Monday, December 22, 2008

Wool ewe like it too?

I just got the cutest holiday card ever!! My friend, Jeanne Crockett (machine knitter and designer extraordinaire) created it and it’s ‘sew’ perfect. I asked her if I could share it with you and she said yes!!

Looks like she embroidered - probably with one of those fancy embroidery machines - the sheep on a piece of fuzzy fabric, cut it out and pasted it to the card.
Inside, it says...

and, best of all, did you notice, it was green!!!
Happy Holidays everyone!!

DAK download for dummies

Hey, I didn’t mean to be offensive or call anyone names, but many of you have said you need this!! On our website, we offer a free download of the DesignaKnit stitch files used in each issue. They are there for each current issue, meaning you have 3 months to get them, but once the new issue comes out, the old files are gone, replaced with the new set. If you miss them, we do have a cd with all of them for you to purchase.
Many new (and not so new) DKers have had trouble downloading these files, and I’ve promised to help, so here it is. Now, you need to have DesignaKnit to use these files. They are usually only the stitch patterns that are part of the garment patterns in each issue, no shape files, unless the designer has included them as part of the pattern. If you are planning on getting DesignaKnit soon, there is no reason why you cannot download these files and save them for when you have the program.
So, here goes...please bear in mind, I am not a computer expert by any means and there are many different systems to consider and many ways to do things, but I’ll do my best to give you basic instructions.
I recommend the files be saved on an external drive, whether it is on a floppy - I still have one, but most new computers do not - or on a cd/dvd, so you may need someone to assist you here. This way, you will always have a backup file to go to in case you forgot to save the original. But here, I’ll tell you how to save to your desktop.
I like to install the files on the hard drive in an ‘easy-access’ place where you won’t forget where they are or how to get to them once you are in DAK. The one that makes the most sense to me is to put them in a separate folder right in your DesignaKnit program.
1. Make a new folder in DK7 (or DK6) whichever you have.
What I do - right click Start from the main screen of your computer, bottom left corner. Choose Explore with a left click.
Locate the folder that has DK7 (or DK6) beside it. Left click on it once to highlight it. At the top of the menu bar, left click File then New/Folder. Single click on the new folder which appears on the right side, to highlight it and, from the top menu, choose File/Rename. Type in the new name, something like webKW47. Now this is ready to hold the stitch patterns from KNITWORDS No. 47.

2. Go to , select Current Issue and scroll down the page, where you should see the DAK download for this issue. Click on it and you will have the option to open or save. Choose Save and where you want it saved to (desktop). Do NOT save it right to the new DAK folder yet. Then Close.

3. Exit the website and go to where you saved the download. Double click on it (you will see it on your desktop as a zip file with dak4747 under it) and a new screen opens with a file folder labelled dak47C. Double click this and the thumbnails of the individual patterns come up. Click/hold on the blue bar at the top of this screen and move it over to the side of your screen.

4. Go to 'Explore' (see 1. above) and open another screen to locate your new webKW47 folder. Click anywhere in the right screen where the downloaded files are, then highlight all the files and drag them over to the new folder. Check and see they are there. If they are, delete the zip folder from your desktop.

5. Go into DesignaKnit, click Stitch Designer/open and find your folder.

Most of the files will be in .pat format so DK6ers can use, so if you have DK7 and nothing comes up, click the bar above and select the .pat file extension to see the other files.
Hope this works out for you but if it doesn’t, print this out, call up a computer-savvy friend and get them to come over and help out!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I just have to tell you, I finally figured out how to use the ribber comb for a single bed cast-on!! ‘Why would you want to do that?’ you say. Well, I’m working on some lace things for No 48 and I’ve always found one of the most important things with lace knitting is to have the work evenly weighted and most times, I like to start out with a double bed hem, just to have the ribber comb in the cast-on which gives me the even weight. See, I work on a Silver Reed machine and there is no single bed hanger comb - you don’t need one, because it usually casts on fine with the weaving cast-on or a ravel cord cast-on, but for lace, you need to knit several rows of waste yarn and then hang weights in that and it can be rather awkward.
After several experiments, I couldn’t come up with a double bed hem that I liked with my fashion lace pattern, but did come up with a single bed one that was just the thing. Now, to knit lace - I have my rib bed on - it’s always there - I never take it off - the work has to come out over the front of the rib bed for the lace carriage to transfer stitches successfully without them dropping. So, to begin lace knitting, you need to have enough waste yarn on there to have it over the front, before you even start. I was contemplating casting on with 1X1 rib in the waste yarn, just to get that hanger comb in there and then transfer all to the main bed - which I have done in the past, but it suddenly struck me there should be an easier way. And what do you know, it worked!! Now before you all start emailing me and saying to buy a Brother cast-on comb, I already have one and I hate it. It’s always tipping off when you least want it and it’s a p.i.t.a. (think about it).
So, here’s how I did it. Bring out the width of needles you want, every other needle only. With waste yarn, T10 (as loose as you can get), knit one row. Move the carriage out of the way, take the ribber comb, with the wire out and insert it from below, poking the fingers between the sinker loops. When it is successfully in there, with the sinker loops on your side of the prongs, tip the bottom of the comb back so the prongs come forward, allowing you to insert the wire, without catching the needles or sinker posts. Drop the comb. It falls below everything. Bring all needles to work, set stitch size to 8 or 9, and knit 10-12 rows. TIP: and here's an oxymoron for you, knitting the waste yarn at a higher stitch size will get you there faster, wasting less waste yarn!!! Now, go down to what ever your waste yarn tension would be and knit a few more rows. That will be enough to bring the comb up and over the ribber. Hang two small claw weights at each end of the comb and get ready to lace knit!!! This is my first front (it's a cardigan)- I already did the back and hung the ribber comb in 82-0-82 needles just fine, added one bar weight at the centre of the comb, knit the entire back, 202 rows of fashion lace without one single dropped stitch. Life is good!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


oh rats!! I’m having one of those days!!! I think Cindy jinxed me!! I’m knitting for No 48, knocked off a couple of designs already and a couple more are percolating... I spent most of yesterday swatching for a tuck rib design in another wide wale corduroy look that I was going to make using a handknitting ‘balled’ yarn - in a real pretty sage green (I don’t care whether you’re sick of green or not, I still have some to use, so there! It’s either a few more green things or make the next issue in all red!!) Anyway, I used red for my practise swatches and came up with my final product, made up my gauge swatch in the sage green, washed and dried it overnight, all set to start this morning. Now, this yarn is a lace weight alpaca, 437 yds in each 2 oz ball. Thanks to my ‘Silver Needles’ electric wool winder, not a problem. Did I mention I have 10 balls of the sage green? Sounds like plenty to me. I’ve used this yarn before and made a tuck stitch maternity tunic (No 35, Make Room For Baby) that only took less than 6 balls. My plan is a cardigan/jacket with the tuck rib on the body, changing to pintucks for a yoke above the bust, with the tuck rib also on the long sleeves.
I wound three balls into one cone and began knitting the back. After 2 false starts, what the heck is going on?? On the first piece, at row 70, the yarn inexplicably broke when I was half way across. Talk about dropped stitches! Well, never mind, it’s quicker to start again than try and rehang double bed tuck... my second attempt, I forgot to transfer to every other needle on the rib bed after the cast-on...I noticed about row 14. Okay, so third time’s a charm. I’m up to row 300 and I realize there is no conceivable way that I’ll have enough yarn to complete my original design, but maybe if I make it shorter... I take 8 cm out of the length because I haven’t begun shaping the underarm yet. But, after beginning the pintucks, in which the yarn is double stranded to maintain the same width as the tuck rib, I know I have to change something else - and I’m not a vest person. I’m getting stubborn now. I've got too much time in this already to abandon it now! I’m not going to give up...
That darn Cindy!! She never starts anything unless she has 2 full cones of the yarn the pattern calls for, even if it says she only needs one. And all her questions about what to do if you run out of yarn and how you could stretch it and on and on... well, take this, Cindy! Here’s a lesson on how to salvage a run-short-of-yarn project but you’re going to have to wait for No 48 for all the details!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Groovy Re-do

From last week...
I told you my daughter wanted her own version of our cover garment from No 47. I had worn it to Winnipeg in mid-September, the last time we met. I left Thunder Bay on the noon flight - it was lovely and warm, the perfect fall day! I wore ‘Groovy’ with dark wash jeans, my ‘Rocket Dog’ wedge sandals that have the cutest black/red/grey print and my charcoal ‘Namaste’ bag as a carry-on over my shoulder. I thought I was looking quite fine if you know what I mean. Laura did too, because when she saw me, she gave me one of those turnaround-lookovers and then said, ‘I want a top just like that!’ She’s a chemical engineer, works in Northern Alberta, says she’s always cold at work and needs to wear a sweater or jacket all the time, even in the office. She thought this would ‘up’ her game a little too, instead of always being very casual. But - and here’s the thing, there’s always a catch - she wanted the same red - no problem, I had a second cone of the same thing - most of the time I like to have two cones of whatever, just in case - and, she would rather have long sleeves - it was totally cute with the short ones, but for her work situation, long sleeves would be better and she would like the buttons/closure to come down a little lower. Hey, that’s no big deal - I even got the same buttons. We are basically the same size, though she is a bit taller than me (like the rest of the world) and her arms are longer.
Now, you might wonder where I get the time to do stuff like this - everyone is always saying they are just so busy, blah, blah, blah. Well, considering this really would be ‘recreational’ knitting for me, it’s not like I would take an entire day to make it although there are probably 6 to 7 hours worth of work in remaking this. I fit in bits and pieces here and there. Because I didn’t have to do any of the experimenting and swatching that usually goes with creating from scratch, on Wednesday afternoon, while I was hanging around waiting for the printers to call back, I cast on for the back and made the hem, thinking I’d have that ready to start next morning. They still hadn’t called back by the time I had finished, so I turned on the laptop, fired up DAK, downloaded the stitch pattern and began knitting the back, exactly same as my original. Sure enough, 35 minutes later, I was removing the first shoulder when they called and I didn’t mind the wait because I had accomplished something.
Next morning, before heading out to my exercise class at 10 am, I made one front, adding the extra stitches for the overlap at RC070, splitting the distance from the original. When I returned, I made the second front, then went off to do mail, bank and run errands. We had an extremely gorgeous day - it got up to about 18C/64F by 3 pm and I couldn’t resist getting in one more cycle for the year.
I had planned to make the long sleeves using the tuck pattern, recharting the sleeve to be a closer fit overall, thinking it would be warmer, but discarded that idea when I realized it might look too bulky. To have a bit of tuck in the sleeve, I made a cuff of 21 rows with the tuck pattern (same as the bottom of the original) which would only be a slight flare at the wrist and made the rest of it in reverse stockinette. Both the sleeves and collar were made yesterday, between exercise class, updating the subscription list, other office work and handing out Hallowe’en treats. Today all that needed to be done was finishing the front edges, seaming sides and underarm, and stitching down the neckband facing - easy, peasy!
Oh, I love the long sleeves!!! It’s too cold here now to wear the original as an outdoor thing... Do I give it to her now or save it for Christmas???she probably forgot all about it - I could wear it, except, I purposely made sure the sleeves would be too long for me...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

I’d like to give you a preview of our new issue - I don’t have my copy of it yet - it won’t be here till Monday, but I’m going to go ahead and scoop Rick again. Here’s the cover. This little jacket/cardigan, ‘Groovy’, has been my fall travelling staple - I’ve worn it steady for the past 2 months. I still love it and have had many compliments from knitters and non-knitters! I’m re-making it right now for my daughter Laura who saw it back in September - she wants a few modifications, of course and maybe I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. Shown also are Ev McNabb’s ‘Fisti-cuffs’ - they went so well with the style and colour of ‘Groovy’!
I hooked up with Susan Guagliumi at the Cleveland seminar and she very graciously gave us the pattern for ‘Knotty But Nice’, the top that she wore on the Friday. It looked great on her and when I received it in the post the next week, I was amazed at the versatility of her design - she did tell me to be sure to get a model with ‘no boobs’. I tried it on and I loved it on me, even though her and I are about exact opposite in figure type - I will be making one of my own!!! It is a sideways knit top, with unique construction and very little seaming, shaped through the body with shortrows to create the A-line shape. Susan has also promised future patterns for the next couple of issues.
My grandbabies Nathan and Rhiana, are such a big part of my life, I just have to show them off too - Nate is wearing a button front hoodie jacket done on the mid gauge and Rhiana’s Christmas dress turned out so perfect! She’s a bit of a tomboy, so I wanted to keep it simple, but had to add some ruffles - lots of learning tips and techniques in both these patterns to help beginners improve their skills.
Of course, there is a ton of other stuff too that I’m sure you’ll love... stay tuned!!
Happy Hallowe’en!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Middle Of Nowhere??

Sorry to be silent for so long but I've been sorta busy. I’ve just returned from a knitting road trip. Sometimes I wonder what makes me do what I do... Here’s what I did this past week. Last Thursday, the 16th, I got up at 3 am and set off to drive to the Middle Of Nowhere, Indiana, 800 miles away. I set off that early because I wanted to get through Chicago before rush hour but I would still have a couple of hours to my final destination. You might wonder why was I going to the M.O.N.? Well, Lea-Ann at ‘Knitting Today’ in Wolcottville, IN and I go way back. I did my first workshop for her in 1995 -1996 - or somewhere around there and I’ve been back several times since. We always have a great time. Anyway, back in June this year, she asked me to do a ‘hands-on beginner ribber class’ and I said sure. I drove instead of flying because, coming from the middle of nowhere and going to another middle of nowhere, it’s easier to drive than fly - at least when you talk about it - and I wouldn’t have to rely on airline schedules - had to make sure I got No 47 off to the printers before I left - and I could come and go whenever, take whatever I wanted, not have to worry about load/size restrictions - my own table, extra yarn, 2 full suitcases of samples and get the picture. Also, this road trip would give me the opportunity to get in a visit with my favourite Hoosier, Donna, in Goshen, IN., (30 miles from Lea-Ann’s shop) whom I met when on a wool tour of Scotland back in 1990 and the real reason I do so much at ‘Knitting Today’.
So, after a day’s visit with Donna, I get to the hotel for the workshop. While setting up and meeting the ‘students’, it suddenly dawned on me, I’m the oldest person in the room!!! *&%#!!! first time that’s ever happened!!! Usually at these machine knitting events if I see one person whom I think may be younger than me, I get pretty excited!! My next thought was, wow!! this is great!!! There is hope in the world - we do have new, younger, machine knitters. And I’ll be honest here, those 12 gals were great. Talk about enthusiastic and willing to learn, many of them being less than 1 year machine knitters - some from almost as far away as me (New York state)- I had a great time, watching them absorb and try new things - after I got over the shock of starting at 8 am!!! We ended the second day with most everyone completing at least one circular sock - it was the most successful hands-on class I’ve ever participated in and though I never had to pick up one dropped stitch or fix someone’s mistake, I was exhausted, answering questions and supervising!
The next day I was on the road again to another MON, Elliot Lake in Northern Ontario, another 550 miles/9 hours of driving. Driving up to Canada through Michigan gave me a different outlook on coming home. After being out of MY country - a foreigner, really - away from home cooking and all that - there is the trepidation of crossing the border, back through customs, trying to recall what I need to declare and what to hope they don’t find if they did decide to search - though nowhere near the gut-wrenching experience going down...
So, coming into Sault Ste Marie, Canada, the border crossing is virtually right in town. After the relief of getting through customs with no problem, the welcome sight of the familiar ‘Canadian Tire’ store sign, with ‘Tim Horton’s’ almost beside it, homecoming felt really good!! I could stop for duct tape AND coffee and donuts!!! On to Elliot Lake, 2 days of lecturing and demos; back on the road for the 900km/550 mile/9 hour drive to Thunder Bay over the toughest stretch of the TransCanada Highway in the entire country, arriving home at midnight Wednesday - who ever thought this was a glamourous job???

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DSW forever!!!

I spent yesterday checking out my wardrobe, sewing on buttons for the No. 47 garments, adjusting some things from previous issues - took the zipper out of ‘Outlines’ from No. 44 and put a couple of big hooks at the top and changed the buttons on ‘Curve Appeal’ from No. 46 - preparing for Inspiration ‘08 in Cleveland. I fly out early Thursday morning and I’m so looking forward to being there. I sent Sue J her linen jacket and tiered skirt and she got the package on Saturday - I thought she should have them ahead of time so she could co-ordinate her seminar wardrobe. You’ll be surprised to see what colour they are!!!
I was trying on and taking off and seeing which shoes go with what - I found the cutest leopard print with black patent high heels to go with ‘Fit ‘n Flare’ and ‘Print It’ from No. 46 - you’ll think I had them and made the outfit to go with instead of the other way around! I also have the sweetest ‘Rocket Dog’ high heel wedges in black with a red/ivory/grey print that look perfect with my black tiered skirt and the red ‘Mazatlan’ from No. 44. The fashion show is always fun and I like to make sure things look good and not just thrown on - I’m hoping to recruit a few models and do an issue-by-issue presentation of the past year, with several models and garments out on the runway at the same time.
I’ve got everything laid out in piles by issue number - now to see if it all fits in just 2 bags - otherwise, I have to leave something behind...tough decisions - but I’m down to just 5 pairs of shoes... sure hope I see you there!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Confessions of a green-aholic..

I must have something drastically wrong with me...maybe if I get it out in the open, I’ll be able to deal with it...I really become attached to what I’m knitting. Even if it’s a colour I’m not particularly fond of, by the time I’m finished, it’s my favourite! Now, normally this wouldn’t be a problem because, after all, it’s not like I’m custom knitting or anything. But, here’s the thing. Sue from BT Yarns sent me 2 colours of that new linen yarn and asked me if I’d make her something to wear for the Inspiration ‘08 - surprise her, she said - use whatever you want for you and give me the other, whatever, I’m not fussy - is how she put it. Now, she knows I have a thing for green lately, so she sent a beige and a green. When I saw the green, I tried to convince myself that it was too bluey for my current wardrobe so I figured I’d make her the green and I’d get the beige, which is a lovely shade also. Well, I made several swatches - stockinette in the beige at T7 to start with and get the feel of the new yarn - washed and dried it and oh my, (yawn) how boring...then I used the green, experimenting with a couple of new one-row-tucks and tensions. Oh-oh, that old feeling, all of a sudden this green is starting to appeal to me. To round out the collection, I made another swatch in the beige, using my favourite of the one-row-tucks, sub-consciously I believe, trying to fix in my mind that the beige would be mine. In a real effort to dislike the green, I had picked stitch patterns that I knew I wouldn’t just love.
Anyway, fighting the feeling, I had switched directions - I told you last week about the tiered skirt - I’ve got three made - mine’s black because it’s the shortest - no problem there. There’s one in shades of ivory/beige/taupe that I deliberately made long, for Sue. And then I made a green one of in-between length, that I’m on the fence about - though I really like it, it’s a tad too long for me and Sue does colour well....
Back to the green linen - time’s a-wasting and it’s only 2 weeks to Cleveland. I pulled out all of my green things from the past 2 years, laid them on my bed and tried to convince myself that the last thing I needed was another green cardigan of any shape or size. Impulsively, I grabbed the green, threaded up the machine, put Sue’s schematic in the KR11 and quickly began to knit her first sleeve, which will be too long for me. Many times, I’ll make sleeves first, because it gives you a larger piece of fabric to look at and another dilemma was deciding to whether use the knit side or the purl side as right side. Did I mention the hem turned out beautiful on this thing? And the sheen of the yarn, even after I threw it in the washer AND dryer!! By the time I finished the second sleeve, I’m trying to think up a way to have a turn back cuff...
Thank heaven my next project is a Christmas dress for Rhiana - I’m using red...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tiers of Joy

You know, I’m so happy I could just knit! Have you ever had what you thought was a great idea and then it turns out to be a great idea? Well, I’ve just had one of those days! I’m on a roll! First of all, my son Rory, took my new bike and adjusted it for me - raised the seat, lowered the handlebars, and tightened all the cables and it’s great. So, I’m back to cycling - it’s less than a month to Cleveland/ Inspiration ‘08 and I have a few pounds to take care of before then. I’m feeling confident that I can do it - I’m up to about 25 km in 90 minutes - which is good for me. Then I got an email from Cindy in NM, inviting me to do a workshop in November. WOW! I love to travel!!
I’ve had this idea for a skirt rolling around in my head for a while and something just clicked the other day and I had a pretty clear picture of how I was going to proceed. My prototype is - get this - in black!! I know that I’m going to have to make the skirt a couple of times to iron out the kinks, to get a workable pattern to put in K’words, and although black is my favourite wardrobe colour - I don’t care what Stacey and Clinton think - I rarely knit with black, at least that you get to see. Every once in a while I treat myself and re-knit something that’s been in the magazine in a more photo-able colour, in black. Last month, once I got No 46 off to the printers, I knit ‘Let’s Swing Again’ from No 44 with this gorgeous ‘midnight black’ Wool Crepe Deluxe that I’d been saving for something special. The one shown in the mag was done in a variegated rayon. It was really nice and I’d worn it quite a few times, getting compliments from non-knitters, so I wanted to re-do it in something really good. Anyway, the long and the short of it is I had some of the black WCD leftover. I also had Mini Dina and Skinny Majesty leftovers in close to the same shade of black.
My vision of this skirt is a tiered thing, that really needs a taller person than me, but I’m okay with that. I wanted the bottom tier to have hankie points, sort of, so it’s sideways knit, using a slip stitch program to shortrow sharp angles that worked out cool. The next tier is lacy with the Mini Dina and the third tier is stockinette in the Skinny Majesty. So, I knit 2 sets of each panel for the back and front and I’m thinking about how to join it all together and make sure the whole thing is not too heavy. So I used the WCD at a much looser tension - it goes further and produces a thinner fabric.
My on-the-fly plan was to hang the edge of the bottom flounce on the machine and then knit the underskirt up to when the next tier would be joined. I hung it on without really thinking and when I was finished, realized I’d hung it with the knit side facing me. Which meant that knitting over this, the purl side would be facing. But then it dawned on me - to add the next tier, I would have to remove the underskirt, hang the tier with the wrong side facing, replace the underskirt and continue to the next tier and repeat that. Way too much work and what the heck - who cares if the purl side of the "underskirt" that no one will see, is on the outside?? Hello!!! Knit up the way it was, add the next tier, keep knitting and only turn it at the top for the yoke part!!! Sometimes I do feel like a rocket scientist!!
Look for various lengths and versions of this new skirt - Tiers of Joy is my working title - in No 47 and also at the show in Cleveland - I’m going to make one for Sue J to wear too!! Her and I are about the same size, except she’s about the eight inches taller that I’d like to be - but hers won’t be black...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Silver words of wisdom....

So, I’m back at my knitting - actually I already have 3 garments ready for the next issue - I’ll tell you about them maybe another time. Today, I’m working on a light green top with a gathered neckline to wear under a jacket or cardy, using Bambu7. It’s quite thin and to make a wider stitch gauge - stockinette at T4 gives 37 sts to 10 cm which restricts the finished width you can get from 200 needles - I’m using a one-row-tuck, what I call a tuck pattern with a row of stockinette on every other row that gives a nice, subtle texture on the knit side, similar to a garter carriage look. The tuck on every other row is enough to add extra width (stitch gauge at T4 is now 29 sts/10 cm) and the every other row stockinette takes the ‘bubbly-ness’ out of the tuck.
I have the Silverlink4 with DAK7 and my standard gauge Silver Reed machine. I’ve been using this system to knit all my garments for the past 4 years and I love knit-from-screen because it shows exactly what needle is doing what on which row - you can’t go wrong!! Before that, I used the SK580 with built-in electronics and the PE1.
The curl cord can get blown out with improper use. Also, I hate to say how old some of my curl cords are and not surprisingly, I have had 2 burn out recently. When this happens, nothing else does, meaning you can program and re-read till the cows come home and no signal goes to the machine and DAK will keep telling you you’re on the wrong side.
How do you know it’s burned out??
Okay, so I have replaced a couple of curl cords and I am pretty careful (I think) about hooking up the electric to everything - I always make sure my SilverLink4 is unplugged from the power source whenever I’m not using it - in between pieces of knitting, even if I’m only taking a break to grab a cup of whatever, I unplug it from the power bar. If I am not using the patterning for a garment, I unplug the curl cord from the carriage, and I park the end in an old pill bottle attached to one of the antennae, to protect the prongs inside from inadvertently coming in contact with anything.
Now, I use this stuff often enough that it comes second-nature and I’m a big short-cutter and when on auto-pilot, may forget to check something - you know what I mean. So. I’m putting in a pattern and everything’s cool and working fine. On row 8, I’ve hung the hem and then go back to knitting in pattern. I usually watch the red/green flash of lights on the end of the SilverLink to make sure the pattern is continuing properly and I’ve also become attuned to the sound the needles patterning make, so I noticed right away on row 12 that the tuck pattern hadn’t happened by the sound or rather, lack of it. So, rip out a row... re-read the pattern and begin again. I get 4 rows knit and again, the familiar little click-click-click was not there. Sure enough, a pattern-less row! At least it has the courtesy to actually knit the row when you are doing tuck and the signal is lost - if I was using the lace carriage, there would be major drama happening!! When the signal is lost with the lace carriage, all stitches act as a selected stitch and transfer off, resulting with everything on the floor!!! Also, it occurs to me that I did not get a signal from ‘Matthew’ (that’s what I call my DAK screen in honour of Matthew Bragg, the creator of DAK)telling me I'm on the wrong side. So, third time is a charm, but I decided to investigate first. I checked my curl cord - I had put a tag with the date on it up near the top, out of the way and yes, it’s a new one. Remembering that my last garment was stockinette, I checked my connection into the carriage and wouldn’t you know, I had not pushed it down fully, probably resulting in a weak connection. Re-read one more time and zip-zam-zoom, in no time, I’m shaping the underarm and then finishing off the shoulder, 357 rows, no lost pattern once!!
So, here are some Silver Reed/SilverLink/DAK/knit-from-screen safety rules from me for you.
1. Always unplug the link from the power source when not in use. Leaving it plugged for an extended period of time creates a constant heat and can cause the wires to burn out in the SilverLink or the curl cord. Do not leave it plugged into a power bar unless you are turning off the power bar each time.
2. When making connections between the SilverLink and the carriage (which is your curl cord), make sure there is no power to the SilverLink - it can be connected to your computer, but not the direct power source. If you have the USB connection, this protects the SilverLink and the computer and allows you to connect those two things without unplugging everything, but it does not protect the curl cord.
3. No need to unplug the SilverLink from the curl cord each time.
4. To prevent the curl cord from stretching out unnecessarily, unplug it from the carriage when not in use and protect end (see above) or park carriage in the middle of the needle bed.
5. It’s a good idea to have an extra curl cord on hand.
Oh, and the Bambu7 top turned out great - look for it in the next issue!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a peek at No 46

Well, No 46 is in the MAIL!!! And it looks great!!! I’m very happy with it and I’m sure you will be too. I’m feeling generous today, so I’m giving a quick preview of the cover - actually I’m beating Rick (our web designer as well as layout guy for KNITWORDS magazine) before he gets to show you on the website - he’s so darned punctual about changing everything on the stroke of midnight on the night before the new issue becomes current - Lindsay’s back on our cover - doesn’t she look great?
This garment, called 'Dress Code' is done on the LK150, using Jaggerspun zephyr 4/8 wool/silk which was fabulous to work with. It has an incredible, lovely sheen and gives a relatively lightweight fabric with nice drape. Lots of tips and techniques for making pleats, facings and hemmed edges. Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I have a ‘cute kid’ story - hold on, stay with me, there’s knitting involved too!
My 4 yr old grandson, Nathan, and I have a play-date every week or two. He loves ‘Bob the builder’ and we have a full collection of the ‘machines’ in tiny size - the best $7 presents I’ve ever bought, for the joy and time he’s spent with them. So, he comes to Grama’s and expects to spend a good while playing ‘Bob the builder’ - funny thing, though, I actually have to play Bob, hold him up and talk for him and Nathan acts out each of the ‘machines’.
Now, we are having one of the worst summers on record here in TBay, very cool and very wet. Also, around Grama’s house lately there is an over-abundance of scarves - you’ll see what I mean when you get No 46 (I’m assuming you remembered to renew). Getting back to Bob, Nathan announced that ‘we’ should make scarves for the machines because there was going to be a snowstorm.
Now, I’ll back up just a bit and tell you that in preparation for going to TNNA last month, I thought I’d do a little hand knitting to get in the mood, something I have not done since I found knitting machines. I actually had to go and buy a pair of needles, got one of those huge balls of cotton and I’d been knitting round dishcloths for the past while, the evidence laying on a table beside my favourite chair.
Nathan goes over and grabs the needles - ‘Are these your knitting sticks, Grama?’ Amused, I agreed. He then asked if there’s any more of that red wool left over from his new sweater, because red will look good on ‘Roley’(a green steamroller). I found the part cone and gave it to him. He flipped the ‘sticks’ back and forth a bit over the top of the cone and then said, ‘I’ve got a better idea, Grama. We should use one of your machines!’ So we went down to the LK150 - it has long been his favourite because I have the yarn swift at one end of the table and a manual cone winder at the other end and often let him wind some yarn off skeins for me. He loves to see the yarn swift whipping round as he turns the handle of the winder from four feet away. So, I let him cone off a small bit of the red yarn so we could use it doubled on the mid gauge - I thought I’d let him knit a short bit of slip cord, like the ‘knots of work’ and it would be a perfect scarf for a little machine. I did the ‘e’ wrap, got it started and showed him how to pass the carriage back and forth. By the 4th pass, he was pushing my hand away, ‘I can do it, Grama!’ About 6 inches later, I said, ‘Will that be good?’ ‘That’s perfect, Grama!’ I cast off and we went up to try it on Roley. Nathan insisted that we fix the ends up and then said, ‘Okay, Scoop needs a orange one!’ - Scoop is the yellow backhoe.

Six machines and scarves later, I was getting a little tired of the exercise. I learned long ago that Nathan is definitely not ‘attention-deficit’ but in fact much the opposite. So, in an attempt to divert him to something else, I said, ‘I think the snowstorm is over.’ He countered sadly like he couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized, ‘ It’s JUST pretend, Grama!’
Well, our play date was over, but he can now tie knots and bows quite well!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

sleeveless in TBay

Oh, I wish you could see what I just made!! It turned out so cool! I love it! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. This is for No 47 and you haven’t seen No 46 yet! Maybe I should tell you about No 46 first...It started out with 'Fit’n’Flare', a dress in tan WCD, (wool crepe deluxe, my all-time favourite, go-to yarn, see I made for myself. It was actually for the Spring issue, No 44, but got cut at the last minute and held over for summer and again got cut - I’m wearing it in the photo for 'About Me'- now I’ve had time to make a jacket to go with it to take it into fall - I didn’t have enough of the tan yarn to make a plain jacket, so mixed it with black in what I call a nothing-print-fairisle and now have a beautiful cardy that also works well with black pants and a black cami - two outfits for the price of one!! Next on the knit list was something for my granddaughter, Rhiana. My friend Candy gave me some totally cute buttons and I designed this outfit for R around the buttons. I had so much fun and even went to payless to get her shoes to match. Of course, they had a 'buy one, get half off', so she also has her first pair of black patent maryjanes with a little satin bow to go with whatever I make for Christmas... Okay, now, not sure if you’ve noticed, but I do tend to get a bit obsessive about things. Nothing serious, but when I come up with a technique I like, I have to do it several times, sorta to get it out of my system, I think. Anyway, my latest thing is sleeves - stick with me and you’re gonna see every thing I can come up with. So, I had been working on a split sleeve - you know, open up the top of the arm and fastened in several spots along the way. The ‘easy’ way to do it would be knit two half’s (sp?), and seam underarm and act like it was one piece, but no, that’s not for me, I wanted to make it in one piece, so now we have ‘Best bib ‘n’ tucker’, totally-cute, a little-sexy, tunic with split sleeve, buttoned, pintuck square yoke, lots of things happening.
Then, not to leave out the mid gauge knitters, I have a wonderful ‘cardigan-coat-tunic-dress’ made on the LK150 - Lindsay is wearing it on our front cover with skinny jeans and high boots, looking fab, of course. The sleeves on this are quite full and gathered at the top, self-cuffed snugly below the elbow for a 3/4 look - I think this used to be called 'leg o' mutton sleeve'.
And scarves, we’ve got ‘Bonhomme’ a g-carriage vertical stripe, just-for-looks scarf and ‘Two Left Feet’, using up leftover sock yarn, both from Evelyn McNabb, the second one done on Passap, which I Japanese-ified - totally fun!
Okay, back to the sleeve thing, we also have a jacket called ‘Curve Appeal’ with a set-in sleeve and a buttoned cuff, like a shirt would have - the bands are knit vertical full needle rib and added around the entire outside of the garment which, you guessed, has curved front edges.
Of course, I couldn’t leave out my little Nathan - he’s starting pre-kay in the fall, so I did him the classic school cardigan, 'School Days' with lots of techniques for the beginner knitters. And there is much more, something for everyone, I hope: 'Crossover' and 'Reverse Option' from Eileen M; 'Henley Her Way' by Jeanne Crockett; 'Wild Oats' done on the SK860 mid gauge; 'Barcelona' from Ev McNabb; etc, etc.
Now, about this thing I just finished, it’s brick red, tuck stitch that reminds me of wide wale corduroy, totally cool sleeves and big buttons (another one of my ‘things’ lately!!!) Enough said, you’ll have to wait like everyone else.

Monday, June 30, 2008

thought I'd 'Bounce' this by you...

Did you get any ‘Bounce’ from Sue at BT Yarns? - it was in her last mailer (, search word - bounce). It is 75 cotton, 25 poly, approx 2000 ypp, each cone is about 1.25 lb. I got a cone of plumberry because it looked like the colour to go with a printed fabric I recently purchased. It’s a perfect match! Now, in Sue’s information, she said at T8, stockinette, it gave a gauge of 29 sts and 53 rows to 10 cm. That’s kinda weird and led me to think it would be stretchy and the machine wash & dry would ‘shrink’ it up quite a bit. So, I clicked on my Knitwords index to see if there was a match to the gauge and sure enough, I found close matches in stockinette with Denim Bouclé and Balada Stretch, which both took up considerably with washing and drying. Also close was some one-row-tucks in 4 ply wool!!
Okay, next question, how far is this yarn gonna go! My cone was 1.2 lb, so
I had 2250 yds approx, but what does that mean? In comparing yarns, yardage and gauge I figured it would be comparable to the yardage of 4 ply wool and that amount would be enough for a plain, long sleeve cardigan.
So, I made my swatch. I used T9, so it wouldn’t be too stiff when washed - I still wanted a bit of drape and also yarn will go farther knit at a looser tension. Before washing, my swatch measured 28 sts and 38 rows to 10 cm. After washing and drying in the dryer - oh, who am I trying to kid? I was in a hurry and used the hair blower - it measured 29 sts and 46 rows to 10 cm. I love the shape of ‘Caped Wrapper’ from No 43 (see blogs below, ‘remake of caped wrapper’, ‘cheating at swatches’ and ‘recreational knitting’) but I thought I’d try it plain stockinette without the large collar - that would really be pushing the limit of where 2250 yds would take me.
I made the back first - this yarn knits like a dream - quick, easy, down and dirty! I love it! I weighed the back and it was almost 180g, so I knew it might be a bit tricky. I do like the crossover front and that will take a bit extra, as much as the back again, but I’ll go for 3/4 sleeves that I can turn back a cuff to elbow length, to save a bit. I quickly knit the 2 sleeves, threw them on the scale and I was at 300g. Knit both the fronts and promptly forgot thriftiness in my pleasure at getting all 5 pieces knit in 3 hrs!! I shut things down for the evening, not even looking at the remaining cone, on the floor.
This morning I wanted to knit the bands and get it finished, again forgetting my yardage dilemma. I knit the first front band, using double rib, just like in my original pattern, attached it to the left front and on my last joining row, the tail of the end of the cone came dangling into view...fudge!!!
Oh well, I still had my swatch. I unravelled -or is it ravelled? what is the difference? - well, to be brutally honest, I unpicked the last row, threaded up the tail and knit directly off the swatch! I made narrow stockinette bands for each front edge and the back neck, attached them and I still have half my swatch!! Aces!! Link it together, wash and dry, perfect!!
Oh, one other tip, I put everything together, except to set in the sleeves and I laundered it like that, then put the sleeves in. On a stretchy yarn, I’ve found that doing it this way makes a much better fit of the sleeve into the armhole.

BTW, plumberry is sold out, but the other colours are quite nice...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

name dropping

Sorry to keep you all hanging on so long without reporting about my trip to TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) Market in Columbus, Ohio - been busy working on getting No. 46 together and we’re just about there!
Other than the travelling part - nightmares on NWA (that’s another story) - it was great! This was my first time attending - it’s basically a hand knitting and needlecraft - beads, buttons, crochet, cross stitch, needlepoint, and accessories for all, etc, etc... - show for retailers. The exhibits - over 500 vendors - were so extensive, in a day and a half at the convention hall, I only walked about half of it. My friends - all big-time hand knitters as well as machine knitters - Sonia from FL and Jodi and Ingrid from SC, tried to make sure I saw the most important yarn companies.
My plan was to wear something that would blow away the conception that machine knitting was cheating, cheap, cheesy.... I wore ‘Baton Rouge’ from No 41. First of all, because it’s made from a gorgeous alpaca hand knitting yarn. Second, it looks like a hand knit, but is knit on the LK150, the basic hobby machine that is very affordable and easy to use. Third, the finished sweater is a lovely arrangement of cables, tuck ribs - hand knitters think that’s an unusual use of garter stitch - faggoted lace that adds airy-ness to an otherwise warm fabric, and a great edging they really couldn’t figure out. Fourth, it fits me nicely and suited the occasion. I don’t think I have ever been so closely inspected, but when I told people that I’d made the sweater, blah, blah, blah, the overall response was, like, wow, I had no idea things like that could be done on a knitting machine. They even turned me around to look at the back - I wasn’t sure whether they were checking to see if it was a ‘coffin sweater’ or not.
It was also really great that Silver Reed knitting machines were in attendance at the show for the first time in quite a few years. Knitcraft, Inc, the US importer, had a booth, with the mid gauge machines and they reported a very favourable reception in the hand knitting world as well.
On the yarn front, the luxury yarns were incredible. Alpaca, silk, wool, mohair, linen, cotton, more alpaca!!! The frou-frou scarf crap was not evident, garments were lovely, wearable, beautiful - lots of structured cardigans, set-in sleeves - mixing simplicity with more complicated design details. Still a fair amount of variegated and hand painted yarns but I saw more of a return to beautiful use of quality, natural fibres. Also the button displays blew me away, I wanted them all!! Tons of very large buttons, but, it was only a look-at show, no buying and taking home.
It was fun to meet some of the hand knitting celebs - if I may name-drop a bit here - Lily Chin promised to think about letting us have a stab at her upside-down cardigan; I got to tease Nicky Epstein for stealing my title ‘Knitting on the EDGE’; and I shared a cute, Canadian moment with Lucy Neatby and Véronik Avery. And of course, spending time with my friend Jodi Snyder, who’s hand knit designs have been in ‘Knit ’n Style’ and other hand knit magazines. You go, girl! Who, when she saw my ‘knots of work’, said, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’
Now, I can’t wait for my new Namaste bag to arrive (see We all ordered ‘laguna’ in several colours!! Then I can pretend to be a hand knitter - I’m actually going to use it as a ‘carry-on’ bag for travelling, but look for one if you get the chance - they are REALLY nice!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Knots of work

I’ve been busy, swatching, knitting, planning - throw in a bit of pattern writing and some editing. I have a couple of finished projects for the next K’words, a couple of WIP’s (work in progress) and a few ‘waiting for the right yarn to come in’ plans. Every once in a while, I have to put it all aside and do something just for fun or just to get an idea out of my head.
I’m going to the TNNA show this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. It is a trade show for hand knitting and I’m just going for a look-see, no work. It should be a treat! Some of my garments will be there - Knitcraft is having a booth with knitting machines - primarily the LK150 because it should have the best appeal for hand knitters - and they asked me for some things for their display. Anyway, since I sent my best things for the show and it will be June in the midwest ( heat, humidity, hand knits), I was thinking what would I wear? Although I’m not really a scarf person, I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for a while and decided it was time to give it a go. My vision had several colours - olivey greens and burgundy purples - and light and yesterday, I knit 6000 rows... let me explain!
My plan, such as it was, was to knit a bunch of slip-cords with the mid gauge, in the different colours and then somehow knot or tie them together in a latticework. After making a couple of sketches, I decided 6 cords would do the trick.
2:30 pm. Figuring that I wanted the finished thing to be about 2 metres long, so that it could be looped loosely around neck/shoulders and still hang down in front or back, I knit the first cord, using a DK weight silk/wool with a lovely sheen, on the LK150, 4 sts X 1000 rows. Because I still had plenty of yarn left from that skein, I made a second one, same. I was knitting so fast, it was kinda noisy and I began feeling sorry for my little ‘plastic’ machine, felt I was abusing thought maybe I’d try the next one - a beautiful matte-finish grape linen - on the SK860 (metal bed mid gauge). Duh? what was I thinking?? not much, was much easier to do on the LK - the carriage is smaller, so you don’t have to move it as far to clear the working needles each row and it is lighter to push than the heavy-duty 860. I had to stop halfway and go do something else for a while for a rest. Back to the LK, with my other yarns, a fingering-weight avocado alpaca, doubled so it would be equal value of the others - a burgundy cotton/wool chenille, and finally Seawool, a hand-dyed wool and seacell sock yarn from Fleece Artists in shades of amethyst.
I had all six cords done by 5:30, so I watched/listened to ‘Jeopardy’ and played around with the cords, experimenting with knots, figuring that I could mull it over for a few days before deciding what to do. Now, the cords are 6 feet long. The first knot is easy, right...but then what the heck do you do??? a flash from the past! I think I had a vision of my mother doing macramé back in the 70’s. I took the cords down to my cutting table and pinned the ends 3 inches apart. I could use the grid on the table to space the knots and try to keep things relatively even. I made my first row of knots - square knots (I know that’s what they are because it was on ‘Jeopardy’ last week and my answer, ‘granny knot’ was wrong) and working from that end, it was easy. The next set of knots would mean pulling the remainder of the 6 feet through each time. Again, thoughts of Mom saved me. I vaguely recalled her looping up her cords and keeping them bundled with elastic bands - it was fun and I was compelled to finish! By 6:30, my back a little sore from stretching, it was done and I felt relieved. Now I could get back to real K’words work.
So, if you see me at TNNA, and wonder, what the heck is she wearing...
email me for the recipe!

Monday, May 26, 2008

going topless...

so, I went to visit Lindsay (cover of 12 of our issues, the Miss Canada girl, modelled ‘Trapeze Artist’ in No 43 most recently) the other day - she is now the co-owner of ’ Lava Clothing’ - Kerri, (our covergirl of No 43) is her business partner. ‘Lava’ is an upscale, clothing store catering to the younger-with-money - they carry JLo, Ugg, and all the trendy stuff (seven for all mankind jeans at like $250 per pair)...anyway, I had made Lindsay a pair of the controversial ‘fingerless gloves’ or ‘topless mitts’ - whatever you wanna call them - using a yummy amethyst alpaca, and made them a bit longer because I noticed some shorter sleeve jackets appearing. She was ecstatic and kept saying, ‘omigosh! omigosh! wait till you see what we have coming in!!! but these are so much nicer!!’ Apparently, they are all the rage for Fall/Winter ‘08 ...
So, if you’re wondering what to make for craft market and Christmas gifts this year, get to it!!
Here’s my pattern...
Going Topless
Hand warmers, sleeves, whatever...thumb only, fits almost to elbow. Size, ladies 7.
MACHINE - 4.5mm. Level - Beginner
YARN - Fingering weight Alpaca. Finished weight for pair, approx 2 oz/50g.
GAUGE - Stockinette, T8, 27 sts and 38 rows to 10 cm/4 in.
Left Hand - 33-0-34 n’s. Arrange every other needle in work. Cast on WY and ravel cord. RC000. CAR. Holding about 20 inch tail to use for seaming side of hand, MC, T5, K5R. Bring all n’s to work. T10, K1R. T7, K5R. RC011. Pick up loops from first row onto EON. Remove ravel cord and WY. RC000. T8, K2R.
Hand transferred pattern is centred between #24-1 left.
Make faggotted lace stitch on #6 & 19, same stitch is transferred to the right on every second row and to left on every 4th row.
Make 2X2 cable on #14, 13 & 12, 11 n’s, turned same way on every 6th row, beginning on row 4.
At same time, at each side, dec 1 st, K8R, 9X.
Knit to RC089. Set up for thumb. CAL. Set to hold. Take out MC, put aside without breaking. Turn off row counter. Bring all n’s to HP. Move CAR. Return 8 n’s at right to UWP. WY, K10R. Leave the 8 sts in work. Cancel hold. CAL, turn on row counter. MC, knit in pattern to RC112. Drop stitch on either side of cable, ladder down to row 1 and reform to tuck rib by latching every second bar to purl stitch to define cable (this could be done halfway and again at top to make easier to handle).
K1R. Decrease 5 to 8 sts evenly across row. With garter bar, RTR (remove, turn, rehang), K1R, 5X to make 5 rows of garter stitch. Knit side facing you, manually knit loose row and chain off.
Thumb - Steam WY to set sts. Cut WY in half. Open the piece out, purl side facing you, rehang these sts on 16-17 n’s, crossing the two centre sts to prevent a hole. RC000. T7, K14R. K3R of garter stitch (RTR, K1R, 3X). Knit side facing, manually knit loose row, chain off.
Seam side & thumb, using tails to seam, half edge stitch on each side makes flatter seam.
Make other hand in reverse.

BTW, she (Lindsay) said they were multi-coloured as well, so if you're tired of making socks and have any of that variegated stuff hanging around...
Also see KNITWORDS No 35 for Sue Corcoran's 'Starving Artist Gloves' and No 45 for Margaret Heck's version for different ideas of how to dress them up!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday cooking

Hi! did you miss me? I took a few days off, went to Winnipeg to meet my daughter and shop, eat, visit - we got facials and had an all round good time. Hooked up with my friend Heather and went to Ram Wools - oohed, awed and felt our way around the store - she said that since becoming a machine knitter, she really missed the tactile experience of hand knitting yarns, so we both had a good time. I even scored a couple of buttons to go on my current project (a black and tan wool crepe deluxe fairisle jacket - I'll tell you more about that another day) and what a great feeling when I got home and saw they were a perfect complement - not bad since I had not thought to take a swatch with me!!
So, back in the office, I've spent the last two days going over and editing our updated index. What a great tool it is turning out to be - I love it!! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, we have, on cd, a comprehensive, sortable index of the entire KNITWORDS magazine, all the way from No 1 to 45 (we just added the last year)!! There are 17 categories, from issue number, season, designer, title, etc to really valueable stuff, like yarn, gauge - both machine and swatch, technique, style, etc that make finding something much easier than opening every magazine - I love it because when I'm going to do a project, it's quite easy to find all the patterns I've used the same yarn in and maybe check different details, look up a technique, such as cables and find all those patterns, or see when was the last time I did a raglan!! You gotta get one - no special program is required because it works off your web browser and it's very easy to use. See our bookstore for more info!
Okay, enough of the commercial, I'm cooking today, my family is coming to dinner. We're having steaks on the barby, a couple of salads, rice with fresh salsa, and a new strawberry/caramel cheesecake thing that I'm working on (if it turns out, I'll share it with you). Here's the salsa recipe - I got this from my friend Bob (Sonia's hubby) in Florida - he served it with broiled tilapia - fresh, tasty and healthy!! We loved it!! I tweaked it just a tad...

Fresh Salsa
2 large fresh hot house tomatoes, seeded, drained and chopped
1 med vidalia (sweet) onion, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
small jar capers, drained and rinsed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 C olive oil
1 tsp each kosher salt, black pepper

Mix together, cover and let sit at least 2 hrs (the longer the better - I usually try to make it in the morning). Adjust salt to taste. It becomes more liquidy as it sits. Serve on just about anything - grilled or broiled fish, chicken, pork, whatever! Great with Tilapia! OR stir half of above into 2 cups long grain rice cooked in chicken stock. Yum!! makes a great summer dish - warm or cold! OR warm up and serve on pasta - the gnocchi style shells are great!! Tastes even better next day and keeps well for up to a week (like that's gonna happen)!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I can see clearly now..

I think that's a song or they should make it one! I'm so happy I could just knit!!!! I got my new 'work station glasses' and I love 'em!
I have been having some vision problems in the past few years - I did get bifocals about 4 years ago which helped a bit for a while with close-up, hand work but found they lost effectiveness. Last year when I had my eyes re-tested, the optometrist talked me into trying no-line trifocals, aka progressive lenses... turned out not for me - I couldn't get used to them and felt like I couldn't see anything right, near, far or in-between. I'd talked to others who said it took a long time to get used to and most people admit they no longer read or do close work, but they can wear the progressive lenses. Anyway, my friend Ed, the optician came back to town and I was telling him my troubles. He said progressive lenses were the 'four-inch-heels' of the optical world - good for looks only. Anyway, after hashing over the pros and cons of both 4 inch heels and eyeglasses, he said he'd make me some work station bi-focals (with the line) and use the close up and intermediate prescription only. They are so great - I can see the needles and stitches perfectly (9-10 inches - in black too), glance up and see the gauge on the knit radar (24 inches) and also glance OVER and see the computer screen with DAK and knit-from-screen (60 inches) just fine! And who cares about a line in the glass - no one sees me here anyway - not that I was ever that vain.... He also made me a pair of 'golfer glasses' - long distance on top and a small area at the bottom with the close-up prescription - supposedly golfers want to see distance for driving, but need to be able to see close up to read and mark score - works for me - driving and reading a map, whatever... Life is good!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

remake of caped wrapper

No 45 is in the mail, it should be reaching mailboxes any day now. It is filled with great summer knitwear, with something for everyone! Now is my time to take a few days and organize my thoughts and plan out the next issue. I did finish up my re-make of 'The Caped Wrapper' - it turned out very nice and I wore it to deliver a copy of No 45 to Bill, our photograher (see cover of No 34)and got him to take a quick snap of me so I could show you the finished thing - see my earlier post (recreational knitting) for more details - I think the collar shows up better here than it did in the magazine because the colour is lighter - I'm very pleased with it and know I will get good use from it. This yarn is a little thinner than the 4 ply pure wool of the original one, so it makes a nice Spring garment!
I was chatting to Morgan Hicks (see KNITWORDS No 39 & 40) yesterday - he is in the process of opening a new shop in Des Moines, WA, called 'All Points Yarn', featuring knitting machines, yarns, hand knitting and crochet, has a very nice location and is very enthusiastic about his new venture. If you're in the Seattle area, make a trip to check it out, I'm sure it will be worth it -tell him MAO sent you. Morgan is a very knowledgeable fibre enthusiast and it's fun just talking to him about yarn and knitting! Go to for more details or e mail him at Congratulations, Morgan and best of luck!! I'll see you in Portland in October at the Needle-Tek Fall Festival of Knits!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

office work

I’m back in the office, been away for 6 days and returned to a huge stack of mail. Renewals - thanks for keeping me here! Now, don’t take this the wrong way - a special thanks to you who did NOT staple your cheque to the renewal notice. Another big thank you for NOT taping up the back corners of the envelope. A big debt of gratitude for the name change you told me about and for saying who you used to be, never mind the address...and of course, you who writes legibly, I love you!!
Now that I have that off my chest, as you can see, No 45 is here!! It’s always exciting when the new issue arrives, but for me, it really means a bunch more office work, but oh well, it pays the bills and someone has to do it...hopefully I can get back to knitting by the weekend.
The main reason I was away was to teach at the Cardiknits Academy in Hamilton - it was fun to see new and old faces and hear the comments - the biggest thing is always the same - ‘the garments look so much nicer when we can see them/oh, I didn’t like that in the magazine, but it is fabulous in real life/oh, now that I see the actual garment, I want to make it’...and my response? Well they should look nicer compared to a flat one-dimensional photo - get real!
My family loved the shopping bags, it was pretty cool to know that I even got the colours right!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

a bag or two

I forgot to tell you yesterday - I made a couple of the shopping bags from No 44 to take with me to give to my sister and sister-in-law as a hostess gift. When I went to San Diego in February, I made one, used it as my carry-on bag (purse, extra shoes, book, camera, etc) and then gave it to my friend Candy - she loved it! So I figured I'd stick with a winner and churn out a few more, one navy and one plum, good goes-with-anything colours. They are pretty quick to make, I have it down to about 50 minutes if uninterrupted. I have been knitting the handles tighter (T5) and a bit wider (12 sts) because I found the first one stretched out too much. Also, at the end, after knitting the side, instead of taking the whole 160 sts off on waste yarn and then having to rehang to join, try this: set to hold and bring half to hold. Knit waste yarn on the half left in work and drop off. With garter bar, take side-in-hold half off, turn and rehang with right side facing you. Now rehang the waste yarn side, putting right sides together. This eliminates having to rehang all 160 sts from waste yarn. After this, I think I'm going to start knitting them on my Brother machine so I can use the lace carriage for the every other needle thing, that should cut out several extra minutes times four!! Or, maybe a new challenge, figure out how to do the lace carriage trick quickly with the Silver Reed!! I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 21, 2008

cheating at swatches

I'm packing up to go teach at the Cardiknits Academy - what a job to decide what to take and what not to take - I have more than enough current stuff to fill 2 suitcases, but I do need to take some personal stuff, like shoes...
I have been trying to add a picture to my posts, so here goes - this is the first sleeve of my tweedy 'Caped Wrapper' that I talked about in last post - actually it turned out to be exactly what I need for one of the workshops where I show the stages of fit to finish, so I've semi-completed it and will take it and be able to show shortrowing the sleeve cap, seaming and finishing details.
oh, I think I got the photo added - here's where I put yarn marks on the first sleeve to simulate a tension swatch. Hope you get the idea!
Anyway, back to packing - I'll talk to you next week and tell all!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Recreational knitting

(Actually written April 18)This is so nice, it’s Friday afternoon, spring is finally here, the snow is gone. I’ve got a few days of no deadline to worry about and I’m doing some ‘recreational’ knitting - that sounds kind of kinky, but what I mean is the ‘just for fun’ variety, no pressure, no mega-swatching or keeping tons of notes, worrying about writing the pattern. I’m re-making ‘Caped Wrapper’ from No 43 - it turned out to be one of my favourites of that issue, I’ve worn it a lot and gotten tons of compliments!! I really liked the stitch pattern I’d used (it was one of my one-row-tucks that I totally love and when making the first one had a hard time deciding which side of the fabric to use as the outside) so this time I’m going with the purl side as outside and I’m using Yeoman Yarns Twister - it’s a tweedy (ha, ha, guess what colour?) green, of course. Adds nicely to my Wardrobe probably won’t believe this and maybe I shouldn’t tell you, but I didn’t even make a swatch...I’m just going with the written pattern - using the same tension and it’s so easy!! oh, you know what? I’m going to let you in on one of my ‘cheats’ check the gauge and make sure I’m not wasting my time entirely (when remaking something in a different yarn), on the first piece I knit - usually a sleeve - I hang yarn marks as I’m knitting to use to measure the gauge after I get the piece off the machine. That way, I save the time and yarn of making a new swatch and it’s makes me feel better to know on one piece whether this is going to work out or not.
Fast-forward to 6:30 pm, got all the pieces made, just the front and collar bands to go but will save it for tomorrow morning when I’m fresh. Also, before I forget, funny thing, this tweedy yarn looks better on the knit side, so knit side/out side it will be!
I guess enough play for one day, I’d better get my taxes done!

mudslide time

Well, we finally got No 45 off to print! between no-shows, getting through the photoshoot, Rick's flooded basement, writing the last little words and the final proofing, I'm ready for a drink! a mudslide (equal parts of vodka, Kahlua, and Baileys over ice - in that order or it'll curdle) is preferable but I'd settle for a light (or is that lite?) beer... what does that tell you...
Anyway, I'm blogging because I realized I have other things to say or tell you that either don't deserve to get printed in the magazine or, most likely, no space left for. I promised from day one that KNITWORDS would only have good stuff, not a lot of filler, aka useless crap, so now, I'll throw it all here!! Don't say I didn't warn you...
I do intend to share some of what is going on with the magazine, maybe give the odd preview or what's not going to make the cut as well as the odd recipe or two (see, I already snuck one in, ha, ha!) I always thought that was so funny in the old Carriage Trades to see a recipe and I've threatened once or twice to put one in K'words and I was told in no uncertain terms that you didn't want to cook...