Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's NOVA, baby!

Recently I went to a baby shower for a new mom who is a co-worker.  Both she and her husband work at NOVA Chemicals so I decided to make a little cardigan for their new daughter based on the company's logo, left:

Perhaps she'll be a NOVA employee when she grows up.  I made a little change, turning the dot into a smiley face.  The cardigan is plain raglan and I made it more feminine by adding a pink trim around all of the ribbed sections.  I created a knitting graph for the back:

I did this in Excel for a specific reason.  I've got a very comfortable chair in front of my computer at home and it's one of my favorite places to knit.  I had the spreadsheet up on my monitor and when I finished a row I would then hide that row, working my way up from rows 1 to 54, like this:

When I was finished the intarsia design, I unhid the rows and the pattern was back in its entirety.

It was very gratifying that the sweater was so well-received by the mom and the other guests at the shower, many of whom are also employees, or married to employees.  This little cardigan actually had its own paparazzi as some of them took out their phones and snapped photos.  It was suggested that I make sweaters for their kids as well as adult sizes.  I declined!

The buttons are a very pale white, almost transparent, with white flower design:

A rather dark picture.  The sweater is actually a very nice, clean off-white shade.
The back with the logo design:

I don't know why the blue color is so neon as shown here.
In the photograph that I uploaded it is not.  

The blue is actually a medium baby blue as on the graph.


Pattern:  Basic stocking stitch cardigan, "Bow" by Kertzer.

Size:  12 months

Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash Sport
3.25 skeins of #817 - Aran
> .5 skein of #897 - Baby Denim
~ .1 skein of #894 - Strawberry Cream
A couple of feet of black from my stash.

Needles:  US #3/3.25 mm (ribbing) and US #5/3.75 mm

Notions:  5 buttons

Note:  The sweater was knitted, assembled, blocked and buttons added in five evenings.  I was very glad to have finished it in time for the shower.  I hope that I never have such a tight deadline again!

Monday, June 23, 2014


The days are long here in Calgary now that summer is officially here.  At 11:13 PM there is still light in the sky and I could hear a couple of birds chirping.

Click on photo to enlarge
I hope that your summer is off to a good start!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rowan Afghan Knitalong Progress

Back on May 18th I started knitting an afghan as part of the Rowan Mystery Knitalong.  There would be one clue published each Monday (some came out early, one was late) which the knitter was to repeat for 6 blocks. After 8 weeks we would have enough blocks for a 48-square afghan. For week 9 we were given the instructions for the trim, a cabled border that is knitted separately and then attached.  The last clue, due on June 23rd, will give instructions for assembly.

Suggestions were given for the color scheme for a 17-color, 4-color, etc. afghans using Rowan's new Pure Wool Worsted yarn.  I decided to make a 48-color afghan using the yarn from my stash.  Some of my colors might be close, but they are all different, no repeats.  I'm a little behind, but catching up, because I stopped for a while to knit a baby sweater for a shower.  I've blocked each square as soon as it's completed.

Top row (left to right):  
Week 1 - Garter Stitch Waves; Week 2 - Nordic Star; 
Week 3 - Heirloom Lace; Week 4 - Lace Kisses

Bottom row (left to right):  
Week 5 - Dots and Dashes; Week 6 - Little Doughnuts;
Week 7 - French Plait; and Week 8 - Ripple Cable

I've finished up 31 blocks.  You can see 30 of them in the picture, above.  Number 31 (a week 8 square in pale gray) is on the blocking board and now number 32 (from week 6 - dark, almost navy blue) is on the needles.

31 Blocks completed, 17 Left to go
I'm now getting to the point where I'm anxious to see how this is going to look when finished.  I don't know, yet, what color I'll use for the border.  White or off-white perhaps?  Black?  A bright color or something more subdued.  When the 48 blocks are finished I'll lay them out and decide what to use, and see what's in my stash.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

And Finally.....Yarn

A trip would not be complete without a visit to a yarn store.  Afternall, I need to add to my Travel Afghan in which I add a block, or in this case, a border side, to remind me of the trip.

I visited two shops.  I was less than impressed with the first one.  When I walked in the door the clerk asked if she could help me and I said that I'd like to look around.  Browsing was quite difficult as there was a large table full of knitters.  I felt like I was intruding on a clique. The table took up most of the space and in order to look at the yarn I had to squeeze by.  I didn't see anything that "spoke to me" for my afghan, but then I decided to pick up one ball of Rowan yarn that I'd not yet seen in order have something for my blanket..  I tried to connect with the clerk to tell her that I was ready to pay but was ignored so I left without making a purchase.

That meant that I'd have to look at another shop.  I know, such a hardship! Fortunately I found another shop that was just the opposite.  Rainbow Yarn & Fibres is a charming, warm and welcoming store and the owner, Brigitte, the owner, and I chatted a bit.  She did have some locally spun and dyed yarn but it was too heavy for my afghan.

However, I found a yarn that I'd never seen before called "Vice", a gorgeous heavy fingering-weight yarn.

Brigitte was winding one of these skeins into a ball for a customer in a vibrant cobalt blue named "Calypso".  I decided to choose the same color because, (a) I liked it, and (b) I was in Memphis to hear some blues.  Brigitte offered to wind my skein for me but I decided to wait until I got home so that I could first take a picture of it in the skein, and then in the ball.  Danke schön, Brigitte, for a nice visit to your shop and if I ever find myself in Memphis (actually, Germantown), again, I'll definitely be back.

Now, the first border of my Travel Afghan is complete.  Only three more borders to go and the afghan will be finished.


Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations

Yarn:  Vice
Heavy fingering weight - held double
70% Merino/20% Cashmere/10% Silk
400 yards/115 grams

Needles:  US #7/4.5 mm

Note:  The yarn is beautifully soft and drapy...almost too nice for an afghan.  However, there were 83 grams left which may be enough for a small neck wrap.

Can't help falling in love
with this yarn!
One more thing before I wrap up my trip to the South.  A comment was left saying that I should take a picture of my new guitar strap.  I don't know if it's sacrilege, but here it is on my Fender Stratocaster guitar.  Perhaps one day I'll have a Gibson, too.  (I should have put a shirt on the mannequin - such a bold girl, she is!)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Went Down To The Crossroads

Next stop on my little travelogue is Clarksdale, MS, the home of the Mississippi Delta Blues.  Legend has it that blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads:

Click on pictures to enlarge.
From the minute that you arrive in Clarksdale it's obvious that this is a town that's been dying for quite a while.  On the main street are many boarded-up stores and some of those that continue could use a bit of TLC.  It's a town with a rich history, some good, some not-so-good.  What drew me to Clarksdale was the blues.  It's what is helping to bring the city back to life.  I enjoyed the music by some street musicians playing songs like "One Way Out" and "You've Got To Move", which has been playing in my head on and off since returning home.

Clarksdale has been home to many well-known musicians for part of their lives.  As well as Robert Johnson, the city has been home to people like W.C. Handy, John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters and Ike Turner, to name but a few.

By the end of the day I was tired and decided not to go into the Ground Zero Blues Club.  It's owned by the mayor of Clarksdale and actor Morgan Freeman.  I'm saving it for another time in case I ever come by this way again.

Next time it's back to Memphis and a yarn store or two!  You know I can't pass up a visit to a local yarn shop when I travel.