Tuesday, December 31, 2019

things I never told ya...

Reading socks - that’s what the millennials told me they are really called! And they were thrilled to get them! I know I love mine! Even made myself a second pair, using red, gray and black, sort of to match my ‘Lipstick and Smoke’ because I wear that a lot, just hanging around in the evenings. Someone had mentioned using lycra added to the ribbing and I thought, ‘oh I could try that’…DO NOT! What happens is the lycra shortens up the rows instead of the width and you end up with falling-down-socks. Even after washing, it was worse. Wore them a few times, still loved them and decided they needed a fix up.
Heh, heh, heh! I can graft with the best of them! I knit the new cuffs and took them off on waste yarn. Removed the non-working cuffs from the circular socks, rehung half and put on waste and then the second half. Grafted the cuff in place and seamed the cuff – good as new but better – I made the new cuff 30 rows instead of the original 25. They stay up beautifully! Here’s a tip – don’t throw away mistakes – save the evidence to remind yourself! Actually, after seeing the cuffs go wide like that, I remembered using the lycra for something like this before and it happened then too. I have now thrown away the remaining cone of lycra so I won’t be tempted to use it again next time I forget!
That pullover I was making for manfriend – on Boxing Day, I carefully rehung the neckline, was able to salvage it without having to re-knit anything except the neckband. Finished it off and gave it to him. Held my breath as he jammed his arms into it and yanked it over his head, just like a man who doesn't realize that maybe being a little careful might be a good thing... ah! it worked so smoothly, didn't even need an additional tug! He's happy, I'm happy, it looks good and fits exactly like I wanted and all is well!
Note to self, quit being such a drama queen!
Happy New Year to all! Talk to you next year!
P.S. Been watching ‘Project Runway’ – just love that Chrisitian Siriano – not necessarily his designs, just love his attitude and advice and he`s so cute! Apparently he has a line of ready-to-wear coming out in J. Jill in the New Year. I’m excited to see it!
P.S.S. Hope to see you in Pigeon Forge! They’ve (Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters – google them) asked me back – I promised a whole new/different two-day program from last year! It’s March 21, 22, 2020!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

the hurry-er i go...

the behind-er I get!
There I was, on Christmas Eve early afternoon, trying to get a few minutes in, finishing up the manfriend pullover…what’s the hold-up you ask? Yeah, I know, eh? like from swatching to now, it’s been over two months! Thinking back, that ‘p’ word has become my middle name! Procrastinator of the first degree! I think because it never was my idea – he asked for it and said what HE wanted...
Anyway, I have a list of to-dos running through my head – gifts to wrap, dessert to make, thinking about the turkey-brining, wondering if I can NOT have to go to the grocery store one last time, does the kitchen floor really need mopping? while waiting for my d-i-l (who is chronically time-challenged and almost always at least an hour late, which I’ve already planned for!) to come by and worrying, 'is this neck opening going to be big enough? I'm sure he has a freakishly big head! I’m stupidly trying to get the neckband knit and on and needles to say (ha! ha!), as sure as the lord made little green apples, you know what happened! A stitch dropped in the middle of the front – it would never be in the back! and there’s a hole!
The doorbell rings and it's A (with the kids! their unwrapped presents are all over!)! Calmy, I set the thing down, hole and all, carefully, and go down.
I make us Christmas coffees, ban the kids from going upstairs and repeat to myself something I learned many years ago – it doesn’t matter what doesn’t get done because no one else knew you were going to do it! There is always another day and promissory notes to give!
Here’s some of the best advice I ever gave:
http://knitwords.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-two-cents.html
P.S.  been Netflixing `The Crown`, season 3, really liking it with the new cast and I have this barely controllable urge to get myself a string of pearls! Just one strand, not three...
Seasons Greetings!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

sorry for being so quiet...

It’s not like I haven’t been knitting, just that I didn’t feel I had anything new to say. Knit a ton of socks, five pairs of knee socks and still had a few bits so switched to hats. Made several hats and finally, here it is December! I didn’t mean to leave manfriend’s pullover to the last minute, but with just two weeks to go, I’m starting to feel the pressure!
I had made a couple of swatches back in November and I’d been thinking of the details like hems and bands - this is going to be pretty plain but still!
I was going to use my ‘hem with chain stitch’ (page 98, The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters)  - it looks like a nice, plain hem that you can start off with – well, actually you start off with every other needle which reduces the bulk of the backside of the hem and there’s a chain across the bottom edge to give a even, straight line because a guy really wouldn’t want a picot hem, would he?
Thinking I knew what I was doing, cast on every other needle, knit several rows, pulled the needles out and chained in behind and then thought, what the hay? that chain needs to be pulled through the row. Still figuring I was on the right track, I pulled the every-other-stitch through the chain, saying to myself, why didn’t I do this before?
Well, probably because it doesn’t work!!
At this point, I went and got the book to
read up on how it was really supposed to be done. Got that accomplished and then decided this would look so much better if the ‘ribbed-look’ from the purl side was on the front which just means an RTR (remove, turn, rehang) and it would give the opportunity to have a few less stitches in the hem…oh gosh, another day gone!


Monday, November 4, 2019

avoidance...

Straight up! All this playing around with socks! Maybe you noticed I never said anything about getting that yarn I ordered for manfriend’s pullover. I was kind of shocked when I got it and rather than deal with the situation, I put it on ignore. What happened is when searching for the yarn, I punched in DK weight and when he liked it, I just plain old ordered it without thinking too much. In all honesty, I thought it was 100g balls with 175m, but it really is 50g balls with 175m – that’s more like sock yarn than a DK weight that one would use on the LK150! And there was only 8 balls left so that’s what I went with, figuring it would be enough for a plain stockinette pullover in a mid gauge weight. Yikes! what to do? procrastinate, of course!
The gauge on the label says 20-23 sts and 26-32 rows to 10 cm which should be a mid gauge weight. It’s 65% merino wool, 20% baby alpaca and 15% silk. This is going to need to be gauged and washed for sure – the fulling process could really throw me off and I don’t have much room for experimenting – I should have at least ordered another ball of a different colour to play with. It's not like it really shrinks – well, it will if mistreated in the laundry – but what I mean is the initial washing fluffs out the fibres, releases the strands and fills in the fabric, making it thicker and denser that it looked when first off the machine.
I’m not sure I’ve ever said this out loud to you, but on any machine, I like to use the mid to high range of the stitch size, like on the LK150, the dial goes from 1 to 9, but my favourite stitch size is 5. I might use T3 to T7 or 8 but not very often. On the standard gauge, it numbers from 0 to 10 and I use mostly T6 to 9. Each machine performs best in this range with increasing, decreasing and shaping working well. If dealing with tight tension and small stitch size, it becomes more difficult to use the tools so the whole project becomes fraught with anxiety! I guess that’s why there are different gauge machines!
The point is trying to use a mid gauge yarn on the standard gauge or using a fingering weight on the mid gauge just becomes an exercise in patience and determination. There I go again, prolonging the agony! I finally jump in and make my preliminary swatch to see what stitch size to use, starting off at T5, 10 rows, a loose row to divide, 10 rows at T4.5, etc. to get the stitch size I want. After looking and feeling, decide that T3.5 may be optimal. Make my swatch at T3.5, another on top at T4 just to be sure and knit the whole ball. This way I can use it to measure against an actual garment of the final size to determine is there will be enough yarn - the swatch has been washed and dried at this point and can be re-used for the hems/bands in the final garment. I can tell already there is a need for a plan B - maybe insert a wide band of contrast colour at the chest...oh yeah, I should admit I found another tweedy DK yarn that was on sale (49 bucks for 10 balls, 74% acrylic, 26% cotton, 100g/260 m) so I ordered it along with some more sock stuff - he'll never know the difference!

Monday, October 28, 2019

crazy legs...

That was fun! I love these! They could be called knee socks, maybe cabin socks or just more great gifts! My niece who loves teal, got that pair and she’s excited to wear them in her high-top rubber boots!
Making sure all the scraps were the same fibre content (75 superwash/25 polymid), for the first pair, I grouped blue/teal colourways as close as possible, weighed each leftover before and knit about half so there would be enough for the second sock, recording how many rows of each bit in the hopes of duplicating the stripes for the second matching sock. In the photo below, the middle small cone of yarn looks like it has a lot of red it in which I pulled off and didn't use because I thought it would have contrasted too starkly with the rest of the colourways.
Rhiana’s socks are straight up and down, her calves are still quite slim so basically, I made the socks in her size (6.5) from my 2017 ankle sock pattern, with the top cuff 20 rows and knit 180 rows for the leg portion above the heel.




The teal pair began with a 20-row cuff of 40-0-40 sts in 2X2 (2X1) rib as per my original pattern. The circular part of the leg, 100 rows straight, shaped by decreases every 30 rows down to the 34-0-34 sts for the basic sock in my size. These were a nice length but quite snug on my well-developed calves!
For the second pair, gray was the main theme. I broke up the leftovers more, using 30 rows as maximum so there were smaller blocks of colours and could be repeated further down if there was extra. These had 25 rows of rib over 42-0-42 sts, decreased the same way and are perfect!
I’ve added these details to my sock pattern – it is a revision [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/12/12-days-of-christmas-socks.html]  of my ‘warmup socks’ from the Freebies at www.knitwords.com – if you want the new revision, email me!
Just about out of leftovers! What am I gonna do? LOL! Place a new order of course! Have to use up that discount I got with the last order before it expires ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

changing it up a bit...

There I was, threading up a black and white yarn for another pair of socks, thinking, what size should I be making these? The last few pairs have coincidentally been my size and even though I’d love a pair of black and white, one can only use so many pairs… and it dawned on me. My 12-year-old granddaughter, Rhiana, is currently going through a black and white phase. I saw a pair of black and white houndstooth check leggings  the other day and picked them up for her. Her brother Nathan told me she hadn’t taken them off for four days! I looked at my ‘cone’ of sock yarn and deliberated - this is a single 100g skein - a small pair of socks for her would be a bit of a waste – oh, wait a minute she might like knee socks…
Oh, these are pretty cute! This colourway was called ‘zebra’. I hope they fit!

Another thought – my sock-machine knitter friend Julie mentioned she was going to a ‘crank-in’ (a sock machine gathering/symposium) and she was taking sock yarn scraps to sell – and since then I’ve been wondering what I can do with all my little leftover bits. I did once make a circular scarf [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2011/02/em-word.html ] of leftovers but I have a considerable amount again. I could make some ‘at-home’ knee socks…

Friday, October 18, 2019

socktober...

Turns out there is another meaning to it - a campaign to help the homeless and less fortunate. I went to Walmart and bought a couple dozen socks and dropped them off to our local shelter and felt much better about knitting nice socks for my friends and family. Being all fired up to knit a pair a day until my stash is gone and my new project arrives, I got busy winding. Last year, before Christmas, I got caught in the crosshairs of the Canadian postal strike - http://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/11/goin-postal.html - ended up double ordering and by the time I finally got the Canadian order, I was socked out and just put it away. You know, out of sight, out of mind. The other day, I got it out and just started in on knitting without really evaluating the situation. After knitting the third pair of rather plain (for me) socks, it dawned on me, I think I had a plan when I ordered this stuff. Looked in my photo file and yeah, I did have a strategy. Not that I forgot about those awesome boots, but they were the inspiration behind this order. I wanted some red socks to wear with these boots – I had bought them a half size up from my other JFs https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/12/sox-talk.html  which were a little on the snug side but these red ones are a bit on the large size and, I thought I needed a longer cuff because the boots are higher. Anyway, it's really hard to find cool sock yarn to go with red boots. These are pretty boring except for those Kroy ones!

Realized I ordered the Patons Kroy for a reason – it’s a little heavier than most of the other sock yarns. Lana Grossa, Regia, Paintbox, etc. are 390 to 420 m to 100g which translates to 3.9 to 4.2 m per 1 g. Patons Kroy is 152 m to 50g which is 3 m to 1g. Never actually figured this out until now, I just knew from using it in the past for myself that the Patons socks were thicker when made the same as the other yarns - makes a difference when wearing other boots or shoes.
I know what you’re thinking, oh gosh, she’s going to go on and on about socks again! I’ll shut up now and just knit…

Friday, October 11, 2019

male order...

Last week, Manfriend asked me to make him a sweater like one he saw downtown in  a shop window. I was curious to see what caught his eye. We drove down on Sunday, thinking I could see through the window without being too obvious, but they were open. We went in and took a closer look. I asked him what it was that he liked. He said the colour. From outside it just looked like your average, dark coloured, plain ole pullover.
Closer inspection revealed it was a very plain pullover with a set-in sleeve and the yarn was a tweedy-looking navy-ish with bits of gold, plum and maybe a bit of teal.
I told him to try it on although I had my doubts as to the sizing. XL was the biggest size in this store, and I was fairly certain it would be too snug for his liking (or mine ;)). He did try on a bomber-style jacket that fit like a glove and declined to try the sweater.
Back home, I went on-line and found the store sweater described as ‘heavy knitted sweater, regular fit, knit in an acrylic/wool blend (90/10 – whoop-de-do!) multi-coloured slub yarn finished off with a rolled hem and neck opening’ and was $119 (Canadian).
I switched to my favourite handknitting yarn source, loveknitting.com. I found out they were calling this month “Socktober” which I thought was very cute. I found a DK weight tweedy something from Berroco, showed him the colourways, he chose one and I placed the order. Later he asked how much it was, and I said $104 US, but I got free shipping (so added several skeins of sock yarn). He said wait, if it cost that much and you still have to work to make it, I should just go and buy the one in the store. Patiently, I explained this yarn was far superior to what the ready-made thing was and with my expertise he would get a priceless garment! Stay tuned! LK150 project!
Have a great weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 7, 2019

bragging rights...

top section with waste yarn on bottom
I posted that photo of the ‘dogs’ on the ivory background a couple of weeks ago. A brief recap – these baby afghans were originally published in Knitwords 34 and 35 and were the brainchild of Mar Heck (see previous posts for the links to that part of the story). I’ve made them several times since and think they are brilliant. Now, Mar’s originals were done with a dark colour background and she advised “choose saturated, high contrast colours so the designs show up. Make the background in a darker colour than the designs”. Here, I had a new stock of the brights in CottonTale8 from Knit Knack Shop instead of the old acrylic stuff. Had one new cone of navy for background of the first two and enough leftover black for the third one. Wanting to keep using up the brights, I paired ivory (CT8 in stock) for the background, just to see. Happy with the first two dogs of periwinkle and red, I picked up the ‘bright yellow’ and began knitting. After the fourth row, I stopped, gave it a long, slow look and pondered. This might not be quite right. Stood back and looked again. Was there enough contrast? Considered ripping it out but then I thought, ‘ah, you’re being too critical’ and quickly finished the whole thing. With it laying flat out on the floor, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic, but again thought, ‘no big deal, it’s a freakin’ baby blanket!’ Left it there, finished up the other blankets, went away for a week, came back and hated it.
You may have heard me boast about my skill at grafting stitches… https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/08/salvage-operation_10.html

re-knit section with waste
What makes it even thinkable here is there are two plain rows of the background between the different motifs so, I can take out the middle yellow one that I don’t like and re-knit that in another colour and then graft the pieces together. First, rehang the plain row above the persimmon dogs. Find the row below, cut the yarn (leaving a tail of the ivory to darn in later) and pull on it to separate off the bottom section. Make sure all stitches are on needles, waste yarn it and drop it off. Rehang the bottom section, picking the second plain row above the red dogs. Yank off the yellow portion, unravel the last plain row to make sure all the stitches are good and re-knit that plain row.  Set up the pattern for row 147 (first fairisle row of what was the yellow dogs) and re-knit that section using the best contrast colour left which is denim (not really but that's what the  label says...), stopping after the last fairisle row of the motif. Waste yarn this. Now, my grafting row, in ivory will complete the correct sequence of two plain ivory rows between!
 
Sometimes you gotta do something just to prove you can do it! (never mind brag about it! ;))
You know, if this didn’t work out, I never would have said…
Hey, anyone interested in a kit of ‘brights’?
P.S. finished both of these with a 5-stitch slip cord - that extra stitch does wonders - it looks great!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

shoulda, coulda, woulda...

You know me, I almost always have a back-up plan! When I decided to make one of these fairisle blankets out of cotton, my first thought was, ’the kid won’t be dragging this around very far, it’ll weigh a ton!’ Before the yarn even arrived, I was thinking about maybe lining it with flannelette. That was Plan B.
I weighed the first cat top. It was 375g alone. To put off pursuing plan B, I kept on knitting fronts. After the fourth one (more on that later!), I began to add up the reasons not to sew on a backing. The biggest issue was that the blanket top needs to be washed to shrink it before sewing…all those long floats! What to do?
Since there was still a ton of the bright coloured yarn left, I knit the lining for the first dog one and then the liner for the second cat one.
So what if the thing was going to be so heavy the kid wouldn’t be able to move under it? It would be like that X-ray blanket they put on you in the dentist office - that might be a good thing!
I did the I-cord binding on the dog one, with 4 stitches, playing with the stitch size. I found that T5 worked nicely for the width/stitches edge and T8 for every other row of the length sides. Finished it up, looked nice, but needs to be washed before giving it out. It weighed 650g. I’m not sure what the acrylic blanket weighed.
Now was my chance to commit to plan B. A trip to the fabric store brought me up short. Crikey! Have you seen the price of flannelette? I was expecting five to six dollars per metre. Ouch! the really cute printed ones were like $20 plus! One of the nicer sales clerks told me some of them were going to be on sale on the weekend for like 40% off – not the really cute ones, of course, but there was a plain navy with a stripe that would run me about $12 total for what I needed. In the meantime, I came up with a plan for washing the single-layer cats. Folded in half, it fit nicely in a pillowcase. Using safety pins to secure the corners of the blanket into the corners of the pillowcase and a couple in the middle so it wouldn’t all ball up, I put it and the finished doggy one in the washer and then the dryer. Wow! that worked well. Laundered the piece of flannelette with some jeans – I didn’t want to put it in with the knitted pieces in case it shed a bunch and caused some pilling.
With still an abundance of the bright yarn remaining, I made a fourth front, dogs again using ivory as the background – curious to see how much of a difference the dark backdrop really does. I’ll admit, this was purely avoidance.
I started finishing the second cats with a 5-stitch I-cord, just for comparison, using the same tensions – this looks good!
Okay, grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak, today is the day. Do it or get off the pot! Got it done. Even though I do consider myself a decent seamstress, this was not an easy job. Lots of pinning and re-pinning and straightening and re-
stitching. It is done. Likely most people would think it acceptable. Timewise it was a little less than the totally knitted project. Finished weight, 510g.
Was it worth the anxiety or time?
No, and I’ll likely just keep this around for when my brother comes to visit with his dog and see if Jersey will sleep on it…

Thursday, September 12, 2019

bet ya didn't know...

one of the problems when knitting fairisle with long floats, it’s hard to get it perfect,
bad cats, sad cats!
especially with Silver Reed machines. The second colour that isn’t knitting, over more than eight needles, begins to feel left out and wants to jump in on the backside of the second colour, especially predominant when there are a few bent needles. Not even seriously bent, just latches that are maybe a little sticky! On the first cat blank, I had sort of forgotten this – you don’t really see it while you’re knitting unless you’re aware and really looking  for it but when the thing comes off you can see a few places where it makes a vertical line on the front of the fabric. I’m hoping it’ll wash out. Ha! ha! We know that never happens! Anyway, it’s not serious enough to rip out or abandon the whole thing - other people, a.k.a non-knitters, won’t even notice.

good cats on left
2nd cats after needles changed
Toward the top of the piece, I did spot these vague lines and made note of the needle numbers. Swapped out ten or so needles and did a little work on the stitch pattern to eliminate some of the larger solid colour areas. The second bunch of cats came out much better. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t toss the needles – there was nothing really wrong with them and, even though I’ve been to your house and see that you put the bent needles back in at the end of the bed and I’ve made fun of you for that, I just put these aside and they will be my backup stash – no point in putting them at the ends as I’m using the full width of the needle bed!
Oh yeah, and if you’re going to be knitting 200 stitches wide by 350 rows at T9 fairisle, you should stop halfway through and check the clamps. At about row 250, fortunately the carriage was almost to the end of the row when the right-hand side clamp let go! I was quick enough to realize what was happening, grabbed the ribber, held it up and got the carriage to the end without dropping anything! Thanked the machine-knitting gods, re-adjusted and re-tightened everything and continued! Repeated this between each fairisle piece!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

it's raining...

cats and dogs! And there’s a baby ‘xplosion  going around here! My niece Karen, just had her second baby - I had no intention of knitting but she was over for a family gathering recently and specifically told me how much big sister Bryar loves that Edu-Taining Dog blankie I made for her in 2017…she drags it around everywhere! Rats! If you want to read the back story, here’s the link to three past posts about this project:[https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/ever-have-one-of-those-days.html]
[https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/and-saga-continues.html]

Feeling sort of obligated, I promised to get one made for the new boy but I would go with the cat theme and use cotton this time (which they had originally requested, unbeknownst to me…)!
The front of the blanket is knit in fairisle and needs a substantial weight, knit at T9, so, CottonTale 8 it is. Whoa! I’m in for $160 for a baby blanket? Need five bright colours and one dark background, taxes and shipping! I justify it by saying I can make a couple, three or four, maybe…my sister’s granddaughter is having a boy – her first great grandchild! That should rate a pretty nice blanket.  And a couple of close friends are expecting first grandchilds…
And, have been meaning to knit a big project where I need to use DesignaKnit and knit-from-screen. Earlier this year, I had issues and Mike Becker came to my rescue, saving me from having to purchase a new expensive cable [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/05/how-long-has-it-been.html]
Wanted to give it a good workout and I think this will do that and prove that it works well!
It does!!! Mike, you're the best! More later!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

now I know why...


they call it camouflage! I love this! Got it finished up – didn’t want to bore you with the sewing details but it’s done. Put it on and it is SO comfortable! Fits perfect and I think I look taller and slimmer! What a deal!
I might be trying this again with denim!
Hope you're enjoying this summer! Not much knitting happening here - it's too hot! Maybe next month!

Monday, July 15, 2019

backup plan...

Sorry for that spelling mistake ;( my bad!
After knitting the side panels, I blocked them, took one, pinned it in place and tried the jacket on again. It all looks good. I was going to get back to sewing but then realized that my cone of yarn looked smaller than I had hoped. I’d better knit the sleeves before sewing anything more just in case. Got the first one done and gosh, I’m almost at the end of that cone.
Luckily, I did have a backup – I had a 3/4 sleeve of the chocolate brown https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2011/09/sleeve-pandemic.html that I’d made back in the Granville days…
There is nothing more gut-wrenching than to be knitting away, watching the cone quickly dwindling and the row counter slowly racking up – OMG, what was I worrying about? I could have made it at least more 10 rows! ;)

Monday, July 8, 2019

nothing gained...

I calmed down, thought some more and figured I’d be further ahead to actually cut my new shape out of another fabric and baste it in place to see if it worked. It would be easier to fine-tune the knitted piece that way as I did want to be able to sew it in place with finished edges without having to resort to serging alterations, or worse, having to re-knit because it was too small!
So glad I did! With the pieces basted in, I could try it on and adjust little bits here and there  to get the fit I wanted! Pretty pleased!
BTW, another deciding factor on the yarn, I had a leftover part cone of WCD in chocolate (234g) that should be just the right amount – didn’t want to break into a full cone of something for this!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

nothing ventured...

Heh, heh! Hope you didn’t think I was gonna do intarsia or anything silly like that!
I cut out as many pieces of the jean jacket that I could get from that fabric, leaving the sleeves and side panels to be knit. Then I started sewing. Got it to this point to make sure that I liked it before really getting to the down and dirty. Figured if it wasn’t working for me, I could abort and never tell anyone. :-)
Notice the pattern pieces for the sleeves and side panels that I didn’t have enough fabric for. I plan to knit them in a solid colour. I drew them on my knit contour/shaping device, in half-scale but simplified slightly. For the front side panel and the back-side panel, instead of two pieces, I joined them to eliminate the side seam so there would be one underarm panel on each side of the jacket. The sleeves are two-piece as well, but I made it into one, keeping the cuff opening at the back side to simulate what happens in sewn jackets. I do have camo fabric cuffs to sew on.
When I started sewing, for some reason I did all the top-stitching with black, thinking that the knitted pieces would be black but once I got the collar on and was able to ‘put it on’, I changed my mind to brown being the contrast. With all the pieces sewn together, it looked a bit different. Because the fabric is not symmetrical, I kept picking the brown-er pieces for the outsides.

In choosing the yarn, I wanted to emulate the thickness of fabric – it isn’t a twill bottom weight but it is a sturdy, woven fabric so I was leaning to a mercerised cotton because, WCD (wool crepe deluxe), the correct weight, might be too stretchy in stockinette?? Oh, who am I kidding? I might need the stretch!
Suddenly gung-ho to knit, I almost began knitting one of the underarm panels – it is more important structurally than the sleeve! Realized I hadn’t planned out the hem! Took another break to think it all through more carefully…

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

camouflage...

I think I’ve subtlely admitted that I kinda, sorta have  this thing for camo. You had to be paying attention. I also have a thing for jean jackets.
Anyway, lately, I’ve noticed camo fabric clothing showing up all over. On Project Runway, twice, Nina was wearing something camo, not counting what the contestants and others  were sporting! The young woman on the afternoon show out of Minneapolis has a camo jacket she’s worn a couple of times and I seriously covet it!
Finding the right fabric can be somewhat of a challenge. I have an old piece, leftover from the early 90s, that’s, in my mind, just right but I know there isn’t enough to get an entire jacket out of it. But, what if I knit a couple of pieces? Hummmm…
You can laugh and snicker now! I'm fine with it! You won't be able to see me anyway! ;-)

Friday, June 28, 2019

progress report...

Where did June go? What have I been doing??

Bit by bit, I finished the striped hoodie for Vickie – I think that was a record for things hanging around my workroom! I started it on May 9 and just finished it up this week! Good thing I wasn’t worried about a deadline! What can I say? The weather has improved and it's nice to be outside! Now to find a box and get it to the post! ;))
Also managed to get Rhiana’s grad cardi done just in time – yesterday was the graduation - she looked lovely, so grown up! It was too hot for the cardi but it’s all good – she likes it and can wear it later with jeans and a white tank.
I changed out the original design a bit – the edgings that Ev used were really nice but a bit time-consuming, especially considering I was using the brushed mohair and there’s nothing like that type of yarn to make one feel like a newbie knitter again! The hairy bits get caught up in the brushes and when you’re shortrowing, talk about loops at the edges!! Ripping out the row carefully and pulling up on the yarn at the beginning of each row became necessity! The easiest part was the two lace panels! I started off with waste yarn, knit the two pieces of lace for the skirt, separated by waste yarn and ravel cord, and added my favourite tuck hem, #33, XOXO Trim from Band Practice and used it for all the finished edges.
Now, I’ll be back to doing something for me! Stay tuned! Happy Canada Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

graduation alert...

or should that be ‘Grama alert’? It kind of snuck up on me! Rhiana, 12 years old (already!), is graduating from Grade 6 at the end of the month. She will be changing schools and going into a Junior High so they make a big deal out of it – there’s a fancy luncheon and ceremonies. She showed me a picture of her dress, ordered from the internet – it’s sleeveless with a white-eyelet yoke and a printed fabric skirt (large multi-blues flowers on a white background) in two layers, kind of her fanciest dress yet and I’m sure it will look great. 
Leafy Lace, KW#53
The ‘Grama (and knitter)’ in me thinks she should have a cardigan to go with just in case the weather is cool – this is Thunder Bay after all and so far our spring has been kind of miserable! I have two weeks so it’s not like panic city, but I can’t really afford to waste a lot of time.
Between us,we decide on a light blue (I have a partial cone of periwinkle blue in a fuzzy-look yarn from way back that will be enough) and I quickly come up with a plan – you know I do love lace  and it brings to mind a really cute girl’s cardigan that Ev McNabb did for our final issue of Knitwords, #53 – called "Leafy Lace", a smock-style cardy with lace skirt, made in two pieces without side seams, buttoned at centre back and front, just perfect for Rhiana's tween-age! The bodice is a raglan with vee neck in stockinette. I'm changing that to a set-in sleeve because that will be quicker to make than the full-fashioned raglan.
Swatching now so I can get started tomorrow!

Friday, June 7, 2019

a bucket list?...

I don’t really have one but if I did, at the top of the list would be a cruise to Alaska! You can imagine my excitement when I got an email from Morgan Hicks/All Points Yarn from Seattle, WA entitled ‘Cruise Alert - ALASKA 2020’!
http://www.allpointsyarn.com/events.htm
Check it out!

“Along with the great adventure of cruising, fine dining, gorgeous views, exciting ports of call, and the many ways to enjoy and relax on board, you will have the opportunity to socialize and learn with fellow knitters and crocheters.  The class schedule will follow in the coming months.
You can travel with your knitting and crochet buddies, or fiber-friendly family members and get the best of both worlds, Entertainment, and Instruction!”

I love it! But wait, how about some machine knitting? Hey Morgan! I’ll come, bring an LK150! We’ll do a bunch of basics and demo some techniques like shortrowing, neckline shaping and sleeve caps. Throw in MAO’s exciting trunk show and do some trims and edgings! Put on your joggers and we’ll talk mk-ing design as we do laps on the Lido deck – just kidding (about the jogging, but it could be an option! Work off that fabulous food!)! But really, doesn’t it sound like a great time! Call or email me or Morgan! Let’s make this happen!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

how long has it been...

since you had a new machine? Oh my! Some getting used to! The stitch dial on my old carriage, it was so loose, I could turn it with the side of one finger. This new one, I almost feel like it needs two hands! Switching from stockinette to tuck, pay attention! Say nothing of the extra elbow grease to pass the carriage back and forth! Oh well, enough whining! It works! Did I mention that Mike’s yarn spray is my new best friend?
You may remember my problems with patterning and what I tried  - here’s the link if you want the story from mid February - https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/02/peanut-butter.html
In the end, I have a new, slightly-used demo machine, an SK840 (Studio) carriage that works on my old SK580 (Singer) needle bed and the electronics on the old bed (they were built-in) work with the ‘new’ carriage.
To get DesignaKnit to work, I was told by the North American distributor that I would need to purchase a new cable because my old SL4 would not work with DAK8. I do have DAK8 on my Windows7 laptop and was not really wanting to spend the money to get the new cable, mostly because all the old stuff works and I don’t really need DAK unless I want to download a large stitch pattern and knit-from-screen (last time I did that was for a picture baby blanket and I’m so over that! https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2017/11/ever-have-one-of-those-days.html).
When I was chatting to Mike at dknits.com and giving him my tale of woe, he told me he had a software upgrade that would allow the SL4 to be used with DAK8. OMGG! He mailed it to me, I did the install, easy-peasy! It worked! Mike is my new best friend!
Seriously folks, if you need help or are considering Designaknit or cables for whatever reason, call him!

Monday, May 13, 2019

as I was struggling...

to knit with this reclaimed Wool Crepe Deluxe, I thought back to another time. The following is my editorial from KNITWORDS  #13, March 2000:
In January, I went to London, England and participated in the 'Knit, Stitch and Creative Crafts Show'. It was a lot of fun and very different from our North American knitting machine seminars in that it was mostly a selling show, not a lot of teaching like we normally have here. I had a booth next to Elaine Cater and I gave a 25 minute 'talk' once a day for the four days. It was a bit different without a knitting machine to hide behind, but it was kind of cool to have people come up to me and tell me they liked my Canadian accent. The first few times, I tried to tell them I didn't have an accent, but soon realized I was fighting a losing battle. One of the best things, I was in charge of what they call the 'knitting clinic'. It was twice a day for about an hour each time. It would be announced over the sound system that “Mary Anne Oger from Thunder Bay Canada, blah-blah blah would be in 'stand' 78” and anyone who had questions, problems or whatever about machine knitting could come and talk to me and it was my duty to either solve the problem or offer suggestions as to where the knitter might go to get help. By far, the most interesting lady was an 83-year-old, smartly-dressed machine knitter who told me a lengthy story about how she had knit a skirt from one designer's pattern. It had turned out so nicely that she chose a different designer's pattern and made a 'blouse' to go with the skirt but wasn't happy with the result. The fit wasn't quite right. She had knit it using 3 strands of a very fine bright acrylic (Bramwell’s Silky). I was politely listening to her story, waiting for the moment I could jump in and solve her dilemma. She began relating how she 'unpicked' this thing and put it into hanks. She then washed it and hung it to dry, adding weights to it to remove the kinks. Much to her dismay, when dry, it was still crinkly. By this time, my eyes began to glaze over, and I was clamping my teeth in an attempt not to scream out, 'throw it in the 'dust bin'!'. I managed to retain my composure and sanity as she then went on to say how a friend asked her if she had tried the microwave. My mind was gone! Gripping the edge of the table, hoping she couldn't see my white knuckles, I faintly asked, 'huh?' Anyhow, dubious herself, she then wound the used, crinkled yarn onto plastic cones, which she assured me, she fully expected to melt in the microwave (they didn't); added a cup of water and stuck in the 'mike' for 8 minutes. It worked out beautifully! Did I have any suggestions on what she could now knit with this reclaimed acrylic?
She then purchased one of my books and, finally able to speak, I asked her if she subscribed to the magazine. She, very politely, told me that she had seen a copy or two and didn't like it as there was nothing in it that was of any use to her.
After she walked away, I realized I hadn't found out whether the recycled yarn was still triple stranded or not.
Oh, by the way, the topic of my speech was 'The benefits of working with natural fibres.'

Friday, May 10, 2019

even i had my doubts...

LBD, new neckline!
I mentioned re-making that EFK from a pre-knit project that I didn’t like. To get myself in the proper frame of mind, I did redo my LBD. I took some photos but as you may know, black does not show up well but it was a very successful, relatively easy project and I now have a new LBD! (happy, happy!)

knotted yarn
With that under my belt, I bravely jumped into undoing the silver-gray Wool Crepe Deluxe. Now, don’t get me wrong – the ONLY reason I’m re-knitting this used yarn is because it is very expensive and rather than trash the whole thing, I’m opting for this salvage operation.
hole appears -yarn break
Re-using yarn that was knit in stockinette is one thing, but if it was knit in tuck or lace, and blocked or pressed, there is likely to be thin, possibly damaged spots in the yarn so this is not something to attempt if you’re short on patience and it’s not exactly foolproof. I’m offering a few tips to help you out if you need to do this. And, planning to re-knit in pattern is just asking for more issues so be sure of your skills!
Rewinding/unravelling yarn – put a little pressure on it to stretch the yarn out as you’re winding, to sort of straighten the yarn, (don't worry about the kinks, they will press out after the piece is knit) but also if there’s a weak spot in the yarn, you’ll want it to break now rather than halfway across the row as you’re knitting. If it does break while winding, I just tie a granny knot, leaving about an inch and a half ends, and then deal with it after the row is knit. I let the knot knit through and then un-pick the couple of stitches where the tails of the knot knit in, fix up those stitches, omitting the tails and then darn in those ends after.
Front and Back, fresh off machine
Knit slowly! Trust me! The yarn is likely to break somewhere and if youre moving slowly there’s a chance you can save the piece before it all drops off…like here (above), where it knit fine across the row and then the yarn broke and opened out. I was able to rehang the dropped stitches, rip back five rows, reprogram and re-knit again.
Pressed Back and Front
If you’ve stopped or paused, maybe to increase or decrease, pull up on the yarn at the beginning of the row so the kinky part doesn’t get caught in the brushes and cause a loop at the side or worse…
I knit the Back with the pre-used yarn and had enough un-used yarn to make the Front. This photo (above) shows each piece as it looked coming off the machine, no pressing on either piece. I’ll admit, the Back did look like a nightmare!
This photo (at left) shows the two pieces after pressing to size, shoulder line joined, and Sleeve made with pre-knit yarn.