Wednesday, February 7, 2018

insanity...

They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results!

And there I was, trying to knit in pattern and ripping out the row that didn’t knit, over and over. What the hay? I feel like I’m caught in a time warp and the sense of déjà vu! wow! then it dawns on me, I have been here before!
Arr-r-g-g-h-h! And how about that new year resolution? I know what happened, I didn’t place the order, so I don’t have a new curl cord and I wasn’t even using DAK, (though, in my Einstein moments, I did set it up and tried the same pattern on it, didn't work) so I can’t blame it on that. I was in a deep funk, my knitting career was over and then, as so often happens, somehow in the middle of the night, it came to me! I have a fine gauge machine packed up, stored away and there will be a curl cord in there! It’s sure to be working, I can’t have three bad ones at one time!
Success! Two perfect pieces! Yay for me! I swear, I’m placing that order!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

dirty laundry...

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a new topic but I‘m sure this is something I haven’t addressed here before. You’ve heard me say I love Wool Crepe Deluxe and if you look in the right place(s), I’ve talked about blocking and steaming garments but what happens to a finished garment that is laundered? It looks like this! Yikes!  This is the 1RT raglan in ginger WCD that I made back in October,’14, http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2014/10/a-bird-in-hand.html
 BTW, this isn’t the first time I washed it, just the first time I thought to tell you about it! ;-) OK, a quick review of how I laundered this. I use Eucalan, in warm water, in my top-loading washer, with just enough water to cover the garment – I don’t mean to brag here but I do several similar-coloured WCD garments at one time, so enough water to submerge all. Note, never button a cardigan – it will stretch out the bands and look awful.
After filling, turn off the machine. Swish the things by hand and let soak for 15-20 minutes. If there were any trouble spots/stains, I pre-treat with straight Eucalan before submerging. After the soak, turn the washer dial to drain/spin, full-on and let the machine do the work to take the water out. Eucalan is a no-rinse product, so that’s all there is to it. Sometimes, I add a little fabric softener in there too but not a lot, just like a teaspoon, maybe. Then I put all the items in the dryer, along with a one-yard piece of percale sheeting that I keep especially for this purpose – it helps to make the sweaters tumble instead of wadding up on the blades of the dryer and has no lint. Set the dryer to ‘air’ only for about 15 minutes – this will take out the wrinkles and because there is no heat, no danger of shrinking.
Then I take the things out, lay them flat on towels and let them air dry overnight.
This one-row-tuck looks bubbly and nasty because of the tuck and it is necessary to re-block it (this happens to lace as well). I do it in sections on my ironing board. For one side of the front, put a longer blocking rod in the edge of the front band and a shorter one through the hem band – make this one go about an inch past the side seam so you don’t get a point happening at the side seam. Pin the rods in place – I don’t use a tape measure for this, just eyeball it, but if you’re uncertain, measure and make sure the second front matches in length.
Don’t worry about the side seam - no need to have a rod there, you can hold/stretch that side with your hand as you are steaming with the other hand. On the neckline, I just put a few extra pins to hold it in place without stretching it out. I’m just using my regular steam iron    http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2012/01/out-of-steam.html  and holding it just above the fabric until I get some steam into the fabric then I actually set it down for a sec to really steam it. After that section is done, walk away and leave it to cool for a minute or two.  Unpin, move to next section, blah-blah-blah. For the sleeves, I use the sleeve board and no rods. Good as new!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

eighties ladies...

It’s okay to laugh!  I am! All this reminiscing about the 80s - I came across this – my first headshot, from 1987 – look at that Elvis thing happening on top of my head! But, I was wearing one of my very first machine knit sweaters! It was Bramwell’s Montana 2 ply cotton used double-stranded and I knit a design that was in Modern Machine Knitting, a magazine from the UK.  
 And, OMG! I still have that issue! I’ve done a lot of purging but for some reason, I did save my first collection of MMKs, from 1986 to 1989. It was a monthly machine kitting magazine and I read those things front to back and knit the heck out of them! I would pick something I liked, knit it once and then knit it again, improving something until I got it just right. The written patterns were relatively simple, not much reading there but the diagrams were so full of priceless information and each issue had several articles of techniques and swatches, so you could learn about the various aspects and options for your machine.


That magazine was specifically for Knitmaster which was sold as Singer, Studio or Silver Reed in North America so I learned everything I possibly could from those – I always thought the second or third time making the same thing was invaluable, especially for a beginner because it reinforced the lessons. I remember practising and learning so much about necklines because I am not a scarf-wearer - I was always certain they used scarves and big jewelry to hide any glitches! :-)

 

Friday, December 29, 2017

stranger things...

I’m gearing up for New Years and that means getting my ducks in a row for the resolutions. You know that procrastination thing I mentioned the other day – well, that’s top of the list. It’s probably not as serious as I’m making out but I was finishing up Janet’s church pullover – it’s been hanging on the LK since forever and, I thought, I think I mentioned to you, yes, I did:   http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2017/10/multiple-choice.html - sheesh, that was back in October when I confessed that I was having to use 3 row counters with my LK150 because none were working properly and I said I was going to order a couple new ones. Didn’t do that.
So, before getting into knitting the last two pieces, the side panels, I went on-line to Peter Smith Trading in Toronto www.sewknit.ca – he has a pretty good website for ordering Silver Reed/Studio/Singer parts. He has all the parts catalogues for the individual machines, so you can look up the part, find the number you want and then go back to the parts order page, locate that number and put it in your cart. I did that for the row counters and the curl cord that I wanted,  ;-) , but I knew there was something else that should have been on my list - I couldn’t think of it so I abandoned that and went back to knitting – you won’t believe this but that freaking row counter that was adding 19 rows instead of moving only one number? suddenly, it’s working perfectly! Like I said, ‘stranger things!’ I’m Netflixing that show! Usually, anything remotely sci-fi is definitely not for me but the nostalgia value for the 80s, the music, ugly cars, hairdos! I’m loving it! and those kids are so cute!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

photoshoot...

There I was on Christmas Eve day, seaming up the ‘cold/bold shoulder’ top that I made for Rhiana, which she requested a few weeks back – I still hadn’t gotten around to making her that cardi for back-to-school – OMG! I have never been this disorganized or am I turning into a procrastinator?
In my defense, although the actual knitting of this top is quite quick, I have been pattern-writing every step of the way. I’ve had so many requests at seminars for this design that I figured if I were making one for her, I may as well write it up for everyone at the same time and this would be my test garment.
If you want to see the backstory, check out this link:
On Boxing Day, while I was giving it a final steam so I could get her photo in it before she went home, Rhiana was looking through a copy of Knitwords #53 – Her beautiful mom, Agnieszka was the cover girl and Rhiana and her brother Nathan were also there – he remembers but she doesn’t as she was only 4 years old back in 2010I!




Anyway, my girl was happy with it. She put it on, threw a few poses and said we could do a photoshoot, just like in the magazine days! After admiring herself in the mirror, she declared 'I really like this!' She always was a great, little model!

Happy Holidays, all the best to you and yours for 2018, and may all your knitting projects turn out this nice!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

sox talk...

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about knitting socks all year, not since last Christmas! To be honest, I did sort of think I probably have worn out the topic, but you never know. Here I am feeling I have something more to say on the subject.
The other morning, we had a snow storm and the power went out. I was already in my workroom, preparing to knit and thought, oh, I don’t want to waste the impulse – it was bright enough in the room that I didn’t need power for the lights but to make something that didn’t require the electric for patterning? I grabbed an already-coned-up skein of sock yarn in an aqua and pinks colourway and began to knit. It just happened to be a new-to-me one, Lana Grossa Meilenweit – I placed a mail order last February when there were some things on sale at loveknitting.com – I had spotted this one called ‘stretch Malibu’, thinking it was a great deal at $10.89 for a 100g ball, never got round to it till now. It looked a little finer than my usual Regia sock yarn. Ignoring that thought, I threaded up and began knitting (using my regular double bed sock pattern – see ‘freebies’ at www.knitwords.com – last December I updated that with all my little extra tips along with men’s and ladies sizes and offered it as a pdf – still available, email me at knitwords@shaw.ca).
The power came back on and I never even noticed, just finished off the pair, going for a ladies 8.5 size. I was on a roll and took the next most appealing one, Regia 4 fadig color in reds with a bit of white, orange and yellow call ‘Rio’. Used the same exact size and when I compared the two, the Malibu stretch turned out a full size smaller that the Regia pair. Hum-m-m, interesting. I read the label and the Malibu is 45% wool, 35% cotton, 13% polymid, 7% Elite (PBT) – who knows what that might be? It says, ‘machine washable, non-felting, hard wearing’ (I like that!). And the yardage (sounds better than meterage) is 460 m to 100g! The other sock yarns, merino or superwash wool/nylon are 420 m to 100g.   
I got this great pair of Fluevog boots that I love – they have great grips on the bottom and I wanted them to be my winter boots this year but they are a bit snug with my regular merino wool socks and skinny jeans leave my ankles kind of bare and cold – not to mention matching the colour! using the blue/grey colourway, knit up one size smaller than my regular 7.5, went back to a longer 60-row ribbed cuff to take care of the ankle issue – they are just that bit thinner and perfect! ;-)
P.S. if you think it's hard to take a selfie, try photo-ing your own feet!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

and the saga continues...


Last Sunday, I was able to get the back panel of that thing made – it went quite quickly, no sweat. And over the next few days, I did the joining of the two panels by knitting a 4-stitch slip cord all the way around all four sides. I broke it up in several half hour sessions so it wouldn’t seem so tedious – my eyesight is not what it used to be and picking up the half edge stitch from each side – one being dark navy, same thing as black, yikes, not exactly easy or relaxing, but I got ‘er done! Darned in all the ends and put it through the washer and dryer ‘cuz that’s what Mom will be doing. Got it out of the dryer and I was shaking it out to smooth it and what the? there’s a freakin’ hole in the back in the middle of the lime green stripe! It’s not a dropped stitch, it’s a hole, like the yarn broke in the middle of the stitch. Some bad words were said, I tossed it in the corner and pouted for a few days.
After cooling off, I looked at it again and figured I could rip out the last part of the slip cord, unravel that colour and at least see if I could get into the middle and try to repair the row where the hole was. That accomplished, I calmy reknit the slip cord and finished it off.

In the middle of telling you about it, my computer crashed. I lost the story. After a cup of tea, I restarted, got the story done, photos included. Checked my email – an invitation from Karen’s family (BTW, she had a girl, 8lb 4oz, natural birth on her due date) inviting me to a ‘sip and see’ next week  – I guess this is the current version of the baby shower with a list of local and on-line baby registries and a note saying they preferred organic items…did I mention this was all acrylic crap?