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)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I'm working on the Nightshift

 This Season the Durham Knitting Guild is having a Knit Along using the pattern Nightshift by Andrea Mowry. Over 5,000 other knitters have made or are making it on Ravelry. That's a strong recommendation, I'd say. I found though that I wasn't able to purchase multiple copies through Ravelry, so it was super helpful that getting in touch with Andrea and paying for everyones copy worked. I had the copies done behind the desk at Staples on nice heavy paper. I feel we all deserve a kntting treat these days.

We liked it because it offers lots of different and possibly new techniques for the members plus it is stash friendly. It's asymetrical, cycles through main and conrast colours, uses slip stitch, rolled edges and i-cord.

This is my first goofy little swatch. To be clear, it is not a tension swatch. People who know me, (as a knitter) know I am pretty keen on the large tension swatch. I confess it took a while for the pattern to penetrate the cranial cement. It became clear to me I needed to stay focused, make a quiet hour to give it the quality of attention it deserved. Most often I'd forget to bring the wool forward before slipping the edge 3 stitches as well as sometimes  to  the inforgetting the increase at the beginning of the row. It had me grrr-ing a bit after the 5th time I ripped it out. The "Rain in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plain" moment was that much more impactful when it finally arrived.

Making a list really helped me. I'm confident that once I have repeated it successfully a few times I might even be able to take part in a conversation or listen to the radio, while knitting this.

I am using the vintage yarn, Florica from my stash. It's a lightweight wool DK and serendipitously I have 6 colours. The label recommended a 3.5mm, but my practice swatch showed me it would be better to go up a full needle size, because of the "pinched" effect of the slipped stitches.

I do enjoy setting up for a project. Clothespins are just the right neutral for organizing colour.

This is my working legend for colour. I fold a trimmed strip of graph paper in thirds and use a large hole punch, then write in the letters from the pattern. I'm starting out with a pair of straight needles because of the small amount of stitches and the frequent turns. I'll switch to my trusty 60 cm circulars when I have about 100 stitches.

Ready, Steady keep the Katcha Katcha clicking...

I'm really looking forward to seeing what other knitters in the group make. I think oddments of sock yarn would be perfect for this pattern. You could switch up the colours on various rows, depending on the amounts you have. When I complete this one, I'm going to give it a go. I'll try a 3.5 mm needle for the finer yarn.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Knitting Norwegian Silk Mohair

We have enjoyed Drops Vivaldi, a classic Garnstudio yarn, (now discontinued) for many years, and still have stock of nice colours. Paula and I knit many, many things with it, mostly as a blending yarn.  The  company patterns for it remain on the site and can be knit with their own Kid Silk.
Vivaldi is (was) 280 meters of fine soft brushed yarn with 58% mohair, 19%wool and 23% polyamide to 50 grams. I used it to make cardigan 88-14 from Drops Design with  3 - 50 gram balls, that is all. It's the same amount I will need for the Snuggle Ganser from Sandnesgarn in their own Silk Mohair which has the same number of meters per 50 grams.
We especially liked using Vivaldi with a tweedy sock yarn to make the SUMMERTIME shawl by Michele C. Meadows (Free pattern on Ravelry), as well as mixing it with a DK yarn for waterfall vests. These days I see Mette Wendelboe Okkels of PetitKnit blends the fine kid mohairs with Sandnesgarn Sunday to beautiful effect for both children and adult designs. There are so many stunning sock yarn around to try.
Kid Silk Mohair is the luxury cousin in this yarn family, Kid Silk Haze from Rowan is an the example of this king of material and  has been around for quite a while. Typically, the finer version has an incredible 210 meters to 25 grams, making garments and accessories that are featherweight, soft, and easily knittable with a 5mm needle. I used it one strand to make the versatile Wisp accessory, by Cheryl Niamath (free on Knitty Magazine) with only 50 grams. When I take it travelling, it fits perfectly in a sandwich baggie, and comes out to chase the chill like a genie out of a bottle.
Vivaldi, though a good yarn, didn't have the magic of silk and kid mohair. If it were cooking, I would say the new ones kick it up a notch, for richness of colour and the softness. I am so happy see the large selection of kid silks made available to knitters these days. It can be overwhelming to choose what to stock, but that's ok, that is the happy dilemma of owning a yarn store.
This summer I decided make the Snuggle sweater (Kosegenser), a free pattern (gratis oppskrifter) available from Sandnesgarn on the Norwegian page, using their own fabulous Silk Mohair in a soft grey, though we do stock the lovely blue mix featured in the pattern photograph. Fuller than Kid Silk, it is still soft and light. The 4th size I'm knitting will only needs 150 grams, or 3 balls of yarn, amazing!
Google Translate accomplished the change to english for me. I did a select all, copy, then pasted it in my word processor program. I redid some of the spacing and enlarged the font a bit. I kept some of the direct translation because I find it so charming.
Since we have used professionally translated Norwegian patterns for over 40 years here at Myrtle Station Wool I had a bit of a head start with the instruction format, but I am confident any moderately practiced knitter can manage quite well. I chose this one now, and I look forward to trying many of the others (in Norwegian). Google Translate and I are very good friends.
As usual I made a swatch, (If you knit looser, use a thinner stick). Read through the pattern (These goals are calculated according to the knitting strength task) and highlighted the size(all targets use ready-made garments and body measurements and range of motion). A snuggle sweater, recipe by Olaug Beate Bjelland, very tasty. Thanks Sandnesgarn, always a pleasure, and thanks Tina and Chris at Nordic Yarn Imports for bringing these amazing materials to Canada for us to enjoy.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

And another classic, Patons

I am knitting little cardigans for the mission work at Grace Lutheran Church in Oshawa. It's such a joy to knit portable and petite. With confidence I can declare the cardi only requires one 100gram ball. Two could make the entire layette, but it's just cardigans we need for the project.
I have knit Cabin Fever's excellent 606 Top Down, No Sew Buttons Cardigan many, many times, so I was delighted to find a similar new born sized top-down in my Aunt's Beehive Book. There is yet  another top-down design included in the book as a matinee jacket. Aunt Joan knit the design below from the same book for my daughter Veronica, in 1980's orange. It was the first time I heard the expression Dolman Sleeve. I remember it being much easier dress her because of the stretch in the armholes. Knitting wisdom for new mom's and their babies.
This top-down design has one button and the tweedy yarn for my first cardi is only slightly thicker than vintage Beehive Astra. Even though 100 grams was going to be plenty I used turquoise it is for the collar, for spark.
The first time I make something is the opportunity to learn the most (i.e. make the most mistakes). I am ready to make a second one (and a third) before the year is out, making a home for some of the groovy single buttons that have lingered in my stash for a (few) years.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sirdar and I

Sirdar patterns and yarns are a longstanding tradition in our family. Created with skill and thoroughly reliable, I especially enjoy their baby and children's DK designs. DK knits up into a fabric which works perfectly indoors as well as outside under a jacket. If I stitch for only an hour an evening the garment is complete in a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, Sirdar continues to generate an absolute plethora of patterns for every season, for everyone, for every thickness.
It was indeed a pleasure this spring to find many of them downloadable through Ravelry, beginning with this free cardigan design.The pattern works for children up to 7 years old, using Sirdar Snuggly DK. The young models on the cover are so appealing. It's a wise choice to offer.
Back in time Hayfield used to be a separate company and now continues as a part of Sirdar. This means a dazzling choice of materials for knitters. One can use classic Country Style with a touch of wool, the all acrylic Bonus DK or the ever sturdy Snuggly just to name a few.
Snuggly is a classic baby yarn with generous yardage that washes well because of the soft nylon filament mixed with the man made fibre. Over time I have found I get the recommended gauge with a 3.75, as I am a relaxed knitter, rather than the 4mm. I do use 3.25 for the ribbing
The pattern is available for download from the Sirdar website. There are other free patterns on the same page for flowers, toys and jumpers. The PDF printed perfectly for me without any adjustment to page size right from my phone.
As customary with Sirdar patterns, sizes, abbreviations and yarn amounts are clearly laid out on the first page along with the schematic. 
My friend Carolyn, who is just beginning to knit again, is using this pattern after a long hiatus and has completed the body. We are now in button choosing mode. I marked the placement first by counting the rib stitches. I prefer an odd number of buttons.
It's a small cardigan, so dimes give a better sense of button position, before I make the buttonholes. I'm using the simple knit 2 together, yarn over buttonholes.
These are my choices, I think I like the wooden ones best. This cardigan will be a contribution to our church mission work. The collar will be next, then tidy the loose ends and sewing up. I hope Carolyn was only joking when she said she is going to frame it.