Friday, 29 January 2016

The Syncopation Sock Saga Continues

I cut the cuff off the first Syncopation sock and unravelled a gram or so of yarn of the leg with great difficulty. Yarn likes to run back down in the direction it was knit from, not the other way, so I had to unpick each stitch. I then decided it would be faster to cut the leg the right number of rows down. I did that and unravelled the yarn. I was going to re-knit the cuff and graft it to the leg again but I got all cocky and thought, "why don't I just knit back up to the cuff and do a ribbed tubular bindoff".

I thought it looked really good after doing that. When you knit back the other way, you are really picking up the 'troughs' of your stitches so really are 1/2 stitch out. It doesn't really show because I started the 1 x 1 ribbing right after picking up the 3 x 1 stitches.
I thought I was SO clever doing the tubular bindoff by putting the knit stitches on one needle and the purl stitches on another then kitchenering them together for the bindoff. The only problem was that it was a bit snugger than I like the top of a sock cuff. SOOOO, I'm going to unravel the cuff back down, do the tubular cast-on (I use the waste yarn method) and knit the 1 x 1 cuff and then graft it to the leg of the sock.

I just don't like the top to be snug and am willing to do all that to make it right. In the meantime, I've given that sock a timeout and cast on the second sock. It's going well, thank you very much. We have driven about 2400km over the last 5 days so when it is Skip's turn to drive, I usually knit.
I'm just a couple of rows away from starting the eye of partridge heel flap.
In spite of all the problems I've caused for myself, I love everything about these socks.  The yarn is beautiful, the tubular cast-on is my new favourite cast-on, and the Syncopation pattern is a really nice unisex version of a ribbed pattern.

Today we stopped at The Quilted Skein in La Grange, TX. It is a beautiful shop with delicious high-end yarns, including several hand-dyed skeins by local dyers, and probably all of the Rowan Kaffe Fassett fabrics plus more. I bought a couple of skeins of fingering weight on discount. I have a scarf in mind but am not sure I can get my hands on the pattern so will be doing some Ravelry research. We also toured the Texas Quilt Museum which is right next door to The Quilted Skein. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed but if you are ever in the area (Austin/San Antonio) it is only a couple of hours to La Grange and the museum and the yarn/fabric shop are definitely worth the trip. The town of La Grange is also very cute and has a Historic Courthouse in the downtown square. There are lots of cute shops and cafés to explore as well.

Tomorrow, Skip and I are going to San Antonio to visit a long-time friend of Skip's and his wife, then will make our final push to South Padre Island on Sunday and move into the condo we have rented.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Climbing Vine Mittens

I finally finished these Climbing Vine Mittens.
I bought the pattern several Rhinebecks ago from the designer himself, Bill Huntington, of Hope Spinnery. He operates what used to be a wind-powered fibre processing mill, in Hope, Maine. The business has evolved into a fibre arts studio  "providing high quality yarn, knitting patterns, and custom made knitwear" -- still powered by the wind.

Last October, at Rhinebeck, I purchased his Wind-Spun Yarn to finally knit these mittens.

His booth was very popular at the NYSWF but I was able to still find two contrasting colours for the mittens in the Granite and Dance colourways.
I still need to block them.

Now I'm even more inspired to knit the Fiddlehead Mitts
with my BFL handspun.
Must find background yarn and the alpaca for the lining....

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Digital Subscriptions

 I, like many who have lived as long as I have, have a lot of stuff. I recently had a look at the latest Vogue Knitting and saw enough in the magazine that I wanted to buy it but the thought of bringing another magazine into the house and finding a place to put it stopped me in my tracks.

Lately, I've been using my iPad for a lot more things like storing my knitting patterns, and e-books. I went online and investigated the cost of a digital subscription vs. a paper edition of Vogue Knitting.

For a saving of 40%, and no need to find a place in my house to store the magazines, I subscribed to the digital version. I wish I had done it years ago when this service first came out. Better late than never, I guess.
As I was perusing the issue I noticed a knitterly print that very much appealed to me. (left page, top right). I checked the website and noted the artist, Jenna Russelle, is in Toronto! 
Here's the link for one in her etsy shop. And for the one that is pictured above.
I just might have to order them for myself.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Arrow Caterpillar

This is the status of my Pfeilraupe (arrow + caterpillar) shawl thus far.

I like the subtle striping of the Fantasy strompegarn.
The first 'slot' is between the two rightmost stitch markers. To make the bottom edge smooth, you cast on the 288 stitches first, placing the 25 stitch markers along the edge as you cast on. Then knit back and forth increasing on the right side, one stitch every two markers while at the same time consuming cast on stitches with short rows.
I hope I used a large enough needle (3.5mm) as several people suggested going smaller rather than larger. I did want it to be relatively large and will block it firmly. I think it will have the right amount of drape.

On the project page, there are pictures of several ways this scarf/shawl can be worn. Basically it's a big, irregular triangle with slots. The thin, pointy end (arrow) can weave in and out of the slots to anchor the shawl.
Image by Alpenrose
The folds that are created are the caterpillar part.
Image by Alpenrose

More Hat Pics and Frolic News

The Dale of Norway 2003 St. Moritz patch came in the mail today.  I bought it on eBay in US dollars. When it arrived, I noted that it actually came from only two towns away.

I sewed it onto the cap where the new rounds started, the colours jog, and the pattern is interrupted. It was a good cover-up.
Then I took a couple more photos.
I think it's quite photogenic.
I started the Pfeilraupe shawl and have one slot done and am halfway to the next one. Reading the helpful notes on Ravelry, I printed this helpful annotation of the chart. In spite of it, I still messed up and had to tink back a few rows to do the first slot correctly. At the same time short rows are executed, increases are intermittently done on the right edge. This chart helps keep track of everything. It is excellent for social or car knitting. I may put it aside for our upcoming trip.

I have several projects and UFOs to take:

  • the green Koigu linen stitch scarf
  • the yarn and pattern for my own St. Moritz hat
  • two UFO sock projects
  • the Aran cardigan (1.5 sleeves and button bands left to knit)
  • z-twist handspun to knit twined mitts
I also hope to be knitting some samples for a local yarn shop with luscious high-end yarn. 

The closest yarn shop to where I'll be vacationing is over 3 hours away, so unless I do mail-order shopping (not as fun as being able to fondle the yarn) and pay in inflated US dollars (or more accurately, deflated Canadian dollars), I plan to bring most supplies with me.

I also will be knitting the swatches and prepping for the upcoming Latvian braid class I'll be teaching at the 2016 Knitter's Frolic sponsored by the Toronto Knitters Guild on Saturday, April 30 at from noon 'til 2pm.  OMG! I just checked the website and the instructors are now listed and registration seems to be live.
Selbu mitten cuff with Latvian braid

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Photo Shoot or should I say... Photo Shot

I got Skip to pose in his new hat. Although I didn't get a photo of it, he has a red coat with grey trim that looks very spiffy with the hat. Maybe he'll pose with the coat and hat together sometime.
I have located extra black yarn so will be able to knit myself a matching one. I expect the Dale (authentically pronounced Dah - leh) of Norway patch to arrive in the mail any day now.

I have half a sleeve done on the Aran sweater. 1.5 sleeves to go.

We're starting to get excited about our upcoming departure to the (hopefully) sunny south. I've been whittling down my 'to do' list to prepare for the trip. Skip has been uploading and playing Mexican Conjunto tunes all evening.

I've been looking through an old photo album all evening, scanning various photos, and sending them to those pictured. I've also posted quite a few on Facebook. It has been so much fun. It is so hard for me to believe that they were taken over 30 years ago when I was in my 20s. I'm still that age in my head and fortunately the rest of me is holding up quite well. I'm very grateful to still be in contact with many of the pictured folk, thanks to social media - Facebook in particular.

Here's a pretty early photo of me learning my trade...
Ontario Youth Music Camp, Beaverton ON 1970
and a fairly early one of me plying my trade.
St. Patrick's High School, Sarnia ON Concert Band ca. 1982
 It's fun to look back and remember what my life was like then and who was in it.

Monday, 11 January 2016

St. Moritz Cap

I finished the St. Moritz Cap last night and sewed the facing down to the inside.
I had planned to line it with fleece but Skip said it wasn't scratchy around his forehead so for now will leave it as is.
You can see that the grey Peer Gynt yarn is a bit fuzzier than the Telemark (red and gold) and Heilo (black and white) yarns.
Skip now thinks it would be cool for me to knit one for myself so we'll have matching caps. If I do knit one for myself, I'll knit the facing with alpaca yarn and make it about 3" deep before the purled fold line.

The original pattern has tassels on two cords coming from the top. I have omitted those.

Once the hat has finished blocking, I'll get Skip to model it with the sweater.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Inspiration At Last!

My monthly knitting group met last week and enjoyed catching up since our last time together. Jennifer showed off her Baa-ble Hat and thrummed mittens she knit with her handspun. (The crazy lizard background is a mural at the Mexican restaurant where we meet).
Her pom pom was expertly done.

The snowy background of the sky was perfect for thrumming. Now I'm inspired to knit them for myself. I will, however, need to find a substitute yarn for the sky as I used up all my blue Studio Donegal Irish Tweed yarn on the hat.
Then on Friday, Jen1 and I had an impromptu afternoon together, going for lunch and shopping at two local yarn shops, Myrtle Station Wool (open Thursday - Saturday, 11 - 5) and Knit Kabin.

Here's my loot - 3 skeins of Sandesgarn Fantasy yarn to make the Pfeilraupe shawl - currently the #1 pattern on Ravelry. And it's free! And a skein of yummy indigodragonfly MerGoat sock yarn in the Oooo...Shiny colourway.
The Knitting Socks from Around the World book was a treat from Jen1. Then we went back to Jen's for tea and to catch up on everything since we last got together at the knitting retreat last November.

Last week, Skip and I went to the Sail store in Oshawa, hoping to find some bargains. I found a short-sleeved white Columbia SPF shirt in the clearance section (yippee!) which will be perfect for our winter holiday in the south. While there, I encountered a display of Dale of Norway sweaters, headbands, and hats.

Calgary sweater

Kongsvollen headband

Vail beanie
Skip mentioned that a hat to match his St. Moritz sweater would be nice. I had enough yarn left over to make it except for the charcoal grey which is the now-discontinued KnitPicks Telemark yarn. I tried a similar colour with doubled fingering weight. The weight was pretty good but it was just too dark with adjacent black stitches. I dug out some Peer Gynt grey in a much lighter shade. It's a wee bit thicker and a bit fuzzier but I like the look of it. So the hat won't exactly match the sweater.
St Moritz
St Moritz headband in progress

To make it look even more authentic, I ordered another Dale of Norway St.Moritz patch on ebay to sew onto it.

It has an interior ear band but I'm also going to line it with fleece to make it extra soft on Skip's forehead.

I discovered Dale yarns have two others the same weight as the Heilo I'm using for this project. Heilo is 100% wool, Falk is 100% superwash wool, and Hauk is treated with Teflon and is rain and snow-resistant. All three yarns are the exact same weight and interchangeable for these patterns.

Finally, I just discovered a nifty website that outlines substitutes for discontinued yarns called This is very handy when trying to match yarns in your stash to yarns required for a particular pattern. You just plug in the yarn you need substituted and a bunch of comparable yarns are listed, each with its comparison criteria.

Sunday, 3 January 2016


After knitting the two fronts of the cardigan, I realized that the ribbing was too stretched out. This is because I didn't knit the ribbing with a smaller needle. Rather than frog both fronts and re-knit them, I decided I just needed to re-knit the ribbing, remove the ribbing from both left and right fronts, and graft the re-knit ribbing back onto the fronts.

The pattern originally had a 9 stitch tab of ribbing extend for the button band that was to be knit later and sewn on. The stitches were held on a safety pin.
I didn't relish doing this so in cutting off the original ribbing I also eliminated the tab and will pick up and knit a button band once the sweater has been assembled.

I snipped the yarn and unravelled a row right near the top of the ribbing, picking up the ribbing stitches on a straight needle and the upper stitches onto a circular needle. I then began grafting the two pieces back together. I snapped a shot about a third of the way along. The graft is somewhat disguised by the pattern change from ribbing to cable patterns.
Here's a closeup on what I'd done to that point. Not bad, eh?
And here's the completed graft of the right front.
It's not perfect but the uninformed person wouldn't even know to look there.

I then did the same for the left front. I just discovered last night that I had knit the back on a 4.25mm circular whereas I had knit the fronts on 4.5mm single points. Since the back ribbing is only 0.25mm larger than the new 4.0mm ribbing on the fronts, for now, I'll leave the back as it is.

I finished the back last night and have the remaining stitches on a holder for later.
I'm about to start one of the sleeves. The pattern calls for a double (folded over) cuff but I'm only going to knit a single one. I also don't like my sleeves to fall much below my wrist joint so I will be adjusting the increases accordingly to shorten the written pattern.

Once I internalized the pattern, the knitting of this cardigan has really moved along. I still do keep track of the fishernet pattern with a chart but could manage without that if I really needed to.

All this knitting has been completed while I've been watching the gripping Netflix series, "Making a Murderer" which I finished, and "The Killing" - I'm on episode 10 of 13.

I'm considering knitting the Fiddlehead Mittens with the yarn I spun from a BFL bundle I purchased two Rhinebecks ago. I have some Briggs and Little Durasport I could use for the background colour and some alpaca I acquired in the UK at Toft Alpaca Farm for the lining.
I also need to fix the Syncopation Sock (explained in the previous post) and knit the second one. I need some inspiration...