Sunday, 30 October 2011

Joseph's Hat and Gratification

Our neighbour, Joseph, helps us out by looking after our cat and house while we're away. The other day he asked me if I could knit him a hat with his Twitter name on it. He had a colour scheme in mind which made it very easy for me to design the hat and select the yarn. I used Cascade 220 Superwash and only needed a few metres for the lettering so used some red acrylic yarn that was a wee bit thicker than the Cascade 220. The hat is completely washable.

I used Heather Kinne's Lined Beanie pattern and my knitting software to design the lettering. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.
It has a knitted lining that gives the ears a double thickness of warmth. Basically I knit 1" of K2, P2 ribbing, then stocking stitch for about 6.5". Then a purl row which is the folding line to tuck the lining inside. Then 4 rows of stocking stitch, two rows of red, three rows of black then the lettering, three more rows of black, two rows of red and then more stocking stitch to the crown (approx. 7.5"). I then did the decreases and was left with 14 sts which I could have either pulled together to close the hole on the top. Instead, to achieve a flatter top, I grafted the sts closed.
On Joseph's request, I did tack the lining down inside. This also covers the stranding of the lettering so there really is no need to weave in the strands. It should be warm and toasty for the winter.

I think he really likes it.
I also welcomed the break from knitting the wedding socks, although I've just turned the heel on the 2nd sock and could be finished it tonight.

Joseph posted a photo of the hat on Facebook and almost instantly had a friend request if I would do one for him. I contacted the friend and we're negotiating.

I love knitting for people who appreciate it. :-)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

One Down, Three To Go

I finished Sock 1 of 4 this evening at Knit Night.

I had Skip try it on when I got home and it's too long so I'm going to rip the toe back to 1/2" before the toe decreases and reknit the toe.

I have cast on Sock 2 and hope to complete it by Sunday. I miss my other knitting but I really do want to get these socks done. I may sneak in some rows of the Kidsilk Haze Stripe scarf to break up the monotony.

I had lunch today with my tea house knitting group. We used to meet every week but circumstances have changed so that we really can only get together once a month now. We have lots to catch up on when we do get together.

After I left the tea house, I went to the new public library and spent about an hour looking at their collection of knitting books and goofing off on the Internet (as if I couldn't do that at home - duh). I love visiting libraries. I can spend hours in them just like when I visit a bookstore. Now if I only had time to peruse them ...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Under the Gun

Skip and I have been invited to a wedding which will take place next month. As the couple has had an established home for many years, I have decided to knit them socks for a wedding gift.

I decided to do 3 x 1 ribbed socks. They hug the leg well but aren't too intricate so I can knit them fairly quickly. I spent last night swatching with several needle sizes and finally decided on 2.5mm needles. Today I went through a few UFO sock projects and liberated a 2.5mm circular needle for my project.

I'm liking how the first sock is knitting up.
I have 18 days to finish both pairs - assuming I'll finish them for the wedding. That's 1 sock every 4.5 days. I actually might be able to pull it off!

I like the colourway of the Kaffe Fassett Design Line yarn so much I'm going to try to find another couple of skeins for myself.


I finished my Regia Color (sic) Blitz Garter Rib socks this evening. I had to re-knit the toe of the first sock so I could add about 1/2". They were just too snug. It was my September sock and the second one is the November sock. I have December on the needles - the second Embossed Leaves sock (which is my October sock).

Identical twins! ♥
I have made some progress on the Kidsilk Haze Stripe scarf.
I'm liking how the striping is going. From what I've seen from others' scarves, the repeat is very long - only two complete repeats in the whole ball of yarn. I'm looking forward to the bright purple stripes. Some people on Ravelry had a lot of trouble with wooden and metal needles. The bamboo needles are working fine for me as they grab the yarn and keep the stitches from flying off.

I also started the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf. It's slow going but I'm liking the look of it. Pics to follow...

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Woodstock Fleece Festival and Beyond

Marion and I got up early and made our way to Woodstock (Ontario) today for the Woodstock Fleece Festival held at the fairgrounds.

There were 62 vendors, many of whom were new to us. When we first went in, we went directly to the Needle Emporium booth as I knew they had the new (to North America) Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe in stock. It is more than double the cost of the regular Kidsilk Haze because of the Kaffe Fassett colour design. I bought three balls:

Twilight and
On the inside of the ball band is the pattern for the "1 Ball Scarf" which is also a free pattern from the Rowan website. Basically it's a stocking stitch scarf with a few rows of moss stitch at the beginning and end and 5 sts of moss stitch on each side to keep the edges from rolling.

Of course, I had to cast on and get the scarf underway.
I also picked up a skein of Fleece Artist Maseru - 66% mohair, 24% wool, and 10% nylon in a jewel tone colourway.
At another booth I snagged a pound of mill ends BFL roving, perfect for spinning and dyeing.
Somewhere else I bought a shawl pin.

 This is only the third year for the Fleece Festival but I deem it an unqualified success! Unfortunately, next year it will be on the same weekend as the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. I'll only be able to be in one place. However, if, for whatever reason, I can't attend Rhinebeck next year, I'll at least have the WFF to attend.

After lunch we drove to Guelph to visit Greenwood Quiltery which had not only a staggering array of quilting fabric but a luxury yarn shop in the back. There, I bought three skeins of Koigu to knit the Churchmouse Linen Stitch Scarf.
I know they look really random but with blue as the common colour to all three, I'm pretty sure they'll look good together. However, I know it will be a project that will seem to never end with the 400+ stitch rows. The gal at the yarn shop suggested that instead of turning at the end of the knit (right side) row, because you change colours every row, just cut the yarn and slide the project to the other end of the circular needle, attach the new colour and just do the knit row again. What a great idea!

I also splurged and bought two more skeins of Koigu to knit myself a pair of Paraphernalia socks. I ♥ the asymmetrical cables.

Finally, I bought two skeins of Regia Design Line Random Stripe socks in the Anthracite (2903) colourway - nice manly colours for a pair of socks that I'll be giving as a gift (note: I didn't use the annoying gerund - 'gifting' - ugh).

I bought more stuff today than I did in two days at Rhinebeck! I guess I'll be knitting from my stash for a while.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Stitching and Lace

Last night was the October meeting of the Trillium Embroidery Guild. It was a project meeting, which means we got a little project to do enabling us to learn a new technique. One of our members is Carol Arsenault, a member of our guild and the Northumberland Hills Stitchery Group and even more impressively, she's had her designs published in the Summer 2008, Spring 2010 and Fall 2011 issues of "A Needle Pulling Thread" magazine, and she will be an instructor at the CreativFestival this weekend.

Carol demonstrated a technique for wrapping a bead with embroidery thread to use as an embellishment. We were each given a paper bag with a cross-stitch pattern, beading needle, packet of beads and stitching fabric.
Carol gave us the instructions for wrapping the bead with thread and went around to each table to demonstrate. Here's my first one done! I think it looks like a little pumpkin.
Ever the over-achiever, I did a second one.
Carol also explained that one could attach a petite bead to the bottom or a little tassel and showed us how to do that as well.

I may even stitch the whole project (or will certainly put it in a ZipLoc bag as a quick project to grab).

On the way to Rhinebeck last week I started an Embossed Leaves sock with Cascade Heritage Hand Painted Sock Yarn.

This morning I finished my first sock. I think it's my October sock because technically, the other 'October' socks are still unfinished. 

This outdoor photo best shows the detail.
At my Cat Bordhi class at KnitEast, I learned that if one twists a stitch in the direction of the twist of the yarn, it strengthens the yarn (like adding more twist when it's being spun). To reinforce the bottom of the heel and the stitches on the ball of the foot and toe of the socks, I twisted the odd sts in one row and the even sts in the next row - in a checkerboard fashion. It does skew the sock to the bias in those spots but a good blocking will fix that. Note the difference in look between the different sts on the bottom of the foot. I think it looks pretty nice, too.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

2011 NY Sheep and Wool Festival

Last Friday, Mo and I headed out on a road trip. We like our electronics. We had a panoply of gadgets and cords to make our trip an enjoyable one.

Our destination?  Rhinebeck, NY for the 2011 New York Sheep and Wool Festival at the Duchess County Fairgrounds. This billboard is at the last turn before getting to the fairgrounds. It is at this point one gets quite excited.

How does one prepare to attend the festival?

This is all I took to the fairgrounds. I also had a nylon shopping bag tucked into a pocket of my bag for some of my purchases.
Once inside, we saw lots of wonderful things: pottery and hand-painted roving and
beautiful displays of yarn.

This felted piece was large and stunning.
This was Green Mountain Spinnery's booth in the Horticultural Building.
This was the Carolina Handspun booth with lots of kits, yarn and fibre.
All Things Llama?
Mo has had an electronic spinner (e-spinner) on order from Hansen since August.
This was her chance to try one out. Kevin Hansen showed her some features of the e-spinner. She decided not to wait but to take one with her that day.
We then went to have a look at the sheep. My favourite are these Babydoll sheep. They're about the size of a medium-sized dog. The twins with the green bandanas were just born in June - very late for lambing. 
Their owner didn't even realize their mom (I think she's the one in the red bandana) was pregnant. 
The Jacob sheep are a very old breed of sheep.
This is an Icelandic with lots of long, curly fleece.

This is a Border Leicester

and this longwool is a Teeswater.

Outside, I spotted this beautiful llama. I didn't realize how long their hair could be. The hair was blowing in the wind
Just before lunch, I went to the author's book-signing area. I got two books I wanted signed by the authors: Clara Parkes' "The Book of Socks" and Gwen Steege's "The Knitter's Life List". There was a HUGE lineup for the YarnHarlot's book then an equally large lineup to pay. I decided to skip the YarnHarlot and just spend the time in line to pay. My books were already signed with my name in them so I couldn't just leave them and come back later.
After getting out of there, I went over to the 4H building for lunch and hoped to meet up with MaryAnne. Unfortunately, her bus was stuck in traffic and she didn't arrive until almost noon. In the meantime, I took some pics of some lovely knitted items. This woman told me her shawl is a Teva Durham pattern with Sanguine Gryphon Bugga yarn.
And I recognized this sweater from an advertisement in a knitting magazine.
This little guy was proudly showing off his goat.
Finally, I made contact with MaryAnne.
After all our shopping, Mo and I decided to go back to our motel in Kingston and put our feet up. Just before we left we saw Michelle from Sweet Sheep with her adorable  'mini-me' daughter. They were sporting matching cardigans.
Back at the motel I laid out my loot: 4 bags of fibre, some peanut butter fudge, three books, a 20g drop spindle, a Kumihimo disk and some beautiful laceweight 80/20 BFL/Silk.
Mo got out her e-spinner and quickly got to work spinning up the fibre that was included with her purchase.
Sunday morning, we went back to see if we had missed anything from Saturday. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was much less crowded.

I loved the Kokonoelle booth with some very unique ways to display shawl pins and buttons.
This hooked rug was on display in the food building.
This carver had lots of birds for sale. Some were painted and some just had the woodgrain showing.
Mo grabbed a pretzel for lunch. The booth was right across from the band that played the pan flutes. I'll always associate the sound of the pan flute with Rhinbeck from now on.
While she was in line for dessert, I captured a photo of one of her bags containing a precious purchase.
Here, Mo is demonstrating that she can use the e-spinner in the car. It wasn't that comfortable for her but it could be done.
We drove part of the way home that afternoon and the rest of the way home yesterday. And now, it's all just a fond memory.