. The leaf cowl will be written up for the retreat. I am also working on a scarf (with cowl option) and a flowery cowl. All these patterns are based on my grandmother’s Hungarian embroidery.DSCF4492

We have many cushion covers from her and table cloths, but they are slowly disintegrating. So I mostly keep them wrapped up, but thought it would be nice to translate them into knitting. Some of them will only be for double knitting, others I’ll do as stranded knitting also.

Here are the pieces showing the other side. It makes a nice squishy, warm fabric (especially with Kathryn’s yarn!)aDSCF4490I’ve been wearing my proto-type all winter, and it has kept me warm in the piercing winter wind.aDSCF4437We still have some spots available, so if you are interested, let us know and Maureen can send you the information.

Kathryn has been dyeing up a storm. Her yarn went to fibre festivals in Paris and then Edinburgh with La Maison Tricotée, it can also be found locally at Wabi Sabi and at her studio, just give her a shout if you want to come out.aDSCF4410Here is some drying, some waiting to labelled and some bagged and ready to go.aDSCF4403

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In other news, our little Corgi is going home tomorrow. We will miss her, although I suspect Frankie might be relieved to be an only child again. And he can stop eating fruits and vegetables, which he eats now ONLY because she does.aDSCF4435(Notice the bags of knitting peeking out – I have them stashed all over the house. Except in the oven – I still use the oven).

And one last romp in the snow.aDSCF4485¬†Although I appreciate that I am not in the Maritimes under another 45 cm of snow, I still felt like weeping when I woke up to this. And although I love knitting in the winter, by a cozy fire, it is mid-March and I am heartily sick of it. Hopefully by the time we have our retreat, all this will have melted, but I won’t hold my breath!

Focus?

I guess my adage should be: ” the best laid plans are best laid aside”. I believe I have blogged about projects I was planning to work on, ha, hahaha. I am working on many projects, just not those. ¬†This is what I SHOULD be working on, and I am, among other things. This is a sweater for my son, a fully grown male, emphasis on the FULLY. Lots of grey stockinette… I am using Berroco’s Vintage (wool/acrylic) because it is machine washable. It is actually very nice, soft, good drape, hopefully it won’t pill like a bastard.

But, of course, my heart is divided (into about 5 other pieces). I am also working on a knit-along. You get parts of the pattern and knit them along with a bunch of other crazed knitters (we do not meet, it is all virtual, on Ravelry). Woodburne Cardigan, it is a lovely design. I am using Araucania Toconao which I got super cheap from Little Knits, in a retina burning orange (much richer looking than the picture suggests). Love it.

Also, I am working on some handspun yarn. My hubby gave me the roving for Xmas a few years ago. I have finally decided what to knit. It is top down, will have a bit of retro feel to it and little pockets. It is not really this yellow, more of a yellow/orange colour.

Interweave Knits and Knitscene both have lots of great patterns this season, so had to start a sweater from each (oh, and Twist Collective, sooo many great patterns, planning on at least 3 from there, aaahhhh). ¬†I am using some Malabrigo Silky-Merino I bought years ago on sale, hence the minty green colour, for Arrow Pullover. I’m on the fence about the colour. If I don’t like it in the end, I will simply overdye it, but I will give it a chance. Sales always make me willing to try things I wouldn’t normally, and I often end up liking it, to my surprise (like those yellow shoes I bought once), but the jury is still out on this colour. Frankie would love to get his paws on it…

I am using Ultra Alpaca for this Knitscene one, I might make some changes to the sweater, it is top-down so easy to wing a few things. Another fab sale on the yarn, this time from Elann. In a green I love…

The first weekend of November, I went to an annual knitting retreat in the Gananoque. Of course I don’t have any pics, because I am a total spazoid, but Natalie and Francine took some pictures. Francine taught knitting with wire and we all made bracelets, great fun. Lucy Neatby had lots of useful techniques as did Sue Atkinson. All the classes were fantastic. There was much eating, drinking and guffawing (and a waiter who apparently smelled really good – middle-aged knitters can dream, can’t they?). I won yarn! Because you can never have too much yarn! We hold a raffle with several different prizes to raise money for a scholarship for a person to come to the retreat who couldn’t otherwise afford to. I won 9 skeins of Brown sheep Serendipity Tweed and 10 skeins of Icelandic laceweight, which I shared with Natalie because she had set her sights on that too and I felt guilty for winning twice.

I also bought some of Natalie’s handspun (even though I spin – she can chain ply, which I suck at). I will knit some kind of funky shawl with the long colour changes. The colour is a beautiful grey/purple.

And I bought a Shelridge Farm kit, Molly, from Deb of Sheeps Ahoy, who also organizes the retreat (and she carries Shetland yarns, some of which I may have also bought…)¬†The yarn is unbelievably fantastic, great colour (oh, green again, oops) and soft with great stitch definition. There were a few other purchases as well, but I think I have confessed enough for now.

This is the state of my stash. There won’t be room for the fat cat soon (can you actually find him in all that??). He’ll have to lose weight if he wants to go into the back room, which is essentially a yarn shed, with just a few books… I don’t want to buy more bins, because I want to get through the bags so that there are only bins left. So far my strategy is laughable, I know.

In my last post, I was lamenting the damage done to my handknits by Frankie. Well, the very next day, as I was taking off my coat, he jumped on me from behind and this is what happened to my Water and Stone cardigan:

I had to reknit 7 inches. He is learning not to jump and I am learning to take my coat off and dress in rags in the bathroom before greeting him.

Finally a few pics of our crazy critters. Bessie (who was named Eddie, but was re-baptized Bessie and ignores either name) is obsessed with drinking water from the tub or bathroom sink. I suspect that might have been the only source wherever she lived before?

And lastly, here is Frankie, looking for Henry (the enormous lump under the chair cover), playing hide-and-seek?

 

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