Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wrap Up

I'm glad you all liked my clogs. Holly, dude, it's just the Fiber Trends pattern. I felted them to the utter limits and I think that's why they look nice. And the rug backing idea came from my friend Holly, whom I've written about before on this blog. She's one smart cookie and I miss her since we don't hang out anymore.

I whipped up a quick little project, Calorimetry from Knitty:

I used a skien of handspun that I received from Jenny in exchange for a Fiber Fish Pattern. The yarn is very artistic, lots of thick and thin spots, some slubs and variations in color so it works very well for such a simple pattern.

I modified the pattern because I don't like how fat the original is. Also, since my yarn is different, I used a different needle too. I cast on more stitches than what the pattern called for and did less short rows. So I have a longer, narrower band. It's even a little too long, but this is easily fixed by the fact that each short row makes a hole which can be used as a button hole.

Anyway, I've got good ear coverage, which is what I really needed:
I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cute Clogs

The clogs came out cute don't you think?

After they were dry I painted them with some rug backing. It seals the fibers and gives me a non-skid sole. I paint on two coats:

Jim, myself, and the kids are heading out to a house party for New Year's Eve, so I hope they are dry by then so I can wear them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Working Hard on Vacation

I thought I'd try to see if I could get a sweater knit for myself while I was on vacation. I got this far:That's one sleeve done and the other only six rows away from the finish. But the Québécoise wool was starting to annoy me, just the feel of it sliding through my fingers. It's a little rough, but I expect it to wear well and to soften in a Euculann bath. Also, the yardage is great, each sleeve is taking about one skein of yarn.

Here's a close up of the stitches:

I'm working at a pretty loose gauge for me. It's going to need a good blocking, but I like the fabric, it is light and airy. I'm using Addi Turbos to knit on, and the pattern is interesting, so this is an enjoyable knit. Still, I needed a break from it.

Inspired by Anne at Knitspot, I decided it was time to upgrade my felted clogs. The ones I'm wearing now are too big because I didn't felt them enough, but I don't want to try re-felting them, because I've painted the soles with non-skid rug backing. A different sized needle, some softer wool and I'm back in business! I decided to do a wild experiment:

For one thing, I'm using a Bernat wool for the soles and the Lion Brand for the uppers. I hope there's not too much difference between the two. Second, get a load of those colors. I was thinking of trying to match up the color repeat in the two strands held together, but then decided to just let it go where it may. I wonder what it will look like felted?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Tis Better to Give than to Recieve

I had some great fun with giving away my knitting yesterday. Luke enjoyed his scarf and wore it wrapped around his neck for part of the morning. It's a little warm for around the house though.

Then, before all the guests arrived, I finished up Jim's socks so the Yule Cat wouldn't get him.

The only tricky bit in this pair was the bind off. I like to use a sewn tubular bind off for toe up socks which works great for K1P1 or K2P2 edges, but I wanted to continue the chevron all the way to the top. The answer was to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off for that stretch. It curls a bit, but since this is a one off, I consider them a success.

Doesn't Jim have weird feet? High arches and skinny shanks as Beadlizard would say. I won't be knitting too many short row heels for this guy, let me tell you!

Then my parents came over and I gave my Dad his vest.

I never expected the reaction I got. He actually shed a tear or two. He said, "I never expected it to be so nice." I'm very happy he liked it so much and it seems like all my hard work is very much appreciated. He liked the colors, he was impressed with the fine detail of the work, and his fancy was tickled by the moose buttons. The fit is pretty good too.

Oh yes! I had a lot of fun gift giving yesterday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Meet my Christmas angels:

Aren't they sweet?

In the top picture, my mother-in-law is wearing the Rose-leaf Lace vest I knit for her. And the bottom picture is of a needle point angel I made about 14 years ago. My in-laws had bought the kit and decided they would like this angel for their tree. So they asked me if I would sew it up for them. Of course I agreed and I put every effort to do my neatest and best work into it. This angel has been on their tree ever since and it always warms my heart to see it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Knitter's Error

After all the Christmas work yesterday I managed to figure out the problem I was having with my sleeve. Hooray!

I read the pattern wrong. I hate it when that happens. But I'm also very happy because I was enjoying this knit and I was looking forward to creating a sweater for myself. One of my goals is to make more sweaters for me. I did have to rip back to the cuff and start again, but this gave me an opportunity to make a change to the lace, so all's well.

I bought a couple of commercial sweaters to help me with my sizing. I didn't have any sweaters that fit me. So I bought two simple designs with flattering necklines that I can also wear for the holidays. Is it just me, or do many of the store bought sweaters seem to incorporate current trends in hand-knitting? Or is this a chicken and the egg thing?

I've noticed that many people are posting about how they will be away from their blogs as they travel to their families. I wish them a safe journey and an enjoyable visit. For myself, I will be home and likely poking around on this here blog and the internet. Does anyone have any interesting links, or blogs to share? Leave a comment!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Watch out!

Here it comes! The Christmas avalanche of activity!

I've booked the day off work but I'm not on vacation. Christmas preparations have me in their grip. I was awake at three in the morning, thinking about work of all things. I got up and made a good start at cleaning up my yarn room. I sorted the stash closet, ripped some experiments, and ripped some projects started but not loved well enough to continue. I also cast off this:

It was a mad experiment that out grew my ambition, but the intention was to knit Luke a blanket. I was hoping to put a deep reversible border all the way around, but I got mixed up in my pattern. I ripped what border there was and decided to cut my losses. So there I was, casting it off in the middle of the night. I was thinking that I could then either knit on a border, or make another square and sew them together, but Luke has declared that he likes it as is.

This is my own freaky design. I started with a circular cast on, and increased with two yarn overs, at all four corners, every other row. To make the blanket reversible, I used a Fibonacci series to determine how many rows of stockinette to knit, before switching it up. I guess I learned something.....

But back to Christmas. I've cleaned the oven, inside and out, and tidied up a bunch of little things. There are more errands and cleaning to be done today, so I'd better get to it.

Oh! And I felted my brother-in-law's clogs:
I wish I'd thought to do it sooner, because they need to dry and I still want to paint some non-skid soles onto them. I may have to do it while the slippers are damp. I'm going to place them in front of the furnace vent in hopes of getting some dry air on them.

Do you know, it's raining cats and dogs in London today? No snow for us this Christmas. I feel for the folks who are experiencing bad weather, with wind, snow and power outages. But I do wish we had a little snow here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Modern Spirit of Christmas

In the spirit of the season, I present to you a whole whack of stuff that you don't really have time for. I don't really have time for it either, but what the hey! tis the season to drive ourselves nuts with an overblown sense of obligation.

Look, I finished my sweet spring socks. I'm going to save them to wear around the house Christmas morning. You could say they are a present to myself.

This next shot shows my last Rockin' Sock Club STR shipment. I'm glad I signed up for the club, but won't do it again. I don't like STR for socks. It doesn't wear well and the colors are too busy for the most part.

I love the red, called Mustang Sally, and I think it deserves to be knit into something finer than socks. The rainbow colored skien is my bonus one. It's called Rare Gems and while I think the colors are lovely in the skein, I'm a little concerned about how they'll look mashed together when knit up. I'm thinking that it may make a lovely pair of Fiber Fish mittens though.

Speaking of which, I've received some shots of finished Fiber Fish mittens. Get a load of these.



Aren't they awesome? I'm blown away with the creativity people show and the many different permutations of fish. They almost come alive!

The sleeve/swatch is on hiatus while I puzzle out gauge and size and schtuff like that. Instead, I'm thinking that my husband should also have new socks for Christmas morning. I started putting the ankle on his socks and added this little detail.

I really like it. It's your basic herringbone, but without the yarn overs so it won't be lacy. Instead I'm doing a make one in the stitch below. Also, I've added 2 purl stitches on either side to give back some of the stretch that is lost with a biased stitch. Best of all, Jim approved.

As if all that wasn't enough, Carrie at The Barefoot Cobbler tagged me for the weird meme. I've been embracing my weirdness since I was fourteen. How could I refuse? So here you go, six weird things about me:

1. I'm a techwriter, but I make up silly words and phrases all the time. I give my boys "smoochies" and when I'm happy I get "wiggly puppy butt."

2. I'm not religious, but I always put the nativity up every Christmas. I bought some of the pieces for myself when I was 14, and my mother and brother suprised me with the rest as a Christmas present. My dad built me the stable.

3. I learned to read in kindergarten.

4. I've never been hung over, or drank so much that I got sick. I do drink, but I always stop just when the world starts to seem slurry.

5. I believe in magic. I believe that people, places, objects and rituals can evoke power within ourselves that can effect change. Therefore I treat such things with respect and try to create some magic now and then.

6. I like playing with toys and it doesn't really seem like Christmas without getting one for a present.

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of my sheep ornament. Just to give this blog post that one last shot of Christmas excess.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Preparations

I'm very tired and very pleased since I've had a very productive day. I finished shopping for my kids today, I baked four batches of cookies, and I finished a scarf.

The scarf is a Christmas present for my eldest son Luke. Do you remember my cabled-bordered Fleece Artist jacket? Well, the other day I caught him wrapping it around his neck, while gushing "soft!" So I had the idea to make him this scarf.

I'm not being entirely altruistic, since I'd rather he not mistreat my sweater like that. But I do hope he likes it.

So how are you're Christmas preparations coming along?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Rebel Yell

Anemoi mittens? I don't see any mittens around here. Just a swatch and some yarn off in the corner pouting. It made a trip to the frog pond and is about sent for a time out to the depths of the stash closet. It misbehaved and didn't play well. It was unpleasant to knit, the size was too big and to add insult to injury, the red started to turn the white pinkish.

I suppose the swatch looks suspiciously like a sleeve. My sheepy-tape measure will let me know soon enough. Then I'll have to crunch some numbers. But maybe later, since I've been seduced by something fun to knit.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I've been plugging along on my Anemoi mittens (dear Eunny, please tell me how to pronounce that) and I'm not happy. I should be happy. I really like the pattern. But the needles are too small for this yarn so it's hard to knit. And now that I'm almost done the thumb gusset, I'm wondering if the mitten will be too big.

Alternately, I found this in my stash.

It's Fleece Artist on the left and Koigu on the right. I think they'd make lovely Anemoi mittens, even better than the red and white. Softer, prettier and just the right colors for the feel of the pattern. But it just might break my heart to make them up and not have them fit. What to do?

My tentative plan is to work up the white and red first and see what fit I get. If it's too big, I can always try again with the blue and white. I'm sure what ever I make will fit someone. It's just too disappointing when I want a pair for myself.

Excuse me, I'm going to go knit a sock and pout.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Those letters stand for Read The Freakin' Manual, and it's something I say fairly often. I should practice what I preach.

I've finally taken the plunge and started work on Eunny's Anemoi mittens. I've got a few issues with this pattern that are all my own and no reflection on Eunny's excellent skills.

I had problems getting started in the first place because I was intimidated by this pattern! Oh yeah, I'm just that silly. See, Eunny writes a lot of directions, which is good, but I'm so impatient, I don't want to be bothered reading them. So then I skip around a lot getting myself confused. When I first started working this pattern, I screwed up the ribbing because I didn't follow the directions as written. This second try is better. There are some designers I don't trust and there are others whose pattern teach me new techniques as I go. Eunny falls into the latter category.

The other problem is that the largest finished size is 8.5 inches which is exactly the measurement of my hand, leaving me no ease. My first thought was to knit this pattern using some cream and dark gray Shetland weight that I have in the stash. I knew this wouldn't give me a good fit, so I thought to add 4 stitches to the sides and create a dice pattern between the borders. I cast on and started knitting, but it just seemed too small. Plus, I was worried about screwing up Eunny's well-planned design. So instead I decided to try using Quebecois on a 3mm needle. It's really tight but it will make a bullet proof mitten if I can muscle through it.

Now, on to some sweet nothings. I've got to replenish my sock drawer, as there are some sickly specimens in there. Here's a Trekking sock done and the second is on the needles:

The cuff is a k2 p2 rib that is rotated one stitch every fourth round. It makes a nice swirl and gives the ribbing some texture.

I also started socks for Jim using the STR lagoon that I bought for him back in November.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Keeping Warm

I spent the better part of my snow day making this hat for my husband Jim. I know the colors aren't great, but it's for work, and these shades won't show the dirt so much. The yarn is Dale of Norway, Falk and it feels nice and soft for a hat. I did find the yarn a bit splitty, but sometimes that's the way it goes. I got the yarn on sale for half price, and it's super wash, so no complaining! The pattern is the Patterned Watch Cap from Hat's On! by Charlene Schurch.

I don't know why I hadn't knit Jim a work hat before. When I offered to knit him a hat for work out of real wool, he said don't bother, because hand-knit hats are never warm enough. I had a laugh at that one and told him not to worry, this hat will be warm.

I think all the snow has prompted me to update my family's woolly accessories. I've purchased Eunny's Anemoi Mittens and I want to knit them in blue or gray and white to go with my new hat. I have enough Falk in blue and white to make Jim another of Charlene's hats to wear for good. I'd also like to make Jim a set of blue and white patterned gloves too. I've also got two different socks on the needles, one for myself and one for Jim. I'm wearing through three different pairs of socks right now and I need replacements before those give out.

See why I'm not gift knitting? I have to outfit me and my loved ones first!

BTW - the kids don't count. They won't wear hand-knit hats or gloves. I'll be lucky to see them wear the socks I made them last month.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snow Day

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while we get so much snow in such a short time that even we Canadians have to call a snow day. London schools are closed and people have been advised to stay off the roads so that the snow plows can clear the streets. I've put some more pictures up on Flickr.

It couldn't have happened on a nicer Friday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's a Keeper!

Inspired by Peg, I decided to try the Tweedy Beret from this winter's issue of IK using my Lavold Angora blend yarn.

I'm very happy with this hat! I love the yarn's soft halo, the hat fits well on my head with out crushing my hair, and it doesn't feel like it would blow off. And its warm!

Hats are hard. Even in the stores, I'll see a hat, think it's cute, try it on and bleh. So knitting one is a magic trick. Even if you get gauge, and knit the pattern perfectly, you never know if the style itself will look good on. But I figured, I'm having fun with my yarn, and if this hat doesn't fit me, it will be a Christmas present for someone.

I'm happy I'm the lucky recipient.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Thank you everyone for your supportive responses to my last post. My family and I appreciate it.

What a busy weekend we had. On Saturday there was shopping, and cleaning, and knitting of course. The dishwasher broke and my husband repaired it. I offered moral support, some troubleshooting, and a selection of tools to assist in clearing the blockage.

We're very happy to have dodged a call to the repair man. And our dishes are cleaner too!

I finished my Floral Fair Isle Gloves.

The fit is great, but I'm not in love. They seem rather bright. I think I'll tuck them away for now. I'm probably just to close to them still.

On Sunday, there was more cleaning and this afternoon we went to the children's holiday party held by the company I work for. It was a lot of fun, very well organized, and it is always a delight to see the children of my co-workers. It was also pretty loud, as you can imagine. I'm looking forward to a quiet evening's knit.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tourette's Syndrome

My eldest son, Luke, was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome three years ago. Actually the full diagnosis is that he has Tourette's, ADD and he's gifted. Since he was a baby, he was different, and for the most part we coped, but it was when he started school that the real misery started.

I think school was like torture for my bright and active boy. I remember participating in his junior kindergarten class and watching him during the circle time. The teacher was trying to get the children to tell her what number comes after 22. My son had his hand raised high in the air, but since the teacher knew he had the answer, she ignored him and tried to help the other children. I watched my boy's hand slowly get lower and his enthusiasm drain right out of him. By the end of her lesson, he was looking all about the room. Anywhere but the teacher.

We decided to try a French immersion school in order challenge him a bit. He had trouble focusing, his handwriting was atrocious, and after a while, behavior problems developed. At home, he would wake up with night terrors. In grade two we saw a behavioral pediatrician who identified Luke's giftedness, but who told us that there was nothing available to help him. By grade four, we had seen two more specialists, one of whom diagnosed ADD and another who diagnosed Tourette's. It seems like every label has stuck.

But the labels do help. It helps to know what books to read, what support groups to try out and that medication is really a necessity. Luke started taking Risperidone for the Tourette's and Concerta for the ADD. I hated to have to put him on prescription medication. But he really needs it. First of all, he didn't turn into a zombie. Instead, we began to see our boy shine. Luke has a humorous and creative personality. Second of all, he was able to cope with school.

The labels were also necessary for the school board to be able to give us some help. Luke entered the Steps for Success program where he learned how to meet the demands expected from him in the classroom and to improve his social skills. Being on medication made this experience more successful I believe. Luke really didn't enjoy the Steps program, but it made a world of difference.

Finally, we pulled him from French immersion and moved to a new home with a new school. At our new home, he has friends in the area who come over all the time. Before medication and the Steps program, Luke felt that he had no friends and that nobody liked him. Now it is such a joy to have our house filled with six kids on a Saturday morning, all carrying on and making a heck of a noise. The new school has been very supportive and accommodating and we have finally seen a decent report card come home.

Today, we went to see Dr. Duncan McKinlay, who is a very well known psychologist, specializing in Tourette's Syndrome. It's his specialty because Dr. Dunc has Tourette's! Even though things are going well for us at home, I still had a lot to learn from Dr. Dunc.

For one thing, I learned that Luke's tics are pretty mild. Luke picks at fuzz, he says funny words, like "Pie!", he fidgets a lot and sometimes he will lick his lips till they look sore. Dr. Dunc shakes his head, and snorts. Often when we are trying to say something to him. Then I noticed Luke had stopped picking fuzz and was starting to twitch his head! I thought "Rude boy is copying the doctor, and he's going to pretend he's learned a new tic!" I mentioned it, right there in front of Dr. Dunc, and the doctor told us that it is common for people with Tourette's to pick up each others tics. He said that at conferences, you can tell who has been hanging out with each other because Bob will be doing John's tics and vice versa. So that's a second thing I learned.

We also got some validation, that we are doing things right, and that the medication is still necessary and may be for the rest of his life. So I just want to say a big thanks to Dr. Dunc for seeing us today and to encourage everyone to go and see his website: Life's a Twitch!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perfect is Over Rated

I'm having too much fun with this project to let the little things get to me:

This is the Floral Fair Isle Gloves worked in Knit Picks Pallet. I started it late Sunday night and by the time Monday knit night rolled around I was at the thumb gusset. And that's where I went wrong. I should never have tried to work on this project while gabbing it up with the gals.

But it's okay. I'm having fun working this. The colors are a bit bright, but it's a good use for Pallet. And I bet I will appreciate a colorful pair of gloves on a gray day in February.

If you missed the error I was talking about, it's the fact that the purple triangles on either side of the white and black line aren't lined up. It's because I added 8 stitches to account for my large sized hand. The glove fits, but the mis-match is kind of annoying, though not annoying enough for me to rip it out. I'm no perfectionist!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Modest Accomplishement

I present to you my first Fair Isle Project:

The pattern is the Man's Fair Isle Waistcoat from Traditional Knitting. I modified the pattern to use steeks at the neck and armholes. For some strange reason, the pattern was written up flat. Not very traditional, eh?

I believe this was a pretty good first time Fair Isle project because the color designs were quite simple. The diamonds were the hardest part, but they were alternated with an extremely easy section. No sleeves also make it a short project.

I had a huge learning curve to surmount with this project. Yes, I've done stranded knitting, but never on this scale. I've done mittens at a fine gauge and I've knit sweaters at a larger gauge. But this was a cat of a different color.

Yes I've cut a steek before, on a medium sized swatch. It didn't prepare me for the shaping that goes along with an actual garment. Or what happens at the tops of the armhole where you cast off. I never tried finishing those swatch steeks either. Obviously, I had to neaten the steeks on this vest. I used button hole stitch around all the edges. Tedious work.

Yes, I've done button bands, but it's been a while. I don't think I'd ever attempted a moss-stitch button band. Thanks to the advice of many, I switched to a pick up of 3 stitches to every 4 rows. Ted's way of doing it sounds like the sanest and most precise method but I just couldn't do it. I think knitting for me is a right-brained activity and I seem to want to make it an intuitive process. To compensate for my lack of precision, I used Mary Jane's tip of using k1, p1 rib for several rows, and then switching. Mary Jane recommended 4 rows, I, in my pigheadedness, choose 3. It works anyway. The stretchiness of the rib compensates for any minor difference between the buttonhole gauge and the sweater's edge.

I sound so formal about this. I don't know why. I'm very tired because I pushed to get this done. I was supposed to do some shopping this afternoon, but I knew I wouldn't be very good at it because the vest was weighing on my mind.

The socks I started last weekend are done:

They gave me the break I needed from the vest. I guess I had to get my feet under me. (get it,? my feet? ha!) The yarn is Austerman Step, and the pattern is my own. Figure 8 cast on for the toes, a flap heel, and then some calf shaping leading into baby cables in the ribbing. I liked working with the Austerman Step but I don't think I'd buy it again. The yarn was a birthday gift and much enjoyed because of it.

I still intend to work on the gray cardigan for myself, but I'm getting to a tricky point where I need to make some decisions as I knit. I'm going to leave it for next weekend, because I don't always think very clearly in the evenings after work.

This means I am now a free agent. I can knit whatever I want this week. I wonder what I'll choose. Maybe I'll go stash diving this evening.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Shout Out to my Peeps!

I've joined a new knitting group. Here they are sewing up squares for Project Linus. Hi Ladies!

I actually don't remember the official name of this group, but I've got all the pertinent details firmly in mind. I'm in the back on the left there, helping with the sewing.

I don't do charity knitting, yet. I'm sure I will one day. My work place has a very strong community spirit and we do a lot of fund raising and charity work there. I guess I can say "I gave at the office. " But sewing up these squares was a nice treat for me because I had a chance to contribute in a way that ties into my hobby.

Look at what one of the ladies (Hi Rena!) brought for her show and tell:

My heart did a flip when she pulled them out of her bag. I love the long tail fins on these fish. They were knit in the small size using Koigu.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Own Drummer

Did I say I'd do the button band this weekend? I lied. Here's a sock for me:

Austerman Step, size 2mm needles, figure 8 toe, and a heel flap.

I'm no good as a KAL-er because I seem to be a month behind. I'm sure that by January I'll be deep in my Noro sweater, long after Norovember is gone.

I've also finished my son's alpaca socks:

I love that I've given my sons a gift of the socks of their dreams, but now it's time for me to shift my focus to myself.

Last winter I loved going for walks in the woods. I wish I could describe the peaceful white woods, with only the sound of little brook chortling along to break the quiet. I enjoyed getting dressed for these walks in my hand knits. I had a Celestial merino hat, Shedir,

a Manos neck warmer,
my Rogue (the second, pre-felting), my Koigu Latvian mittens,

and always a pair of wool socks. I felt like I was protecting myself from the cold, I was always comfortably warm on my walks, and it felt good to invest that much effort into taking care of myself.

But this winter, Rogue is felted, the Koigu mittens are wearing thin, and I've always felt like my Shedir was just a little on the small size for my big head. So, I'm going to focus on knitting for myself for a little bit. Because I want that feeling back this winter. Because no one else is going to do it for me. And because if I don't, I will begin to resent the gifts I knit for my loved ones and I think that would be a horrible twisting of what should be a wonderful expression of my love.

Speaking of marching to the beat of your own drummer, just look at what was at my house on Friday night:

Bless 'em. Every one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bibbity Bobbity BOO!

I feel like my fairy godmother just turned my pumpkin into a coach. I'll be ready to tackle that button band in no time, thanks to all the support, encouragement and good advice I received from my knitting buddies. Thanks gang.

Last Sunday, after being defeated by Shetland wool, I decided to try my hand with some domestic wool: Patton's Classic Wool.

I'm trying my hand at a top down sweater for myself, using Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top. This will be a set-in sleeve, zippered cardigan. I will decide on the collar (maybe a hood) and extras (I'm thinking of a nice red zipper and red at the cuffs) when I get there. Right now, I've just begun the sleeve cap.

So far, so good. The design I've chosen requires me to skip back and forth between different sections of the book. Barbara writes things like "Begin as you would for a sleeveless sweater..." and so I flip to the vest section and then back to the set-in sleeve to find out what to do next. I've got a good head, so I'm managing so far. Things will be so very simple once I get past the top part. Really, the most complex shaping of a sweater occurs in the top 1/3, and getting it out of the way right away sounds heavenly.

This sweater is intended to replace my felted Rogue, the second. It is also my practice run at a top down design. While I understand the concept in my head, I need to feel it in my hands. Then maybe I can design something more intricate with more valuable yarn.

Monday night I met the gals a Lynn's house for knitting. Damn! I should have taken a picture of Mary Jane's amazing vest. But I was too deep in my own vest issues and funk and didn't think of it. Mary Jane knit a vest out of left over sock yarn using a slip stitch frame in gray. Mary Jane's button band was perfect. Absolutely. I'm going to borrow a few tricks from her book, I can tell you.

I did snap this picture of Harley though:

I do not look like a sheep!

JoLene Treace mentioned an Australian yarn company, Bendigo Woolen Mills, and how they would ship shade cards for free. I'm not one to pass up an offer like that, so I e-mailed them and in short order I had this:

I'm impressed. I intend to try them out one day and I recommend getting a shade card for yourself, cause who doesn't like getting yarn in the mail?

Yeah, but this is even better than a shade card:

Oh the photo lies, really it's beautifully dark and deep. The green is mysterious, not that nasty pea color you see just on the right. I'll get some better pictures when I start knitting it up. I have an design idea but I want to run through my gray cardi first so I know what I'm getting into with top down designs. One thing that has already occurred to me is that in any design I do, I must always be aware of how the yarn will stripe as I shape the sweater. Otherwise, I may end up disappointed.

So here's hoping that we all get past our disappointments and that a fairy godmother will help us out when we need it.