Visit us in the quaint hamlet of Myrtle Station, ON at: 9585 Baldwin St. N. (905)655-4858
(17.8km north of 401 exit 410. Look for the green house with the red roof a few doors north of the Myrtle Station railroad tracks)

Friday, July 6, 2018

featherweight chunky

We have this amazing stock of Regia sock yarn, designed by Kaffe Fasset in the texture and colours of hand spun, hand dyed knitting yarn.
However it is sock yarn, requiring very small needles and a particular amount and kind of time. I found this book, written in 1910 by Arnold Bennet, available (and free) on the Gutenberg site, called "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.The author suggests dedicating 90 minutes 3 times a week for self improvement in a practical and so very charming way.  I firmly believe, knitting can be a wonderful character building exercise, and feel the habit falls perfectly into Mr. Bennet's philosophy.
Just this very spring I completed a cabled Debbie Bliss cardigan using Mr. Bennet's method. I loved working on it, and had lots of opportunity to practice perseverance. Focus and discipline are a must for me living every day in immersed in colourful, textured yarn wonderfull-ness .
Wanting to knit the Regia moved me to create a featherweight chunky by using used one strand of Kaffe's yarn and one strand of Drops Vivaldi mini mohair on 6 mm needles. The increased thickness and loft combined with an elegantly simple stitch pattern worked very well.
I have 28.2 grams remaining, creating a bonus stripe candidate for the The 12 Baby Jumpers of 2018.
I used the One Row Scarf pattern, by Stephanie Pearl McPhee.
and blocked it just like the Wisp scarf I knit in the winter.
Congratulations to me, another soft and wonderful knit lives here.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The 12 Baby Jumpers of 2018

I don't know about you, my fellow knitters, but I have a lovely collection of one or two balls of DK yarns in my collection and think now is a perfect time for enjoying a colour exercise.
I decided on a 3 month old size, raglan jumper, with stripes as the perfect opportunity to play with colour. I remember my babies growing out of the first side very quickly and having many nearly new clothes to share with other new moms of my acquaintance. The bigger size also works for the cooler weather. They are 18 inches around and 10 inches in length.
Previously I knit 12 hats to colour play. This time the project is grandly titled as above, (imagine the sound of trumpets) "The 12 DK Baby Jumpers of 2018". If I needed additional motivation there is also the fact that many new babies arrive in our neighbourhood this summer.
It fascinates me how the moms to be know if they are having a "boy or a child" as my mother used to say. It makes for a completely different kind of anticipation on the part of the family. I noticed too, the little ones on the way are mostly boys.
There are tons of super cute patterns for little girls, especially from Sirdar, but not so much for little boys. One of the many reasons I like Sandnes yarns and patterns from Norway is their gender equality
For my first 3 attempts I used Cascade Cherub, a yarn optimistically rated as a DK.  I found one of white and 3 others in a sort of bottle green. I achieved a tension of 24 stitches to 4 inches.
I added Marks and Kattens Clown sock yarn. A lively variegated, speckled mix of 40% wool, 45%cotton and 15% nylon and measuring 190 meters per 50 grams.
The front and back have no neck shaping at all and are finished with a roll collar cast off in a very stretchy way, in order to avoid adding a button opening. We used to call this style "a bagel collar" back in the 80's.
Even after making 3 jumpers I still have 12 grams remaining. By my calculation therefore:
190 meters divided by 50 grams = 3.8 meters per gram.
50 grams minus 12.8 = 37.2 grams to make the stripes in 3 jumpers.
so each jumper used: 37.2 divided by 3 = 12.4 grams of yarn per jumper or
12.4 grams times 3.8 meters = 47.12 meters per jumper
so... I have sufficient Clown sock yarn left to make another jumper... pretty exciting news should I choose to make another jumper with the remainder, leading me to ask:
How many grams or meters of yarn are left after a knitter makes a typical pair of ladies size 9 socks out of the also typical 100 gram ball?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Sweet Beach Bag Companion.

Funny Rainbow is another warm weather offering by Katia of sunny Spain. It comes as a substantial roll of yarn in soft colours, mixing tweed and shade change, with generous mileage.
A tweedy, colour repeat, all cotton yarn, Funny Rainbow has 630 meters/150 grams per roll. Doing the math means there are a stunning 210 meters per 50 grams, ample material to make a summer top or accessory. So one roll could equal almost 6 balls of cotton DK going by the meters.
There is a full colour leaflet accompanying the yarn featuring 3 designs, 2 knit and 1 crochet. All patterns are explained in 6 languages. Clear diagrams are also included for all designs, so for example, this making up diagram, clearly shows dimensions as well as how to fold and sew the crochet  shawl to create sleeves, quite ingenious.
Kim worked the crochet design, making it more airy by putting the shells in the chain space. She found it quite enjoyable, telling me she doesn't really crochet. I rather think she did a wonderful job.
I especially like it when there is a diagram of the stitch pattern, which I find is a more universally understood language, especially in crochet. There is often an opportunity for confusion between American and British terminology. The Katia company provides a tutorial for us, to clear up any mystery in this regard.
The shells in my samples are worked into the top of one of the (double) crochet stitches. First I tried some linen yarn.
Then some cotton yarn, and although it looks ok, I think Funny Rainbow makes a more interesting and pleasing fabric. The alternating shells form an zig-zag appearance that gives the softly changing yarn colours the right amount of structure and flow.
I also made this sample in some Bravo DK. Here the motion of the shells is unclear because of the  definite colour changes and furry texture of the acrylic yarn. It certainly is not as lacy.
One of my most favourite strategies in crochet is to make the beginning chain to the desired measurement plus about 15 cm more. Then I work the first row, stopping when I have achieved the desired width. I work away on the project, returning to the beginning chain once everything is going smoothly to unpick the surplus chain stitches. I learned this tip from the book "Modular Crochet" by Judith Copeland back in 1978. I am so happy to find it once again in print through Dover editions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hitchhiking in the sun

A new yarn for us this spring is Soleil from Katia, from sunny Spain.
It is a cotton and acrylic mix with 750 meters or 820 yards in 200 grams. This means an astonishing 187 meters per 50 grams. I enjoy the way Katia provides a tag for the starting point, very thoughtful, and most helpful.
A knitter can make a size 14 summer top that weighs only 200 grams. If I were to use lovely Drops Muskat DK, for example the same top could weigh up to 600 grams, as a typical cotton dk  has 100 to 110 meters per 50 grams.
It is a simple, logical, ingenious yarn, made of 4 strands, so it goes; 4 strands yellow -- 3 strands yellow and 1 green -- 2 strands yellow and 2 strands green -- 1 strand yellow and 3 strands green etc, etc through a colourful cycle.
I decided to make the classic, "cognitively delightful" pattern Hitchhiker by Martina Behm. This is a diagonal/asymmetrical shawl with a stepped edge. It is one of the most knitted patterns on Ravelry. There are 42 points, because the number 42 is "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything", making this project a cosmic one.
It has been the best thing to knit while watching "Last Chance to See" with Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry on Netflix, Their late friend Douglas Adams wrote "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", the excellent book honoured by Martina's scarf, as well as the original book "Last Chance to See". I like to add a marker every 10 points so I can focus more on the knitting, and less on the counting.
This is colour number 100. I chose it because of Spring, the luscious yellow start promised good cheer, and by golly it delivered. It is May now so we do have in fact, vibrant, almost juicy green and yellow in our garden.
I have knitted through the yellow, the green and now turquoise with blue advancing, pet colours of mine because they remind me of the beautiful Caribbean sea.
And my beloved hammock by Sea to Summit, a gift from my mom.
So I am knitting and knitting, now at point 34, and my goodness, I still have 112 grams left. Amazing!