December 31, 2009

starlight progress

This is the cardigan I'm currently test-knitting. I started a few weeks ago and I'm going as quickly as I can. It's about 15" in length now and I'm about halfway up the armhole (armhole steek visible on upper right). The body is about 34" circumference. I am enjoying this immensely.

I am learning a lot, which is something I really try to do with each new project, if I can. As a result I am also rather obsessed with norwegian knitting at the moment. I even ordered some yarn to make my son a Dale of Norway 2010 Olympic ski sweater (they're in Canada, after all).

I did a quick steam block on the lower few inches, if you're wondering. It was rolling up a bit and getting in the way. Body done soon. Steeking to come.

December 29, 2009


By special request for my good friend S., I am showing the result of the massive amount of work (mostly on the part of my husband, I completely admit) which started as this several weeks ago and ended up with a fabulous new floor in our basement last week. Nothing like a lot of company coming over to motivate.

One room (top) is a spare bedroom and stash organizer. My wheel usually lives upstairs. We had a holiday party so it was moved down temporarily. The dresser is full of more roving. I won't admit to the percentage of my total yarn stash visible in this photo (50%?). And most of my 800,000 WIPs are upstairs in cupboards (but they don't count as stash per se) (they're in cupboards in my diningroom, actually. Most people use those areas to store things like fine china; I didn't see the point.) BUT. I did manage to get rid of at least half of my sewing fabric stash during this re-org. Hah.

The other room (bottom photo) is a catch-all games, tv, hang-out room. I need to find an area rug for it. It also got a new coat of paint. Fresh and good.

December 28, 2009

christmas sweater

Pattern: Pikkuveli by Suvi Simola
Yarn: Cascade 220, colours #8400, 8914 and 2404

I tried to keep knitting for Christmas to a stress-free minimum this year, but here is something I made for my cousin's one-year-old little guy. It's the same one I made bigger and pinker for my daughter last month. I love this pattern (Suvi's a genius) and I wanted to try some boy colours.

I wish this little guy lived near us as he's such a sweetheart. Thank goodness for holidays so we can visit with those we love. Now for a snowy and relaxing week off.

December 27, 2009

christmas vest

Pattern: Dr. G's Memory Vest by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash in colour #865

This vest is not for me - I only tried it on for a sec as all of my unmodeled shots didn't seem to do it justice. I sent it to my Dad a few weeks ago and I hope he likes it. This pattern is wonderful - designed to honour Kirsten's father who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. I have made this before and I'm sure I will again.

I am keen on vests right now. I have several more planned. Not having to make sleeves is a bonus.

December 24, 2009

peace and joy

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Thanks for your friendship and encouragement this year. I'm so happy to have met you all!

December 19, 2009

more testing

I'm test-knitting another cardigan (Ravelry link only), for my daughter, this time on tiny needles and yarn. It was originally written up to size 24 mos., but then the designer, Kirsten, asked me if I wanted to test a larger size for her, so I'm doing 4-5 yrs. This means I'm about a month behind the other testers and I'm running to catch up. I just got the yarn this week and it's lovely to work with - Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport.

I am also working on a different cardigan (for myself!) which was going to be my first steeking experience, but now this one will be. Eeek! I'll show you how it goes when I get there.

Have a great weekend!

December 16, 2009

this changes everything

I had a birthday a few days ago and my fabulous husband gave me this, from his fabulous friend who was upgrading to an even better camera (thanks Tim! You rock!). It's a Canon EOS 20D and he threw in an awesome macro lens to boot.

I should be able to take much better photos now, if we ever get more than a few minutes of daylight around here.

I'm going to go play now. Stay warm!

December 12, 2009

moving right along...

Although it may appear as though progress is slow on this, it's because I'm also doing other things that I just can't talk about yet. (come to think of it, I'm always working on too many things at once to show appreciable progress on any given thing over a week, so nothing different.)

I'm almost done plying the first 8oz. I think I'll have about 350 yds. , which means I may need around 30 oz to do the whole sweater which sounds rather heavy to me, but there you go. I had it in my head a worsted wt. sweater for myself would weigh 24 oz for some reason. No good reason I can think of at the moment, but anyway. I guess the extra wool is due to it being 3 ply? And I'm probably a wee bit tight on my singles, though my plying is looser. Always my problem. I have a fear of skinny singles breaking apart otherwise.

I am still a bit on the fence about the peach bits in the colour, although it is growing on me. What I do love is the wonderful sproinginess of the finished yarn. It will be super fun to knit up.

To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Hanukkah! Have a great weekend.

December 5, 2009

fractions and divisions

Just wanted to show you how subtle the fuscia/black roving turned out (whew!) when it was spun - it's the one on the centre bobbin. Now I'm doing the last third which looks more like the first one and then it's plying time.

The other photo shows the weird thing which occurred this week in the backyard. The sun swung around low in the southern sky throughout the day, but the garage was between it and the backyard at that angle, so it warmed up the north 1/3 of the yard and melted every speck of snow there, (gradually, in a moving line from north to south). It stopped melting around mid afternoon when it either lost heat or the proper angle. Not sure which. Or both.

We've also experienced it raining in our frontyard but not in our back.

We obviously live on some sort of cosmic division line.

November 28, 2009

serious spinning

I'm spinning a sweater. I know I've said this before. And this other time. They will all get done. Really. The one above will hold my interest more easily because the wool is dyed in more than one colour and it's gorgeous merino from Crown Mountain Farms. The colorway is called Riders on the Storm.

I bought it because I wanted something with a fair amount of black and grey in it, but I hadn't counted on so much pink. I'm spinning a 3-ply, so when I went to divide my first 8oz I realized 2/3 of it had a very different look to it than the rest. Most of it looks like the top photo - lots of greys, some purple and light peach. The rest includes intense fuscia and black (middle photo). But, as always, everything evens out a lot in the spinning. The single on my wheel is using stuff like the top photo. I figure that the evening out of a 3-ply, coupled with the fact that 2/3 of it is more subtle, will make for a sweater I can maybe wear.

And I'm really stoked about the sweater it will be.

November 25, 2009

EZ love

I have never ever been a person who swooned over celebrities and I've even thought those who did were a few jelly beans short of a full bag, as it were. Until a few years ago when I discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann and her wonderful books about knitting.

Last weekend, on our way home from the walk in the woods I mentioned previously, we stopped in at a library across town I've never been in before. I can never resist checking to see what knitting books an unfamiliar library might have, and I did leave with a huge pile in my arms, but what made me gasp out loud was discovering they had a copy of the video series Elizabeth had done for PBS of The Knitting Workshop. I could hardly wait to get home. I have stayed up late every night since then to watch this thoroughly enjoyable woman and her cats wandering around as she talks about backwards loop casting on and percentages, all the while conversing with Meg who is off camera.

Then I remembered the wonderful green sweater that had been discovered a few months ago and saw in the Zimmermania group on Ravelry that Meg was planning on making a kit and if you signed up for the newsletter you could find out when it was released. I signed up for the newsletter at 11:00 last night. The kit for the sweater was released today. And it's available in the original yarn! And it's incredibly inexpensive. I had to.

Even though I have to live with the fact that I am now officially a groupie. And I'm short more than a few beans.

November 21, 2009

replacement hat

Pattern: Turn a Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden and Cascade 220

I made a hat for my friend last year and apparently he really liked it and wore it all the time because when it dropped out of his pocket, unbeknownst to him, at the mall last week and was lost forever, he was very upset. I made him this one to replace it. I've made it once before. It's a quick and easy way to use up bits of lazy yarn you have lying around and Silk Garden is always fun, if a bit annoyingly fragile.

We're going for a walk in the woods today. It's incredibly warm outside and has been for weeks. No snow yet either. I've barely had any excuses to wear my handknits.

Have a great weekend!

November 15, 2009

pinky goodness

Pattern: Pikkuveli by Suvi Simola (not yet released)
Yarn: Cascade 220, colours 9470 (pink), 8901 (purple), and 9430 (green)

Here is the finished version of the sweater I've been test knitting for Suvi. What a gorgeous pattern. This is size 6, so it's a wee bit roomy on my 5-yr-old, but that's perfect. She can wear this for a long time. It was fast and fun and these colours never got boring. She loves it!

November 7, 2009

tests can be fun

I'm test-knitting a super cute cardigan pattern by Suvi right now. These sleeves are so fun to make. My 5 yr. old girl's tastes are all about pinks and purples, so that's what I'm using. The main colour is fuscia and the secondary is grape - I will attempt to better differentiate them in the next photos. They are far more saturated than I would normally knit with, but they were what seemed to work together from the selection my LYS offered in this particular yarn.

Have a great weekend!

November 3, 2009

2 mitts are better than 1

Pattern: Deep in the Forest Mittens by Tuulia Salmela
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, colours 122 Granite and 01 Shetland Black

The bareness of the tree branches outside reminded me that I hadn't yet finished the mate to this mitt I started much too long ago. They're warm and a bit rugged and I love them. The yarn is gorgeous and I can hardly wait to use it again. Actually, I have several projects planned with the other fingering weight shetland yarn (2ply Jumper) - Jamieson and Smith, so I can compare the two. They seem very similar.

Fall. Trees. Mitts. It's all good.

October 31, 2009


Here's another sweater I have only completed the back of. If anyone out there has no problem whatsoever doing sleeves, fronts, collars, seaming, buttons, etc. of their sweaters but has an irrational fear or loathing concerning the back piece, give me a call. It seems to be as far as I'm getting with several sweaters I've started for myself lately.

The problem is related more to my sudden panic this week that I had not yet started any projects for Christmas. So I left the sweater of the previous post to pursue that. I also have a hang-up about working solely on something for me and not other people. I realize this may not be healthy. Also, with the one above in particular, my hands need a break after dealing with bulky yarn, so I switch to other things. This is my excuse, anyway. But I do have several projects nearing completion I'll post about soon.

Have a happy, spooky Halloween!

October 22, 2009

my current obsession

From the minute I first saw Lucy's original version of Lillian about 6 months ago I anxiously waited for her to write up the pattern and share it with the rest of us. Then the happy day finally came a few weeks ago and I promptly stole the yarn I'd reserved for another sweater (sorry Monday Morning cardi! I'll get back to you) and cast on.

I love this sweater. All I want to do is knit this sweater. I wish I had nothing else to do but knit this sweater from this minute on until it is done. Sigh.

October 18, 2009

slash the stash

So my husband and I generally suffer from seasonal hay fever-type allergies on top of other allergies (for me, at least: gluten, cats, coffee, elastoplast bandaids), and he decided a week or so ago that the ancient carpet in our basement might be a contributor in some way and that we should replace it with laminate flooring and area rugs. We're do-it-yourselfers so that's what's up this weekend. We've started in the spare bedroom and we're down to the underlay which is adhered to the concrete with some sort of bionic glue. (And every time I hear the word "underlay" I have a Speedy Gonzales moment in my head - 'undelay undelay ariba ariba'! I know. I'm very mature).

Thing is, the spare bedroom in the basement is where my yarn/fibre/fabric stashes were. The corner in the top photo is where the yarn used to be neatly organized in the awesome storage containers I recently scored on sale at Canadian Tire, seen in the 2nd photo. Now they're stacked in the adjoining tv room in big inaccessible piles. But I'm so glad they're semi-organized and not a big loose pile of skeins, at least for the most part.

My fabric (bottom photo) is not so organized, but I'm thinking most of it won't get back in the spare room at the end of this anyway. I halfheartedly sew on occasion but it doesn't thrill me. My husband, who usually never mentions the yarn at all said I probably don't have enough time in my life to ever knit up all the yarn I currently own and he may be right. I should probably de-stash some. Like the many books I own, I have a really hard time getting rid of yarn. Even the crappy stuff I bought when I was just starting out and didn't know any better.

Oh well. My tea break's over. Back to the underlay.

October 16, 2009

a hat so nice I made it twice

Actually, almost thrice. I made this hat recently in green. I love this pattern by Suvi. The first time I used Malabrigo. This time it's in Mission Falls 1824 wool. They both say 18sts=4" on their labels, but the Mission Falls is really much heavier and thicker.

This knit up bigger as a result and I worried the whole way through it would be ginormous. It's for a friend of mine so I didn't want to flirt with disaster like I do all the time with my own stuff. Through sheer stubbornness I kept going, but yesterday I cast on for a back-up one in navy Malabrigo since I knew how that would turn out. But I didn't need it after all. When I finished this one late last night it didn't seem as bad as I'd feared and even in the more rational light of day it remains a bigger, heavier but completely wearable hat. Yay! My friend says she likes it. I don't even think she's just trying to be nice.

October 11, 2009

warm babies are happy babies

Fibre: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in Just for You colourway

Here are the hat and mitts mentioned in my previous post. I managed to spin 184 yards of 2 ply worsted wt. from 4oz which made these with about 3 yds to spare. I really love CMF fibre. My sister-in-law asked me to make a hat and mitts for my great nephew (her grandson) who is nearly 1 and super cute. I hope these work.

We had an early, wet snowfall 2 days ago that took us aback, considering most of the leaves are still attached to their trees. Much of it has melted now, but it's foreboding nonetheless. I'm a landscape architect and I have sites under construction at the moment that need finishing. Like playgrounds. I'm losing some sleep right now. Knitting helps.

Hope you're having a great weekend. Happy Thanksgiving/Columbus Day!

October 3, 2009

WIPs: handspun version

I'm still mired in WIP-land, so here's another non-FO post. The fabulous Amy requested a look at something not commercially spun, so here we go.

What you're looking at is, from the top, some simple (in pattern) socks I dyed and spun first. They are giving me much enjoyment. The knitting of them is like a wonderful dessert at the end of a wonderful meal.

The 2nd is the first 650 yds of some dk weight shetland I'm periodically spinning. It's really lovely, but I have to say I sort of start to nod off while I'm doing it because of the incessant sameness of it. This in no way whatsoever dampens my general passion for shetland wool, because I truly love it to pieces. I will have a sweater's worth hopefully before Christmas.

The 3rd satisfies my monotony problem with the 2nd. Superwash merino from here I am spinning for some mitts and a hat for my niece's baby who is (currently) the cutest baby in the world. CMF fibre is incredible to spin. Soft and lovely and wonderful very-hard-to-photograph-especially-with-a-crappy-camera colours. My simple brain enjoys the constant amusement of what will happen next as the varying colours ply together.

Maybe something will get done around here soon despite my best efforts (I cast on 2 more projects this week). Have a great weekend!

September 27, 2009

bohusian fun

I was hoping this would be a FO post, but alas. Life has been busy.

At least this is further along than last time I mentioned it. And it is extremely fun to work on for many reasons. Ever since I stumbled upon Poems of Color by Wendy Keele at my local library last year I have been interested in the Bohus Stickning era in Sweden. From 1939-1969 it was a cottage industry led by Emma Jacobsson to assist knitters and their families. They developed many beautiful designs for mitts, hats, pullovers and cardigans that involved intricate colourwork on very small needles.

Solveig Gustafsson now dyes gorgeous merino/angora yarns and sells kits for many of the original designs. There is also a Bohus group on Ravelry who help share information about this rather unique knitting genre.

This hat has several subtly different shades of green and a wonderful halo to the finished fabric. This makes it really hard to photograph well. I will try to do better when it's done.

September 20, 2009


Pattern: Kid Owlet by Kate Davies
Yarn: Lamb's Pride bulky in Grey Heather

We're having unusually hot weather for this time of year, so we waited until the cool early morning to quickly throw this on for a photo. I felt a bit goofy knitting a bulky wool sweater in 30 degree celsius but I've had a huge urge lately to "nest" and try to prepare for the bitter cold I know is to come. Nesting naturally led me to owls.

This will be great over a twirly skirt for skating lessons this winter.

September 14, 2009

bike hat

Pattern: Bicycle Boy by Ann Weaver
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 merino superwash in charcoal and a sort of yellow-green-which-sounds-hideous-but-is-actually-quite-subtle-and-lovely

Here's one of the hats from the last post. I knew if I shamed myself by posting WIP pics I would sit down and finally finish something. This was fast and easy. It should serve its purpose of keeping him warm whilst cycling.

So, I often have insomnia and I find myself up (too) late knitting. I am thoroughly enjoying these podcasts while I do this. I had heard about this amazing crochet project about global warming and the coral reef, but watching Margaret Wertheim speak about it here is completely riveting.

Brenda Dayne, who started the Cast On site, is also taking part in a really interesting public art project by Antony Gormley called One and Other in which for each hour of a 100 day period someone different does something atop a plinth in Trafalgar Square. She will be knitting.

September 12, 2009

circling but not landing

Sometimes I'm bothered by the fact that because I tend to work on many things at once I see slower progress with any given project. It means I go through occasional periods, like right now, when everything is a WIP with no clear FO winner in sight. But it never gets boring.

The weird thing I just noticed about my "top 4" projects right now (cause there are more underway I'm not showing here) is they are all circular. That is where their similarities end. The bottom photo is an icelandic yoke pullover I'm making for myself. I'm enjoying every little piece of hay I'm pulling off of this as I go. I'm really looking forward to working on this one.

Above that is an under-the-helmet bike hat I'm making for my sweetie. It's going to get cold here soon before it actually snows (and he stops riding) and this is the 3rd or 4th DK-weight hat I've made him for this purpose. Super handy. But easy to lose, apparently.

Above that is a second grey sweater, circular, bottom up. An Owls sweater for the girl. Bulky yarn in a childsize sweater means it's going super FAST. Body + 1 sleeve = about 3 hours.

The one above that is not going to be anywhere near so fast and is proving to be an amusing counterpoint in yarn scale to the Owls sweater. It's a Bohus hat. In fingering weight wool on US 0 needles. I'm very excited about this one, too.

More details on each when I actually have them finished to show you. I'm feeling very unproductive and very productive at the same time.

September 5, 2009


Pattern: #10 Cabled Cap by Suvi Simola
published in Vogue Knitting Fall 2009
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted in Verde adriana (117)

I am so in love with Suvi's designs and want to make Everything. Right. Now. Especially this. But I can't at this very moment because I have WAY too many things under construction or planned to be shortly. So I grabbed the squooshiest stuff I had and quickly made this. I love these cables.

Now we're off for a last frolic at the beach before school starts, music lessons, soccer playoffs, hockey season, cold weather.......have a great long weekend!

September 1, 2009

veste jonas

Pattern: Veste Everest by Veronik Avery
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash

One day I asked my son if there was anything he felt like having me knit for him. He said "Yah! Actually...." and pulled out this picture of the Jonas Brothers. I searched for something similar with cables and remembered this pattern. Then I looked for blue yarn. I tried to persuade him into a tweed, but he insisted on straight-up plain baby blue. I have to say, nice as this pattern is, it's boring to knit and a bit more going on with the yarn would have helped. Oh well.

He likes it. He may even wear it.

August 23, 2009

resistance was futile

I have several biggish projects going right now. 3 sweaters. Plus a vest my poor son has been waiting for months for. I was going to get it done this weekend. I was. But I'm someone who can't work on only one thing, especially a big thing. My fingers get itchy for the instant gratification of a small project.

And I had this incredible yarn sitting in my cupboard, which I got from Melissa a few weeks ago. I had told myself I would hold off using it until other stuff got done. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's gorgeous. So I caved yesterday afternoon and made these.

Abby at Folktale Fibers spun this. It is made up of separately dyed pure shots of colour which are spun into singles and then plied (2) together so every 2' or so is a new and unique colour combo which is constantly entertaining and lovely. In my haste I neglected to take a photo of the skein, so I took a quick one of the other half of it after doing the first mitt.

Is it weird to be in love with a yarn? I don't care.

August 15, 2009

fair isle cardigan

Pattern: Fair Isle Cardigan (Rav. link) by Debbie Bliss in Family Knits
Size: 4-5 yrs.
Yarn: Knitpicks Shine Sport

This was a LOT of work, but I'm really happy with this, my first fair isle sweater. It calls for wool, but this cotton/modal yarn works very well. It's really soft and drapey. I had so much fun making this (despite days and days spent weaving in ends) I would make it again in wool if not for the fact this is the max. size and I don't feel like sizing it up (she keeps getting bigger). Maybe I'll try a steeked version one day and size it up at the same time.