Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

(If you now have that song stuck in your head, I'm sorry)

I may have mentioned once or twice how much I enjoy watching hockey. If not, let me say it now: I enjoy watching hockey. The NHL playoffs started April 21 and the Flames are (at the moment) leading their series with the Ducks (I can't stand the name "Mighty Ducks". I can't really stand the fact that they are named after a movie at all, actually) 2 games to 1. Go Flames Go. So, I have been knitting while watching hockey (there is almost no end to the games in the first round. I think I watched about 6 hours of hockey last night) but blogging has been sadly neglected. I'm sorry!

Maybe if when the Flames beat the Ducks (I'm thinking 5 games. They're at home for game 5) I'll knit the duck sweater from my aunt but I'll rework the charts for the ducks so they have singe marks around the wings. (Flames. Ducks. Singe marks.)

But, this is not a hockey blog, this is a crafting blog that seems to be focussed solely on knitting of late. So...

Pattern: Knitty's Mesilla
Yarn: Recycled Value Village gigantic men's cotton sweater. "Yarn" is perhaps a bit of a misnomer, as it was a machine knit sweater that seemed to have been knit from about six strands of very very fine cotton held together.
When I say "gigantic" I am, for once, not exaggerating. I used the yarn from one sleeve to knit this top. I could knit an entire outfit with the yarn from that one sweater.
Modifications: Obviously knit in one color (the original is multi-colored); my gauge was smaller than that of the yarn called for; I added length to the body to accomodate my freakishly long torso; I only did 3 decrease rounds in finishing the neck*; I did 5 rounds of seed stitch instead of the picot bind off the pattern calls for**

*I finished the neckline of this top no less than 4 times on Sunday. I first followed the pattern, which gave me a neck opening too small to get my head through. Then I frogged that and re-knit it with only about 5 rounds before the seed stitch at the neck. Too low. Then I frogged the seed stitch and re-knit the edging with no decreases (not smart. I forgot about them.) which I realized before I bound off. This is attempt 4: Decrease every 4th round for 12 rounds then 5 rounds seed stitch. It's pretty much exactly what I wanted.
**I did the picot trim on the bottom when I "finished" the body (i realized at that point that I hadn't accounted for my freakishly long torso and had to frog back and re-knit anyway). The bottom flipped out like it was a trumpet flare. Not what I was going for.

Overall: I love this top! I hope to wear it a lot this summer. I may (will probably) make another one (or 3) in a different yarn. I love the way the shaping is written: front darts and shaping at the center back.

Next on the needles (as if there is only one project on the needles. shh):

I added a panel of lace ("Cascading Leaves" from my Reader's Digest stich book) to the sleeve of another Ribby Cardi. At this point, I could probably knit a Ribby Cardi in my sleep (wouldn't that be cool?). This is my 5th one. I haven't decided yet how or if I will insert the leaf pattern on the body of the sweater.

Actually, as I wrote this I had an idea: I could split the leaf pattern and do one half of it on the edge of the fronts. Or would that look cheesy? I was originally going to insert the whole pattern like on the sleeves on each front. Then I thought I would leave the fronts plain or in ribbing. Thoughts?

I'm knitting this in TLC Cotton Plus. The color is sort of cornflower-ish but on my camera seems to insist that it is a brighter blue than that.

Last night, watching the Edmonton game go to 2nd overtime (my 3rd game of the night) I got to here:

on the first sleeve. I need about 15 more rounds for this sleeve before it will be at the point where I will eventually join it to the body. See that end there? ARGH. I hate starting a new ball of yarn at that point!!!

So, see, I have been knitting.

(I'm posting tonight because the Flames don't play tonight and the Montreal game is in intermission before the start of overtime)

OH!! I almost forgot!! Thanks for all the comments on my good fortune/crafty family history. Notable mention goes to my aunt Pat, my mom's cousin (Hi Pat!!!) who has been reading (I would say lurking, but that sounds really harsh) for some time now. Did you read what she wrote? Did you?
Hi Lori
When you get the spinning wheel to work I know someone who has two alpacas that wil probably get shorn every year and she doesn't want the wool, at least not yet. Just to whet your enthusiasim for learning to clean, card, and spin wool into knittable yarn!!!
Your Aunt Pat

My family are enablers. Now I need to:
1. Learn to spin.
2. Learn to clean/card alpaca
3. Find someone to support me so I can spend all my time evenly split between spinning and knitting.
I should get going on that...

After the playoffs...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Family History

How did it get to be Wednesday already? This past weekend, Easter weekend, I went home to Saskatchewan to see my mom. My brothers and their families were all in Edmonton and weren't able to be there and my sister and her kids weren't able to come down so it was just me and my mom. It was nice to spend some time with her, and, of course, she feeds me really well, so it's good all around!

I got to see my aunt Eileen (my dad's sister) and her husband, which was fun. My aunt Eileen was my favorite aunt growing up (don't tell the others). She always played with us, she always had some fun activity for us to do, and, most importantly, she knew how to make ANYTHING (it seemed). I have great memories of making candles with Eileen when I was little. She made me a Raggedy Ann doll for Christmas when I was 6. (You can see why she was my favorite, right?) When I started to amass nephews and nieces she was my role model for being an aunt. (Awwww....)

Well, Eileen is not only a crafty, creative, fun aunt, with the world's greenest green thumb (she has more plants than anyone I've ever met) but she is a natural historian. She has traced our family's history and came up with a really impressive family tree for a reunion about 10 years ago. She doesn't know all the stories, but, as I told her this weekend, she knows that there IS a story and where to go to find out what it is.

Imagine my delight this past Friday evening to be visiting at her house and to see yarn sitting out. Neither my mom nor I knew that Eileen could knit! It was like finding out that your favorite aunt takes part in your favorite activity. Oh. Wait. That's exactly what it was. Never mind.

Saturday evening Eileen and Eric (her husband) joined us for dinner. After dinner we got to talking about knitting (imagine my delight). Eileen asked if I had ever knit a Siwash sweater (also known as a Cowichan sweater. Or, if you are from my small town in Saskatchewan you might have known them as "Curling Sweaters" because all of the Curlers wore them). I have been trying to find a Siwash pattern for a long time! My sister-in-law wants me to knit her one if I find a pattern, and I have an order for one for her sister as well.

Imagine my joy, my delight, my absolute-freaking-out at the words that my aunt spoke to me:
"Granny and Esther (another aunt) knit Siwash sweaters for your dad and the boys when they were young."
(I didn't know that my Granny knit!!! I feel like I am missing huge chunks of important family history!!)

Imagine, after the joy of that statement, my EXTREME excitement to hear this:
"I found the patterns the other day. You can borrow them if you like."

And, the funniest one. The least "Siwash/Cowichan" but most like my dad and growing up in Saskatchewan:

(those are ducks)

(Now I just need to find the yarn and I will be making these sweaters until my fingers grow numb...)

BUT WAIT: There is more family history that came out in the visit with Eileen and Eric.

I spent the first 10 years of my life in the house that my dad grew up in. I have vague, fuzzy memories of a basement full of various odds and ends. Machines whose purpose was a mystery to me. Interesting gadgets that no one used.

After I calmed down from the Siwash excitement, Eileen got me riled up again.
"Do you spin yarn Lori?" she asked.
(I have wanted to learn to spin for a long time now. I fear that it would just become another obsession and I would never get ANYTHING done. Anything else that is. I still want to learn though.)
Then she asked, "Do you remember the spinning wheel in the basement at the old house?"
"There was an electric carder too. I think the hand carders are still around somewhere."

Okay. Wait. What??? First I find out that my aunts and Granny were accomplished knitters, but not only that, they SPUN the yarn they knit with??? Too much.

(The general consensus was that the spinning wheel had been USED a lot and probably was not in any kind of condition. It was probably tossed out around 1980ish when we moved into the "new" house. Sob.)

Then, Eric, who was born and raised in Ireland, pipes up to tell me that his mother used to sell yarn and that he has quite a few hand knit Aran sweaters. He said I can look at them at try to figure out the cabling sometime if I would like.

What a heritage.


Thursday, April 13, 2006


Finally, I have some progress to show. I was too tired/lazy in the evenings waiting for significant progress shots (which required waiting for daylight/non-rainy days) before I posted.


The back of my "I'm Not Sure What's So Prairie About It Tunic". I'm not sure about this. I mean, I think it will work, and I'll probably like it when I'm done, but the picture in the magazine seemed to have a taller point there in the center of the back. I followed the directions, so I'm not sure what I should have done differently. Of course, I didn't actually check my row gauge I'm sure it couldn't be anything I did...


I'm sure it will be fine.


Back #1 of a pair of Trellises (Trelli?) for one of the twin nephews. I'm thinking about doing them 2 toned, a la knicoleg at Craftster. So far I love this pattern. It's fun to do a SMALL cabled jacket. (Although, Second Sweater Syndrome can sometimes be more overwhelming than Second Sleeve Syndrome or even Second Sock Syndrome)


These 3 pictures are of the same piece of knitting (the bottom of Soleil). The color of the Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy was proving to be VERY difficult to capture!

I didn't change anything to do with the color in those pictures. The only thing different between them was adjusting the brightness on my camera. Wierd

But... (drumroll... hush falls over the crowd...)

It appears that the yarn just wanted to be knit up into a finished piece before it would allow itself to be photographed.

This, is the actual color of this yarn! AND, you will note: I have finished a tank top! And it fits!

Pattern: Knitty's Soleil
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in 08 Turquoise (this is not where I got the yarn, but it does show the stats and shade card)
-Knit on US4 rather than US6
-Cast on for size 39 for lace portion, 4 repeats of lace chart rather than 3, I didn't do the increases after the lace as called for in the pattern, which brought me back to the number of stitches for the size 36 (truthfully, that was less of a "modification" and more of a "didn't read the pattern")
-Added length in the body
-As yet I have not done the crochet edging on the arms and neck. I started it but didn't like how it was looking.

Tomorrow I will be travelling to Saskatchewan to see my Mom for the weekend. I need to go figure out what to pack (you know I'm talking about yarn/knitting, right? The clothing is not an issue)

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Yarn Lady 2: Even More Yarn

I had planned to post this last weekend, but somehow never got to it. Hmm.

You may remember my post about The Yarn Lady, my aunt Pat's friend who used to own a yarn store. (BTW: The Yarn Lady has a name, Vivien, but I like thinking of her as "The Yarn Lady")(BTW2: The Yarn Lady is so much fun and literally has a basement full of yarn). My aunt Pat called me a while ago and said that Vivien would like us to visit again sometime, which I readily agreed to. (a: she's fun; b: she has so much yarn; c: she lets me sort through all the boxes of yarn)

I wore my cable front cardigan, and the reactions from both The Yarn Lady and my aunt Pat made my knitter's head puff up a bit, I must admit. It's nice when other people compliment you on your handknits, but when knitters compliment you... well, you know, right?

We visited for a while, Vivien... er... I mean, The Yarn Lady showed us some things she's working on, including a beautiful alpaca cardigan WIP/UFO that apparently has been languishing unfinished for some time now, which made me feel a bit better about all of my UFOs/WIPs and the length of time that they have been in that state. Then... the moment we were waiting for... the yarn. Boxes and boxes of yarn. Sigh.

I picked out a few nice things that I wanted to bring home with me, and when the time came for me to leave, Vivien insisted... (Wait. Are you sitting down?) She insisted that I take it home with me for FREE. Yes!!

So, my latest visit to see Vivien and my aunt Pat saw me coming home with the following:

Odd balls of some sort of felted tweed. There isn't much of any one color, but I'm thinking a bag or a pillow or hat... something small and colorful. Which may or may not be gifted. We'll see.

3 balls of Aarlan Coton-Silk. The color is actually a bit of a richer brown mix than the picture shows here. A quick Google search turned up nothing about this particular yarn, so, um... I'm not sure about it. I think/hope I have enough for a summer top of some sort. I played around with it a little (of course I did... would you expect anything else?) as soon as I got home with it last Saturday. It has no give whatsoever, so it will be interesting to work with it.

About 6 balls of black, 2 of dark brown, 2 of light brown. I'm not entirely sure of the particulars of this yarn, but the bag it was in said "Kid Silk" and it seems to be about a worsted weight. I plan to do something wintery with this but not until fall. I don't know yet what I'll do with it, and I don't know if I would use all of it together. We'll see.

Finally, this teeny little bit of Anny Blatt 100% Kid Mohair. I think there is enough for a lacy scarf, but I mostly brought it home because I LOVE the color. I searched for more of this yarn but this was all there was. Sigh.

I have progress on my vow to overcome the tank top issue (i.e. never finishing a tank top) and some knitting for nephews, but I think I'll go outside for a while, before it rains again. Or snows. It is Calgary, after all.

P.S.: Pat (I know you're reading: Hi!) Thank you so much for introducing me to The Yarn Lady and for the fun visit with both of you.