Monday, August 29, 2005

Remember this?

The hat didn't fit the was part of a set of mittens, scarf and hat and she was hoping that it could be "fixed".

I took very careful (well, careful for me) measurements and counted stitches before I unravelled the whole thing...

and re-knit it on 12.5mm dpns...(saved the seaming allowance and looks a bit neater to boot!)

Voila, not perfect, but I was a bit limited by my materials. After unravelling the hat, the yarn was pretty fuzzy and "shreddy". It didn't like to be handled much!

The only thing left is finishing. In this case, I had so little yarn leftover that there isn't even enough to weave in, so I'm going to use a similar coloured thread and darn in the ends.

Anyway, the good news is that it fits Jonelle and she can wear it with the scarf and mittens this winter.

Friday, August 26, 2005

While I'm waiting...

For that stray ball of Lion Boucle to arrive in the mail, I'll tempt fate again and try to knit down my stash.

This time I'm using 10 balls of Online Chippy (also a boucle) in an odd mix of black, burnt orange and scarlet. It sounds atrocious, but the colours knit up into a fairly firm fabric with a colour reminiscent of autumn leaves. I'm hoping to squeak a zippered cardigan for my oldest out of my stash. Once again, the pattern that I'm using as a guide suggests it's gonna be close. (I've changed design details, the type of yarn required and the needle size to obtain gauge, so the pattern is really just a good guesstimate for yardage.) Guess I like to live dangerously.

Anyway, here is a picture of the scrap that I started. I hope that the colour shows up on your monitor, it really is lovely.

On the plus side, unlike Clare's Circus Coat, if I wind up short of yarn on this project, there are a few corners I can cut to salvage things. I can make the pocket linings and the collar in solid black yarn. Both the linings and collar are knit right at the end, so I won't have to unravel and reknit anything. I better have a plan B with this project, because the yarn is quite old and certainly discontinued. Well, that's what I'm up to...what are you doing this weekend?

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Stashbusting Nightmare....

I'm back from a week visiting relatives and hanging at the cottage, so I should have a heap of knitting to show for it, right?


I decided that last week would be a perfect time to stashbust and vowed not to purchase any new yarn until I created at least one garment out of stashstuff. I think I started and frogged half my stash! LOL

The one thing that did stick, sort of, is the Circus Coat from the current issue of Cast On magazine. It's a long sweater coat for a little girl and it is shown in a luscious, hand-coloured, pure wool yarn. I'm executing it in a much less expensive, (off the clearance table, buck or two a ball) Lion Brand Boucle. Clare picked the obnoxious shade herself from my stash.

My calculations suggested that I would be very tight, well actually a little bit short on yarn to complete the project, but did that stop me. It should have. I ran out of yarn, three quarters of the way through the second sleeve. (back and sides completed of course)

Of course, because this colour is discontined at my local stores (only Walmart and Michael's carry Lion Brand in Canada) I was forced to order a single ball from Lion Brand directly.

With shipping, handling, exchange, this lone ball will cost more than the rest of the coat.

On the plus side, the other eight balls are OUT OF MY STASH!

No pictures yet, cuz it's just a pile of parts...but here is the colour. Hmmm, wonder why it was discontinued?

My other failed projects included two attempts at items from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits book. I like the book because it has garments that appeal to my "tween" daughter. Ellery is eight years old, tall for her age and is starting to look silly in nursery colours and intarsia bunnies. On the other hand, I'm not ready to dress her in "teenwear" with bare midriffs and exposed hipbones. Junior Knits has some nice compromises!

My problems with the test swatches have related to edge curling. Admittedly, I'm using (avert your eyes Ms. Bliss), part acrylic yarn...wool/acrylic or cotton/acrylic to replace the pure cotton or cashmerino requested by the pattern and this may be part of my problem. Both patterns featured 4 rows of garter stitch rather than ribbing for the lower edge and on both test swatches (very large ones as I typically cast on a sleeve or cardigan front for my swatch) the edge "flipped up". Blocking the acrylic didn't do much and even if it did, I don't think I would have trusted it enough to continue with the item. When I pick this up again, I'll try using larger needles than called for and adjusting the gauge to see if a looser knit helps it lie flat.

Any other suggestions?

Friday, August 12, 2005

No Knitting...but a little happy dance!

Something worked out!

Gillian spent the week in the YMCA Aquatics Day Camp!

There is a local group, Reach for the Rainbow, who provide one on one support for children so that they can attend camps with "regular kids"...(more politically correctly called NT, or NeuroTypical kids)

I applied for support ages ago, when we believed that Gilly would age out of her program and have NO services this summer. My theory was that a week of structure would help reinforce how to behave in a structured environment.

I was tempted to cancel when Gilly's therapy was continued after the court victory, but I didn't. I'm so glad.

After a rough start (The camp form up point was in an empty parking lot across the street from the YMCA. The lot is empty before 10am because it is at a busy shopping mall with access to the subway, so commuters would take all the spaces before shoppers could arrive. I mention this to emphasize how FREAKING BUSY this area is...effectively bounded by a major artery and highway!!

So, expecting Gillian to mill around a loud, confusing, traffic-heavy environment was a bad plan. In the first 10 minutes we were there, she escaped from her worker 3 times, ran into the street after a ball once...(she loves bouncing balls)...well, you get the idea. Adele, the worker was well informed about Gilly's history (the advance interview was very thorough) but you don't really appreciate what "will run/bolt/dash" means until it happens.

I should point out that Adele was tiny. Not Calista Flockhart tiny...really teeny, not a hope in heck of passing for 5 feet tall, weighs so little as to require a booster seat in Canada, tiny. Gilly is a sturdy little girl, but geez she can run... Adele was wearing sandals and was really challenged to run down Gillian in less than 50 metres!

Anyway, after the third attempt a new game plan was devised. The aquatic camp was for 7 - 12 year olds (the sweetie, Christine who ran the program looked the other way for Gillian!! ) The group was broken into three subgroups, 7&8, 9&10 and 11&12 year olds, each with a cousellor. The counsellor for the oldest kids, Mike is a college kid, way over 6 feet...way over...who won a gold medal for his highschool as a sprinter. If Gilly dashed again, Adele took over the 11 and 12 group, and Mike fired his starter's pistol.

I still had my doubts about this arrangement and spent the first two hours of Gilly's camp experience hiding behind a potted plant in the lobby of the YMCA, pretending to knit, but really spying on Adele and Gilly.

No worries, Gilly loved Adele, didn't have any serious meltdowns all week...loved art projects, running around in the gym chasing balls...and of course swimming, 2.5 hours each day. She was dead tired at the end of the day...but happy tired.

The staff was FABULOUS, they included Gilly in all the projects and tailored them to be accessible for her (simplifying art projects etc.) They read in her report that she loves squishy, tactile things, so they created an art project for Gilly that involved horrifyingly messy papermache-type stuff and let all the other campers help make messes with Boo! They encouraged her to pick favorite buddies (usually the older girls) and sit with them. The campers were encouraged to look out for Gilly, in a very kind, friendly way.

Oh, Gilly painted a picture today and all the counsellors and campers signed it.

Sniff...I'm feeling all smooshy...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sneak Peek....Aren't the colours pretty?

Hmmm....what is it?

You'll have to keep guessing...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mummy's Summer Vacation...My favorite day of the year!

Yeah, one day...It's tough to get away when you have three kids with busy schedules, but I did manage to coax my hubby into wrangling the pups last Saturday so I could "go out"!

I treated myself to a massage, a facial, dinner out with a friend and ice cream, but the best part of the day was a "Going out of Business Sale" at a yarn store across town. I know it is unseemly to capitalize on the misfortunes of others, but the lady who owns the store is retiring and the new owner didn't want to assume the inventory, so my glee isn't quite as rapacious as it might initially appear.

Anyway, despite needing more yarn like a hole in the head (see archived posts Re: 36 miles of stash) I did pick up small quantities of these beauties:

Some Butterfly 10 Cotton in springy shades of periwinkle and peach!

A mysterious wool/silk blend from Elite Classic Yarns in a heathery tan/brown colour. It's crispy rather than soft and there isn't enough for a sweater, but I think that I might be able to eek out a textured vest for my little nephew in the UK.

A buttery-soft merino in luscious shades of brown and taupe. (sorry, once again my blog writes cheques that my photographic skills cannot cash!) It is similar to, but a bit lighter weight than Zara.

And a little pile of these! I'm planning on starting a lunch-time "Learn to Knit" club at my daughters' junior public school, so it will be useful to have some inexpensive beginner's needles to lend out.

I guess I should get busy knitting, with all that extra stash to work through!

Monday, August 01, 2005

I made it! the deadline that is....

Well, I made the sweater too. Geez, I just squeaked this one under the wire. I've been knitting more than 4 hours a day for the last couple days (thanks to an under-the-weather pup for keeping me on bedside vigil till 3am), but it was finished in time for the party! Woo Hoo!

It was really a mistake to make something under such ridiculous time constraints. The sweater turned out ok, but there are little things that I would have tinkered with had I an opportunity for "do overs"! Maybe it's just me, but with Debbie Bliss patterns, there are always one or two things that I complete according to the pattern directions, review the result and then smack myself in the forehead and say "hey, I shoulda......." In my opinion, Debbie Bliss patterns are kinda like big, white weddings, you really should be able to do them twice to smooth out all the rough patches you encounter the first time!

Well, it's, now onto the next project!

I'm thinking about a baby blanket, or maybe a baby sweater....