Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Envy is a Deadly Sin...Unless...

you covet a really, really cool set of knitting needles.

Rochelle (not Rachelle) brought her fancy shmancy Knit Picks Options Needle Set to Stitch and Bitch tonight. Very nice.

Not that I need any more knitting needles, but these are really nice. The joins between the needle and the cables are MUCH smoother than my Addis. I've been knitting a lot with cotton lately and the lack of give to the yarn makes a bad join more noticeable.

I haven't seen Rochelle in ages and hadn't realized how much I'd missed her! Check out her blog...she knits amazing lace pieces!

In Knitting News...first the good

Thanks to a horrifying accident on Highway 8 that we encountered on the way to pick up the girls at the cottage this weekend, I snagged lots of knitting time for the Silkroad Aran collar. It's 2X2 rib and pretty tedious to knit, so it's a good thing that it was the only thing I had available to distract me from DH's rising blood pressure during 4 hours of bumper to bumper traffic.

The bad...

Well, it really isn't bad. Orangina is quite lovely, pretty stitch pattern, lovely colours, but I made a whoops. I really don't think that it is going to fit me. Curses! Breathing slowly through my nose, I see that I have a couple options.

1) Frog everything. This is my usual course of action. It's drastic, but it removes the offending object from my sight completely and therefore remains a favorite of mine.

2) Put it away. Orangina is knit on pretty small needles (3mm) so it's a slow knit. I'm not likely to get to wear it this season even if I didn't have to do any rework and I don't have immediate plans for the yarn otherwise...so let's sit on it and see if it grows, or I shrink (yeah, likely)over the winter.

3) Redesign the garment. Basically at this point, Orangina is really just a lace patterned rectangle. It could easily be reclaimed as a sweater, possibly the back of a lacy cardigan for my oldest daughter who will be 10 next season. Hmm...ripping it all out seems such a waste. I could always start fresh on an Orangina for me next season using the reclaimed yarn from the failed Striped Vest.

Ok, I'm 0 for 2 now with my recent knitting projects. Given my recent knitting setbacks and the prospect of knitting even more olive ribbing I needed to start something that promised some immediate gratification.

Not quite instantaneous, but this is an hour or two's worth of Marie Grace Smith's Orange Twist pullover, made from some Paton's Claire Murray washable merino that I have in my stash. It's butter soft, has nice stitch definition and is machine washable (great for a kids pullover)

Of course, Paton's has discontinued it in favour of stocking more butt-ugly lumpy novelty yarns, like this

or this

or this

Enough already, it's just too easy.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another Home Run for Reach for the Rainbow!

Gillian just finished two weeks of aquatics camp at our local YMCA. She is able to attend this camp only because she is supported "one on one" by a worker through "Reach for the Rainbow"

The counsellors at Reach for the Rainbow are uniformly wonderful. I'm sure that I'm tempting fate for next year, but over the last two years, everyone we've met through the Reach for the Rainbow/YMCA program has been indescribably fabulous!

The counsellors work very hard to integrate Gillian into their "regular" program, take her behaviours in stride and ALWAYS have something positive to say about her at the end of the day. I couldn't hope for more.

There are so many places where Gillian isn't welcome, that it is truly thrilling to find an oasis of loving support for a special needs child!

Thanks for a fabulous summer camp experience, Reach for the Rainbow...
Special thanks to Mary, Melinda, Anika, Sylvia and Robyn (apologies for all those wonderful counsellors whose names escape me for the moment!)

A big kiss for all of you...

Friday, August 18, 2006

When Shopping Isn't Really Shopping

I know, I'm not supposed to be shopping for stuff I don't need (and believe it or not, DH considers yarn a non-necessity) but if you are engaged in productive, non-shopping activities and you just happen to trip over incredible finds, then that doesn't count as shopping...right?

It started with an impromptu visit to my chiropractor yesterday. Clare and I zipped over to Dr. Mary for a quick adjustment and found ourselves one block away from Knitomatic

Yarn purchases don't count as shopping when you are buying small quantities of yarn to finish projects you are knitting out of stash.

After swatching everything I could find in my stash for something to use for the Silkroad Cardigan contrast collar, I figured that Wool Gatto came closest to gauge and was smooth enough to wear against my neck.

Colour was trickier, black was an obvious choice, because of the black flecks in the main body of the olive coloured sweater, but Haley thought that it looked sort of...blech. (Haley was far more tactful, but she did dissuade me from the black collar.) After trying blues, greys, taupes and other interesting contrast colours, she found a couple balls of olive yarn that were a near perfect match for the ground colour of the main body yarn and far more flattering than anything I would have selected.

Sounds simple and obvious, doesn't it. In fact, this discovery necessitated handling every piece of merchandise in the store, including the sample garments, which led to my next non-shopping purchase. Haley had a Bees Knees Knits cardigan in the store...

When my SIL was expecting my now year-old nephew, I'd planned to make one using some red/blue/green sock yarn that I had on hand, but it really didn't look right when I swatched it. But...remember this from the stash?...

Wouldn't that make a fun cardigan...tiger stripes with dark contrast collar and trim? yup...I thought so too, which is why I had to pick up the contrast colour wool while I was at Knitomatic. Oh, and a new set of needles to finish Orangina. So really, I didn't buy anything NEW because everything I bought I needed to complete projects for which I had already bought supplies. (I'm rehearsing this for DH)

Two of my three kids are spending the weekend with my brother and his fiancee, so we arranged a kid exchange halfway between our respective homes. (Note: productive, non-shopping activity) Imagine my surprise when I found a millends outlet store nearby!

Now this really doesn't count as buying "knitting stuff" cuz I bought other stuff too!

Cute huh? My mum has a bad neck and loves cats...so a cat-shaped neck warmer seemed like a good buy. (It's filled with a sack of those beady things that pop into the microwave to warm up.)

And Santa forgot to tuck a new pair of oven mitts into my stocking this year. The old ones are starting to look rather unappetizing.

Super-cheap cotton millends for my mum's dishcloth collection...

And finally, 49 cent needles! Can't beat that!

I don't use really fine circulars that often, but it's useful to have some on hand, plus they are really handy for picking up and holding live stitches. The DPNs are big enough for my beginners at school to use. I figure that I'll wind thick rubberbands on one end so the stitches don't fall off and use them like straight needles. Hey, for a quarter a pair, they'll be good to have on hand for starter kits next winter.

So, I've been pretty busy NOT SHOPPING over the last couple days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Trouble with Yarn Substitutions...

is that you always risk having your finished garment differ substantially from your anticipated result!

No photos of the Striped Vest, I can't swing taking a photo of me wearing it and DH is at work.

The Striped Vest (Summer 2006 Vogue Knitting) calls for LustreSheen acrylic yarn held double stranded. I used some mercerized cotton that I had on hand, also held double stranded. Cotton makes a heavier garment than does acrylic and while the drape of the fabric is lovely, it hangs a bit more than I'd like in a tank top. I fear that it will grow in length everytime I wear it. Also, cotton isn't known for being stretchy and it probably won't retain its shape well.

I'm not too broken up about it, the fit/drape issues were anticipated when I started the garment, so my expectations for the finished garment weren't high.

While I decide whether or not to frog, I'm checking gauge for this:

Again, I'm trying to use something from the stash...but much closer to the yarn indicated by the pattern.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Knitting In Reverse...

That's what DH calls it.

BTW, how's this for a visual representation of "reverse"? I like it!

Anyway, I had only a handful of rows to complete on the front of my Striped Vest when I decided that I didn't like the way that the neckline was falling. The vest is knit side to side, so once you have completed enough to see how things are shaping up, the only way to correct things is to rip back to the beginning of the arm shaping.

Two days later, I think I'm back to where I was when the frog monster attacked. I think the back neckline is ok, but I may have to redo it as well...

Hopefully, we'll have a long summer and I'll get a chance to wear this thing this year!

On a happy note, Haley passed her ADI access test yesterday and she and Gillian are now a certified team! Woo Hoo!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Something New at The Garter Belt

My favorite pattern site has a new designer! Marie Grace Smith

I love her sweaters, especially the kids stuff, fresh but not trendy. And it looks like Marie will be creating things for that tough to knit for group of "tweens"...too old for Thomas the Tank Engine intarsia pullovers but not quite ready (at least in Mummy and Daddy's eyes) for bared body bits and metallic yarns.

I confess that I've already picked up one of her designs..

Doesn't this just look like the comfiest sweater in the world? A bit more "dressed" than a sweatshirt, but just as cozy for long days at school. I'm sure that I have something in the stash that would work for this. (you can roll your eyes now)

Well, it's a long weekend here and Ellery is having her birthday party tomorrow, so I had best get to work on the loot bags. We're going with a 'back to school' theme (mostly wishful thinking on Mum's part, but it really is a scant 31 days away.) Elle picked out miniature handbags in ice cream colours to be used as pencil cases next school year. We have to stuff them with coloured pencils, pens, glue sticks, erasers, scissors and highlighters. Fortunately for my handbag, there are few participants!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Big Girl Knits!

Lookie what I found at the library!

Sure, technically I'm not really a Big Girl, but I am a Big-Boned Girl and some of the patterns in Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno's book start at a finished bust measurement of 40". That wouldn't take much tweaking to fit!

I love the cover sweater and the Sandy Cardigan. Isn't Sandy a great use for Noro? I love Noro, but between the scratchiness of Kureyon against my skin (sorry Klaralund...you are fetching)
and its tendency to advertise my width with multi-hued horizontal lines (sorry Rosedale)
I haven't found a Noro pattern that thrills me. Sandy is a definite possibility.

As far as current projects go, I've completed the front half of the Striped Tank (sorry no photos, forgot to recharge the battery) It's a good choice for knitting right now. It's so hot and sticky that the thought of anything heavy or wooly on my needles right now is tres unappealing. My Silkroad Cardigan WIP sits waiting for cooler weather!