Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Colour Integrity

A while back I started spinning this superwash merino fibre that had been dyed in my favourite colours.
There were longish bands of colour on the singles.
In order to avoid a lot of barberpoling, I decided to Navajo-/chain-ply it, realizing I'd get less yardage but maintaining the colour integrity.
I was happy to get 404 yards of three-ply.
And now I need to knit this into something fabulous.
I have three other projects on the go right now so won't decide 'til I finish at least one of them.

Yesterday I sewed up a project bag for me that I had cut out a week ago and was just waiting for an hour or so to get to the sewing machine.

Boots!!! And the leaves on the neighbour's maple trees are starting to turn.
I decided to line it with low-loft batting...
and used this coordinating striped fabric for the lining.
One of my unfinished knitting projects will fit in it very nicely.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Kidsilk Haze and Merino

I have been looking at patterns for a couple of balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe yarn that I have in my stash. I found a couple of nice ones on the Rowan website.

Kaffe Fassett's Misty Scarf intrigued me. What you can't see from the photo accompanying the pattern is the zigzag pattern formed with the two yarns. But judging from the photo from someone's project on Ravelry, I didn't really like the harsh contrast, which would also result from the two colourways I have.
Photo by Internationalgirl
Another one that intrigued me was the Color Play Mohair Wrap.
Photo by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
I like the length of it and the blending of the colours. It is knit with two strands: A & A, then A & B,
then B & B, etc. When knitting with the same ball, simply knit with one strand from the outside of the ball and one strand from the inside.

Unfortunately I needed 4 balls of this yarn for the project and I only had 2.

Then thought I could use the orange Kidsilk Haze yarn I had with some lovely Fleece Artist Saldanha Two laceweight to knit the wrap.

I have 4 25g balls of the Kidsilk Haze (916 yards)  and 800 yards of the merino laceweight which should be plenty for this project.
I cast on 109 stitches and knit 10 rows of garter stitch (5 ridges on each side). Then with 5 garter stitches on each side, I'll knitting stocking stitch. Then will end with 10 rows of garter stitch before casting off.
The merino laceweight has the colours of the fall leaves - green, rust, yellow, orange and red.

I really like how it is blending with the orange Kidsilk Haze.

This is fairly mindless knitting but I need to be careful that I'm knitting through both strands with the two strands. Although, any missed stitches won't run down with the fuzziness of the yarn.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Brioche Knitting

The other day, I picked up a Lana Grossa pamphlet with several hat and cowl patterns for bulky, multi-coloured yarn.

I have a couple of balls of Estelle Drake yarn that is pretty similar and thought I'd knit a couple of hats. The patterns are pretty easy but I really couldn't make the patterns work for me with the given needle sizes or number of cast on stitches. Perhaps the Olympia yarn is a lot thicker than the Drake... I don't really know.

So I went on Ravelry to search for a "free bulky hat" and found a few possibles then realized Brioche pattern would achieve the results I wanted - some stitch definition, squishy, thick fabric, etc.  I used this one as my guide.

I cast on 60 stitches (most of the Olympia patterns had 40 - 50 stitch cast-ons) using one of the tubular cast on methods from Leslie Ann Bestor's book "Cast On Bind Off". (not to be confused by the book of the same name by Cap Sease which is a much larger book).

I first tried the Provisional Tubular Cast on where I used waste yarn, knit for 4 rows then on the 5th row folded the fabric wrong sides together, knit the knits and picked up and purled the stitches from between the waste yarn stitches. It was really tedious and not stretchy enough.

Not happy with that, I did the Italian Tubular Cast On, where you do a special type of long
-tail cast on with knit- and purl-type stitches. It worked MUCH better and is much more elastic. The only tricky part is learning the actual alternating knit and purl cast on, The subsequent set up rows are very easy to execute.
I like the rolled look of the edge.
The tubular cast on is great for cuffs of sleeves, hats, collar edges, etc. It can also be done for 2 x 2 ribbing by switching the order of stitches in the row after the set-up rows.

After the set-up rows, I did three more rows of 1 x 1 ribbing, then began the brioche stitch outlined in the pattern. It is one where you use yarnovers. I found it to be pretty confusing for TV watching so investigated and found another method:

Round 1: *knit into the stitch below (from front to back), purl the next stitch, repeat from *.
Round 2: *K1, purl into the stitch below the next stitch (from back through to the front), repeat from *.

That was WAY easier.

Once I got that established the rest was pretty easy. It is also easy to figure out which row you are on if you lose track or get distracted by investigating the stitches where you can clearly see that you have either purled through two stitches or knit through two stitches in the previous row.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Bias Lace Scarf

I am somewhat of a yarn snob. I believe if you are going to spend all that time knitting an item, you should use good yarn but not necessarily the most expensive yarn.

There is one yarn, however, that is readily available at craft and discount stores that I rather like for the colours. That is Lion Brand Amazing yarn. I have knit a couple of projects using it.

The Inspira cowl

and the hat Inspired by Inspira.
I bought a couple of balls of this yarn a while back to start another project but it really wasn't right for it - just too fuzzy.  However recently I found Noro Bias Lace Scarf pattern and thought this yarn would be great for it.

The colourways I had didn't change colour as quickly as a Noro Scarf would so I decided to knit alternating yarns. I also didn't do the increasing triangle at the beginning as I wanted points so just cast on 36 stitches to start knitting on the bias. After completing the rows of the lace pattern, I knit rows 1 and 2 again to achieve 2 ridges on each side of the eyelet row. Then switched yarns, carrying the other yarn loosely up the side. I knit until I ran out of one yarn then finished with the other.

It's quite warm and snuggly. It also looks pretty good on the wrong side.

I like the striping.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Fine Day Out

Skip and I have been planning a day trip to Picton for several months. Being a tourist area, it is very busy in the summer so we decided to wait until September to visit. We also were able to have an early fall colour tour en route.

There are lots of nice shops - perfect for browsing. We stopped into Books and Company Limited. They had many cool items such as a Moleskine 2015 daily calendar with Lucy and Charlie Brown on the cover.  This was a bird bingo game. Not so much marking your card when you spot the bird (as there were many we would never see in this part of the world) but the caller draws cards with the bird species on it and you mark your card. It would be an excellent way to learn more bird species.

Down the street is Rosehaven Yarn Shop. They just got in a shipment of Quince & Co. yarn - a very exciting event as Rosehaven is the only Canadian shop to carry this high-end American sourced and spun yarn.
While there, I overheard a person standing near me talking to the salesperson about the Quince yarn. I asked her where she was from and when she said Kingston, I recognized her and said, "Are You Lizzie?". When she confirmed that she was (Elizabeth McCarten) I told her I read her blog, Chez Lizzie. She knew of mine as well as she gets some traffic to her blog from mine. She also knows my knitterly friend, Jennifer.

Elizabeth has organized a knitting retreat in November at Jackson's Falls Country Inn in Milford, ON. Unfortunately, it's the same weekend Jennifer and I are attending the Needler's Retreat 2014 in Ganonoque.
Elizabeth's (Lizzie's) retreat is sold out but I'll certainly consider attending it next November.

Skip and I then visited a very nice kitchen supply store, Zest, where a very personable poodle, named Carter, greeted us enthusiastically.
I'm not sure how the topic came up but we learned that the proprietor had just bought the new iPhone 6 the day before. She was very happy to show it to us.

Here's the difference in size between my iPhone 4S and her iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7" display compared to the 3.5" display of the 4S. The iPhone 6 Plus has a whopping 5.5" display.
I tested the fit of the iPhone 6 in the designated pocket in my purse and it definitely would fit even with the Otterbox case on it. I'm not considering replacing my 4S until absolutely necessary but will most likely replace it with whatever current iPhone model is selling.

On our way out of town we stopped into the Sandbanks Winery to sample some wine. We bought a couple of bottles and piled back in the car for the drive home.

The weather cooperated, and the traffic was minimal, making it a very fine day out.  We are already thinking of what we'll do on a return visit in the future.

Last night at spinning I continued plying the single of superwash mill end merino I purchased at The Black Lamb quite a while ago. It took me several Monday nights to make it through the 160g bag.
Here is the singles in a predominately purple section.
To maintain the colour integrity (and avoid barberpole-ing) I decided to Navajo-ply/chain-ply it. I'm really liking how it is turning out.

This is the result of about 3 hours of plying.
One more hour ought to do it. I'm hoping to get at least 400 yards of the 3-ply yarn.

I have started looking for patterns appropriate for multicoloured handspun and have a couple of projects in mind so I can start knitting with my lovely yarn.

We are getting all excited about the upcoming Spin In in Campbellford on October 7. It is put on by the Warkworth Weavers and Spinners and is always a very well-organized and well-attended event. This year there will be 5 or 6 of us from my little cadre of knitters and spinners who will be going from here. I think last year there were 95 of us crammed into St. James church hall.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Trillium Embroidery Guild - September 2014

At last week's meeting, we started a project that we'll work on all year. We will be doing a sampler of beaded stitching using elements from the book "Bead Embroidery: Stitch Samples" by Yasuko Endo.
For show and share, these pieces were on display.

This one was started at the beginning of the marriage in 1992. It was almost finished before it was put away. Now, 22 years later, the groom's name was added, finishing it. Then it went to the framer.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Ruddington Almost Finished

I finished the sleeves and blocked Ruddington a couple of days ago.
Then I sewed it together. I love the way the pieces 'zip' together with mattress stitch after the pieces have been blocked.
There was a wee bit of easing for the raglan sleeve but it still looks great.
Normally I would have knit the sleeves in the round but this time I knit them flat. With the m1 increase, there is only a little hole at the increase.
A lot of knitters avoid knitting in pieces because they hate sewing them together. I find finishing projects (seaming pieces, weaving in ends, knitting button bands, etc.) quite satisfying. I also really like the look of the finished product.

Here it is with the buttonhole band finished. Tucked underneath is the button band with only a couple of rows of knitting left.
I have now finished the bands and have woven all the ends in. Now I'm on the hunt for appropriate buttons.

For the button bands, I did my usual pick up of three stitches in every 4. This is because stitches are shorter than they are wide. As I made the cardigan a little longer than the pattern indicated there were more stitches picked up than in the instructions. I did a little math to figure out how many button holes there would be and decided upon 8 with 3 stitches bound off for each and spacing them an additional 10 stitches apart.

The sleeves are a little snug but I can fix that by reblocking them. I didn't stretch them out at all when I initially blocked them. The sleeve length is good, though.

One modification I did was knit the neck band with a needle two sizes smaller. This was recommended by Sally Melville in her 'Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know' class on Craftsy.com. I didn't like how the neck gaped in the larger sizes that I looked at on Ravelry. If I were to knit it again. I would add extra length from the underarm to the shoulder in the fronts and back. I would also use a smaller needle for the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater just to bring it in a bit.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Applesauce - Part I

I've been making and freezing applesauce for several years. Last year, for the first time, I canned applesauce. The 12 pints got us through to about April.

I wanted to go apple picking last week so I did some Internet surfing for the local u-pick operations. Unfortunately, a hail storm in August wiped out several orchards' crops to the west of here. I also learned that it's a bit too early for Crispin (Mutsu) or Fuji apples. Last week, at Costco, I bought two 6lb. bags of Paula Red apples which were supposed to be OK for making sauce.

Today was the day for applesauce making. I did up one bag and wasn't that pleased with the flavour. It was somewhat apple-y but not that sweet. I also overcooked the batch and couldn't use the sauce at the bottom of the pot (the darker jars in the photo below). For the second bag, I sweetened it with some Splenda. We are avoiding sugar and find Splenda to be an acceptable sugar substitute. It tasted better but I'm hoping to find better apples in a couple of weeks when the Mutsu apples will be in season.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

2014 Knitter's Fair

My knitterly friend, Jennifer, and I attended the Knitter's Fair yesterday at the Kitchener Auditorium. This year, to satisfy the fire marshall and provide lots of room for shoppers, two separate arenas were designated. The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitting Guild did a fabulous job of organizing the event.

Ahead of time, Jennifer did some research. She printed out the map of where the various vendors would be located and identified the ones that were 'must sees'.

Waterloo Wools is going out of business and the Fair was their last show. All fibre and yarns were discounted 25% so we made a beeline there first.

I bought this braid of Polwarth wool.
I really like spinning multi-coloured fibre.
I also picked up this dyed Moorit Shetland braid in the Pumpkin Pie colourway.

I really am partial to autumnal colourways.
At the Ewe Knit booth I purchased this Cladonia shawl kit that has 5 skeins of Koigu KPM yarn. The pattern was included as well as one for matching fingerless mitts.

After lunch at Marbles, a tasteful restaurant, we visited Shall We Knit? which decided this year not to have a booth at the Fair.  It is a well-stocked, well laid-out store with a wide variety of yarns. I bought a few drastically discounted balls of Frill Seeker yarn for an upcoming teaching opportunity.

We then headed over to Len's Mill Store where I purchased some cute boots fabric and a coordinating fabric.

I also grabbed this trendy purses fabric.
We had also planned a visit to BeadFX on the way home but they had a booth at the Fair! Jennifer was able to get all the bead she wanted for her various proposed lace projects. It saved us a trip down the DVP in Saturday traffic. We were pretty pooped after all that travel and excitement.

Last Wednesday, I visited the Len's Mill Store on Orfus Rd. in Toronto and snagged these companion fabrics.  I have a couple of project bags in mind for myself.