Thursday, December 31, 2015

the turkey pot pies turned out excellent!

I couldn't end the year on such a bad note. After taking a break in the kitchen, I knit the front without a hitch. Typical spoiled brat! Throw a hissy fit and then suddenly things go my way! ;-))
I did go with my plan to do the front by cut'n'sew - I hung yarn marks at the centre all the way up so it would be easy to mark the centre line and I did shape the neckline so I wouldn't have to worry about joining the hood to a cut'n'sew edge.
My usual method for a plain hood is to begin from the neck edge, going up to the top of the head with the seam along the top. Any  hood is really just for looks and you want the hood to look the best when it is down (you never wear it up!) so I am changing it up a bit and starting from the face edge, with the fairisle going across the top with seams in the back which won't show anyway when the hood is down (see 'boyzindahood', KW No 37 and/or 'in da 'hood' KW No 38, for the shape). I'll use a small stockinette hem at the edge that will look similar to the front bands and only do a portion of the fairisle pattern, maybe only the first half...pockets sewn into side seams with narrow stockinette hem for outer edge. Life is good!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

random thoughts, confessions, the rest of the plan...

I am totally spoiled! and I am only just realizing it now!
I never told you what yarn I was using - it's that 'Briggs & Little Durasport' sock yarn that I bought last year (ecru) (see blogpost 'ideas and inspiration', Dec 4, 2014), thinking I was going to dye it for some fun fairisle socks without paying big bucks for the lovely pre-dyed sock yarn like 'Opal' or 'Schoeller Socka'...well, that never happened! I did make a few pairs of socks using the denim and gray colours and they were okay but it's a little heavier than the good stuff and I had to revamp my pattern and then I couldn't give the socks to just anyone (not that I would anyway)  because it isn't superwash - I could only give them to someone who I was sure would be into hand washing their know what I mean. Well, I dug the yarn out, determined to work with it. I'm used to Forsell Pure New Wool which I now realize was the Cadillac of 4 ply wool. It was so smooth and even, none of this thick/thin bee es. I can't recall ever finding a single piece of straw in it never mind enough to make Rumpelstiltskin happy! And while you were knitting with it, It went through the machine like butter! Unfortunately the good Forsell Pure New Wool is long gone...what`s a knitter to do(question mark - for some reason my keyboard is acting like a knitting machine and the question mark is coming up É and there`s something weird with the apostrophe or single quote marks).
This stuff is terrible for sticking to itself! The number of times it creates a loop at the edge! AARRGGH! But, I persevere! Got the second sleeve done relatively pain-free.
I only made two mistakes on the back - the one where you forget to switch the cam back to stockinette from fairisle. Then half the stitches drop because there is no yarn in the second feeder to knit them, causing basically everything to fall off. Luckily there are lots of plain rows in the pattern to go back to, to rehang and get things going again. The other mistake, I didn`t notice until it was done and off the machine and no one will ever spot it while I'm wearing it - oh, BTW, I`m calling this the `4 ef hoodie` - ef was supposed to stand for fairisle and the 4 was for 4 colours. But, even though I know it's there (the mistake), it's in the back and honestly won`t bother me in the slightest. In the off chance anyone does call me on it, I`ll plead Amish - you know, where they always make a deliberate mistake...
I was thinking I was going to use those nice, tubular bands for the fronts, like in 'Nonchalance' (KW No. 43 cover) but to heck with that. I`m making the front in one piece and doing the cut'n'sew bands from 'cardiganize' (see blogpost 'Reno for Spots in Dots', June 30, 2010). The hood and pockets, I'll tell you about later - warning, do not be surprised if this just ends up a cardigan...

I'm going to make turkey pot pies!

Monday, December 28, 2015

the sleeve works for me!

;-) ok, I'm pretty happy!
In case you're just joining me, the reason I start with a sleeve is because I'm gonna cheat a bit and the sleeve can take a bit of a beating. I'll explain. I have some experience behind me here - this is not my first or second garment...I don't want to bother with the regular swatch, especially for 4 colour fairisle - a swatch would likely take almost as much time as the sleeve and I do know that this yarn at T8 for stockinette and T9 for the fairisle rows (when mixing plain stockinette and fairisle, as a general rule of thumb, by going up one full stitch number for the fairisle rows, you'll get the same stitch gauge on the fairisle as the plain rows) my gauge will be something in the range of 28-30 sts and 38-40 rows to 10 cm/4 inch and because a sleeve isn't quite as crucial in fit, I can usually get away with using the sleeve as my tester and making adjustments for length and width in the body pieces if necessary. I made the sleeve using 28 sts and 38 rows, note the long cuff which I can turn back if it's way too long...Not that I'm giving you full license to do away with swatches, use your judgment and know your limitations - if you're not sure of the colour choices, make a swatch first. If you're not sure of how many plain rows you want where, make a regular swatch.
Anyway, I won't bore you with how many times I had to rip out a row because I forgot to change the cam to fairisle or forgot to change the stitch dial from 8 to 9, or had the colours in backwards, but it did show me that for someone with a lot of experience, my time away from the machine - even though I had knit this stitch pattern before, it was a  while ago and remembering things like dealing with the long floats on the Greek key portion: two choices - tuck the long float on the midway needle before the next row is knit (which it does tell you in the Knitwords original pattern), or, latch them up every 10 rows or so if you forgot to do the first one!
I'll make the second sleeve the same, adjust my calculations for the body pieces according to the actual measurements (30 sts and 40 rows) and think about pockets and the hood. Of course, you know this is a cardigan but I've already planned to do a button-up front - need to change it up - kinda sick of zippers for now...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

boxing day inspirations...

It's Boxing Day...the day when Canadians get to box up those unwanted presents and return them - ha! ha! just kidding! Don't know what the 'boxing' in Boxing Day really means (and I don't care - please don't tell me!) but I remember saying that to some American friends once and they fell for it! Anyway, to me, it really means a day to myself without worrying about cooking or company and I'm keeping it to myself! A day to do what I want!  
Lately I've been living in my hoodies and, because of the Old Navy commercials on TV and those awful ugly Christmas sweaters everywhere, I realized that I don't have a multi-coloured fairisle hoodie. Actually, I've still been thinking of that grey/black/red Aston Kutcher cardiagan from last year...I decided it was just the colours that attracted me and after checking my stock, I think ivory as the main colour with gray, black and red here and there would satisfy my fairisle craving. I had pulled out 'North of 49' from Knitwords #40 earlier in the fall and wore it a bit and love the stitch pattern but it's a mid gauge 'Cowichan' style cardigan of beautiful alpaca, meaning outdoor-wear and even though we have had a lovely fall, it is now winter and I need a standard gauge garment that fits under a parka or winter coat.

So, here's my plan: make the sleeve first and see where it takes me!

Monday, December 7, 2015

power of the press...

'We' made the front page! Thanks to everyone who responded to the Aids Day Red Scarf campaign, especially my 'friends in Minnesota' - Patsy, you're the bomb! We got mentioned on the front page of our local paper (the chronicle journal, Dec 2, 2015)!
Last Friday, I got an email from Patsy saying she rallied two groups she knits with and got 14 scarves done and where should she send them? I felt so bad because I knew if she mailed them from Minnesota, they would never get here in time for the Tuesday deadline and it would cost her a fortune for postage so I had her send them to the border store at Grand Portage, MN, and, I would drive down, pick them up and 'bring' them into Canada - the customs forms involved were! not like it was my first rodeo!
Now, you know how you can't believe everything you read in the paper - they forgot to say there were other local knitters who contributed also. Thanks to them and to those who donated in other cities!
This was the local launch of a yearly campaign for Aids/HIV awareness - put it on your calendar for next December - I'll probably be reminding you again!

Monday, November 2, 2015

red scarf pattern for AIDS Awareness Week campaign...

Late last week I got an emailed note from our local machine knitters guild about:
the request for red scarves for AIDS day on December 1.  They have significantly reduced their hopes from their original 250 and then 100, and now would be happy with a minimum of 5 scarves.  They will reimburse us for materials.
After checking on-line, this is a nationwide campaign and I felt so bad that they would now be happy with 5 scarves, I immediately dashed out to Michael's and bought a skein of Red Heart to test out the pattern - they are looking for a unisex scarf in red,
6 in X 60 in. I remembered this easy pattern that I did on the LK150 several years ago.
Drop Stitch Tube Scarf                                                  
Solid colour makes an easy, super-fast, super soft tube scarf! Try it in a variegated or space dyed yarn to add lots of colour - the drop stitch technique makes big stitches and large colour blocks. 
Finished size: 6 inch wide, length, approx 60 inches. Meant to be long enough to wrap around neck and  hang down to mid chest.
DK superwash wool, solid colour (T5), 100g. OR Red Heart SuperSaver T6,  (7 oz/333m)
Machine:  Mid gauge 6.5mm, LK150 used
Stitch size: T5-6.
1. 32-0-31 ns. Bring only every other needle out.                               
2. Leaving approx 30 inch tail of yarn, MC, e-wrap ns. T9, K1R. Hang combs and weight.
3. Bring between ns to work (all in work, 63 sts).
4. T6, MC, knit 150 rows (or until you almost run out of yarn or piece hits the floor). Save approx 50 inch tail to seam with.
5. Drop every other stitch (the between ones from #3), making sure they are not the original  e-wrapped ones.
6. Thread tail of yarn into darning needle and take remaining stitches off, to draw into a circle.
7. Pull on fabric to unladder dropped stitches down to starting edge. Draw tail from that end into a circle and tie.
8. Use tails to seam fabric into a tube. I found this easiest to do from purl side, taking half outside edge of ‘knot’ stitch of one side to next 'loop' stitch on other side, making a modified mattress seam. Leave opening at centre to turn scarf to right side. Finish seam.
This is pretty quick - under an hour with the hand seaming and it's kind of fun pulling and popping the stitches - please make one for  the AIDS campaign and then feel free to use the pattern for fast, last minute Christmas gifts! (yes, Christmas is coming!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

rash promises....

Do you ever do that? Promise something to someone and then after, think, why did I do that? Anyway, I did do that when I was in St Cloud in September... Everyone seemed to like my 'Karen's wedding stole' so much and several people asked for the pattern and I did it - blithely said, 'oh yeah, I'll write that up and put it on my blog for free...
Well, you probably don't want to hear what I had to go through (trying to install DK8 on new computer to get stitch picture printed; searching for photos because I forgot where I put them; learning to type all over again because texting spoils you with auto-correct; trying to put a pdf on this blog...). I do have the pattern for the stole done as a pdf but can't figure out how to add it here, so just email me at and put TLR stole pdf in the subject line and I'd be more than happy to send it to you...thanks for being patient!

I also promised to do a mid gauge version of the RTR Lace Cardi...I AM working on it!

PS - these swatches are just practises - not the actual yarn I'll be using...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

it's never too late...

'member last Christmas I was messing around with some black and ivory alpaca on the LK150 trying to come up with a gift for my son...well, I finally got back to it! (see blogpost, January 2, 2015, 'a rookie mistake...')

 Two colour Tuck Stitch: Cast on waste yarn and ravel cord, ending carriage at right (CAR). RC000.
T9. MC, K1R. Set russell levers ll - l (left at ll, right at l). Select every other needle (EON). K1R (this makes a tuck row). RC002.
Change to CC. K1R (stockinette). Select opposite EON. K1R (tuck) RC004. Repeat these 4 rows throughout.

I decided to turn it into a toque -
that's Canadian for knitted hat, beanie, ski cap, head warmer, etc...
here's what I did: (LK150 and Baby Alpaca Grande from Plymouth Yarns)
41-0-40 ns to work. Cast on waste yarn and knit several rows, 1 row ravel cord.
MC, e-wrap all ns. T7, K6R.
One at a time, drop stitch from every other needle, beginning with second stitch from right side, for 5 rows and relatch for 1X1 rib. Reset RC000.
Begin 2-colour tuck pattern as above (after RC000), knit to RC037,  ending CAL with plain row in MC. Using 3-prong tool, decrease 1 st at left side.
Decrease 8 sts evenly spaced  as follows: counting from right, bring every 10th needle slightly forward. This will be the needle to transfer to and the end one at left should be the last one. Take stitch at right and move to the marked one. Put empty ns out  of work. T8, K1R.
Remove work and rehang, with either waste yarn or garter bar and move sts together, eliminating empty ns. K1R.
Repeat above, making decrease on same stitch [9 sts between the decreased sts this time] as above, K2R as above, [one less stitch between each time] to 16 sts.
Transfer to EON, T4, K1R. Leave a long enough tail to make seam and take sts off with darning needle and pull tight into circle.
Seam by hand, using tail from top, half outside edge stitch, modified mattress stitch, matching stripes and rib.
P.S. I did unravel the swatches/scarf...
I don't know about him, but I love these!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

it was fun at the farm...

 Thanks to Jason and Carole! They are so hospitable, it makes you feel just like being at home! They feed you - Carole's tomato chili soup was great! and the desserts, OMG! The last time I was there, it was their #5 annual show and this year was number 24 - wow, they put so much into it, you have to plan on going next year - it will be their Silver Anniversary and Tom, the machine knitting guy has promised to be there!
I think everyone was impressed with the 2 TLR stole/shawls that I made for my niece's wedding this coming weekend - hope to get a 'live' photo of her which I will post later. I have promised to write up the pattern for this soon, hopefully before Christmas and will post here when it's ready.
It was great to see Jane Niemi's (blue-ribbon-winner at the state fair) version of 'Primitive' from Knitwords #19, Winter, 2001 - she modelled it in  the style show at Rocking Horse Farm - goes to show how enduring our fashions are! In fact, she inspired me to dig out mine - I may wear it to the Maritime seminar in Charlottetown next weekend - here's an excerpt from my #19 editorial:
During workshops, many times someone will say to me, 'This is probably a stupid question, but...' and I always say there is no stupid question, except a knitter who knows who I am, and asks me if I knit what I am wearing. Duh!!! How could I possibly show up and act like an expert if I don't have the confidence to make my own wardrobe? On this trip [the Maritime Machine Knitters Seminar in Wolfville, Nova Scotia], I was wearing our cover garment, 'Primitive' and got many rave reviews.  One of the knitters threw in this question as a joke and  I answered facetiously, 'No, I got it at the Wal-Mart. They have it in other colourways too. There is a red, white and blue version.' One of the husbands in the group quickly threw in, 'yes, but can you get the stripes vertical instead of horizontal?'

I did a bunch of knitting between the weddings and workshops...Rhiana's turquoise dress with ruffles; 2 WCD dresses for sister Janet (even I loved the 'watercolours'  one); LSA in royal WCD for niece/goddaughter Lauren (she wore it for her post-wedding brunch - sorry for the poor photo - new camera and I haven't had enough experience yet;-)); and 2 TLR stoles for niece/next bride, Karen...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

substitute teacher...

Guess where I'm going? St Cloud, Minnesota!
I got a phone call the other night from Jason at Rockinghorse Farm in St Cloud. He told me my buddy Tom, the machine knitting guy, who was supposed to be the headliner at their September seminar had to cancel out due to a work conflict and would I be available to fill in? would I? gosh, besides having two out-of-town family weddings in September there was only one weekend I would be able to go and yes! it's September 18! I'll be there! Just when I thought I about had a grip on everything I wanted to do in prep for the weddings  and to be ready for the Maritime seminar the first weekend in October...
I promised Jason that I would have completely different classes from what I taught at the Founders Fest in July because there will be some of the same knitters there. I noticed that Tom had a class called Tuck Lace Rib - well, I can do that and fortunately I have some new samples! I am just finishing up a TLR stole for my niece, Karen, for her bridal outfit.
Check out this link for more info:
It's stuck in my head, that old Trisha Yearwood song, 'On a bus to St Cloud Minnesota, I thought I saw you there...' but I'll be driving and there should be no snow on the ground, so I hope to see you there!

Friday, August 28, 2015

mail order fun...

I think I mentioned that my granddaughter's new best colour is turquoise and I didn't have anything even close. I went on-line to check out Yeoman Yarns Panama because for kidswear it's great - good yardage, easy care and easy knitting.  A knitting friend had mentioned last year that she had ordered from the UK and got her order very quickly  and easily.  I found an ebay website from UK that has very good prices, the postage seemed to be extremely cheap for overseas delivery and they take Paypal, what more could you want? So I clicked this and that and placed my order - the postage was based on 2 to 4 kg for the same price so I ended up ordering 6 - 500g cones which was still within the 4 kg range and held my breath - more is better, right? Within 8 hours, I got a reply that thanks, my order was on the way. It was delivered to my door yesterday, 1 week,  by Canada Post and no customs charges!!! OMG, I immediately began thinking of what colours of Cannelé I wanted but I put the brakes on - I'll save it for later!
 Janet's (poppy WCD) dress is done, almost finished an LSA cardi (Let's Swing Again, Knitwords #44) for Lauren in royal blue WCD and I'll get Rhiana's turquoise dress done this weekend - I think I may have time to get that new dress done for me for the Maritime seminar - I deserve to have something new to show them too, don't I? ;-))

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

mmkc founders fest a success...

The seminar was great - everyone was so excited to be there, me included! It was fun - the founders did a superb job of organizing, planning and arranging to make sure everything went smoothly. Thanks Dee, Jane and Maria Ann! It was great to see Pam from St Cloud, Bonnie and her entourage, Rosemarie and the gals from Wisconsin and to meet some new (to me) mk-ers, Rachel, Thomas and Heather - of course there were more but it's impossible to mention everyone.
I was really impressed when Rosemarie showed me her submission to last year's Door County Wearable Art Show near Madison, Wisconsin - she told me that she had used my  buttonhole band (#34 from '50 Ways to Love Your Knitter') which set off her design very nicely. Ah, validation! Nice!
My TLR cardigan was perfect. I felt professional and cool and I haven't stopped wearing it - it's so versatile and pretty - I'm thinking of a re-make but I have a to-do list to complete first.
I did finish up both the navy manfriend hoodie and the pink girlfriend hoodie - they are ready to go in the mail. My grandson, Nathan, would like a red MFH - he is 11 years old and gaining on me height-wise so I think he qualifies - I'm going to make him the smallest size- I'm confident he'll grow into to it pretty quick. Rhiana asked for a turquoise dress for back-to-school - her new favourite colour,  so I'll have to order some yarn - that's not a standard MAO shade!
My little-big sister Janet asked for a new dress like the navy one I made her last fall - she wears it so much, she's having a hard time putting it to launder so another one to switch out would be good - I talked her into 'poppy' which I'm sure she will get as much use of (if she doesn't, I will;-)). Promised my friend Ray a denim MFH; a cardigan for Lauren; something for me for Karen's wedding...and while working on Janet's dress I am cooking up a few new dress plans - stay tuned!
Oh, BTW, in case I never said, I'll be at the Maritime Machine Knitters seminar in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, Oct  2, 3/ 2015 - get ready!

GFH - girlfriend hoodie
MAO - mary anne oger (I actually had someone ask me what that meant in MSP!)
MFH - manfriend hoodie
MMKC -midwest machine knitters collaborative
TLR - tuck lace rib

Thursday, July 23, 2015

my plan worked....

I'm ready for you, Minneapolis! (and I've decided that it's tuck lace rib!)
I used the shape from Mazatlan (KW#45) with vee neck, elbow length sleeve and mid hip length for the body. Because I wanted to add a crochet-look hem after the fact, I started off with stockinette waste yarn, using the ribber comb for the cast-on, (see blogpost, Wasted...Not! Nov 25, 2008) so I would have it to hang the weights for double bed work. After the ravel cord, I knit 2 rows of stockinette and then transferred to the ribbed tuck lace arrangement - I needed to have a plain row to be able to rehang the stitches for the hem, but found that 1 row was not enough because they were getting moved around and some doubled, so 2 plain rows worked much better. I used the crochet-look look hem from Tumbleweed (KW#53) but didn't do the RTR in the middle, just tucked the alternate needles on the last half and it worked beautifully. I used the stockinette bands and buttonholes (starting one tension number tighter to make up for this lighter-weight yarn) from Purple Purls (KW#52) - it's gorgeous - I don't care how hot and humid it's going to be! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

ribbed tuck lace or tuck lace rib...

I knocked off that skirt, no problem and I'm on a roll - looked around for something else to do...I have a ribber class to do in Minneapolis as well as the seaming techniques for the manfriend hoodie which was all single bed, so I think I should do a project on the double bed just for a bit of practise. Oh, I know, I mentioned after San Diego that I would like to use that tuck lace rib stitch that was in the old cover garment tunic from 1994 (blogpost, cover story, May 20, 2015).
You may have noticed that I have an affinity for cardigans - rarely do I make a pullover, so it's kind of a given here. I like cardigans because they give me more wardrobe options and to be honest, I always feel fat in a pullover. The illusion of a small waist is easier to maintain with the vertical lines down the centre of the button front, open or closed. You'd think I'd get over it one day but it doesn't look like to  be happening soon, so, cardigan it is!
I want this to be really lightweight,  MSP can be very hot and humid in late July, so I've chosen Wool Crepe Deluxe - I have 2 family weddings in September and this could be a good option for at least one of the associated events. I made the first swatch and as I was knitting it, I remembered one of the problems with this tuck lace is that it tends to lengthen and narrow and, as it is WCD that I'm using, which is usually at 34 to 38 stitches/10 cm that could make more trouble than it's worth.
I also want the lacy holes to stay open and not get dragged down as the fabric narrows. I throw on the 'tuck-every-other-row' option on the ribber and wow, what a difference! not only takes the stitch gauge from 49 sts/10 cm (top swatch) to 35 sts/10 cm, but adds a flatness and width stability to the fabric. A few tweaks to my cast-on edge so it's easier to rehang and add one of my favourite trims (a variation of #33 XOXO trim from Band Practise) and I have a plan!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

dyed and done...

I opted for the stovetop  method of heating 3 gallons of water, 1 cup of salt, a bottle of the pearl grey dye and the glycine lace sweater - it was less than a pound in weight, but I used the full bottle, even though the label says the bottle is good for 1 kilo of garment (my experience in the past says more dye is better than less if you want even coverage) and the 3 gallons of water was plenty to swish the garment about nicely and evenly. I 'cooked' it for the full 30 minutes recommended and then rinsed it several times in the sink until the water stayed clear. After machine washing and drying, I do have a beautiful steel grey cardigan that looks perfect with my snow leopard tank - I'm so happy - the buttons are okay but I will probably change them out for something in a tarnished silver or pewter look.
I did the same thing with the beige girlfriend hoodie, using the royal blue dye. It weighed almost 700g. I followed the same formula but pulled it out of the hot dye at 15 minutes because it looked really dark. After drying, it was slightly patchy, but a really nice colour overall. Yesterday, I went to get another bottle of dye to redo it and went to Michael's instead. Shame on you, Fabricland! Mike sells the same thing for $6.95 and gave me a 40% off coupon for next week!
Today, I re-did the hoodie, using 4 gallons of water and left it in the full half hour - OMG, it's gorgeous, a lovely cobalt blue. One thing funny, though, the beige thread I used took the dye but the beige zipper tape stayed pretty beige - I don't mind really, but just saying - if you are going to dye a zipper to match something, start with a white one. The pink hoodie is all ready for the Minneapolis seminar!
Buoyed by the thought of using my stolen headlamp again, I'm going to work on that black 'Tiers of Joy' skirt re-do from last year...oh man, time flies when you procrastinate - I looked it up and that was  actually Sep, 13, 2013! Talk about putting something on the back burner!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

dyeing for a change...

I mentioned earlier that I intended to dye my beige girlfriend hoodie, so here's the story. Finally located some fabric dyes at the local Fabricland - it was much easier when my  neighbourhood Safeways used to have a whole section - seemed much cheaper then too! I had a couple of projects in mind - first, taking a white, silver teeth zipper and dyeing it for the watermelon girl hoodie - they had a small, powder packet of 'cerise', on sale for $3, what a deal! and it worked perfect, added just enough pink to the tape so when the garment is open, it will go well enough. With this pattern, when the zipper is closed, you really only see the teeth and of course, the pull tab.

I had a lace standard gauge remake of a KnitStyle design (Lace Waves, January 2014 & April 2014)that I had used Yeoman Yarns Cannele in glycine, an odd lilac/light blue-ish shade that I didn't really feel was my colour. I decided to transform it because I have never really worn it - put it on several times and took it off and tried it with something else and took it off again, you know how it is when you just don't feel right and I always blamed it on the colour.
I chose a bottle of pearl grey and one of royal blue. I tested a small amount of each dye (a couple of drops diluted in a tablespoon of water) on the corners of swatches of the same garment colours to see which would work better (both garments are 100% mercerised cotton). I thought the pearl grey would work nicely with the glycine lace (I'm looking for a blue-grey tone) and the royal blue should alter the beige to an MAO-friendly shade of denimy blue. The grey on the beige looked rather dull and dirty...
rats, I forgot to buy salt!
Tell you more later!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

newest must-have accessory for mk-ers...

I was sitting here last night, about 7:30,  watching 'The Fall' (really good BBC program) on Netflix and the power went out. Do you realize how many things you cannot do when there is no power? Back in the day, you could at least phone in and see what the problem is or report it but not doesn't even work and I don't have a cell phone. Couldn't make a cup of wasn't really storming, just a bit of rain but was sort of dark-ish, too dark to read, too early to go to bed...I played a bit of Candy Crush on my ipad mini but got to the end of that level and I have to wait 24 hours for the next one...oh, I know, I don't need power to knit! Went to my machine and figured I could make the bands for the watermelon hoodie.
Well, couldn't really see good enough for picking up...then I remembered! I have sister Janet's headlamp in my backpack! I didn't really steal it, it was just there when I got home from Europe and she probably hasn't even missed it. I strap it on my forehead and wow, this is brilliant! Heh-heh, no pun intended! :-) You can adjust the angle of the light and it points right where you're working! Why didn't I think of this when I was making that navy one? Got 2 bands done before the lights came back on! and there wasn't anyone here to see how ridiculous I looked!;))

Monday, June 29, 2015


I am just finishing up making the pieces of my fourth hoodie - the navy one pictured here is for my friend Vickie's hubby (get better soon, big guy!) and the watermelon/hot pink one is for her ( I couldn't talk them into matchy-match ones). I needed to make a couple more for my demos at the Founder's Fest Seminar in Minneapolis, July 25, 26, 2015 (  I will be showing seaming and finishing on the machine and as an extra class, sewing in the zipper - Dee said she'd bring a sewing machine just for this. So the navy one is all done, with the zipper pinned in place, ready for the sewing - I thought I'd show it here, because I wasted time looking for a navy zipper the right length and after a couple of weeks of finding nothing in navy that wasn't plastic, decided to opt for this black tape zipper with bronze teeth - I think it looks great and elevates the jacket from plain, old... to Wow, where did you get the nice hoodie? I already knew I wasn't going to be able to find a good match for the watermelon colour, so I'll keep you posted on my solution - a grey with silver teeth  or white with silver teeth...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

manfriend hoodie pattern...

The pattern is ready! A comfy, wearable, durable, zip front hoodie for the man in your life and, a bonus pattern, GirlFriend Hoodie for the girls! The yarn is 'Bonita' from Knitcraft - 500g/1850 yd, mercerised cotton. The man pattern has 5 sizes,  finished chest,  44, 47, 50, 54, 57 in. Third size takes 750g.
The girl pattern, A-line (3 inches larger in hip), finished bust 38, 41, 44, 47, 50 in. Third size takes 650g. I got the two beige hoodies out of 3 cones of yarn. I have the yarn in stock, so if you can't find it from your regular supplier, I do mail order! (email me privately for cost and colours available.) And it's not like I'm saying, make matching hoodies for you and yours - I did it, planning to dye one (or both) to see what happens!
The pattern is written for the Advanced Beginner level, with lots of info on using shortrowing for decreasing, like the curve of the underarm, the neckline and the top of the sleeve cap; all the seaming is done on the machine, with outside seams on shoulder, neckline and sleeve cap to add a little extra design; the front patch pocket is made first and attached as you knit; lots of detail for stabilizing the front edge and sewing in the zipper, using the sewing machine - when you're finished this project you can move up to Intermediate! Oh, it's all just stockinette, so can be made on any standard gauge machine.
Order here, now, just click the 'Add to Cart' button under ManFriend Hoodie at the top right side of this blog. Thanks and talk to you soon!
P.S. thanks to Tom the machine knitting guy for testing this pattern for me! He did a great job!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

fusion knitting...

the process or result of joining two or more patterns together to form a single entity.
The San Diego photo-taker did send me one photo that I can show you of my denim lace hoodie (see previous posting) - notice, I only gave you the back view and my own photo of a flat shot. I did promise to tell you what I did to come up with this.
Starting off with the idea to make myself a spring jacket, I had visions of a denim jacket hoodie - I had this nice big cone of cotton denim boucle that my friend gave me last year - I had used that yarn in several garments and am very sad that it is no longer available - if you have some, be nice to it! Anyway, my favourite garments (blogpost - Update, June 27, 2012) in that yarn were a long lace skirt and my prototype for 'Two Way' (Serial Stuff 4), another lace effort. The yarn is cotton boucle with a nylon binder that makes it shrink up and become quite stretchy as well as thick, so knitting it quite loosely (T9) in lace thins it out so that it doesn't become too bulky.
I used the border lace pattern from  'Lace It Up', KW#37, used the A-line shape, hood  and the full needle rib hems from 'Lacey in Red',  KW#40. For the front bands, because of the shrinkage factor, I knew that the FNR horizontal bands wouldn't work  I did try a swatch of stockinette bands - a ripply disaster! Then I remembered making a vertical FNR band where I knit it from the top down so that the first buttonhole could be made at the beginning of the band, then make a bunch evenly spaced, knit more plain band than you know you'll need and take it off on waste ('Forever in Blue', KW#28). Assemble the garment except for the front bands - toss it, bands and all in the washer and dryer to shrink it all and then put the front bands on. That's the whole story!
Oh, today I found a new reason to be obsessive about hanging yarn marks every 10 cm at the edges of my knitting - I use them primarily for seaming - makes it go much more precisely when you can match up the marks. Well, I was happily knitting away on the front of another 'manfriend hoodie' and at RC140, thinking, wow, this is totally easy, zone-out knitting with nothing to do until the underarm and it suddenly dawned on me, I blew right by attaching the top of the pocket at RC090...arrrggghhh! No worries, I pulled it all off the needles, unravelled it down to RC082, 2 rows above RC080 for the exact row to rehang and reset the row counter exactly, no guessing and trying to count up from the bottom...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

cover story...

The San Diego seminar was fun! I showed them a blast from the past and my latest and newest.
I had a brand new denim lace hoodie to show, that I hadn't even mentioned to anyone or blogged about - I explained to the group that it was sometimes difficult to get a decent picture because I live alone and even if someone capable of taking a picture comes by, I may not always be having a good hair day but after seeing the photos posted on the guild website, I probably won't be so picky. The assigned-photo-taker asked me ahead of time if it was okay to take photos that she would post on their website and I said alright, so long as you don't put up a whole lot of me gesturing wildy, with my mouth open and eyes closed - man, I never knew I was so un-photogenic! But there's the proof - fortunately, I'm over it or I wouldn't be telling you how bad they are, but, you'll notice, I didn't give you the link - you'll just have to google it or take my word. If you do find them, there is a nice one of me and my friend Kay, aka Grace who came all the way from NY to see me - we are both modelling our RTR Lace Cardis - hers in a  beautiful deep pink colour and she even made a plain matching shell to wear with it - nice work, Kay!

When I was packing my seminar suitcase, I picked up an old sweater, one that I particularly loved (still do)and actually still wear on a summer night, out on my deck - and thought, what the hay? I'll take this - one of the topics I was supposed to be teaching was 'summer knits' and I figured this would fit right in. Now, the rest of the story - way back in 1994, my first design ever to grace the cover of an international machine knitting magazine - It was the last issue of 'The Carriage Trade' - new owners had just purchased the magazine from the founding editor, Ruth Johnson (who was retiring with good grace) and introduced a new and improved layout with a full colour cover with a real, live model for the first time! Next issue, they renamed it 'Canada's Fashion Machine'. Anyway, I was thrilled to have my design chosen as the cover garment. It was called 'Cotton Tuck Lace Rib Pullover' and that mouthful about said it all - it was a double bed, tuck lace (needles out of work that aided in the larger holes) a rib stitch (every  8th stitch on rib bed)  and a 4-row tuck stitch on main bed, with two empty needles either side of the tucked stitch - I always liked the fabric because it was light and airy and I meant use it again somewhere - now might be a good time - watch for it!
Manfriend Hoodie and Girlfriend Hoodie pattern almost ready...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

also accomplished...

The 'Manfriend Hoodie' is made and finished - and I got all the pieces made for the 'Girlfriend Hoodie' so I can use them as a demo at the seminar in San Diego next weekend - I even promised to show the sewing machine application of the zipper installation  if they bring a sewing machine, to which they said yes!
I had hoped to get the pattern finished up too, but I need a bit more time and so do my proofreaders/test knitters, so you'll have to wait on that - I promise to have it ready by the end of May at the latest - you can find it for sale here - both patterns for the price of one!
I also wanted to mention that I will be at the Founders Fest in Minneapolis, MN, July 25, 26/15 and in Charlottetown, PEI for the Maritime Seminar in October 2, 3/15.
 Hope to see you!

cape crusade...

what I did...going back to issue 30 - the poncho issue, from 2004, I had made a little girl's circular poncho, sideways knit. - it was on the LK150 and was really cute. Jordan, the girl who modelled it, liked it so much I gave it to her.
So that was my basic idea, make a semi-circle in stockinette and leave it open in the front instead of joining to pull over the head. As I was knitting the wedges of shortrows to make that part of it, I was running through ways to finish the front edges, which could be a problem because of it being sideways. By the time I finished the 1200 rows of the circular part, it dawned on me - I had some killer stockinette bands on the 'Side Steps' jackets that should work well - they did! Then I wanted to finish the bottom of the shawl/cape with a nice lacy ruffle - I messed about for a couple of hours swatching and trying to get a shortrowed ruffle that I could knit and attach at the same time - way too much work and then there would be a major issue of steaming the ruffle. Yes! make a horizontal lace strip - like from that 'Tiers of Joy' skirt and reduce to every other needle after the lace part to create a natural gathering effect. By measuring the bottom edge of the cape, I figured it would take 5 strips to finish the bottom nicely.
Cast on waste yarn, used a 3 strand ewrap for the bottom, knit 4 rows plain, made 12 rows of fashion lace to create the scallop. transfer to every other needle and knit waste for 10 rows still on EON. Then bring all needles back to work, knit several rows - that way you can just keep knitting and not have to cast-on again and hang weights, etc over and over again. Also, it made it much quicker to steam all in one piece! That was worth all my years of experience to be able to pick pieces of this and that and put it all together.
I just needed a button at the top and all is good - Mom loves it almost as much as I do and I think Rhiana was reasonably happy - we'll have to wait for later in May to get actual photos!