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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Fall is the new Spring

No, I’m not going to rant about climate change (although if I hear “what’s this global warming?  it’s the coldest winter in 20 years” one more time, I will SCREAM). It just means that we have to postpone our little knitting retreat which usually takes place in the spring. Things just didn’t work out so it will probably be in the fall, we will keep you posted as to the actual dates once finalized.

In the meantime, there is knitting to show you! I just finished Reverb for a friend. It still needs buttons, but she gets to choose those. I used just over 2 cones of merino/cashmere DK which I held with a strand of lace-weight yarn to get the right gauge. The yarn came from Colourmart, a little company in the UK that sells remainder yarns from mills in Scotland and Italy. It is very reasonably priced and they DON’T CHARGE FOR SHIPPING. (An enabler at least year’s retreat introduced us to this yarn crack).aIMG_1723There is still about 100 gm left of the last cone, so I am mixing it with some other yarn I have to knit this (for myself):aIMG_1726I am knitting a top-down raglan of my own invention, might add pockets if I have enough yarn. I was originally going to make it just turquoise and navy but there is not enough navy left and I don’t have any other navy yarn on hand. I avoid black and navy because those two colours seem to have a magical magnetic quality to them, attracting every last bit of cat and dog hair to themselves, conspiring to make me look like some slob, crazy cat lady, which I am NOT (even though we have 4 cats – long story, but we do live in the country,  and one dog.) So, I had 4 balls of red St. Denis Nordique and decided to knit the top part in red (because turquoise and navy weren’t bright enough!) I have also found that wearing bright turquoise near the face is like playing Buttercup (the point of which totally escapes me), except instead of having a yellow chin, you have a weird neon turquoise glow on your chin. Red is much better on me, and doesn’t give me a red chin for some reason (although drinking too much Guinness might). I will do the body in stripes and decide what to do with the sleeves later. I’m all about knitting, not about planning. This sweater will be great to wear to large gatherings or festivals because you will never lose me in a crowd. Unless you want to, which is a possibility.

Of course I’ve also started something else (don’t even ask about the stuff in previous posts, they will appear as they get finished…), super cute top-down pullover, Laneway, I will make mine shorter I think (the original has the length of short dress).aIMG_1727I am using KnitPicks Imagination sock yarn (discontinued) in a grey mix and their Stroll sock yarn in red. I hope I won’t just end up looking like a giant sock monkey (although I’m sure my grandson would love that).

AND, I even finished a cardigan that will be perfect for my next visit to Cape Cod:IMG_1712aThe yarn was all STASH yarn that I bought years ago (for about $2 a ball, discontinued – so this cost about $20 to make!!!!) This is a very fun pattern to knit, lots of things happening to keep you interested, it is called BlueSand Cardigan. But it’s not ALL about me (so the count so far, 3 for me, 1 for a friend…) I also finished this little hat for my niece (who is giving it to a friend with a baby girl).aIMG_1716aI mailed it on Monday and it has not yet reached it’s destination. We are hoping it isn’t lost in the mail or being worn by some postie with a sense of humour or some kind of fetish. This was another very fun knit. I made a blue one for my grandson last year. And speak of the devil… I’m working on a cotton pullover for him, very Cape-Codish also:aIMG_1728I used the Whale Watch hat as the basis. I will stitch in some water spouting out of the whales when I am done. Stranded knitting in cotton is a pain, so the rest will be plain knitting, maybe striped sleeves, I don’t know yet, I haven’t planned that far. So obviously I am feeling pretty generous since this adds up to a one-for-one exchange in projects (we won’t count the actual SIZE of the projects).

I will end with one of those hairy beasts we own:IMG_1633aPlaying outside in -20 C weather can tire out the hairiest of dogs, especially spoiled ones. At least he doesn’t ask me to fluff the pillow, although I’m sure he would if he could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just catching my breath…

It has been a very busy fall for all of us. Maureen was working flat out for a pottery show that took place in early November, Kathryn has been dyeing yarn no stop for some large store orders, for the Vorlage craft fair which was in early November  and for Idle Hands Art, Craft and Vintage sale which will be on 1 December (St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall in Ottawa). Now that I’m home, I helped Kathryn, mostly grunt work, skeining, tagging etc. So guess where I was?DSCF3709Why yes, that is the ocean and my grandson (in a hand knit sweater)! I was in Cape Cod again, for 2 weeks of beautiful weather and family time. I gave my daughter a few hand knit items for her birthday:darThe hat is from Kate Davies, Colours of Shetland, and the sweater from Melissa Wehrle’s Metropolitan Knits. Both books are fantastic and I plan on knitting virtually every single thing in them.

It was close to Halloween so we dressed the cutey up in an outfit that was his dad’s as a baby. DSCF3775He took his role as Parts Manager (or Farts Manager as his dad suggested) for Gulf a tad seriously but melted many a heart in Provincetown as we strolled along and then topped for a fantastic lunch.

He is 9 months old and starting to walk fairly regularly – even without mom’s helping hands. (oh, and is that another hand-knit sweater?)

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When I came home, I was off to the Gananoque for an annual knitting retreat that I go to with some friends. It was a blast as usual. We had an enormous room, with a living area and a bar and 2 bathrooms! It’s right on the water, this was our view:

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The classes were great, Natalie Servant, a fantastic designer and overall super nice person, gave a class on an Estonian technique called Roositud. It looks like embroidery but you weave the other colour of yarn as you are knitting. It is a great  alternative to intarsia for those of us who hate intarsia more than doing taxes (that would be me). Natalie of course pushed it to the nth degree, knitting 24 little Xmas mitts for her tree. She was working on them all through the retreat:DSCF3850And managed to get them all done! Crazy girl.DSCF3852This a more complicated version of this technique (also knit by Natalie). I can definitely see it in my future…IMG_6148_medium2Natalie gave me a spindle made with what looks like marbles (and there are heavier ones you can substitute these for and spin thicker yarn). I had given her one that didn’t do anything for me, so she reciprocated. Then she even won some roving during our raffle night and shared some with me. How nice is that?DSCF3860Anna Dalvi taught shaping shawls and had many beautiful samples to show. I have both her books and am itching to get knitting on some her shawls (once my Xmas knitting is done).DSCF3845And then there is Mary Pat. She often teaches at this retreat, and sometimes just comes as a civilian, and her classes are always wacky and fun. This year we picked from a list of techniques that she thought should be a part of any good knitter’s toolbox. She wrote and sang a knitter’s version of “A Few of My Favourite Things”. You had to be there. Plus she has the best hair, eyeglasses, earrings and outfits. Always a blast. IMG_6158_medium2

We also have a show and tell. So many beautiful things… this shawl was knit by Noreen in Kathryn’s yarn.IMG_6135_medium2The pattern is Radiance Shawl, and she used yarn that she bought from me at the last retreat (we also have a vendors night). Wouldn’t it look great with a purple or indigo dress? You’d never get lost in a crowd!

And my room-mate Nancy made this one from Twist Collective, Celestarium:IMG_6128_medium2The night sky! In beads! Nancy added that border to make it larger.

We also all come dressed in all our knitted finery. I wore my Kate Davies outfit from Colours of Shetland. The hat is made with Jamieson & Smith, and the tunic with Knitpicks Palette. IMG_6212_medium2

IMG_6217_medium2On the way home, we were already plotting what to knit for the next retreat, it sure gets your knitting juices running, haha.

In other knitting news, Kathryn and I both finished our Toujours, both in her wool/tussah silk blend. We chose very different fits. Her is more fitted and I went with loose and long. Which got looser and longer after washing. Argh.photo (49)I like it but I liked it better before washing. So I washed it again and threw it in the dryer. I kept an eye on it and it tightened up just enough. The yarn held up fantastically well and I probably could have left it in the dryer till it was bone dry but didn’t dare. So now it’s not quite as “wavy” as in the picture.

Here is a peek at the piles of yarn Kathryn dyed up:photo (51)(I’m knitting Ninian with that green yarn – because why can’t a person have 20 green sweaters? – anyway it only takes 2 skeins of Kathryn’s cashmere lace weight/light fingering yarn). Well that was our busy month of October and some of November.

I’ll end this post with a picture I forgot to add to my last one about my mom. It is one of my favourite pictures. The quality isn’t very good. But how prescient is it?IMG_NEWHalf a century before DeadMau5!

Deadmau5 In Concert At L'Olympia

Grand-wha?

Yup, I’m a Grandma! Here is the little nipper:photo (7)

I don’t usually put anything in this blog more personal than my dog (who by the way is getting neutered as we speak, poor little guy) but I thought I’d make an exception in this case. It was a bit hard going for my daughter but everyone is fine and this little guy is starting to get the hang of being in this world. When I finish his pacman sweater, I will post it, he will be a retro-cool baby!

Now back to our usual broadcast – latest knitted project:

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Trace by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. I used KnitPicks Palette instead of the called for Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I would love to try Loft but the $$ difference was too great. You just can’t beat the price of Palette. I really like the simplicity and modernity of this pattern. It is also a great first project for stranded knitting. It is easy to follow the pattern so you can concentrate on your knitting and floats. I did add an I-cord edge to the neckline. It looks neater and reduced the width a wee bit.

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Of course I started another project… This is Ursula Cardigan from Colours of Shetland. I am using stash yarn so mine will be mostly cinnamon and brown, I might throw in another colour over one pattern repeat to mix things up. I might also change the sleeves, either knit them in the brown contrast colour or knit them like the body, patterned. I haven’t decided yet. I don’t think I will have enough of the cinnamon to make it as in the original pattern.

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It is a very enjoyable knit, the pattern is easy to remember and you really feel like are progressing as you get through the rows. It will be a really neat looking retro cardi. Like grandma, like grandson?

In the dead of winter, a middle-aged woman’s fancy turns to thoughts of …. the spring knitting retreat!

It is snowing, it will be -20 something all week, but I’m just thinking about the first weekend in May, our little spring knitting retreat. We’ve already booked The Barn, and now is the time to start thinking about our classes. I’ll give you a hint:

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4and finally

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Yes! The basics of stranded knitting. I’m in love, in love with stranded knitting, and like anyone in love, you just have to share that warm fuzzy glow of knitterly love. So in our class, once you figure out how best to hold the yarns in your hand/hands (I knit double handed), we will focus on colour dominance with some exercises, and tension/floats. I am going to try to complete all my stranded projects so I will have lots of examples and I’ll knit up little samples too.

Kathryn will do her dyeing workshop and talk about colour theory, especially as it pertains to stranded knitting, what to think of when deciding on foreground and background colours.

Then on Sunday, I’ll give a class on yarn substitution. Things to consider when substituting yarn in a given pattern and you want the yarn to be similar to the original, and ideas for making substitutions that are completely different from the original (I knit a jacket at the original gauge with fingering mohair when the original called for worsted/aran weight wool). I’ll bring plenty of examples.

As it is a new year, I counted the number of projects I knit last year:

11 cardigans ; 3 pullovers ; 5 scarves/shawls ; 8 baby things ; 2 short sleeved tops ; 3 hats. Keep in mind it wasn’t all for me. Mostly, but not all. Especially the baby stuff.

Well, back to my knitting, so I will be prepared for May. I leave you with pictures of Frankie discovering the joys of eating ice:

mmm, what’s that?

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well maybe just a taste…

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Oh, yeah! fantastic! but could use a soupcon of cat poop…

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