Sunday, 26 September 2010

Teaching Lace Knitting

Yesterday I taught a class on the fine points of knitting the Swallowtail Shawl.

This is the first lace shawl I ever knit. In fact, it was the first lace knitting of any kind I ever did. There were a lot of things that I needed coaching for that I had to figure out on my own. I ultimately incorporated many of those things into my teaching. Techniques like: a slipped stitch edge, easy ways to make 'nupps', how to read the lace that has already been knitted, lifelines, adding beads as you go, etc.
It's a pretty ambitious shawl to do as a first lace project but once I had it 'under my belt' any other lace projects were well within my grasp.

Then I knit another (this one with beads) for display at Myrtle Station Wool to promote my classes.
It really is a lovely shawl - shown here in its smaller size with 14 repeats. It can also be knit with 19 repeats of the budding lace for a very large shawl.
My students did very well and are well on their way on their own Swallowtail Shawls. I like how the pattern is written for three weights of yarn (laceweight, fingering and DK) including the yardages required for each.

After my first Swallowtail Shawl, I discovered Evelyn A. Clark's "Shetland Triangle". I knit that one with Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace and tiny silver-lined pink beads.
I then knit her "Angel Lace Shawl" using 2 skeins of Dye-Versions Soy Soft yarn.
On each point, I used silver-lined beads that exactly matched the colour of the yarn.
After the class was over, Stephanie, the Myrtle Station Wool proprietor, showed me the new Regia sock yarn pattern book "Classic Styles" No. 611 and I LOVED the lacy shawl on the cover. The pattern is so new, it's not even on Ravelry yet.

I grabbed some tonal Punta Yarns Space Dyed 100% Merino Lace yarn and started knitting it up. I'm on row 49 of 129, which sounds like I'm pretty far along except that it's a triangular shawl and the rows keep getting longer and longer. The lace pattern is very easy so I whip through those sections pretty quickly. It's the purl rows that slow me down. Yet, I persevere.

The Regia patterns are translated from German into English so do not necessarily use our customary knitting phraseology and the charts use completely different symbols, but once I actually sat down and read through the pattern, I was able to interpret the instructions pretty well. I would not, however, recommend Regia patterns for inexperienced knitters.

In non-knitting news ... this morning, Skip and I went to see "The Town" at the movies. It was fairly good. I'd give it about an 8 out of 10. Skip and Scooter's favourite movie rating website, Rotten Tomatoes, gave it a 94%!!!  Did you know it only costs $6 to go to the movies at the AMC theatres before noon? We love getting a deal.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Frilly Scarf

At the Knitter's Fair, I bought a kit with "Barb's Koigu Ruffle" pattern and a skein of Prism Saki yarn in the Ginger colourway.

Yes, it IS a pattern intended for 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM (total 350 yd.) which is fingering weight. However any multicoloured yarn would work well. The Saki yarn is Sport Weight and was fine.  The resulting scarf is 31" long which is long enough to go around the neck and be overlapped and pinned. If one wanted a longer scarf, one could cast on more stitches and just follow the decreases and increases in the pattern. It was fairly mindless knitting - perfect for sitting and knitting.

I'm almost finished all the charting for my Selbu Rose mitten that I'll be teaching October 30 and November 13 at Myrtle Station Wool. 

Between my sister and myself, we figured out how to copy and paste charts from KnitVisualizer into a Word document. I am more familiar with WordPerfect but the pasting just wouldn't work with that program so Microsoft Word it is.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I Am Not A Shrimp

At the Knitter's Fair a couple of weekends ago, I bought 2 100g bags hand-painted of 50% superwash merino and 50% silk pencil roving from indigodragonfly. The colourway is called "I Am Not A Shrimp".  It kind of looks like intestines.

I spent most of last Saturday at the World Wide Spin In Public Day spinning the roving and most of this afternoon. This evening I finished spinning the last of it and plied it.
I wound it into an arty skein and took the measurements and have determined that it's 198g and 434 yd. That makes it DK weight. There was also a little 15g skein made from extra that was on one of the spools after I finished plying. Although not perfect, my spinning is getting more and more consistent and my plying is much improved, if I do say so myself.

I have no idea what I'm going to knit with this yarn but I'm going to admire it for a little while first.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Spinning in Public 2010

Yesterday I attend the World Wide Spin In Public event at The Black Lamb in Port Hope. There were about a dozen of us and we sat outside under a big canopy spinning and chatting for several hours. It was a bit chilly but we were cozy in our hoodies and fleece. Laurie, second from the left, is the proprietor of The Black Lamb and was our amiable host. She prepared pots of coffee and an awesome crock of chili and the rest of us supplied other pot luck delicacies.
Here is the other half of our happy throng (minus Jody who is taking the picture).
There's Jody, my spinning friend, on the right (below). I met her last year at a spinning event at The Black Lamb after I had been spinning for a week. She was very encouraging and we have commented on each other's blogs off and on all year. We both plan to attend the Warkworth Guild's Spin In on October 5, 2010 in Campbellford, ON. There will be about 60 spinners there. I attended last year and loved being amid so many spinners and so much fibre!

Catherine, on the left above, was impressed that I knew where the elementary school she teaches at is located; and even more surprised to learn that I taught for 18 years at the neighbouring high school. She has just recently learned to knit and got a lot accomplished on the baby hat she was working on.
Jody took this action photo of me at the wheel. I got the rest of the bag of hand-painted pencil roving spun. And started on some of the Finn blend I bought from Jody's booth at the Knitter's Fair last weekend.
It was a lot of fun and I look forward to the Spin In in a couple of weeks.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Spinning and Selbu

I have started spinning some of the hand-painted pencil roving I bought at "Indigo Dragonfly" at the Knitter's Fair in Kitchener last weekend. I'm really liking how it is turning out. This colourway is "I Am Not A Shrimp".

I also finished my prototype Selbu mitten that I will be teaching on October 30 and November 13 at Myrtle Station Wool. I used white and black sock yarn. Except for the Latvian Braid, all of the patterns on the mitten are traditional Selbu patterns that were graphed by Terri Shea in "Selbuvotter" from Selbu mittens in the collection at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, WA and from the collection of Annemor Sundbo. I used the "chained rose" design on the cuff

and on the back of the hand is the Selbu rose/four leaf clover pattern. I inserted a heart at the tip of the mitten.

The plaid pattern on the palm is my favourite.

And on the thumb is the chained rose again.

I did a bit of tweaking of the pattern after I knit the mitten and just need to figure out how to copy and paste the graph from my software into a word processing document. Then I'll finish writing it up.

Any two contrasting yarns would work with this pattern. Last winter, I used two colours of Briggs and Little Durasport on this pair of mittens.
I have also used a dark, hand-painted yarn as CC with white as the MC. I have also used black as the MC and a beautiful hand-painted yarn as the CC for a stained glass effect.

Once one has mastered two-coloured knitting, mittens are a great thing to knit as they require about 2/3 the number of stitches as a pair of socks. They're also very useful, warm and very fun to wear. Just be prepared for all the compliments you will receive - especially when you say, "Thank you! I knit them myself!".

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Shawl Times Two

I finished the triangular garter stitch shawl last night. It is made from the hand-painted Silky Mulberry Sweaterkits yarn I bought at the Knitter's Fair and has a picot edging. I'm not that thrilled with garter stitch but I think it turned out all right.
I also blocked the second Sekku Dianna shawl. It turned out well.
I painted the deck boards today.  There was a small crisis when I first opened the can of paint. It wasn't the right stuff! Skip had bought it on Saturday and bought brown stain instead of the transparent cedar deck sealer. I wasn't sure if he had screwed up or had decided to do it the different colour but I made the executive decision to get the right paint. Fortunately the stuff Skip had bought was not a special tint so it was easily exchanged. I was annoyed to have to drive across two towns to the paint store, thus wasting valuable painting time.  But only took a couple of hours to finish the job and it looks great! When Skip got home, he hadn't decided to do a different colour - he had just guessed last Saturday at the paint store rather than read the colour off the leftover can from the last treatment. Of course, he doesn't carry his cell phone nor turn it on. Except when he wants to use it. Ah the joys of married life! I guess if that's the most annoying thing that's happened in the last while, I'm doing pretty well.

Tomorrow I hope to get the top rail painted and a second coat on the other horizontal rails. It's a pretty big job to prep the deck but the actual painting doesn't really take that long. I like to paint. I think it's because it looks so darned good when it's finished and it stays looking good for quite a while.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

2010 Knitter's Fair

Yesterday, Jennifer and I went to the Knitter's Fair in Kitchener. It was my second time going; the first being in 2007 with Skip in tow. This year's Fair seemed to be much bigger with more vendors and lots of space as they were spread out over two large halls.

Getting in the dressed in the morning posed quite the dilemma. What knitted item should I wear? What do I wear with it that will look OK? I ended up wearing a white shirt and my Zauberball Dianna shawl. 
I got lots of compliments. Many people were very surprised to learn that I used the Zauberball yarn on it.

Jennifer and I were there from 9:45am to 3pm; taking our time going from booth to booth and in some cases re-tracing our steps to make sure we hadn't missed anything.

In spite of the fact that I am going to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival next month (Mecca to knitters), I bought a lot of stuff. It felt like a knitterly Christmas! This is what I took home.

... from Wellington Fibres

-120g 650yd skein of laceweight
-80% mohair/205 wool
-Colour Variegated
-Wellington Sierra Desert colourway

a skein of 100% bamboo yarn from Dye-Versions in fingering weight

-Harvest colourway (left)

a skein of handpainted Tencel (right)
-3 oz./85g 263 yd (approx)
These two skeins of Malabrigo Kettle Dyed merino worsted were on sale.

This kit had a Koigu pattern and Prism Saki yarn
-80% Merino/20% Nylon
-Ginger colourway

From Hubbert Farms, I bought two skeins of 75% alpaca blended with 10% Finn, 10% mohair and 5% seasilk. It is 3ply sportweight and each skein has 200 yards.

and also from Hubbert Farms -  2 'bumps' of pindrafted alpaca blended with finn, bamboo and soy.

For my spinning needs, I bought 200g of Corriedale White roving,

and 200g of hand painted 50/50 superwash merino/silk pencil roving.
I finished the baby hat that accompanies the Provence Baby Cardigan. Skip and I delivered them to baby Taylor's mother this morning.
I also included a cotton Petal Bib in the package.

Next Saturday, I'm attending the World Wide Spin In Public (WWSIP) Day event at The Black Lamb in Port Hope. It starts at 10:30 and is bound to be lots of fun. If interested in attending, let Laurie know. Bring stash you want to swap (yarn or fibre); your own plate, cutlery and drinking vessel; your wheel and a chair; and a portable gazebo/tent for sun protection. I just checked the forecast for Saturday and it's supposed to be sunny with a high of 17F. Perfect outdoor spinning weather!!!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Odds and Ends

I got buttons on the Provence Baby Cardigan. The colour looks like lilac but it's really a soft pink.
I've been puttering away on some Halloween stitching. So far, I've done a couple of small freebies.

Spooky Time is from Lizzie Kate. It measures 2 1/16" x 3 1/2". I couldn't get very good colour in this photo.
And this is Lizzie Kate's Spooky Patch. The stitched area measures 2 5/16" x 2 5/16". They're stitched on 14 count black Aida cloth.
I'm a somwhat lazy stitcher. Anything that was to be black, I didn't stitch with black floss. I just let the black canvas show. I'm also waiting for some spider charms that I ordered on eBay to arrive to attach to both pieces.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Provence Baby Cardigan

Last night I finished sewing together the Provence Baby Cardigan. It is a free pattern from Classic Elite Yarns.  I used a little over 3 balls of Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK yarn. I just need to find three buttons.
It was a quick and easy knit but a pain in the butt to sew together. If I were to knit it again, I'd probably knit the moss stitch button bands as I go and add a stitch between it and the lace pattern. I did like the easy neck finish and would definitely use it again. To do it, with RS facing and starting on the right front with the smaller needles, pick up all the stitches around the neck including the button band stitches on each side, then knit one row (WS). Then bind off all the stitches on the RS knitwise. Easy peasy! I might also knit the body in one piece so as to minimize the amount of sewing up. I also noted some people on Ravelry picked up the stitches around the arm and knit the sleeves towards the cuff. So using those three modifications, you'd eliminate all of the seaming.

Modifications: I did do was to mirror the lace pattern. On the left front I knit as per the 8 row lace pattern. On the right front I started at row 5 and knit to row 8 then rows 1 to 4. I also knit the sleeves in the round to avoid those seams. I remembered to cast on 2 fewer stitches as I didn't need them for the seam. If converting a pieced cardigan pattern to knitting in one piece, remember to knit 4 fewer stitches as you will not need those seam stitches (2 on each side).

I also made a custom label using Grumperina's tutorial which uses grosgrain ribbon (I used 7/8" for this one) and iron-on transfer paper that can be run through (in mirror image) on the printer. It's kind of fiddly getting the label to peel off uniformly. It took me 6 tries but the result was worth it.
For my kind of transfer paper, it was recommended you iron it on an arborite (or equivalent) counter top and use a pillow case between the label and the countertop. As the iron is heated to its hottest setting (make sure there's no water in the iron) it will discolour the pillowcase so I suggest you use an old one.

I'm still waiting to see if I have spelled the child's name correctly. I only know she was born by c-section on September 1.

In the package, I'll also include one of these petal bibs.  It's from Leigh Radford's "One Skein" book, which I'm so happy is in my public library's collection.