Thursday, December 31, 2015

the turkey pot pies turned out excellent!

I couldn't end the year on such a bad note. After taking a break in the kitchen, I knit the front without a hitch. Typical spoiled brat! Throw a hissy fit and then suddenly things go my way! ;-))
I did go with my plan to do the front by cut'n'sew - I hung yarn marks at the centre all the way up so it would be easy to mark the centre line and I did shape the neckline so I wouldn't have to worry about joining the hood to a cut'n'sew edge.
My usual method for a plain hood is to begin from the neck edge, going up to the top of the head with the seam along the top. Any  hood is really just for looks and you want the hood to look the best when it is down (you never wear it up!) so I am changing it up a bit and starting from the face edge, with the fairisle going across the top with seams in the back which won't show anyway when the hood is down (see 'boyzindahood', KW No 37 and/or 'in da 'hood' KW No 38, for the shape). I'll use a small stockinette hem at the edge that will look similar to the front bands and only do a portion of the fairisle pattern, maybe only the first half...pockets sewn into side seams with narrow stockinette hem for outer edge. Life is good!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

random thoughts, confessions, the rest of the plan...

I am totally spoiled! and I am only just realizing it now!
I never told you what yarn I was using - it's that 'Briggs & Little Durasport' sock yarn that I bought last year (ecru) (see blogpost 'ideas and inspiration', Dec 4, 2014), thinking I was going to dye it for some fun fairisle socks without paying big bucks for the lovely pre-dyed sock yarn like 'Opal' or 'Schoeller Socka'...well, that never happened! I did make a few pairs of socks using the denim and gray colours and they were okay but it's a little heavier than the good stuff and I had to revamp my pattern and then I couldn't give the socks to just anyone (not that I would anyway)  because it isn't superwash - I could only give them to someone who I was sure would be into hand washing their know what I mean. Well, I dug the yarn out, determined to work with it. I'm used to Forsell Pure New Wool which I now realize was the Cadillac of 4 ply wool. It was so smooth and even, none of this thick/thin bee es. I can't recall ever finding a single piece of straw in it never mind enough to make Rumpelstiltskin happy! And while you were knitting with it, It went through the machine like butter! Unfortunately the good Forsell Pure New Wool is long gone...what`s a knitter to do(question mark - for some reason my keyboard is acting like a knitting machine and the question mark is coming up É and there`s something weird with the apostrophe or single quote marks).
This stuff is terrible for sticking to itself! The number of times it creates a loop at the edge! AARRGGH! But, I persevere! Got the second sleeve done relatively pain-free.
I only made two mistakes on the back - the one where you forget to switch the cam back to stockinette from fairisle. Then half the stitches drop because there is no yarn in the second feeder to knit them, causing basically everything to fall off. Luckily there are lots of plain rows in the pattern to go back to, to rehang and get things going again. The other mistake, I didn`t notice until it was done and off the machine and no one will ever spot it while I'm wearing it - oh, BTW, I`m calling this the `4 ef hoodie` - ef was supposed to stand for fairisle and the 4 was for 4 colours. But, even though I know it's there (the mistake), it's in the back and honestly won`t bother me in the slightest. In the off chance anyone does call me on it, I`ll plead Amish - you know, where they always make a deliberate mistake...
I was thinking I was going to use those nice, tubular bands for the fronts, like in 'Nonchalance' (KW No. 43 cover) but to heck with that. I`m making the front in one piece and doing the cut'n'sew bands from 'cardiganize' (see blogpost 'Reno for Spots in Dots', June 30, 2010). The hood and pockets, I'll tell you about later - warning, do not be surprised if this just ends up a cardigan...

I'm going to make turkey pot pies!

Monday, December 28, 2015

the sleeve works for me!

;-) ok, I'm pretty happy!
In case you're just joining me, the reason I start with a sleeve is because I'm gonna cheat a bit and the sleeve can take a bit of a beating. I'll explain. I have some experience behind me here - this is not my first or second garment...I don't want to bother with the regular swatch, especially for 4 colour fairisle - a swatch would likely take almost as much time as the sleeve and I do know that this yarn at T8 for stockinette and T9 for the fairisle rows (when mixing plain stockinette and fairisle, as a general rule of thumb, by going up one full stitch number for the fairisle rows, you'll get the same stitch gauge on the fairisle as the plain rows) my gauge will be something in the range of 28-30 sts and 38-40 rows to 10 cm/4 inch and because a sleeve isn't quite as crucial in fit, I can usually get away with using the sleeve as my tester and making adjustments for length and width in the body pieces if necessary. I made the sleeve using 28 sts and 38 rows, note the long cuff which I can turn back if it's way too long...Not that I'm giving you full license to do away with swatches, use your judgment and know your limitations - if you're not sure of the colour choices, make a swatch first. If you're not sure of how many plain rows you want where, make a regular swatch.
Anyway, I won't bore you with how many times I had to rip out a row because I forgot to change the cam to fairisle or forgot to change the stitch dial from 8 to 9, or had the colours in backwards, but it did show me that for someone with a lot of experience, my time away from the machine - even though I had knit this stitch pattern before, it was a  while ago and remembering things like dealing with the long floats on the Greek key portion: two choices - tuck the long float on the midway needle before the next row is knit (which it does tell you in the Knitwords original pattern), or, latch them up every 10 rows or so if you forgot to do the first one!
I'll make the second sleeve the same, adjust my calculations for the body pieces according to the actual measurements (30 sts and 40 rows) and think about pockets and the hood. Of course, you know this is a cardigan but I've already planned to do a button-up front - need to change it up - kinda sick of zippers for now...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

boxing day inspirations...

It's Boxing Day...the day when Canadians get to box up those unwanted presents and return them - ha! ha! just kidding! Don't know what the 'boxing' in Boxing Day really means (and I don't care - please don't tell me!) but I remember saying that to some American friends once and they fell for it! Anyway, to me, it really means a day to myself without worrying about cooking or company and I'm keeping it to myself! A day to do what I want!  
Lately I've been living in my hoodies and, because of the Old Navy commercials on TV and those awful ugly Christmas sweaters everywhere, I realized that I don't have a multi-coloured fairisle hoodie. Actually, I've still been thinking of that grey/black/red Aston Kutcher cardiagan from last year...I decided it was just the colours that attracted me and after checking my stock, I think ivory as the main colour with gray, black and red here and there would satisfy my fairisle craving. I had pulled out 'North of 49' from Knitwords #40 earlier in the fall and wore it a bit and love the stitch pattern but it's a mid gauge 'Cowichan' style cardigan of beautiful alpaca, meaning outdoor-wear and even though we have had a lovely fall, it is now winter and I need a standard gauge garment that fits under a parka or winter coat.

So, here's my plan: make the sleeve first and see where it takes me!

Monday, December 7, 2015

power of the press...

'We' made the front page! Thanks to everyone who responded to the Aids Day Red Scarf campaign, especially my 'friends in Minnesota' - Patsy, you're the bomb! We got mentioned on the front page of our local paper (the chronicle journal, Dec 2, 2015)!
Last Friday, I got an email from Patsy saying she rallied two groups she knits with and got 14 scarves done and where should she send them? I felt so bad because I knew if she mailed them from Minnesota, they would never get here in time for the Tuesday deadline and it would cost her a fortune for postage so I had her send them to the border store at Grand Portage, MN, and, I would drive down, pick them up and 'bring' them into Canada - the customs forms involved were! not like it was my first rodeo!
Now, you know how you can't believe everything you read in the paper - they forgot to say there were other local knitters who contributed also. Thanks to them and to those who donated in other cities!
This was the local launch of a yearly campaign for Aids/HIV awareness - put it on your calendar for next December - I'll probably be reminding you again!