Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Speedy Delivery!

click the pic for bigger

I am stunned at how fast my yarn arrived from Scotland. I ordered it last Thursday from Virtual Yarns and it was waiting for me today, exactly a week later. I was prepared to wait a lot longer.

They yarn feels soft to the touch and the colors are beautiful, heathered and rich. It's tempting to dive right in, but I'm making careful plans on how to proceed. There are so many colors I'm going to have to organize them because once I wind them into skiens, they will lose all those nice labels. Maybe I'll make a color card.

I finished Jim's Spiral Yoke sweater today, but it needs a good blocking before its photo shoot. For some reason, the front bunches up around his chest so that he looks like he needs a Manziere . I have to say, I'm underwhelmed. Oh I'm sure you will all tell me it looks nice, and I suppose it does, but I look at it and it's just: meh. Perhaps it's because I'm feeling a little under the weather today. Anyway, now you know.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Socks on Laundry Day

An accumulation of moments of my life. Moments that would have been gone for ever are now captured in wool that warms the feet and comforts the souls of me and my loved ones.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Smorgasboard

Here's a finished object to show you:

I started these on December 24 and I take them with me to work on during spare moments. Not a bad accumulation of time spent waiting, eh? The yarn is Lorna's Laces, Purple Club, and the pattern is my own. Toe up, with a figure-eight cast on, and Charlene Schurch's flap heel.

I'll likely start another plain pair using some funky yarn. I like to have something dead simple to knit on when I'm talking, waiting for an appointment, or driving. No really, don't you hate it when you are stuck in traffic with nothing to do? I can totally brake and knit.

The Spiral Yoke Sweater has come together:

Bad pun; I know, there are no good puns. I like the look of the spiral design, but I'm finding it difficult to knit at this point. There are a lot of stitches on the needles. I've got about another 5 rows to go before I start decreasing. Then it will feel like running down a hill where your arms are flapping and you know you'd better not stop or you will fall..... Hmm... makes me think of green grass and soft warm winds, and laughter.

There's some interesting short row shaping in this sweater. First, there was one set of short rows right between the bottom and the armholes and second, there are 3 sets of short rows right before the yoke starts. You may notice it as a wedge just above the arm hole in the picture. The first set is to ward off "the dreaded riding up syndrome" (Meg's words). The second set is to raise the neck at the back. I'm very curious to see how this changes the fit. Jim is an easy person to knit for since he's very rectangular and not too big.

Yesterday I was at London Yarns and Machines to pick up my Fiber Fish who had been acting as store samples. It was nice to see my mittens again (I gave them a kiss. Shh, don't tell.) Janet has some new sock yarn that had to come home with me. It's called St. Ives. The rich, heathered colors attracted me in the first place, but I'm also very impressed with how it knits up.

The brown will be socks for Jim, and the green are to be some leaf lace socks for me.

Friday I had my phone interview with a volunteer from Boxer Rescue Ontario. I must say that I'm very impressed with this organization. I like the fact that they are taking the time to match up the right home with the right dog so that the adoption will succeed. Next up will be a home visit, likely with a dog. It will likely be another 4 to 5 months before an actual adoption takes place.

I'm excited, I'm nervous, and it feels like my life will change in ways I can't yet imagine. Sort of like having children. In fact, I've begun to call this dog my "fur baby" in my head because of how we will have to order our lives to accommodate this new family member. I never understood that sort of sentimentality before.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wiggly Puppy Happy

Oh yes indeed! I'm pretty darned happy all right. My life is very nice, thank you very much, and I wish you all the same. Everyone needs to vent their frustrations now and again, and certainly some sympathy when things are not good is a welcome thing, but I think we also need to take time to celebrate and say thanks when life is good. So here's a big thank you to the universe and all of creation.

Dang, but my knitting is boring right now. I've got the body and one sleeve done on the Spiral-Yoked pullover and I'm into my second sleeve. The yoke on this sweater is like a cherry on top and I'm looking forward to getting at it this weekend. But in the mean time, sigh, more stockinette.

As I was whining about stockinette a bit last night, Jim looked over at me with deep blue eyes and said, "Thank you, love, for knitting me a lovely, warm sweater." Then he gave me a big smooch. "Not fair!" cried I, but I must admit that the needles moved along at a good clip after that.

I've been contemplating what's coming up next, since there's plenty of room for contemplation with this sweater. I was thinking of the Noro I have stashed away, and I was thinking of a shawl since I have plenty of Sheltand fingering to work with. Have you seen The Wry Punster's beautiful Irish Diamond Shawl? I've considered knitting that shawl before, but her pictures have bumped it onto the TODO list.

Anyway, all plans are abandoned, other than the most simple since I came into some cash and ordered an Oregon Vest (in the fall color way which is shown as a cardigan) from Virtual Yarns. I'm very excited. I'm wiggly puppy happy. Wheee! Thanks again universe!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hungry to Knit?

This image is from Worth1000 where they hold contests to see who can create the best optical delusions. Check out this category.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I thought I'd give this idea a try:

The pink yarn measures roughly 16", which is the amount of height I need for the body of this sweater. I've found this little trick stops me from having to measure every so often. Instead, I just look at how much give there is in the pink tether. I don' t know about you, but I hate it when I knit past the mark.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Yes indeed, pretty boring that is. Forty-two inches of stockinette in the round.

Go check out Anne at KnitSpot for some excitement. She's having a blogiversary party and a contest. I've offered up a Fiber Fish mitten pattern and a ball of Trekking XXL as one of the prizes. Anne is an amazing knitter and writes some very pretty patterns. Her spinning is pretty too.

So go say "Hi" to Anne. Tell her Laurie sent you.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Thanks for all the compliments on my Shetland Cardigan. I can tell it's going to be a wardrobe stable, it's light and just the right amount of warmth. But it's a bit of a let down, because now I've got nothing much going on.

I thought I wanted to work on some small projects next, but I don't. I want to make the Spiral Yoke Sweater from Handknitting with Meg Swansen. This would be for Jim using the Patons SWS. So last night I swatched, and washed and let it dry. Tonight I measured, and dumb luck! I got gauge, both row and stitch. Actually, I felt a twinge of disappointment because I was looking forward to doing the math required by Elizabeth's percentage system.

See, I have great admiration and respect for Elizabeth Zimmerman, but I have never knit anything that follows her system. I must add at least one of her architectural "unventions" to my knitting repertoire. I'm looking forward to learning the secrets of the masters that will be revealed into my hands through the process of constructing this garment. But alas, I can find no pictures of it on the web. It's not even on Zimmermania. I'm wondering if everyone else knows something about this pattern that I don't.

I have about 2 inches of ribbing to show for my evening and I can just tell you are all thrilled to hear it. Or is that the chirping of crickets I hear?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I did it! I've finished my Shetland cardigan. All it needs is closures.

I have a few ideas. One is to use a shawl pin, which I plan to do today because I am wearing this baby to work. The others are to put in some buttons, or some i-cord ties, or maybe just one satin ribbon tie. Any other ideas?

I'll post some modeled shots as soon as there is light and someone to hold the camera.

I liked reading about what yarns you guys would have chosen. My pick for Jim was the Blackwater Abbey yarn, perhaps to make Halcyon Aran. But instead, he picked the Patons SWS. I guess he likes the wool-blends. Now I have to figure out a pattern that suits the yarn and my man. I'm thinking a ribbed raglan design.

But for the next couple weeks, look to see some small projects from me. I need a knit break!

ETA: I went out in the -7 degree weather to take some better pictures because this sweater deserves it! Here's the fit:

And a close up of the texture again:

And then tonight ant the Knitting Club meeting, Lynn knit me some i-cords and I've attached them for closures. I like the simpleness of it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pick up and Pick out

Pick Up
Yesterday I went back to the Farmer's market to pick up my new knitting bag from Diane. All week I was feeling how decadent it is to be able to ask an artist to make something to my specifications. I felt like a queen. Here it is:

The fabric is just too cool. The pattern art is tattoos, and the black stripes is a type of corduroy I've never seen before. Diane put extra effort into some neat striping details with green accent corduroy. The bag is also quilted and contains a full compliment of pockets on the inside:

There are a couple of skinny pockets suitable for needles or a crochet hook, and some larger pockets that would hold a sock! Thanks Diane, you did a great job!

Pick Out
As I've been working on my Shetland cardigan, my husband has been sitting on the couch next to me wearing a t-shirt, sweatshirt, wool socks (hand knit of course!) and curled under a polar fleece blanket. It would seem that he is cold. Last night he turned to me and complained "My nose is cold." and it was.

I've figured out that there's been a change here, because he didn't used to be this cold. The difference is that he used to wear an Alice Starmore design knit from Lavold silky-wool. He has worn this sweater almost every evening for about a year with the result that it now resembles a child's well loved blankey. In a valiant effort to save the sweater he has stopped wearing it. And now he is cold.

I have promised him that the next sweater I knit will be for him and this weekend I took him stash diving.

In the stash he got to choose from:
Which do you think he picked? What would you have picked?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Little Suffering

There is a brooding presence located at the end of my couch:

The Shetland cardigan is going through it's awkward phase. It is past the armholes and I am now working the fronts and the back simultaneously. It's difficult to manage three balls of yarn attached to such a large amount of knitting.

Someone else has hit his awkward stage:

Luke had braces installed this week and he is finding them difficult to live with. He's a sensitive boy to begin with, and the are irritating his mouth. Plus he has headaches and difficulty eating. We are giving him sympathy and some medication and trying to reassure him that it will all be worth it in the end.

Once again, life and my knitting converge.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cute as a Bug

Aren't these the cutest little mini-clogs?

They are for a co-worker's daughter. Heidi and I were talking about her little daughter, who is only one year old and gets cold feet at night. I just HAD to knit her these little booties. I think Heidi liked them all right:

Pattern: Ladybird shoes from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit by Zoe Mellor
Yarn: oddments of super wash wool. I wouldn't bestow regular wool on muggle, let alone one who has a small child.

This just in: Cute sheep game to play!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Shetland Cardigan - Design Decisions

You can see I've made good progress in my work on the Shetland cardigan. As I've been going, I've been thinking about how I'm going to modernize this piece. Here's how the sweater looks in the book:

She looks like a very sweet grandma and I'd love for her to knit me a sweater like the one she's working on, but it's not quite the style for me. ;-)

I've picked a style that I think will be more modern and work well on my full figure. The style is a v-neck buttoned with a single button. Both of the examples I've seen have a slight shawl collar, which I may not want to add, given the texture of my yarn.

I feel pretty confident about this knit and I'm really looking forward to completing this sweater.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Farmer's Market Fun

Jim and I went to the Farmer's Market this morning and I've got a knitting bag on order. Diane was a great lady to work with on this. I told her what design elements I'm after, and what kinds of fabrics I found interesting at her stall, and she's going to get creative for me. Diane is an artist, and I look forward to seeing what her creativity will produce.

After I'd paid my deposit and finished my arrangements with Diane, Jim and I did a bit of shopping and brought home this:

We had salad and meat pies for lunch with grapes for dessert. Perfect on such a windy wet day. The pies were delicious! Just chock full of meat, they tasted like a really good shepard's pie. The begonias only cost me a dollar and the grapes were a dollar a pound. I'm looking forward to going back to the market to pick up my bag from Diane.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Going for my Goals, Chasing my Dreams

I have been longing to get a dog for quite some time now. Before we moved, I used to walk the neighbor's dog and I had a serious crush on that puppy. Okay, puppy isn't the right term. Monster was a 90lb boxer. He looked like a brute, but he was a snuggle-bum who loved his walks. I'd take him out to the big open spaces, let him off his lead, and he'd run laps around me with a smile on his face.

I studied up on the boxer breed and learned that Monster was pretty typical. Boxers are strong, energetic dogs that keep their playful puppy nature right up into adulthood. They have a short, hard coat that is easy to maintain, and they are good with children, plus they don't bark much. Perfect for me!

So yesterday I applied to Boxer Rescue Ontario. There is a screening process that we have to go through first and I understand it can take some time, which is why I applied now. Needless to say, I'm both hopeful and a little nervous. I firmly believe in adoption programs, as evidenced by my guinea pigs, and I'd love to be able to give a good dog a second home, but I am realistic that taking on a dog with a lot of problems would not be good for my family. We'll just have to see how the screening process goes.

Out of my entire gang of Monday night knit-buds, I'm the only one without a dog. Who says knitters love cats best?

Thanks to all for the advice on the knitting bag. I've decided to go to the new Farmer's market in London to check out the merchandise of Diane of Sew Divine Designs. Diane made my sock knitting bag and it has all the required features: sturdy fabric, lots of pockets, no zippers or Velcro and a nice long strap and she uses recycled materials. Now if I can just get one bigger! I'd like to support a local artist if I can.

Here's a treat, another pair of Fiber Fish mittens:

These are by Rachel Young and she used Trekking #107. They look like candy fish, good enough to eat!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm on the Hunt

I'm looking for a new knitting bag. My last one was a woven basket-type market bag and the handles are coming unsewn. It did well for two years and now it's time for a new one. I've looked online and there are a few I like. One is on E-bay, EHwa Aprons:

I also liked the bags at Spunky Eclectic, especially the Metro:

and the Empire:

Alternately, I'm in contact with a local artisan to see if she could make me a custom bag. I looked at the commercial bags in the stores and they just don't have the amenities to appeal to a knitter.
I'm also going to try to have a look in my LYS to see what they have. Does anyone have a bag they'd like to recommend?

New Year's Day was pretty quiet around here. Jim came down with a cold, so we just stayed home. I decided it was time to start a new sock to ring in the new year:

I think it looks suitably fishy. The yarn is Lorna's Laces, I forget what color. I'm very much enjoying this pattern. I'd read some comments that it was complex and so I waited for a time when I was rested and wouldn't be interrupted to try it. I needn't have worried, I'm finding it a rather predictable pattern after all and very enjoyable to knit. I can't wait to get to the funky heel.