Wednesday, December 17, 2014

8(??) days to...

did you catch Ashton Kutcher's cardigan sweater on Ellen last week? I don't really care about Ashton and in fact I don't watch Ellen that often - it just happened to be on when I came downstairs to do a little hand stitching and get a cup of tea. Back to the sweater - it was  a cardigan and not just any cardigan, but a shawl-collared cardigan in a printed pattern - I say that because I've become obsessed with trying to decide whether it is fairisle, jacquard or tuck mosaic - I'd be happy with any of them but I'm hoping for the latter - anyway, I love it and not just because it's gray on grey  with an accent of red, I'm thinking alpaca and mentally  planning/designing/knitting in my head but keeping it in my mind until I can really attack it after Christmas...more later and I'll also give you an update of my last minute gifty things! oh yeah, something I just learned, if you look at my pictures or anything on the internet, with the ipad or ipad mini or whatever touch screen device you have, the photos can be greatly enlarged, better than with the computer... yeah, I know you already know that but give me credit for figuring it out on my own!

Friday, December 12, 2014

what's a few less stitches...

So I had two 100g balls of Diamond Select Footsie sock yarn. When you look at the ball of multi-coloured sock yarn, you don't really know how it is going to knit up, you just hope for the best. The colours here, navy, green, white and grey don't look all that bad in the ball, but what happens when it is knit? Well, I have to admit, I wasn't too impressed with the first pair and left sock knitting for a couple of days, putzed around with some other stuff and kept thinking, who can I give these to? someone near the bottom of the list...that's not really fair and in reality, anyone getting them will probably like them just fine - it's only me being extremely picky, but that wide white stripe really bugged me. I had made it for size 8 wide, which is like my standard size, 36-0-36 sts for the  cuff. When I decided to get it over with and use up the rest of the yarn. The next pair, I made slightly narrower and went with 34-0-34 sts. I was mildy pleased with the result, the 'white stripe' was a little thinner. For the final pair, I purposely made these for my niece who is a size 7 narrow and went with 32-0-32 sts - wow, who would have known? I love these! And the way a diamond pattern appeared in the ribbing because of the tighter tension! 7 pairs down!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ideas and inspiration?

We have a very good farmers market here in Thunder Bay - it runs virtually year round - I think they are off for maybe a week beginning of January, but open every Saturday morning of the entire year and the cool thing is it's not just farmers with produce and meats - it's actually called the Thunder Bay Country Market - but many local artisans, bakers, craftspeople and any one with the courage to put something they've made up for sale - you can find a full breakfast or just a snack in a variety of ethnic cuisines; get farm fresh eggs and local lamb; sample and buy local cheese or wild boar sausages; get all sorts of fresh breads and baked goods, preserves and other goodies; and check out what other people are doing in the way of crafting. There is a stained glass lady who purchases handmade snowshoes from somewhere and then cuts out the centre portion and she adds in one of her own local scenes, like her rendition of the Sleeping Giant, in stained glass - totally cool! A shout-out to the Pie.ology girl who makes butter pastry turnover-pie things filled with either sweet or savoury fillings!
This past Saturday, I found a cute old guy who was selling a basic pair of homemade wool socks for $7.50 - WHAT? How can he do that? The sock yarns that I'm buying, a 75% superwash wool/25% nylon blend, are costing me $18 to $22 (with the tax) for the raw material! I took a closer look and got to chatting with him - he has an old Harmony sock machine and he uses Briggs and Little sock yarn Durasport, 80% wool, 20% nylon - it comes in a 4 oz/430 yds skein in 7 colours (24 sts to 10 cm) - he told me he takes the ecru and dyes it with Kool-aid! I almost fell over! This guy is like a hundred years old! His variegated ones were quite pastel-ly pale green, orange and yellows and not really my thing, but I did buy this pair of denim socks from him. I don't particularly like the length of the top on them - they come up too high and the cuff isn't really stretchy enough and I have to fold them down twice - I'm pretty picky, and, sensitive about my chubby calves, so I like the 2X2(2X1) rib that I use on my socks better, but for $7.50, OMG!
So, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat... You know, this is the time of year I become fixated with socks - I have been collecting sock yarns for my Christmas presents and I don't know about you, but it seems to be harder to find pretty colourways - my favourite is still that Schoeller Stahl Fortissimo in the denim-y shades but not sure if that is discontinued or just the shops I have gone into just don't have... Anyway, it is getting to be quite an expensive habit, this sock-giving thing and I have 20 pairs on my list this year - I have an order in at my LYS for some B&L - they don't stock it because she says the hand knitters want the fun, softer stuff! I ordered oatmeal, denim and some of the ecru - Kool-Aid man, look out!
I told a couple of my regular sock-receivers that they would have to hand wash these socks because it's not superwash anymore and they said  hey, we never put these in the dryer anyway - didn't want to risk it! LOL!
I have found that by buying 2 - 100g balls of the same shade, I can get 3 pairs of ladies 7-9 size out of the 2 balls - previously there was quite a bit leftover, but not enough for a pair. By making the cuffs 45 rows instead of the 60 rows in my original pattern (can be found under Freebies on the knitwords website). I can use the leftover Opals from last year to make the feet and use the B&L denim for the ribs...

One last thing - I know you still haven't tried my pattern but I live in hope that someday you will and here's another little add-on. (I got this tip from Ev McNabb's Passap sock pattern that was in KW#49). At the end of the sock, when you have 5-0-5 ns in work on each bed, to take the corners off the final grafted end seam, before removing on waste yarn - transfer rib bed end stitch up and knit through end stitch on main bed on each side - then take off on waste and do your grafting however you do. Mucho bueno or however you say that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

zipped off?

So, just because I forgot to post doesn't mean I haven't been knitting! I did make another  WCD Omega - I switched the light and dark - made the body black and used dill for the sleeves and hood. I made this one using the A-line shape instead of the fitted body and added pockets - sort of patch pockets but attached as you make the front. I think I told you about this method back in the spring (May '14, why re-invent the and tan hoodie) when I did this pattern out of the Honiburd cotton.
For some reason, maybe because I was free styling for the pockets, I kind of forgot to continue to read the pattern, thinking that I knew what to do - when it came to knitting the stay for the neckline, I went with FNR instead of the tubular band that I used for the original and I didn't realize it was wrong until it was too late - already had the hood attached to it and to the neckline and had the front bands on - basically finished...oh well, it's one of those things that even though it's not the best, it does the job and almost no one else  would know it was a mistake unless I pointed it out - so why am I telling you now? Just to make a point...
The other thing - remember, my button friend?  Apparently the place where she got the buttons is supposed to have the best zippers - here's the link...
It seems that they have separating zippers in various weights and you can custom order them to a specific length - I was so excited I never really paid attention  to the cost and I hadn't quite finished the garment before I punched in the length I wanted (based on the length of my first Omega) so I ordered a R1R1 number 4, 21 inches in antique silver and it was only after I hit the' buy now' button that it dawned on me I paid $16 for a freakin' zipper! plus postage! Ar-r-r-g-g-h! The good news is, it IS beautiful!  lovely, the perfect weight for WCD, soft and pliable and it does not bulge out like a firmer, heavier one would. The pulls are pretty and small, the teeth are small and single, metal pieces, not a coil which is hard to determine from their website which is not exactly full of explanations. I'm just sayin'...
I have worn this already a ton of times and the price of the zipper, well worth it for the quality of garment that I have! me, totally happy! thanks button-girl!
oh, yeah - I almost forgot - just in case you're really interested, this Omega, dill weight was 338g; black used was 312g, 2nd size made.

Monday, December 1, 2014

i didn't really forget to tell you...

all 4 pieces
but, life gets in the way, sorry! I can give you all my excuses: computer virus, lost the cable for my digital camera, just too busy with other things, and then I couldn't access my blog, yadda, yadda...
back of RTR cardi with dress

front of RTR

twilight tweed Granville

Back of Rib'nShrug

Front of Rib'nShrug

I did get Jan's wardrobe sent off in October and she was very happy with it. In the end, I made the French navy WCD shift dress, the twilight tweed WCD Granville with the beautiful cables, the RTR Cardi in sage green mercerised cotton and  the Rib'nShrug in Thistle 4 ply wool. All of the cardigans can be worn with the dress or with anything else and dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. I did get a few pictures taken before I sent everything off, but I wasn't able to check the quality of the photos, but here is the best of the lot so you can have an idea of what I did.