Friday, September 22, 2017

swatched and ready...

You know me, when I get an idea in my head, it becomes a compulsion – I have to follow through. I figured I may as well tell you all about it.
After my sketch, it became clear to me that I wanted a lace pattern with verticals – you know how I’m always trying to look taller ;-)! I looked through all my stitch pattern books and came up with a couple that I liked, but ruled them out as being too finicky. I am going to do a fashion lace  design which is a little trickier than the plain lace that I most often use with the Silver Reed. Plain lace is as easy to knit as stockinette because the Silver lace carriage transfers and knits at the same time but if you want movement in the lace stitches, similar to full-fashioned decreases, then you need to change the cam setting to P, take the yarn out, transfer according to the pattern (a specific number of rows), rethread, set the cam to Lace (or back to stockinette which I prefer as a safety net – if you happen to be on the wrong row, it will at least knit all the stitches instead of dropping them or messing up what you already have transferred) and knit two rows. Because of this, I like choose a fashion lace pattern that has the same number of transfer rows throughout so that you can develop a rhythm to the knitting of yarn out, transfer 8 rows, yarn in, reset cam, knit 2 rows, yarn out, transfer 8 rows…
I swatched two that looked promising. Keeping in mind I don’t want to be wasting my good yarn and knowing that this 4 ply acrylic, Tamm Trenzi (I am using orange because I am not likely to ever want to knit anything real with this) usually lace knits at T5 without any issue, that’s what I began with. Looking at the bottom of my swatch, I want to say I did this on purpose so you could see what my stitch pattern looked like, but, truth is, I was so excited, I just began knitting lace, without transferring  first – so now you know if this is what your lace knitting looks like, you did something wrong. Realizing I was in error, I knit 2 plain rows and then began the real thing – I did 14 rows in the orange which means, 8 transfers, knit 2 rows, 14X (I did tell you, this is not real quick) and I could see everything was working well, time to throw in some similar cotton! The blue is Bonita, which I have used extensively with my lace carriage so I do know it works but I don’t remember using it for fashion lace. It is working beautifully also at one full number higher (T6 – see Tumbleweed, Knitwords #53). My heart is pounding! I’m so excited. I put in the other pattern (there are 10 transfer rows between each 2 rows of actual knitting) and again in the orange acrylic, things are going smoothly. I switch to the Bonita and all is well. With this one, there is a space in the patterning of 6 plain stitches and I think, that’s kind of boring, how about we try a 2X2 cable in there? It works too, but I decide that would just be asking for trouble or showing off. I knit enough so I can get a good look at the right side and opt for the first one. I’m ready to commit! I love the verticals of lace and the way the transfers are making the biased lines up toward the two-centre-stitch lines. I had been contemplating doing the sleeves in lace also, but I think I’m going to stick with my original sketch for now. I’ll keep you posted!
P.S. I found another small part cone!!! I’m making the real swatch!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It’s a good thing! Especially when you were the original giftor and are now the giftee! Here’s the back story…Several years ago, when Yeoman Yarns denim cotton 4 ply was plentiful and life was good, I sent my friend Cindy two part cones (same dyelot, 550g total) of said yarn with the thought that she would have plenty to make ‘Denim Chick’ From Knitwords No 34. It was my design/pattern for what I thought at the time was like a denim jacket/cardigan in a tuck rib stitch. When we were in Monroe in July, while I was modelling my 'Dreamcoat'  [ ],

Denim Chick #34
I said that yarn was probably my all-time favourite and I really missed it as it had been discontinued shortly after, around 2005. I had used it in 8 or 9 garments in Knitwords but was surprised after checking the index that I hadn't used it for lace - mostly stockinette, tuck and tuck rib - was I not so in love with lace then or did I love tuck rib too much? Who knows? Obviously I still had a bit of a stash because I made the 'Dreamcoat' in 2010 but that was pretty much the end of my stash. Cindy, being the good friend that she is felt bad that she had not knit up my fave and gave it back to me, after checking that I would not be offended! OMG!
All the way home from St Cloud, I've been running design ideas through my head. When I got back, I found, to my amazement, another small cone, (same dyelot!!!) so I have about 700g.

Here’s my preliminary sketch of my current ideas – now, I need to swatch up some lace and see which one suits my fancy!  Of course I won’t be wasting my good denim yarn in the swatching – I’ll use something else to play around with and only revert to the good stuff when I’ve finalized my lace pattern. And who knows what other textures may show up - notice, I said preliminary...
I’ve have plenty of time to mull things over as I finish up Janet’s Church Pullover!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

use it or lose it....

Gosh, I feel like I’ve been sweating over that freakin’ pattern for the Church Cardi for the whole darn month! What’s the big deal? Between visitors, our crappy summer and family stuff, it’s been hard to concentrate and when I look back, it’s been a while since I’ve actually written a pattern from scratch. It was like I forgot what to do. I almost gave up but that’s not my nature and I did promise, so I knew I had to deliver. I was having trouble deciding on the sizing and then my numbers weren’t adding up. The break-through? Yesterday, it dawned on me! Just draw the darn thing out and you’ll be able to see what the problem is – oh man, then it was a cake walk! I used the full width KR half scale paper that is charted in half scale centimetres for the Silver Reed charting device and had green, black, blue and red ink lines for each of the four sizes and I feel so good and virtuous – this pattern will be perfect!
I even knit a sleeve to check the final lace pattern details and I know you’ll be happy with all the extras! Truth, of course, I didn’t just happen to have enough of the same yarn just laying around and, I didn’t want another one for me, but, since sister Janet booked our next hiking holiday to Ireland for next June, you know it…Janet is getting a Church Pullover for Christmas! ;-) I’d hate to waste a good sleeve! I’ve had this huge cone of cashmere/wool in ivory – yeah, I know it’s not her favourite colour but if she really doesn’t like it, I’ll dye it for her and likely, she’ll love it just because it fits! You may remember, she’s a little vertically challenged and before I started knitting for her, she’d never had a sweater that had the right sleeve length!
I know you might not have the exact yarn either so here’s my stashbusters tip. My original yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima, a 100% mercerised cotton with a beautiful drape and sheen that I used at T3.5 stockinette for a gauge of 23 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm. This is an unknown cone that I’ve had for eons and who knows what yardage or whatever it is, but it looks like about the same thickness. I knit 3 swatches, starting with T4 (because I could go up or down from there) and it seemed a little tight to knit and I didn’t want to have to sweat that much, so I made one at T4.5. After I washed and dried those I saw I still had a little leeway – T5 proved to be the magic number – my gauge is exact, it was smooth to knit and the finished, washed swatch is lovely, with a nice drape, so that’s what Janet is getting! I know I’ll be regretting giving up this lovely yarn but there should be an expiry date on some of this stuff anyway!
The Church Cardi/Pullover pattern is ready! I’ll post it here for sale, next week when I get back from St Cloud!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

back to the farm...

Rocking Horse Farm, that is! I just got a note from Jason with the schedule and did I have any changes to make? Yes, I do! I’m adding another new class on ‘shortrowing with ravel cord’ – I do this so much, I tend to forget that everyone may not be as familiar with it. I’ve heard from several people in the last couple of weeks with questions about using this method and there seems to be quite a bit of confusion, so, get ready! I did spend some time back in January blogging []
and photo-ing this in lace carriage knitting but what you may not know is you can use this for other stitch techniques or carriages that are not conducive to the regular holding position shortrowing. Knitweave, garter carriage, yarn changer, double bed stuff and yes, even the LK150 when doing manual patterning – the ravel cord method of shortrowing makes it much easier to get that nice, curved line on decreases, making finishing so much nicer, without fighting the needles in holding position.
I have lots of tricks for you!  And, I'm finishing up the pattern for the 'Church Pullover/Cardi' done on the LK150 that I promised Dee!
Jason and Carole do such a great job of their yearly seminar – they really know how to put out the welcome mat and make you feel special. Early bird registration is still good till Friday!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

girl crush...

When I was in Munroe Michigan last week, I met Julie. At first she was just an attractive, attentive lady in the back row of my first class. I found myself talking to her and she was nodding appropriately like she agreed with everything I was saying. I had to keep reminding myself to look away and talk to the rest of the room! At the end of the first class, she came and told me she would be staying in my class because she had seen the other instructors several times and I was totally new to her. As the day progressed, we had little interaction – she wasn’t a question-asker, at least in a group, though she continued to be attentive. At the end of the day she came up to tell me she did a knitting podcast and would I allow her to interview me for it. I said yes, and the next day at the end of two long days of teaching we found a quiet spot and began talking. Oh my, I think I said, ‘you’ll probably want to edit this out but…’ several times. Anyway, we had fun – she is very calm, has a lovely speaking voice and seems quite thoughtful before she says stuff which I like. I have no idea what this will sound like when it finally airs but, fingers crossed! I hate the sound of my own voice and I kind of cringe when ever I hear a recording of myself so I hope it isn't as bad as I think!
When I got home, after the dust settled with unpacking and getting caught up I decided to check out her podcast and have a listen. She’s a vegetarian – I’m not but I do have some really good recipes – I can’t wait to tell her about what I can do with quinoa and kale! She comes from a large family (mine’s larger but not by much) and, OMG, her mom’s name is Ruthie! My mom was Ruth too!
She refers to her husband as ‘the spouse’ which I think is hilarious – maybe it’s a Canadian thing but I’ve always thought of 'spouse' as a generic term to avoid having to be specific as to gender and anyone I’ve ever heard use it is doing so in a slightly derogatory way. But he does sound like a real prize – I’m kind of jealous! She’s not afraid to admit she loves Judge Judy and tells us why and I look forward to her ‘likes and dislikes’. We have a lot in common!
I have listened to several episodes – I started at the beginning with episode 1 - and although there is sock machine and hand knitting stuff there that I don’t really care about,  as well as some machine knitting, the perspective she offers on life in general is what I’m hooked on – I love it!
I did listen to her last episode  from July 10, 2017 and she mentioned she would be going to the Monroe seminar and that I would be there…she pronounced my name wrong – ow! It’s Oh!Grrrr! just like Shrek. Hope she gets it right in the interview so I can still like her!
Give it a listen ;-), Bing (or google) ‘Julie Boylan podcast’ or ‘Hand Y Machine Knitting
Oh, and I've been invited to Charlene Shafer's Knit Knack Shop Spring Fling in Peru, Indiana next April! I'm so excited!!! More later!

Friday, July 28, 2017

home alone...

I know it wasn’t you on the road but do you know what a two-lane divided highway is for? It means you drive on the right and move into the left lane to pass and then get back in the right hand lane! It does not mean that you get to ride in the left lane because you are too lazy to switch back and forth!
Now I got that off my chest, what a fun time! And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen almost 100 machine knitters in one place! What a turnout! Many thanks to Cathy and Larry and Chris for putting on such a great venue for us – good food, good friends and great knitting! What more could anyone want?
It was great to see so many Canadians, eh? And have a nice little catch-up with Eileen and Pat and their Burlington guild gang!
I got things put away and all my zippers properly sewn in. Here are the pictures I promised – everyone loved ‘Canada, eh?’ and I’m really happy with finishing up the blue-grey 1RT Hoodie – summer arrived while I was away but I’m sure there will be a cool night or two  so it will still be of use as summer wear, but overall, a great indoor coverup!

Monday, July 17, 2017

road trip...

I’m ready for Monroe! Got all my knitting done and my bags are packed.
The ‘Canada, Eh?’ lace pullover turned out great – can’t wait to wear it! and I promise to post a real, live photo of me in it!
And I did make another IRT Hoodie,  [ ] using Yeoman Yarns Sari – it’s a 50 cotton, 25 linen, 25 acrylic blend of a very lightweight slub yarn – I’m calling it ‘Whisper’ because it is so thin and lightweight! To give you an idea of how fine it is, I had used it in the past for a tuck stitch on the fine gauge machine at T5 with a gauge of 36 sts and 72 rows and for this, I knit the one-row-tuck at T9 and got the same gauge as my brown linen one, 25 sts and 38 rows to 10 cm/4 inches.
One of my classes in Monroe is on seaming on the machine and using the sewing machine to sew in the zipper, so this one is ready for that. I have a white zipper with silver metal teeth that I have pinned in place. The colour of this hoodie is sort of blue, kind of greyish and I did order a couple of greyish zippers but they aren’t here yet and for the demo, it will show up better with the white zipper tape and I’ll do the sewing in hot pink, again so it shows up for the demo and then I’ll pick it out when I get home and install the appropriate one.
I do have another Girlfriend Hoodie in the red Bonita cotton, all knit, still in pieces, all set to seam for the class too! Hope to see you there!