Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes I take a break from knitting to use a sharp knife and cut strange shapes out of big orange vegetables.... ok, only once a year, but I really enjoy the challenge and the results.
So here are the festive gourds for Halloween 2008.

And I did this without sacrificing any fingers... wow, such talent.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blustery Sunday

The only good thing about a miserable weather sunday is I can finally get caught up on my laundry, cleaning and knitting. I finished the MO jacket and here is the result, a fluffy, light and colourful jacket, perfect for blustery sundays. The yarn and pattern are from Fleece Artists, a Nova Scotia company who produce hand dyed natural fibre yarns with fun and simple patterns on the labels. A quick knit jacket for under $50. I like yarn folks that do that!
I also got a good start (actually more than half done) on the new Noro yarn, Yuzen, that I splurged on last Sunday at the Creative Festival. I decided to try the interesting fitted vest in the book: Fitted Knits, by Stefanie Japel. I like the ribbing for the high waist, and the slightly darted front. It is knit in the round, so seems to grow quickly and the stripes of the Noro will continue around and I avoid the mis-matched stripes at the side seams that usually come with Noro patterns. The top is split for the front and back, and I am almost at the neckline shaping for the front.

After this vest I will need to do some Christmas knitting (not too much this year) but of course I will probably not show photos of progress for these... I still want to surprise some folks on my list this year. I will catch up with photos and patterns after the big day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Raglan Esprit Pullover

This simple beauty was designed to wear over turtlenecks or crisp collared shirts, and add some warmth but not too much to have it for outdoor use only. Esprit is a cotton yarn with a bit of elastic that gives it the stretch that cotton really needs to fit properly. This yarn will NOT droop with each wash, like a lot of cottons, and it has become a favourite of mine. The stitch detail is a bit of a rib design with two row pattern repeated... very easy.

Yarn: 8 balls of Esprit, mine used turquoise, but it comes in a gazillion choices (well maybe 20)
Needles: 4mm (US 6) straight for body pieces, and small circulars or double points for neck finishing.
Gauge: 18 sts and 28 rows = 4 inches in the seed rib pattern
Finished measurements: 41 inch chest, 28 inches shoulder to hem
Back: With rib needle, cast on 83 sts. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. Increase on last row 9 stitches evenly spaced. (92 sts)
Change to Seed Rib Pattern: Row 1: K1, P1 across the row. Row 2 (wrong side) Purl every stitch. Repeat these two rows and work straight for 15 inches above the edge ribbing.
Raglan shaping: Bind off 10 sts at the start of next two rows. Start decreases like this... Knit 3, purl 2 together, work seed rib pattern to last 5 sts, then purl 2 together, knit 3. On the wrong side, purl across. Use this decrease row every right side for 10 repeats, then every 4th row 12 times***keep the edge stitches as established - 3 knit stitches then decrease or pattern, and end with 3 knit stitches. It creates the nice line that accents the raglan shape when stitched together.*** When 28 stitches remain (length from armhole bindoff should be approx 10 inches) bind off all.
Front: work same as for back until total of 25 inches from start has been worked. Work to center 14 sts, attach another ball of yarn, bind off center 14 sts, complete the rest of the row... Continue in the same raglan decreases, and at the same time at the neck edge decrease every second row 7 times. Continue as for back, you should end with one stitch at neck edge. Secure ends.
Sleeves: Cast on 39 sts, work in K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. Increase 5 sts across last row and switch to the seed rib pattern. Work in pattern increasing every 8 rows until 68 stitches across. Work even until piece measures 18.5 inches.
Raglan shaping: Bind off 10 sts at start of each row. Using the 3 stitch knitted edge pattern again, decrease one each side every 2nd row 8 times and every 4th row 13 times. Bind off last 4 sts.
Sew raglan seams, and work the neck: with small circular needles or double point needles: Pick up 80 sts around the neck edge. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 1 inch and bind off loosely.
Sew arm and side seams, and sew in ends of yarns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yarn Whisperer

Finally a chance to update the progress my recent knittings... I have had a rough time at work and have dragged a tired butt home, with only enough energy to nap and knit a bit. Not much interest in blogging, or computer time, beyond the mandatory email responses. My co-worker had emergency surgery and will be out for 3 - 4 weeks, so I have been working all my job and all hers too, and I find this quite draining by the end of the day.
Knitting has been the stress relief that keeps me on track and here are the latest photos.

First the finished raglan cotton Esprit pullover....
A snug fit due to the lycra content and the seed rib stitch. This one is my design and the pattern will get posted (I promise) by the weekend.

Then there is the Fleece Artist Mo Jacket, which I started less than a week ago and got the fronts and back and collar and most of one sleeve done already. Really quick on 6mm needles. The pattern is from the label attached to the Mo Jacket kit. Easy, easy, easy!

The last photo is the new yarn from Noro, Yuzen. I purchased 5 skeins of this wool/silk yarn when I visited the Creative Festival on Sunday in Toronto. I went with a sewing friend, who has dabbled but not quite caught the knitting bug. When I expressed my love of yarn and forced her to touch the Noro and Colinette and hand painted silks and bamboo, and described sweaters and scarves and coats, all made by me in the past from these treasures... that was when she dubbed me the Yarn Whisperer... an upgrade from the previous Knitting Doctor designation??!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lost and Found

I was heartbroken to realize in the summer that I had completely misplaced my favourite hand crafted silver inukshuk necklace. It was gone. I looked every where and concluded that I must have dropped it out of my bag when transferring from work to the golf course, as that is the only time I removed jewelry outside the house. I gave up. I felt lost without my directional marker (these guys are supposed to help you NOT get lost - how could it go missing??). I even had thoughts of going to the One of a Kind Craft show in November in the hopes that the jewelry artist was still there (4 years later) with the same cool chunky silver dude.
Then a miracle!
It got cold.
I pulled on my long brown dress pants, for the first time since May, and in the pocket... tada! I just about cried with delight.
So here's celebrating cold weather for all the lovely hand knits we can wear again, for the lovely socks and sweaters and eventually hats, mitts and scarves. For the joy of knitting chunky yarns and wool and mohair.... and of course for putting your hands in the pockets to find hidden treasures long misplaced!
I have also finished the Noro Silver Thaw Jacket, a double breasted design from a Noro publication I borrowed from a knitting friend. I made it a bit shorter than their version, but love the results, and have worn it several times now that it has been cooler, at least in the evening. Now I have cast on a Fleece Artist Mohair jacket, from my minor shopping spree at the K-W Knitters fair.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cold Winds on my Golf Course

The last week has been a challenge for this die hard golfer... I have accepted that fall is here, and with it comes chilly winds and cold temperatures. Last weekend we had highs of only 12 to 15 C, (50 to 60F for my USA knitting friends). With the strong winds it felt quite cool. I have now placed winter golf gloves back in my bag, a cashmere (knit by me) touque to fit over my ball cap, and wind proof jacket. I am now wearing knitted socks in my golf shoes and this photo shows me on a sunny but cold day (Monday) in my Noro Turtleneck. The sweater looks great on the course, no?

The next few days will be much nicer at around 20C (70F) but it will only last a few days.

So unpack your woolies and hit the links, there are still lots of rounds left in this season, even if the cold wind blows... I plan to play until my course turns white!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stash Trinkets

When I finished the Colinette Coat, what remained was small bits of precious Colinette left-overs. These are different from regular left overs that may be used to darn old sweaters or stitch up seams of new ones, or more likely drift to the bottom corners of you stash basket/ drawer/ plastic tote/ or cedar chest (wherever you have your extra yarn - you know you won't use it but you also won't throw it out - it's YARN for gosh sakes and obviously irreplacable!) Colinette yarn is beautiful, even if it is only 6 feet long. The colours change so quickly and the yarn itself is wool and texture, without even being knit, it is a work of art.
I found some plastic bangles at the local junk jewelry and accessories shop (the one the tweens frequent) and brought them home. With a glue gun, and the lovely yarn, I wrapped the yarn around the bangles and created these...
Use any yarn that has great colours or great texture or both. Start with a dab of glue and secure the end to the underside of bangle, then wrap tightly, overlapping a bit if it is ribbon type like the Tagliatelli on the thinner one. Every 4th or 5th wrap put a dab of glue on the underside, just to keep the yarn from sliding too much while wearing it. Then use a bit of glue at the end to secure and cut the yarn.

*warning about hot is hot (duh) and you only need a tiny spot to hold the yarn in place. Do not try to put the glue all along the bangle... it will cool and make a mess and your yarn may stick to the wrong spot. Just place a dot under the yarn just before you wrap that spot. Less is more and less is less burned fingers!

I hope you are inspired to dig to the bottoms of your stash bins and make a few of these. They look great when worn with sweater!