Monday, 30 June 2008

One More Square

I actually finished the Dana Hurt square before the one I designed. It's pretty narrow but is knit loose enough that it should stretch out nicely when I sew it into the afghan.

I'm about half done the next square I've designed. It's an easy pattern but I didn't really give enough thought about the patterns complementing each other so I don't think it looks that great. Oh well. It's the 12th square and I soldier on.

I went for my brisk 50 minute walk today. The audiobook on my iPod sure helps the time pass quickly. In fact, since I'm so close to being finished the current book - Valerie Bertinelli's autobiography, I though I'd better get some more so I can keep the momentum. I headed over to the library and got some more books on CD out today: Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking", Daniel J. Levitin's "This is Your Brain on Music" and the epic biography (10 CDs worth!) of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strips.

The last book I downloaded onto my iPod played in reverse order of tracks. This was very annoying because at the end of each track another would start, which was a previous one, so I'd have to back up 3 tracks to one I hadn't heard yet. It was kind of a pain during my walk to have to be constantly backing up three tracks at the end of every chapter. When I synched my iPod tonight, by some miracle everything is in the correct order! I have no idea what I did but I'm glad it's working.

I'm also having problems downloading stuff from my Windows Media Player library to iTunes. Whoops! I just tried something and it might be working! Also I seem to have misplaced my iPod synch cord. Thank goodness Scooter has one here which I was able to borrow. Skip has one too, now that I think of it. I wonder where mine went? Oh well. It'll turn up.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Knitting with Cables and Bobbles. Oh my!

I just finished the 10th square - one of my own design.

I wanted to do a square with lots of bobbles. I used my new "Cables and Arans" book from Interweave Press and selected three patterns with repeats that are multiples of 8. The center pattern is called 'Cable and Dot' and is found on page 82. It has a 15 stitch pattern with a 24 row repeat with row one starting on the wrong side. The one out from it is called 'Cable with Bobbles' and is 9 stitches wide and has a 12 row repeat from page 50. The outer pattern is 'Alternating Bobbles' and is 6 stitches wide with a 16 row repeat from page 189. So to create the right length square, and for the repeats to end in a good place, I needed 72 rows after the 6 garter stitch 'three ridges' rows. Thus creating 3 repeats of the center pattern, 6 repeats of the Cable with Bobbles and 4.5 repeats of the alternating bobbles. Good grief, I'm a knitting designer!

I am planning another square. Stay tuned.

Last week just seemed to roll along. I stitched on Tuesday night with Vickie and Martina and knit on Thursday night at Kniterary with the regulars. Wednesday was a former colleague's retirement party at the same place mine was held last year. It is so hard to believe that I've already been retired one year. Scooter arrived on Wednesday and is with us until next Friday. I've been walking every day 40 - 50 min. The walks have been made more enjoyable because I'm listening to books on CD which I've put on my iPod. One person I know questions whether this is really 'reading' a book but it works for me. It sure makes the walk go by quickly.

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary and 13 years together. It's been a good run. We've been through good times and bad, (fortunately not much) sickness and (good) health. Marrying Skip was one of the best things I've ever done.

June 29, 1998

Monday, 23 June 2008

Two More Squares Done

I finished the Ann McCauley square the other day using 4.5mm needles. It is 13.5" tall and only 9.75" wide in its relaxed state. It is pretty stretchy, however, so should widen easily to 12" and hopefully that will shorten it as well.

On a 10 hour (return) car trip last week, I knit the background to the Susan Rainey square using 4.5mm needles. It came out pretty close to a 12" square. I knit the 'sweater' yesterday. To finish it nicely, I did the increasing and decreasing one stitch in from the edge so I could use the mattress stitch to attach the sleeves. it came out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I haven't attached the sweater to the square yet.

I started the Dana Hurt square last night. When I finish it, I'll be half done.

While on my trip, I bought the Interveave Knits "Harmony Guide: Cables and Arans" and will be designing a couple more squares incorporating some of those stitch patterns. I also want to design a square using the pattern from the Must Have Cardigan.

We enjoyed our trip to Rochester, NY to see the first day of the Wegmans LPGA golf tournament. We were particularly pleased to see Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa up close. The ladies' golf tournaments are great because you can get so close to the players. The Locust Hill Golf Course was immaculately prepared for the tournament and had a very nice layout. The course is on two sides of a main road. The road is easily traversed by the aid of the two tunnels under it. We particularly enjoyed all the freebies handed out by the various Wegmans food companies and came home with samples of jam, toothpaste, shampoo, almonds, fruit strips, moisturizing lotion, mouse pads, etc. etc.

Our resident house finch was singing his head off at around noon today.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Latvian Moon Cross

Today I finished Dagmara Berztiss' 'Latvian Moon Cross'. It was really quite easy and really fun to knit. I probably should have used the recommended 4.5mm needles because using my 5mm needles, it's about an inch too tall and potentially too wide. I could also frog it and knit it again with the 5.0 needles and omit the moss stitch frame inside the garter stitch. We'll see when I assemble all the squares.

I learned how to round a curve with cables. I am continuing to become more and more proficient doing cables without a cable needle.

I'm going on a car trip for a few days leaving on Wednesday. I think I'll do the Susan Rainey square (the one with the sweater) and do the stockinette background on the road.

Another one I plan to complete soon is Ann McCauley's 'Bobbledy Aran' Square.

Fiesta, a multi-cultural festival in Oshawa, began today. Skip and I had lunch at Poznan, a Polish pavilion. We had shish kebab, pierogies and cabbage rolls. For dinner we went Greek. I had a chicken souvlaki dinner and splurged with dessert having galaktoboureko (a custard pastry) and a baklava.

Tomorrow we're dining at Budapest. There's some goulash and a cabbage roll waiting for me. We will be having lots of salads on our trip to compensate, I'm sure.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


Scooter found what he called a 'cheesy' Father's Day card for Skip. It had Dad-tastic on the front and inside, something like, 'I made up a new word for you for Father's Day'.

On the knitting front, this afternoon I finished the first square of my own design based on an Aran Isle pattern from "Beautiful Knitting Patterns". I am calling it 'Hugs and Kisses'. It incorporates the 'Xs and Os' cable as well as the braided Celtic cable. It's just a little bit of love I'm knitting into the afghan.

I am entranced by cables so will be doing a couple of other squares with Aran or cable patterns from this book.

6 down 14 to go...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Knitting in Public

Last night the thunderstorm knocked out our power. Thank goodness there wasn't a power surge because I was online at the time. However, our Internet service did not come back when the power came back on. The DSL light on the router would not light. When we called the delightful people at Bell (Mumbai) this morning they wanted us to take the modem all over the house and plug it into every phone jack. I had to leave Skip on the phone with Mujibur or Sirajoul (or whatever his name was) so I could go and give blood. Poor Skip had no success either and gave up in defeat.

At the blood giving place, the nurse did not have trouble finding the vein but had a heck of a time getting the needle into it - OUCH! Once she got the needle in, a little blood flowed and then just trickled. I must not have been hydrated enough. So out came the needle and I went on my way after stuffing my purse with the free Oreos and Peek Freans (both riddled with trans fat) to take home to Skip and Scooter. I also took out my ribbed black sock to work on. After all, it was World Wide Knit in Public Day!

After lunch, I headed over to Kniterary to spend the afternoon Knitting in Public. Several of the regulars were there: Cindy, Margo, Kathryn, Marion, Vickie. I also met Emily who interestingly enough had also lived in Mexico for a couple of years as a kid. However, her experience in the 80s was not as wonderful as mine in the 60s. I worked on the fifth square of the GAAA designed by Carol Adams. I finished it this evening and decided to create one using a design from Gisela Klopper's "Beautiful Knitting Patterns" which I had checked out of the local library. It is one of the Aran Isle patterns with the X and O cable and the Celtic Braid. There are a couple of others in this book I want to use as I'm not planning to do all of the ones from the GAAA book.

Carol Adams square.

At about 11 this evening, Skip informed me that we had a DSL light on the modem light up. So we ran to our computers and resumed communication without the outside world. Success!!!! So I don't have to call India tomorrow after all. Phew!

I finished the Sunday Market Shawl and got the stitches dropped. It just needs to be blocked. It measured 17" x 33" before dropping stitches and 24" x 45" after dropping stitches. I hope to block it out to at least 60".

Thursday, 12 June 2008


I'm underway on my Great American Aran Afghan (GAAA). The idea is to knit 20 12"x12" squares.

My first square was designed by Barbara McIntire. I used 5mm needles.

My next square was the Ginette Belanger square. Again I used 5mm needles.

I had previously knit a baby sweater using the trinity stitch (it was called bramble stitch in that pattern) and found it very tedious. It wasn't that bad on this square, possibly because the needles and yarn were so much bigger.

Then I knit the Julie H. Levy Square. It knit up very quickly. I'm very glad I learned Grumperina's technique for cabling without a cable needle. I used 5mm needles.

Yesterday I finished the Ann Strong square. I found the entwining of stocking stitch and moss stitch intriguing. I used 4.5mm needles.

I'm 20% done. Yay!

Now I'm working on the Carol Adams square using 5.0mm needles.

There are big discrepancies among the sizes of the finished squares, largely because they were designed by different people who knit to different tensions. I have decided to knit all the squares and then will align them vertically according to width and add garter stitch to make them align horizontally. If there are still major sizing issues, I'll re-knit the offending squares to fit.

Monday, 9 June 2008

I Missed my Ravelryversary

While I was adding yarn to my Ravelry stash, I noted that June 6, 2007 was the date I started on Ravelry. I missed my Ravelryversary! So happy belated Ravelryversary to me. I guess it was so soon after my blogaversary, I didn't realize it until it was too late!

It's still blistering hot here today but we are expecting some rain which should cool things down somewhat.

Things in bloom:

Our neighbour's clematis

We had these geraniums under grow lights all winter. They seem to like being outdoors now.

Our Siberian iris (iris sibirica) always is early to bloom.

I'm not sure who gave us these giant rust-coloured iris.

Now I'm going get my exercises out of the way for the day. I'm still waiting for the alleged 'endorphin rush'.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Havin' a Heat Wave....

I had a very nice visit to visit my sister and friends in the Sarnia/Petrolia area. Thursday, after I arrived, we had a delicious lunch at 'Somewhere' in Petrolia. I had a yummy BLT in sunflower bread. Then we went to Country Yarns but there was 'nothing to die for'. Dinner was a catered ham, scalloped potato, baked beans, corn and dessert affair at Valerie's condo. Then we went to visit my niece and her family.

Friday morning, I met some of my former colleagues who are also retired for their monthly breakfast. Then Valerie and I headed to Port Huron, MI to shop. I bought some Noro Cash Iroha, some felting needles and a 5" x 5" square frame. We then went to JoAnn Fabrics and they had the rest of the yarn for my Great American Aran Afghan (GAAA) and the colourway seems to be identical to the ones I already have. YAY!!

I found a sale on Kool-Aid at Kroger's - 8 for $1!!! Woo-Hoo. Valerie gave me 4 hanks of very fine wool yarn which I can use for dyeing. She also gave me some thin stainless steel wires for yarn blocking. Darryl gave us even thinner ones. I'm going to reblock my clapotis and see if it improves the look.

Friday evening, I went for dinner at Floyd's. We had a nice visit and I got to meet his new kitty, Bede.

Bede is a real sweetie-pie and likes to climb on the laps of any available people. However, he weighs 17 lb. so one can only stand it for so long.

On my way home on Saturday, I stopped in at Mary's Yarns in Unionville. I bought a ball of beige Lana Grossa sock yarn on sale with the idea that I'll dye it.

I'm hoping it'll come out as a nice heather-y colour. As it has 25% nylon, it will also have beige-ish threads.

I also bought some chunky wool to make the Fiber Trends Felt Clogs.

Last night I finished the second square of the GAAA.

There is quite a bit of difference in the size between the first two squares. I'm not sure if I'll re-knit it on smaller needles. What to do. What to do.

I'm working on the third one designed by Ginette Belanger.

We've had 34C weather these past three days. I'm not complaining but am very grateful for air-conditioning. Yesterday when it was so breezy, it reminded me of the hottest day we had in February in southern Texas. Ahhhhhh!!!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I took a walk around our garden this morning and saw some lovely things.


Bugle weed (ajuga)

Our first peony (paeonia lactiflora) of the season.

Globeflower (trollis)

And bleeding heart (dicentra spectabilis)

I love how lush and verdant everything in the garden looks this time of year.

This evening I taught the class on doing the cable stitch without a cable needle.

My students Julia, Cindy and Sue picked things up pretty quickly and have lots of things to practice on to internalize the concept. I hope to teach the class again in the fall.

Tomorrow I head to Petrolia/Sarnia area to visit my sister, her family and some friends. I'm taking a bunch of knitting with me. I'm not sure how much I'll get done, though. I have a pretty busy itinerary planned.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cable Girl Clone

After attending Fiona Ellis' workshop on knitting cables at the end of April, I truly was inspired. So much so that almost everything I want to knit now is cables.

My most recent cable-y projects include:

The Must Have Cardigan from Patons 'Street Smart' booklet

and the Putting Down Roots sweater (I'm doing it as a cardigan).

Naturally, when I found The Great American Aran Afghan, I had to do it - even though I'm Canadian. ;-)

Here's my first square designed by Barbara McIntire.

I don't know if I'll do all of the squares in the book. I plan to incorporate some of the cable designs from projects I've already completed. I've also ordered the Barbara Walker 'Learn-to-Knit Afghan' book and will include designs from it as well.

I'm teaching a class tomorrow night at Kniterary on doing cables without a cable needle. It should be fun.