Sunday, March 30, 2008

Painting,Step by Step.

I have never taken photos of my paintings at different stages of done-ness, but thought it may be fun to see the bicycle and balloon "appear" on the canvas. The subject was from a photograph I found on the Web and the whole image just made me happy, so I thought I would enjoy painting it. The painting is on a 20" by 16" canvas, with acrylic paints.

The end result pleases me. The old fashion bike and the romantic sentiment are things I find charming and timeless. I think it will make me smile for many years.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Open Mesh Cap-sleeve Pullover....

Took a detour from the Vogue Cape Collared Jacket (done back and sleeve and started front left), to whip up a little treat found on Knitting Pattern Central. It's an open mesh cap sleeve pullover, using a clearance yarn I found at Cloth and Clay in Waterloo, Modern Cotton,elite, from Gedifra. The yarn is 50% cotton, 35% viscose and 15% poly. It has a stretch to it and a silky soft feel. I found 5 balls at 75% off in January and stashed it for a spring project. I am not sure there will be enough yarn, but would be willing to make the neck a short rib band instead of the cowl, if I am running low by then.
Its the kind of simple fun project that I should be able to whip up in 2 to 3 nights, and if it weren't so cold still, I would be wearing it by Sunday! Oh well, off to knit...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bilingual Knitter....

I find it difficult sometimes, the way knitting needles are not universally sized, and some patterns mention a needle size without stating US, or Metric. We usually have to do a bit of detective work to understand fully, check the gauge, or research the yarn. I pride myself with being bilingual in knitting needle sizes, only looking up the more obscure 13US/9mm, and only have a tough time with the elusive 7mm = ???? Being Canadian, I tend to "get" the metric numbers, as they relate to the ACTUAL diameter of the sticks. I am also quite Bilingual with the 50gm / 2oz skeins, and can convert Kg to Pounds and back. Handy when ordering full cones of lace weight and knowing if it's enough for a wrap or full size triangle shawl. I can do the length of sleeve in centimetres or inches. And I understand that 25 Celsius and 80 Fahrenheit are pretty much a nice sunny summer day. I also can make my car go 100 KPH or 60 MPH, and know when it's OK to do more than that (most of the time).

So, if there was an official vote, I would make all the needles metric, and balls of yarn grams, and length of sleeves centemetres.... and I definately like driving 100 kph, as it sounds way faster than 60 mph.

Works in Progress: Here's the stainless steel scarf so far....

Oh and..

You would think being Canadian would also have me bilingual in French and English, but other than recognising the french side of the cereal box and turning it around, not so much.

Au revoir.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter... I have some extra folks in the house, visiting for Easter. My aunt from Ottawa, who knits mostly fine yarns on 3mm needles. She has great knitting patience. This trip she brought a simple diagonal scarf in the softest teal wool, snagged from her stash.

We also have my sister from Winnipeg, who brought some delightful Easter goodies, and from her bag out came the Inukshuk, sent to her on her birthday. She claimed she did not want to lose her way while visiting. She also brought her knitting and finished a sleeve of a Ram Wool Coat. I was knitting the stainless steel scarf, as it is easy stocking stitch, and I can chat with everyone and not worry about the pattern.

Short post, as we have more chocolate, more wine and more knitting to do today.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Works in the works...

I am done the swatch (sleeve) of the cape collar jacket, and have started on the back. The cable section will be done on 4mm needles and a few more stitches to allow for the elastic behavior of the esprit yarn. I hope it works.

The finger puppet pack for March is ready to deliver to my clown... 20 pairs of kids and puppies, all bagged and set to take to the hospital. I got some lovely photos of kids with puppets on fingers and smiles on faces, but will not post here, as they need privacy. See story here.

The current sock project is one of my hand dyed yarns, and looks good so far.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In Spring a Knitter's thoughts turn to.....

Finally a sign of spring on the doorstep, a few days of sunshine and above freezing temps. The snow is melting fast, and the windows of the car and home are cracked open just a bit! At this time of year a knitter's thoughts turn to ... cotton. With that in mind I have ordered my newest fantasy yarn, Matsuri, a cotton - wool blend from Noro, with all the great colours of my favourite Silk Garden. I have visions (in my mind) of a hoody, cottony, sweatshirt style pullover, maybe with a pouch, like my great old soft and cozy cotton Roots hoody.
The big project currently underway is the Cape Collar Jacket from Vogue Winter 2008. I am working it from Esprit (elann) in wine colour. Unfortunately I find the full bag sale last month indicated a discontinuing of this yarn (one of my favourite cottons). Instead of a swatch, I just started on the sleeve, to check the pattern and gauge. It seems fine, although I may need to increase the cable ribbing pattern along the bottom edge of front and back, since the Esprit yarn stretches and contracts and ribs tightly. I like it since you can get a cotton garment, but not the cotton droop and sag. I will post photos in a few days of work in progress. It will likely be a 2 - 3 week job.
Of course I will be knitting socks, finger puppets, and the steel scarf at the same time....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Quick Slippers, Felted Feet.

I paused for a day from my steel scarf and my newest cardigan and my current socks... to knit some new slippers. The ones I have been wearing are too big and fall off and slip around (aren't slippers supposed to slip?), and seeing as they were store bought (gasp) I knew I could do better by my feet. I had some Classic Wool left over from my Inukshuk project, and knew it would felt well. I found lots of felted patterns, but most have a high "boot" style, with the ankle covered and my feet get too hot in that style. These are more ballet slipper style, but needed a bit of elastic to make sure they stay on (and don't slip off).


Yarn: 2 balls of Patons Classic Wool (or any feltable worsted weight wool), Worked with 2 strands held together: in this case, dark grey and light grey. Start at toe. On 6 mm Double Point needles, cast on 16 sts. Evenly space on 3 and join in a circle. Knit around, increasing 4 sts evenly around each row until 48 sts are done. Work even in the round until 7 inches from start. Cast off 12 sts at top of foot, and work back and forth on 3 needles placing 10 on the first, 16 on the second and 10 on the last needle. Continue in stocking stitch until 12 inches from the start. Cast off the 10 stitches on the start of the next two rows, and work on the remaining 16 sts only until that part is 3 inches, cast off.

Sew the heel flap to the sides (the 10 st cast off) and sew closed the toe opening (cast on sts).

Felt in the washing machine (approx one cycle through the hot wash, but check halfway to make sure). Mold to foot shape and dry thoroughly, then run an elastic thread around the opening edges and tie at top of foot (see photos). Finished size fits my size 8 feet, and a few more rows (or less) would make a bit bigger or smaller. The reshaping when wet can also make the size a bit bigger or smaller. That's the beauty of felting.
OK, back to the socks and the steel scarf and the new cardigan and the charity finger puppets.... Only four knitting projects on the go right now, but I also have a new painting in the works, just in case I need a break from knitting. When golf season starts, I will be forced to cut back on the knitting.... oh well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sock Dying Extravaganza (party)


Last tuesday we finally had our sock dying night. Instead of meeting at our usual Club for knitting night, we gathered at mine for an evening of winding, eating (and drinking) and dying. My friends had never dyed anything before and had asked me how I did it. We started with 10 balls of elann sock it to me 4 ply sock yarn in natural. Each 50 gram ball is 210m, 75%superwash wool and 25 nylon for durability. It takes 2 balls to make a pair of socks (knit on 2.5 mm needles) and each ball costs around $2.50. Perfect price for me and my newby dyers.

We started by taking the balls and winding them into skeins. The photo shows 2 swifts, one umbrella style (mine) and one antique winder (Susan's). You can see Susan's moves so fast, that the yarn is a blurr. Wow. When we had 5 skeins (2 balls in each) done, we paused for some food and wine, then setup the kitchen for dying.

Plastic covered everything and I mixed the dyes (I used Rit as it is readily available in this area). Then they wet the skeins and lay them on the plastic. With sponge paintbrushes, off they went. We ended up with 5 skeins, all with different colour combinations. What a blast. All skeins were then rinsed thoroughly and put to dry. The last word...remember the long winding of the self striping yarn from here... The end result is four colours, each 10 feet long, which will result in approx. one inch stripes when knit into socks! Yellow, blue, tan and burgundy.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bamboo Button Vest

The Superwash Bamboo Button Vest is done and turned out great! I had my doubts, as it looked a bit skinny in the last photos, but I stuck with it and trusted the swatch (after washing). After the dampen and block, it fits perfectly.... Not too tight but a bit drapey. The yarn does relax a bit after wetting, and the ribbing flattened out a bit. The stitch pattern is a 4 by 2 rib, with the 2 stitches in seed stitch and the 4 in stocking stitch.... really very easy but a little more texture than plain ribbing. The buttons are a find, crafty bone and metal, sort of one of a kind as all are a different shade of brown, but I like the effect.

Needles: 3.5mm and 4.0mm
Gauge: 19 sts = 4 inches on the larger needles
Yarn: 7 balls of elann Superwash Bamboo, colour red.
Finished measurement: Bust 40 inches, length 24 inches.

Rib/seed stitch pattern: Row 1:[K4, P1, K1] repeat until last 4 sts, K4 Row 2: [P4, K1, P1] repeat until last 4 sts, P4 ** note the P1, K1 and K1, P1 create seed stitch over 2 stitches vertically.
Back: With smaller needles, cast on 83 sts, and work K1, P1 Rib for 2.5 inches. On last row, increas 7 sts evenly across.
Change to larger needles, and start Rib/seed stitch pattern: row 1: Edge stitch (always a Knit stitch), [K4, seed stitch 2] 14 times, K4, edge stitch.
Row 2: edge stitch, [P4, seed st 2] 14 times, P4, edge st.
Repeat these two rows until piece measures 15 inches.
Underarm shaping: Bind off 5 sts at beg of next 2 rows.
Decrease one more each side one time.
Continue even, with one edle st each side until total measures 24.5 inches. Bind off all sts.
Front: (make 2 reversing shaping for second) Cast on 41 sts: work K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. Increase one stitch across last row. Change to larger needles and start Rib/seed st pattern: Edge stitch, [K4, seed st 2] 6 times, K4, edge st.
Continue in this pattern, and work for 15 inches. Decrease at armhole: bind off 5 sts, then one more on next row...***at the same time start V neck: Decrease one at neck edge very 2nd row 5 times, then every 4th row 10 times. Work even until piece measure 24.5 inches.

Join shoulder seams and work ribbing for front edge like this: With smaller needles (circular) pick up 70 sts to first neck dec, place marker. Pick uo 45 sts up neck edge, then 31 along back of neck, 45 down other side to end of V, then 70 down straight front edge to bottom. Work in K1, P1 ribbing for 3 rows. Buttonhole row: Work 2, bind off next 2 sts [work 11 sts, bind off 2 sts] five more times, work plain rib to end of row. On return row, cast on 2 sts over the holes. Continue to rib for 2 more rows, then cast off Loosely.

At armholes, pick up and rib 100 sts evenly spaced. Rib for 5 rows and cast off loosely.

Sew side seams.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It is March. almost spring really, and we have made it through the worst winter storm of the year - of the century- and now there is only the clean up.... Here is Rick, shovelling the driveway, and a photo sent by my favorite Aunt in Ottawa that expresses our sentiments at this point.

ENOUGH already.

On a knitting note, I am almost finished the next project, the Superwash Bamboo vest. Touch and Go if there will be enough yarn for the ribbing to finish it off, but I love a little suspense and have a Plan B if I get snookered.

The yarn dying party with my fellow knitters of the StCG&CC Knitters, will be Tuesday, and I am doing a little preliminary work. First is the winding of the sock yarn to make the self striping socks. It involves winding the sock yarn into a 40 foot loop skein. I use this wonderful peg board originally used for weaving... to make long warp strands. The idea is that you tie it off into 10 foot sections and dye each section a different colour. Photos will follow Wednesday...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Knitting with Stainless Steel?

My friend Susan was away in Chicago for a week, and brought a gift from a lovely yarnshop she found. It is a scarf kit from Habu textiles. I have never seen anything like this. It consists of two incredibly fine laceweight yarns that are knit together on relatively large needles(very lacey). That in itself is not unusual. The thing that had my jaw on the table is one of the yarns is Silk Stainless Steel..... Yes. 69% silk, 31% stainless steel. I checked out the website, and they said the fibre has been used to make a fine mess for oil filters! But they decided it would be more fun to wrap silk around it and use it for knitting and weaving. The end fabric can be twisted and it will hold its shape until you pull it smooth again.

I started a swatch to see how it handles and it takes a bit to get used to the lack of stretch in the steel, so you need to move loosely, but already I can see the way it can be molded.

It is Kit78, Kushu Kushu - merino and silk stainless steel scarf from Habu, if you want to find one yourself. Mine is colour 29, coffee.

Here are my finished socks. And I have started a Superwash Bamboo button front vest, my next pattern soon to be posted.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Silk Garden Lite Cable Pullover - Free Pattern!

Just finished it, and I must admit, I love it. The size is cozy loose, but not too baggy, about 40 inches across the chest. I used 5 balls of Silk Garden LITE, and 5 balls of black DK weight wool. There was very little left over so if you wanted to make it a bit bigger or longer, 6 balls of each may be needed. You could make it bigger or smaller by adding or taking away a stitch or two in each of the bands of colours.

Yarn: 5 balls of NORO Silk Garden Lite(the new DK weight), I used colour 2014, but any will be great. 50 gms =125 m. 45 % silk, 45% kid mohair, 10% lamb wool.
5 Balls of DK weight wool in Black - I used Emu Superwash DK, 100% wool, 50gms= 119 m. Any Dk weight wool or superwash, or wool blend would work here.
Needles 3.75mm for ribbing, 4.0mm for body.
Size: Medium (to fit bust 37 inches) finished chest measurement 40 inches, length 24 inches.
Gauge: 21 sts and 26 rows = 4 inches. * please check your tension, as I tend to knit this yarn fairly loosely. Use 4.5 mm needles if you get more sts to 4 inches.*

Pattern Note: CABLE LEFT EIGHT: Place 4 sts onto cable needle, hold to front of work, K next 4 sts WITH THE MATCHING YARN, then K the 4 from the cable WITH THE SAME COLOUR YARN AS THE STS ON THE CABLE NEEDLE.

BACK: With smaller needles and black yarn, cast on 100 sts. Establish K1, P1, ribbing and at the same time establish vertical blocks of colours: Rib 25 sts black,(add new ball of yarn) 25 Silk Garden, (add new ball of yarn) 25 black, (add new ball of yarn) 25 silk garden. Continue in ribbing and in colour blocks of 25 sts until 2.5 inches has been done. Work with 4 balls of yarn giving them a twist at the join,but DO NOT carry unused colours across the back. You only need to do that on the small cable twist, and only when needed. On the last wrong side row, increase two stitches in each of the colour bands (8 increases across the row - and 27 sts in each colour block). Switch to larger needles and start cable block pattern:

Cable Block Pattern: Right side row 1: [K22, P1, K4(black)], [K4, P1, K17, P1, K4 (silk garden)], [K4, P1, K17, P1 K4 (black)], [K4, P1, K22(silk garden)]
Wrong side (all wrong sides), K the K and P the P, and repeat with the colour of yarn from the stitch in the previous row.
Row 3, & 5 : like row 1.
Row 7: Cable row: K22,[ P1, CABLE LEFT EIGHT, P1, K17 ] three times, K5 ***Note that the cable left will switch the colours of 4 sts from one side to the other, and you will have to carry the alternate yarn over the back of the other colour just there. Keep those colours in that spot until the next cable left, when they will again twist back into the original position (see the photos-it's not as complicated as it sounds) Remember to always knit in the same colour as the stitch you are knitting into.

These 8 rows will establish the cable pattern, but the next eight rows, the cable sts colours will be reversed, work the same way though and do the cable left every eight rows.
Work until 15 inches from the start, then shape armhole.
Bind off 9 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Decrease one st each side every other row 8 times.
Work even until total is 23.5 inches. Shoulders: Bind off 6 sts at beg onnext 2 rows, then 7 sts at beg of next 4 rows. Bind off rest of sts (back of neck)
Front: Work as for back until total length is 22 inches.
Work to center 22 sts, attach 2nd ball of that colour and bind off 22 center sts. (keep all colours intact) Work both sides, Dec one st at each neck edge, every othere row 6 times.
Continue until 23.5 and shape shoulders as the back.
Sleeves: With smaller needles, cast on 41sts. (black), then rib 9sts black, 23 sts silk garden, 9 sts black. Rib for 2.5 inches, and increase one st in each black block, and 2 sts in the silk garden. (10, 25, 10). Change to larger needle, and establish pattern: K5, P1, K4 (black) then K4, P1, K15, P1, K4 (silk garden), then K4, P1, K5 (black). Work the same 8 row cable as front and back, but at the same time increase at each end in black, every 6 rows, until 77 sts and 17.5 inches are done. Cap Shaping. Bind off 9 sts at start of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every othere row 10 times, then every row 6 times. Then Bind of 3 sts at start of next 4 rows. Then bind off all the rest. All the time keep with the pattern of cable and colours where established.

Join seams. With smaller needles (circular or straight if you join only one shoulder then work neck), Pick up 76 sts around neck with Black, and rib for 1 inch. Bind off LOOSELY.

Sew rest of seams, weave in ends.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Socks, and new Yarn-Bamboo!

I am almost done the current sock project. It is mega boot stretch, a nice soft, stretchy yarn from Lana Grossa. It is 70% wool, 23% polymide and 7% elite (stretch). I tend to do most of my sock knitting at appointments, on car trips and at work (at lunchtime only of course - NOT during working hours.... really....)

Some nice new yarn came in the mail from Elann. I got a few balls of Superwash Bamboo. 65% superwash wool and 35% bamboo, it is a new house yarn from elann. I ordered it in Claret (red) and it looks great, but then elann emailed that they pulled stock due to uneven dying of that colour, and hoped I would accept a FULL refund for the yarn (and keep the yarn too). I was impressed by that and let them know, and inspected the yarn, but it looks fine to me. I will use it for the buttoned, fitted vest that I have planned and will see if the colour is a problem.

I am on the final sleeve of the Silk Garden cabled pullover. Lots of knitting time available this weekend as no one is visiting, and no big plans to go out.... a perfect weekend!