Friday, March 30, 2012

A Biggie!

Back in early high school, I suddenly had several friends named "Mike" along with a little brother and a grandfather with the name.  Nicknames were created to make our lives easier.  My brother already had a nickname (I won't repeat it here, LOL).  The "acts like a 4 year old, not a 14 year old" became Mikey.  The drummer in the band became Boom-Boom.

Boom-Boom and I became friends in 10th grade, I think once I joined the stage band and got to sit in front of the drums.  We had loads of fun in band, on the band trips, and doing crazy things like skipping school and going to see Beatles cover bands in Toronto for the 20th anniversary of Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album release.  He started dating the girl beside me in band, and in later years my (now EX) boyfriend from then became one of his best friends.  We were all a pretty tight knit group of friends, some from the band, some from the AV crew, some just "band buddies". 

Boom-Boom wasn't allowed to come on our grade 12 (1989) band trip (high school went to grade 13/OAC back then).  Something about missing too many rehearsals, or his grades, I don't know.  We missed him on the trip, and were terribly upset when a call came to his girlfriend that he had been hit by a car while trying to help her sister with her car on the side of a road.  It was a very serious situation and we all felt helpless, being several provinces away.  His injuries were extensive, and the road to recovery was long.  I don't even remember if he made it back to school before the end of the next year (I was dealing with my own crap and feel horrible that I sort of checked out my friends lives).  I do remember that Boom-Boom had wanted to be a police officer and it appeared that was now out of the question.

I left for university, broke up with my ex, and lost touch with all my friends when my new (now also an EX) boyfriend disapproved of my friends.  He had known them too in high school but he wasn't very social.  Through my brother (also best friends with the first ex), we knew Boom Boom had gone into the radio business and I heard he was "up North" in New Liskard.  I had spent a year in North Bay, just a little bit south, but I don't think our times co-ordinated up there (and I didn't hear about this until later).  He wasn't at my brother's wedding in 1997, and there didn't seem to be a way back then to find people easily.  But when Facebook came about, Boom Boom was one of my first friends!  (Thank you for having a not-common last name to go with your very common first name!).  He was working at a radio station (DJ and music director?) about 30 minutes from where we had lived, but of course, I had moved 1 1/2 hours away from home.  Then, almost 3 years we moved back here, and he came out to one of my concerts.  I was able to convince him to join our band for a brief period, but it wasn't very practical for him.  Then he suddenly (LOL) was working in another city fairly close by, in the same mall where my cousin was taking a college course.  We had double dated back in high school, and they seemed to maintain a good friendship.

All of a sudden though, I heard that Boom-Boom had "gone North" and also was in Police College.  What?!  The police college isn't up north (although there is a location at the gateway to "the north"). 

What's this got to do with knitting?  Hold on!  Remember all the stuff I made for the school board's clothing drive for northern First Nations communities?  I posted about it on Facebook, and Boom Boom happened to be on line somehow and mentioned making sure some of the items made it to his new community, let's call it Willow Bluff.  Off to Google that, and Wow!  He really was "up North"!  His new home, where he is working as an OPP officer, is remote!  Take a look at Google Maps and see where Ontario and Manitoba meets and zoom in, and look north of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.  He's north of there by a bit.  There is a "winter road" but no summer road access.  They hydro is provided by diesel generators, and the fuel must be brought in during the winter, for the rest of the year.  I think the population is about 340.  Think about what that means.  I'm used to living frugally, but I have the luxury of Freecycle, several thrift shops in town, etc.  If my kids have a growth spurt, I can still head out to the Salvation Army shop.  If I run out of milk at 11pm, I can go to the 24 hour grocery store.  Etc.  If I have a parenting issue, there's help just up the street through Children's Aid.  If the truck runs out of gas, it's only 4 blocks to the gas station.

I couldn't control where the items I sent to the school ended up.  But I could send my own donation straight to Boom Boom!

I got knitting again right away.  Since I was limited by the fact I'd have to mail these items myself, I didn't make as much as I would have liked (and I wanted the items to get there while they still had a road, and still needed winter items).
 There was another pair of mitts that I added after this photo.  Not all of these items were made specifically for donation--the blue mitts, the largest cocoon, the brown hat on the top right, were either gently used or in the "gift box".  I made 15 hats, 3 scarves, 3 cocoons, and one pair of double mitts.  I had to squish everything into two boxes that I had, and it ended up costing about $50 to ship up north. 
I was thrilled to get a phone call from Boom-Boom telling me everything got there safely (and pretty quickly too!).  He sent me this picture of the band council members and him.  I have a few more items I hope he can take back up with him, as he's down here right now.  If anyone else is interested in donating items (knitted or otherwise), you can leave me a comment and I'll get back to you (leave an email address).
I really enjoy making things for donation.  And I REALLY enjoy doing it when I have some connection with where it's going, or the organization, etc.  I hope to hear more about Boom-Boom's new home/life in the next 10 days while he's here and I really encourage all of you to make something to donate SOMEWHERE. 

Yarn In:  10566gr
Yarn Out:  2416gr + 6162gr = 8578gr
Balance:  1988gr more In than Out
Costs:  $177.48/93 days = $1.91/day

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potato Chip Scarf

Now that I've gone low carb, potato chips are something I really need to avoid.  But a potato chip scarf?  No problem!

 What was supposed to be a nice, quick and easy black potato chip scarf for my cousin's daughter got a little more involved, LOL.  I started with two different black yarns and alternated wedges.  Then, I realized that one of them was not going to be enough, and perhaps the second one either.  So, I introduced a third black yarn.  I did use up all of the first two blacks, so I couldn't make it longer without it just being the last black.  If I had used the third black from the start, then yes, it could have been longer.  But I think the length will be okay.
I used the Singer 327, standard gauge.   I left one needle out of work between the two edge stitches on the wide edge.  I was originally going to weave the black fur yarn over and under the ladders as I went, but found that would slow me down too much.  Once it was all done, I steamed the scarf, then went about doing the fur edge.  I decided that just weaving it over and under the ladders was not quite the right treatment.  I ended up going over the edge stitch and through the ladder.
 The slight differences in the three different black yarns provides a nice textural interest that doesn't come across in any photograph.  Yes, I tried.  A lot.
 The scarf can be worn so that the "chips" spiral, or it can be worn so that it ruffles.  I tried to show here, how the long edge creates a ruffle.  This is also a way to add ruffles to skirts!
Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the machine knitting group.  The topic of the meeting was to get people using their intarsia carriages.  I've done a little with mine, but not a lot.  When I first got the LK150, when Meg was 2 months old, I tried to do a cardigan with horizontal Fair Isle borders for the button bands (the sweater was knit bottom up, but the bands were to be sideways, so the Fair Isle band was vertical.  Make sense?).  It was too much, at that time.
We were given a project for a pillow.  For the life of me, I could not figure out how the pillow got folded to make the diamond design, LOL!  I was going to make a mini one, but really, we're not decorator pillow type people.  And I didn't really have yarn suited.  We were also given a kids' sweater pattern along with a Hello Kitty chart.  I didn't have the right colours with me, but thought it would be a perfect time to try it out--I'd never get around to it at home; I like to just get going on tried and true projects.

I had some issues with her upper paws, and she doesn't have her three dimensional bow, but everyone here knew it was Hello Kitty!  I might be tempted to actually make a real project with her on it for one of the girls, probably Meg.  Perhaps a cardigan with it on the back.  Meg is "hot blooded" and does not need sweaters, LOL, but a cardigan or hoodie is handy.

Yarn In:  5746gr (still!)
Yarn Out:  85gr (scarf---I'm not weighing swatches) + 6077gr =
Total:  6162gr
Balance:  4404 gr more In than used (not up to date, I'm going to blow past that in the next post!)
Costs:  $177.48/93 days = $1.91

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Roses Are Red

And violets are black
Learn to machine knit
And you'll never look back.

Yeah, okay.  I tried.

At the machine knitting group I joined, we had a workshop making the fern lace scarf that Diana has a video for.  We were recommended to have 2-3 50gr balls of a DK weight yarn, if using the lk150.  I looked all through my stash and didn't see anything that I had enough of and that I wanted to commit to a scarf that I might not even like.  I grabbed a cone of red Bramwell 4ply.

It's a fun scarf to make, although repetitive.  The version we were taught made scallops on the side; the one in Diana's video doesn't.  Basically, you're working 6 rows on two groups of 3 needles at a time, then pulling the next group on the left into work, then knit to the left, then put the group on the right into hold so you're back at two groups.  Once you work all the way across the row, you then tighten up the tension and knit 4 rows.  It creates a sort of ruched look.

I finished it at the meeting, and when I got home I emailed my cousin, who's daughter loves red, and asked if she'd like it.  The response was "YES YES YES", without even having seen it, LOL!
 I steamed it to smooth the edge curl, and realized really quickly not to flatten it!

It looked a little better than these pictures once I got it steamed.  The colour is a true Christmas red.  I mailed it off and a while later got a response saying that she loves it, and wants one in black,  and her best friend wants one to match, LOL.

Now, my cousin and my grandmother did knit (I've posted the picture before of her showing me how), but stopped when I was fairly young.  My cousin's mom also knit (raised the sheep, sheared them, dyed the fleece, spun the wool, the whole nine yards), but didn't really do a lot of kids stuff.  My cousin's other grandma though....all my cousin had to do was call her up and say "I got a new pink skirt and I'd like a vest for it" and wham, there'd be one in her mailbox in two weeks.  A few years ago, I "inherited" a bunch of her knitting books and I'm very grateful for that.  So, I feel great being able to knit for my "niece" and even make one for her friend.

 I made this one on the standard gauge, using a cone of black...Spindlecraft "Salem" 70% acrylic, 30% wool.  It's a pretty tightly spun yarn, not soft.
Again, I steamed it on the edges, but I forgot to wash it, maybe it would have softened up?
This one is for the friend.  I'm also working on a black "potato chip scarf" for my "niece".

Yarn In:  10 566gr
Yarn Out:  63gr (black scarf) + 73gr (red scarf) = 136gr + 5941gr = 6077gr
Balance: 4489gr more In than used
Costs:  $177.48 / 90 days = $1.97

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Filler Projects

I grafted up all those dishcloths I posted about before I went away (since going away got delayed), so I made another batch to graft up once I got away.
The green cotton was from a little tank top I made Hugh the first summer I got my first knitting machine.  He picked out the yarn, and I knit it up, did a real nice job, but he didn't like it.  I think there wasn't enough ease with the worsted weight cotton.  So, I finally unravelled it and made dishcloths!  The center bottom one--I meant to change colours with each wedge, but forgot, so changed after two wedges. 

Yarn In:  10 566gr
Yarn Out:  5824gr + 117gr = 5941gr
Balance:  4625gr more In than used
Costs:  $177.48/83 days = $2.14/day

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Still contemplating that blue/beige shawl.  I folded it in half, and it did cover my arm parts nicely, but I would have liked it to wrap around my lower arms--if I'm wearing a t-shirt and don't want to put on a full sweater, a long shawl is nice.  So, it might become more of a stole size.  We'll see.

Hugh wears the mitts I made him last winter all the time, but I was disappointed that my dye job ran pretty severely, even though I thought I had exhausted the dye.  They've also gotten quite dirty and just don't come clean now since the blue all ran.  So, after getting pine sap on them, he declared them the dog walking mitts and he needed a new pair for school, the next day.  I laughed.  It was a band night, I wouldn't even be home to work on them.  He wanted neon green; I had an apple green but not enough, and a darker green.  I said I'd work on them on Friday.  Well, other things got in the way.  But they were done by Sunday.

 I thought I had accounted for gauge differences, but umm.  Guess not.  The beige is Sirdar Eternity.  I had collected about six balls from different sources over the years.  I had made one hat.  I had started a pair of mitts, but realized quickly that the lumpy, soft yarn would not work for mitts--couldn't be knit tight enough to actually be warm, and the yarn had no body.  But then I thought it'd make a great inner lining!
Well, it's only been two weeks, I think and they don't look quite this nice now, LOL.

Yarn In:  10 566gr
Yarn Out:  5695gr + 129gr = 5824gr
Yarn Balance:  4742gr more In than used
Costs:  $177.48 averages to $2.25/day

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time Out

After stepping away from the shawl in my last post for a few days, I tried it "on".  It still wasn't wide enough to really wrap over my arms--it just barely did.  It could be shortened quite a bit though.  I did some math to see how much more width I'd get with making it shorter, but I don't know if that's enough, or if the math even translates into real life.  I'm wondering about knitting it a bit looser, but I don't know if that would make the yarn go further or not (how exactly does that work--same yarn, looser gauge, same number of sts---uses more or less yarn?).  The shawl is currently having a time out as I was expecting to go away and didn't want to get started on something I didn't think I could finish.

So, instead, I whipped up some dishcloths.

 I started with Marg Coe's round dishcloth pattern on the left.  Then, I did some waste yarn, and started with the one on the right.  I thought, what would happen if I didn't cast off for each scallop, just let them grow until the end of the wedge.  Well, that's what happens!  Still used the same 15 stitches, but it appears much bigger because in fact, it does grow much more.  You could make some cute Christmas stars with a finer yarn.

I was almost out of the brown yarn so I moved on to some yellow.
Again, I did some waste yarn between each one, instead of starting each one "fresh".  The one on the left is a sort of square.  I found out after the first section that I had to change yarns on the outside edge, instead of being able to carry the yarns up the middle stitch.  Somehow, this meant that the yellow section ended up being short a row or two (this might have been where I grafted it, and used white instead of was late, it's just a dishcloth).  The next is similar to the round one, in that I moved the fourth stitch onto the third to make the eyelet, but I didn't move the outer three stitches over, so there are no scallops, and no casting off for each scallop.  Super fast to make.  The edge curls under a little--perhaps having only one or two stitches on the edge would work better.  The one on the right was an attempt to alter the round one again, by doing the short rowing in and out for each wedge, instead of putting them all into work at the same time.  I realized part way through the second section that the original had 6 sections, and since I was doubling up sections, I would now have only three sections so I couldn't alternate yarns.  I figured I'd use blue for the third section.  Well, after knitting the second section, I held it up and realize it was becoming a square!  So I was able to alternate colours.  I really like this one!  Again, it uses 15 stitches, like all of them do, but it's bigger.

All together, the 5 cloths used 134grams of stash.  I've just scanned through my old posts, and see that I didn't mark down how much the first dishcloth weighed; I've already given it to my mom.  And did I make one or two?  So, I'm weighing the two brown ones, along with what's left of the yarn, and it comes to 62grams.  The two balls were 85gr total, so the one for my mom was 23grams (which does match the note I have on my pattern, but I hadn't written a date or other identifying feature, and I've made a lot of dishcloths with this pattern!).  So, my total for this post will be 157grams.

Yarn In:  10 566grams
Yarn Out:  5538gr + 157gr = 5695 gram
Balance:  4871 gr grams more In than used
Costs:  $177.48 averages to $2.34/day

Still to calculate:  wool skirt; green afghan; green mitts; charity donation; red scarf.  These items will definitely put me in the more used than bought balance again!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Argh pt 2

I was so excited to finally cast off my short rowed shawl last night.  I wasn't happy with the cast on so I unpicked it (fairly easy as it was a crocheted cast on), and casted off the open loops.  Then today, I soaked it and started pinning it out.

 Mmmm.  I noticed something wrong right off the bat.

I was missing one of the scallops on the lower edge!

I have no idea how this happened.  And, it's in the section I did yesterday, so not even in the early part when I was getting used to the pattern.

This is a close up of how the scallops should look.  Pretty neat.  And I really can't believe I messed it up!
Since it is towards the end of the shawl, I think I will rip it back.  That won't be fun, all those little bitty short rows, and then getting it back on the needles, but I really can't bear it like it is.  I am also a little surprised that the yarn created a halo when soaked--it's bamboo/nylon blend sock yarn.  Perhaps a trip in the dryer would get rid of that, but since it needs to be blocked, I obviously don't want to totally dry it.  But right now, it's laying on my floor, damp, so it needs to dry before I can rip it back :(   I guess it was a good thing I didn't immediately cast on for the next project on that machine!  Off to do other stuff.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Don't you hate it when you're doing a project to use up stash, and it ends up you have to buy more yarn to complete it?  It was like that with all the charity items I was making, but at least inexpensive yarn was a good choice.  This time, it's a shawl with sock yarn.  I suppose I could have just ditched the project and tried something else, but I really wanted to complete it.  So, off to the store to buy another ball of Kertzer "On Your Toes Bamboo".  I was a little stunned though that it was $14.68 with tax.  It's not a generous ball, 100gr is 300m, but I was surprised that I was only 1/4 way through my design but had used up 1/3 of the ball.  I'm altering it a little to make it shorter and hopefully a bit wider now.
This was the swatch, trying out tensions, different amounts of rows for each group.

This is about 8" long (which will be the width along the bottom), and I had used up 33gr.

It was turning out wider (to become the length) than I wanted, which I wouldn't care too much about but I didn't want it to cover too much of my rear, and I want to make sure to have enough yarn that I can wrap it around me comfortably.
So, I frogged it all back, bought another ball (different dye lot though), and am about to get re-started.  This is fun lace to do, can be done on any gauge machine, and although there was a handknit version in it's not something most people would hand knit!

Yarn In:  10 466+ 100 gr = 10 566gr
Yarn Out:  5538gr
Balance: 5028gr more in than used
Costs:  $174.48 averages to $2.42/day

Still under $2.50 per day, but I really want to get it back closer to $2/day.  Not ever having kept track before, I don't know if that's a logical amount.  I keep saying I don't need to buy any yarn, but somehow, I still have bought almost $300 this year, LOL!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Quick Knit

It's nice to be able to whip up a quick project.  So often, with the knitting machine, the knitting is quick, but the finishing takes a bit of work.  I've posted about these felted slippers before, and I still love them.  They are totally finished on the knitting machine (some people even weave in the ends there), and the felted.  Hugh had cold feet one day, so he grabbed a pair out of the basket, but they had holes (I kept them because maybe I'll think of something to do with the felted material, and on cold days, holey slippers are better than none).  He decided he wanted his own pair, in bright colours.  Well, I don't have a lot of bright, feltable, boy colours.  I did scrounge around and found some old Sean's Sheep "Armytage", but it ended up not being quite enough so I tried to blend it with some yellows/oranges/reds of other yarns.  In the end, they didn't turn out quite as bright as I wanted, but he wears them.  I had also made a pair for myself after Christmas.

My slippers weighed 129gr, and I've already included them in my totals.  Hugh's pair weighs 133gr.

Yarn In:  10 466gr
Yarn Out:  5405gr + 133gr = 5538grams
Balance:   4928gr more bought than used
Costs:  $159.80 averages to $2.25 per day (Dec 27 to March 6)

I'm going to get that yarn balance back in the negative as soon as I do the math and post some more pictures!

Monday, March 05, 2012


Back in early December, I got an email from my mother-in-law.  A friend of her's was asked to knit a pair of duck foot booties and she was having trouble.  Could I help?  Of course!  I got in touch with Julie, and found out she was making a pattern from  I took a look. 
Whoa.  These weren't just cute and simple yellow booties.  Oh no, these booties would question everything you thought you knew about Judy's Magic Cast on, putting stitches onto holders, knitted on I-cord, casting off....I knew just by scanning through the pattern that I would have to knit my own pair to fully understand.  I got started, not knowing exactly how far along Julie was.  I didn't get very far before she came for help.

Well, I spent two afternoons with Julie and got her on her way, unsure yet of exactly the issues still to come.  I got working on my pair, and just kept shaking my head.  I set them aside to get other things finished up for Christmas, and I think the terror of knitting them gave me temporary duck feet amnesia.  I totally forgot about them for a while!  Then I realized the babe I was giving them too was quickly growing, and perhaps I should finish up--there wasn't much left, I Thought, but every step required close pattern reading.  Just as I was finishing up, I got a call from Julie. 

She had been even more traumatized than me by the pattern.  Her daughter had asked for them as a gift for her boyfriend's sister and was going to go visit and would I be able to finish them for her before the weekend?

We worked out payment in yarn and I finished up her booties, which were bright yellow and adorable.  Mine were brown due to having suitable brown yarn leftover from socks, and because my cousin's parents had brown footed ducks and these were for my cousin's son.  I didn't take pictures of Julie's booties, but they look the same, just yellow :)

The i-cord toes meet up at the bottom of the heel and seemed to produce a bit of a bump.  This happened with all four, so I'm assuming it's the pattern.  Perhaps on baby feet, they smooth out.

The i-cord toes at the sides don't stand out too much.  I think I would have just done two purl stitches, three knit stitches, then two purl stitches as I was knitting the foot, to give the same effect.
The most difficult part is the casting on.  You start with the center point, and then, while using the Magic Cast on, increase stitches on either side gradually.  I tried to think of how to cast on all the stitches and then do short rows, but I'm not sure it would have been much of an improvement in technique, but it would have lessened the loose stitches at the cast on.  I tightened them up by duplicate stitching with the cast on tail.

I will not knit these booties again, unless someone VERY near and dear to me who likes ducks decides to reproduce.  I will also think carefully before knitting another pattern by this designer.  I don't need knitting stress, it's supposed to be relaxing!  I like to be challenged sometimes, but this was a bit much!

I'm not including the yarn amount in my totals since I started these early in December before I was keeping track.  I don't think I'll include the yarn she gave me in my totals either--maybe under the charity total?  What do you think?