Saturday, December 21, 2013


after 9 minion hats, I changed it up a bit and made Hello Kitty for Rhiana and a MineCraft hat for Nate – I may never knit another earflap hat – but you never know! got news from the North Pole that Rhiana is getting one of those 18 inch dolls for Christmas – now that’s something I always thought I’d never do, but here I am planning a ruffled cardigan for my favourite little doll and a matching one for hers! Between pieces for my KnitStyle 192 project and a couple pairs of circular socks for my snow shovellers – boy, they deserve to be paid this year!!

I loved  Google’s knitting  picture for the first day of winter!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 25, 2013

my favourite minions...

I have never knit an earflap hat – well, actually, I don’t think I’ve ever machine knit any hat. So, where does one start?  A few weeks back, I mentioned that Valery, a newbie mk-er from San Diego had told me she was knitting earflap hats and they were selling like hotcakes every time she took them into her workplace. She gave me her pattern source, which was a bulky machine pattern from the San Diego mk guild site (Knitten Buds) and I used that as a starting point (thanks Valery and thanks Knitten Buds!). Went to Michael’s and Wal-Mart in search of minion-coloured yarn – it should be a bright, lemon yellow, I think – suitable for the mid gauge machine.
When I checked on-line, minion hats are mostly crocheted, and since I’ve spent most of my machine knitting career trying to get the crocheted-look on the  knitting machine, felt it only appropriate that I do that again. The eye is the big challenge because it is a circle and knitting a circle is not the easiest thing. If you haven’t seen the movie (Despicable Me 2), the minion is a small cartoon character, bright yellow in colour like a big jelly bean on legs, with one or two eyes, wearing goggles (that’s the way I see them anyway) over the eye(s) and dressed in denim overalls with black hair varying from a single tuft to individual sparse strands.
So, back to the circle for the eye/goggles – I thought the chain cast-on would make the outside nicely so incorporating my ‘outlining the patch pocket’ idea – did the chain (35, 42 ns) in gray, knit 1 row and then took it off on waste yarn. Using white yarn, cast on ( 5, 6 sts) and shortrow a circle, hanging a chain stitch from the edging on every row, graft it together and Bob’s your uncle! a minion eye! For Nate, I used a brown button – he and minions have brown eyes. Rhiana, she wanted 2 green eyes to match her own.
I made the original pattern – it turned out too small of course, but gave me the general idea. After adjusting stitches and rows, the size was okay, but I didn’t like the top of the hat being gathered into a circle so I reworked it using the ‘decreasing evenly across the row’ several times that results in a spiral top – this is good – probably not what you’d do if you’re wanting to mass produce but I’ve got the time for my grandkids! (and a mid gauge garter bar! nah-nah-na-na!) I did the earflaps in a denim-look yarn  to simulate the minions’ jeans and added hair – put a tuft on Nate’s and for Rhiana, I unraveled some black WCD from a steamed Boondoogle swatch that had some lovely kinks for curls…
anybody want the pattern? here's the link to the PDF…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

comfy notes for Cindy

I was going to title this, ‘notes for anyone wanting to raglanize Comfy’  but I’m not totally delusional – heck, if no one knit the original…
band pulls up at bottom
Anyway, making the ribs – it is a right side facing band, hence the RTR thing after the band is knit – the band needs to be turned to match with the side-away lace pattern and I do like the row of garter stitch ridge you get from the RTR, adding a nice detail between the rib and the lace – it also hides the gathering – oh, I forgot to say, you’ll need more stitches in the rib to match the width of the lace pattern, due to the A-line shape – it was okay in the original version to use the same number of stitches for the band as for the lace fabric, because it was a shorter, boxy cut, but on this one, I added about 10% for the bands so they wouldn’t draw in, especially on the hemline. Also, on the front bands, have 2 end needles on the ribber to make a nice finish at the outside edge of band – this one shows same distribution  overall and notice how the band pulls up at the end – to prevent this, I remade the band (see below left) and put more stitches for the hem and neckline (12 sts) instead of 9 as in first one…

BTW, the neckline will be hung at the left end (right side facing) to attach the buttonhole band, so, space the holes from the right end of the band in order to have one in the neckband area and it be at the left end after the RTR. Make the buttonholes so the B stitch from the diagram is on the centre non-tuck stitch – just because I had to make 4 bands doesn’t mean you should have to! And I probably don’t have to remind you to cast on with waste yarn for the ribs before going into the main yarn…
Now, when you’re knitting the lace and shaping the raglans, I still used the 6 to 5 decrease from the ‘Rich Raglan’ pattern and cancelled the patterning inside that area so there are no lace transfers in the outlined decrease –  actually for the most part, I stuck to cancelling the transfers to 12 sts from the decreased area at least - use your own judgment, just to make sure there isn’t an odd single hole where the pattern isn’t allowed to begin a new repeat because that just looks weird.
Other old KW  lace patterns that would suit being raglanized – ‘Borderline’ from No 25 and   ‘Frame of Lace’ from No 17 – they are both knit using cool bands which could still be employed with the new raglan and they both use Yeoman Yarns Cannele – shortened up, 2 cones of 250g will do!! I have  2 cones of a chocolate brown, a pretty jade green and a nice, icy blue…

Oh, I got Vickie’s skirt finished up and in the mail; made 3 pairs of socks for gifts for my trip to Toronto last weekend; found my old tension swatch for ‘In the Tweeds’ and made patch pockets for it; and got a minion eyeball KNIT (more later)!
BTW – by the way
KW – Knitwords magazine
RTR – remove, turn, rehang
MAO – Mary Anne Oger
LMAO – laughing my ass off!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

love seeing my name in print!

Knit’nStyle #189 is out! It caught me by surprise!
Something happened and I did not get my usual comp copy of #188 until about a week ago and then got a second one of the same issue the next day - I had complained and I think what happened was the usual one was delayed for some reason and then head office sent me a new one. Then only a couple of days later, there’s another envelope from head office and I’m like, what the? another one, really? – turned out to be #189! pretty exciting! Our new editor, Cari, actually mentions me in her editorial and says she wants to make my project, ‘Stormy Weather’! OMG!! she admits to being a machine knitter, too!
Truth be told, I’m not always happy with what they do with my garment (it's the control freak in me), but I’ve learned to live with it. Most times, I don’t really have a hard time parting with the sweater because they usually choose the colour and it’s not always what I’d like, but for this one, I did choose and I LOVED it!! It looks gorgeous –  okay, the model is 6 ft tall (Cari told me that) and the sleeves are a little short, but no biggie – they’ve styled it well and there are several photos of it – not just mine, they’ve done this to all the projects, which is good. This is the transition issue, where Penelope did the planning and Cari did the photography and layout – good job!
Then, I hear from Lea-ann at Knitting Today – she’s organizing a knitalong for this project – I think I’ll have to join! I’m already planning to do mine as a jacket, with a full zip front. The yarn (Plymouth Yarns Linen Concerto) is a little pricey, but well worth it – it has a beautiful sheen, more colours than shows up in the photos ( charcoal and grays as well as the pale blue and denim – my colourway is called  #73 indigo) and drape so if you’re looking for something a little more special that just your regular hoodie, check it out – Lea-Ann has it on her Facebook page which you can link to from the bottom of her webpage, – click the Facebook symbol and it will take you there!
I have an article in the same issue, ‘Planning Color Placement with Self-Striping Yarns’ and they kind of cropped one photo a little too much – I had 11 balls of yarn to start and I photo-ed them all so you could see the difference in shades on the outside of the ball – and the photo shop person  cropped it to only show the centre 6 or so, so here is my original – now you need to get the magazine to see what else I’m talking about! And here is my close-up of the zip placket - it totally encases the zipper and finishes it off very neatly, I think.

-Mary Ann (I’d like to buy a vowel) Oger

Saturday, November 2, 2013

who needs Sudoku?

To keep your brain active? if the rest of the world knew about machine knitting!! OMG!
Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend Cindy who’s made ‘Rich Raglan’ (Serial Stuff 2) three times, three different colours – all three looked great and she was asking me if she could make another because she loves the shape and fit of it and it really does flatter her figure – she says the raglan shaping takes all the guess work out of fitting shoulders and sleeves and she prefers the fit of the raglan. She probably thinks I’m going to be like Stacy and Clinton and say, no you cannot have multiples! But no, I’m okay with, if something works, stick with it. I have made it twice, the red with black trim and I did a solid French navy and I would also like another one or two!
So I came home thinking how could  we adapt some sort of stitch pattern to the raglan shape to make a bit of variety. I always thought that a raglan needed to be in plain stockinette because the angled shaping between the body and sleeves would mess up patterning and look mostly terrible in seaming.  But I got stuck on the idea to find a way to incorporate a lace pattern into the raglan.
I’ve loved my ‘Comfy’ (KW#28), worn it a lot and always get compliments from strangers – the stitch pattern has large areas of stockinette in it already and I thought with a little planning, it might work okay as a raglan. Now, I told you a while back that I had just realized that I do not have a white cardigan and conveniently, in checking my shelves I happen to have two cones of Honiburd 4/2 cotton, the same yarn as ‘Comfy’- not that I’ll need two, but I’m just saying…Also, the bands on the original cardigan are totally cute and I’ve meant to re-use that technique. 
So, I pull out my  No 28 magazine and look over the pattern and my heart stops – crap, I owe that DAQ lady in San Diego an apology!! Somehow  in the magazine layout, the tuck stitch pattern for the ribs is missing! WTF? well, it’s obvious that no one ever tried to knit this pattern! Huh! well, sorry! (better late than never, I guess!) Here is the stitch pattern for the tuck rib bands – it’s 12 sts X 4 rows – centered at 0/N1 cam at 0 or left needle position 12.

The gray squares should be knit stitches and the white are tucks and because it is 1X1 rib, there will be 3  every other row tucks on the main bed and 3 knit ribs – it really is pretty…
I could make this a really long, tedious story, but I’ll stick to the end result - I think it works!! I’ll finish up and post the results!
Meanwhile, I did get Vickie’s skirt put together and done – just need to get out and buy some elastic for the waistband. I’m working on my next KS project in between pieces of this white lace raglan – TTYL!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DAQs, OPPs and more

You know how I love acronyms…
Got back from San Diego and thought I’d give you the rundown or maybe it’s the low down on how it went. It’s been a while since I was out there but it was nice to see familiar faces and fun to meet some new ones. I did a two day workshop for the guild - they have a set up with a closed circuit camera that shows the action on a large screen behind me and I’m rigged out with a microphone that has a battery pack that fits in a pocket (if you have one) and then the mic clamps onto your collar (if you have one) – usually works fine, except that I kind of do a fashion show throughout the day so the mic got tangled, screeched and was thrown about many times – all in good fun!
I got inspired – Valery, a beginner mk-er, brought in some earflap hats that she’s been making and dressing up various ways – she described how to make a ‘minion’ version – you know, from the ‘Despicable Me’ movie – I took my little kiddos to see #2 and I think they would love them, so that's on my to-do list – hope I get them done for Christmas! – that list is quite long and growing!!
Someone had brought a very tasty pumpkin square for the potluck snack fest – I loved them and  asked for the recipe – the baker reluctantly admitted they came from a box mix sold at Wal-Mart…but they were good!
As the second day draws to a close and everyone gets more comfortable – they get used to me and I’m getting to know them - I throw caution to the wind and turn off the filter! After I finish giving a detailed description of the techniques in a particular pattern of mine, someone asks ‘And is that all given in the pattern?’
I answer sarcastically, ‘of course not, but I’ll be home before you look at it!’ and then add, ‘That’s your last DAQ of the day!’

DET – double eye tool
DAQ – dumb ass question
FAQ – frequently asked question
MAO – Mary Anne Oger
OPP – other person’s pattern


Thursday, October 3, 2013

blah, blah blah...

I was in Nova Scotia last weekend, teaching a workshop for the Maritime Machine Knitters – what fun!  Seeing old friends and making new – we all got along just great. Edith Scott won the knitting contest, with her version of  ‘Up a Notch’, my pattern from KW#30 – great job, Edith! I couldn’t have done better myself! Special thanks to Valerie for taking such good care of me - you were awesome and so thoughtful!
Hello to all my new blog-followers (Angela, Catherine... not to name a few names!), hope this has lived up to the billing! (I gave them all what for, for not following already – LOL!)
Home again and after getting everything put away, I was trying to get back to the business of finishing Vickie’s skirt – I did finish my KS project – I think it turned out well and, bonus,  got all 3 tiers of both skirts knit. Now to do the blocking and steaming and get them assembled – well actually, I need to disassemble mine down to the first tier (it is still good – I was just redoing the top 2 tiers of that one) before starting to re-do it.
Second Tier - lace Marbella
Third Tier - Skinny Majesty stockinette
What made it easy to knit the two at a time was being able to stack the pieces and save time not having to cast on anew for each piece – this also saves time with the blocking and steaming.

Anyway, project interrupted – I just got an urgent request from the San Diego Machine Knitting Guild to fill in for a cancellation for next weekend – so, if you’re anywhere near (or far) and can make it, see you in San Diego Oct 12 and 13th!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

two birds...or is it three

I’m really enjoying this multi lace thing – there is something quite satisfying  about dropping those stitches on purpose – take that, stitch! I meant to do that! ha, ha!
But it does take a bit of concentration – you don’t want to be dropping on purpose in the wrong place – I found that I could only concentrate for 24 to 30 rows and then it was better to walk away and take a break  and do something else – like, this could be the perfect time to take care of a project that I’ve been meaning to get around to – the remake of my ‘Tiers of Joy’ skirt from No 47.
When I made it, back in 2008, I made the first one  in black, for myself and used WCD, Mini  Dina, a cotton/rayon blend and Bramwell’s Hobby, (grimace) an acrylic bouclĂ© – just what I happened to have on hand. I made the second one in greens (and gave it to Sue Jalowiec of Knit It Now)and used WCD, Marbella and Skinny Majesty and wrote the pattern based on those yarns. It was beautiful – the drape of the rayons (last two) is gorgeous and the green one really turned out well. Mine, on the other hand, while still nice - and I did wear it a lot, both at knitting events and for personal use, did not weather well – the cotton in the Mini Dina has faded and is now sort of charcoal and the acrylic top layer has little pill balls on it, so because I still really love the skirt and have the proper yarns in black to remake it…AND my friend Vickie convinced me to promise to make her one in black to take with her on her two month holiday to Hawaii this winter - this is the perfect time to kill two birds…it will be much easier to make two at the same time rather than making one now and then later making another later…so….the bottom tier of the skirt is a sideways-knit flounce that could be shortrowed, but I used the electronics and a slip stitch to do the partial knitting automatically plus the hem edge is finished as you go with a neat little wrapping trick - check it out!

Yesterday’s score: Vickie’s skirt, first tier done! KS190 project, back, done!
P.S. that is a darn fine skirt pattern! lots of tips and techniques and tons of information that I’d totally forgotten!

Friday, September 6, 2013

anatomy of a design OR how many swatches does it take...?

Knit’nStyle magazine is going to have a new look! well, not right away, but soon.
#190, April/Spring  ’14 (on sale date is January 2014 – go figure – how is anyone supposed to keep track of which issue it really is?? – sorry, just my pet peeve!) has a new editor and a new look! They are actually changing the name to KNITstyle (I like it!) but you won’t see that change till then – there is still two issues to come out under the old regime.
This was part of their press release:

In addition to the new title and look, KNITstyle readers will discover fresh new designs, interesting knitting stories, educational technique articles, useful information about local yarn shops, and profiles of today's hottest designers. Packaged with a fresh new graphic look, KNITstyle will be accentuated with a new photography vision designed to inspire readers.

Anyway,  sounds like a lot of big changes in style, content and layout – should be pretty exciting! Cari Clement, the new editor, (spent nine years with Caron International as its first creative director and twelve years as co-owner of Bond America, manufacturer of home knitting machines) has a machine knitting background, really exciting! So, the good news is, there will still be a machine knit article and garment in each issue.
Now, for each issue, we (the designers) get an RFD (request for design) in which they (Cari and her team) give story lines and stitch and yarn ideas and we have to submit a proposal, including sketches and swatches.
This is totally different for me – no one has ever told me what to do – I’ve always been able to basically do my own thing – at first, I thought, okay this will be easy, I don’t have to come up with the ideas. Usually they will give a bunch of themes and I just have to pick one and fit in to it (I think) but this time (for #190), my challenge is to create something using drop stitch and eyelets to correspond with a hand knitting  article using drop stitches – hummmm…this may not be as easy as I first thought – I know what I think are drop stitches on a knitting machine and I did check on-line for a hand knitting reference to drop stitches – not really the same thing – hand knit drop lace seems to run horizontal and machine knit is vertical…maybe I can plead ignorance and just go with my own ideas – I wonder if they have a back-up plan!So I still had to submit a sketch (not my strong point) and a swatch and then they chose the actual yarn…I’ll give you a little bit of it – a yoke, sideways knit of full fashioned lace with the holes filled in and the sleeves and body are made from hem to top with vertical lines of lace, combining drop stitch and transferred lace – well, they liked my proposal, I got a contract for this one and they’ve named my design already – how can they do that? I hope it's not written in stone - this would be a deal breaker!and it’s a sucky title – ‘Lots ‘o Lace’ ??? come on, what is this? the ‘80s?? I’m going to ignore it and put my own name on it (which I always do) and see what happens – right now, I’m thinking ‘Ripples’ or maybe ‘Waves’ – yes, I like the last one…BTW, the title is always a work-in-progress as the design develops and can be the last thing I do...
So, I’ve made 5 more swatches already and still not sure how I want to proceed, so I’m going with my usual plan – you know it – make a sleeve first and see what happens!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


the other day I was watching The Morning Show from Global Toronto – they had a fashion segment and I’m always interested in seeing what's new – well, I almost died laughing! They showed one of those skirts that is short in front and long in back – most of them are above the knee in front and various lengths in the back and usually just showcase bad legs and make the wearer look ridiculous. I’ve seen them many times over the summer and thought to myself,  that is a trend will fall into that ‘least fortunate of fashion ideas’ and should be put in the cupboard that must never be opened! I can hardly wait for it to be over…
Now, what was so funny was they called it a ‘mullet hem’ and that’s when I began laughing! And then I stopped in my tracks – was I guilty? gosh, darn, I made that skirt with the elliptical hem and deep flounce (Flounced Skirt from ‘Sassy Skirts’)  – does this qualify as a mullet hem? it was back in 2005 and I actually wore the outfit (Fit To Be Tied, KW#38) to Lindsay’s wedding in August and it looks like I had the matching hairstyle…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

perfect pockets

You can call me anal (not really); you can call me a perfectionist… (ha! ha! I’ve already fessed up to too many screw-ups for that to apply!)
As you can see, I got the back done as planned – got the bands done too – I’m loving this!
Now, the pockets. I decided that I’d like the pockets to be the same pattern (white background) as the back – that way, from the front you can see all three patterns – makes sense to me anyway so that’s what I’m doing.
Now, I have to say, I’m so glad there’s this blog to look back at because my memory is not what it used to be. Remember (you probably don't) those great patch pockets I did way back when (March 4, 2011) where I used a chained cast-on to make a perfect edge – I’m thinking that’s going to work here too and I know where to find it almost immediately!
So, yes it did work, but darn, I don’t like those 2 extra rows at the top (the one on the top right) that don’t give a complete pattern repeat. Answer, just stop 2 rows earlier! And, there must be some way to get rid of those little pokey white stitches at the edges… I tried just wrapping the second colour on the end needle instead of bringing it out which causes the end needle to knit in the second (black) colour…wrong answer - that was just too much extra work and same thing happened! Third try, nailed it!
Sonofagun, all I did was ‘edit’ my swatch for the stitch pattern and make sure every end stitch was black – two reasons: first when you’re hanging the chain, it’s black, so the end stitch that you’re putting in behind should be black, right? and when knitting fairisle on the Silver Reed we are used to pulling out the end needle at the beginning of the row so both colours go right to the edge, so by making the edge stitch black, it will knit back in black anyway and eliminate those little white half stitches!!!
You could just call me dumb…after all, it took me three try’s – I prefer to think of it as persistent but, you know, this is my boondoggle – what else do I have to do?
P.S. If you don’t have DAK, just pull both end needles out every row which will have the same effect! And, one last thing, I’ll wash and dry the garment and the pockets and then block everything and then stitch the pockets in place…

Friday, August 16, 2013

fingers crossed...

I know the suspense is killing you - 2 fronts done! 3.7 oz white remaining - I think I might just make it and even get the pockets done - but my new backup plan if necessary - make back yoke from self coloured 1X1 black fairisle - that way the thickness will be the same throughout...

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I just love that word, but what does it mean? As a noun: work of little or no value merely to appear busy. As a verb, do work for the purpose of appearing busy…
oh my! how long has it been since I knit fairisle? talk about jumping in at the deep end…I decided to start with a sleeve – no big surprise – that has been my modus operandi for quite some time for lots of reasons – I know I am going to suffer running-out-of-yarn anxiety. I have 7.5 oz of the off-white WCD and tons of black, no problem there. I’ve checked back on other WCD fairisles (No 52, ‘Herringbone’ and No 46, ‘Print It’) They were both similar in length and size to what I’m attempting to make now and according to my notes, I can expect to need a minimum of 8 oz of the second colour but, going with the 3/4 sleeve, I hope, will save me. And making the sleeve first tests out a lot of stuff and will give me a better idea of how far the yarn will go. The sleeve stitch pattern has a background of black and uses slightly more black. The design I am going to use  for the front is a variation of the herringbone tweed, which is a more balanced pattern with equal stitches of black and white. The back, as shown in the stolen design is more white so I’ll leave the back to last and my ‘back-up’ plan - change to the ‘coffin’ version – the back in plain black – I’ll just stand against the wall a lot and make sure I’m the last to leave the room!
Confession, I didn’t waste any on the swatch – used an ivory mini dina for that which is close in colour and weight/thickness, just to get the right idea and test out the stitch pattern. The gauge from the other two projects – one was 36 sts and 43 rows and the other, 36 sts and 40 rows so I can use that as a guideline for the sleeve – I’m going with 36 sts and 42 rows, so I need to make a ‘cheat swatch’ as I’m knitting the sleeve.
Of course, one of my favourite features of this design is the little slits in the bottom of the sleeve – nice detail, so I can’t leave that out – it means knitting the small section at one side to say row 24 and then casting on the other portion of the sleeve and knitting it to row 24 and then putting everything back in work and getting it to all match up…so here’s something I don’t believe that I’ve really wrote about before – I am using Designaknit knit-from-screen for the stitch pattern on the SilverReed/Studio standard gauge electronic machine and the KR11 knit contour for my shape.
One of the quirks of the SilverReed electronic (any gauge) is mis-patterning on the initial rows. When I first got my SK580 way back in the early ‘90s, as part of dealer training, we were told to ‘read the pattern’ with 2 to 4 free passes of the carriage and doing this virtually eliminated any mis-patterning at the beginning or when any time you were re-setting the pattern. So, how to do this with DAK and KFS? I set my stitch pattern to begin 2 rows before I really want it to, to give me 2 free passes before the actual row 1 that I want (if you want more info on this, email me privately so we don’t bore the others).
So, anyway, as you might imagine, there are a lot of things to remember to get this little sleeve going, but I do love a challenge – thank heaven I’m not writing a pattern for this! That would take all the fun out of it! maybe I’m just boondoggling…or, is this my boondoggle?...
There’s something so satisfying about pressing out a sleeve and the gauge - nailed it!
I’ve had these buttons since 1995…

2 sleeves done - 6.1 oz remaining...
oh, one more reason to make the sleeves first - I'm still mulling over the bottom band and I can do a few practises on the sleeves and still change my mind for the other pieces!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

inspiration or stealing?

it’s always interesting to find new inspiration – I have gone to retail shops and looked at ready-to-wear, saw what's happening there and come away usually filled with what I thought were good ideas to work on. There were the catalogues, like Chico’s and Coldwater Creek that would never fail to inspire something.  Now, the internet is full of shops and ideas – I used to look regularly at J Jill and Net-a-Porter but my new go-to is – I love those clothes! Why? I guess they appeal to who I wish I was – much taller, much slimmer and younger! There you go, it’s all about fantasy, obviously, because I am never going to be any of those things, but it’s nice to look and wish.
The website is kind of fun because people who have bought, log in and give reviews and comments on the garment after they get it which tells you much more than the actual description. I find it really interesting to see what they have to say and I often am thinking, where did they get that idea? (if they were unhappy) What where they looking at when they saw the photo and how did it translate to what they are saying?
Now, some of the people are shopping in their local store and are giving an opinion which is great for those who would be shopping on-line and it’s kind of cool that they give their height, weight, bust size and usually age…but I digress…
Anyway, the other day I found one cardigan that I just seem to have become obsessed with – it’s called ‘Tralee Cardigan’ (I don’t know how to put a link to it from here, so you’ll have go look for yourself and type that into the search bar).  It is originally shown in a bright yellow and white with black trim – the description says ‘we love the subtle mixed pattern pockets on this super- soft cotton intarsia (this really kills me when they get the description wrong, it’s very obviously a double jacquard or fairisle) - and it’s f-ugly – but click on the next colour button and it comes up on a real person in black and white and OMG, I love it! Of course, I’m not going to pay $148 even if it did come in my size. I found myself revisiting the page a few times last week and then over the weekend I sort of forgot about it. On Monday I couldn’t find it – almost panicked and then somehow I managed to stumble across it – I don’t know how to add or save something to my favourites – so I figured I’d better do something to save the ideas – can you believe it? I first grabbed some graph paper and started to block in squares of the stitch pattern and then – whack/coulda had a V-8 - there I am with a DesignAKnit window open and the website photo in the background – OMG! this is too easy – got the stitch pattern done and then realized there would be too many long floats for the fairisle, because in my head, I’m already knitting this in WCD (wool crepe deluxe in fairisle,  and I don’t want any float longer that 3 stitches – here, proof – I’ve already redesigned and knocked off a temporary swatch…I can use a portion of  my ‘Herringbone’ stitch pattern from No 52 for the front – I’m so excited! I’ll keep you posted, I promise!
(next thing you know, I’ll be learning how to use Pinterest – please don’t tell me!)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

frozen watermelon?

I think I’m going to turn this into a food blog or maybe a drink blog…not that our summer has been so great but I do like making these watermelon cocktails – get yourself a nice ‘seedless’ (not) watermelon – I say ‘not’ because they aren’t really seedless, just not full of the regular black seeds. What can I say? it’s one of those oxymorons that I love! So, back to the drink -  cut up the watermelon – make about 1 inch cubes and throw them in a flat pan and into the freezer – you can leave them indefinitely (after they are fully frozen and I’m not going to use them right away, I shovel them into a ziplock bag for better storage) or at least several hours. Then at drink-time, haul out the blender, grab a few fresh mint leaves off the plant out on the deck and get the vodka.
After a few weeks of experimenting, I do believe I have the perfect recipe. Put about 2 drinks (maybe 2 cups) worth of the frozen watermelon cubes into the blender. Add 4 to 5 mint leaves. Then, .5 oz fresh lime juice, 1 oz limoncello and 3 oz of your favourite plain vodka. Pulse until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses. Grind a half a turn of sea salt on top of each and enjoy with lucky company! The drink can be made with unfrozen watermelon, just add ice cubes but then, that waters down the drink – just sayin’…
So, about my knitting, you say? well, I did finish that unraveled denim – didn’t get a hood out of it and changed my mind about the zipper and went with neckband, button band and buttons like ‘Simple-icity’ from Serial Stuff 1 – I’ll be honest with you and reveal the real reason there is no zipper. I lengthened it just slightly from the original without really thinking it through and ended up with the smaller waistline of the original design actually just above my hip line – you know, that muffin-top area and it would have been okay if I could have used a two-way zipper but didn’t have the time to search the ‘net or wait for it to arrive so opted for buttons because I can leave the bottom button undone…
Then, on a roll with cardigans and still thinking summer, I whipped up a WCD pale grey ‘Peachy Keen’ from No 53, without the ruffle.  Made the sleeves, made the back and, again, without thinking it through, I started the front and forgot to leave the few stitches off at the centre front and didn’t realize it until  I was casting off the underarm shaping. Figured well, okay, I actually need that extra bit across my bust so I’ll leave it in and another few rows later thought, oh no! the neckline is going to be too big – Ah-h, my brain at work – sidebar here - I hardly ever make round neck cardigans and again the truth (I’m going to have to stop drinking!) on a vee neck, MAO, you never notice this because you’re just decreasing down to the shoulder – so what would happen if I just decrease the 4 to 5 stitches that should not be there to allow room for the band from just above the bust in the next 3 to 4 inches? Long story short, it works for me!

And, you may not believe this, but I just realized that I do not own a white cardigan – I’ll get on that soon but tomorrow my yarn for my next KnS project is arriving, so I thought I better get this update to you before I get involved in that! Don’t worry; I’m out of frozen watermelon…

Friday, May 24, 2013


you’re really not going to believe this…I am unraveling a sweater and going to reknit the yarn! Did you hear me? MAO is unraveling…yes, it’s the truth! Why, you ask? Well, it’s not because there is a shortage of yarn at my house, trust me – sure there are the odd Lego starship and princess castle pieces on the yarn shelves, but really, I still have plenty of good, quality yarns. And, I just finished up my KnS project for #187, which is a zippered jacket and wrote an article on zipper installations in knits and it got me wanting to do another zippered project for me – I don’t get to keep the KnS one.  ;-(
Here’s the thing. I’ve been wearing my casual hoodies to death lately and my totally favourite one of all time, ‘Hoods Up’ (photo of KJ wearing) from No 22, Autumn ’02 – that’s 11 years ago and I have really worn that thing – is still okay, made with beautiful red Honiburd Cotton 4 ply, but getting on the shabby side. It has some totally cool techniques, with the seaming on the outside which gives nice detail on the shoulder and top of sleeve and the zipper method is really neat – you actually sew the zipper on a band with the sewing machine and then attach the band to the garment on the knitting machine which makes the machine sewing invisible – I didn’t do that for the KnS one because it doesn’t work well for the heavier gauges.
Then, I have this other sweater in one of my all-time favourite yarns, Yeoman’s Indigo Denim cotton 4 ply in the dark wash – I had remade the man’s vee neck, ‘Faded Favour’ from No 39 ( Winter ’06), rashly thinking I needed one of those for myself (when the yarn was still available and I had a couple of extra cones), but it was a pullover and I had briefly forgotten how very seldom I wear a pullover. I did wear it a few times initially and washed it a couple of times, but it has been languishing in my closet for some time. Boy, I really am going on and on – it’s like I haven’t talked to you in weeks!
Now, unraveling it is one thing - I’m secretly hoping for a distressed look – the original was tuck stitch which simulates a seed stitch, using the knit side as right side and you can see a bit of fading on the top outside part of the stitch. I’m going to knit the new ‘Hood’s Up’ in stockinette, but I can’t really cheat like I have been doing lately on my swatches – sure, I’ve used this same yarn in stockinette – Nate and I had matching ‘In Da Hood’ hoodies back in No 37 and 38, but those swatches were knit in the raw cotton, knit slightly looser to allow for the inevitable shrinkage, washed and then gauged (then the garment is too big when finished, but works out after the laundering to do the shrink – hope you’re getting all that!). This yarn is already preshrunk, so I should make a new swatch but I won’t have to worry about laundering it ahead of measuring. Yeah, you caught that ‘should’! Now I’m really cheating – when I unraveled the sleeve, I left the hem and rehung that. Now, based on my expertise, gathered over years of knitting , instead of knitting at T8 which is my usual stitch size for this yarn, I’m dialing down two dots and using T7. for this which I figure will compensate for the pre-shrunk factor, and again using my vast experience, I figure I can plug 30 sts and 42 rows in as a semi-close gauge.  Now, doing my little ‘cheating at swatches’ thing from back in (see  April 2008)  where I just hang markers on the first 60 rows for a swatch check-up, I get going on the sleeve. After I get so far, I can measure the pretend swatch and re-adjust if necessary!
Heh, heh, haven’t lost my touch!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

snow days...

really? snow in May?
I thought April was bizarre enough – we had a snowstorm on the 19th of April that shut down the entire city and that was the 4th storm of the month! I’m sure we had more snow here in Thunder Bay in April than we had in the entire winter…and then to wake up on the 4th of MAY to this??? Oh well, it has to stop sometime and what do you do in the mean time? Knit, of course! Anyway on the 19th, I figured I may as well make myself a spring jacket – nothing else to do, so I pulled a cone of red Bonita (100% mercerised cotton, 4 ply weight) off the shelf and proceeded to knit, using my new technique of no swatch needed because I’ve used this before…plugged in my stockinette swatch numbers from an old stockinette Bonita pattern and used my ‘Side Steps’ mylar pattern – I have worn the khaki wool one many, many times and always get compliments on it – I think it’s because the button/button loops catch people’s attention. It’s easy wear, throws on with jeans or a skirt and just goes, casual or dressed up. It is a sideways knit cardigan,  made A-line by adding gores or darts from the bottom edge to just under the bust and it is a quick, easy knit - you can do the body/sleeves easily in a couple of hours and finish up the bands the next day. I figured doing it up in the red would work well for spring, if it ever comes, but I knew I’d have problems matching the red for buttons, so I used black for the chains in the front and neck bands so black buttons should work and it does! While I was sewing on the buttons and loops, I thought, hummm-m-m, maybe here’s something I should say or tell you – if you already know, okay fine, but – I sew on the top button first and then do the bottom one, making sure the top and bottom of the garment line up properly with the other side. Button up both and stretch out the garment between – then do the next one from the top, the next one from the bottom, alternating, buttoning and smoothing out in between. This way, you’re making sure it all lines up and will lay flat and even in the end. I find this works better that starting at the top and working down or worse, just measuring the distance between…
 Happy spring!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Notes for flared body

Back to that Rib'nShrug thing - I decided to make one for me and experiment with making the body a bit longer and adding an A-line flare…sorry it took so long to get this up…I've been wearing it and forgot to tell you about it! On the seafoam one, I ended up putting the ribbed section from the shoulder, down under the arm, around the back, up under and around the other sleeve, leaving the back neck with no ribbed section (the original had the ribbed piece going all the way around so the ribbed edges met at the centre back neck). This looked real cute on Wendy and didn't have so much extra overlap in the front so I did the same for mine. I'm really happy with it and you could put a shawl pin on to close it up but it doesn't really need it and looks good with the bottom portions folded back, no overlap.
For the ribbed piece, when laying it out, at each side, have single end needle on main bed and then whatever needle arrangement you want. This will make a neat edge both for the seaming side and for the unfinished bottom edge.
To make shortrowed darts – CAR, turn off row counter. Bring all to hold except 15 at right – have last needle in hold (the one that gets wrapped) on main bed – this will work better when returning the needles to work – I have found if your wrap is on a ribber needle, it tends to drop when being returned to UWP…oh, so the dart was hold 15 sts, KWK, 5X; cancel hold; knit to next dart. I added 7 darts across the back – total length of the ribbed piece was 450 rows, darts not included, so first dart was at RC075 – I turned off the row counter for  the dart – dart was every 50 rows to RC375 for last one.
Make sure when sizing up that you estimate correctly for extra yarn needed. The seafoam one was the XS size and  weighed 275g. For my olive one, I made the largest size yoke and to the body, added 10 sts at each side and 7 gores of 10 rows X 60 sts and thought, oh, that shouldn’t take too much more  -  wrong! I had done the yoke/sleeve portion first and I got a little more than half way through the ribbed body portion – it seemed to be just eating up that yarn ! Sure it was a part cone, but I had weighed it before starting – 370g and I thought that would be plenty. Now, how likely is this? I would have not only another part cone of the same colour but a part cone of the same dye-lot?  Yes, there is a knitting god! My final garment weighs 410g…
Now, shall I keep on experimenting and extend the ribbed, flared body into a circular piece that will come up over the back of the neck for a shawl collar/hood effect?