Thursday, 2 July 2015

Duplicate Square

Skip and I have been off on another adventure this week. This time to the Finger Lakes region of NY state. We have visited here before at this time of year and like the uncrowded roads, scenic vistas, and lush vegetation. My next post will be about our escapades.

I finished the Melissa Leapman square and decided I needed to add a couple of rows to the lower part. I unravelled one row, knit a couple of rows to the bottom part, then tried to graft it back together. Sadly I was out a couple of stitches so am waiting to give it another try.

Instead, I cast on another square of the same design and between knitting in the car and motel room knitting, I finished it last night.

I have cast on yet another one.

One of the cool things I found in a gift shop in Skaneateles this morning was a St. Brigid's cross pendant. Of course I had to buy it.

The first time I saw a St. Brigid's cross was when we travelled to the Aran isle of Inisheer and crafted one with one of the local artisans.
Stay tuned for more shenanigans...

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cable Medallion

I finished the 10th square this evening. I used the cable medallion pattern from Melissa Leapman's Tweed Hoodie from her "Continuous Cables" book.

The cable pattern had 37 sts so I didn't need to add any stitches to my 47 stitch cast-on as I continue to use 5 sts of garter stitch on each side of the square and 5 ridges at the top and bottom of the square.

The bottoms of the curved parts were interesting to execute but worked well. They were much easier than those in the previous square. It took me a couple of days of intermittent knitting to complete this one but I think I might do a second one with this pattern.

Skip and I have been busy entertaining our guests from Japan by way of Indiana. We've been enjoying all the different pavilions at Fiesta, the annual multi-cultural festival in Oshawa. Between Fiesta dinners and lunches while we've been out, we've eaten Ukrainian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, and Chinese food this week.

Monday, we went to the one of the Ukrainian pavilions for dinner.

On Tuesday we went to the Pacific Mall at Steeles and Kennedy to check out the offerings. We went for lunch at our favourite dim sum restaurant, Grand Lake Chinese Cuisine. For dinner, we ate at the Greek pavilion.

Yesterday we did touristy things in The Big City. We went to the CN Tower
Skip, Geri, Todd, and Shingo
and took a 'hop on hop off' double decker tour bus.
We stopped at the Distillery District and had lunch at the Mill St. Brewery.

The service was poor but the food was good. I got the last cabbage roll at the Hungarian pavilion last night. The goulash was very tasty but was more like a soup than a stew.

Today, we went into the city and visited the Aga Khan Museum and the Japanese Cultural Centre. this evening we went to the German pavilion.

Our guests have to leave us tomorrow. We've had a wonderful visit, though, and look forward to the next time we can get together.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Entwined Cables Pillow Square

I finished another cabled square, from the 'Entwined Cables Pillow' pattern in Melissa Leapman's Cables Untangled.
There are a couple of other patterns from this book and another of her books, Continuous Cables, that I'm considering.

I am definitely considering any all-over pattern as the centre of the squares.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


We have an old IKEA Poang chair that had a stain on the seat. I removed the cover the other day and threw it in the wash. The stain faded somewhat but not completely. A replacement cover was only going to be $35 plus tax plus gas to get me to our closest IKEA store. Then I thought, "I could just make a slip cover".

So off to Fabricland I went on this, the last weekend of their big sale with almost everything 50% off.

I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at fabric. I needed almost 2 metres and was prepared to pay up to $20/m x 50%. Then I found the clearance bin and the perfect fabric for something like this. It was only $7.00/m with 20% off. Booyah!  There wasn't a zipper long enough so I bought two with the idea to sew the openings facing each other.

I could have simply made a tube to slide the old chair cover in but with the zipper in the centre back, it made it much easier to stuff the old cover into the new cover. On the original cover, the headrest has a little pocket that goes over the back of the chair. Instead, I just made a little slipcover.

I'm REALLY pleased with how it came out.

I love the fabric and have enough left over to make a couple of throw pillows.

Friday, 19 June 2015

4 Year-Old UFO

I was rummaging around in my office/craft room and encountered a UFO that I started back in 2011. I abandoned it only 8 rows from the finish. It is blocking now.
I used a mill end skein of Socks That Rock lightweight yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck back in 2009. It is a lovely, round, 3-ply sock yarn. It is a bit thicker than most sock yarns - the 100 g skein yields 360 yd.
The pattern is Mizzle, a free Ravelry download, and was given to me by my knitterly friend, JennB.  It is an easy knit. I would definitely recommend it for beginning lace/shawl knitters.

It has a bit of texture so is not mind-numbing to knit.
To block the round edge, I used these Premium Blocking Wires that I purchased on etsy from Inspinknity. They are well worth the investment if you plan to do any circular or semicircular knitting and blocking.
I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bindoff for the edge (closeup starts at about 0:55 on the video if you don't want to hear a lot of intro). Be warned, it consumes double the yarn so I had to tink back a row to have enough yarn to finish the project. I'll definitely be using this bindoff for the cuff of the toe-up sock I'm working on. I just found a video of this technique using a crochet hook. Note to self: remember to try that next time.

I was just looking at other people's Mizzles on Ravelry and noted it would look very nice using gradient yarn or striped yarn. Another note to self...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Modified GAAA Square

I completed another square. This time I took one from The Great American Aran Afghan (GAAA) pattern book.
I selected the interior of the Betty Salpekar square.
The construction of the bottoms of the curves was very interesting. it involved a lot of provisional cast ons of 3 stitches knitting a couple of rows of stocking stitch then grafting each end of the knitted tab. I got better at it as things moved along.
I was just having another look at the previous square and noticed a mistake. Do you see it? I'll give you a hint - it's a miscrossed cable. The braiding is supposed to be over, under, over, under.
This one should have been crossed the other way.
For over/under purists like myself, it is somewhat perplexing. However, I came by the mistake honestly. I just checked the pattern and the photo and it was written like that. Maybe the designer doesn't mind over, over, under, under but when I knit this again, I'm definitely going to cross that cable the way I think it should go.
I spent most of yesterday prepping Scooter's room/the guest room for painting. Almost every room in the house is a disaster area. Today I got the trim painted, masked, and one coat on the walls. I'll finish up tomorrow and start putting the room back together.

While I'm moving stuff around, I keep finding things to get rid of. We have SO much stuff and we really want to simplify things around here. I try to get rid of 10 things a day either to the donation bag, recycling, or garbage.

Last night I finished spinning and plying the carded fibre from the workshop I attended with the Kawartha Handweavers and Spinners last month.

Remember this stuff?
I chain-plied the singles to minimize the barberpoling. I got 62 yards out of the left skein and 100 yards out of the right one.
This one looks quite tweedy,
and quite a mix of colours from these batts.
 This one has more solid colour,
and was spun from these rolags.
My spinning peeps are already teasing me about what I should knit with them because, you see, I have lots and lots of handspun and hardly have knit with the stuff. I still look at each skein as one-of-a-kind and seem to be really averse to using it up.

Hence, one source of the aforementioned 'stuff'. This stuff won't be discarded though. Hopefully some special knitting or spinning project will intrigue me enough to use it.

And finally, this has been an exceptional year for the peonies in our garden. We have several varieties that bloom at different times. I have had a vase of then on my kitchen table for about 3 weeks now. And the tight buds I picked back then are starting to bloom now. As the blooms finish and start dropping their petals, I replace them with new ones from the garden. The scent is intoxicating.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Viking Square

I continue working on squares for the cable project. This time I selected an intricate cable pattern based on an Islamic four-knot from the book JennB loaned me, "Viking Knits & Ancient Ornaments".

It took me three tries to accomplish this. My 'issues' weren't with doing the cabled centre but the borders.
In my first attempt, I added extra stitches to each side and extra rows to the top and bottom - too many stitches and it was too darned big.

The next time, I tried it, it wasn't big enough. Rip! Then I thought I'd just knit the sample from the book and add a border around the edge afterwards to make it the right size.

I'm still not thrilled with it because I tried to be a smarty-pants and increase every row on the border rather than every other row and it distored the border. I may unravel the border and re-knit it in the round in garter stitch, increasing every other row until it's the right size. Or, heck, I'll just reknit another one with my updated idea.

This book had a different 'lifted increase' that worked quite well. Basically, you lift and knit the 'granddaughter' stitch (to use Lucy Neatby lingo) below the stitch you want to add to on the right needle and knit the 'daughter' stitch below the stitch on the left needle.

I have many more to go.