Friday, December 29, 2017

stranger things...

I’m gearing up for New Years and that means getting my ducks in a row for the resolutions. You know that procrastination thing I mentioned the other day – well, that’s top of the list. It’s probably not as serious as I’m making out but I was finishing up Janet’s church pullover – it’s been hanging on the LK since forever and, I thought, I think I mentioned to you, yes, I did: - sheesh, that was back in October when I confessed that I was having to use 3 row counters with my LK150 because none were working properly and I said I was going to order a couple new ones. Didn’t do that.
So, before getting into knitting the last two pieces, the side panels, I went on-line to Peter Smith Trading in Toronto – he has a pretty good website for ordering Silver Reed/Studio/Singer parts. He has all the parts catalogues for the individual machines, so you can look up the part, find the number you want and then go back to the parts order page, locate that number and put it in your cart. I did that for the row counters and the curl cord that I wanted,  ;-) , but I knew there was something else that should have been on my list - I couldn’t think of it so I abandoned that and went back to knitting – you won’t believe this but that freaking row counter that was adding 19 rows instead of moving only one number? suddenly, it’s working perfectly! Like I said, ‘stranger things!’ I’m Netflixing that show! Usually, anything remotely sci-fi is definitely not for me but the nostalgia value for the 80s, the music, ugly cars, hairdos! I’m loving it! and those kids are so cute!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


There I was on Christmas Eve day, seaming up the ‘cold/bold shoulder’ top that I made for Rhiana, which she requested a few weeks back – I still hadn’t gotten around to making her that cardi for back-to-school – OMG! I have never been this disorganized or am I turning into a procrastinator?
In my defense, although the actual knitting of this top is quite quick, I have been pattern-writing every step of the way. I’ve had so many requests at seminars for this design that I figured if I were making one for her, I may as well write it up for everyone at the same time and this would be my test garment.
If you want to see the backstory, check out this link:
On Boxing Day, while I was giving it a final steam so I could get her photo in it before she went home, Rhiana was looking through a copy of Knitwords #53 – Her beautiful mom, Agnieszka was the cover girl and Rhiana and her brother Nathan were also there – he remembers but she doesn’t as she was only 4 years old back in 2010I!

Anyway, my girl was happy with it. She put it on, threw a few poses and said we could do a photoshoot, just like in the magazine days! After admiring herself in the mirror, she declared 'I really like this!' She always was a great, little model!

Happy Holidays, all the best to you and yours for 2018, and may all your knitting projects turn out this nice!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

sox talk...

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about knitting socks all year, not since last Christmas! To be honest, I did sort of think I probably have worn out the topic, but you never know. Here I am feeling I have something more to say on the subject.
The other morning, we had a snow storm and the power went out. I was already in my workroom, preparing to knit and thought, oh, I don’t want to waste the impulse – it was bright enough in the room that I didn’t need power for the lights but to make something that didn’t require the electric for patterning? I grabbed an already-coned-up skein of sock yarn in an aqua and pinks colourway and began to knit. It just happened to be a new-to-me one, Lana Grossa Meilenweit – I placed a mail order last February when there were some things on sale at – I had spotted this one called ‘stretch Malibu’, thinking it was a great deal at $10.89 for a 100g ball, never got round to it till now. It looked a little finer than my usual Regia sock yarn. Ignoring that thought, I threaded up and began knitting (using my regular double bed sock pattern – see ‘freebies’ at – last December I updated that with all my little extra tips along with men’s and ladies sizes and offered it as a pdf – still available, email me at
The power came back on and I never even noticed, just finished off the pair, going for a ladies 8.5 size. I was on a roll and took the next most appealing one, Regia 4 fadig color in reds with a bit of white, orange and yellow call ‘Rio’. Used the same exact size and when I compared the two, the Malibu stretch turned out a full size smaller that the Regia pair. Hum-m-m, interesting. I read the label and the Malibu is 45% wool, 35% cotton, 13% polymid, 7% Elite (PBT) – who knows what that might be? It says, ‘machine washable, non-felting, hard wearing’ (I like that!). And the yardage (sounds better than meterage) is 460 m to 100g! The other sock yarns, merino or superwash wool/nylon are 420 m to 100g.   
I got this great pair of Fluevog boots that I love – they have great grips on the bottom and I wanted them to be my winter boots this year but they are a bit snug with my regular merino wool socks and skinny jeans leave my ankles kind of bare and cold – not to mention matching the colour! using the blue/grey colourway, knit up one size smaller than my regular 7.5, went back to a longer 60-row ribbed cuff to take care of the ankle issue – they are just that bit thinner and perfect! ;-)
P.S. if you think it's hard to take a selfie, try photo-ing your own feet!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

and the saga continues...

Last Sunday, I was able to get the back panel of that thing made – it went quite quickly, no sweat. And over the next few days, I did the joining of the two panels by knitting a 4-stitch slip cord all the way around all four sides. I broke it up in several half hour sessions so it wouldn’t seem so tedious – my eyesight is not what it used to be and picking up the half edge stitch from each side – one being dark navy, same thing as black, yikes, not exactly easy or relaxing, but I got ‘er done! Darned in all the ends and put it through the washer and dryer ‘cuz that’s what Mom will be doing. Got it out of the dryer and I was shaking it out to smooth it and what the? there’s a freakin’ hole in the back in the middle of the lime green stripe! It’s not a dropped stitch, it’s a hole, like the yarn broke in the middle of the stitch. Some bad words were said, I tossed it in the corner and pouted for a few days.
After cooling off, I looked at it again and figured I could rip out the last part of the slip cord, unravel that colour and at least see if I could get into the middle and try to repair the row where the hole was. That accomplished, I calmy reknit the slip cord and finished it off.

In the middle of telling you about it, my computer crashed. I lost the story. After a cup of tea, I restarted, got the story done, photos included. Checked my email – an invitation from Karen’s family (BTW, she had a girl, 8lb 4oz, natural birth on her due date) inviting me to a ‘sip and see’ next week  – I guess this is the current version of the baby shower with a list of local and on-line baby registries and a note saying they preferred organic items…did I mention this was all acrylic crap?

Friday, November 17, 2017

ever have one of those days...

It was early  afternoon, a cold, dull day and I thought, hummm… I can go up to the workroom and knock off the front of that baby blankie for Karen, my niece. It’s her due date tomorrow and I want to commit to this before I know the baby gender (we don’t know at this point, but it shouldn’t really matter as it’s all bright crayon colours on a navy background) so I’m not second-guessing my colours after the fact. I’m figuring I can do the front in about an hour and a half, should be no problem. I already have my yarn all in place. Get cast on and yes, I’m still using the orange waste yarn. Now the blanket is a creation of Mar Heck’s from Knitwords #35 – I’ve made it before, so I think I know what I’m doing

I know I have an old system - I’m using DAK7, Windows 2000, SL4 and my Silver Reed SK580 – now, if you’ve been reading me for awhile you may have twigged to the fact that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of DAK – it’s probably my own unfriendly aura that DAK senses and the machine knitting gods do too. And I haven’t used DAK in awhile – I only use it to download large stitch files to the machine and knit-from-screen and as this particular stitch file came as a DAK file, 200 sts by 356 rows, this is really the only way to knit it other than drawing it out on 6 Mylar sheets – totally out of the question, never gonna happen. I have done some tuck patterning recently, using the built-in electronics, no DAK, and everything worked fine. 
On the blanket, there is a solid colour border, so 23 rows plain navy at the beginning – I’m not putting a name in – and there are 10 plain stitches of border at each edge – the picture is knit as a single motif and Mar has explained, on a brother machine, how to have extra yarn ready to wrap the edge stitches so there are no holes at the edge of the picture, before the border. Being the Silver Reed expert that I am (in my own mind anyway), I know this is much easier on this machine. Because the needles do not select (come out like the brother machine), you can wrap the next to the end-of-the-pattern needle with the second colour at the beginning of each row and using the yarn separators, everything works beautifully. I have learned in the past that I don’t need to use the yarn separators – they prevent the second colour from getting tangled in the background yarn until the second colour is required in the patterning of the next row – I simply wrap the needle with the second colour, leave it in B position, and with my hand, hold the second colour yarn slightly below the brushes/arm of the carriage just for the start of the row and it works well.
Back to the work at hand, knit the plain border. On row 23, set to fairisle, add in the second colour, knit the first row of patterning, everything’s fine. Knit the second row - somehow the second colour is knitting at the edge, in the border. Gosh, darney, darn, darn! Rip out the row, reset everything and try again. Same thing happens. Rip out, re-read DAK, knit, same thing. I very calmly take the carriage off, examine the undercarriage and decide that maybe it’s time for some cleaning and maintenance. Get out my tool kit, remove all the brushes and wheels and sure enough, there are a few bits of gunk and mashed up yarn and the transparent plastic round brush covers have a few marks on them, so I replace them. Wipe out the tiny dust bunny babies from the channels, oil it all, put things back on the machine, reset the pattern and I get two rows this time before the mistake. Check the end cams, here’s a thought, maybe they are not in the right position – it is kind of hard to decide it they are set at 100 or at 99…I go back into DAK and delete one stitch from each side of the file so it’s now 198 sts wide. Go through the whole deal again and same thing. I look closer and see that what is happening is that the second colour is actually knitting a row of stockinette which means that the DAK signal has dropped and there is not fairisle needle selection. Okay, this could be serious. I now realize this is an electronics issue and fortunately, I have new end cams and a new curl cord which I swap out – do that and same thing – it’s like freakin’ Groundhog Day! My two-hour window has disappeared, and I am defeated. I face the fact that my Silver Link 4 is quite old now and I am not up to replacing that. Turn everything off, drop the jinxed border from the machine – I’ll go drink my sorrows away!  I'm Netflix-ing 'This Is US' - what a show, makes you forget all your troubles!
This morning, after a good strong coffee, I go up to face reality. Turn on the computer, call up DAK and the pattern and I do a dry run – no yarn, arm off the carriage, set to fairisle, load the pattern and knit, listening to the sound of the clicking needles and watching the winking red/green light on the DAK link box. Ha! It is all working! Make 20 passes like that, all systems go! Still apprehensive, I leave the pattern on, cast-on and get the border knit to the point of row 24, first row of patterning. Re-read DAK for row 24, add in the second colour, set to fairisle, knit, check – it’s all good! Wrap the needle, hold the yarn below, take a deep breath and knit – it works! OMG! I keep going, not daring to take a break – sure enough, within the hour I have the completed front! Victory!
Moral of the story, when using DAK, when you need a re-start, always turn off everything! You know how your computer tells you this may require a restart after you add or remove a program, DAK really needs this – unplug the link, turn off your computer and restart everything before going into panic mode!  Also, Silver Reed people, if you do not have a spare new curl cord and point cams, order them today, just saying!
Have a great weekend!  XO, MAO!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

what I did...

I took my schematic from ‘Sidesteps’ and put it in the KR11. The ragg yarn is a little heavier than what I had used (4 ply wool at T7,  29 sts and 44 rows to 10 cm) and I knit the ragg at T9 (28 sts and 39 rows to 10 cm). Plugging  the new stitch and row gauge into the KR11 took care of all the new calculations. I added 10 sts at the hemline to make it the longer length I was looking for. I put the ravel cord line for the pocket opening just after the gore (on the centre front side) in the front (the gores from 'Sidesteps 'turn the sideways square body into a more flattering A-line), using the pocket technique from the old pattern.
I lowered the vee neckline and stopped knitting the front 5 cm before the actual centre front to allow for the 6 cm bands of the new version. I used the same 2X2 (2X1) ribs of the old pattern for the hem, cuffs and pocket bands. On the front band, like the old pattern, I used full needle rib, changed the circular cast-on to my newer version of the racked cast-on (so the outside edge was stretchy and didn’t have the restriction that is typical of the circular cast-on), went into the 2 working, one not, needle arrangement on rib bed only, so that it would look the same as the other bands, did the grey stripe and then the shortrowing  for the shawl collar as the final step. Now you know how too!

Monday, November 13, 2017

orange is the new waste yarn...

ROOTS kid cabin cardi
All the time I’ve been knitting this fusion cardi, I was kind of not really liking it. I thought I was forcing the issue, using the wine coloured ragg yarn instead of the grey that I maybe would have preferred but didn’t have. Once I had the body, with sleeves attached, knit, I was sorely tempted to abandon the whole thing but that’s not really my m.o. and I pressed on. After working out the pockets, I got into knitting the bands, and I began to think that either I used to know a whole lot more than I currently felt confident about or I have forgotten more than I knew I knew! I guess it’s been a while since I’ve made ribbed bands! With several gone-wrong bands littering the workroom I was regretting the decision to revive the shawl collar from my old pattern while rejoicing that I had the foresight to not go with the double-breasted look. But, as I successfully attached the final buttonhole side on the front and removed the final strip of that gawdawful orange waste yarn, it dawned on me that was the problem all along! After I sewed on the perfect dark red buttons that seemed to pull it all together, and put it on, I am ecstatic, I love my 'Nipigon Nylons Cardi'! The pockets are perfect (you know I love pockets), the length is perfect (it's been so freakin' cold here already, I'm sure I'm going to wear this thing out - it's a perfect extra layer under my black parka) and I'm so happy I could just knit!


BTW, I did add 10 extra stitches to the bottom edge and with the depth of 26 rows of the 2X2 (2X1) ribbed band, this turned out 10 cm/4 inches longer that my khaki ‘Side Steps’ – just a little extra info for the taller-than-me people!

Friday, November 10, 2017

coogi, coogi, coo...

I got an email from my nephew the other day – he is a young, up and coming lawyer and could be described as a bit flamboyant. He sent me a link to a video and asked if I knew where he could find a sweater like this guy’s?

I looked, said yikes (to myself) and sent him a message back asking how much money he had (thinking he would be asking me to make one), and sent him a link to one of my blogposts from last spring.
He replied '-amazing that you not only knew but had a BLOG POST about it! I should have known!’
Anyway, smart guy that he is, he used my information from the blogpost (after checking eBay) and has one on order from Oz! I feel like I dodged a bullet!

Monday, November 6, 2017

fusion knitting...

When in Vancouver, I did a lot of walking and probably passed a Roots store at least once every day. They have a line they call ‘cabin’ wear, themed with a grey marl yarn trimmed with bands in ivory and red and they’ve done it in everything from cardigans and pullovers to hats, scarves and home dec! I think of it as the ‘Nipigon nylons’ line [see] and it still has a great appeal to me.
I was trying to decide how I could make my own version of a cardigan and, in the airport, on the way home, I saw a girl wearing a sideway knit variation and it clicked! I could use my ‘Side Steps’ pattern and merge it with an oldie, ‘Going  Sideways' from my Cardigan Book from the mid 90s and I think it would work. I have two cones of suitably aged Jaggerspun Ragg in a red/white marl as well as some Forsell Suva in a grey/ivory mix that would be enough for the body/sleeves. I made a couple of swatches, trying to come up with the perfect combination. In the end, decided to just add ivory bands with a stripe of grey (just like the boot tops) to the red stockinette marl and forget the fairisle insert.
 The old pattern has great inside patch pockets that can easily be added into the A-line of 'Side Steps' and a narrower version of the shawl collar will be just right, I think. Hope to show you the final result soon!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

you know what time of year this is getting to be....

Yeah, we had snow. Already! Enough to hang around for a few days! I was in line at the post office the other day and the girl (anyone  looking more than 10 years younger than me now falls in that category!) in front of me was wearing a cute knitted headband. I struck up a conversation with her to pass the time and she had hand knit it herself and in fact, was mailing a package to a friend with another one she had knit. It was garter stitch in a heavier-looking, earth-tones yarn that I figured to be alpaca – she did tell me the yarn and that it was quite expensive but it went over my head. It was about 4-5 inches wide and it had what I thought was ruching at the front. Turned out to be a simple cable twist and it got me thinking, I could make something like that on the LK. Of course I ruled out the garter stitch, as it was knitted widthwise (stitches were the width, rows the length) – she did tell me she knit 9 inches, made the twist – she didn’t even realize it was a cable until I mentioned that word – and knit another 9 inches. I then said oh and you grafted it at the back? She looked at me like I was from outer space and said no,  just seamed it – I couldn’t tell because she had a high pony tail that covered the back seam. 
Back at home, I did a tuck stitch swatch, trying to come up with the texture of the garter stitch but it didn't go what I wanted - I tried a 3X3 cable, it was difficult to do and looked ugly anyway. Then, I remembered the supercable from 'Knit Big or Go Home' from KW#36. Actually, this spring a new-ish machine knitter contacted me about that pattern - she had tried it out and was having a problem - I checked it over and there was an error! I was devastated! Obviously no one else tried this or even worse, they tried, it didn't work and they never asked! The really sad thing is, I did make this sweater a few times and I never caught the mistake! yikes!

Anyway, here is the correction:
Supercable: 16 stitch shortrowed cable, positioned at 8-0-8 ns. CAR. RC000. Set to hold. Bring left of 0 to hold. K1R.
Remove/turn off row counter. Bring all right of 0, except 1-8 to HP.
Put a claw weight under the 8 working sts.
K6R on these sts only, ending CAL. There are 7 rows on right side of cable.
Put all to HP. Break yarn, leaving 3 inch tail at centre – this will end up on left side of cable later.
Place CAR. Bring 8-1 left of 0 to UWP. With new yarn, K6R, ending CAR.
Do not break yarn, but remove from feeder (it will be easier to move cable).
Pick up the 8 sts at left and the 8 sts at right.
Put the right hand side down to left first and then place the left side to the right of 0.
Bring ns out to D. Return all cable sts and left side to UWP.
Put yarn in feeder and knit row. This completes the row at the left side so there are the same number of rows on the garment piece on either side of the cable.
Replace row counter, cancel hold. K19R. RC020. Repeat these 20 rows for pattern.
There will be two ends of yarn at either side of cable. Use these ends to close up gap at sides of cable while darning them in.
YARN: Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca Grande, finished weight, 60g/2.1 oz.
11-0-11 ns to work. Cast on waste yarn, knit several rows. Ravel cord, K1R. CAR. RC000.  MC, T9, K2R. At each side, drop 2nd st from edge and reform to purl st. Drop 3rd st, reform. Do this every time CAR to make garter stitch border – no need to do on outside edge stitch.
Knit to RC010. *Make Supercable as above. K20R.* Repeat 5X in all and end with 10 rows stockinette. Remove on waste yarn. Graft ends to join or as desired.
It makes a great neck warmer if you don’t want it on your head!


Monday, October 23, 2017


I was out visiting little sis, Marnie – we were celebrating her 20th year cancer survivor (see KW#44, 'making a theme sweater' and 'Dog-On' - she has since had two stem cell transplants!) and this was the first time in several years that I’ve been out there when she hasn’t been sick, so it was really nice (and the dogs are fine!). She was also getting a 25-year service award for her job and we had an invitation to an evening at Government House in Victoria, BC – that’s where they entertained the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their last visit to Canada and is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. La-di-dah!
Marnie had an extra ticket, her friends were fighting over it and I won because a sister has dibs on things like that! She had received an invitation that outlined what was happening, when and where and a note of what to wear – it said, ‘wear your best, time to show off!’ Now, this has different meanings – she just wanted to be comfortable and her idea of dressing up is clean jeans and maybe a better pair of sneakers and I was kind of worrying about what she would pull out. When I was packing in Thunder Bay, I had resigned myself to wearing pants – no point in me dressing to the nines if she wasn’t, so I figured my red lace ‘Canada. Eh?’ would be fine with black underneath and just to be on the safe side, I packed the Church Pullover just in case she might wear it. I didn’t want to be too big-sister bossy, but I wanted to be prepared. Anyway, when we were in the hotel in Victoria getting ready, she put her outfit on, I pulled rank and made her put on the pullover. It looked great and she didn’t even fuss! Her co-workers (also getting awards) were amazed and impressed. We all were comfortable and had a fun time!
Why am I’m telling you? I wanted to show off my design and tell you the pattern is ready! And, my sis and I are basically opposite shapes – I’m always saying that I like the A-line shape because it balances off my top-heavy figure and hides the fact that I have no hips. The ‘Church Pullover’ is quite A-line and it was perfect for Marnie too, where she needs the extra volume in the hip/tummy area. And wouldn’t you know, they had a Canada 150 frame for us to stand behind for our photo!
If you missed it (or forgot), find the stories behind the 'Church Cardi', put 'church cardi' in the search box at the top of the blog page!
So, in case you hadn’t noticed, the ‘Church Cardi and Pullover’ pattern is now for sale. It is done on the mid gauge machine (I used the LK150), no ribber required and there is a fair amount of hand-transferred lace patterning.

High-hip length, open front cardigan, long, set-in sleeve, roll collar, knit in hand transferred lace with purl stitch ridges. Back lace inset is A-line shaped. The front is combined with side panel, wider at hem and shaped at back side to add to the A-line. The Pullover version, a little more A-line, with a wider hip measurement, is made with a back and front panel of lace with underarm/side panels in stockinette with the lace border at the hemline. The sleeve can be knit in stockinette or lace, your choice and either fits either the cardigan or the pullover. Knit in Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima cotton.
FINISHED SIZES, Width, underarm at bust,
84 (96, 120, 144) cm/33 (38, 47, 57) in.
Back Length, 61 (62.5, 65, 67) cm/24 (24.5, 25.5, 26.5) in.

Circumference at hem: 124 (136, 160, 184) cm/48 (53, 73, 72) in.

The PDF comes with written pattern for both cardigan and pullover, with schematics, stitch charts and written instructions for all the lace patterning. Cost is $12 – see the button at top right of this blog – and I will email the files to you! Thanks for your support and interest!

Monday, October 2, 2017

multiple choice...

OMG! You spot a mistake in your lace transfers 6 or 8 rows below! What to do, what to do?
A. Thank the knitting gods you spotted it so soon!
B. Quit and drink wine!
C. Try to rip back only that section.
D. Rip back all 8 rows.
E. All of the above.
I went with E but not in that exact order. After spotting the mistake, I did try unravelling just the stitches of that portion for 8 rows but by then, you’ve got strings all over the place and you’re not quite sure what’s what, especially on this particular pattern because it’s a 24-stitch repeat. The hard part about ripping back lace knitting, whether it is hand transferred or lace carriage, is that you need to untransfer/put the stitches back to the row before, rip out 2 rows, untransfer, rip out 2 rows and keep track of what row you’re going to be on when you finish ripping…
For this project, I actually have 3 row counters, two on the machine and one on my KR11, which is connected to one of the row counters. Sounds complicated but I’ve got a problem with my row counters. Now, bear in mind they are getting quite old, at least 20 years on one anyway. One of them doesn't recognize the cable going to the KR11 but it counts reliably. The other one addresses the KR11 properly but it advances weirdly starting at row 19. Instead of clicking up to 20, it goes to 29 and then 39 and then randomly and if you're not aware of it, you'll never be able to figure out what row you're on! I have taken them apart to see if I could spot the problem but couldn't....I'll be ordering a couple of new ones! Anyway, when I'm ripping out, after pulling out one row, I pull out a needle at the end of the needlebed. Rip one row, pull out another needle...count the needles at the end and turn back the row counter.
Long story even longer, just to be safe, I did rip back all 8 rows, fix the mistake, reset all the row counters and continue!
P.S. If you have a question for me that you would like an answer to, please email me privately – I do not answer comments. ;-)


Thursday, September 28, 2017


You probably think I have the lace denim jacket well underway, maybe close to done…I did spend a couple of days reviewing my design and found a few flaws. I did not plan a hem with that fabulous lace, I was so excited that it worked, I just jumped right into the swatch! I wanted a ‘nothing’ hem, but all those transfers just naturally create a scallop and, trying to reduce that, I added a chain across the bottom on my swatch but it did not do quite what I anticipated. Maybe a reduction in the number of stitches might work? I also had this crazy idea of making a horizontal buttonhole in a tubular band for the fronts because all denim jackets seem to have horizontal buttonholes. I did finally manage one but it certainly did not look as spectacular as my mind had imagined and it was extremely difficult, not worth the effort! I'm not even going to bother telling you how...
I pulled out half of my knitted wardrobe, trying things on to make sure I had the correct length in mind and all that and discovered that I have eight denim-y cardi/hoodies (including Denim Bling, KW#47) that still look pretty good and I began to re-evaluate life in general. I looked at my to-do list. I have had a cardigan for Rhiana at the top since June (not done yet); my niece Karen is having a baby (gender unknown) in November, blanket required; Christmas is coming, socks etc. required; and I’m going out to Vancouver next week to spend Thanksgiving (our Canadian version) with baby sister Marnie - will be gone two weeks! I realized that a new denim cardigan for me would simply be gratuitous knitting! I need to get my priorities in line! I'm back to working on Janet's Church Pullover, planning Rhiana's cardi (may add a dress to that seeing as how it could be her Christmas outfit) and then the rest... 

Friday, September 22, 2017

swatched and ready...

You know me, when I get an idea in my head, it becomes a compulsion – I have to follow through. I figured I may as well tell you all about it.
After my sketch, it became clear to me that I wanted a lace pattern with verticals – you know how I’m always trying to look taller ;-)! I looked through all my stitch pattern books and came up with a couple that I liked, but ruled them out as being too finicky. I am going to do a fashion lace  design which is a little trickier than the plain lace that I most often use with the Silver Reed. Plain lace is as easy to knit as stockinette because the Silver lace carriage transfers and knits at the same time but if you want movement in the lace stitches, similar to full-fashioned decreases, then you need to change the cam setting to P, take the yarn out, transfer according to the pattern (a specific number of rows), rethread, set the cam to Lace (or back to stockinette which I prefer as a safety net – if you happen to be on the wrong row, it will at least knit all the stitches instead of dropping them or messing up what you already have transferred) and knit two rows. Because of this, I like choose a fashion lace pattern that has the same number of transfer rows throughout so that you can develop a rhythm to the knitting of yarn out, transfer 8 rows, yarn in, reset cam, knit 2 rows, yarn out, transfer 8 rows…
I swatched two that looked promising. Keeping in mind I don’t want to be wasting my good yarn and knowing that this 4 ply acrylic, Tamm Trenzi (I am using orange because I am not likely to ever want to knit anything real with this) usually lace knits at T5 without any issue, that’s what I began with. Looking at the bottom of my swatch, I want to say I did this on purpose so you could see what my stitch pattern looked like, but, truth is, I was so excited, I just began knitting lace, without transferring  first – so now you know if this is what your lace knitting looks like, you did something wrong. Realizing I was in error, I knit 2 plain rows and then began the real thing – I did 14 rows in the orange which means, 8 transfers, knit 2 rows, 14X (I did tell you, this is not real quick) and I could see everything was working well, time to throw in some similar cotton! The blue is Bonita, which I have used extensively with my lace carriage so I do know it works but I don’t remember using it for fashion lace. It is working beautifully also at one full number higher (T6 – see Tumbleweed, Knitwords #53). My heart is pounding! I’m so excited. I put in the other pattern (there are 10 transfer rows between each 2 rows of actual knitting) and again in the orange acrylic, things are going smoothly. I switch to the Bonita and all is well. With this one, there is a space in the patterning of 6 plain stitches and I think, that’s kind of boring, how about we try a 2X2 cable in there? It works too, but I decide that would just be asking for trouble or showing off. I knit enough so I can get a good look at the right side and opt for the first one. I’m ready to commit! I love the verticals of lace and the way the transfers are making the biased lines up toward the two-centre-stitch lines. I had been contemplating doing the sleeves in lace also, but I think I’m going to stick with my original sketch for now. I’ll keep you posted!
P.S. I found another small part cone!!! I’m making the real swatch!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It’s a good thing! Especially when you were the original giftor and are now the giftee! Here’s the back story…Several years ago, when Yeoman Yarns denim cotton 4 ply was plentiful and life was good, I sent my friend Cindy two part cones (same dyelot, 550g total) of said yarn with the thought that she would have plenty to make ‘Denim Chick’ From Knitwords No 34. It was my design/pattern for what I thought at the time was like a denim jacket/cardigan in a tuck rib stitch. When we were in Monroe in July, while I was modelling my 'Dreamcoat'  [ ],

Denim Chick #34
I said that yarn was probably my all-time favourite and I really missed it as it had been discontinued shortly after, around 2005. I had used it in 8 or 9 garments in Knitwords but was surprised after checking the index that I hadn't used it for lace - mostly stockinette, tuck and tuck rib - was I not so in love with lace then or did I love tuck rib too much? Who knows? Obviously I still had a bit of a stash because I made the 'Dreamcoat' in 2010 but that was pretty much the end of my stash. Cindy, being the good friend that she is felt bad that she had not knit up my fave and gave it back to me, after checking that I would not be offended! OMG!
All the way home from St Cloud, I've been running design ideas through my head. When I got back, I found, to my amazement, another small cone, (same dyelot!!!) so I have about 700g.

Here’s my preliminary sketch of my current ideas – now, I need to swatch up some lace and see which one suits my fancy!  Of course I won’t be wasting my good denim yarn in the swatching – I’ll use something else to play around with and only revert to the good stuff when I’ve finalized my lace pattern. And who knows what other textures may show up - notice, I said preliminary...
I’ve have plenty of time to mull things over as I finish up Janet’s Church Pullover!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

use it or lose it....

Gosh, I feel like I’ve been sweating over that freakin’ pattern for the Church Cardi for the whole darn month! What’s the big deal? Between visitors, our crappy summer and family stuff, it’s been hard to concentrate and when I look back, it’s been a while since I’ve actually written a pattern from scratch. It was like I forgot what to do. I almost gave up but that’s not my nature and I did promise, so I knew I had to deliver. I was having trouble deciding on the sizing and then my numbers weren’t adding up. The break-through? Yesterday, it dawned on me! Just draw the darn thing out and you’ll be able to see what the problem is – oh man, then it was a cake walk! I used the full width KR half scale paper that is charted in half scale centimetres for the Silver Reed charting device and had green, black, blue and red ink lines for each of the four sizes and I feel so good and virtuous – this pattern will be perfect!
I even knit a sleeve to check the final lace pattern details and I know you’ll be happy with all the extras! Truth, of course, I didn’t just happen to have enough of the same yarn just laying around and, I didn’t want another one for me, but, since sister Janet booked our next hiking holiday to Ireland for next June, you know it…Janet is getting a Church Pullover for Christmas! ;-) I’d hate to waste a good sleeve! I’ve had this huge cone of cashmere/wool in ivory – yeah, I know it’s not her favourite colour but if she really doesn’t like it, I’ll dye it for her and likely, she’ll love it just because it fits! You may remember, she’s a little vertically challenged and before I started knitting for her, she’d never had a sweater that had the right sleeve length!
I know you might not have the exact yarn either so here’s my stashbusters tip. My original yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima, a 100% mercerised cotton with a beautiful drape and sheen that I used at T3.5 stockinette for a gauge of 23 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm. This is an unknown cone that I’ve had for eons and who knows what yardage or whatever it is, but it looks like about the same thickness. I knit 3 swatches, starting with T4 (because I could go up or down from there) and it seemed a little tight to knit and I didn’t want to have to sweat that much, so I made one at T4.5. After I washed and dried those I saw I still had a little leeway – T5 proved to be the magic number – my gauge is exact, it was smooth to knit and the finished, washed swatch is lovely, with a nice drape, so that’s what Janet is getting! I know I’ll be regretting giving up this lovely yarn but there should be an expiry date on some of this stuff anyway!
The Church Cardi/Pullover pattern is ready! I’ll post it here for sale, next week when I get back from St Cloud!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

back to the farm...

Rocking Horse Farm, that is! I just got a note from Jason with the schedule and did I have any changes to make? Yes, I do! I’m adding another new class on ‘shortrowing with ravel cord’ – I do this so much, I tend to forget that everyone may not be as familiar with it. I’ve heard from several people in the last couple of weeks with questions about using this method and there seems to be quite a bit of confusion, so, get ready! I did spend some time back in January blogging []
and photo-ing this in lace carriage knitting but what you may not know is you can use this for other stitch techniques or carriages that are not conducive to the regular holding position shortrowing. Knitweave, garter carriage, yarn changer, double bed stuff and yes, even the LK150 when doing manual patterning – the ravel cord method of shortrowing makes it much easier to get that nice, curved line on decreases, making finishing so much nicer, without fighting the needles in holding position.
I have lots of tricks for you!  And, I'm finishing up the pattern for the 'Church Pullover/Cardi' done on the LK150 that I promised Dee!
Jason and Carole do such a great job of their yearly seminar – they really know how to put out the welcome mat and make you feel special. Early bird registration is still good till Friday!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

girl crush...

When I was in Munroe Michigan last week, I met Julie. At first she was just an attractive, attentive lady in the back row of my first class. I found myself talking to her and she was nodding appropriately like she agreed with everything I was saying. I had to keep reminding myself to look away and talk to the rest of the room! At the end of the first class, she came and told me she would be staying in my class because she had seen the other instructors several times and I was totally new to her. As the day progressed, we had little interaction – she wasn’t a question-asker, at least in a group, though she continued to be attentive. At the end of the day she came up to tell me she did a knitting podcast and would I allow her to interview me for it. I said yes, and the next day at the end of two long days of teaching we found a quiet spot and began talking. Oh my, I think I said, ‘you’ll probably want to edit this out but…’ several times. Anyway, we had fun – she is very calm, has a lovely speaking voice and seems quite thoughtful before she says stuff which I like. I have no idea what this will sound like when it finally airs but, fingers crossed! I hate the sound of my own voice and I kind of cringe when ever I hear a recording of myself so I hope it isn't as bad as I think!
When I got home, after the dust settled with unpacking and getting caught up I decided to check out her podcast and have a listen. She’s a vegetarian – I’m not but I do have some really good recipes – I can’t wait to tell her about what I can do with quinoa and kale! She comes from a large family (mine’s larger but not by much) and, OMG, her mom’s name is Ruthie! My mom was Ruth too!
She refers to her husband as ‘the spouse’ which I think is hilarious – maybe it’s a Canadian thing but I’ve always thought of 'spouse' as a generic term to avoid having to be specific as to gender and anyone I’ve ever heard use it is doing so in a slightly derogatory way. But he does sound like a real prize – I’m kind of jealous! She’s not afraid to admit she loves Judge Judy and tells us why and I look forward to her ‘likes and dislikes’. We have a lot in common!
I have listened to several episodes – I started at the beginning with episode 1 - and although there is sock machine and hand knitting stuff there that I don’t really care about,  as well as some machine knitting, the perspective she offers on life in general is what I’m hooked on – I love it!
I did listen to her last episode  from July 10, 2017 and she mentioned she would be going to the Monroe seminar and that I would be there…she pronounced my name wrong – ow! It’s Oh!Grrrr! just like Shrek. Hope she gets it right in the interview so I can still like her!
Give it a listen ;-), Bing (or google) ‘Julie Boylan podcast’ or ‘Hand Y Machine Knitting
Oh, and I've been invited to Charlene Shafer's Knit Knack Shop Spring Fling in Peru, Indiana next April! I'm so excited!!! More later!

Friday, July 28, 2017

home alone...

I know it wasn’t you on the road but do you know what a two-lane divided highway is for? It means you drive on the right and move into the left lane to pass and then get back in the right hand lane! It does not mean that you get to ride in the left lane because you are too lazy to switch back and forth!
Now I got that off my chest, what a fun time! And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen almost 100 machine knitters in one place! What a turnout! Many thanks to Cathy and Larry and Chris for putting on such a great venue for us – good food, good friends and great knitting! What more could anyone want?
It was great to see so many Canadians, eh? And have a nice little catch-up with Eileen and Pat and their Burlington guild gang!
I got things put away and all my zippers properly sewn in. Here are the pictures I promised – everyone loved ‘Canada, eh?’ and I’m really happy with finishing up the blue-grey 1RT Hoodie – summer arrived while I was away but I’m sure there will be a cool night or two  so it will still be of use as summer wear, but overall, a great indoor coverup!