Wednesday, February 28, 2007


There's not been much knitting done around these parts lately. A new editor is finally in place at one of the pubs I write for so things need to get turned around quickly. I'm spending most nights researching and writing. I have however, read a pretty good book recently. I rarely make time to read fiction. I spend so much time reading for my work that I need to shift gears when I get home and do different things. I love to read and was a book worm as a kid but since I had the boys - other things keep getting in the way.

I purchased a copy of The Friday Night Knitting Club a couple of weeks ago and finished it last night. I was skeptical but decided to buy the book when I learned that Julia Roberts had bought the rights to make it into a movie. I doubt she'd be interested if it was truly awful so I gave it a whirl. I really enjoyed the book and was pleased to see that the Knitting Club and the shop around which the story revolves were utilized appropriately. In other words, the store and club merely served as vehicles to develop the characters and the entire text wasn't peppered with long passages about long tail cast on versus cabled cast on. I felt the characters were nicely developed and I did have an interest in where they were headed. It was a light- hearted easy read ...until the last 3 chapters or so. I won't spoil the plot but I will say that the story took an unexpected turn that surprised me. This particular plot turn hit WAY too close to home for me so I would imagine it hit me a bit harder than most readers. I would give the author credit for not taking the safe, predictable route and I was definitely moved emotionally. Knitter or non-knitter this book is thoughtfully told and well written. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I was so verklempt at the book's ending that a little retail therapy was in order. My favourite local boutique just got their spring line in and this new label called One Girl Who is dynamite. I purchased this lovely cardigan (left) in the white colour shown. It's based on those lovely circle jacket designs that we're seeing in knitwear right now and the one side falls lower than the other. I LOVE it.

I also got this cardigan(right). Mine is black but you get the picture. Great to dress up and dress down with a little whimsy.

I did complete the first side of the Vogue Knitting pink Koigu skirt so, once that's blocked, I'll show you the completed piece. Poppy shoulders are seamed and I just have to sew in the first sleeve. I want to try it on with one sleeve to make sure the length is correct before I make the other one the same. I could just go for the Venus di Milo look and call it a day!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Scout's Honour

At the end of January, I surveyed my editorial calendars for the publications I write for and breathed a sigh of relief. Nothing due until the end of February! Oh how I would wile away the winter evenings knitting and spinning. Poppy would be done by Valentines! Out of nowhere came 2 other assignments both with tight deadlines. You see I write so I can buy yarn which I don't have time to knit with...because I write. As I take "mini breaks" from my work, I surf the net and sometimes stumble over really cool projects that jump out at me. Such was the case with Bonne Marie Burns' new take on her popular Ribby Cardi. She's re-designed the ribby-cardi as a pullover and the cool twist is she's used an interesting combination of hand painted variegated yarns. I found this electric blue with black mixture "very eighties" and I really loved how it blended with the black and white hand paint. Chic Knits has partnered with Scout's Swag to sell these patterns and provide the yarn for them too. I'd recently purchased some of the Pippikneesocks roving from Scout and her responsiveness and customer service were excellent. (More on the roving later on but it totally rocks)! I originally ordered the exactly same colour combination as shown in the model but when I saw Scout's "hot fudge sundae" colourway I immediately switched the colour for the top portion and subbed it instead. Hot fudge combines wonderful shades of caramel, gold, cream, chocolate brown and blue to tie in with the main colourway for the bottom part of the sweater. This yarn is so soft - it'll be a delight to work with and as usual, Scout's service was perfecto! One thing I admire about Bonne Marie's patterns is how wonderful they look on so many different people in so many different yarns. I'm looking forward to finally working with one of her designs. I'm not sure yet if it will be Ribby Pullie or Ariann on the needles next. I have to finish Poppy first.

Here is Poppy with one completed sleeve. I did one less increase on the sleeve and made the increases every 7 rows instead of every 9. This gives me a final length of about 21". I plan to assemble the shoulders and sew in the first sleeve before I proceed to make the second one. I'll need to make sure that it's just the length I want.

I probably shouldn't feel guilty about relieving my stress by purchasing yarn. After all, I could be pulling a Brit and giving myself a whole new hair style. Yeah, that's the ticket. Now I'll need to buy yarn for new hats!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Long Law of the Arm

It's taken a long time for me to actually accept that I need to factor my unique body type into the knitting process. Remind me sometime to show you the Kaffe Fassett Rowan Leaves sweater I made that fits like a tunic and has arms that hang to my knees. As I came to knit the top of Poppy, I realized that one wrong move and that horizontal join between the yoke and the bottom section could hang a bit low and cut a very nice swath in "all the wrong places" if you get my drift. I was told by a seamstress about a year ago that I had a very short armhole depth. Good to know! So, I decided to shave about an inch off of the arm hole shaping for Poppy. I simply knit to the height I thought best, and cast off as evenly as possible the remaining stitches in three equal parts for the shoulder steps. I then re-knit the back to match the shaping. Here is Poppy thus far. She's not properly blocked yet, but you get the drift. I quite like to colour progressions in this shade of Silk Garden #224. I quickly realized that I needed to finish the top section before I knit the sleeves. The pattern calls for a final sleeve length of 25+" including sleeve cap. I know that will be much longer than I need. I want the sleeve to hit just where my thumb joins my hand so I figure about 20" will be plenty. To make the sleeve shorter, I'm increasing every 7 rows instead of every 9 as the pattern calls. This should eliminate several inches and then I'll pin the final sleeve in and see how it falls. I'm thoroughly enjoying this project. It's colourful, easy but interesting and is knitting up quite quickly.

I've also been spinning. You may recall a few months ago I bought some Blue Faced Leicester roving from Lisa Souza. This colourway is called Jonquil and is shades of gold, butter with little flecks of blue and sage green. I struggled a bit with the BFL as I found the longer staple need more time to twist and so some of my sections weren't as nicely spun as they could have been. I am very excited however to report that I learned how to Navajo ply (aka chained singles). Learning how to do this was one of my knitting resolutions and a fellow Niagara Spinning Guild member at spin day showed me how. I love this method and am extremely pleased with the results. Lisa refers to it as "Goldilocks" and I can see why. I'm toying with the idea of making the Yarn Harlot's "One Row Hand spun Scarf" out of this. We'll see. I have more of this roving in the same dye lot and will probably spin it up first before I decide.

I'm still plugging away on the Lake Park hat. The lovely "pulled stitch" design doesn't show up well in this shot but I'm extremely pleased with how it's looking! I can't wait to wear it. Knitting with my own hand spun and knitting more small projects. Strike two more resolutions from the list. Maybe the hat will add some excitement to what's starting to feel like a very long winter. They're predicting a snow storm tomorrow. Please let it be enough to stay home with my yarn!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Few of my Favourite Things

Each spring and fall I celebrate the new Rowan magazine by visitng the Needle Emporium to buy my issue and then by curling up in my favourite leather chair with a glass of wine, usually devouring the issue page by page. I choose a good wine - something befitting the occasion. This year's pick was a beautiful B.C. Syrah - 2004 Peller Estates. I usually get a peek at the new issues on line like most people. I think we all agree however that it's very difficult to truly see the detail on the designs from small images on a computer - you have to see the book. As I went through the Spring 2007 Rowan I was thrilled to see that they'd managed to produce a very wearable, knitable collection that was pretty yet not too matronly or boring. Quite frankly - there wasn't much I didn't like but here are my top picks from the new issue:

Number 1: Maritime by Sarah Dallas

I didn't really look twice at this design when I saw the small image. Upon closer inspection when I got the book, I noticed that the bottom ribbing, button bands, collar and cuffs are knit in pretty pastel shades of Cotton Glace in pink, pale blue and lavender. The main stripe is a deep blue and white combo. The dainty ribbon adds just the right touch. I'd love to see this one knit up.

Number 2: Lydia by Sarah Dallas

3 words - Kid Silk Haze. This is so pretty and I love the way it ties in at the front. I might make the ties just a tad shorter if I were to knit this one. The new colours of Kid Silk Haze are lovely and there is a nice aqua colour that I like.

Number 3: Henley by Martin Storey

Yummm...Calmer in driftwood and a nice french blue. This would be a great all year round sweater. Calmer is almost as addictive as Kid Silk Haze and I did say that I wanted to do more cabled projects when I made my knitting resolutions.

Number 4: Bonita by Sarah Hatton

I love the back detail with the medallion. This is a definite possibility but I'll wait to see the yarn.

Number 5: Lords and Ladies

Again- Kid Silk Haze. This shade is called ice cream. Yarn with food that's just playing dirty. Very feminine and looks to be very wearable.

Number 6: Wisteria Skirt

I'm really loving the knit skirt trend. This one uses short rows and is made of Cotton Glace. I'm still finishing the Vogue Koigu pink skirt so I'm not sure this would be a priority project but I'd love to see it made by someone.

Number 7: Peony

This was the first image I saw from the magazine. I love it and assuming the new Damask yarn is nice - augmenting with kid silk haze puts the icing on the cake for sure. I wonder if the floral embellishments are a tad too large or if it's too young looking? Very pretty though.

Number 8: Suzani Wrap

Vintage Kaffe in Summer Tweed. I love this colourway and it would make an amazing blanket. I do need to get my Morocco completed first before I even consider something like this.

So, there you have it. My top picks... for today anyway. The next phase of any issue is usually to see what Knit Alongs are created and which designs are made and modeled by real people. Often, a design I've not looked twice at takes on a whole new dimension. Or - maybe it's just the Syrah talking.