Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Purple Passion

Monday was the Machine Knitting group, and it was planned to be a "work" day--bring whatever you need to work on.  I figured that would be a great time to do some swatching for mittens.  When going through my yarn, I found a couple balls of summery yarns, perfect for more scarves, but not on the Singer 327.  I take the LK150 to the meeting, so they would be great for it.
I started out, castin on L15-R16; IxIIIxIIIxIIIx....IIIxI  (there might have been two needles on the ends).  I did a chain stitch cast on, chaining one for the out of work needles.  Then I knit the first row manually (because the carriage wouldn't do it, LOL).  T8.
I put the center needle of each group of three in hold, knit 3 rows, cancel hold, knit two rows.  If it were a thinner yarn, I would have tucked for 4 rows, so it would have been a little easier on the brain.  For the beads, I knit the first row of the two rows of knitting all the needles, then slipped the bead on the stitch that had been tucked, and knit the second plain row.
I was a little more than 1/2 way through the ball of yarn, when I realized it wasn't very long.  I ripped back to the top of the beads (I had done three rows of the beads), then while keeping with the pattern, I gradually decreased on the sides so I was down to three less sts on each edge.  However, when I got to the other end, I was distracted, and excited to be almost finished, and forgot to increase back out...after knitting a row or two of the bead rows....ripped back, did the increasing gradually, started the beading again, thought "I think I can knit a bit more without running out of yarn", ripped back the beading....ran out of time.  Packed up everything, but got it right back out after I got home.  Finished it up, casting off with the latch hook, chaining one over each empty needle.  I even got it blocked out on Monday night, though I had to leave it overnight.  I gave it to my SIL today, when I went over to help get her apartment ready for her mother's visit.
I think she liked it :)

Yarn:  "Rumba" by Chanteleine (French company?), 50g, 112m/123yd
54% acrylic, 46% cotton, 19sts/24rows on 4-4.5mm

Yarn In:  12 574gr
Yarn Out:  10 614gr+ 50gr = 10 664gr
Balance:  1910 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $287.71/156 days = $1.84/day

I'm not sure about the number of days I've been doing this.  According to my last confession, this should be day 154.  However, my daybook says this is the 151st day of the year, plus the 5 last days of December, brings me to 156.  So, I'm going with that.

I also have another ball of this yarn, in a pretty fuchsia....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Scrambled Eggs

It is often said that lace knitting in it's unblocked state, looks like nothing more than overcooked pasta.  Mine looks more like scrambled eggs.  It's actually "Omelet" from  It's been over a year, and it's been cast off, washed, and shook out.  I will get around to steaming the points (I don't want the whole shawl to grow) on a day when it's not already steaming here.
Bizarre, how Blogger thinks I want pictures one way, when I had loaded it a different way.  Not that it matters all that much this time, LOL.  All I can is, if you're going to make "Omelet", don't use superfine yarn; use something with a bit of heft, so you're not doing a bizillion repeats of the main chart.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Secret Scarves

My sister in law started dialysis right after Easter.  She originally had a fistula put in her arm, but it failed, so she had to have  a port put into her neck vein/artery.  As can be imagined, she was upset about this.  I had been asking for ways I could help out, and she wasn't coming up with anything, so I took it upon myself to apply the knitter's belief that we have a gift that should be shared.  Most knitters have knitted items for charity, or as thank you gifts.  It's what we do.  We enjoy the process of knitting, perhaps using new techniques or yarns we wouldn't use for ourselves.  A bunch of scarves would also fit in with my goal of reducing my stash, right?

I've already shown the first three scarves--purple/green, black Magicolor, and grey tuck (just scroll down a ways to see them).  I ended up with a total of nine!

This is the entire stack.  From the top:  purple/green Patons Lace; steel gray tuck stitch; white penguin; Magicolour; blue with beads; black; mint green; white; white with rose; and yellow.

Blocking the scarves was a learning process.  I got better at it as I went along.
The rose is made with the left over Patons Lace from the purple/green scarf.  It adds a tiny bit of fuzzyness, and I love the shading effect.  For this, I learned how to use the Magic Cams and do a single motif from a punch card, rather than having the motif repeat along the row, or having to make the scarf narrow so there'd be only one repeat.  Purple is her favourite colour, and I like the song "Every Rose has it's Thorn"....thorny things can be beautiful too.

Another version, this time with a little penguin.  She had made a comment about her bus coming early and having to do the "penguin hussle" to get to it.  He's so cute!
Most of the tuck stitches look pretty similar!
Here's a close up of the little fella after her was blocked.

This black scarf...I don't like the yarn.  It almost holds it's shape on it's own.  But every gal needs a black scarf!
 This is a butter yellow scarf.  The yarn is the same one I used when I made the large piece of Imagination Fabric for my niece.  It has a shiny effect with one of its two strands.
 Blocking two scarves at once.  It takes longer than I expected to put in the wires and pins!
 At the seminar I went to, we learned how easy it is to bead on the machine.  Really, it is.  The hard part is picking the beads and pattern.  Most of the tuck stitch patterns I was using were very vertical, so I did simple rows; three at each end.  I definitely want to do more beading, and I've been looking at my old Knitwords to find some patterns!
 This is a mint green scarf (seen in the picture above of the two scarves blocking, this is the other side).  Not my colour, and I'm not sure it's her's, but I don't really have much in the lightweight, summery colour type yarns. 
 I really liked the fabric of the blue scarf; it's an icy blue, the same yarn as that yellow.  I think the one below is the green one...the colours are really washed out on my computer.
Another view of the black one, I think.  The front--knit side--is a vertical rib, and the back is like a honeycomb.  All these (except the Magicolour one) were done on the single bed, Singer 327 standard gauge machine.

I have a few other scarf ideas, but I'm not sure when I'll get to them.  And I just don't seem to have many summery yarns, for some reason.  I had hoped to use up quite a bit of yarn, but a 40gr scarf doesn't use much yarn, LOL.  I have several cones of 30gr or less that I just don't think will be enough for a scarf, and I think they could be used for 2 colour tuck, but that doesn't seem very summery to me.  Any ideas?  Some of these scarves were from never-ending cones, I'd have to knit hundreds of scarves to use those up (the grey, the yellow and blue, even the mint green still has a lot to go).

Total weight of all 9 scarves:  487gr.  Total weight of ones not already shown:  270gr

Yarn In:  12 574gr
Yarn Out:  10 344gr + 270gr = 10 614gr
Balance:  1960gr more In than Out
Costs:  $287.71/148 days = $1.94 per day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cleaning the Drawer

No matter how often I clean out my knitting drawer, there's a few projects in there that I just can't seem to do something with.  I was working on Vienne but there were things I didn't like about the pattern.  I've taken it out of the drawer, and down to the basement, but haven't yet unravelled it.  Soon.  Baby steps.  I've got three felted purses (Sophie Bags) that need handles sewn/created.  One of them, I was knitting while I was in labour with Meg...who was born Nov. 2005.  Yeah.  The other biggie in the drawer was "Enchanting" by Fiddle Sticks Knitting.

Oh, I was SO excited to buy this kit.  A designer pattern AND the recommended expensive yarn.  I was worried about having enough yarn, and I managed to find another ball at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter's Fair, uh.....I just spent 30 minutes scanning through my blog and I can't figure out when I bought it!  I was sure I was working on it while on a trip to Niagara Falls, summer 2008, but my report for KW Fair 2007 doesn't mention it at all.  I don't have the project listed in Ravelry, and it appears I've never even mentioned it on the blog (I was just scanning though, so I suppose I could have missed it).  I know I emailed Fiddle Sticks a couple times about the sizing since I just could decide what size to make since I couldn't seem to match gauge.

Anyway.  I knit it up, and blocked it.  I wasn't happy with the fit, which was probably partially due to the gauge issues and also the sudden weight gain I had in 2009.  I went ahead and did the neckband and sleeve caps.  I wasn't sure at all about the sleeve caps though.  They just looked weird.

I decided, now that I've lost weight, to try it on again, and make a decision.  I am NOT ripping this out, and I don't know who else I could give it to, but I was hopeful for myself.
 Uhhh.  Not what I was hoping.  Then I realized the issue could be the bright white bra.  So I went upstairs, and tried a black one:
 Much better, though a little dark.  And I don't like how you can see my shorts.  I think a beige bra, and/or camisole would help.
 But those sleeve caps!  What's up with those?  There was some gathering at the seam, and they seemed to be set too far back in the armhole.  And just not long enough.  I'm going to just rip them off.
I really like the top, and I think I can wear it now, maybe a few more pounds.  I have 80gr (384m), plus the sleeves (so I didn't need the extra ball), and maybe I can use that to make a shawl of some sort.  I will say though, this yarn (100% silk) has a strange, seaweed smell.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fair Isle on the LK150

When I first got the LK150, I had over-optimistic goals for my first few projects, considering I had 3 kids 5 and under, the youngest being only weeks old, LOL.  I planned out a wool cardigan, knit in the usual manner, but then I was going to knit wide Fair Isle button bands to sew on.  I got quite a bit of it done, but following the Fair Isle instructions in the manual just got to be too much for me. 

Recently, I was using the intarsia carriage at our machine knitting group, and part of the picture involved small segments of the same colour separated by a few sts of another colour.  Rather than starting a new ball, I decided to try doing it with the same ball.  It worked fine.  I did a bit more experimenting with the idea.  Why not use the intarsia carriage to do Fair Isle?

Why is this sideways?  This shows how the intarsia carriage puts all the needles in C position with the latches open.

 Here, I've used two balls of yarn, pink for the hearts, and purple for the background.  I laid them in the appropriate needles, going from the carriage to the other edge, one colour first, then the second colour.  I let the balls drop down to the floor, and hold a bit of tension on them as I start the carriage across the row, making sure the latches are open.
 I noticed that one of the colours was not staying under the needles of the other colour.  This resulted in some sts being knit with both colours.  I just fixed these sts by hand.
 I then made sure that the unused colour was tucked under, by bringing the needles slightly more forward, but not too far forward, so that the carriage would still knit them.  I also used a bit more tension on the yarn (by hand) as I went across.
 Then, I decided to try working both colours across the row at the same time.  This resulted in the yarns getting twisted around each other quite a bit and I thought it would make the row hard to knit.  It was a bit of a push to get it started, but I had no doubled stitches and it actually went quite quickly and easily.  I think I liked this way better.
This is the end result.  I see I had one boo-boo.  Well, when you're working from the backside of the knitting, it can be tough to see the pattern emerge from under the floats.  What I liked about using the intarsia carriage is that you only need to pass the carriage once per row.  All the other techniques, using the regular carriage, have you taking two passes.  This can complicate things with the row counter, and if you're doing any increasing/decreasing.  Doing Fair Isle this way is certainly not as fast as if you had the Fair Isle carriage (or using a punchcard machine), but it's probably faster than handknitting, and is certainly do-able, if you have enough patience and quiet time :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Fell.

I don't normally go for knitting trends.  I never made Jaywalker socks, a Clapotis, or a Dead Fish hat.  Trends in the machine knitting world are a little less obvious, since we don't have a mega-site like  I never made a faux fur scarf, or even a two colour Noro striped scarf.  I've been watching the current ruffle scarf trend and shaking my head.  I'm not much of a scarf person.  But, much of my knitting is not for me. 

And then, I saw this.  I will say, her picture didn't sway me all that much.  So, make sure you go to the link!  Isn't that ingenious?  Now THAT, I can get into.  Although it doesn't look very wide.

So, today, I decided to go to Michaels and see if I can get some beads, after learning how to do it at the MKing seminar a couple weeks ago (alright, I was really needing to go pick up my shoes from the repair shop, which was on the same road, and thought I'd go into Home Outfitters to see if they had the new caramel macchiato for the Tassimo that I had seen at Staples but at no grocery store, and Michaels is in the same power center as HO).  I found the beads that were recommended, though the smallest crochet hook was 1mm and 0.6mm was the recommended one.  I'll try it anyway.  While browsing around I thought I'd look at the fancy yarns.  They had two of these net yarns, one was Premier Yarns "Starbella" with really nice colours, and the other was "Sashay" (Red Heart?).  It had glitter, but I didn't like the colours.

 I picked up two balls, one for me, one for the secret scarves project.  However, I just looked at that pattern on Ravelry and it says 60m, and these balls are only 30m.  Insert big frowny face here.

So, I need to find an unusual pattern for these yarns, I want to limit it to one ball.  If necessary, I will do the secret scarf as a ruffly scarf, she'll like that, but that's not what I want for me.  Suggestions?

Yarn In: 12 374gr + 200gr = 12 574gr
Yarn Out: 10 344gr
Yarn Balance:    2230gr more In than Out
Yarn Costs:   $271.46 + $16.25 = $287.71
Average:  $287.71/142 days = $2.03/day

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Sideways

I keep thinking I don't have anything finished to show, since I got stalled on the secret scarves project.  And then I remember a project I finally finished...and then I forget about it...then I remember, but the pictures are still on the camera....then I forget....then the pictures are on the downstairs computer and I'm upstairs....then I forget....then I get sidetracked with sewing a new dress for a concert....I would have done better using my time to practice for the concert....

Anyway!  LAST year (OMG.  Really.  Last year!), Mary Anne Oger started a new series of patterns, called "Pattern of the Month".  I bought the first subscriptions for three standard gauge, and three mid-gauge patterns.  The first one I started (uh, the only one I've started actually), was "In The Tweeds".  I had some Sirdar Panoramic, a wool, self-striping yarn in the right gauge.  I had planned to do something sideways or diagonal, and have had this yarn for a long time.  Since before 2005, I suspect.  I got started right away, and got it mostly finished pretty quickly.  The last bit of finishing did take awhile, and then I stalled.  Oh boy.  I was great, went and got a zipper, even pre-washed it a couple times.  But it sat.  And sat.  And sat, just needing that zipper sewn in. 

However,  it turned out a little large.  She says to choose the larger size if you're in between sizes, but I don't think I should have.  And then I went and did a crazy thing last winter....lost weight....and now it swims on me.

 I like the striping, but the back, in particular, is too big on me.  There are short row gores along the bottom edge, and I just didn't need extra width on my back (you can see it's too wide at my upper/mid back which is above the gores).
 You can see I need the petite armhole adjustment--the armhole is a little too deep for me.
The zipper is nice.  Glad I finally got around to sewing it in!

I would like to sell this jacket.  It's 100% wool (handwash, or machine wool cycle), and I believe, a 44" chest.  I'm 5'1" and it totally covers my bum and then some, so I would imagine someone up to 5'5" or 5'6" could still easily wear this.  I'm asking $50 plus shipping, but I would prefer it to go to someone local.  Should I try 

This doesn't affect my yarn totals at all, since it was from early last year.  However, my daily average for yarn spent is now down to $1.95/day since I haven't bought anymore.  Haven't finished up anything either....but I did get the sewing machines out...

Sunday, May 06, 2012


This weekend, I attended a two day machine knitting seminar!   My first!  I've been to hand knitting workshops and seminars, but I haven't really been part of a group on a regular basis (HK or MK) since moving back here almost 3 years ago.  I did go to a few meetings of the Whitby Hand knitting Guild, but it was hard getting out in the evening.  And last fall I did join the Kawartha Carriage Knitters Club.  One of the chief members is also in the various Yahoo MK groups, which is how I heard about it.  It's an hour away and meets once a month.  I can't get out every month, due to weather (I missed the recent April 23 meeting due to a snowstorm predicted).  The club was planning this seminar and I was very eager to go!

The instructor was Eileen Montgomery.  She's also in the same MK groups, and has published her own books as well as patterns in Knitwords magazines.  I knit one of those patterns!  And I recently made that grey scarf I showed here a few posts ago.  We've emailed back and forth, discussing patterns and ideas and cruises, but she's in the Hamilton area, and I'd never been able to go to the Cardiknits Academy.  Wow, we covered a lot of material!  Things that I've recently worked on on my own (still to show here), and many, many things I've never tried.

Prior to the seminar, I had been emailing Eileen about scarves, and thread lace, and asked if she had any partial cones of Yeoman Panama.  That project I linked to above was made in Panama and I had some left.  Not enough for another project.  Back then, I did purchase some more part cones from, though I still wasn't quite inspired enough.  Eileen came through with 4 more cones:
 My original cone is the tan one at the back right; the other three in the back row are the partial cones from Cardiknits.
 I've had my eye on a Knitwords pattern, but it's done in tuck, and although tuck can look cool in stripes, but I don't know if this many colours would look good in tuck (I don't need to use all the colours).  I now have 943gr, and the pattern won't use more than 500gr.  I have several t-shirts with horizontal stripes of several colours of various widths, and want the same ideal, so I might just keep it simple.  The best thing though, Eileen GAVE me the yarn!  GAVE!  She's happy to clear out partial cones, and I'm thrilled to have enough now to get started, and to not have raised my costs any, especially since I didn't get any sort of deal on the partial cones originally (she took the full price and pro-rated the partial cones based on that).   If you have any suggestions or tips, I'd love to hear them!
Eileen was coming with her friend, Pat, the owner of Cardiknits.  She said she'd bring orders to the seminar, so we didn't have to pay shipping.  She also didn't charge us tax, but I didn't know that until we were there; wish I had known earlier!  I ordered a cone of Yeoman Fifty-Fifty for a particular pattern.  It's not often I get to knit with the recommended yarn!  It's 350gr, 2500m, for $23.95.  It's a bright apple green.
These two cones were from the "sale table", they're both Forsell 2ply Pure New Wool, superwash; 250gr each, 2470yds, each were $10.  I'm not sure I'll use them together (they are quite close in tone, not much contrast, but they could look good together).
These are 4 balls of Merino Sport.  I had wanted more, like 5 balls of black, and some of blue and brown, so I can make mittens for selling.  However, it comes in 20 ball bags and I can't commit to that.  And, the gauge on the ball isn't sport--says 20st/22rows, 4-4.5mm needles.  That's worsted to me.  It might be too thick for my original plan.  These were $8.70 each, though that's not what was in her original email to me :(  So, I'm still searching for a source of superwash DK wool.

I didn't purchase any of Eileen's books, I wish I could have but I'm on such a limited budget.  I did win a Navajo style blanket and a little desk caddy though!

I'm still processing the material we went over this weekend.  So much knowledge!  I already had a long list of projects I want to get to, and now, there's more!!!  Totally worth it!!

Yarn In:  10 905gr + 1469gr = 12 374gr
Yarn Out:  10 334gr
Balance:  2040gr more yarn In than Out
Costs:  $192.71 + $80.75 = $273.46/130 days = $2.10/day

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fuzzy and Fast

I was starting to feel a little down about not having any finished projects.  Things had been flying off my machine the last few months, but April turned rather slow.  In anticipation of a large yarn order (I hope I'm getting it; the vendor hasn't replied lately to my emails!), I wanted to get through a larger amount of yarn than the 50-90gr often used in the scarves and hats.

Several years ago I bought several bags of Bernat Haven (3 to a bag) at the Spinrite tent sale.  This is an interesting yarn; being 59% acrylic, 22% cotton, 16% alpaca and 3% nylon.  It is slightly fuzzy, slightly textured, with a recommended hook size of 6.5mm.  I think I used 7mm to crochet up this granny square baby blanket.  I think a 7.5mm would also work well and not compact the stitches quite so much.  It was a nice, fast project, and I noticed only one error when I washed it, LOL.  It does say to handwash it, but I think a gentle washing machine will work too.

Yarn In:  10 905gr
Yarn Out:  10 074gr + 260gr = 10 334gr
Balance:  571 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $192.71/128 days = $1.51/day