Friday, December 29, 2006

Skippy to the finish line....

I have finally finished "Skippy" - so named because he's the colour of peanut butter and a "jumper" - a basic pullover. I 'll not bore you with the number of times I knit the end of the sleeves - from mid-forearm down - too short, too tight, too short went on and on; but it fits! The neckline is garter stitch because I didn't start it early enough and therefore had no room for a ribbed finish. Knitting by the seat of your pants may free you from patterns; but not, human error.

Anyway I have decided that one of my New Year's resolutions is - don't worry it has nothing to do with physical exercise - I am committed; but I'm not mad!!! - to bring a little - OK a lot - of discipline to my knitting. Please feel free to knit along with me, if you like. Here's what I plan to do.

The book "Knitting in the Old Way" has been calling to me, so I decided to try to improve my knitting skills by knitting a few things (I am starting with a manageable goal) from it. I am also starting at the beginning with the Danish blouse. I have read the opening chapters of the book already - lots of things I didn't know were in there!! and I have done some web research on the Danish Nattrojer.

As a result of my research, I have found that several other people have knit the blouse as well and written about it on their blogs. I can hear mother now, "You're not the first and won't be the last."

Here's the first, if you're are interested:

and the second:

and there was lots of raving about the blouse by Beth Brown-Reinsel in Interweave Knits - Winter 2004.

The challenge here will be to stay true to the basics of the blouse but to add or change something to personalize it. After much thought, I have decided to use White DK Zephyr, which we have in stock now and to do the cropped version. I was going to use the patterns given in the book; but after some swatches - Oh yeah - those things - I have decided to keep it really simple and do a series of diamond seed stitch patterns to echo the seed stitch in the border and hope it works.

This brings me to another area of thought for 2007 - personalized knitting. I hope to post pictures of knitted samples from our patterns - we have over 1,000 which have been knit and personalized in some way by "you, the knitter." Please send me pictures!!! I love the way patterns change with each knitter adding something of themselves to the project!!

Well that should just about do it!! Notice I did not decide to work on more interesting meals, a cleaner house, better behaved children or a more organized office. No, 2007 will be all about - having fun!!!



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here we go a-ravelling....

...among the sleeves with care....or something like that.

If sleep does indeed knit up that ravelled sleeve of care, would we sleep better the more sleeves we ravelled, err knit? I say this because I have been knitting and ripping out the same sleeve for the 3rd maybe 4th time. First it was too big. Then I didn't like the way I had tried to merge the diamond pattern in the decreases - I didn't like it twice. So now I am knitting a plain sleeve and hoping that I don't have to unravel it again.

Still I can't say that I mind the ripping back. It slows the progress of the sweater; but I have so many anyway and the longer it takes, the more money I save in buying yarn for the next project. Plus I get to listen to Christmas music. This is that time of year when magical people come to life again. Like Bing Crosby. I always have a vision of him as the priest in The Bells of St Mary's which I believe has a ravelling or unravelling scene in it. Can any one help me out there?

Then there' s Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Here again I have a vision of my grandparents around the radio in the living room - I was very small- maybe an infant. The announcer would say "The sweetest music this side of heaven" and I would ask "What side of heaven?" - OK I wasn't an infant - but I was fascinated by the concept of a many-sided heaven.

There are others all worth a mention who have contributed to the season with music - John Lennon, Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Abba - still alive, but the group's gone. Please add your favourites...

Anyway must get back to the sweater, which I have decided is the colour of peanut butter and just as sticky - c'mon sleeve!! The stockings are a favourite from AnnNorling #1018.

Holiday Cheers


Oh Solstice, my Solstice…

I had to write to-day because, my favourite day of the year – December 21 is at hand. It is the day set aside to mark the winter solstice- the day that the sun stops going south and turns around to head north again. I know the Earth really tilts on its axis, but at one time people believed that the sun might, one day, just keep on going and we would all live in an eternal winter – not bad for knitting, but the sheep need to be shorn. So when the sun began its return, there was great celebration – the feast of the Saturnalia!

Spring for me really starts with the Winter solstice. Generally we would still be trudging through winter and looking forward to another 3 months, at least, of bitter cold and December 21 would be that spark of hope that it would all end one day in April.

However, this year we have had nothing but Spring so far. Days have been around 10 degrees Celsius when they should be closer to -10 degrees. There is no snow. The ski hills are closed. No one needs to book an escape holiday to the Caribbean and we are all looking a little “sheepish” wondering if that awful, predicted global warming has really escalated on us and was it because we begged off on our re-cycling duties one day and here is our nemesis!

This situation has been made all the worse because western Canada is buried under snow. OK they have always been a little more protective of the environment out there – they’re younger- and now it seems that heaven is smiling err snowing on them.

It’s a frustrating yin and yang. We’ve had to cancel our ski trip after Christmas and yet I can’t help enjoying the fact that we don’t have to shovel snow, wear thick boots and climb over 2’ snowdrifts after sliding into an icy parking spot! The knitting is still good, though maybe not as justifiable, because we are not “snowed in” and in need of the extra comfort and mindless activity. I would pray for snow except that it may come in spades – so to speak and well you see what I mean.

Enjoy – I think - Carol

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Goddess Knits

I think that we are very close to the sublime with these patterns; however, we may have been closer, sooner, had my “opinion” not intervened. Here’s what happened. About a month ago Renee of Bo Peep's Wool Shop in Iowa contacted me about distributing her patterns. I looked at the jpegs and thought “WOW,” these are wonderful lace shawls – something a goddess would wear. I said yes!!!

Well the patterns arrived and I had my opinion about the quality of the photos. I had put on my “knitter’s hat” and decided that if I were a knitter or a shop owner wanting to knit these beautiful creations, I would have to work a little harder because the pictures didn’t give me enough information. I got back to the designer and we were discussing improvements, while the patterns languished on a back shelf.

Then, one day Robyn Gallimore of Red Bird Knits came by to drop off some of her magical sock patterns. Robyn noticed the Goddess shawl leaflets and quickly filled me in on Renee's "mystery shawl knitting" excitement on the internet. I was in awe!!! I try to keep up with the buzz on the net, but I obviously missed this gem.

Robyn immediately scooped up an order of the Goddess patterns, indicating that the pictures would be less of a problem on the internet then they might be in stores. So now I just have a few patterns left over from my initial order and Renee tells me that she is going to retake the pictures to show more of the lovely lace details. For those who know Goddess Knits and would like some of the first edition patterns, please contact me: I will have them on the website soon.

I have to apologize for my opinions sometime. I once told Lucy Neatby that her Equilateral hat would look good in black and white – like a soccer ball – an idea we didn’t kick around for long.

Enjoy Carol