Monday, January 31, 2011

Back to Sock Knitting

It's been a while since I've knitted socks and it's now time to get back to it.  Even though I have a million (give or take) balls of sock yarn in my stash, I couldn't resist this yarn when I was in Kingston at Christmas.  I've knitted with, and liked, Garnstudio's yarns, but I'd never tried their sock yarn before.  I liked the color, too - a brown, gray, black mix.  How could I resist?

The yarn is called Drops Fabel Superwash.  One sock is finished and if you are asking if that can really be the second sock on the needles, you'd be correct.  No second sock syndrome for me! 

Having said that, in the near future, I plan to go into my knitting basket and make sure that all socks have mates.  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Travel Afghan #41

I've finished another block of my Travel Afghan, #41.  Whenever I go on a trip I buy a ball of yarn that, for some reason, reminds me of the area or the purpose of the trip.

This time I chose Diamond Luxury Collection Edo that I bought at Wool-Tyme in Kingston, Ontario when I was visiting over Christmas.  The yarn is a DK weight, 25% alpaca, 25% virgin wool and 50% microfibre - color 02 Miso. 

I had two reasons for picking this yarn:  it was Christmastime and I associate the color green with Christmas and I'd never seen this yarn anywhere before.  It didn't hurt that it was in the bargain bin, the last of the dye lot. 

It a pretty yarn,  tweed-y, with a combination of a very slightly variegated green with black running throughout the ball. 

To make this afghan I'm following a favorite pattern:  Rambling Rows.  It's made up of 3 mitered shapes: large squares, small squares and the rectangle that you see below.  There are a total of 55 blocks, plus the border, in the pattern, so I won't be finished anytime soon.  That's okay.  I'm in no hurry.  I have no idea what the finished afghan is going to look like, but it's going to unique and full of memories!  I won't call this an F.O. (finished object) until the entire afghan is completed.

Next up is my trip to Macon in May.

Home From The Hospital

My back surgery is behind me.  That was a bad pun, wasn't it?  It's too early to tell, but I think it went well. 

Now, maybe I can get back to my knitting more often.  I took a ball of sock yarn and needles to the hospital, not really expecting to knit, but I did manage the cuff of one sock.  Hey, it's a start.

When last I posted about Braydon's red sweater I was battling with the neckband, button band and I was very displeased with the weird way it was turning out.  I took the needles out of the neckband stitches and did some measuring.  I'm quite sure that the neckband will be big enough to go over his head without making a flap on one of the shoulders. 

I ripped back to the beginning of the neckband and ripped out the button flap.  Now, I'm almost finished making a new neckband.  I'm making it twice as long as I need it to be with a purl row halfway, which will be the turn row.

I haven't decided yet, but I might add a faux flap and attach the buttons, or just sew the buttons to the shoulder, as decoration.  The buttons are so darn cute.  Pictures coming later.

Sandnes Lanett #4128
I like this wool very much and will knit something for Braydon again with this yarn.  I'm also thinking of some fingering-weight sweaters that I want to knit for myself, but those will have to wait until the post-surgery pain subsides, and when other projects are finished.  This is my year of knitting from the stash afterall, at least 95% of the time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wendy Richard(s)

On Sunday I finished Wendy Richard's autobiography "Wendy Richard, No S:  My Life Story".  If you were ever a fan of British shows such as Are You Being Served? or Eastenders, you'll recognize her name.  She was Miss Brahms in the former, Pauline Fowler in the latter. 

When I learned that she'd written a book I had to get it from my library (thanks to interlibrary loan).  I enjoy reading books about people's lives.  It was very easy and quick to read as it's written in a conversational style.  She's led an interesting life, lots of amazing "ups" and very sad "downs".  She is open and honest about it all.  And, who knew that she was cast in the Beatles' movie, "Help", but her scenes were cut out?  If you don't recognize the names of many British actors and TV shows, it's easy to get a bit lost, but I recognized enough of them to stay interested.

Wendy Richard died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 65.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Peter Forsberg

A few days ago I heard on the news that Peter Forsberg was back in Denver.  He skated with the Colorado Avalanche to see how he feels and to see if he can still play at the NHL level.  Here is the full interview that he gave on January 22nd.  He can be a funny guy, that Foppa.

My little hockey-loving heart is hopeful that he'll be on the ice and playing with the team soon. I may have to go to another game before the season is finished. Dare I hope that the Avalanche will make it to the playoffs? GO Avs!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fighting With My Knitting

Sometimes I just wish I would listen to myself. 

I didn't listen this time and now I've got some re-knitting to do, again.

The front and back of Braydon's red sweater are complete and I've sewn the left shoulder seam.  Now, onto the right where the buttonhole band was already made.

First, I worked on the neckband and when it got to be just over half an inch I thought, "that looks long enough", but I kept on, making it 1-inch in length as called for in the pattern.  I pinned the right shoulder and realized that it was, indeed, too long.  So, I ripped out the bind off row, tore back a few rows and did the bind off again.  Better.

I picked up the stitches around the neck exactly as the pattern described and find that the neckband is not as long as the buttonhole band.  See the arrow.  That's where the shortfall is.  Why I didn't just listen to my inner knitter and make it the same length, I don't know.  I trusted the pattern blindly.  Silly me.

Although, even if I had've made the neckband longer, to reach to the end of the buttonhole band, I'd probably be ripping again anyway.  The pattern calls for 4 buttons on the shoulder.  My buttons are a little larger than the pattern described, so I made 3 buttonholes instead.  No problem there.  However, as you can see, there is no buttonhole on the neckband.  It would just hang open.  Had I made the neckband the proper length, I might have decided to add a snap to close it. 

I've decided to rip out the neckband and rework it, with a buttonhole and I'll add one more button.  By the way, on closer inspection of the picture on the pattern, there certainly appears to be a button on the neckband. 

Sheesh!!  I hope that this will be the last reworking of the neckband/shoulder closure as I want to get started on the sleeves - worked from the top down.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roots Scarf - Finished

When I decided to design the Roots scarf, I was more focused on the roots than the actual tree.  I was imagining all the trees in the forest with their roots intermingling underground.  After I designed it, I read the following on Ramblings, on the website of the musical/blues group, Delta Moon.

"The largest living organism in North America isn’t a tree. It’s an aspen forest in Colorado. All the trees are connected through the roots, so the whole forest is considered a single organism.

On some unseen level humans are like that too. Call it what you want to – and people call it many things – the connection is there."

They were expressing, much better than I could, what I was trying to say.  You can read the full post on Tom Gray's Journal page by clicking here.

I finished this scarf in 2010 but only today is it being blocked.  I'm giving it to a co-worker, Linda, as a huge thank you.


Roots Scarf

Yarn:  100% qiviut from Windy Valley Muskox
Color:  natural, undyed (brown)
2 balls, 218 yards each

Needles:  3.25mm/US #3

Blocked Size:  10" x 57"

Notes:  As I'm writing this the scarf is being blocked.  First, I gave it a bath in Soak (scent:  citrus).  When I took it out of the water I noticed a distinct smell, like moth balls.  I don't know if it's the Soak, the yarn or a combination of the two.  I'm hoping that the smell will go away when it dries.  I'd hate to give a gift that smells of moth balls!

Update:  Later in the evening, same day:  The scarf is now dry and smell of moth balls is gone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roots Scarf Before Blocking

Well, this scarf isn't very attractive, is it? 

I actually finished this scarf in 2010, but I won't call it an F.O. (finished object) until I've blocked it.  I'm going to do that this weekend, if not sooner.  The pattern is my own, titled "Roots" and it's knit with 100% qiviut.  I'll post more details when it's totally finished.  This is going to be a gift for a hard-working co-worker who will have much more on her desk when she covers for me while I'm away for about six weeks.  I'll continue to blog as often as I can, by the way.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Harry Manx - The First "Music Monday"

I love all kinds of music, except country.  Don't ask me why.  I just don't care for it.

One of my particular favorites is the Blues, especially electric blues.  Lately I found out about Harry Manx.  After hearing one song I checked out his website.  He's from Ontario, Canada and worked at the El Mocambo in Toronto years ago.  That place takes me back a few decades.  For now, here is the song that got my attention, "Walking Ghost Blues".  He's backed by the Maple Blues Band: 


I do like to learn of new (to me) musicians and their music.  I'm going to keep my eyes open to see if he ever plays locally or at a blues festival somewhere.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Highly Recommended

I want to tell you about one of my favorite companies, the Textile Garden, in the UK, where I've bought buttons.

Why is it a favorite?  Here are some of my reasons:
  • I've found exactly the buttons I've been looking for when visits to local shops, online stores, etc. have failed.  The photos and information on the website are excellent. 
  • They sell more than just buttons.
  • Great customer service:  recently I ordered buttons for a very special project.  I waited and waited and they didn't arrive, so I dropped Marguerite an email.  Without hesitation she put a new package in the mail with expedited service.  The first package did turn up, but I appreciated the fact that she stands behind her customer's needs.  The delay was the fault of the post office, not the Textile Garden.  When I ordered previously the buttons came quickly.
  • Presentation is very nice.  The buttons were wrapped in colored tissue paper and held with a gold sticker.  It felt like getting a present.
  • It's fun to browse the website as there are so many temptations and inspirations. 
  • Ordering is easy via PayPal.
So, what did I buy?  I can't tell you just yet as they are for a stealth project!  Thanks, Marguerite!

As an added bonus, there was one this year's UK Christmas stamps on the envelope.  The one on my envelope showed Wallace with Gromit and his knitted sweater.  You've got to love a country that puts Wallace and Gromit on their Christmas stamps, don't you?  Click here to see all of them.

Do you have a favorite place to shop?  I'd love to hear about any that you'd recommend, whether online or in person.  Share the good information with us!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eye Candy Friday

(Click on photo to enlarge, use your Back button to return here.)
 The building on the right is where I work.  The parking lot is on the left and I cross the bridge over the pond, sometimes stopping to feed the ducks and Canada Geese which, at times, number around 40 or 50.  The Rocky Mountains make a spectacular backdrop.  You can see why it's a joy to go to work and see this scenery every workday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Justifying My Stash

I was watching the news on channel 9 in Denver this evening and they were talking about the shortage of sheep and the fact that wool prices are going up.  Then, I went to their website and found this:

"In the last year, products such as cotton have gone up by 119 percent. The price of wool saw a 35 to 40 percent increase.

At the National Western Stock Show, Peter Orwick, a representative from the American Sheep Industry, says wool prices are climbing because of an international shortage.

"There aren't enough sheep around the world right now," he said. "Prices are rising."

We, the knitters, need more sheep.  Well, I don't.  It's a good thing that I've been stashing wool for all these many years.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Knitter - Link

A couple of days ago I blogged about the British knitting magazine, The Knitter.

I've just learned that they have a website, found here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


One of the things I like most about knitting is that it is a constant learning process.  I doubt that there is anyone who knows everything about knitting - although I can think of a few people who certainly come close, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Joan Schroeder, Lucy Neatby to name only three.

The back of Braydon's red sweater is finished, including the little tab for the buttonholes on one shoulder.  Buttonholes are one of those things that I always found irritating.  Mostly, it was because they just weren't neat and tidy enough to suit me.  That is, until I discovered the one-row buttonhole.  Now, I use this technique whenever and wherever I need buttonholes.  Excellent instructions can be found here at the Knitting Daily website.

Last night I spent considerable time making the buttonholes over and over.  The first time, I did the one-row buttonhole, but it just wasn't right.  There were open spaces in the stitches beside the buttonhole.  Rip, Rip, Rip.  I tried again.  The result was the same.  Then I tried the method where you bind off two stitches on one row, and cast on two on the next.  Sloppy and unsatisfying.  I tried making a smaller buttonhole by using the yarn over, k2tog. method.  Not bad, but too small for the buttons I've chosen.

The buttonhole band is done in K2, P2 ribbing.  However, I've discovered that the one-row buttonhole works best on a knit row, so for the one row hat I did the holes, I only knit.  That was the secret.  My buttonholes are now neat and have a bound edge around them - look at the picture, above, to see what I mean.  On the next row I went back to the ribbing and there really is no significant difference in the overall appearance for having done one of the rows in knit only. 

Today, I have just a little more knowledge in my head to draw from.  It's a good thing!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Knitter - Issues 23 & 26

I used to subscribe to many knitting magazines, but over the years I've found less and less in them that interests me.  For my tastes there were too many shrugs, scarves, chunky garments, fingerless gloves, etc.  I found myself browsing through them looking for more classic garments, well-fitting, tailored using fine yarn.  Now, I just buy an occasional issue.

Then, I discovered The Knitter and in it were interesting and informative articles and at least one sweater that I'd consider knitting, perhaps with a change or two, but at least it caught my eye.  I've subscribed and I haven't been sorry.

Recently I noticed that two issues, #23 (left) and #26 had sweaters on the cover that showed promise, and to my eye, were quite similar.  Maybe it's the colors used and the fact that they are round neck cardigans. 

I would consider making either.  I like the sweater on the left better.  I've always liked the combination of gray and pink, but I'm not sure that the pink that was used is the right shade.  It seems a little washed out.  I would change the blue, too.  I think that it's distracting and takes your eye away from the overall design.  Perhaps a very deep blue, deep purple or black would appeal to me more.

As for the sweater on the right, I like the lace cardigan.  It's practical and pretty and could be worn over a dress or with jeans.  I don't like the creative treatment that the sleeves have been given.  It seems to me to be a mismatch.  I wouldn't mind an all-lace cardigan or a sweater with an all-over pattern like the bottom portion of the sleeves, but not both in the same sweater.

By the way, I do have one other knitting subscription and that's for the Rowan Magazines.  I discovered them decades ago and no matter what's in them, I always buy the new issue.  Sometimes I like it, sometimes not.  I'm not happy with the addition of crochet because I have very limited interest in it.  I like the earlier issues, although many designs are dated, but are workable and could be changed for the current times.  Maybe, in the future, I'll look back at the current issues and like the designs. 

Perhaps I'm behind the times.  In both cases, I read them for the articles more than the knitting patterns.  I have no shortage of projects to finish up.  My goal for this year is to achieve a long list of finished projects.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I get a newsletter from Wool-Tyme in Kingston and in the January issue they published this picture from the 1916 Saturday Evening Post.  I had to share!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Red Sweater - Back to the Armholes

I'm really not into making checklists of New Year's resolutions, but I do consider things that I'd like to do in the new year.  One of my goals is to take good pictures of my knitting.  Sometimes I'm not blogging because I don't have a decent photo to go with the text. 

Today is an example of poor photography.  I took a couple of dozen pictures with two cameras, tried to improve the picture in Photoshop, but nothing worked. 

I haven't done much knitting in the past few months but this weekend I got the knitting bug and continued with the back of Braydon's red sweater.  I've reached the armholes.  The color isn't really as bright a red as it appears here.  The color name is Cardinal but I would call it cranberry myself.  The back is not as bumpy as it appears in the picture.  You're seeing the texture of the carpet.

So, until I learn more about photography, here's what I have to show.  You'll have to use your imagination to picture my knitting as smoother and a darker red.