Monday, May 26, 2008

going topless...

so, I went to visit Lindsay (cover of 12 of our issues, the Miss Canada girl, modelled ‘Trapeze Artist’ in No 43 most recently) the other day - she is now the co-owner of ’ Lava Clothing’ - Kerri, (our covergirl of No 43) is her business partner. ‘Lava’ is an upscale, clothing store catering to the younger-with-money - they carry JLo, Ugg, and all the trendy stuff (seven for all mankind jeans at like $250 per pair)...anyway, I had made Lindsay a pair of the controversial ‘fingerless gloves’ or ‘topless mitts’ - whatever you wanna call them - using a yummy amethyst alpaca, and made them a bit longer because I noticed some shorter sleeve jackets appearing. She was ecstatic and kept saying, ‘omigosh! omigosh! wait till you see what we have coming in!!! but these are so much nicer!!’ Apparently, they are all the rage for Fall/Winter ‘08 ...
So, if you’re wondering what to make for craft market and Christmas gifts this year, get to it!!
Here’s my pattern...
Going Topless
Hand warmers, sleeves, whatever...thumb only, fits almost to elbow. Size, ladies 7.
MACHINE - 4.5mm. Level - Beginner
YARN - Fingering weight Alpaca. Finished weight for pair, approx 2 oz/50g.
GAUGE - Stockinette, T8, 27 sts and 38 rows to 10 cm/4 in.
Left Hand - 33-0-34 n’s. Arrange every other needle in work. Cast on WY and ravel cord. RC000. CAR. Holding about 20 inch tail to use for seaming side of hand, MC, T5, K5R. Bring all n’s to work. T10, K1R. T7, K5R. RC011. Pick up loops from first row onto EON. Remove ravel cord and WY. RC000. T8, K2R.
Hand transferred pattern is centred between #24-1 left.
Make faggotted lace stitch on #6 & 19, same stitch is transferred to the right on every second row and to left on every 4th row.
Make 2X2 cable on #14, 13 & 12, 11 n’s, turned same way on every 6th row, beginning on row 4.
At same time, at each side, dec 1 st, K8R, 9X.
Knit to RC089. Set up for thumb. CAL. Set to hold. Take out MC, put aside without breaking. Turn off row counter. Bring all n’s to HP. Move CAR. Return 8 n’s at right to UWP. WY, K10R. Leave the 8 sts in work. Cancel hold. CAL, turn on row counter. MC, knit in pattern to RC112. Drop stitch on either side of cable, ladder down to row 1 and reform to tuck rib by latching every second bar to purl stitch to define cable (this could be done halfway and again at top to make easier to handle).
K1R. Decrease 5 to 8 sts evenly across row. With garter bar, RTR (remove, turn, rehang), K1R, 5X to make 5 rows of garter stitch. Knit side facing you, manually knit loose row and chain off.
Thumb - Steam WY to set sts. Cut WY in half. Open the piece out, purl side facing you, rehang these sts on 16-17 n’s, crossing the two centre sts to prevent a hole. RC000. T7, K14R. K3R of garter stitch (RTR, K1R, 3X). Knit side facing, manually knit loose row, chain off.
Seam side & thumb, using tails to seam, half edge stitch on each side makes flatter seam.
Make other hand in reverse.

BTW, she (Lindsay) said they were multi-coloured as well, so if you're tired of making socks and have any of that variegated stuff hanging around...
Also see KNITWORDS No 35 for Sue Corcoran's 'Starving Artist Gloves' and No 45 for Margaret Heck's version for different ideas of how to dress them up!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday cooking

Hi! did you miss me? I took a few days off, went to Winnipeg to meet my daughter and shop, eat, visit - we got facials and had an all round good time. Hooked up with my friend Heather and went to Ram Wools - oohed, awed and felt our way around the store - she said that since becoming a machine knitter, she really missed the tactile experience of hand knitting yarns, so we both had a good time. I even scored a couple of buttons to go on my current project (a black and tan wool crepe deluxe fairisle jacket - I'll tell you more about that another day) and what a great feeling when I got home and saw they were a perfect complement - not bad since I had not thought to take a swatch with me!!
So, back in the office, I've spent the last two days going over and editing our updated index. What a great tool it is turning out to be - I love it!! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, we have, on cd, a comprehensive, sortable index of the entire KNITWORDS magazine, all the way from No 1 to 45 (we just added the last year)!! There are 17 categories, from issue number, season, designer, title, etc to really valueable stuff, like yarn, gauge - both machine and swatch, technique, style, etc that make finding something much easier than opening every magazine - I love it because when I'm going to do a project, it's quite easy to find all the patterns I've used the same yarn in and maybe check different details, look up a technique, such as cables and find all those patterns, or see when was the last time I did a raglan!! You gotta get one - no special program is required because it works off your web browser and it's very easy to use. See our bookstore for more info!
Okay, enough of the commercial, I'm cooking today, my family is coming to dinner. We're having steaks on the barby, a couple of salads, rice with fresh salsa, and a new strawberry/caramel cheesecake thing that I'm working on (if it turns out, I'll share it with you). Here's the salsa recipe - I got this from my friend Bob (Sonia's hubby) in Florida - he served it with broiled tilapia - fresh, tasty and healthy!! We loved it!! I tweaked it just a tad...

Fresh Salsa
2 large fresh hot house tomatoes, seeded, drained and chopped
1 med vidalia (sweet) onion, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
small jar capers, drained and rinsed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 C olive oil
1 tsp each kosher salt, black pepper

Mix together, cover and let sit at least 2 hrs (the longer the better - I usually try to make it in the morning). Adjust salt to taste. It becomes more liquidy as it sits. Serve on just about anything - grilled or broiled fish, chicken, pork, whatever! Great with Tilapia! OR stir half of above into 2 cups long grain rice cooked in chicken stock. Yum!! makes a great summer dish - warm or cold! OR warm up and serve on pasta - the gnocchi style shells are great!! Tastes even better next day and keeps well for up to a week (like that's gonna happen)!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I can see clearly now..

I think that's a song or they should make it one! I'm so happy I could just knit!!!! I got my new 'work station glasses' and I love 'em!
I have been having some vision problems in the past few years - I did get bifocals about 4 years ago which helped a bit for a while with close-up, hand work but found they lost effectiveness. Last year when I had my eyes re-tested, the optometrist talked me into trying no-line trifocals, aka progressive lenses... turned out not for me - I couldn't get used to them and felt like I couldn't see anything right, near, far or in-between. I'd talked to others who said it took a long time to get used to and most people admit they no longer read or do close work, but they can wear the progressive lenses. Anyway, my friend Ed, the optician came back to town and I was telling him my troubles. He said progressive lenses were the 'four-inch-heels' of the optical world - good for looks only. Anyway, after hashing over the pros and cons of both 4 inch heels and eyeglasses, he said he'd make me some work station bi-focals (with the line) and use the close up and intermediate prescription only. They are so great - I can see the needles and stitches perfectly (9-10 inches - in black too), glance up and see the gauge on the knit radar (24 inches) and also glance OVER and see the computer screen with DAK and knit-from-screen (60 inches) just fine! And who cares about a line in the glass - no one sees me here anyway - not that I was ever that vain.... He also made me a pair of 'golfer glasses' - long distance on top and a small area at the bottom with the close-up prescription - supposedly golfers want to see distance for driving, but need to be able to see close up to read and mark score - works for me - driving and reading a map, whatever... Life is good!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

remake of caped wrapper

No 45 is in the mail, it should be reaching mailboxes any day now. It is filled with great summer knitwear, with something for everyone! Now is my time to take a few days and organize my thoughts and plan out the next issue. I did finish up my re-make of 'The Caped Wrapper' - it turned out very nice and I wore it to deliver a copy of No 45 to Bill, our photograher (see cover of No 34)and got him to take a quick snap of me so I could show you the finished thing - see my earlier post (recreational knitting) for more details - I think the collar shows up better here than it did in the magazine because the colour is lighter - I'm very pleased with it and know I will get good use from it. This yarn is a little thinner than the 4 ply pure wool of the original one, so it makes a nice Spring garment!
I was chatting to Morgan Hicks (see KNITWORDS No 39 & 40) yesterday - he is in the process of opening a new shop in Des Moines, WA, called 'All Points Yarn', featuring knitting machines, yarns, hand knitting and crochet, has a very nice location and is very enthusiastic about his new venture. If you're in the Seattle area, make a trip to check it out, I'm sure it will be worth it -tell him MAO sent you. Morgan is a very knowledgeable fibre enthusiast and it's fun just talking to him about yarn and knitting! Go to for more details or e mail him at Congratulations, Morgan and best of luck!! I'll see you in Portland in October at the Needle-Tek Fall Festival of Knits!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

office work

I’m back in the office, been away for 6 days and returned to a huge stack of mail. Renewals - thanks for keeping me here! Now, don’t take this the wrong way - a special thanks to you who did NOT staple your cheque to the renewal notice. Another big thank you for NOT taping up the back corners of the envelope. A big debt of gratitude for the name change you told me about and for saying who you used to be, never mind the address...and of course, you who writes legibly, I love you!!
Now that I have that off my chest, as you can see, No 45 is here!! It’s always exciting when the new issue arrives, but for me, it really means a bunch more office work, but oh well, it pays the bills and someone has to do it...hopefully I can get back to knitting by the weekend.
The main reason I was away was to teach at the Cardiknits Academy in Hamilton - it was fun to see new and old faces and hear the comments - the biggest thing is always the same - ‘the garments look so much nicer when we can see them/oh, I didn’t like that in the magazine, but it is fabulous in real life/oh, now that I see the actual garment, I want to make it’...and my response? Well they should look nicer compared to a flat one-dimensional photo - get real!
My family loved the shopping bags, it was pretty cool to know that I even got the colours right!