Monday, October 19, 2009

How It All Turned Out

It's too bad that life gets in the way of knitting. Sunday, I stopped to walk the dog, eat dinner and I even went to bed early. But I did get so far as one arm band completed. My teensy-weeny yarn cake only got me so far as three rows of ribbing and I had to cast off. At this point, three rows seemed pretty darned good.

But the remaining yarn wasn't enough to cast off with. There was ten stitches on the needle when the yarn ran out. I believed I had started with the slightly smaller ball, so I spliced in the second ball and completed the cast off.

Monday, I had to go to work. Terrible, I know. And when I got home, I had to eat and walk the dog AGAIN. He wouldn't negotiate that.

So I knew I had three rows to knit and then time to cast off. This time there was even more stitches on the needles when the yarn ran out, maybe 30 or more. What to do? I needed to splice in more yarn... Oh yes! The ends!

I started sewing in the ends and as I completed each one, I spliced in the reminder to the yarn on the needles. I must have spliced in 5 or six little pieces. Sometimes they came apart as I started the cast off, but I just spliced them back in and kept going. And you know what?

Yeah, I know, even Jim looks surprised. He was watching Lie To Me and it was getting to the climax. The poor guy worked hard to day, and he was in the middle of an interesting program, yet he still took the time to put on a good shirt and model the vest.

He hasn't decided if he likes it yet, and I'm not pushing him on it. He claims he is "not a vest guy". But if he doesn't want it, I bet my dad will.

So thank you, everyone, for your rooting and cheering. Don't you love it when the story has a happy ending?

Public Service Announcment - Free Patterns

On the third Tuesday of the month the Forest City Knitter's Club meets for show 'n tell, refreshments and occasionally a presentation. For October I was supposed to be giving a presentation on where to find free patterns on the internet. But now I can't (for reasons I won't go into detail about here) so I thought I'd put the links and explanation here on my blog.

Ravelry is your best source for finding free patterns on the internet because it is a one stop shop. Any pattern available for free on the net is most likely listed in Ravelry. To search for only free patterns, select free->yes from the availability tab on the pattern search page. See below.

Note that you do need to register to get access to Ravelry. There is no charge, and they don't sell your e-mail anywhere. If you aren't already registered, do it. The only thing you will regret is the time you will loose to its fascinating pages.

The grandmother of online knitting magazines is Knitty. Free patterns, articles, reviews and more. What's not to love? All Knitty's patterns are listed in Ravelry, but you can also search Knitty.

Interweave Knits has a website called Knitting Daily, that offers free patterns, free e-books and patterns from back issues for sale.

For those looking for edgier designs, articles and more, get over to the AntiCraft. It's not just knitting...

Lots of yarn companies offer free patterns to go with the yarns that they sell. Here's some of them:
Definitely worth a look is The Twist Collective. The online magazine is free, and it's beautiful. Lovely photos, great articles and lots of fun. If you like the patterns featured in the magazine, you'll have to pay for them. But it's well worth it!

Of course I haven't hit them all. These are just the ones that cross my path most often. Happy knitting and see you tomorrow night! (Maybe I'll have a vest with me....)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Knitting at the Edge of My Seat

Ever read a book you just couldn't put down? One that had suspense and drama? Where you just had to keep reading to find out how it ends? This weekend, my knitting has been just like that.

I've been working on a vest using special Fleece Artist yarn that exists no more. If I have not enough yarn, then there is no more to be had. As of Sunday afternoon, I have this much of the vest done:

Pretty, no? I just love the colors, the way the bright blue pops through the murky greens. Did you notice how much yarn I have left? It's hard to see because it's got some nice camouflage action going on. Here's a close up:

Whee!!!! That's knitting it close. I'm alternating a row from each ball, so I'll have equal shares of yarn for the arm bands. I'm dying to know if I'm going to make it.

Must. Keep. Knitting.

Well, I did take time out for a dog walk this afternoon. The sunshine was so lovely. It was also a perfect moment to catch a better shot of the recently completed Chunky Cabled sweater.

I should call it the hunky-chunky cabled sweater. Yowza!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Following the Happy

When knitting to please myself, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what project gets worked on, so please, don't ask me to explain. I'm just following my happy-making knitting. And tonight, I'm thrilled with this:

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I fell in love with the start of this project. The pattern is the Canada sock from Knitting on the Road. But the pattern was too snug to go over Jim's heel (the man has aristocratic arches and a deep, though narrow, heel). I was so enamored, I ripped back and began reworking it as a glove. And it fits like one too.

My favourite way to work gloves is to have the recipient try it on as I go. This ensures a perfect fit, even if it does drive the recipient a little batty, as they are asked to try it on during television, while drinking coffee or playing a video game. But Jim is well pleased with the snugness of it, and I'm pleased with how dense the Kroy 4-ply worked up on 2mm needles. There's only one fly in my ointment.

Tonight I cast on the second glove and in doing so I realized that I made a pretty big boo-boo in the cast on.

There's one row main color in the twist on the first one (to the left), but the second glove's cast on is the correct method. The second one (on the right) looks better in my opinion. Lucky for me, I'm not a fanatic about perfect matchiness. In fact, I think this rather charming. I guess it must be true love.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving all you Canadians, and happy Soctoberfest to all you knitters!

This year, I'm thankful for:
  1. A sturdy car that protected Jim in the accident.
  2. That Jim was able to get his feet under him and get working again.
  3. A healthy family.
  4. An over abundant stash. :)
Yesterday, I was looking over the socks drying in the laundry room and I noticed that Jim's Clessidra were wore through on the ball of the foot. These socks were finished in April of 2007, and considering that Jim likes them so well he wears them frequently, I'd have to say the sock yarn held up very well. But still, it would be a heart wrencher to throw knee socks into the trash. So darn it all, I darned them!

Jim tried them on and said he couldn't feel the difference. There was still some of the original yarn left, so I wove it through the last remaining nylon of the stitches vertically, and then wove in some more horizontally. That extra thickness may just give Jim another two years from these socks. I hope.

While working with the socks, I admired the pattern anew. I may just knit them again someday. The stash even has 4 skeins of the burgundy Regia silk originally called for in the pattern. Jim would be happy I'm sure.

And now presenting new socks:

My hand-dye, Nancy Bush's Madder Ribbed pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks (sort of, I used my preferred heel and toe). These are for Luke. It's hard to believe his sweet soft baby feet have grown into such long flippers.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Nurturing a Creative Seed

Taking the bus isn't so bad. I'm finding it rather relaxing in a way, since all I have to do is get myself to the bus on time, which is way less stress than fighting traffic. But it has got me thinking about how I can make the experience more comfortable.

First off, I bought a good umbrella and that's been indispensable this week. Next, I've got myself a large yet stylish bag with a long strap for carrying my stuff. But more importantly, I need the right kind of jacket. My current jacket is waterproof, but also doesn't breathe, so after a while it feels like you're wrapped in plastic, gently steaming. What I need is a wool coat!

My brain stormed, thoughts churned and Saturday morning all my ideas came together. After my morning chores, I got to sit down to play with yarn and pencil crayons all afternoon long. It was wonderful to immerse myself in a creative flow. I kept up a little inner dialog of encouragement and support that saw me through the whole thing. No negative thinking was allowed. It was awesome and I'm so proud of myself for that alone!

And here's the result:

It doesn't look like much, but most seedlings don't. The yarn is mostly Philosopher's Wool, with some Black Water Abbey, Beaver Slide and Jamieson's Shetland thrown in. The chart is Alba from Alice Starmore's The Celtic Collection.

I tried to channel Alice in planning the colors. I've noticed that she often uses two bands of highlight color ways over a background color way. In this case, the neutrals are the background, and the bright blue and bright pink are the highlights. It looks a little silly on its own, but when there are more repeats stacked up and a whole sweater put together, I'm hoping it will look cohesive.

I can't knit this for too long a stretch at a time. I start getting self-doubt, then frustration and then an urge to rip. I have to keep up the positive self-talk and that gets tiring. Here's hoping this seedling will sprout and grow!