Thursday, October 25, 2012


It's late and I'm doing some last minute packing for Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago. I'm so excited to see my knitting camp buddy, Stephanie. I'm looking forward to lots of shopping at market and my class with Ysolda Teague all day Saturday, "Beyond the Raglan".

Back on Monday with lots of fun to share.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My blocking trials with Pole continued. I didn't pay enough attention to making sure that the sides of Pole were absolutely even (it's hard to do with a circular knit - at least that's my excuse), so once it was done blocking and I tried it on one side hung lower than the other. At the yarn store they said it was hardly noticeable but you know how it is when there is something wrong with your knitting, it's going to drive you nuts. So I folded the sweater circle in half and then you could see where one side was bigger than the other, then I steamed the shorter side to match the longer side. (hope I'm making sense here).

The others at the yarn store said that it was fixed but I still think it's a little off. The real fix would be to reblock the piece but I may try resteaming it first as it's just a hair off. Besides I want to wear it this weekend.

I really like how it turned out otherwise and the color is perfect. The pictures were taken indoors at the yarn store as outside was not cooperating. The fog was so thick that I thought I was on the movie set of "The Others".

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blocking Trials and Honey Cowl

I got to work last night blocking my Pole Cardigan which is knit in Madelinetosh Vintage in Tart. I put it in the water and instantly the water turned red. Not pinkish or a reddish tinge, I mean RED. So, I rinsed out the water, rinsing off the sweater hoping to get some of the color out and tried again hoping for a lesser shade of red. Nope, still RED. I kept trying rinsing and soaking eventually the water started fading but I still couldn't get it to stop running or turning quite red. This went on for hours I should tell you. So, what did I do? I turned to my trusty friend Jessica who is knowledgeable on all things Knitteth. She suggested that I try adding vinegar to the water. Which I tried and it worked wonderfully.

Now, it's laid out to dry. Hopefully it will be dry before this weekend as I want to take it away with me this weekend to Chicago.

I wove in the ends today on a Honey Cowl knit with Madelinetosh Tosh Light in Amber Trinket. I knit this as an early Christmas present for my friend Deb. This is the third Honey Cowl I've knit and I'm done knitting them. I love how they look, but I was bored knitting it this time. I love the colorway though. The picture doesn't do it justice. I held the yarn doubled and used all but about two feet of it. It's only 9" wide, which is as wide as I knit the other Honey Cowls and they have worked perfectly. With the yarn held doubled, the cowl is so thick and squishy. 

I had a moment of Startitis take over me while at the yarn store the other day. Never good to go in there without a project. I really should know better. I grabbed the nearest yarn to me and started a cowl. The yarn was Classic Elite's Mountaintop Chalet and the cowl is knit like a scarf then joined. Urgh! I'm basically knitting a scarf. I'm two thirds completed and will hurry and get it complete in the next day or so, as I'm eager to get something more interesting on the needles. Am I the only one who ever casts on without thinking the project through and regrets it later. 

I always think there is too much fun knitting out there to be knitting on something you don't enjoy. However, I'm determined to not add to the list of UFO's that are hanging around this house, as I've been trying really hard to reduce them. So knit on with the scarf/cowl I will.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weave and Block

Sounds like I'm talking about boxing but I have a quick question .... I need to block my Pole sweater. Do I weave ends then block or block then weave ends? Remembering that this is a circular sweater that is reversible in areas and would be best served by ends being woven on the edges and is going to be heavily blocked.

Any suggestions, advice or tips greatly appreciated.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rebecca and Lightweight Pullover

I got around to steaming two projects today. Yes, that's right! Kim, the finisher, has been at it again. What?! Surely you expected nothing less from me these days.

First up is Rebecca which is a pattern by Beth Paustian of Black Purl. This is knit in the wonderful Fiber Company's Organik. Great yarn that I'm thinking of knitting a Rocky Coast Cardigan in. I knit this back in 08/09 but then let it sit, per usual, until I finally seamed it at knitting camp a couple years back. I wore it a couple of times but was not quite pleased with the length of the sleeves and how it hung. All it needed was a good steam, which I finally took care of today. Now, it will get plenty of wear. I'm still wishing the sleeves were longer but the steaming helped a lot. Me and my monkey arms will just have to deal.

Next is my Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig knit in Sunday Knits Nirvana 3 ply which is pure heaven. I love her yarns, they are a delight to knit with. I knit this up this summer pretty fast considering the mind numbingly boring stocking stitch, but it was worth it. It's not the fanciest of sweaters or one that will turn heads, but it definitely is one that will be a go to sweater and will be worn a lot. It's lightweight (no pun intended) yet provides a nice layer of warmth for our chilly Wisconsin weather. 

Now to see what else I can dig out of the bottomless knitting closet.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm sad to say that this sweater was four years in the making. Well, to be honest it was knit in a month then sat in my closet for four years waiting to be sewn together. Finally, I pulled it out and took it to Beth at Black Purl and had her sew it together for me while I worked on Pole and when she returned it I picked up and knit the button bands and collar in a day or two and Voila! Done! It really wasn't that hard. I'm so annoyed at myself for waiting that long when this is clearly what will be a "go to" cardigan. It's big and comfy and great with a pair of jeans.

After being shoved in a bag in the closet it's looking a little crumpled so I think I'm going to steam it a little, but I'm a bit hesitant because of the very long sleeves. I'll have to be careful to not let them grow. It was a common problem I noted on Ravelry (after I knitted it) that the sleeves were coming out two inches too long. Now, I like long sleeves, but I'm pretty sure that these could grow too much which is why I'm going to be very careful in steaming it.

I'd also recommend making the buttonholes bigger as they came out rather small and proportionally it seems a little off with such small buttons on such a big sweater, but I can live with it because half the time I won't have it buttoned up anyway.

The other problem I had with the pattern was with the collar band. Veronik tells you to pick up 4 out of 5 stitches up the neckline to get 56 stitches. I ended up picking 2 out of 3 (which looked good) and still got 62 stitches, which was the XL size so I went by that stitch count. I still ended up having to calculate myself the initial row with short rows as the totals in the pattern were completely off causing the pattern to be written incorrectly for that size.

Also, the yardage is so far off base, I used at least one and a half times what the pattern called for, which was also the common theme on Ravelry. I was frustrated to see that even though this pattern is five years old that there has been no errata published anywhere for the pattern. So knitters are still struggling through these same issues if they haven't read through other knitters posts. Now, I'm a big fan of Veronik Avery but even though Knitty doesn't pay very well, you would think that the designer would take some pride in her design and update some errata at least with yardage.

That's just my little rant.

Bottom line though is that it's a lovely pattern, lovely sweater and we're going to live a long and happy life together.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Braided Join

While working on my Pole cardigan I had a little dilemma when I ran out of yarn mid-wedge. The outside circle of Pole can be worn reversed so I didn't want ends to weave in and Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage is a superwash yarn so spit/splicing was out of the question. I really didn't want to frog back a bunch of rows to an area where I could weave ends in less conspicuously without giving something else a try first. So after researching Ravelry and the Madelinetosh board, I came across two alternatives, the Russian Join and the Braided Join. I thought I'd give the Braided Join a try.

First I separated one end of the yarn into two plies about six inches (as I was knitting on large needles and wanted the join to cover a few stitches). Then, I took the new end of yarn and overlapped it in the middle of unseparated yarn and secured it with a hair clip.

Then I braided the yarn together and when finished removed the hair clip. The join is very secure. I gave it a good tug to be sure. There are ends that will be left at the back and cut off once the piece has been blocked.

Then you knit as normal with the braided yarn. Here you can see that it blends pretty well except for the one stitch where I had braided the yarn too tightly and it had twisted and become too thick. (sorry for the sideways pics - computer issues today)
I did find it helpful to have an extra pair of hands to hold the hair clip when braiding.

Overall it worked in a pinch. I think it might be more successful with other types of yarn. It is supposed to work with everything from cotton to wool, including Superwash, bulky to thinner yarns. To be honest, next time I'll just plan my join a little more carefully unless I'm running low on yarn and trying to use every last scrap.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Traveling Woman to the Pole

I have another shawl blocked! I'm getting good here, if I do say so myself.

This is Traveling Woman shawl from my month of shawls in August 2010 where I went a little shawl crazy and whipped up three shawls then left them to wallow waiting to be blocked until now. I won't go into my complete patheticness (yes, I've decided it's a word) as I think we all know about it by now but one can only improve and grow which is what I'm trying to do.

I decided to use a different model this time as I'm sure you're getting tired of seeing my silly face and asked Sir Winston to assist in showing off the shawl. He surprisingly was very happy to oblige. I think he thought himself rather dapper in the shawl. The deep blue did look beautiful with his color. I do love redheads.

Talking of the color Red.... I've knitting the most divine new project in red. I joined Joji's Fall Sweater KAL on Ravelry and am knitting Pole in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Tart (which was a gift from the most wonderful Jessica. Mwah, thanks again this is to die for yarn). This is the first time I've knit with Madelinetosh and I'm loving it. The yarn is so beautiful and full and the colorway is incredible. The pattern is very interesting and is fun to knit. I was going to knit Opposite Pole but chickened out and decided to go with something a little easier in trying this new technique. Now I realize how easy it is, I could have easily done Opposite Pole, but am looking forward to this sweater and its easy to wear style.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Raindrops Shawl

You better believe it, I'm really on a roll now! Yet another shawl is blocked!

This one is Raindrops Shawl by Renee Strouts. I knit it over two years ago in four days and then waited this long to block it. Ridiculous, I tell you! It's knit in Dream in Color Smooshy in the Cats and Dogs Colorway which was a Woolgirl sock club 2009 yarn and the pattern was part of the club also.

I already have another shawl blocking as I type. It feels so good to finally get these shawls blocked and so silly to have waited so long. Maybe this will inspire me to actually sew together some of the many sweaters sat in my closet... We can only hope. Stranger things have happened.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Highland Fling

I'm still on my blocking kick so I pulled out Highland Fling which I knit in March of this year for a friend of mine. It's knit in Cascade Eco Alpaca and was lovely to knit with. I knit this while I traveled to England to visit my Mum and Dad and it was a easy knit for traveling although the fuzzies from the alpaca flew around the cabin on the plane and hopefully didn't bother anyone.

It's soft and squishy and this is one of those gifts you knit that you're half tempted to keep for yourself, but this was knit while Sandy was ill and a lot of thoughts and prayers were put into this shawl for her, so it belongs 100% to her. Hopefully she'll feel the good wishes as she wears it. Knowing Sandy she'll appreciate every bit of it.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Caught in the Web

To what will be the shock of many of my knitting friends, I finally blocked one of my many shawls that have been sat in the depths of my closet - 100% knit and just waiting to be blocked. 

Introducing Charlotte's Web which I'm not sure when I knit this, but I looked back on the blog and I was listing it as on my "to do" list to block on July 6, 2006! Yes, I have needed to block this shawl for over SIX years. How sad am I?!

I remember I knit it in Koigu but obviously have no idea what colorways I used. I can't find my knitting notebooks from back then and Ravelry didn't exist when I started this project. I do know that I whipped this project out in a matter of about three weeks and then let it sit until now. 

I'm not sure what this says about me... I'm definitely not a product knitter because apparently I don't care about finishing the product once knitted; maybe I'm a process knitter because I love the knitting and just don't like the finishing but shouldn't you like all of the process; or.............. maybe I'm just a little bit silly and a procrastinator and need to get cracking. Yeah, I think that's it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Groucho Marx

"I was going to thrash them within an inch of their lives, but I didn't have a tape measure." (Groucho Marx)

A knitter who doesn't bother to know their measurements before embarking on a project needs a good thrashing, I'd have to say. Here I am almost 50% done on my Lightweight Pullover when I look for the Nth time at the pattern and at the size I'm knitting and think "I hope I'm knitting the right size. Yeah, it says 4" positive ease so I went up to the 38". Great, I should be good. It's weird though that I'm not knitting the smallest size. I always knit the smallest size. I am a 34 though so that's what size I should be knitting. No worries. I am a 34, aren't I?! Hmmm. Maybe I should check?"

Knit an inch or so more.

"Maybe I should check?"

Knit a little more.

"I think I'll check."

Grab tape measure within hands reach the entire time I've been knitting the sweater and measure chest.

"GIANT MONKEY BALLS!!! I'm a 32! I should have knit the smaller size. What is this sweater going to look like now. Is it going to look okay with 6" of ease. It's supposed to be a slouchy sweater, but how slouchy is slouchy before it looks like a sack of potatoes. Should I frog the whole thing. Hell to the no. I'll try it on and then decide."

Lightweight pullover

"Phew, I don't think it looks bad at all. The yarn is deliciously soft. I think it's going to work. That was lucky."

".......... Wait!  My bust is how small???????"

Vicky Secret's here I come.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving on

No excuses will be wasted. I've just allowed life to run over me a bit. Knitting has been taking place though. Currently I'm working on "Lightweight Pullover" by Hannah Fettig in Sunday Knits Nirvana 5ply. It's nots of stocking stitch which leads to great tv knitting but can be rather monotonous at times. I'm really looking forward to wearing this sweater come fall. It's going to be deliciously soft and comfy. I'd post a picture but it's brown stocking stitch, not too much to see. I may try it on and show a process pic soon as its top down. This is the first year in six years that I haven't gone to knitting camp and I'm feeling sad about it. I miss seeing the old crew, not having my annual Jess of Rosekimknits and stephanie fix and will miss a week of saturating myself in the wonders of Meg Swansen et al. I'm so close that I keep thinking about heading over there one night and gate crashing for a night of knitting. Hmmmmm... We'll see. Ravellenics 2012 is coming up and I am thinking of what to knit for it and what team I should join. I have a couple projects in mind that I could pick from to knit for team schoolhouse, but otherwise I don't have any other teams to decide from. Any ideas? All help appreciated.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stupid Stupor

I'm Back! I visited with my lovely Mum and Dad. Dad is stable, but his pain is unmanageable. I left feeling very glad I'd visited but it was so hard to see him in so much pain. It is so hard to see our parents age and suffer but I find having a parent so far away particularly hard. If my dad is given the go ahead for being able to handle surgery in the next month or so I will be jetting across the pond to be there to help again.

While there I did get to visit briefly with my dearest friend, Emma (can't say longest as I'm taller and can't say oldest and I'm older - debated this with friends already, it would appear I'm at the disadvantage either way, so dearest it is). It was wonderful to see her and delightful to experience how no matter how long it is that we see each other its as if no time has passed at all and we pick right up where we left off. Oh to have such a dear friend.

Em and Kim

But on to my issue right now (yes, I know, I always have issues, no need to say it). I'm in a knitting stupor. I have plenty of projects on the needles that I could knit on, but I don't feel like it. I have plenty of projects to cast on but I can't decide what to do. I'm dithering around putzing here and there on this and that and just not that jazzed by what I'm knitting. I don't know why.. I'm all set to go. I bought myself two lovely new Cath Kidston bags in England that I'm planning on using for knitting that are just itching for a nice project to be placed in them. They're practically gagging for them. Help? and do me a favor, no telling me to block any shawls, I'm not in the mood. Come on help a girl out. Any suggestions. Jess, you're always good and telling me what to do and getting me back on track, be the voice of reason.

Please help me get out of my Stupid Spring Knitting Stupor!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Across the Deep Blue Sea

Things have been more than a little crazy around this neck of the Northwoods. My father has been not well and I'm heading over to the home country for a visit, leaving tomorrow to see my mummy and daddy. So today I've been running around like a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest. Of course, I had to squeeze in a manicure as I couldn't see them in mangy nails, what would my mum say about that. Priorities, my darlings, priorities!

Talking about priorities, I need to rush and get my travel knitting together. Just thought I'd stop by and update about what's happening with me. Sometimes blogging feels very narcissistic. (Jessica please tell me if I'm using that in the correct context - my grammar guru).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Curled Around His Little Finger

I've been gone for awhile because I've been so busy with the kids. Four kids and their activities keeps me a little busy (read crazy) sometimes. However, my oldest son Caleb is such a pure delight and truly makes life as easy as can be. Over this past year or so of my not being well he has been my rock. I adore this child and try to support him as much as I can in all of his endeavors. He is so passionate about Curling, which is a huge sport in Wisconsin. Yes, it is a sport. In fact, it's nickname is Chess on Ice. It takes a great deal of skill, effort and strategy. He has been busy with a lot of games and Bonspiels over the past month of so. He and his buds put together a team for Badger State Games and took Silver and this past weekend, his High School Varsity team participated in the High School State Championship for Curling in Portage, WI so I went to watch him. They won most of their games and lost out from getting into the Semi-finals on a shoot-out when they tied for a place for the semi's. It was pretty intense. I couldn't be more proud.

So I find it funny that as he is my rock many times, he also has a love for the Curling Rocks. We have a very close relationship and I loved watching him as he played this past weekend. It was so intense that I was knitting a baby sweater and I was supposed to start the armhole shaping at 3", but I found that I'd knit right on through to almost 6" before I'd realized what I'd done. I thought I would share some photos from this past weekend to show you what I'd been watching.

Enjoy the pics. Caleb is the handsome blonde with the glasses. So handsome! I am obviously completely curled around his finger.

This is an old picture (Christmas 2010) but I love it. I couldn't love this kid anymore!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Baby Love

This week I had yet another baby shower to attend so I to go along with a gift I was going to give, I always like to knit something. So I quickly whipped up this hat (thanks to Beth at Black Purl who had knitted the original and was the inspiration for this hat). It was ridiculously fast (an hour) and so much fun to make. Classic Elite Ariosa yarn (one of my go to yarns these days) and scraps for the x's and o's. The baby is already three months old and I felt she needed a valentines hat, I mean who doesn't need a valentines hat?! I cheated a little and stitched the hat and duplicate stitched (rather quickly and a little shoddily - though we'll call it rustically) the x's and o's on the hat with scraps. I love it. Madison wants one in her size for Valentines day but I have a different hat in mind for her, so I'm sure she'll live.



Pattern: Beth at Black Purl
Yarn: Classic Elite Ariosa 0.7 White and scraps of Red and Yellow
11th Project for Warm Up to Winter 2012
13th Project for 2012

I do love how much my children appreciate the knits I make for them. The boys are starting to complain that they have been being neglected and I'm going to have to work on that very shortly. I'm struggling to find just the right green for Declan's ski coat.

Here is a picture of Declan skiing which he and his friend made that shows his Sexy Ski Outfit (his words not mine - he's 13 just go with it) Any suggestions on colors? Jess, what cascade color would I use and do you have it in stock, oh Queen of 220?!

This is off topic, but doesn't he have the most beautiful eyes, if I do say so myself. I made a good one there. Pat on mine and husband's back.

I also knit another Viveca Beret in Berroco Flicker Black for a friend. I have friends galore asking for this hat. I don't mind, it's relatively a fast knit. I just dislike the k4tog. Never a fave of mine. It's not hard, just a pain in the hinder.

Pattern: Viveca by Berroco
Yarn: Flicker by Berroco Black
10th Project for Warm Up to Winter KAL
12th Project for 2012

I'm currently working on a cowl to match the Beret for the same friend. Once that is done I have a couple more hats to knit and maybe a couple mittens to knit before the Warm Up to Winter KAL ends on February 8th. It has been such a great motivator for me and I have used a lot of stash and crossed some projects of the queue. I've felt so productive. In between I have made some progress on some of wip's but they still have a little to do to get done. February seriously needs to get some focus on them. I also have a red sweater that I'm planning on casting on and working on. I've been so excited to knit this for a while and now is the time. More to follow on that soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Color Me Hatty

I've been whipping out hats left and right this month since participating in the Warm Up Winter KAL. Although that's not to say that they all haven't been needed or put to good use, but many of them hadn't been a real stretch of my skills or a challenge to complete in any time period, so I dug into Ravelry and my queue and fave's and came across a Kate Davies pattern that had caught my eye. Peerie Flooers Hat. It seemed the perfect project.I could use a new hat to wear under my ski helmet or before I put on my helmet at the ski resort and want to look cute, and this looked like fun to knit with lots of color changes, small needles needed (a personal favorite of mine to use). I dug in the stash and found I had colors that would work perfectly.

The project flew off the needles as I was excited to see each new phase of the hat emerging. I really love that about chart knitting. I'm a sucker for a good chart. Give me small yarn, size 1 or 2 needles and a intricate chart and you have one happy camper.

I only have the ends to weave in, which don't worry those followers who have seen me procrastinate in the past, I've already started and will finish it up tomorrow and take a modeled shot later in the day... promise! In the meantime, enjoy some pics of the fun project. I highly recommend it to those who want a fun fast color project. Remember Meg Swansen also says that knit hats as often as you can, there's always a head out there that needs a hat somewhere. That's why I tend not to swatch for hats, I just figure if it doesn't fit me, i have at least five other heads in my house alone, and many other friends to try, plus charities that are always looking for hats in the cold northwoods. I don't feel naughty at all about not swatching, as I know that Meg S. herself doesn't swatch either and usually considers her hats her swatches. See, I'm in good company.

Pattern: Peerie Flooers Hat by Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight - Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift
Needle: Size 1 Circ

10th Project for 2012
8th Project for Warm Up To Winter KAL