Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ford, Finally Finished!

I'm proud to introduce my latest FO: Ford, the Lopi sweater that took me three years to knit.

This sweater is a testament to my growth and learning as a knitter. From when I started it to the time I finished it I learned many new techniques that I then applied to solve technical difficulties in the knitting.

The pattern starts in the round and then has you knit the front and back flat. I learned steeking, and applied that technique to the arms and neck. The pattern calls for a folded neckband, but Jim finds such necks to be too hot and bulky. I learned the sewn tubular bind off for toe up socks and so this sweater has a single layer at the neck.

I learned the magic loop technique, again for socks, and so my sleeves were knit in the round too. I learned the Philosopher's wool technique for stranding and so one and a half sleeves are stranded.

I'm very proud of my progress as a knitter and that I've finally finished this sweater. Knowing that Jim will be wearing it and having the Harrow Fair as a deadline gave me that last push that I needed to get this thing off the shelf, back in knitting circulation and finally done.

Finally, I'm thrilled to have a handsome husband to wear this piece of art. It looks smashing on him and he's such a good sport to model for me in the summer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last night I enjoyed the company of my peeps at the knit club's pot-luck held at Lynn's beautiful home. The summer evening was devine, the food was delish, and I perversly enjoyed being taunted and called out for a devilish yarn choice.

If you remember, I'm working on the Sandy Cardigan (ravel it) from Big Girl Knits using a lovely Noro colorway that one astute reader noticed would be perfect with jeans. I'm really enjoying the simple pattern of garter stitch before the complicated fitting stage. I started sewing up the back just for fun.

Doesn't the blurry picture make the colors look nice? Anyway, I've decided that the bulky weight yarn just won't do, so I struck out for London Yarns to find an alternate. Even Jim doesn't think that the grey stash yarn will do the sweater justice. It was difficult, but I found one that makes the colors pop.

Every color sings with this shade. It might be hard to see, but it's a navy heathered with a rich red. There's only one little problem with this yarn:

Can you read it? It says 80% Acrylic %20 Wool.

Catherine at the potluck was not going to let me live down the idea of a sweater made with acrylic and Noro. I tried to explain how the yarn is soft, the color is perfect, and even how the acrylic would be in the location of most wear, where ventilation is requried and was therefore superior to wool in this instance. To no avail! She laughed and shouted me down. I must confess, I enjoyed it a bit.

So what do the rest of you think? Time for me to try a poll!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting Ready....

On our excursion to the Tent Sale, Mary Jane and I discussed the Harrow Fair. I'd forgotten all about it, so now I'm scrambling to get some FOs together for the entry deadline, August 23rd. My mom has agreed to send me back the shawl I made for her and I have a two original sock designs that I can enter. Plus I've got an idea for a hat to put together with some mittens already made. But right now, I've decided to work on finishing up this:

As you can see, I've completed one sleeve. Doesn't it look great on Jim? We've decided that it will be another sweater for him to wear to work, which is why the sleeve is a bit short. At first he protested that the sweater was too nice to wear to work, but I told him not to worry, it's been sitting around unfinished for almost five years! Knowing that it will be worn, in addition to the fair, will give me that extra push to finish it. Besides, the Lopi yarn will be really toasty, especially stranded. And I like that it has extra lenght in the torso so his kidneys will be warm, even when his arms are over his head.
Since it is going to the fair, I decided to take a bit of extra effort with the finishing, but I may have been over zealous. I knit a facing for the armhole edge. It looks great:
But it adds a lot of bulk. Oh well, I'm not ripping it now! so I'll just have to make the other side to match. Good thing we have air conditioning, or I don't think I could stand to knit Lopi in the summer.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Yarn Orgy!!

Oh yeah baby! I got yarn!

Mary Jane and I did the road trip to Ancaster yestereve for the Needle Emporium's annual tent sale. This is the best yarn event for quality and quantity yarns. I didn't take any pictures while I was there, though I did bring my camera. I was solely focused on the yarns. Even to the point of ignoring knitting friends from London! Kat, Nadine, Kata and Will, plus others, all got there before us and were ready to chat up Mary Jane and I when we arrived. They were quite thrilled with their Noro acquisitions, but MJ and I were all like: "That's nice! Bye! Gotta shop!" Sorry ladies (and gent). I am happy for you about the Noro.

So I know you want to see the haul. (Hi Laurie B! This edition of flash your stash is dedicated to you.)

That's the whole she-bang. I calculate 4 sweaters and 8 pairs of socks are in this. Plus some scarves or hats.

I found a yarn to go with my Noro:

It's called alfa and it's a wool/mohair (85/15) blend. Hmm... I just entered that into Ravelry and it's listed there as a bulky weight. Oh dear. Well, if it doesn't work out for this sweater, 14 skeins ought to make a sweater for Jim.

I got a washable cotton/acrylic blend to make a sweater for Alex:

18 skeins of Schachenmayr nomotta Punto

Jim got a sweater's worth of yarn too:

16 skeins of Elsebeth Lavod Classic Al baby alpaca/wool (50/50)

Now this could be a sweater or a shawl:

10 balls Madil Kid Seta mohair/silk (70/30)

After filling my bag with all this lusciousness, it was time to round off the corners. First with sock yarn:

Then with oddments of mohair, cause it's soft and squishy:

Then just as I was dashing out the door, I saw more red cotton and thought of Mary Jane's motto "Buy it all because you wouldn't want to run out of yarn!" so I stuffed that in there too.

Uh oh! It wasn't till I was out of there that I realized that this is actually a different yarn all together! It's up for trade folks, though it's beyond me what anyone would do with 4 balls of mercerized red cotton.

It's very freeing to be able to grab all this great yarn for such a reasonable price. I'm going to be enjoying this haul for a long time to come. After the sale, Mary Jane and I moseyed over to the Needle Emporium store for a look see. I'd never been and it was worth the trip. Tons of yarn, books, bags and so on. Lots of variety. I was thinking I wasn't going to be able to leave the shop without buying something else, but I was all shopped out.

After that it was time for dinner, and Mary Jane and I had intentions to meet up with the gang, but instead we stumbled on a jewel of a spot, India Village. I almost hate to blog about it, since the dining room is so small, and the food was so good. But you know, they deserve the publicity. They have a tandoori oven on site and made fresh papadum that was light on the inside and crispy on the out. The butter chicken was tender and flavorful. Everything tasted fresh and full of flavour. It was the perfect end to the day.

The only down side of the whole thing is that I have to wait a year to do it again.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Little Holiday Indiscretion

In spite of the weather, and being under the weather, I did get up to no good this week, which means it must have been a good vacation, right?

It was late one night and I was sitting at the computer poking around when an e-mail pointed me to an e-bay listing from musthaveyarn. My will weakened and I found myself placing a bid. I think my twisted logic was that I likely wouldn't get it anyway, but that I was doing Robyn a favour by putting up the price. Ahem... I won it of course.

Ten skeins of Noro Kuryeon, color #188. It arrived the next day.

I'll admit, I was thrilled. I felt naughty, which was nice, since it felt like I hadn't done anything for myself this past vacation week. So to compound my indiscretion, I cast on with it!

No, it's not going to be a scarf. Ten balls might not be enough for a sweater all on it's own, so I've decided to make the Sandy Cardigan from Big Girl Knits. I'm not worried it will interfere with my other projects, since I don't have the solid color picked out yet. I'm considering using between grey stash yarn (Beaverslide) or buying some navy or black. Any thoughts?

Also, it's really the wrong season to be knitting a wool sweater. But man! I'm having fun and that's what it's all about.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Muddling on....

Aside from a stubborn, painful cough and several days of grey, rainy skies, it's been a pretty nice vacation. We've had a nice mix of activities, including a family picnic, going to the movies and a very nice game of mini-golf with my parents on Canada day. But the cough is wearing me down. I don't think I took proper care of myself because of the vacation excitement. It's getting to be terribly annoying.

Of course, there's been knitting. Not as much as I had envisioned I would do at the start of vacation. I had plans to frog or pick up some UFOs, but when it came right down to it, I wanted to have fun instead. So I started another pair of mittens:

Pattern: #31 from Knitting Marvelous Mittens by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: mostly Kroy, but other sock yarns too
Needles: 2.25mm bamboo

Last time I tried to knit these, I ran out of the light grey yarn. This time, I used virgin sock yarn, Paton's Kroy, that I got on sale at half price. Actually, I'm loving the Kroy. I need to make some textured socks with this stuff, I think it would look great.

I love this pattern so much. It's a gem! But these mitts are slow going, they're 92 sts around. I wanted the large size so I could give them to my brother-in-law, but they would also be a good size for me if I knit a pair of liners for them. I'll have to see if I can be a big enough person to give them away.

Now this pair will be easy to give away:

Pattern: Annemor #4 from Selbuvotter by Teri Shea
Yarn: Dale Falk
Needles: 3.25mm?

I can give these away easily because they don't fit me! The pattern as written is for a girl, and bigger yarn and needles did give me a bigger mitten, but not big enough. That's okay, I think I know who they need to go to...

The long shadows of a bright summer evening were a perfect time to get a shot of the texture in Jim's sweater:

It's almost ready for the underarm gusests. Which means I'm getting to the fudge it part. It's a tricky stage for a knit. So easy for it to turn into a UFO. Keep your fingers crossed for this one.