Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Romper Buttons

It took a bit of searching but I finally found the perfect buttons for the shockingly bright baby romper I've been knitting.

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I found cute little floral buttons in exactly the right colors in the beading department of Micheals. It did require that I rip out and reknit the buttonhole band with larger buttonholes, but it was worth it. Ironically they are now the size they were supposed to be in the first place. I had purposely knit the holes smaller as I usually prefer a smaller button and a YO, K2tog buttonhole.

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This is my version of the "Rugby Romper" a free pattern from the Lion Brand website. I knit the smallest (6 month) size and substituted "Patons Astra" for the "Lion Brand Baby Soft". I used nearly 2 - 50 g balls of black as the main color and 1 ball of each of the contrasting colors: Hot Blue, Electric Blue, Hot Green, and Hot Pink.

Alterations: Between each band of bright color I added a 2 row garter stitch stripe of black to make the colors "pop". I used six buttons instead of eight and knit the sleeves from the top down, I cast on the leg cuffs with tubular cast on and I bound off the remaining ribbing edges in tubular bind off.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lac La Hache

Another 6.74 miles added today for a total of 190.21. I zipped right on by Lac La Hache this morning!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Masters Monday - 7

The past week has been a very busy one for me. Every single day I had some commitment eating up my time. I wasn't able to give the Master Knitter Program as much time and thought as I would like. I did remain true to my promise to have SOMEthing accomplished this week though.

I went out and bought a binder that will fit in the standard UPS box that TKGA prefers to use. The one I had previously been using, a zippered type, was a bit too bulky. I then transferred all the samples and page dividers to the new binder.

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I also finally finished the pattern writing for the Windblown Cable swatch. This was made a little more difficult than it might otherwise have been because the cable I picked was from a "chart only" format so I had to come up with abbreviations and written directions on my own.

I found and printed the Yarn Standards Guide as well. Having a current copy is required but I'm not sure if it must be included in the binder or not.

Anyone else working on the program?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


When you are a beginning weaver such as I, "group projects" at the guild are wonderful. The hard part (the dressing of the loom) is done and all you have to do is the fun part --- the actual weaving.

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This will be a tea towel, a favorite weaving project of mine because no matter how many mistakes it might contain it will still at least be functional. My dishes don't care if they are dried by a less than perfect tea towel. I believe the more knowledgeable weavers said this was "Huck Weave". I like it. I think maybe some day I'll get brave and warp my own loom to make a few in a different color scheme.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I set out in January to run, on an elliptical trainer, the distance from Chilliwack, BC to my old home town of Prince George, BC by April 1st. Today, with 164.7 miles behind me, I passed the half way point.

I thought when I set the goal that it was going to be quite easy. If I did a minimum of 20 miles per week I'd easily reach the goal with a little time to spare. I normally run about 6 miles per workout and workout five days a week, so the 20 miles per week sounded like it would hardly be a challenge. I didn't bank on the flu robbing a few days followed a few weeks later by a knee strain. Now, when I do the math, I realize that I must be extra diligent and it could come down to a "photo finish" with me staggering across the finish line at the last possible second.

But I'll do it.

Last year I found the inner determination to do what it takes to lose 40 pounds. I can do this. I am counting on me. I will not let me down.

Edited on Friday, February 23: I've now passed 100 Mile House. TGIF, it's been a long week. I found this last workout especially tough. I'm glad to have the weekend off!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Time Ticking By

With the latest update to my "exercise ticker" I've passed 70 Mile House on my way from Chilliwack to Prince George. I lost a little time last week due to a knee strain and it has set me back. If I don't miss ANY of my scheduled workouts between now and the first of April I'll still make my deadline. Problem is, we have a grandchild due in the next few weeks and I'll be darned if I'll miss that for a workout. HA!

Hmmm --- maybe if I add a minute or two to each workout? Workout on an occasional Saturday?

And while we are speaking of "tickers" have you seen the "grand-baby ticker" at the top of my blog? Getting close now. Less than three weeks! SO exciting. This will be our first.

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Master Monday - 6

Almost there. All the knitting is complete. Now I have to slog through the report on blocking, write the pattern for Swatch 15, and answer a few remaining questions. Ugh.

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On the left, the hat project. Not very attractive, but knit according to the directions.

On the right, Swatch 16 - Color Work. Yes, the blue line at the top is supposed to be one row on the right and two rows of blue on the left. It tests the knitters ability to change colors and hide the tails mid-row.

Edited April 30, 2007 to add: Evaluators noted on Swatch 16 that "right side of ribbing is uneven, possibly due to tail weaving". (I checked, it was indeed the tail weaving.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Advisor? Not me.

Mary-Heather asked a question and my answer got a bit long for the comment section so I will post it here.

Referring to my recent spindle spun 2 ply, Mary Heather asked:

When you ply together two full cops, how do you store the cops?

Are you at a point where your cops end up the same length, so you don't waste any singles?

My response:

Ha, ha. If you are looking for advice, have you ever come to the wrong place Mary-Heather! This was the very FIRST time I have ever plyed two cops so I am really not qualified to give advice. I have navajo plyed from a spindle to a wheel, but other than that I have very little experience plying from spindles.

I'll tell you what I did this time though. I slid the cop off onto plastic drinking straws, set them into seperate containers, and plyed to my wheel. Sorry. I have a wheel and I'm not going to struggle plying to a spindle when it's so much easier on the wheel. Spinning the singles on a spindle is different in that I can spin little bits throughout the day while I'm waiting for supper to cook or something. It's those stolen bits of time where I wouldn't/couldn't go downstairs to spin at the wheel that really add up.

As for your second question, about estimating length so that none of the singles are wasted, I actually weighed the spindle with the cop on it, using a food scale, and then spun the second cop to about the same weight. My spinning must be fairly consistent because it worked. I only had about 6 inches difference between the two cops.

For better information about spindle spinning try this source, where I found some good advice about how to handle plying from a cop -- or several.

Spindle's First Skein

I was under the impression that I wouldn't be able to get a skein of decent length while spinning on a spindle. I thought I would have to splice my spindling efforts together or have numerous ends in my knitting. My new spindle has proven me wrong.

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This first skein, a 2 ply made from 2 full cops, weighs a full 50 grams. At 17 - 18 WPI it would be considered light fingering or a laceweight. It's lovely and soft with a pretty sheen. I'll definitely be looking for Bluefaced Leicester again in the future.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


My legs are much stronger than my knees and my hip joints. Sometimes I forget or ignore that, push too much weight, and end up paying for it. Thursday's enthusiasm meant having to miss Friday's workout.

I was finally able to get back to the gym and with the addition of another 6.25 miles today, I'm 138.94 miles into my run from Chilliwack to Prince George. I have now past Clinton, BC.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Masters Monday - 5

Swatch 13 - Single Cross Cable, on the left.
Swatch 15 - Windblown Cable (knitter's choice), on the right.

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Edited April 30, 2007 to add: Evaluators mentioned that the cast on in Swatch 13 may have been a little tight saying "note how the lower edge has rounded corners". And for Swatch 15 that there were "some tension irregularities in the reverse stockinette portion bordering the cable".

The rest of these, and many more attempts that were frogged, are not being handed in. They were just some of the background work that is involved with coming up with a finished swatch. I found Swatch 15 - "Your Choice of Cable" to be particularly labor intense as your choice has to fit within some rather strict guidelines. Finding a cable pattern that had a workable number of stitches, not too many rows, and could somehow be "balanced" on the swatch required a lot of research and experimentation.

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At the top of this second picture (unblocked) is a tiny experiment with "Banded Cable" that I decided I didn't like. On the lower left is "Loose Five-Rib Band", which perhaps could have worked but I was having difficulty finding a point where it looked balanced top and bottom. In retrospect, it might have been okay. The swatch on the bottom right is of course, the "Windblown Cable" without the stockinette down the sides. I had it all completely done and blocked when I realized that when the instructions said "Place P2 on either side of the cable" that they might have wanted ONLY two purl stitches on either side, not ALL purl as I had done.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Good Cop

The first cop is off my new spindle. The decorative turnings on the end of the spindle shaft made that an easy job. I just slipped a plastic straw as far as I could over the taper and then slid the cop down off the spindle and onto the straw. I want to make at least a two ply and experience has shown me that when I try to do that from both ends of a center pull ball I end up losing half the singles to tangled snarls.

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Ashley asked how much the spindle weighs. I wasn't able to answer her immediately because within seconds of opening the parcel I was spinning the lovely bluefaced leicester that was sent with it. I had to wait until that first cop was off to weigh the spindle. She weighs in at 1.2 ounces, which is only slightly more than the weight of the first cop.

This spindle has a wonderful luminosity. The lighter, orangish section you see in the picture has a beautiful depth and appears to move around like a tiger's-eye or star-sapphire stone. It's gorgeous. Steve did a wonderful job.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

She's a Beauty

Remember way back in October when I spindle spun and navajo plyed the hand dyed, hand combed wool for this hat?

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I entered the crocheted hat in this contest held at , and actually won in the "Best Use of Color" category. My prize was to be a lovely, handmade Bloodwood and Ebony spindle from Spindlewood Co. I promised to post photos of it when it arrived.

Well, it finally arrived yesterday and it was well worth the wait. It's absolutely beautiful and spins on and on for a long time. It often touches the floor before it runs out of spin. A far cry from the home made, unfinished spindles I have used so far. Wow, so this is what a well balanced, professionally made spindle is like.

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The spindle arrived packaged safely in 4 ounces of soft, easy to spin fiber. Too bad all parcels don't come protected with such beautiful "filler". I'm no expert on identifying fiber so I'll have to write and ask them what it is.

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Thanks Spindlewood Co. and Spindlicity from a very happy prize winner.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cache Creek Behind Me

With another 6.69 miles added today (a personal "best") I've left Cache Creek behind me! That seems like a l-o-n-g way from Chilliwack. Woo, Hoo! I'm really doing it!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Passing Ashcroft

With another 6.42 miles added today, I've now passed Ashcroft, BC on my way to running the distance from Chilliwack to Prince George (a total of 329 miles) by April 1st.

Masters Monday - 4

Swatches 10, 11 and 12

Testing the knitter's ability to form yarnovers correctly, make various decreases, and follow a simple eyelet pattern.

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Edited April 30, 2007 to add: The evaluators considered these swatches to be nicely worked with good tension. Swatch 12 had a reminder to "keep decreases on needle tips" (to minimize stretch).

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And now that those are knitted, blocked and labeled (and photographed for your entertainment) it's time for me to answer the 4 questions that refer to these swatches.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Finished Culdesac

Pardon the horrible photography, but these are about the best of the bunch and I'm not in the mood to keep trying. Unfortunately the pictures really do not do the vest justice. It is truly beautiful. I love the color, the fit, and the design.

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I found the pattern a bit difficult to follow. No errors in the pattern, but a lot of "And at the same time". There was one point where I was shaping the neck AND the armhole while twisting cables in different directions on different rows, and following directions that told me to "reverse all shaping" which in themselves were "shape as for right side of back" and so forth. In the end I had to resort to writing all the shaping directions, with the cable twists included, out on the computer and then following them line by line through all the various things I was to be doing on each row. It worked. The vest turned out fantastic!

Despite my normal aversion to knitting the same item more than once, I might tackle this one again some day --- perhaps in handspun next time.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On the Bright Side

KaPow! I hope Baby likes bright colors. This oddly shaped piece is destined to become one half of a baby romper. Fitting the mood, I also have plans on making a little 3 pointed jester style hat to go with it.

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Would you look at all those ends! Looking on the bright side, at least it will give me lots of practice at invisibly sewing in ends so I'll be a pro at it for the Master Knitters certification.