Sunday, December 10, 2017

Year of Projects 7 - Week 24

Happily, I finished the knitting of Gavin's Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf on Wednesday. Unhappily, when I took it off the circular needle it was clearly too long. I had knit one many years ago on 400 sts and recalled that it was shorter than I'd hoped. So, I reckoned 500 sts might do the trick this go round.  NOPE. And the more I think on it, the more I think the first one on 400 sts was probably just right. But now what to do?!?! After sleeping on the matter it occurred to me that there was no good reason not to cut a steek (or two) to shorten it. I machine stitched to reinforce up and down through two adjacent columns of stitches and snipped off the excess. PERFECT. At the same time I conveniently snipped off all the ends awaiting finishing. BONUS. Gavin loves his new scarf and it suits him to a "T". Also, he's trying out this new beardliness - what do you think? 

Earlier this aft, I finished the latest pair of vanilla socks. The yarn - Sweet Skein O'Mine Sock - was souvenir yarn from New Brunswick from a local dyer. It's a very light fingering so I opted for an improvised pattern. Cast on 84 sts on smaller than usual needles, work K4P2 rib for a lengthy cuff, worked a decrease row by purling together those 2 adjacent purls, and then carried on for a vanilla sock on 70 sts. It all worked out fine, but there's quite a bit of yarn leftover which makes me wish I'd made the leg longer. Oh well, better leftover than short, right?

Poor Gschnitztal Socks ... still on the sidelines. I'd like to make some promises about getting back to them, but I'm just not feeling it. The light is poor and the pattern's finicky. Gah! I'd just rather knit something else. Maybe something like Mad Mix socks will fit the bill? I've cast on and we'll see where that goes. It's week 24 of this Year of Projects - nearly half way - so I'd better stop messing about and get to working at that list!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday and Yarn Canada

What is "Giving Tuesday"? This excerpt from explains:

Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday … now we celebrate GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017.

It is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners - nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals - to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness. Across Canada and around the world, GivingTuesday unites communities by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.

This year is getting involved. They're giving away yarn to groups and individuals who knit or crochet for good causes. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF YARN!!! One of the groups I knit for - The Warm Hands Network - has applied. And I've applied as an individual asking for yarn to knit children's sweaters for my local knitting group - Warm Up Haldimand. If you or your group can put donated yarn to good use, then you'll find the link below the screen snapshot below for the entry as well as an excerpt from YarnCanada's website with all the details.

We're Giving Yarn To Your Good Cause

We know so many wonderful people knit and crochet for good causes. We'd love to hear your stories and help out! We'll be choosing 12 individuals and groups to get a total of $2000 worth of yarn to use towards their projects. Since we get requests from all over, and we'd like to do something nice for our neighbours, this is open to Canadians and Americans.

Here’s the yarn we’ll be giving away:
  1 x $500 of yarn to a Canadian group who knits or crochets for a good cause
  1 x $500 of yarn to an American group who knits or crochets for a good cause
  10 x $100 of yarn to Canadian or American individuals or groups who knit or crochet for a good cause

All you need to do to apply is fill out the form... and tell us your story. What will you use the yarn for, what impact has this or previous projects had, and anything else important to your story. If you have any photos we’d love to see them too.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Year of Projects 7 - Week 22

Over the last several weeks there's been knitting, but not much blogging has happened. So this is going to be a picture heavy catch up post.

Somewhere Socks were done in time for that early November birthday. They fit her perfectly and she loves them!

Tuxie Love Socks are also done. I cut the cuff off the first sock, picked up the stitches and then increased from 64st to 70-72 sts for the three colourwork sections. And then knit sock two to match. These were a week late for the birthday, but in time for my first opportunity to catch up with the birthday girl in person, so all good. And she loves them too!

I joined a local knitting group - Warm Up Haldimand - and have so far knit a pair of mitts for donation to local charities. I decided to knit use sock yarn (from stash), and knit a folded-over cuff from a single strand of sock yarn, and then the body of the mitt and thumb from double-stranded. Makes for nice warm mitts, and puts some uncooperative pooling sock yarn to good use. There's another group meeting coming up, so I'd better cast on another pair soon!

Friends of ours are expecting their first child in the spring, and we're having dinner with them in early December so I knit a little sweater to welcome their baby girl. The pattern is In Threes which I have knit before. It knit up really large last time so I went down a needle size and knit the smallest size. As well I cast on more stitches than written to widen the neck opening. And I used up the leftover yarn making a hat, mitts and a little crocheted crown, which are not shown in the photo. It's all wrapped and ready to go. The yarn is Bergere de France Merino, and it is absolutely lovely to work with!

A couple of years ago I knit bunches and bunches of fingerless mitts to make use of yarn that I had been given by a friend whose injuries had forced her to give up knitting. About a week ago I got a facebook message from someone to whom I'd given a pair. Was I still knitting? she asked. If so, her sister was always admiring her fingerless mitts - could I knit a pair for her. As it happened I had a couple hundred yards of approximately DK handspun merino that might suit exactly that. So I knit another pair of Susie Roger's Reading Mitts. They were on and off the needles in a matter of days and are already in the mail to her.

I found myself in New Brunswick at the end of October without any knitting, so I popped into the Fredericton location of Cricket Cove to buy a skein of sock yarn locally dyed by Sweet Skein O'Mine in a colourway called Happy Hippy. It's a very light, high twist fingering weight yarn, and quite a busy colourway, so I opted for a vanilla sock on smaller than usual needles. I upped my primary stitch count to compensate. The first sock is done, and the second will be started in the next few days.

And last but not least, Gavin needs a scarf. So I collected up my blue and grey sock yarn scraps and started a linen stitch scarf. It's cold and windy these days, so I need to get a move on with this! I expect to knit this fairly monogamously for the next week or two.

Poor Gschnitztal Socks! Set aside again, although they are now well underway. Switching to shiny metal needles has made a world of difference in seeing the stitches in dark yarn. And a floor lamp behind me has helped with poor evening light. I'm not really sure when I'll get back to these.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! I hope you're enjoying time with family and friends. We get Black Friday sales here in Canada now, and we almost bought a TV we don't need yesterday. Imagine $550 no tax for 55" 4K Smart TV! That's just crazy!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 16

After a lengthy hiatus I'm back to my Somewhere Socks. This week I finished the first sock and made a good start on the second. I'm motivated to finish these quickly as they'll make the perfect gift for a friend born at the beginning of November.

The yarns are scraps from my stash. The pattern sample is shown from a rainbow of colours  - which is consistent with the Somewhere Over the Rainbow theme of the pattern as part of the Socks from Oz collection - but I was curious to see how the pattern would knit up in a range of neutrals. Thinking ahead, I ordered my scrap colours so that the cuff, heels and toes would fall as Kroy black yarn, since it's nice and sturdy. Quite handsome I think, and Gavin agrees, so that's saying something.

The pattern is super easy; it uses slipped stitches to create the pattern rather than stranded colourwork. It goes quick too, but oh, all those ends! Two for every colour change, so 28 ends to weave in per sock. *sigh*

After "finishing" the first of my Tuxie Love socks, I asked a friend to try it on just to make sure I'd guesstimated the size right. DISASTER. She couldn't stretch the leg of the sock over her heel. NOOOOOO! The sock promptly landed in time out while I swallowed my disappointed and reasoned out how I planned to fix it. Now that a few days have passed I'm calmer and am thinking that I'll cut the cuff off the sock, and a row of still-to-be-determined increases, adjust the colourwork chart to knit over the increased number of stitches and then reknit the cuff from the bottom up. It was my own fault. I knit the leg on smaller than specified needles because my yarn was a very light fingering. I was asking for trouble.

On Thursday afternoon I dropped in on a local knitting group "Warm Up Haldimand" who meet on the second Thursday of each month in Hagersville. The info I found online indicated that the group knits for local distribution, so I thought I'd better cast on something suitable like mittens. Seems to me that sock yarn might be just perfect for mitts - it's 75-80% wool so it's warm and a good insulator, it's 20-25% nylon so it's durable, and I've got lots of it! The green yarn is a handpainted yarn that I bought impulsively. It's been sitting in my stash for years for two reasons: it insisted on pooling no matter what pattern I tried, and the colourway was so much prettier in the skein than knitted. Much nicer as mittens, I think! As for the knitting group, the ladies were all very pleasant and some quite entertainingly funny, so it was nice to meet some local knitters. I'll definitely go again!

All in all it was a pretty quiet week, other than the dishwasher fail. Turns out our cabinet opening is non-standard and the dishwasher I ordered will not fit. That dishwasher has been returned and now we're trying to figure out whether we can source a dishwasher that will fit, whether we can make alterations to our kitchen to standardize the opening to fit a dishwasher without rebuilding all the cabinets, or, whether we were just not meant to have a dishwasher. Que sera, sera. After all, hand-washing dishes for the two of us is not that onerous.

We had a furnace inspection done and it was confirmed to us that the built-in electronic air cleaner was kaput. We had been alerted to that by the Home Inspector before we bought, so the news was not unexpected. The technician removed it and replaced it with a filter assembly. Otherwise the furnace was given a clean bill of health, so that's great. And the filter for the new assembly is a standard size, so we can buy replacements at local hardware stores so that's great too.

I hope everyone's week has also been mostly great! See you next weekend!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 15

My Crosshaven socks seemed to be going swimmingly until Wednesday, when it was clear that I was facing a stunning loss at Yarn Chicken! Given that the skein I was knitting was labelled as 360M (400 yds) running short of yarn was the last thing I expected. In fact, as I was knitting the second sock I was musing about how I might use up the leftover yarn... a halloween-themed colourwork motif, maybe?

So much for that idea. I knit as far as I could on sock two, then picked out the grafted toe of sock one to rip back a half repeat on the foot. I salvaged enough yarn from the shortened sock one to complete a matching sock two. That's the good news. The bad news is that the shortened socks are now too small for my giant size 11 feet. Onto the gift pile they go - they'll fit someone with feet sized 7-9 I'd think.

The last couple of weeks we've been watching Ozark on Netflix, throughout which I've been knitting away at a vanilla-isa sock: Tuxie Love. I did have to pay attention through the colourwork on the leg, but the rest is vanilla enough to knit in a dark room, even with dark yarn.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Somewhere socks. I'm super happy with the way my yarn scraps are playing together, so my plan is to finish up sock one and get started on sock two this week. Hopefully I'll have something to show you in my next post.

The car has been acting up this week - an O2 sensor needs replacing and as a consequence the car is using too much gas. We're at the point where the car is so old that it's a decision about whether to spend money on it or trade it in for something new. The mechanic seems to think that we could get another year or two from the car so we're going to do the repairs and see. We did take some 2018 models out for test drives which has made us yearn for a new car with all the mod cons - in dash nav, heated seats, keyless entry, emergency braking... On the other hand, if the car lasts another year, imagine how awesome the 2019 models might be!

Gavin installed the dishwasher that was here when we moved in, only to discover that there is a part broken which causes it to leak. The dishwasher model was discontinued a few years ago; the cost to order the replacement part would be more than the value of the machine. Another consideration is that new dishwashers are far more water efficient and energy efficient than they used to be. So a new dishwasher has been ordered and is scheduled for installation on Friday. It uses 3.3 gallons per cycle (versus 18 gallons per cycle for the old one), and about $30 in electricity per year. With just the two of us, we only run the dishwasher about once a week so it won't even cost that. We have 16 place-settings of dishes and cutlery so that we can easily go a week without washing dishes. In theory, we should end up saving $$ on water. And won't it be nice to get the dirty dishes off the kitchen counter and out of sight!

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada which we are spending quietly at home. It's been unseasonably warm, so warm that I went swimming in the lake yesterday! Autumn chores are calling - especially raking up all the leaves and chestnuts. I hope your weekend is as pleasant and peaceful!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 13

It's been crazy record-setting hot here over the past week, Sweaty fingers and hands make knitting unpleasant, so progress is a bit slow. Sounds like the heat wave will end Wednesday, at which time seasonal fall weather will finally arrive. The extra blast of summer was pretty nice though - swimming and paddling every day!

I did cast on a vanilla sock - Tuxie Love - which I've added to my list. It's simple pattern with a bit of colourwork at the top of the leg and a bit more at the end of the foot. And it's perfect choice for a friend with a birthday at the beginning of November, with her beloved tuxedo cat Lucy! Not much to show yet; if I finish the colourwork on the leg before the next post, then I'll snap and post a photo.

Mostly I've worked on Crosshaven socks. On Sunday morning I kitchenered the first sock and cast on the second. I've knit the design as written, except that I made the heel flap longer to accommodate my pointy heel and high instep. Perfect fit and gorgeous pattern. I should mention that in the photo I am wearing the right sock on my left foot so that you can see the mock cable detail down the side of the leg and foot. The left sock is a mirror image.

Reviewing my list I'm feeling badly about how long those Somewhere Socks have been hibernating, so perhaps I'd better find some time to spend with them :) After Crosshaven though, and perhaps before Gschnitztal. We'll see.

That's it for me today! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Year of Projects 7: Week 12

Not much to show for this week. Construction around here cleared the bedroom with the closet wherein Gschnitztal awaited, so I was able to get to it and take a photo. It's lovely yarn - so soft and smooshy that it must almost certainly contain cashmere. What a gorgeous colour way too, mostly purple with subtle flashes of lighter and darker purple, and bit of blue. But it is dark. Darker even than the photo. And the pattern is exactly my cup of tea - fiddly twisted stitches and somewhat chart-y... and a nice change from the colourwork socks I just finished.

Unfortunately I had to set this WIP aside for two reasons:

i) The evening light in the new place is terrible! I find it impossibly frustrating to attempt to knit anything dark or fiddly. So right now good light hours are being allocated to my Crosshaven socks. Once they're done, Gschnitztal socks will move to the front burner.

ii) Both Gschnitztal and Crosshaven feature left and right crossed stitches, but the way the patterns are written, the stitches are worked differently. I find it too confusing to switch back and forth between the patterns, so I've decided to complete my Crosshaven socks before getting back into my Gschnitztal socks.

What is clear to me is that I'd better cast on ANOTHER pair of socks - this time in a vanilla pattern with light coloured yarn that I can knit effortlessly in poor evening light while watching TV. So my task this aft is to sort through my yarn and patterns to make some decisions about that. Well. later this aft when I get back from a swim in the lake. The weather this weekend has been too gorgeous to spend inside!