Sunday, February 28, 2010


No Olympic Gold for me, but I'm making progress at least.

Here is a picture of the completed Monkey socks:

I am pleased with the socks, if not so much with the photo!  I need a personal knitting photographer, I think.
I am also continuing with my gansey.  I re-charted my patterning yesterday to reflect my new number of stitches.  I'm looking forward to seeing the pattern take shape.  I've only done 4 rows of it, so it's too early to see much.  I went for vertical patterns, covering the top 2/3 of the body.

 Here is the sweater posing with my hyacinths - just about the only bulbs the squirrels didn't dig up for winter snacks!

Enjoy the sunshine if you have it too, and happy knitting, everyone.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Quick Update

Good news on the knitting front!  I finished the socks last night - I'll post a picture before too long.  I'm pleased with them, but then both the pattern and the yarn were safe bets for me.  More astonishingly - when I picked the gansey back up this evening it turned out that I can indeed safely knit in the dark on a winding road!  I managed to join in the round accurately, and not to mess up any of my stitches, all without really seeing what I was doing.  The gauge on this knit continues to confound me, though.  I am working on about 20% fewer stitches than my carefully blocked gauge swatch told me I would need, but seem to be getting the required circumference.  Even more strangely, I still seem to be getting the gauge I had on the swatch, but the sweater is knitting up bigger all the same.  How did those women and children who knit away on ganseys while herding sheep and keeping house ever manage predictable sizes, when I can't fathom gauge with all my modern amenities?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23rd

Well, it's official - I'm giving up on any semblance of a Knitting Olympics project.  Too much project, too little knitting time, not enough enthusiasm!  Perhaps if I'd had bleachers full of fans cheering me on it would have been possible... or perhaps not...  In any case, I haven't been knitting a lot in the past week, but I have had a birthday, kept an eye on an occasionally dribbly cat, attended a teachers' conference in Lillooet (the registration of participants for which I was partly responsible for), gone to work when required to do so, and kept up with my readings and homework for my online course!  I think I'll forgive myself for the lack of knitting.

I am almost finished the blue Monkey socks, which I have managed to plug away.  I also did some knitting on the gansey in order to keep my mind off of the winding scary road to Lillooet (no, I was not driving!).  I haven't dared look at it since, though.  I don't think I do my best knitting in the dark while trying not to think about falling rock and steep drop-offs, so there will probably be some more frogging in that poor sweater's near future!

I do have a good read to report on, and a confession to make.  When I've used up most of my brain on work- and school-related reading and thinking, I like to read British "chick lit".  Even when I'm not trying to work too hard at reading, I need the writing to be good, the characters to be people I can relate to or at least like, and the story to be entertaining.  To this end I have enjoyed all of Sophie Kinsella's books so far, but her last one, Twenties Girl,  was special.  It's a very sweet story and I think she did a great job of the book.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Got Gauge?

I certainly didn't get it for this sweater.  On Friday evening at about 8 o'clock, right in the middle of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, I discovered that the garter stitch border at the bottom of my sweater was about 12 inches bigger in diameter than what I had cast on for.  After actually knitting and blocking a gauge swatch, I still ended up horribly off!  So I ended up casting on again during the opening ceremonies, like you're supposed to for the Knitting Olympics, but there is really not a chance of this sweater being finished by the closing ceremonies!  Maybe I should set a realistic goal and see if I can reach it, like having knit to the beginning of the underarm gussets...  The problem is that I'm not willing to spend every waking hour knitting for the next two weeks.  For one thing, it's sunny and mild today - a long walk was definitely in order, but so far I don't knit while we walk!  Here are some of the things growing in front of our patio today:

Last night I knit some more - I've decided to work the bottom border back and forth, and then join in the round once I'm past the garter stitch.  Maybe that will help with gauge, since I'll be knitting every row.  I've cast on 200 stitches this time, down from the original 248.  I'll try increasing to 224 for the k2p2 rib I'm planning above the garter stitch, and then up to the full 248 once I start the stocking stitch.  I'll have to adapt as I go, so that I end up with a wearable sweater in the end!

Here is a picture of my Hempton sweater.   There was a happy confluence of sunlight and charged camera batteries this afternoon!

Wish me luck with my gansey!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Friday

Well another week has flown by with nary a post.  I have been knitting, though.  One excuse for not posting is that I want to post pictures of my knitting, but our camera is not working very well.  I have finished my Hempton (ravelry link here) pullover, and will post pictures as soon as I can.  I am pleased with the completed project.  The sleeves were a bit tricky to sew up, due to their having been knit from end to end rather than side to side.  The shaping interferes with a clean seam line.  I'm not sure what I would do differently, though.  I really like the drape of the garter stitch on its side overall, so I guess it's worth the tricky arm seams.

The Monkey socks are coming along well.  The first sock has been fitted and finished, and I'm on the gusset decreases of the second sock.

I've started a new project.  It's a semi-Knitting Olympics project!  I was inspired by the Knitting Olympics to start this project at last.  I've wanted to knit a traditional gansey sweater from this book for years, and now I have committed to it.  The reason it's not a true Olympian of a project is that according to the rules you cast on during the Opening Ceremonies, which are this evening, and you finish the project by the Closing Ceremonies.  I cast on last night, because that's when I had the time and inclination, and I know that I won't be able to finish the sweater in 17 days, because I do have to go to work and have other responsibilities.  I like the thought of keeping the Olympic knitters company, though, and I didn't want to cast on a different project just so that I'd be able to finish in time.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back with pictures soon!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Back to Knitting

So last weekend I did pull my Hempton pullover out and got back to work on it.  I had the front, back, and half a sleeve done already, so it seemed silly to let it sit any longer when spring is definitely arriving.  I bought the Hempton yarn at last year's Okanagan Knitting Retreat.  For as long as I've been attending these retreats Lana or Kathy of Lanaknits have also attended, and sold the company's ever more appealing yarns to the captive audience of knitters.  Last year I succumbed to Hempton, which is hemp-cotton-modal blend, and it feels wonderful both to work with and to wear.  The project I am finishing up is this, in this colour, and I just have the assembly and neck edge left to do.  According to a knitting magazine we were looking at during last night's South Surrey Knitters' meeting, soft colours are in fashion this coming season.  How clever of me to have chosen this colour last May!  It's a fairly simple pattern - worked side to side in garter stitch, but I'm looking forward to wearing it.

My knitting club at school met yesterday as well.  I have a keen group, most of them grade 4 and grade 6 girls.  Lately there have been fewer beginner knitters, and yesterday I actually got a few rounds done on my Monkey sock.  This is a far cry from the days I don't even get a chance to eat my lunch, let alone do anything but cast on or pick up dropped stitches!  It's a lot of fun though.  The girls have been knitting scarves, hats, and small teddy bears, and I love seeing them show off their finished items.

I think my next big project is going to be a Rogue hoodie.  I got this pattern at my friend Celeste's urging years ago, and started it once but the gauge/yarn were wrong and didn't work out, and it's been in the back of my mind ever since.  I just feel like knitting myself a sweater, so I think this will be the one.  I'm trying to decide on the yarn for it.  I think I may go for this - KnitPicks' City Tweed, which I have been admiring since I first saw it.  I think either the Tabby or Cottontail colours would be good and versatile.  The other possibility is some undyed cream-coloured organic handspun that I bought locally.  I'll have to try a gauge swatch, because I think it may be a bit too heavy for the Rogue, which requires 18 stitches per 4 inches.  Dave's had his eye on the same yarn for a cardigan, so maybe I'll just have to go with City Tweed...

One more note - if you haven't read DanceswithWool's latest post be sure to check it out.  Her new design is absolutely gorgeous!  She is such a clever and thoughtful knitter/designer - very inspiring.

Happy weekend to everyone!

PS:  Mookie is well and healthy once more, and the car is running well with its new alternator!