Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blankets on a Hot Day

I have my usual summer doldrums, where my passion for knitting wooly things wain, and my indifference towards little knitted tank tops and such causes me to rethink my projects. I am working on a new design for a boat neck tank, but it will be done start to finish in about 3 days, so meanwhile I plan a bigger project. I have never made a full size knitted blanket. I have made lots of quilts. I like quilts and the effort it takes to make them is worth the results. Here are two that I have made in the past... one for a single bed that used to be in my sewing / guest room. See the sewing machines on it? It now sits on the end of the guest queensize bed. The other is a star and log cabin squares quilt that I made twice. Both were queen size and I think are quite stricking with the tan, burgundy and black theme.

So what to do with a knitted blanket? I search Ravelry and discovered some lovely finished projects, and also the major danger in blanket knitting... the dreaded 'hibernation' blanket... ones that get started, but never manage to get finished. Is it boredom? Or just the sheer volume of knitting. I think it is like quilting. You need to steel yourself for a long haul and revel in the accomplishment of one quarter, one half, etc.

I have ordered some funky dyed cotton from Elann. I have two colours and 10 balls of each colour, and a new Addi Turbo circular in 3.5mm to inspire me, on the way by mail. The vague idea right now will be some form of Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, from Mason Dixon Knitting. I will swatch it when it gets here to see if I like the look of it in garter stitch....

Quilts take about 100 hours of labour to make, could knitted blankets be that much more?

Stay tuned as I test my stamina.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Stuff...

I finished the shrug, and dampened to block. When I tried it on after drying, it fits perfectly. I like that the back dip well down my back, so that it looks more like a cropped cardi' than a shrug with minimal shaping. I even posed with it on my deck swing, even though it is very hot and humid today.

I also have a photo of the newest 'bird' to venture to our bird feeder. My husband got a bird feeder for the park across the street in the hopes of luring the sparrows that make such a racket on the eves trough above our bedroom window at dawn. He fills it at night in the dark and all the birds are busy around it first thing in the morning.... it works to reduce the noise! So the small birds knock the larger seeds to the ground and the bigger birds peck at the grass for the loose seeds. We have had red wing blackbirds and morning doves and rabbits and squirrels and even a goose visit. But the other morning we were up at 6:30 for golf and we saw this...

A wild turkey. He flew in and shooed away all the other critters and birds and started feasting on the dropped seeds. I have never seen one, much less in our rather well developed neighbourhood!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Knit Yourself an Assistant (Tracy's new B.A.)

Got a weird call from my sister in Winnipeg. A co-worker was having a frustrating day, having difficulty with the hiring of new staff that the superiors were expecting asap. Apparently there is a shortage of qualified B.A.'s (business analyst) for the positions. She had just had a meeting to see what the hold up was, and she explained the dilemma, and took the disapproval professionally, then vented to Sis' with a "what do they want me to do... knit a B.A.?" This of course prompted sister to call me at work with the obvious request, that being a knitted assistant, asap of course.
So here he is!
The perfect employee (if a tad bit small). Happy, loyal, well dressed, kind of cute and ready to please.

Knitted Business Man:

Yarn: scraps of Sport weight (worsted weight) yarn.
Needles: 4mm double point set of 4.
Note: K f&b: Knit into the front and the back of the same stitch, thus increasing by one stitch.

With shoe colour (black) Cast on 24 sts and divide on 3 needles[8/8/8], join without twisting and knit in the round as follows:
Knit 2 rows.
Purl 5 rows.
Last row of shoes: K6, Knit 2 together / K 2 tog, K4, K tog / K 2 tog, K6.
Change to pants colour (taupe) continue to knit in the round as set up : [7/6/7]
Knit round for 3.25 inches (8cm)
Change to white shirt, and work for 7 more rows.
Increase for upper body: K4, K f&b1, K f&b , K1/ K6 / K1, K f&b, K f&b, K4.
Work one row even.
One more increase row: K5, K f&b, Kf&b, K2 / K6 / K2, Kf&b, Kf&b, K5.
Work 2 rows even.
Decrease for shoulders: Row1: K5, K2tog, K2tog, K2 / K6 / K2, K2tog, K2tog, K5.
Row2: K4, K2tog, K2tog, K1 / K1, P4, K1 / K1, K2tog, K2tog, K4.
Row3: K3, K2tog, K2tog / P6 / K2tog, K2tog, K3
Row4: Purl one row. Should have [5/6/5] on the three needles.
Change to face beige: knit for 10 rows with no increase or decrease.
Change to hair colour. Knit 1st row. Purl the next 3 rows. Row4: [P2tog, P1] repeat across, P1.
Row5: P2tog across, P last stitch. Break off yarn with 6 inch tail and gather through remaining stitches. Secure the end.
Arms: with Face colour: Cast on 4. (work straight now on 2 needles) Row 1: Knit in the front and back of each stitch. (8 sts). Work in stocking stitch for 10 rows. Change to white shirt, Knit for 6rows. Decrease for shoulder... K2tog across, then P2tog twice for last row. Break and gather.

Tie: (also on 2 needles in garter stitch - knit every row) With red, Cast on 2, Knit front and back in both (4 sts). Knit next row. K2tog twice. Next row: Knit front and back again (4sts). Now knit ever row for 1.5 inches. Next row k2tog twice. Then K2tog, and break a secure tip of tie.
Belt: Crochet a single chain string of black long enough to circle waist.

Assembly: Embroider the face the way the finger puppets were done. (see here). Then stuff lightly the body from the top down, watching he is even and not lumpy. At the feet, gather and stitch up the bottom of the feet, and pass a few big stitches around the outside of the feet, to define and separate the 2 feet. Using the pant colour, run stitches up the center of the legs to define the 2 legs, stopping (please) just below the crotch. Thread the belt through evenly spaced stitches to mimic belt loops and secure behind the little fella. Sew the arm seams and lightly stuff to the armpits, then sew in place on the shoulders. Stitch on the tie at the collar. You have now made a perfect little man.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The eBook Arrived!

I got the email that Sony was shipping the book, and it took one day (courier)... The night I got the email, I went to the Sony Book site, and downloaded the Library Software. It took only a few minutes to install and register and I browsed the titles and made my plan for the order I want to start reading. The next day when I got the book, I charged it up and opened the Library and the program noticed the new book attached and prompted me to register it. Very easy too. Then I went eShopping! I bought 2 items, a short story by Stephen King, ONLY release on the internet, and a collection of mystery books. I was pressed Buy Now and was about to go get a cuppa' tea while I waited - 6 full length books and a short story, must take a while to download - but it was quicker than the last sentence is to type! Seconds!
The Book itself is small and about as heavy as a medium hardcover book. It is easy to find what you wish to read and you can save your place with a bookmark if you are going to another book or just shut it off and it remembers where you were.
The "page" looks like print on white paper, not like a computer screen with white backlit glare. I still get the urge to try to catch the edge to "turn the page", but have managed to learn to press the button and not miss a beat when going to the next page.
All in all a good product and well worth the price. The photo shows my favourite footstool, where I rest my legs after a day of running around at work or walking the 8km hike that is my golf course... my knitting, my ebook and my remote. What more could a girl need?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday and Knitting...

Had a fabulous weekend away. We were in Chautauqua for golf and sightseeing. Golf was Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and if it weren't for the rain on Saturday, it was perfect. We played through the rain, parking under trees and umbrellas when the rain was too hard, and I played surprisingly well despite the soggy conditions. I even managed a rare birdy on a par three, hitting the 7 iron into the bunker and the second shot high with the sand wedge, way up, and landing straight in the hole, no bounce! I have never done that, much less witnessed it and the group all cheered. wow.

While away I started a simple, stocking stitch shrug. The pattern is from Prima and available free here. I am using some stash Rowan Cashsoft DK, that I bought on sale but did not like the colour (a really DUSTY rose). I dyed it to burgundy and denim a few months ago and was waiting to find the right project for it. This cropped cardigan will be great for the airconditioning of the office, and will work over tank tops.

The hotel we stayed at happened to be the meeting place for a convoy of Model T cars... we arrived to find the parking lot FULL of these! There were about 40 cars and all the owners were meeting there and starting a long vacation together, touring around New York state together and staying at different towns every night! What a sight to see, and the sound of them starting up in the morning, ruh, ruh, ruh, putter, putter, putter, rumble... with the struggle of the engine and the cool horns to announce the start of the parade.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Wasn't it just days ago I was whining about the cold, totally sick to death of long pants and sweaters when it is spring fer gosh sakes... Now it has gone from chilly to blistering hot and we have had the air conditioning on since Friday. I finished my silk hoody and I love it, but can't bear to wear it long enough to snap a photo that would accompany the pattern, so be patient. I will have it on the blog in 2 to 3 days when the heatwave breaks! Meanwhile, I shot 2 great games of golf last week, an 81 and an 88! (both lower than the temperature outside!) I missed Thursday for work and Saturday for a visit to Waterloo to see baby-girl at her new store location.
I have been working on the quilt wrap and still love the feel of it, although the thought of wearing the mohair in this heat is slowing me down.

And I finished the stainless steel scarf....I just need to lightly felt the middle part -it has merino wool knit with the silk-wrapped stainless steel.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday Night after Knitting Night.

Here is the photo of an almost finished hoody sweatshirt in Tweed Seta silk from Ram. The Addi Turbos hold the hood stitches that have been picked up from the neckline and knitted up to the top of the head. A few increases along the back of the head create a gentle curve to the back of the hood, and a few decreases at the same center line will curve it back in before binding off all stitches and sewing the top of head seam. I am thinking the classic pouch will still be knit and added in place at the end, as I still have lots of yarn. This yarn goes on forever.

Here is a photo of Susan's latest quilt. The colours pop even more than the photo shows and it is made of many, many, many small squares, all colourful prints in an amazing design. Susan brought it to show the StCG&CC Knitters last night. I love it when our talents spill over past the yarn to other mediums. She does exquisite quilting, does our Susan! Last night we discussed felting techniques, yarn shop sales dates, wedding showers (one last weekend, one in 2 weeks), assorted family doings, and possibility of a 5 day fibre tour (or knitting camp as I want to call it...) That one is still up for further discussion.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another chilly sunday...

I am fed up of these cold weekends... Golf this morning was long pant, sweater and windbreaker to start, and I managed to remove the outer jacket, but regretted on some into-the-wind holes. Shot a nice 87, but whined about the cold all the way...

Still knitting the silk hoody and the Quilt wrap, but spent a bit of time oogling a new bit of electronic candy, newly available in Canada. It the Reader by Sony. An electronic book, that accepts downloads of eBooks. Facinating to me, as I love to read, but the paper pileup becomes a problem. I am not good with the library, never available during open hours, and never finish books on time, and never find the title I want- when I want it. eBooks seem the perfect solution for me. The sony site (canada) offers the digital book for delivery and also the ebook downloads and they seem to have all the titles I want.... I will be checking this further, but it has me excited so far. Have not found a downside.

You can also get 100 "classic" books for free when you register your digital book. That alone offsets the cost of the hardware, so makes it all the more intiguing. If only there were knitting books.... hmmm.