Thursday, May 29, 2008

Serious Detour....

I was well on my way to finishing the silk hoody, probably less than a week, when this came in the mail. Well, it called to me, I just had to make the first square to see how it looked, and to get a handle on the patterning. It looked so nice and felt so fuzzy and mohairy soft, that I thought, one more square, to see the next group of colours together... then just one more... then just one more....

So you can see how the detour happened and how I am in mohair heaven, instead of focused on finishing the silk (which is lovely, but it's not eye candy!). I looked up the project on Ravelry and read a few (too many to read all) of the entries and comments from fellow Quilt Wrap knitters. One wisely suggested sewing in the ends as you finish each block, and I took a half hour last night to do so for the 5 blocks done so far. I agree it is more managable to do it in small bits, rather than the massive job if all were left to the end.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eye (yarn) Candy! Mmmm, yummy...

Look what came in the mail today.

Just look....


This will be for the amazing Modern Quilt Wrap, pattern available free on Knitting Daily. The pattern calls for 9 different colours of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, but at $15 a ball, it would be a $150 scarf, or, my yarn budget for 3 months (at least!). So I have been looking for alternatives and stumbled on this... Estelle, Watercolours Solid DK. At Ram Wools, it was a fabulous sale price of $2.50 a ball, or less than $30 even with shipping and tax. WOW. And look at the colours, also wow.

I ran the pattern through Ravelry, and found 238 knitters who have started or finished this pattern, using the Rowan yarn and many other substitutes, and they all look wonderful. No one has used watercolours yet, so I will post mine there as a suggested "value" alternative (while the sale lasts). Can't wait to start, and will keep photos of this on the blog as it progresses, promises to be eye candy throughout the project!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

Picked up a great, funny book in Maui at Borders. Always an advantage to shop US stores as books have the US and CAN prices carved into the covers and for some reason, publishers still put a 30% surcharge on the CAN price, even though the Canadian Loonie and the US greenback are mostly par.... curious. So I buy books whenever I am in the US.

This book, Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair, was found in the Knitting Books section at Borders, and had me laughing all the way through. Laurie Perry (aka Crazy Aunt Purl) has a charming ditty about the unravelling of her marriage and the subsequent discovery of knitting and her new life as a single girl in California. Worth a read, and worth checking out her website. There are also a bunch of knitting patterns in the back of the book, from some easy scarves and hats, to a really cute devil baby blanket (perfect for the baby shower you would like to shake up) and some great purses.

I have been plugging away at the silk hoody and have the front, back and one sleeve done. I still need the second sleeve, hood and perhaps a front pouch if I choose to do an authentic hoody...

Found this lovely cartoon out there on the world wide web and it sums up my life.... the only thing I may add would be that a clean house is also a sign of a seriously low stash....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Swatch and Cosmo

I found some yarn that may be perfect for the Interweave Knits Roped Shell... Some fine superwash merino and some hand dyed (by me) yarn. So I swatched it and it is close, so it may work.... I like the way the hand dyed makes the lines all different colours. It looks very different from the colour in the yarns of the pattern.

I spent most of Monday visiting my daughter at her house in Waterloo (where she goes to University), and she has a summer houseguest, Cosmo. He is a conure and such entertainment! He loves to climb on shoulders and preen and cuddle. He's eating cheese on Robin's shoulder. He loves attention and squalks really loudly if he wants something. Still, how cute is this...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Long Weekend - Day Three...Oblique Matsuri - new pattern is ready!

I finished the Noro Matsuri Sweater and LOVE the results. It is super soft and cottony, totally different from the soft, but wooly goodness of my favourite Silk Garden. I can wear this in the spring and summer, perfect for cool mornings on the golf course, or after sunset evenings outdoors.Enjoy!

Oblique Matsuri

Yarn: Noro Matsuri, 8 balls (colour 7)- 50 gm balls: 87% cotton, 13% wool, 145m (159yds)
Needles: 4.0mm (US 6) for body, 3.5mm (US 5) for ribbing.
Gauge: 19 sts, 24 rows = 4 inches
Size: Ladies Medium (38 inch chest), hip length

Back: With smaller needle, cast on 85. Work in knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for 3 inches. Increase 10 stitches across last row and switch to larger needles. (95 sts)
Establish diagonal pattern: use 3 balls of Matsuri (make sure each starts with a different colour) Knit 32 from first ball, place marker, knit 31 from second ball, place marker, knit 32 from last ball.
Row 2 and all wrong side rows, purl across, changing to next ball above the change in the row below.
Shift Row (every right side): Knit across to marker, remove marker, knit one more stitch with same yarn, replace marker. Pick up next yarn and knit to next marker, remove and kit one more, replace marker and continue with next ball of yarn. This way of moving the vertical band one stitch to the left is used throughout the body, on the right side only.
ALSO: when your vertical panel on the right becomes 33 sts wide, add a new ball to the beginning of the row by Knitting 3 with a new ball, add a marker, then pick up and proceed with the Shift Row across the other three balls. (you will have 4 balls on the go at a time, with three markers and three shifts on every right side row – the left panel will shrink as the right panel grows, and you will add a new ball to the right as the left ball disappears.)
Continue in this diagonal pattern, until the body measures 16 inches from cast on edge. Cast off 3 stitches at beginning on next 2 rows. Work even until total length is 25 inches. Cast off all stitches.
Front: Work same as back until total length is 22 inches. Work until center 17 sts, attach a new ball and bind off center 17 sts. Complete row (keeping in diagonal pattern). Work both sides, decrease one stitch at each neck edge, every right side, 8 times.
Continue until 25 inches, cast off both shoulders.
Join shoulders.
Sleeves: Pick up from the straight armholes (knitting down from the shoulder). Pick up 84 sts evenly across armhole. (use just one ball of Matsuri) Knit down the sleeve, Decreasing one stitch each side, every 6th row, 14 times, then one stitch every 4th row until 44 sts remain. Work until 15 inches (or desired length of sleeve) and switch to smaller needles. Decrease 3 sts across first row of K1, P1 ribbing. Work rib for 2.5 inches, cast off all sts. Make 2nd sleeve to match.
Finish neck: With small circular needles (or DPNs) Pick up 80 sts around neck edge. Work in rib for 1.5 inches and cast off loosely. Join the upper underarm to the cast off edge of the armhole first, then sew the arm and side seams and sew in all the ends. tada.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Long Weekend -Day Two- Really, Really, Really Close

Second day of the long weekend, and we teed off at 8am. I was having a great front nine, several bogies, two pars and a birdie... nice start, and in a good rhythm. It was cool and windy but the pace of the walk was keeping me warm... until the sky opened and threw some rain in the mix. Reluctantly, we bailed, and took our damp butts home. The rest of the day was rainy on and off, a complete write-off of all things outdoors.

So the knitting resumed and late afternoon finds me a few inches from DONE. If things go well I should be able to post this pattern here on Monday or Tuesday.... stay tuned!
I also ran out and got a few groceries, and picked up the latest Interweave.

Love, Love, Love the tank top on the cover! I have a feeling it will find its way into my closet :) It has a clever cabled edging that really looks great. I have to check my stash to see if there is some yarn waiting and wishing to be this.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Long weekend-day one....

I worked this morning, not typical of a long weekend, but we missed two saturdays in April, due to the Maui trip and our Saturday Patients were piling up, so there we were this morning - very busy. This usually leads to our noon-thirty tee time at the golf club, but it was windy and cold and drizzly with rain, so home we came. Bad for my golf game, but good for my kitchen floor and bathrooms as they were woefully overdue for a cleaning. The household chores are strained when golf season picks up. After the cleaning I got down to the photos of Maui, and worked a marathon four hours, and completed the whole book! I like to do the album as soon as I can after a trip. The details fade with time and I can document more easily while it is fresh. I should take a picture of the mess I make while doing the albums... Paper and trimmings and stickers and photos spread ALL over my dining room table. I often lose the scissors under the mess. Still, I love it and the results, so hubby learns to ignore the mess and trust that EVENTUALLY I will clear it up.
More photos to share: This flower was on our Lanai (patio).

The bird of paradise was growing by a pool. It took my breath away, so perfect and natural. The flowers in Maui were always catching my eye (and my Canon power shot!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Final Stretch of Noro Matsuri Pullover.

When the front is done and you stitch up and finish the collar and start the sleeves from the shoulder down, well, it really starts to look and feel like a sweater, not just some knitted fabric. I am liking the look now that the pieces are together, and it feels so nice, all cottony and soft. This is my next free pattern to be posted within the week, so stay tuned....

Here are some of the finger puppets for the month of May. I package them as you can see in small bags of two. This month is one child puppet and one puppy. When I get tired of those, I may try some other pets....

More Maui........ snorkeling, and watching surfers (avoiding crashing into the black lava rocks!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sock Ponderings

I have knit many socks and used many yarns. It seemed a good idea to consolidate my sock theories on one page (since I am still plugging away at the noro sweater, and the photos of progress would be more than boring at this point). First, my favourite sock yarn: I love them all, but like the feel in hand of Austermann STEP. It is 75% wool, and 25% nylon with Aloe Vera and Jojoba oils added (the oils remain after many washings) and I like the chunky, uneven striping without being too busy, and that the second will look EXACTLY like the first (not always a given). The first photo are my (well worn) Step socks. The second shows a pair made of left over Step yarn (the yardage is enough for one pair of ladies socks, and half a second pair) and left over brown and the toes are leftover hand dyed. Nice mix. The last photo is of my fave bright hand dyed, Red, orange and yellow, dyed into Patons Kroy, the one I use the most for hand dying.
The patterns for socks are many, but the socks were knit with my most common pattern, my own Favourite. I find it fits snuggly, due to the mild rib throughout, and works for any yarn, except the details, fairisle self striping yarns.

I always have a pair of socks on the go, no matter what else I am knitting, and most of my friends and family are in line for 'just one more pair'.

On a last note: One more gratuitous Maui photo... the vacation is over but the jet lag remains.... golf in Maui, mmmmmmmmmm

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two Sweaters

Finally, I catch up with the works in progress. First is a new Noro Yarn called Matsuri. it is a cotton (87%)and wool (13%) mix with the great Noro colours. Mine is 7, a mix of mauves and pinks and aqua. 50 gm balls have 145 metres and work on 4mm needles (US 7).

I decided to work a diagonal stripe throughout the body, and 3 stripes on the sleeve. I have 10 balls and will hope to have enough for a crew neck pullover with long sleeves. Pattern will be posted here in a few days when I have finished. So far it seems light and cottony enough for summer evenings, and early golf games.

The second sweater is a simpler one, worked with only one yarn (above I have 4 balls on the go on each row). I started this one, before I finished the Noro, because I wanted an easy project for the long flights and airport waits involved in travelling to Hawaii. This one is a 100% silk, Tweed Seta from Ram Wools in blue. It knits on 3.75 mm needles, and enjoys a seed stitch, stocking stitch checkerboard pattern, very easy to knit, and adds texture to the already tweedy yarn. I finished the back on the flight to Maui (over 10 hours of flying) and a quarter of the front on the way back (I slept a lot as it was a red-eye flight). This one is a vague plan, but I think it may end up as a hoody, with pouch, sweatshirt style sweater. It is very light weight, but very soft like a favourite old sweatshirt, and the colour will look fabulous with jeans. The pattern will develop as the knitting progresses, in a way it is like a carving or sculpture, the sweater it wants to be will make itself evident to me as I knit.... :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maui Wow-y

Been away for a bit... Rick and I were in Maui, golfing and snorkeling and soaking up the constant 85F days!
This is the view from the course, overlooking the ocean and the edge of Haleakala Volcano.
The top edge of the volcano, is 10,000 feet high, and the windy (35 switch-backs) road seems to go on forever and drives through the clouds. Very cool. We played golf every day except the mountain drive day, and explored the many beaches and parks and watched surfers in the afternoon. What a fabulous place.

Here is a photo of the knitting I took (and mostly did at the airports and on the plane) not too much knitting time, as we were outside most of the day, and in the bar for happy hour at sunset. (Moose McGillicuddy's - $3 Mai-tai's!) More about the new sweater later... I am still jet lagged from the red eye home, via Kona, Chicago and Buffalo. I looked for yarn shops, but only found a quilt shop that had a bit of novelty yarn.... I must admit, I did not look too hard, and did not shop very much, I prefer to be outside and use my camera for souvenirs....

thus... a hike over lava rocks that gets pounded by the ocean, the trail goes on for miles....

And a valley carved into the west Volcano, with incredibly steep walls and wind whipping down the river. The heights were dizzying.

And the flowers growing on our Lanai. (patio). I would recommend the Maui Kamaole condo, central location, and full facilities (I like to eat breakfast and lunch in, and we BBQ'd steaks a couple of times.)


Posted by Picasa