You win some, you lose some

Ah, knitting, she can be a fickle mistress, giving you so much hope and happiness, and then snatching it away, but sometimes she lets you hang on to it. Case in point: my son’s sweater (apologies for the blurry pic, I’ve been having issues, as they say, with downloading my camera pictures).

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Looks pretty good, right? WRONG. The sleeves are WAY to wide at the top (I will rip back halfway and cease increasing). Too many buttons, it would take him 20 minutes to button up this beast. But the worst of it, which doesn’t show, is that the front (although in theory and by row-count is the same length as the back) actually measures 34″ from the shoulder while the back measures 30″. Why? WHY, you may ask, as I did, almost sobbing. Well, a number of factors. Back neck shaping. DON’T DO IT, when knitting a v-neck cardi with pockets. Not to mention that the back neck was way to wide. (I was following a pattern and should have listened to my gut – even if that is what George W. Bush recommends).

The pockets add weight, hands in pockets add even more. The v-neck is open and loosey-goosey compared to a crew neck, so that the back shaping slides up to the back of the neck, dropping the centre shoulder seam forward and the whole front slides down. Now I understand why for some sweaters you just cast off across the whole back or even add some shoulder shaping, RAISING the back neck (which is what I have done now). This way the back has no where to slide, because it is already snugly against the neck. In addition, I threw in a couple of short rows on the front to raise it, so when hands go in pockets, or the sweater starts to sag a bit from the weight of the pockets, it will all lie straight.

You have figured out by now that I am reknitting about half this sweater. Yes, I cut off the buttons, unraveled the collar, cut all the seams and ripped back as far as was needed. In addition to the changes mentioned above, I’m moving the v-neck higher, adding depth to the shawl collar and reducing the number of buttons. The knitting muses were conspiring against me this time, but I must say, I learned a lot from my mistakes. Even though it seems easy to just follow a pattern, it’s better to just use it as a suggestion and make the changes you think are necessary. As good ole George says, listen to your gut (except when deciding to wage war). I will take another pic when it is properly finished.

On to happier news, this! THIS!!!

31759904_unknownOMG, I am so happy with this shawl! It is called Find Your Fade, hugely popular on Ravelry (1450 projects so far). I knit it to showcase our yarn, Kathryn is picking her colours and I will knit another one – Kathryn does knit, but my fingers fly faster. Check out our Instagram feed for more colour suggestions.

img_3902I used a combo of yarns, singles, 3 ply sock, 8 ply sock, and MCN sock. It looks fine. Don’t be afraid to mix. The colours are (from right to left) Ghost, Sailor, Poppy Seed Cake, Scarab, Wicked, Twilight and Bewitched. I had a bit of crocking with Wicked and Bewitched (on all my right hand fingers too):

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There is a lot of dye in these colours and a layer of black, but the dye did not bleed at all. The first colour only uses about 20 gm of yarn, so you could use a couple of minis. I did make some changes to the pattern, I only did single yarn overs, instead of doubles; I skipped a few rows (could have skipped more) and I knit tightly so when it was washed it wouldn’t stretch out too much. The shawl as written is HUGE. Mine is a nice size I think. I even threw it in the dryer! I did not want it to stretch out. And it looks fine.

I will include one more pic because I am so freaking pumped about it!

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I also have some totally mindless knitting, also known as knitFlix:

img_3740This is the gorgeous pattern Helsinki (got the kit from Debbie Wilson at Sheeps Ahoy). It is a bottom-up sweater, but I have decided to do all my yoke sweaters, yoke first. I didn’t have the patience to recalculate to do this top-down so I cast on provisionally for the body and knit 3″, did the same for the sleeves, then joined them as per the pattern instructions and knit my yoke. This way I could try it on, make sure the armhole depth was good and now I just have to knit downwards and watch Netflix. I can easily decide how wide and how long I want it by trying it on as I go (I wasn’t sure if wanted to make the 37 or the 40, I knit a 37 yoke but might widen the body, we’ll see). I plan on doing all my Kate Davies sweaters this way too. I just love the colour choices, the yoke positively glows. Of course with all my other projects on the go, I should be finished just in time for summer, yay!

Because after reknitting my favourite son’s cardigan, I have to get going on this:

img_3917I am almost finished the lobster portion of this double-knit blanket, next, more fish, crabs, and sea shells. I have to get this done for March, when I go back down to see my grandkids, and it’s Oscar’s birthday. And I have to squeeze in a sweater for him too somewhere. I am having lots of fun knitting this blanket. I am using free pot holder charts on Ravelry, and Berroco Comfort DK. This yarn holds up very nicely after multiple washings and dryings. Even if wool is superwash, it will felt up after being thrown in the dryer a number of times (which I know will happen, I’m not judging my daughter, haha, so I use washable AND dryable yarn).

Speaking of yarn… we have some new colours, and more in the works. This is Jewel, I’m knitting up a sample shawl in it. A deep gold, with flecks of magenta, purple and blue.

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We’ll have more popping up on Instagram as we dye them.

That’s all for now, I’ll leave you with Frankie and Shelma hoofing it down our road, well, Frankie is sauntering while Shelma is jogging.img_3755

Happy Holidays!

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Let me start with my “tree”. Here is my cat for perspective. No, my cat is not 5′ tall, the “tree” is 15″ tall, including the pot. I am a minimalist when it comes to decorating although our Xmas lights stay up all year long (yes, we are one of THOSE kinds of people) – albeit inside the house.

I had a lovely 3 weeks in Cape Cod with the grandkids, if you don’t count the bout of norovirus we all had and then a cold that lasted for 3 weeks! The robot sweaters were a hit. And they fit, too well, so I immediately added length everywhere and will no longer trust my daughter’s measurements.

Grandson #1 has room to grow (after I added some to the bottom and the sleeves), grandson #2 does not (even after I added to the bottom and the sleeves).

My daughter’s shrug turned out very nicely (8-ply supersock in Cobalt & Rust). She wears it a lot. Here they are waiting for Santa.

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In between holding this little guy,

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who was very sick with a cold and needed a lot of holding, to the point where I almost lost the use of my arms (who knew I should have been lifting weights in preparation for my Cape Cod stay), I did manage to make these:

a11.jpg The hat is called Deep Woods Toque, an Interweave pattern. I used a new yarn which we might carry, an organic 2 ply merino in Moroccan Spice. The gold is some leftover merino/silk and the green is some leftover sock yarn. I had enough to make a double knit cowl, so cast-on! I wish I had made it bit narrower, so I have since added a fold and sewed a button on it so that the cowl actually stays up on my neck for warmth and not just for fashion.

Here is the inside of the hat, I again used invisible stranding since there are large sections between the trees and I didn’t want the gold poking out. Can’t emphasize enough how much I love this technique. It does work best with wool, I think. I used it on the robot sweaters, but they were acrylic and it still shows to a certain extent. The stitches just don’t bounce back as nicely as they do with wool when you create that extra purl stitch between the knit ones.

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In other news. I am almost finished my son’s sweater. It is for Christmas, but luckily we decided to celebrate with him when he gets back from visiting his sis down in Cape Cod for the holidays. One sleeve to go! and then a shawl collar! and then a backing for the button band and finding buttons! But I will be done before he returns! It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t monogamous in my knitting (although cheating on your main project does help keep you from getting repetitive strain problems in your wrists etc – at least that’s my story).

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I knit up a hat with the new bulky yarn we are carrying. This is in Hell’s Kitchen and the pattern is Fidra. Super quick knit and a lovely soft 2-ply yarn. The pom pom was made from two fingering minis although I think I had enough yarn left from the hat to make one. I will knit a swatch with the rest instead.

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AND, I sneaked this in:

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This fantastic pattern is from Natalie Servant, Cosmic Dust. I took a beading course with Natalie this fall and fell in love with this pattern. I chose colours that would match my rain coat.

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The yarn is Shirley Brian yarns, a cotton gradient. It was really fun pattern to knit and I highly recommend it. You cut the yarn at each colour change and string on the beads, it is not nearly as tedious as it sounds and goes quite quickly. Even weaving in the ends was pretty quick. I saved a bit of the cotton in the various shades and sewed down the ends where I weaved them in so they wouldn’t come out.

After I finish the cardigan-that-never-seems-to-end, I will get back to these socks for the hubby. He does love hand-knit socks and wears them so much that he wears through them. For this pair I am holding some reinforcement yarn with the sock yarn for the heel and when I turn the heel. We’ll see how that holds up.

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I splurged a bit this month and went to an open house at my friend Maureen’s studio, and bought myself some cups. The blue ones are by David, her husband, and have impressions that make your hand fit right around the cup and the ones on the right are Maureen’s. Guess why I just had to buy that brown one, haha.

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I hope you all have happy holidays, whatever you might be celebrating (or not) and will try to blog more often in the new year. I will leave you with Frankie relaxing in my knitting chair (until I kicked him out that is).

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TWIST! and am I bat-shit crazy?

Twist Festival is this weekend!! We are bringing loads and loads of yarn and we have a new label, with a logo and everything. This is not all of it….

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New label! (there is a pale stockinette pattern on the background)

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Piles of samples!

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I finished my sweater! I’m loving it so much, I won’t even mind when the weather cools.

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Now for the bat-shit crazy part:  the pile of stuff I have to finish. Three sweaters (all for me BTW, cause I’m selfish like that).

Ambergris, love the whale tails.

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These you have seen already, I’ve been distracted…

Three shawls, samples and/or for me/ who knows…

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Two more shawls and a scarf, samples and/or for me, depending how greedy I’m feeling.

Socks, definitely for me and/or sample, depending how dirty I get them (in new colour Oxidized – darker than photo).

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Shrug for my daughter (in perennial favourite Cobalt&Rust) – I do knit 1 out of 100 for someone else.

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I did finish this hat and cowl set, with one skein of worsted singles in Sand and the stripes are sock yarn held double. Pattern is Windschief.  It is a sample! So, maybe 2 out of 100 are not for MOI.

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These are just the WIPs from our own yarn. You have NO idea how many I have with other yarns (because I am a tad promiscuous in my love of yarn). I will get these done, this fall, by the end of the fall, for sure, I swear. Then I have family obligation knitting, grandkids – fast, yay!, son – not so fast 😦   and a vest for hubby if I recover in time from not-so-fast-son knitting.

Anyway, come to Twist and check out our yarns and samples. I hear there might be a few other vendors 😉  Don’t miss this cornucopia of yarn! Loads of new colours!

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But if you miss it, we will be in Almonte at the Mississippi Mills Fibrefest 10-11 September. However, after Twist and before Almonte, I’m heading down south to see my munchkins. This little guy says, “See you later”.

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What would you pay?

I’ve decided to make a few shawls to sell. We are constantly being asked at shows if the sample shawls are for sale. Now, I have no real idea what people are thinking when they ask this. I am sure if I said $200, they would say WHA? and if they offered me $60 I’d say WTF? Nevertheless, I’ve decided to knit up a few shawls and cowls. I’m using fingering- weight 100% silk, which I dyed and which I knit from my own patterns (which mostly reside in my head). The cowls will be knit from merino, and merino/cashmere. I am planning on charging between $80 and $170, depending on the complexity and size.IMG_1771

Notice the beaded bind off…IMG_1774

This one also has beads.

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I’m quite proud of this one, a crescent shawl. I used a German lace pattern for the bottom half. (My camera needs to be recharged so these are from the iPad).IMG_2485

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I think my prices are still a bargain. I am not counting the hours of knitting lest I stain these shawls with my tears in figuring out an hourly wage, haha. But I enjoy knitting them, and coming up with my own ideas, and I am curious to see if they will sell. If they sell like hot-cakes, I might up my prices, if they don’t, I won’t lower the prices, I’ll just prance around the house in all my silk-shawled glory, and if family and friends are really nice to me…

I have even managed to knit for myself. This tunic, Serenity, has been finished for quite a while. I used our fingering singles in the colour Dusk. I really love it, and I don’t look quite as fat in real life as I do in these pictures, although this IS an excellent sweater to hide all kinds of lumps and bumps.

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(Frankie never worries about the size of HIS ass).

I also knit another cowl, which goes fabulously with my tunic. I used Mushroom and Damson & Denim in merino/cashmere/nylon lace. I have enough to knit another, which I might sell.

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I still have another sweater to finish before the Twist Festival in our 8 ply sock, and a few more shawls, I hope.

(a wee update to the post – another sweater I knit!) I completely forgot to add this sweater to my post, Persimmon:

1aIMG_1744 I used Berroco’s Indigo, a yarn from recycled jeans. I really like the feel and love the colour (and I love matching my bag!) I changed the top pattern since the original just uses garter stitch. This yarn is not terribly bouncy and the garter stitch part was much wider, so I ripped back and substituted another pattern. I also knit an i-cord at the beginning of the garter stitch edges. It makes for a much neater edge.

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Since I’ve already given you gratuitous Frankie butt shots, I’ll leave you with this cutie, can’t wait to see him again. He’s rocking that electro-static hair look!e

Lack of focus

Well, no surprise there. I know I have to finish some baby items, within a month. So what do I do? Knit a sweater for myself and start a hap blanket (for myself). This is not nearly as selfish as it sounds. Really. The sweater is totally justifiable. We (Riverside Studio) have a new yarn, a DK weight, 100% superwash Merino. Yum. So I had to dye some up and knit something. First up was a cowl:IMG_1240a

But I needed more! So I dyed up enough yarn (more than enough it turns out) for a sweater. For me, MOI, nobody else! One of my favourite colourways is Sundown, a blue and orange mix. I knit this in nine days, which includes the day I dyed it. Ha, stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (what does that even mean?) Warning, picture heavy:

IMG_1286aIMG_1288aIMG_1278a This last pic is not some smug selfie but to show you how freakingly matchy my earrings are, which I bought, I believe, in 1990? Sometimes fate takes a long time. The pattern is a Vogue Knitting one, #02 Bateau neck (always with the poetic names for their patterns). Vogue lost me for a few years, crazy expensive novelty yarn, over the top designs – wait, I don’t think six different stitch patterns in one sweater are enough, so let’s also make it in 100% Vicuña at $200 a skein! But lately I’ve been liking their patterns (still full of mistakes). I added quite a bit of length to both the body and the sleeves. No crop tops for this middle-aged survivor of the 1980’s!

But back to our yarn… This is a 4-ply yarn, squishy and bouncy with fantastic stitch definition. It didn’t grow too much, but I did wash and dry it mid-way through the back just to make sure. I always do that with superwash yarn since swatches are known to be evil little liars.

Next up is Darsham, a Rowan pattern (love their stuff lately too). I dyed this in our colourway Pond and am using our new 8-ply sock yarn. Another bouncy yarn, just a joy to knit.IMG_1296aI love the clever use of cables and this yarn is great with cables. Next up will be a sweater in some BFL sport weight that we are thinking of carrying. I dyed some up in Goldenrod.IMG_1303a

It is not quite as bright yellow as this appears, I’m having camera “challenges”. But nothing wrong with bright yellow.

My other distraction was spinning. A friend asked for some pointers, so I thought I had better spin a bit before offering up any wisdom on the subject. And then I got sucked down that black hole. I had some Shetland roving sitting around for a couple of years now and decided to make Hansel, a Shetland hap shawl/lap blanket (for MOI, since if I gave to somebody else, who might throw it in the washer, I might have to kill them). I spun it up as a gradient, then spun some other Moorit (brown) Shetland I had, but had to also use some Romney I had already spun (3 years ago?) and some deep dark delicious brown roving, mysteriously called 100% wool, to make sure I had enough (yay fibre stash!).IMG_1289a I am really loving it, even though I realize it might end up looking like a hippy-tastic 1970’s rustic shawl/blanket. I’ll take my chances and start wearing Berkinstocks if it does. I have one more brown rainbow repeat to knit. Woot!

I have not forgotten the babies. One already born (almost finished the blankie) and one on the way. I have finished one little sweater, with another in the works, and a blankie. IMG_1293a

Kathryn has also been trying out new colours. Fantastic colours! Hard to photograph colours.

The reds on both ends are actually the same colour, just different lighting. See what I mean? Anyways, the colours are complex and scrumptious, and there will be more.

Well, I will leave you with some cuteness, as always. Shelma, our ward for 3 months, who I couldn’t find and after panicking a bit, discovered her in a carry-on bag. Small dogs, you never know where they will turn up.IMG_1649a

While Frankie observed from our psychedelic Giant Tiger (if you are from the Outaouais you’ll know what I mean) cheapo fleece blanket protecting the daybed, thinking, small dogs, you never know where they’ll turn up.IMG_1648a

 

Snowballs?

Let me first wish everybody a Happy New Year! We finally have snow! I’m thinking of switching to the Orthodox Christmas, not just to take advantage of boxing day sales but to have a better chance for snow? Frankie is loving it, but this is what he looked like after a romp in deep snow:101He also grew a new pair – if you know what I mean. I’m sure he was very pleased with himself 🙂   But then they melted 😦

Sorry I have been AWOL for so long. I was pretty sick before and through Christmas. Lost my sense of taste. My cardamom pumpkin pie tasted like salt (?!) I had to get my son to taste my cooking and then sat down to enjoy a meal basically comprised of cardboard as far as I was concerned. I did however get some Christmas knitting done, after I swore I wasn’t going to do any Christmas knitting. Mostly small surprises, more fingerless gloves in our sport weight yarn, one for Kathryn and one for another studio friend:

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I also knit up this pillowcase for my daughter in the now-discontinued Mission Falls superwash yarn. The pattern is Lyle Owl Pillow by Natalie Servant. A fun knit. I highly recommend her patterns, I have many more to knit up.109 (I’m not sure how I get almost everything I knit to match my wretched couch).

I used invisible floats again:110

I was planning on showing the stranded sweater that I was working on for myself but got side-lined with another project, a baby blanket for my daughter’s sister-in-law who had to give birth much sooner than planned. Everyone is fine. So I am furiously working away on another Sleepy Monkey Blanket (I’ve linked to the one I previously made for my grandson). Again using the invisible floats, through the monkey’s face where there are some very long bits of stranding. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t recommend this method enough.107I also managed to finish some socks for hubby. This is from our new 8 ply sock yarn, such squishy goodness! The colourway was Kathryn’s first take on a request from La Maison Tricotée, grey with flecks of rust, turquoise and brown. Can’t wait to make myself a pair!106

I knit myself this shawl, Elbow River, by Heidi Kirrmaier. It is knit side-to-side and is not quite as simple as it looks. She always has nice little details that make for a better result with your knitting. I used our 3 ply sock yarn in Azulejo and some random reds we had lying about. I’ll have to wear to a Habs game!102This one is for Kathryn, fingering singles in Ghost, Petroleum, Graphite and Ice Blue.103Kathryn gave me this fantastic drawing of sheep! I like how the first one looks like a band member from KISS and the last one like a balaklava- wearing robber. And I guess the middle one is just not amused by it all?111We are back at work now, finishing up an order for La Maison Tricotée and starting on other ones. Kathryn will soon disappear behind that wall of worsted.104We have some plans for the new year, a website, a new yarn line – we hope, and new colours of course. I will let you know as soon as we are up and running!

In the meantime, I have to send off this sweater for my grandson’s birthday. The Teddy Sweater, a very easy knit and easily adjustable for size and other animals. And I have to get knitting for the new grandson on the way, in March. I will be abandoning Kathryn for a month then to go help out my daughter.108I’ll leave you with a bad selfie of me and Henry. Neither one of us understands what it means to actually look at the camera. Oh well, I guess we are too old for this sort of thing. 116

Hope the coming year is kind to you!

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 😦  while I was eating these 🙂1b courtesy my daughter, the expert baker, and seeing these 🙂1bacBut 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.