Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mother of Invention

It is often said that "Necessity is the Mother of Invention". I beg to differ. I think fluke luck more often has a hand in new inventions. Take this fancy, colorful cast on for example:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I "invented" it when I went directly from a Provisional Cast On to a K1, P1 ribbing. Although as a provisional cast on for K1, P1 ribbing it sucked (too hard to pull out the waste yarn when necessary) it does rather well left in as a contrast color cast on, no?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Passing Spences Bridge

With the 6 miles I ran on the ellipitical trainer at the gym today I'm now three miles past Spences Bridge and heading toward Ashcroft.

6 Weeks To Go

It's a race now to see if Baby runs out of room in there before Grandpa gets her room totally finished!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, January 29, 2007

Masters Monday - 3

Can you see a difference? I can't see a difference.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

On the top left we have Swatch 7 - SSK and K2tog Blended Decreases. Next to it, top right, is Swatch 8 SKP and KSP Decreases. I know the photo doesn't give you a close-up look at the details, but really, even with the swatches sitting right here in front of me I can't see much of a difference between the two. Perhaps the SKP decreases on the right of Swatch 8 look a little straighter than the SSK decreases on the right of Swatch 7, but if so, the difference is so slight I wouldn't choose the SKP. I find the SSK much easier to perform.

On the bottom we have Swatch 9 - K2tog and SSK Full-fashioned Decreases. The idea with full-fashioned decreases is that they are supposed to show in a decorative fashion. Meh. I don't particularly care for it. If I was wanting a more visible/decorative decrease line I would incorporate twisted stitches or a cable of some kind.

Edited April 30, 2007 to add: Evaluators noted on these swatches that the decreases were correctly made, but slightly stretched. They suggested working the decreases on the tips of the needles to minimize stretch.

Some of the decreases are shown in a video HERE. The KSP from the Masters program is the one listed as "KRPR".

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Digging In The Archives

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am an avid knitter. Usually when I mention that we are expecting our first grandchild in March, the next comment is usually something about "all that knitting for baby". Truth is, I haven't knit all that much (yet) specifically for Baby. Why?

Well, I had already done some first size knitting before my daughter was even expecting. Here, let me dig through my archives and find that little set.

Ah, here it is.

Image hosted by

Click on the numbers and it should take you (in a new window) to various posts about that little sweater set. It won a first place ribbon in our Fall fair.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

The other factor that has held me back from knitting, knitting, knitting for Baby is the fact that her mommy also knits, as does her great grandma, and to a lesser extent, her auntie. Between the four of us we have knit up quite a number of things for Baby already. There are blankets, first size sets, numerous hats, and a few toys.

Don't get me wrong, I will be knitting for Baby, I just won't be knitting anything more in the tiny, newborn size, babies are that size for such a short time. I've got something a little bigger, fun, and wildly colorful on the needles right now. I'll show that to you in a few days. I have the pattern for a lovely Dale of Norway baby sweater too, but there is no rush for that. I'll make it so that it fits next winter.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ready to Spin

All organized and ready to spin.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Moving Right Along

I finished this baby set quite some time ago but was waiting until I had matching booties made before photographing and blogging about it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This set is for our first grandchild, due in March. As you can see there are no booties. I have decided to wait until the baby fits the sweater before making the booties. There is a bit of a story in that:

A couple of years ago (has it really been that long?!) I made this set twice, once for each of two grandnieces, and included booties I had designed to match. Not having had babies around for over 20 years, I was a little out of touch with how big the babies' feet would be when they were large enough to wear the sweater (a "six month" size), and the booties apparently fit far sooner than the sweater. On the other hand, I also designed the little hat and it fit at the appropriate time.

Here you see the new set modeled on a baby doll.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Edited to add: The sweater is from "Kids Kids Kids: 40 Winning Patterns from the Knitter's Magazine Contest (Paperback) by Ann Regis(Editor), Alexis Xenakis".

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Passing Lytton

In my quest to run from Chilliwack back to my childhood home town of Prince George by April first, I have so far run 75.85 of the 329 miles. That means I've reached Lytton, BC today. 253.2 miles to go!

A Long Time Combing

Combing wool is not a quick process. On average I get about 6 little "nests" done in an evening of combing. These two baskets full have taken months, working off and on as the mood strikes.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Next order of business will be to line them up in the color order I want to spin them and then string them together to keep them that way. I invented the organizational technique back when I was getting ready to spin the wool for the Shy Sheep Vest.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brief Updates

Fitness: I'm not fully recovered from the nasty virus, but I did manage a full workout at the gym and felt much better for it. One can only take so much sitting around.

Knitting: Continuing with the occasional swatch for the Master Knitters program.

Finished the left side of the Culdesac Vest and I'm well into the knitting of the right side.

I'm waiting on the yarn for the correct colorway (was mistakenly sent the wrong one) for the Dale of Norway sweater, "Team USA Olympic 2002". When I receive that I'll be joining the other knitters in the Dale of Norway knit-a-long. (Yahoo group that is now closed to additional members).

Spinning: Combing my way through a large batch of rather coarse wool hand dyed in shades of blue to purple.

Spun a mini skein of beautiful black alpaca 2 ply. Gorgeous stuff! Too bad I lost some of it to a snarl in an attempt to ply from both ends of a center pull ball. *sigh*

Monday, January 22, 2007

Masters Monday - 2

You didn't think I had forgotten did you? It occurred to me this morning that those of you living further East, in different time zones, are well into your day by the time I will get around to posting my progress on the Masters Program each Monday. So, for further clarification, it will be around noon Pacific Time on Mondays that I finally get around to posting what I did for the week.

You know --- in case you were waiting on pins and needles --- 'er somethin'.

This week I exceeded my goal of completing two swatches per week, and I have three for your viewing pleasure.

Top left: Swatch 6 - Lifted Increase.
Top Right: Swatch 14 - Horseshoe Cable
Bottom: Swatch 5 - M1 (Make 1) Increase

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I jumped ahead and did swatch 14 so that I could answer a few questions that pertain to swatches 1 - 3, and 14.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


My faux run to Prince George has been sidelined this past week by a nasty virus. I haven't made any progress since my last gym workout, which was Monday. Instead I've been hanging around the house, knitting, and generally feeling sorry for myself, each day hoping that the next day I would be well enough to hit the gym again.

Luckily this doesn't mean the end of my chances of reaching Prince George by April. I normally put in around 6 miles per day, Monday to Friday. When I set my goal of running (on an elliptical trainer) the distance from Chilliwack to my old home town of Prince George, I did factor in some "ease", a little wiggle room in case of illness or injury. I only committed to 20 miles per week so that if necessary I could play catch up. I just didn't expect to go down so soon or for so long. *sigh*

I'm hoping to get back to the gym tomorrow. It will have to be a reduced workout for sure, as I'm still feeling quite crappy. I'll aim for a 15 minute warm up, a bit of abdominal work, and my usual stretches. Then, if my body takes that without rebelling I'll be back to a full workout the next day.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Masters Monday

Way back in October I posted about "Going For the Master's" as I began my quest to get my Master Knitter's certification. Then you never heard another word about it.

Truth is, in my perfectionist attitude, I was paralyzed by my imperfections. I could not let go and move on. Each swatch took days and numerous reknitting sections and still I was unhappy with the end result.

Not long ago I took my Latvian mittens to a guild meeting and in the process of "Show and Tell" pointed out the flaws and apologized for them. A perceptive fellow member said in tongue in cheek exasperation "Get OVER it!". She's right. Taken too far perfectionism can be paralyzing. Instead of becoming better we stagnate, never moving ahead because we fear not doing it "perfect".

With that in mind, each Monday I will be posting my progress for the week on the Master Knitter's program. I'm hoping I'll be able to do all the research, knitting, blocking and labeling for two swatches each week. If I don't "perfectly" accomplish that goal, I'll still show you what I DID do.

So far I have four of the sixteen swatches done. They are a lot more work than they appear to be! A lot of time is taken in research and trying different methods out. No --- they are not perfect. As far as I know there are no actual "mistakes" and they are as close to perfect as I can get them and I'm letting go.

Sort of.

Well, I'm trying.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(It still makes me twitch to look at them.)

Paula, Dorothy, how are you coming along with the program?
Vicki, Laura, did you ever decide to give it a go?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Honey Graham

We're expecting our first grandchild in March and I had an opportunity today to start my "Grandma's Toy Box". I met Honey Graham at Safeway and for only $3.99 she came home with me!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She's super soft like a much more expensive Gund brand teddy bear. If I ever get to the end of my list of knitting projects I'll be sure to knit her a sweater or two.

Culdesac Back

The back of the Culdesac Vest is knitted and blocked. Thanks to the prewash I gave the actual yarn, there were no gauge changes when it hit the water. I had knit (unsuccessfully) with this superwash yarn before and knew that it relaxes and changes gauge dramatically if the prewash precaution is not taken.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Color in the photographs is not accurate. It should be a deeper burgundy-red.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The left front is now cast on and work is slowly progressing. Slowly, because I am also knitting a pair of baby bootie/sock hybrids and doing the occasional swatch for the Master Knitters program.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me

I've been tagged by Roberta with one of the more interesting memes rolling through blogland.

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

Six Weird Things About Me:
  • I don't like background noise (radios, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, the washer's high speed spin cycle, "conversationalists" at the gym, etc.). I know this is weird, and that a lack of "filler" noise bothers many people, so I tolerate it as best I can but feel a huge sense of relief when the noise stops.

  • Normally I'm very organized. I like a place for everything and everything in it's place. For instance, my clothes are hung in my closets and placed in my drawers according to type (pants, long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, etc). With sufficient room I am very tidy --- BUT if I have to cram too much stuff into a small space with no room to organize efficiently, I become overwhelmed and the area soon becomes chaotic. (My "Stash Room" is a fine example.)

  • I avoid putting gas in my car. I suffer mild panic attacks when I attempt to pump gas so I delegate as much as possible. I can "fill 'er up" if I have to, but will practically drive on fumes rather than do the dreaded task. When absolutely necessary I will use a familiar gas station or a full service station.

  • I find routine comforting. I like to go about my day in nearly the same manner, day after day. The time I awake and go to bed varies only a little. When I go to the gym I like to get the same locker, the same elliptical machine, the same spot for stretches. I eat the same breakfast almost every day. Although I enjoy vacations, I find the disruption of my usual routines stressful and can't wait to get home again.

  • I don't like to talk on the phone. You'd never know it though, when I do get a call I am often on the phone for over an hour and it's as much my fault as the caller's. Meandering conversations seem to be my specialty. I'd rather email most people. At least with an email you know you are not interrupting the person and they can respond when they have time.

  • I've been happily married to the same wonderful man for nearly 30 years. We started "going around" when I was 13 and he was 17 (it wasn't called "dating" when I was a teen). We got married 4 years later when I was 17 and had just graduated from highschool.

I've seen a lot of meme's out there in the blogsphere, and usually they don't appeal to me, but this one has been different. I've really enjoyed reading about other people's "weirdness" and contemplating my own. I think more than anything it has shown me that we all have our little oddities, and that no matter how unusual we think we are there is usually someone who can say "Me too!".

One more little oddity about me --- I don't like to tag people with memes, so even though this one has been fun, I'll ignore that line of the rules and ask instead that you (yes, YOU), leave a comment here on my blog. Either a "Me too" in regards to something I've mentioned here, or perhaps a totally new little tid-bit about yourself. Come on now, I've exposed my tender underbelly, the least you could do is SAY something.

Running Back

Over the past year I've shed 40 pounds. (I won't say "lost" as they didn't simply go missing, it was a lot of work. Also, I have no desire to "find" them again!)

I dieted sensibly for about 7 months to reach my goal. Last April, when I had about 5 pounds to go, I started working out at a gym as well. I've kept it up and now, at 47 years of age, I'm fitter than I have been in my entire life.

(Fall of 2005) BEFORE
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Late Spring, 2006) AFTERPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In addition to a couple of weight training workouts each week, I run on an elliptical trainer daily, Monday to Friday, 40 minutes each session, 45 if you include the cool down period. In that time I cover a little more than 6 miles. I don't find it boring. My mind relaxes and I find myself in a euphoric zone that is addicting. I look forward to my workouts. Quite an accomplishment for someone who was an asthmatic, unfit child/teenager who did poorly in P.E. and looked for excuses to ditch the class. (If Ms. Cunningham could only see me now.)

In the spirit of "Runagogo", but in my usual fashion of working out alone and setting my own pace, I've decided to run all the way from Chilliwack back to my childhood home town of Prince George. That's 329 miles. If all goes well I could do it by the Runagogo deadline of April 1st. I've already run past the first town, Hope.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Once, Twice, ....

What a difference a yarn makes. This is the beginning of the Cludesac vest from Knitter's Fall 2003. Twice.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The more orange colored one at the top is done in "Naturally Luxury double knit", a 50% wool/50% mohair blend, shade 992.

I should have known better. In fact, I DID know better but turned a deaf ear to the whisperings of my inner voice. Okay, so the inner voice was shouting but I chose to listen to the LYS owner instead. I KNEW it was too fuzzy, too drapey, and too orange. But I WANTED it to be right. It was 40% off and the only thing that even came close to being acceptable for this project. And I really, really wanted to knit this vest.

So I ignored my inner wisdom and past experience, listened to an outside source, purchased the yarn, cast on, and knit and knit, incorporating cables that were blurred into a background that was too fluid and drapey for the structure of the vest, in a color that is not flattering to me. Dumb.

Right when I had finally admitted this wool/mohair was NOT going to work, I remembered some yarn in my stash. I don't have a large stash. Mostly it's just leftovers from finished projects. You know, half a ball of this, an extra skein of that? Well it just so happens that I had more than six balls of "Online Linie 21 Marly", a beautifully soft superwash merino wool. I originally bought it for a sweater but found when I washed the swatch it relaxed like crazy. I scrapped the original project (the pattern was poorly written), and I've since wound the wool into skeins and washed it so it should be okay.

So now I've reknit that portion of the back and it's much more successful. The difference is even more apparent in person. The color is way better for me, the yarn does not blur out the cables, and it's sturdy enough to support the more structured nature of this particular design.

Oh. I don't know if you've noticed it, but the first try had a mistake anyway. I didn't realize that until I was looking at the pictures. I miscrossed the first "loop" on the right side . This isn't the first time a mistake previously unnoticed has jumped right out at me in a photograph. I'm glad I didn't knit the whole darn thing before discovering that. Heh.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Last and First

These beaded handwarmers are both the last FO of 2006 and the first FO of 2007. I finished knitting them last night, New Year's Eve, but then dyed them late in the evening and laid them out blocking/drying in the wee hours of the morning, technically finishing them today, the first day of 2007.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

They are knitted in my own handspun, a 2 ply laceweight wool/mohair blend. I knit them in the original, natural, cream color but after including dark colored beads realized it was too much contrast and dyed them a dark denim color.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My dyeing method was far less than precise. I dumped enough hot tap water into my crockpot to cover them, added a tablespoon of vinegar, submerged the handwarmers and then left them to soak for about 30 minutes. I then removed the handwarmers temporarily while I added powdered Ashford dyes and stirred, then I put them back in and turned the pot on "low" until all the dye was absorbed.

I'm very pleased with the color. It is exactly what I was aiming for. I achieved it with an educated guess. "Blue" (less than and 1/8 teaspoonful), "black" (just a few grains to darken the blue), "red" and "yellow" (in very small proportions to create "orange" which is the compliment of blue and therefore "mutes" the blue to a nice denim color). Heh. All those color theory lessons in my highschool and college classes paid off!

These are destined to be a gift.