Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Second Try

The grey and white sweater from yesterday is so hysterically funny that I just have to keep trying to post the last couple of pictures!

I see it! Do you see it too?
Remember, I had major puckering because I hadn't woven my floats and the floats were too short. So I carefully threaded the white yarn through each of it's stitches on the one bad row (actually, most rows were bad, but I think I just tried to fix one row). Of course, there isn't enough white yarn already knitted in to loosen it up enough. So what do I do? Add more. How do I join it? HOT GLUE. I am admitting here that I have used hot glue on a sweater. It appears I only added about two inches at this spot (I think there are more spots). Love those short ends, too. Hot glue. Hot damn.
Let's try for the next picture:
It's there! This picture is the sleeve cuff. Obviously, after knitting the front and back, I clued into 'weave in ends' LOL! This sweater has never been worn with the cuffs folded back!
Which leads to the final question about this sweater. If it were for a now ex-boyfriend....why do I still have it? Well, when we broke up a year later, I knew that knitting was 'my thing'. I was furious that I had spent all that time on my second project, and I knew he didn't really care for it, or would ever wear it again. So I demanded it back. Have you heard the country song "Take your cat and leave my sweater..." (that's not the title, just a line). I think it would have been better if he had taken his stupid cat, and kept his sweater, LOL.
I totally forgot! When I got the sweater back, it sat unloved for awhile. That sweater represented more than just cheap acrylic yarn. When I learned more about finishing, I took the seams out, shortened the front and back and sleeves, and sewed it back up, taking the sides in a bit. And I did wear it. Out in public. Like one big nose thumbing.
Ten Knitterly Things You Didn't Know About Me:
1) I learned to knit around 8-10 years old, by my maternal grandmother. Apparently we ran out of yarn on my first swatch....4 stitches from the end of the cast off we switched to a different shade of green. Years later, I find the swatch, and a ball of the main yarn....ends held in by electrical tape. I also find a picture of my grandmother and me. She is holding some knitting that appears to be small and green.
2) I don't think I earned my Girl Guides knitting badge. In true Tracy style, I was taught to knit, but I had to learn everything else on my own. I had a British book, an American book, metric needles, American needles, and probably some old Canadian needles. I tried making the baby bootie from the British book. It was huge. There are lots of notes in those books--I had great plans to make things...but they were children's craft books, and one project was a vest--not my size....but I never did make any of the patterns. I did though use one of the books to make a Granny square. It's not exactly square, LOL.
3) The oldest unfinished project I have is a textured star cotton tunic, from Rowan #15. I started it in either 94 or 95. I used Handicrafter Cotton. The pattern calls for 22st/4" in the textured stitch on 3 3/4mm needles. I did get that. Cause you know....getting gauge is so important, LOL. This will remain forever an unfinished project as I gave away all the rest of the yarn. And by the way, the armholes are 5 3/4" deep. Uh huh.
4) I'm not a fiber snob. I do try, however, to be fiber appropriate. I won't make mitts out of acrylic, I won't make a baby sweater in mohair. I don't have a big budget, but I do try to get great deals on nice yarns, and use yarns that enhance a project. I've learned a lot!
5) I have knitting envy. I wish I had more time/money/space/talent. I am a bit of an over achiever. I picked up knitting again in the fall of 93, as mentioned last Tuesday--because I thought, for once, I could do something better than my housemate.
6) I am anti-trends. With most of my life. No minivan for me. I may have knit some Kaffe Fassett way back when...but I didn't know he was trendy then--that's just what the library had, LOL. I have never knit a Clapotis, a Flower Basket, or Fibertrend Clogs (although I think I did finally buy the pattern). I do want to knit an Odessa and a Picovoli, but I figure they're pretty generic so it's okay.
7) I am afraid of buying buttons.
8) I hate duplicate stitching anything afterwards, or embroidery. It's knitting that I love.
9) The longest I went without knitting was 4 weeks. It was Feb 95. We had just broken up and I was working on a sweater (next Timeless Tuesday) from his mother. The entire time I was at home doing a practice teaching session, I did not knit.
10) I don't mind finishing work. It might take me a long time to get around to it, but once I finally learned good finishing techniques, it made life so much easier.
11) I have taken workshops with Lucy Neatby, Fiona Ellis, Debbie New (well, not a workshop, but a presentation), Elaine Bryant (?)--the Tunisian Crochet lady, and maybe others I have forgotten. I belong to one guild and one group (I also started one group, now defunct), and I really want to get my Master Knitter's certificate.
12) I have made, and worn--in public-- a Mary Maxim picture sweater.
Not bad, twelve things. I have to go wake Megan to get to school to observe Lucy in JK. Whew!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Timeless Tuesday

I saw the "10 Knitting Things You Don't Know About Me" on Grumperina's blog and have been thinking about it. Then I read Curlerchik's blog and she tagged me! I've been tagged! Yee Haw! But it'll have to wait till tomorrow.

Found the "First Sweater". Not much different than the second version I posted last week. So on to project #2:

This was made for my then boyfriend. Yeah. The curse, LOL. It was from either Canadian Living or Chatelaine, and the original had roosters on the front too. I eliminated those! It's made with cheap-o Merit acrylic from Zeller's. I started the first chart and couldn't understand why my sweater was reversed to the picture. I finally read the small print "Start Knit Rows This End" on the right edge of the chart. So I made it a design feature, and added extra bands of that first arrow band.

Now the details. Cause they are just so funny! See the LONG floats of unwoven in white yarn at the bottom? That's the Christmas Tree motif. The arrow motif on the bottom was 'self-weaving'. It took me a few more rows before I realized what they meant by "Weave unused yarn over and under yarn in use when used less than 5 sts apart" (Or whatever it was). See the tiny knot at the lower bottom right of that section? The sweater started to pucker cause I wasn't weaving my unused yarn, and my floats--though long--were too tight. So I carefully stretched it all out, feeding the white yarn through it's stitches along the row, taking up the slack....the only slack available was the yarn tail, LOL!
Which leads to the next lovely photo:
Gee whiz. This post is called Timeless Tuesday, but should be called a Waste of Time Tuesday. I have tried repeatedly to post two pictures several times. Over and over, it says they're uploaded, etc....but they are no where to be found. So I'm going to publish this post and leave the really humiliating picture of how I solved the puckering/lack of slack in the floats for latter.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Now You See It....

This is my Fleece Artist mohair (and silk?) nursing shawl. You can't quite see it, but at the bottom is the needle it's (still) on. Megan is 10 months old.
Last year I went to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitting Fair to look for some lovely yarn to make a nursing shawl. I shopped around, and was at a booth finally trying to decide between two different shades of Zephyr (blues) or possibly some other Fleece Artist stuff, when suddenly this skein of Fleece Artist mohair appeared from behind the curtain and was put on the table right in front of me. Everyone around me said it was destiny and I must have it; it would look great with my followed me home.
But a mohair nursing shawl? Yes, I needed a shawl, my spot in her room was cold. I had enough time, until I ran into a problem with the intial pattern. Fine, created my own. But mohair? Or, even yarn? My nursing pillow has a wonderful strip of Velcro to hold it on....Velcro vs. yarn is never a good thing.
The temperatures warmed up, we sold our house, we moved, the temperatures warmed some more....
Megan is still nursing, but the shawl....I don't know. I put it on, and realize that the only part you really see the pattern is on my that makes it sideways. It doesn't match on the two fronts---one goes upwards, one goes downwards...
This is the way it looks while being knit. It's got some bright patches, some dark patches, reds, almost pink, dark red....I do like the colours.
But what to do? I'm not a shawl person yet, and this doesn't make me feel like becoming one (which I do want to become). I have another mohair sweater that I've been working on for ...three? years....I'm not really a sweater person either anymore, unless we're at my parents :) This yarn would look good on my mom, but I'm not sure she's a mohair sweater person either. We have two burgany afghans already.
If I knew someone with the same yarn or similiar yarn that would like to trade....I haven't used the whole skein, and I'll frog this and steam it a little too and wind it into a lovely ball.....
Or does anyone have any other ideas of what to do with it? I'm tired of seeing it right now. I could frog it and make any number of shawl patterns out there right now, but I don't know if that's the answer. Or should I buy some more shawl yarn and start fresh?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Knit How? Part 2

Yesterday I was checking out at the grocery store and someone behind me called my name. I don't usually pay attention to what/who's behind me, as long as my kids are in front of me.
It was a pretty blond woman who looked familiar and I knew I knew her, especially her voice. It was Heather from the old Orangeville Knitting and Crocheting Group! We chatted briefly for a minute about the demise of the group and the new group that meets at the yarn store. I wanted to ask about the gorgeous red and black cardigan (?) that she had been working on years ago...a Rowan pattern with a Jaeger yarn from ebay.
As I was about to leave, she said something about the Yahoo machine knitting group. I was taken aback, and said yes, I'd gotten into machine knitting. She smiled and almost whispered "Me too". I fessed up and said I have two machines. She smiled and said "Me too". We giggled like school girls learning that we each had the same poster of John Schneider above our bed (I was so upset when I learned there wasn't really a Hazzard County and the show was filmed in California. I guess that 's why it looked like they lived just down the road from Laura Ingalls).

What's amazing is that here we the same town of 26 000, haven't seen each other in 3 years perhaps. And we are on the SAME Yahoo group with 3251 members! Prior to this, I knew of a woman 20 minutes away in the groups....
So handknitters beware! We are out there! We are like an invisible minority; we should have a secret handshake or lapel pin. Some day we will rise above the thumbed noses at yarn stores and our coned yarn will become coveted by all....
But we also use handknitting yarns:
This is Allie, my niece; the top is Patons Fresco, a ribbon. Made on the KnitSmart. I planned the arms to be 'bracelet' length. But I hadn't planned on her having grown between getting her measurements in Aug. and Christmas! For the sleeves, I picked up around the armholes and knitted downwards, leaving enough of the solid yarn to trim the neck and bottom of the front/backs. Then I finished it by hand with garter stitch. She is supposed to have passed this down to the next younger girl in the family, but I don't know if it would fit her either, LOL. I have since made another one in the blues verigated Fresco for Allie, but haven't gotten a picture of her in it yet! (HINT!).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You knit how?

Among handknitters there is a secret cult....linked mainly by our computers and a few ads/articles/patterns in mainstream knitting publications....those of us who use knitting machines.
Whew. Scary to say it out loud. When you're with a group of handknitters and the idea of knitting machines comes's hard to know which way they're going to turn. Are they interested in expanding their knitting experiences....or do they think you're 'cheating'?

I got a knitting machine by luck in May of 2005. I popped into my Sal. Army to see the new renovations and there was a knitting machine for sale. I thought....and headed home. I did a quick internet search, and there wasn't much about that machine. But I had talked with another dual sport knitter (Sandra)  and the idea of doing things faster appealed to the pregnant me. I went back to the store and bought it and forced it into my truck, not knowing how it came apart, or anything. But it seemed to have everything I could need.
It was an extended bed 8mm machine from the late 80s/early 90s very similiar to the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine. Apparently they are sought after machines on ebay...fetching up to $250US. And I paid $24.99! And they had just marked it down the day before!

It was easy to learn and I started making things right away. I took the dimensions of the Shapely Tank from that I had hk and put it into machine knitting language. And made my self several maternity tank tops. Little girl dresses (check out the pictures of Lucy from an earlier post), baby sweaters, hats, mittens, fall maternity jacket, brother sweater, baby blanket....most of what I did--no, all of it--could have been done by hand (and most were finished with hk edges)---if I had the time to knit boring stockinette! The knitting machine let me produce quickly the more boring things that I wanted to make, LOL. It also was so quick that I could take the time to make sure something fit really well, instead of 'okay'. I realized I'm not shaped like an 0 like most patterns (chest measurement divided by 2), but I'm shaped like a D. The backs of my things were always too big, and the fronts too small, but the overall dimension was right. Not anymore!!
Then I started to think about getting a more advanced machine. I took a look on ebay just to see what's out there. I ended up winning a LK150 on Christmas Eve!
I didn't get much time to play with it, between the new baby and then selling the house....but I did make this:
Now, Buster is a great little dog (you can't see it in the picture, but he has a short little black tail that is always wiggling), but I would NEVER have made him his killer bee sweater by hand. But on the machine? Sure, what's a couple day's work? Apparently he loves his little sweater!

So, am I a machine knitter, or a hand knitter? Let's just say, I'm a knitter. I take yarn, make a series of interlocking loops, and present it to willing recipients.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Timeless Tuesday

I had this idea that I would do an online version of my Knitting Brag Book. Start at the beginning. But after a frantic search of the basement last night, I can not find my Brag Book! I have shelved most of the other books that were in the same spot at the old house, and I have another box of books from that cupboard to shelve still....but I can not find the photo album!! It's got to be somewhere stupid.

So, instead, I'm starting a little further along than the beginning.

I learned to knit around 8-10, but got so totally confused by my British books, American books, and metric needles, that I gave up. In my 4th year at university, my housemate was learning to knit along with her friend. They were making sweaters. I thought "I already know how to knit, so this should be a breeze for me--finally something I'd be better at, LOL". They were bulky, heavily textured sweaters. But I wanted a short, slim sweater so I made it smaller. I had to substitute yarn and chose a bulky acrylic from Zellers. I knew nothing about yardage (there wasn't yardage on most yarns then), and ended up with enough yarn to make another smaller sweater, the same, for my little brother:
Notice the white strip on the collar? That's how much short I was on the second sweater, made from the leftover yarn! Notice also the tidy stair step shoulders? How about the visible side seams? I'm sure you can also picture me wearing the original....too small to wear over a shirt, too icky to wear without a shirt....
Interestingly, the first swatch I ever made was also a tad short on yarn, and was green. Years later I found a tiny ball of the main yarn, with electical tape wound around it to hold the end down, LOL.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gotta Go to Guild!

Last night was The Halton Hands in Motion Knitting and Crocheting Guild ("The Georgetown Group"). I've been going since Sept 2000, and I wish I had joined sooner. I missed most of last year because of Megan, so it's great to be going again. So great infact, that I won the door prize! Six (and almost one more) balls of Elann's Quechua (Alpaca/Tencel, DK weight) in a periwinkle blue, and almost two balls of Elann's Uros (llama/wool, aran) in a deep turquoise. Enough of the Quechua to make a tank top sort of top (but not enough for the wrap sweater in the new

Their names should have been Murphy. My kids. King/Queen of 'Murphy's Law'. Lucy decided she wanted to wear underpants to bed like her cousin Abby. Lucy is a heavy wetter at night! I tried to reason with her--Princess Panty ('GoodNights') for 3 nights, and if she was dry then she could do the underpants thing. Nope, no way, panties or nothing. She was DRY! For two or three nights. Then, for whatever reason, Daddy got her in a Princess Panty. She didn't sleep well. She argues/cries/talks in her sleep alot. At 6:30 (I was up at 5:40 with Megan, then Rob gets up at 6:00), she wakes up with WET pants and WET bed!! With a diaper on! So she gets in bed with me. Starts to chat. Tell her it's still sleep time. She starts coughing. And coughing. Finally, I fell back to sleep from 6:50 to 7:05, and in those 15 minutes, had a dream about flying a helicopter (although I wasn't actually flying it, there didn't seem to be anyone), there was another one above us and it had something hanging from a long rope....and it was too close to us and I knew that when helicopters crash it's not a good thing and I was trying to figure out how not to crash a helicopter I was not flying....and I woke up :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

They're Dyeing in There

On Saturday I took Megan to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair. She went last year too, but didn't see anything :)
Met up with Sandra ( and Susan ( and shopped till Megan got fussy, then her and I went outside. Note to self (and others). If you get into the backseat of your vehicle...make sure the child locks are off before you close the door. And if you park next to me so closely that I can't open my door to get in (and I'm not huge), or get my baby in, you will get a nasty note on your windshield.

After lunch Megan fell asleep so I decided to go to the seminar about dyeing with Wilton dyes (which I had actually done, but I wanted to find out the 'right' way to do it, LOL). Megan woke up as soon as everyone clapped during the introduction. I was sitting next to the door incase we needed a quick exit, and I overhead from the hallway "They're dyeing in there". LOL. It was certainly hot enough I felt like I might pass out!
I bought Interweave Knits Fall 2006 issue for Lace Pt. 2...however it's a little late to help me out with the baby blanket. I'm not as thrilled with the patterns as with the previous two issues. Oh well, I don't exactly need new patterns anyway. I bought a short kaliedescope for the kids, and a tall one for me, two balls of sock yarn (haven't used last year's sock yarn), and ordered a wire blocking kit...hopefully it will come right when I'm done the baby blanket, LOL. I really want to start knitting socks again (how many times did I say that Susan?). With a slightly thicker sock yarn (don't like heavier than DK), I can do them on my LK150. So that might help.

But I've got LOTS to finish up before then! And Thursday is the Georgetown guild's first night--I'm skipping out early on my kid's new school's Meet the Teacher BBQ!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


School's back! Huey started grade one, and Lucy started JK.
 I got the 2nd sleeve of the wrap cardigan knit up to the armhole! I've got mounds of laundry to fold, but hey, at least it's clean :)
Kitchener.....the city, not the stitch! I never spend a lot of money there during the knitter's fair, but I am SO looking forward to it. The drive is nice, the location is nice, the price is right, the yarns are great...
The baby blanket....had to tink 230 stitches. About half of one round. Lost vital knitting time on the drive back from Bancroft. Stupid mistake. No way to fudge it either, not just a lost yarn over. I knit a round that was supposed to be patterned.
Moved on...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Catastrophic Event Averted

I'm working on the Wrap Cardigan on my KnitSmart. It's a Sirdar pattern, which means I have to convert it for the machine. This would be fairly simple if Sirdar used schematics, but they don't. So, anytime it says "Work until piece measures X inches" I have to find out how many rows that is. I did it before I started any knitting on the cardigan, lest I get surprised. These pattern, because of the lace and the shaping, actually had very little to convert. But that didn't stop me from screwing up!

I'm working on the first sleeve. I did the lower straight portion then started in on the increasing. Then I realized I wanted to shorten the sleeves. I didn't feel like taking it off and starting again, so I let it go. Then I saw there would be a straight portion I could do the shortening in later. Got the increasing done. Then it says "Work until piece measures X, Y, Z". I looked at my notes and saw that this was note #3, and I should work 126 rows. So, I set the row counter, and went to bed.

When I awoke, I had a sudden thought (quite hard to do after the miserable Megan night last night). 126 rows seemed like ALOT considering that I've already done all the increasing, and these are raglan sleeves, so there's still the decreasing to do.

Indeed, when I figured 126 rows.....that meant all the rows done to the end of the straight portion, including the earlier straight portion and the increasing portion. So, now I have to go back and figure out how many rows were in the increasing section (I think it actually gave a row count for that). Considering the brain fuzz I'm working through today, I am more pleased that I found this error before I started, than mad/annoyed that I didn't clue in earlier. Whew. No ripping out needed!