Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anthropolgie, part 2

I have become quite obsessed with the Anthopologie on line store now, and found this gem.

click on it to view it full size

Counting the number of stitches visible - about 80, and adding an additional 20 for those hidden, it seems that approximately 100 stitches were cast on,  and knit 32 rounds using about a 15mm circular needle. There are 4 yarns used, all of them at least doubled, except for the green mohair. I worked out the gauge to be 5 stitches to 4 inches, and I'm not sure I would be able to knit that loosely, so if I were to copy this, I would use 15 mm needles, and cast on 160 stitches which would give a gauge of 8 stitches to 4 inches and knit about 40 rounds. As if gauge is much of an issue with a project so loosely knitted as this one!

Occasionally, there is a little short row embellishment just to give the loop a break from endless stripes. I like that! And, it's a good way to practice shadow wraps. Shadow wraps are my new favourite way to wrap and turn. This tutorial made it very easy for me to learn and master this technique. Just think how cute it would be to add a little metallic sparkle to these embellishments...or add buttons or beads, and truly make it your own masterpiece.

It would take an evening or two to whip this baby up using just your stash yarn and part balls. My best guess for yardage would be approximately 500 - 600 yards. If you are doubling your yarns, you need to double that  amount. It would make a quick holiday or anytime gift, and you certainly could use up odds and ends in your stash. Be sure to show the lucky recipient the inspiration for their gift. They will be impressed I'm sure!

I have chosen 4 yarns - one super bulky thick and thin hand spun royal blue wool, 1 mango moon Lurex  ribbon in the Neptune colorway (blues and greens), 1 skein of Cascade Soft Spun in Lime Green and 1 skein of Cascade Pastaza in Cream. They all look lovely together. Look for an update tomorrow. I'm a little excited to get this started!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What? $498 for a hand knit scarf?

I was going to blog all about how I have too many knitting projects on the go, and how I am going to cull the herd. I stayed at the shop last night as we were expecting a winter storm (that barely happened by the way) so I decided the time was right to clear out what I lovingly call my messy office. That  is an understatement. It should be called the hoarder's secret room or something. Just ask Lynn.

Anyway, I was taking a break from the sorting and tossing when I came across this link. Seriously folks, come help yourself to some of the ends of yarn I'm throwing out - yes, throwing out! - and create one of these so call masterpieces.

It's a 13 inches wide, 84 inches long garter stitch scarf! Here's the sooper sekrit pattern. Assuming a gauge of 18 stitches to 4 inches, cast on 52 stitches. Knit in garter stitch until you get tired of one colour. Attach another colour, knit in garter until you get tired of that colour. Join in another. Once you have reached 84 inches, bind off. Make sure you don't weave your ends in invisibly, the charm is in the obvious hand made construction.

See how charming the hand made look is?

Or not!

Click on the link to see some of the other items Anthropologie has on its online store. It might just make your day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Have you ever done anything so silly

 That you didn't want anyone to know about it, yet it is just too funny/silly/ridiculous you can't keep it a secret? Well, I did something today that meets that criteria.

Here's the scenario:
I am doing laundry. The dark clothes are in the dryer, and I am a preparing to do a load of whites I want to bleach. The ritual is I first pour a cup of bleach directly into the washer, along with a capful of Resolve. Then I turn the washer on to let it fill and dilute the bleach. This plan dictates I add the clothes within a minute or so of starting the washer. Today, it ran for 14 minutes. And this is the result when I opened the door to put in the clothes

There was soap foam EVERYWHERE! About 1.5 feet deep - it came up to my knees! At first, I couldn't even see the handle on the washer door as the foam covered it. It just kept coming and coming. I slammed the door shut and stood there in disbelief.  Of course I had to open the door of the washer again just to see what the heck was going on. More foam spewed out. I turned off the washer, shoved the load of whites in and shut the door and began to clean up the foam. I picked up armfuls of foam and threw it out the back door. That's when I thought I needed to take some photos on the off chance I wanted to share this little experience with the world. As a result iin the photo taking delay, there is just a little bit of the soap foam left to show, but you probably get the idea.

you can actually see the foam inside the washer right up to the top of the tub.
That's a lot of foam.
You can see how high it was in front of the washer (who I shall now call Madame Sudsy) by the foam still on the wall. The blob of foam was that high, about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long.  Quick math tells me that it was about 9 cubic feet of foam.

Awesome. Simply awesome. It reminds me of the time when I was a teenage and poured a bottle of Lemon Fresh Joy into the fountain at Fairview Mall on a dare. I wish I had a photo of that. And yes, I won the dare.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blame it on George!

Last night, I was working on the Uptown Cowl, and things were going so well. That is, until Mr Knits and I turned on Oceans Eleven. I may have mentioned that I find George Clooney a wee bit attractive. Handsome even. George Clooney in a.tuxedo? Very distracting.

George Clooney is in the aforementioned movie, Oceans Eleven. In a tuxedo. And my concentration began to  wander. The first repeat (10 rounds) of the cowl is fine. (We weren't watching Oceans Eleven yet.) The rest? That's when we put on the movie. Wonky as all get out! I didn't notice the errors until I was on round 25 (of 29). I was not ripping it out. I decided it would be a" freeform cable" cowl. Hereafter known as "Blame it on George!"

I did use the Double Needle cast on, and it does make a stretchy, even edge. If you don't look too closely from this angle you can't really see where the cables are wonky. Trust me - they are!

But in this photo, the cable on the left is one of only two that followed the pattern. The cable on the right should be exactly the same as the one on the left. You can see it isn't even close! The middle cable is about 90 ways wrong. Don't even look at it. Please.

Even Norma Jean is ashamed to be seen in the cowl. 

Emma seems to like it though.

I did cast on a second cowl today, using Teva Durham's River, and so far so good. Round 14, not one mistake. Yet. Criminal Minds is on, and Shemar Moore and Matthew Gray Gubler - well they wrote the book on being hot. Oh yes they did!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New to me, anyway...

At Heather's recommendation, I choose the yarn - Cascade Pastaza -

for the Uptown Cowl pattern from Canadian Living.

Last night, I cast on and knitted a few rows, but I didn't like the way it looked. Actually, neither did Ella or Stinky - they had a party with the yarn today, and when I came home it was tangled all over the living room. I will never learn to put my knitting away!

Part of the problem with my first attempt was I didn't like the way the cast on looked. After ripping out the 2 inches I had knit,  I began googling for information on how old June Hemmons Hiatt is. (I'm worried she is so old, that she may not live long enough to finish the revision of The Principles of Knitting! I know - it's a morbid thought.) I didn't find that information but I found a link to a pdf for her Double Needle Cast on. If you have ever cast on a sock or hat, and the edge won't stretch enough to put it on, this is your new go to cast on. It is simply brilliant. If you can do the long tail cast on - you certainly can do this one.

I cast on again tonight (after I untangled and rewound the yarn) with this new to me cast on and yarn. If you would like to learn this cast on, I will be holding a mini class on it at Wednesday Afternoon Knitting this coming Wednesday. Be at the shop at 1:30pm, grab a coffee, and be ready to learn. Just bring two different sized needles such as a 5mm and a 2.5mm needle and some worsted yarn.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's too dark to knit

With the time change, it's pitch black when we leave the shop now. I now have to find  another activity to keep me occupied for the 25 minute drive home. Thank goodness for the Speakout Wireless Unlimited Browsing for $10 a month plan.

Tonight I continued my "research" on RH negative blood. I am one of the 15% of the world's population with RH neg blood. And it seems that some people think this 15% of the world's population did not follow the evoluntionary path. Apparently we are the descendants from the ancient astronauts. I am not kidding. Here's the proof:

B L O O D   O F   T H E   G O D S 

Are you an Rh Negative blood type? If so you could be a decendent of the ancient astronauts themselves!

And now, go here and see the UFOs in ancient art. I'm sure that will convince you that this theory is beyond dispute.

Then there is another group who says the RH neg people are descendants from the Arch Angels.

But the very best articles list the RH neg traits. It all starts out well - I have hazel eyes, low blood pressure, low body temperature, red tint to my hair, low pulse rate., then it all goes to pot.

1. predominance of green or hazel eyes that change color like a chameleon, but also blue eyes

2. true red or reddish hair 

3. low pulse rate 

4. low blood pressure 

5. keen sight or hearing 

6. ESP 

7. extra rib or vertabrae 

8. UFO connections 

9. love of space and science 

10. a sense of not belonging to the human race 

11. piercing eyes 

12. para-normal occurrences 

13. physic dreams 

14. truth seekers 

15. desire for higher wisdom 

16. empathetic illnesses 

17. deep compassion for fate of mankind 

18. a sense of a 'mission' in life 

19. physic abilities 

20. unexplained scars on body 

21. capability to disrupt electrical appliances 

22. alien contacts 

Poor Mr Knits has to listen to me tell him why I am the superior being since I descend from the ancient astronauts/angels/reptiles. It has been quite a bit of fun the past couple of days.

I suppose you did notice that "will power" was not one of  the known traits of the RH neg person. I knew there was a reasonable explanation why I could resist all that yarn on Sunday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Will Power

I have none. Absolutely none. Look up the phrase "will power" in my dictionary, and it won't be there.

I made a vow to myself that I would stick to my yarn shopping list this weekend. You see, each November and May, two of the Canadian Yarn distributors have their spring (November) and fall (June) open houses where they show the yarn shop owners the new lines being introduced for the season. And, they often have wonderful specials on existing stock.

So, on Sunday, I ventured out early in order to arrive in the Toronto area by 10 am. Before getting out of the car, I once again affirmed this vow of yarn celibacy. I would not put anything into my cart that wasn't on my list. Not this time. I was going to conquer and overcome the allure of the new yarn fumes.

My will power lasted about 18 seconds after arriving at Estelle Designs. There, just inside the door was a ton of Cascade Yarns Pastaza - a lovely, soft llama/wool blend. Of course I took one of each colour. The  only problem was that the Pastaza was not on the list. Nor was some Cascade Dip Dyed yarn. And the pretty sparkly stuff whose name I forget.. But it is really pretty! After filling two carts, I felt it was time to move on to the next distributor. It was only 10:45 and I had totally blown my "budget".

About 30 minutes later, I was wandering around in Diamond's warehouse, wondering how on earth I was going to get all this stuff home. I had already filled another cart! As Jimmy was writing up my order, I was still adding to it.

My haul includes some lovely sparkly velvety ribbon yarn, a cotton/cashmere blend, an angora cashmere blend, a merino cashmere blend (notice a trend here?) plus some silk and best of all, some of the new Malabrigo hand dyed tops. It's so new, it's not even on the Diamond Yarn website yet. Somehow, 3 sizes of the Chiaogoo lace circulars ended up in the cart too.

It's a very good thing there are open houses only twice a year. I have no idea where I am going to put all this new yarn.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Should I or shouldn't I?

I have been wondering for about a week if I should write this post. I struggled, thinking I might offend some readers. That is truly not my intention, so if I do offend you, I really really apologize from the bottom of my heart. But this is just too funny to not share.

On Monday, I was texting my niece (who will probably kill me for posting this!), and we were talking about school and how much she dislikes the Careers class. I told her I hated Sex Ed when I was in school. We never talked about sex (which is what we wanted to talk about), only boring disgusting things like cancer and syphilis and how to communicate with my spouse. That was helpful as I was only 14 -15 and not married. And we watched the cheesiest educational films about girlie things that all the boys in the class snickered at, embarassing the girls.

My niece told me her Sex Ed class was fun - they made a candy vagina in one class. Actually a whole female reproductive system from about 10 different types of candy. I texted back to her " A candy vagina?" But my iphone changed it to "A Candy Cabinda?"  Liv typed back "What?"

I thought I must have misspelled vagina, so I retyped it, pressed send, and of course, Autocorrect changed it to Cabinda again. Once again, Liv texted back"What?" I had to put a space between each letter of the word so I could tell her what I was trying to say.

Here are the screenshots of this part of the convo
We each had a virtual giggle, and went on to talking about other things. But, what I really want to know is.....

What the heck is a Cabinda?

To add some actual knitting content, did you know there is a pattern for a knitted Cabinda on Ravelry? Oops, autocorrect is at it again!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Afghan

One of the most popular items in the shop is a soft, squishy afghan knit by my friend Dizzy Bat,  made from an assortment of yarns in the "Old Shale Pattern". Due to the afghan's popularity, I had begun packaging up the yarns and pattern and selling them in kit form. As I had no real idea how much yarn was used in the original, I put a kit together and sent it out to my knitter Marilyn. this is the finished kit in cream. It's so beautiful! And soft! Yarns include silk, alpaca, merino and more merino. There is even a yarn with itty bitty sequins in it.

Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern - one of the easiest, yet showiest lace patterns around.

It goes like this:
row 1: knit
row 2: purl
row 3: (k2tog three times, knit 6, knit 2 together 3 times) repeat to end of row.
row 4: knit

If you noticed, there is really only 1 pattern row, and it's row 3. The rest are basic knitting and purling rows. You can go a little crazy and change it up by adding in a row of knit and a row of purl in between rows 2 and 3. And you can refine it a little more by changing row 3 to read (SSK 3 times, knit 6, k2tog 3 times). Doing that makes the curves even curvier.

I love the different textures and thicknesses of the 6 yarns and how they all play on each other. Being a tassel lover (makes me wonder if I was a stripper in a former life) I have 10 more tassels to make and attach, and all will be done. I just couldn't wait to show you.

This kit is available in cream, autumn tones, reds, blues and greens.  I think I need to do some dyeing and put together a pink kit. You all know how much I love pink!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Instant scarf - just add water!

Okay, you wouldn't want to add water, but this scarf knits up so quickly. In about two hours you could be wearing it!

It all started early this morning when I was planning out my day. I have been making some yarn mixtures of 25 yards of the prettiest, most textural yarns I have in the shop. I bundle them up in 5 yard/5 yarn assortments to be used for embellishing by knitters, crocheters, weavers and scrapbookers. Some clever people just put random knots in them and wear them as necklaces.

4 of the embellishment samplers
Anyway, back to "the idea."  It occurred to me that the yarns were so pretty together, I thought what eye catching scarves they would make. Then, I was checking out the latest fashion trends from the runways in regards to knitting - and there were huge scarves and cowls being shown this season. I mean so huge the gauge is probably 1 stitch to 2 inches. Yes, 1 stitch to 2 inches. These pieces were probably knit on baseball bats.

So, shortly after my sock class was over this morning, I grabbed the yarns from one of the assortments and cast on 8 stitches on 35mm needles. An hour later this is what I had:

about 60 inches long!

no where near as huge as the runway fashions, but still quite big
All garter stitch - 4 stitches and 6 rows to 4 inches in garter stitch. The yarns I used are all discontinued sadly, so go raid your stash (I still have a little stock left though). This scarf included Cafe from Naturally, Overture, Kitty, Baby Monkey from SR Kertzer and Painted Forest from Nashua Handknits. One skein of Kitty, 3 of Painted Forest and 2 each of the rest. I estimate 150 yards of 5 types of yarn is all that is needed. I have just added a second skein of Painted Forest and Baby Monkey, so I'm just past the half way point. The scarf is measuring 60 inches, plus the fringe.

If you can't find me in the shop - just holler for me. I'll be in the stock room stash diving.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Principles of Knitting - again!

I think by now you all realize I am a wee bit obsessed with this book. I am so disappointed that the publication date has been pushed back to at the earliest February, and I'm starting to think this book will never be published again.

Recently, the first (and only) edition of this book was selling for $250 and up on ebay, amazon, abes books, etc. Imagine my surprise when I was googling for information on the publication date when I saw that had not one, but over 10 copies from different vendors selling for $44! Of course, I bought one! And today, I am driving to Watertown to pick it up. For some reason, wouldn't ship it to Canada, but it did have free shipping in the US, so it's all good.

As I type this, there are 3 copies on Amazon for just $33 - they have some condition problems, several in the $44 to $70 range which are in better shape. So this must might be the time to get one.

If you want to see the book up close and personal, come on in tomorrow. I'd be glad to share it with you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Best made plans

Often go awry. Don't they? I thought I would make the "Just Enough Ruffles" by Laura Chau using King Cole Twist - a yarn very similar to Marble DK, except it is a 26% wool/74% acrylic mix. I love this scarf pattern - it uses around 300 metres of yarn, is a very quick knit, and you end up with a really nice scarf.

See? Pretty, yes.

And it used just one skein! I love the little 4 row ruffle at the edge of the scarf, and the scarf just wraps and drapes so easily.

Or should I say almost one skein...I ran out of yarn on the bind off and had to start a new skein to finish. I was just over halfway through the bind off row when I ran out. I didn't want to pull out a row

 Looks like a pair of mittens to match will be in the works soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brand new carpet

The carpeting is done. The rearranging of the shop - well, not so done, but it does look a lot better. Brighter, cleaner, and just plain prettier. Thankfully, the installer was able to bring a lighter shade of carpet than he used in Mr Knits' shop. (I simply hate the colour in there! And I chose it!)

Now the yarn colours simply pop!

view from the front door

front of shop - looking right

front of shop - looking left

the furnace is almost invisible!
Please come and visit soon. I'll make you a latte!