Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lest We Forget

It's still a couple of weeks until Remembrance Day / Veterans's Day, when we remember those who served and those who died in the wars.  Sadly, this year there will be one more to remember, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

He died from a gunshot to the back from a terrorist punk yesterday in Ottawa.  Cpl. Cirillo was stationed at the War Memorial, a human reminder of all the soldiers who had gone before him, a guardian of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This incident was particularly unsettling to me.  I come from a family who served.  My parents and uncles were in uniform, proudly serving during World War II.

I know this area of Ottawa very well as I went to college just a few blocks away. I would go for a walk to the War Memorial and Parliament Hill when I lived there as they were both peaceful and beautiful places.  That was then.

I remember touring the Parliament Buildings during a school trip when I was in the 6th grade. It was big and impressive and open.  I'm sure that will change now.

So, when I'm thinking of the reason for Remembrance Day and Veteran's Day this year, I'll be thinking of the unknowns, the many who served.  I'll be thinking about my family.  And, I'll be thinking of Cpl. Cirillo - and of Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-at-Arms in the Parliament Buildings who stopped the terrorist in his tracks.  Dead.  Mr. Vickers is a hero.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Last year I had to travel to San Antonio, TX to see the Doobie Brothers.  Okay, there were other things to see in San Antonio too, but the Doobies were a highlight.

This year, the Doobies Brothers are coming to me, almost.  Red Deer is about 89 miles/143 km from Calgary, so how could I pass up the chance to see them again?

It's worth taking a day off work to Listen To The Music!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tenntucky Retreat

I'm finally catching up after vacation, and it was a very good one.  I went to Kentucky and to Nashville, knitted, met lots of wonderful people, ate too much and relaxed.  It doesn't get much better than that.

For the first part of the trip I attended the Tennucky Fiber Arts Retreat at Lake Barkley State Resort Park west of Cadiz, Kentucky and near the border with Tennessee.  It was the first time for this retreat and it was expertly arranged by our hosts Joseph, Rachel and Ann. They thought of everything - the resort arrangements, meals, speakers, classes, swag bag, games and had continuous communications with us leading up to the event, and more - and as a result, we had a fun and totally relaxing weekend.

Check out this aerial view of the resort.  Isn't it beautiful?
(c) Lake Barkley State Resort Park
I loved my room which overlooked the water.  Talk about a room with a view!  The balcony was a peaceful place to sit and knit when you wanted a bit of "alone" time.  Otherwise, I was at the main building, knitting and chatting and making new friends.

Click to enlarge
The area reminds me of cottage country in Ontario. All that was missing was the sound of loons.  I wonder if they have loons in this area?

There were four classes being offered.  I have never enjoyed the technique of double knitting but I decided to give it another try.  The class, led by Hank (Henrietta) was very good and I did learn some new things, but I still don't care for double knitting.  I did like the way she taught us to do a two color cast on, however.

I had such a good time that I'm planning to return again next year.  I've already put in for the vacation days at work!

As with all enjoyable events, the time went by much too quickly.  After the retreat I went to Nashville for a few days - saw the sights, visited the Hermitage and two wonderful yarn shops.  More about that another time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blame Kaffe

Often times so many appealing patterns and/or yarns come along that I want to knit them all and there is just not enough time. I was contentedly working away at various projects including the challenging Jubilee Throw by Kaffe Fassett.  Then I learned that Rowan Yarns was sponsoring a new knitalong, a new, easier, afghan by Kaffe Fassett.  I'm a huge Kaffe and Rowan fan so I couldn't resist signing up. 

This afghan consists of 63 blocks, 9 blocks which are each knitted 7 times.  Kaffe is well known for his colorwork and this afghan uses 10 colors, 4 are used in each square.  Many are speculating, and I agree, that the pizzazz will come from the placement of the striped squares.  The patterns for the blocks are released one at a time, about 10 days apart.  The first was released on October 1st and, being on vacation, I've only done 2 of the squares.  I have a bit of catching up to do as the next clue is being released in two days, but I'm confident that I'll be able to catch up.


If another Fassett pattern comes along that I can't resist, and if I can't catch up......

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Two Down, Two To Go

Has it really been almost three months since I went to Denver?  I guess I'd better get going and post about the second border of my Travel Afghan.  There are two borders finished, two left to do.  I'll have a complete afghan before long.

This time I chose a yarn from Colorful Yarns in Centennial, Colorado.  I love this shop.  My friend, Tiffany, has filled the store, every inch of it, with a wonderful selection of yarns and books.  The range of yarn is amazing, from the yarns you know to those of indy dyers that are talented and worthy of support.  

Don't be fooled by the plain exterior of the building.  On the ground floor, on the left side of this picture is one of the best yarn stores you'll ever have the pleasure of visiting.  There is a LOT of stock in the store and if they don't have what you're looking for, Tiffany will likely order it for you.  Plan to spend a lot of time in the shop.  This building is beside the Streets at Southglenn Mall.

Two yarns called out to me for this project.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I try to choose something that reminds me of the trip...e.g. the name of the yarn or the color or the fact that I've never seen it before.  I chose Baah Yarn, sock yarn (La Jolla) in the color “Carmen, The Opera”.  This yarn was dyed exclusively for the shop and is named after the owner's Mother.  These are her favorite colors.  There was another colorway named for the owner, "Breakfast at Tiffany's".  The yarn is fingering/sock weight and I had to double it to get the right weight for my afghan.  I chose the Carmen yarn as I thought it would look good doubled, and it does!


Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations

Yarn:  Baah Yarns sock yarn, La Jolla
Color:  Carmen, The Opera
Fingering weight - held double
100% Superwash merino wool
400 yards (365 meters)/100 Grams

Needles:  US #7/4.5 mm

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music Monday - Going Down

L to R:  Joe Bonamassa, Billy Gibbons, Derek Trucks and Dusty Hill, on bass.  I don't know who is on drums or keyboards.  I would have loved to have been at this concert.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rowan & Martin Afghan - Completed

If you were to ask me if you can have too many afghans I would have to say no.  Besides the ones I've knit in the past I have three on the needles and one more about to begin:  Kaffe Fassett's Jubilee Throw will be a long project due to its complexity.  I'm in no hurry at all to finish.  I'm going to savor every block of this one.

The same goes with my Talavera Dreams afghan.  I love working on it and will enjoy every stitch of every hexagon.  My Travel Afghan, Ramble On, has been an ongoing project since 1999.  It's now down to the last two border sides and should be finished in March, 2015.  Such a memory project.

Next up was an afghan that I couldn't resist.  It's a Kaffe Fassett mystery knitalong and it starts on October 1st.  Kaffe Fassett projects are hard for me to resist.  I have my yarn and needles ready for the first clue to be published.

With so many afghans on the needles, I'm happy to report that I have another afghan OFF the needles.

Click to enlarge

Pattern:  Rowan Pure Wool Worsted / Martin Storey Mystery Knitalong
(Ravelry Link)

Yarn:  I decided to make the afghan using yarn from my stash.  There are 48 blocks plus the border - each in a different color.  The yarn is all fingering weight.

Needles:  US #3 / 3.25 mm

Notes:  Because I used fingering-weight yarn instead of the worsted called for in the pattern, my afghan is smaller than the original.  That's what I wanted.  It's a nice size for lap-afghan, or for the grandkids to curl up under when they come to visit.  It felt good to use stash yarn for the entire project.

By the way, the temperatures have gone up and the snow has melted here in Calgary.  Thank goodness!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Open Letter

Dear Mother Nature,

On looking at the calendar I see that the date is September 10th and that it is still SUMMER.  Autumn is still a couple of weeks away and it's more than 3 months until winter.  That is the natural order.  Now correct me if I'm wrong, but here is my thinking:

SUMMER - hot weather, outdoor barbecues, swimming, shorts and t-shirts, fans, too hot to knit an afghan, leaves on the trees, flowers

AUTUMN - cooler days, a little crispness to the air, leaves changing color and falling off the trees, knitting is more comfortable, jackets, the start of hockey season

WINTER - snow, cold, knitting warm afghans, furnace is running 24/7, warm sweaters and heavy coats, snow boots

So, please explain to me why, when the calendar says it's SUMMER do I see this?

and this.....

These pictures were taken on Monday.  It's now Wednesday, day 3, and there is more snow on the ground and, I might add, it's still SUMMER.  Or so the calendar says. 

The pictures were taken as I was stopped in traffic.  Traffic was moving very slowly because of the slippery streets.  That's not supposed to happen in SUMMER.

I might also add that my furnace is on, I'm wearing my snow boots and warm coat, I've got thoughts of Christmas shopping in my head for heaven's sake even though Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en,and Remembrance Day are still off in the future.  Regular season of hockey is still a month away.

So, Mother Nature, please admit that you've made a great error by bringing us the cold weather and dumping this snow on us and do the right thing.  Warm up the city with sun, melt the snow, bring us back to SUMMER..  I'll try not to hold it against you that my flowers are dead, mort, tot, muertos, done for the year.

Thank you,


Disgruntled in Calgary

Monday, September 8, 2014

Kaffe Fassett and a New Knitalong

Back in the late 80s my knitting life changed in a wonderful and colorful way when I discovered Kaffe Fassett and his first knitting book, Glorious Knitting.  Up until then I'd been knitting sweaters from patterns in magazines or pamphlets - fun and interesting but none were anything like a Kaffe Fassett sweater.

It was love, or maybe lust, at first sight.  I wanted to make almost every pattern in the book.  Here it is, about 25 years later, and I still want to make a great many of his designs from this and his subsequent books.

Back then I had to order the yarn from shops in England.  I didn't have a computer then so it meant writing letters to stores that were listed in the back of the book to ask if they had the yarns I needed, waiting for a reply, then getting an International money order and sending it off.  I remember anxiously waiting for the package to arrive and savoring every ball and skein when I opened it up.

On a trip to London, probably around 1988 or 1989, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I visited a shop called Ries of High Holborn (now, sadly closed) and spent so much time in the shop ogling the Rowan yarns that I'm sure the clerks wondered if I was ever going to leave.  There was a wall of 4-ply Botany yarn with every color of the rainbow.  I checked out each and every little skein.  There were kits in a nice box with a window showing the pattern.  I wanted to take all of them home with me, and few did make the trip!  After Ries I went to Liberty of London and saw more kits.  I was on sensory overload.

Kaffe Fassett's patterns lead to a fascination with other designers that used Rowan yarns:  the Seatons (a particular favorite), Sasha Kagan, Annabel Fox, Jean Moss, Kim Hargreaves, to name a few.  Since then the list has become longer.

I've made several of Kaffe Fassett's designs, many completed, some now on the needles.  Here's a list, although I'm sure that I'm forgetting some.  Some are in Ravelry and I plan to put the rest in, too, in order to keep an up-to-date journal for myself.

Key:  Finished (F); In Progress (P), Have the yarn but not yet started (Y)

Foolish Virgins Pullover (F); Icon Pullover (F); Domino Pullover (F); Mosaic Sweater (F); Tumbling Blocks Sweater (F); Tapestry Leaf Sweater (F); Blue Diamonds Pullover (F); Jubilee Throw (P); Triangle Squares Cushion (P); Whirling Star Sweater (Y); Lacey Cardigan (Y) and another finished pullover - the name escapes me at the moment - I'll call it Crosses (F) for now.  I'll have to take out the books and look it up.  That can be time consuming, however, as I can spend hours and hours looking through these books.  There is another sweater, too, a variation on a design he did with houses on it, also (F).

Since discovering Kaffe Fassett, et al, I've been a Rowan fan, too, purchasing the Rowan magazines from the beginning.  I feel very lucky.

So....having said all that, today I got an email from Rowan announcing a Kaffe Fassett knitalong.  You know that I was powerless to resist.  I'll be signing up and knitting the afghan, maybe the oblong cushion later on, we'll see.

Of the four suggested colorways I'm currently leaning towards Turquoise.  You can see the shopping list here and there is an introductory video to be found here.  I predict that it's going to be a very popular knitalong.  In the video he says that it will be fairly simple in design.  I'm just hoping for LOTS of color.  It'll be fun to watch everyone's progress on Ravelry.  There's not much there now but my Ravelry project page can be found here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mosaic is Finished

I've been on vacation and, while I haven't been blogging, I have been knitting.  The Mosaic pullover by Lisa Richardson has been waiting for weeks to get some neck ribbing and now it's finished and I'm pleased with the results.  It was an enjoyable knit and easier to make than it looks.

I made a few small changes to the design to make it my own:
  • I decided not to do the side shaping, leaving a looser fit for more comfort when sitting at a computer all day at work.
  • A couple of inches were added to the body and sleeves.  
  • Instead of working 10 rows of rib for the neckband I did 7, purled one row to give a sharp turning edge, ribbed 7 more rows and cast off.  I folded the neckband in half and sewed it in place.
The biggest change was to do the ribbing in the foreground color in the hopes that the Lavold Silky Wool would have more elasticity than the Rowan Revive, which I love by the way.  I also liked having dark ribbing and dark sleeves for this particular design.  Instead of using the Rowan Glace that was called for in the pattern I substituted the Lavold yarn.  Glace is a yarn with some weight to it which I found in an earlier project.  Besides, the Silky Wool and the Revive, were in my stash.  Yay for using stash yarn!!

As I become more aware of Lisa Richardson's designs I'm becoming a big fan.  As a matter of fact there is another design that I'll be starting soon, Fiori from the new Simple Shapes Lima pattern book.


Pattern:  Mosaic by Lisa Richardson
(Ravelry link)
Yarn:  Rowan Purelife Revive, Color: Marble #466 - 3 balls
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, Color: Medium Blue #70 - 3 skeins

Needles:  US #5 / 3.75 mm

Notes:  There was about 1/4 of the ball of Revive remaining and only a couple of yards of the Silky Wool.

Is it just me or do you, too, see a row of numbers in the design?
I see the numbers repeated three times on the sweater.
2 - 6 - 5 - backwards 9?
My Ravelry project page can be found here.