Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lifting everything but knitting needes.

I spent yesterday helping my daughter Kristy and her fiance move to a community farther away from us, but closer to where they both work. I am happy for them but sad for me. While she was still in college I got to see her every Friday....and she lived only a 1/2 hour away in a community that we shop in frequently anyway. Now she works long days, five days a week, and lives another 1/2 hour away and it requires a drive down a busy freeway. Our visits will be few and far between now. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My Knitting Buddy

"What's that you're knitting Mom?"

"Won't someone PUH-Leeese pay attention to me."


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Started the Rogue

I've started the Rogue cardigan. notice that there are no pictures of the completed Twisted Rib Tank? Well....that'd be because it isn't completed. It is nearly done, does that count? All I have left to do is the finishing of the armholes but the Rogue leaped into my lap and it won't let go!

The weather here is beautiful, perfect Fall weather. Sunny and bright but not too hot. I have spent the afternoon sitting on the deck, cuddled in my Green Possum Cardi, knitting contentedly. I can do that guilt free because I was out on my daily walk before seven this morning. (yes, it is about to become New Years Resolution comes early this year) By ten I had done all the housework, including the laundry and was off to an appointment across town. On my way home I picked this up for my daughter.

Lisa is going to make a scarf as a birthday present for a friend. I found a varigated acrylic worsted and a varigated Fun Fur yarn that match beautifully and they aren't even made by the same company. She is holding one strand of each together throughout. I think it will be a lovely, personal gift. I'll put up another photo when she is finished.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Nearing the End

All I have left to do on the Twisted Rib Tank is the finishing of the armholes. Later today, after housework and exercise, I'll get to it and then tomorrow (or tonight!) I'll start the Rogue.

Michelle in answer to your question, I already have the zipper for the Rogue. Hopefully it will work out to be the right size. I bought it when I was in Dressew getting the zipper for the Green Possum Cardi. I know I am taking a chance because the Rogue's length can't easily be changed by slight amounts (only by adding or taking away entire pattern repeats.....which works out to be a large amount). I bought a zipper the length the Rogue is supposed to turn out for my size. Hopefully my gauge will be accurate enough that that will work out as planned. If not, I will have to buy another zipper which really isn't that big of a deal as they are only a couple of bucks at Dressew. I just wanted to save myself a trip into Vancouver.

As for which comes first, the knitting of the sweater or the purchase of the zipper, in most cases I would recommend getting the zipper first. In most sweaters you can adjust the length a little to fit your zipper, but it is often difficult to find a zipper exactly the right length for a project that is already finished.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Working on the WIP pile.

Kristy almost tempted me to cast on for the Rogue, ignoring the existing WIPs for the time being. Almost. I balled one skein, sniffed the nice sheepy smell, then went to work on the Twisted Rib Tank. I want to work on the Rogue......REALLY want to work on the Rogue, but I also don't want these other projects hanging over me. I've come to a compromise.

FIRST I finish the Twisted Rib Tank. After all, it is nearly done anyway! Two day's work should have it done and packed away for next summer. Then I get going on the Rogue. The Bed and Breakfast Pullover will have to wait. I can use the Rogue NOW as a jacket in the fall weather, but the B&B is a pullover and will likely be too hot to get much wear. That's my rationalizing anyway, and I am sticking with it.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

GPC complete

I went into Vancouver yesterday on a bit of a pleasure trip and stopped at Dressew to look for a zipper. They have the largest selection of notions I have ever seen so I was pretty sure it would be worth the stop. I was right. I found exactly the right length of zipper and it was even available in an appropriate shade of green.

After finishing the collar for the second time and putting the zipper in, also for the second time, I have now completed the Green Possum Cardi. It fits great and I am very happy with the results. It is a very simple design, but with such a kitten-soft yarn simple seemed best.

I am particularly proud of the finishing job, so I will also show you the INSIDE.

The zipper is hand sewn and the collar is folded over and then the live stitches are crocheted to the inner, picked up edge.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Today has not been a good day. Not only did I NOT win the house of my dreams, but it looks like I WILL have trouble finding a zipper to fit the Green Possum Cardi. *sigh* By staying up into the wee hours of the morning, I got a good start on finishing the cardigan up. I had a zipper sewn in and everything, but had to pull it back out today. It was just too heavy and stiff for the soft, flowing merino-possum yarn and it buckled and felt foreign to the drape of the garment. I ripped it out and went looking again.

The green of the yarn is not as bright or blue-ish as any of the zippers I have found, so I resorted to looking at beige or black zippers as well. If I am not too picky about color I can find zippers the right length, and I can find zippers the right weight. What I CAN'T find are zippers that are both the right weight and length at the same time!

I'm also second guessing myself about the collar. I had originally planned just an inch and a half of ribbing.....crew style collar. I am finding it is not laying properly and I am considering changing it to an actual collar. Decisions, decisions.

On a happier note, at least it fits! I have all the seams sewn, I have tried it on, and it fits. And ohhhh is it soft and comfy to wear.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Zipper Hunt

All the pieces of the Green Possum Cardi are now finished and blocked and the Great Zipper Hunt begins. I should have found a zipper FIRST and knit the cardi to fit the zipper, but in my haste and foolishness I didn't bother to do that even though I know better. Now I have to go searching. I DO have a back-up plan or two though. If the available zippers are a little too long or too short I will adjust the depth of the neckline ribbing to compensate. If they are a LOT too long or too short then I am screwed. Well, I suppose I could go to back-up plan B......adding a button tab or something.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I've done it now. I cut my hair off. Well....not all of it, and I didn't cut it myself, I had a hairdresser do the job. I've had long hair nearly all my life. It has always been at least to my shoulders and often nearly to my waist. I was tired of it. I felt frumpy and style-less and really needed a change. The last time I felt like this (a little over a year ago) the hairdresser talked me into a milder change. At that time I went from very long to shoulder length and that was good enough for a while, but it still had basically the same, long hair look. Yesterday I marched in, ready for a REAL change. And I got it.

It looked a little different when it was first done. This is a "day after" picture. The hairdresser had it looking a little more styled, but a LOT more greasy and dirty looking. I can't handle a heavy, clumpy, product laden feel and look to my hair and couldn't wait to wash the mousse and hair wax from my hair this morning.

Now comes the dreaded "day after" attempt to do something with what you're stuck with. Sometimes I think it must be nice to be so rich that you have your personal hairdresser who is right there on your estate waiting to do your bidding. The one I would hire would not only be an absolute whiz at hairstyling, she would also be a skilled massage therapist. Anyway....back to reality. My long hair was simply "wash and wear" so the little bit of "fixing" I had to do this morning felt like a hassle, but really, it only took a few minutes. I am reasonably satisfied with the results. I think of it as a work in progress though, and I am sure I will get better at styling it as the days go by.

The best thing about this haircut has nothing to do with appearance at all. It feels like an energy change.....a stepping from the past into the future....a statement of self confidence....a belief in myself....a bold grasp of who I am rather than who others expect me to be.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A first.

The Green Possum Cardi is getting my first attempt at making short rows for bust shaping. After several unsuccessful attempts at picking up the wrap on the purl side, I finally got it. Turns out I was making things far more complicated than need be. Looks like the whole endevour will be quite successful. I have completed the cast off for the underarm and the sweater pieces should be complete in the next day or two.

No picture Kristo. Too many similar pictures becomes rather redundant.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Blocking the Possum

Even though I am still knitting the front pieces, I have begun blocking the back and sleeves of the Green Possum Cardi. I figured I might as well get a start on it as my blocking board is not big enough to do all the pieces of a sweater at the same time anyway.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Making good progress.

While on my mini-vacation I finished up the sleeves of the Green Possum Cardigan and got a good start on the back. Last night I finished the back and got a few rows of both front pieces done. This project is just zooming along. I think it is in part due to the luscious softness of the Merino & Fur yarn. I just love to touch this stuff. The pattern is also mindless, plain stockinette which I am finding suprisingly nice to knit. Maybe I needed a break from all the complicated and time consuming twists and turns of my last few projects.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Basket of Rogue-to-Be

I'm back from my brief vacation visiting relatives on Vancouver Island. My poor husband spent much of one day driving me to every yarn store we could find in the phone book, and then waiting patiently outside while I considered every yarn even remotely suitable for the Rogue Cardigan. Day one I found no yarn that really felt right, but I did come back with a lovely, large basket from Coombs, BC. I'll use that to hold larger works in progress.

On our way to Victoria the next day we found a neat little shop at Whipple Tree Junction (just outside Duncan BC). Well......neat might not be the best word. It was very interesting, but definitely NOT neat. It was the most crowded and messy shop I have ever been in. It kinda reminded me of little hardware stores in small towns. They have absolutely everything you could ever want, but you are very lucky if you can find it! Everywhere (including both sides of the very narrow entryway) is crammed floor to ceiling with yarn. It was a magnificent assault on the senses! After much browsing and digging (much of the stock was still in piles of boxes, bags, and baskets strewn all over the floor) I found a type of yarn that looked like it would work well. It was quite some time later before I came up with all 9 skeins in the same color. No organization niceties here such as having all balls of one color in the same place. Finally on the floor, in a box, under a couple of baskets, I found a full bag of the same color and dye lot.

I checked out a few minutes later with all the "Briggs & Little", "Heritage" wool I will need for the Rogue. It is not the ultra soft, merino yarn I was originally looking for, but there is something about this particular wool that really grabbed my attention. It is rather rough (supposedly it will soften with washing) and "homespun"-ish and has a very sheepy smell to it. I LIKE that sheepy smell. It smacks of "real"-ness.....something that is missing from all the acrylic projects I have done in my life. Hmmmm......I wonder if this is the beginning of becoming a Yarn Snob? First the Merino & Fur and now this 100% wool. My poor Bed and Breakfast Pullover (done in acrylic) will be feeling like a second class citizen.

Here is a photo of both the basket from Coombs, and the Heritage wool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Well....cruising yarn stores anyway. *G* I have had a few good suggestions for yarns to check out for the Rogue. I'm off visiting relatives for a few days. Be good while I'm gone hey?

Monday, September 13, 2004


The Green Possum Cardi is coming along nicely. A few more hours of knitting and TV watching has now brought me to the armholes of both sleeves. I made the mistake of wearing a light colored shirt and for the first time realized how much this yarn is shedding. I have heard that washing it before wearing it the first time helps to "lock in" the possum fibres so that shedding is minimized. I've also read that it "blooms" beautifully, becoming even softer and fluffier.

I am going on a bit of a road trip, which may or may not include some cruising of knitting stores. If I do my whining effectively, there is at least one yarn store in Nanaimo that I would like to visit.....possibly two. I am on a quest. The mission: To seek out and feel Lana Grossa Cool Wool for consideration as a Rogue builder.

Of course, during the road trip and long ferry ride to Vancouver Island, I will be knitting away happily on the Green Possum Cardi. I've gotten great advice from KnitReview members on how to place the planned bust darts.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Green Possum Cardi

Just a brief note today to say I am happily knitting away on the Green Possum Cardi. Does anyone else feel they must name their projects? Most purchased patterns come with some sort of name already attached. When I write about a self-designed garment I find it easier to refer to it by a name. So onward I go on the Green Possum Cardi. I have started by doing both sleeves at once and I am up to about the 12" mark.

I think the family is getting tired of me insisting that they stroke my project! It is just SO lusciously soft and yummy that it has to be felt to be believed. For some reason they seem to think that ONE feel is enough!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Unfaithful to the Rogue

I haven't even begun the Rogue and I am already distracted by this yummy "Merino & Fur" wool spun in New Zealand.

It is 30% Possum and 70% Merino and absolutely lusciously soft.....AND.....(drum roll please!)....I got it at 60% OFF. I couldn't believe my luck! One of the local yarn shops is clearing out stock leftover from the previous owner. Regularly $10.95/50g ball, I got it for $4.38 Canadian....(that's $3.39 for you Americans). There were only two colors there, this foresty green and a mauve color. Worked out fine for me as I was wanting to knit a green sweater anyway....'cept it was supposed to be the Rogue.

This "Merino & Fur" does NOT work for the Rogue. I knew that. I swatched with it last night. It is far too fuzzy to display elaborate cables to good effect. It doesn't matter......after swatching with it I was hooked. I have now designed a simple zip front cardigan to work with this wool......and it is being knit FIRST, before the Rogue. Sorry Rogue honey, this shameless wool practically leaped into my back pocket. How could I resist? I even stayed up late into the night getting a good start on the sleeves. As soon as the yarn store opened this morning I went back to buy enough for the whole sweater.

Ahhhh, Bliss.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Yarn On Trial

I went to a little yarn shop in Surrey called Knitopia. They have a far larger selection of top quality yarns than the ones in my local area. While there I picked up two balls of yarn to experiment and swatch with. The tweedy grey is an alpaca/wool blend. It feels nice enough but the recommende gauge is 20 sts over 4" and by the time I achieve the required 18 sts over 4" for the Rogue I find the resulting fabric too floppy and limp to effectively hold the cables.

I also picked up "Naturally Merino Fine" a luscious pure New Zealand merino. I love, love, love this yarn! I have only begun swatching with it, but at the recommended 20 sts to the inch it is fabulous! So lovely and soft, yet each stitch really pops. I think at that gauge it would be wonderful for cables. I have to achieve the 18 sts per inch though and I am wondering if, like the grey tweed, it will lose its oompf.

Another problem I encountered with the "Naturally Merino Fine" is finding enough balls in stock of an appropriate color. They don't have any tweeds or heathers of course, and the only grey is quite dark.....more of a charcoal. I am concerned that after all the work of doing the cables they won't show up. This wool is SO soft and lovely to work with that I think I am willing to make somewhat of a color compromise. Perhaps a navy (again, might be too dark). The green I purchased to try it out is one of the colors the store doesn't have in sufficient quantities. I would just order it in, but the saleslady said that they have trouble ordering from that particular company and it could be here next week.....or not for six months of more. I wonder if ordering through the internet would have the same results?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Calling all Rogue knitters.

I am on the look-out for the perfect yarn to knit the Rogue. I want to get a lot of use out of this sweater (I am going to cardiganize it.) so I will probably go for a neutral grey color that I can wear with almost everything. I am thinking a heather or tweed type would add a little character. An alternate color choice might be a bright blue......not very neutral, but one of my favorite colors.

A machine washable wool would be nice, although I don't consider machine washability to be absolutely necessary. It does have to be soft on the scratchy sweater lasts long with me.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really like to hear from those who have knit the Rogue. What did you use? Were you happy with it? Did you have any trouble reaching the 4.5 sts per inch gauge? How was the drape of the yarn when knitted at gauge? Did the cables show up well?

I've looked in the local yarn stores and there just isn't much to be had. Purchasing anything they have in stock would be a compromise at best. I have been looking around the internet and have interest in the Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed, Cashmerino, and Alpaca Silk. I'd go for the Alpaca Silk but none of the colors offered really turn my crank. If I could see it in person I might feel differently, but every yarn store around here does not carry the Debbie Bliss line. What's up with that? Even some of the stores listed as carrying the Debbie Bliss line do not have it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Alpaca Scarf finished.

Finally a finished project. This is the Beaded Alpaca Scarf based on a shawl design by Lily Chin. I originally attempted to use the same looping beaded fringe as designed by Lily Chin, but found my beads were too large to allow the fringe to lie flat. I substituted two rounds of single crochet instead. Blocking really improved the appearance of the project.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Franklin fits.

I took one of those "Quizilla" quizzes and came out "Franklin". From the short description given, I'd say it fits. Of course "knitting" wasn't one of the options listed for what you do in your spare time.

You are Franklin!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, September 06, 2004

Call me your "Enabler".

These bears are great fun to do and I am happy to be anyone's "enabler". Go ahead....blame me for your new purchases. Your husband probably doesn't know where I live anyway, so I should be safe.

Michelle asked...
"How many bears do you think you're able to make with one beginner kit? Did you buy extra wool?"

Michelle, the kit comes with 6 strands of wool roving and each strand is more than enough to make one bear. I estimate that I have about a 1/3 of each strand left after making a bear. Than means with a little creative remixing I could probably make a few two-color bears as well......perhaps like a panda?

I didn't buy any additional wool. I bought the complete "Beginner's Pack" for Kristy (includes the booklet) and then the "Felting Pack" for myself. The booklet is good to have because there are a lot of hints and techniques explained. If a person took a class on how to make the bears I don't think they would need the book though. One book between Kristy and I was enough.

There are a few things you will need that are NOT included in the kit though. You will need waxed dental floss, a long sewing needle (commonly called "doll sculpture needles") and the 3 mm eyes. I bought both 4 mm and 3 mm eyes locally, but they are rather hard to find! The 4 mm eyes are a bit big, but do give that innocent "big eyed baby" look to the bears.

We used Sculpy clay to form handles for the felting needles (form the ball around the needle then bake at 250 F for 30 minutes, leaving in the oven overnight) and were glad that we did. I think 4 to 6 hours of punching with a needle would be hard on the fingers and hands without a little something more to hang onto.

Have fun!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

New Bear

Kristy (my daughter) and I spent much of yesterday making little needle felted bears. For her it was her first, for me, my second. I am amazed at how differently they are all turning out!

Here is my second bear. I crocheted the little sweater and added it before connecting the head and arms.

Kristy is busy now making her second bear. I'll provide a link to her blog and pictures when she gets them posted.

Edit: Kristy's bears now visible here.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Felted Bear

I couldn't resist. After finding a supplier for bear eyes yesterday I sat down and spent FAR too many hours making this:

Kristy was a little indignant that I started without her, but I wanted to get the process firmly planted in my mind before she whisks the book away. I bought the book for HER and she will be taking it with her after visiting today. All I bought for myself were the supplies.

The needle felting process takes a long time. A long, long, long time. This little bear is only 1 3/4" sitting or about 2 3/4" standing and it took almost 6 hours of stab, stab, stabbing. Not that I am complaining though. It was fun to do and the time went oh so quickly! I started after supper and it was midnight before I was done.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Don't eat these!

Don't eat these! They are NOT fruit flavored, fluorescent snackies. These are extremely sharp felting needles newly modified with color coded Sculpy handles as suggested here. This is all in preparation for tomorrow's needle felting attempt with my daughter Kristy. I bought the beginner's kit for her birthday and a few supplies for myself so that we could try this hobby out together. I didn't buy eyes from the Australian supplier, and now we are having trouble finding 3 mm, black eyes. We'll try using beads. I hope they'll work okay. Stay tuned in coming days for photos of our first efforts.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

It's a gonner.

I HAD typed out a whole long additon to my blog today (purposeless nonsense....a bit of a rant....but complete and ready to "publish") and Blogger ATE it. Gone it is. Out in the netherlands of "Technical Difficulties". Sorry, I am NOT willing to redo the whole thing.

In short form: I was out and about this morning attempting to do some photocopying. Mechanical contraptions and I are no longer on speaking terms.