Saturday, July 26, 2008

G’day I’m from the valley!

Yes, that’s the slogan of my home-land, the Ottawa valley, where I’m currently relaxing in a cabin by a lake deep in the Canadian shield. While I’ve lived in Toronto for 12 years and definitely consider myself a city girl, at least once a year I need to grab the bugs spray and see if I remember to paddle a canoe.

Or, er, at least try to channel my inner Carly Simon with a big floppy hat and sunglasses.
While the rain this week has kept us out of the canoe, it has provided ample knitting time by the fire. As any good knitter would, I packed more projects than I could ever hope to knit in the two weeks I'll be here; Kate Gilbert's Bird-in-the-hand mittens, Ysolda’s Rose Red beret and three (yes, three) sweater projects. Tee-hee!

The first sweater project is the previously blogged Phildar “poncho sweater”. I deeply resent the use of the word “poncho” in this sweater's description. To me, a poncho is a patchouli-stinking rag one would wear to a drum circle in the park. This is NOT something I would want to knit. Perhaps the Phildar folk have lost a little something in the translation. Whatever you call it, it sure hasn’t made much progress:

After knitting 3 inches of ribbing for what I thought was a sleeve, I came to realize I was actually knitting the bottom ribbing for the front of the sweater. Despite getting gauge with my swatch, (dang lying swatches!) it looked like the sweater was going to turn out a little on the small side. Enh? Easy come, easy go. I ripped it out and started over. It's now my official "awaiting-my-turn-in-Scrabble" knitting.

So far I am the reigning cottage champion. Sadly, I can't say the same for Trivial Pursuit.

I swear the b.f. is like Rainman when it comes to pop-culture trivia. Just when I think I've got him beat he'll come out with the answer to some wacky question like "What colour of bow-tie did Steve Urkel wear to the senior prom?".

I'm crossing my fingers my other sweater project will turn out okay, because so far, I LOVE it.

This is the Mirasol Miski baby llama I "accidentally" bought at the Knitter's Frolic. Look at that fuzzy halo!

I'm using the free "relaxed pullover" pattern from Vogue Knitting and making a few tweaks. Wish me luck!

One more week of country living to go. Excuse me, I think it's beer o'clock...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zucchini and segue are difficult to spell

After some careful thought about how to best collect the events of the past week into some sort of cohesive blog post... I give up. Sometimes life just refuses to be bundled into a nice, neat little package. So when life hands you lemons...

Speaking of fruit, (Hey! A segue!) I turned these:

Into this:

Home-made jam! It was surprising easy, though time consuming. WELL worth the effort. Now that I've unwrapped the mystery of water-bath canning, I might be doing a lot of this "preserving the harvest" business. (You know I'll totally be making "Madill-pickles" come cucumber season. )

Speaking of seasonal produce (another segue!), there's been a whole lot of it being served up around casa de knitteroo.

From top left 1) zucchini blossoms, 2) tempura zucchini blossoms, 3) heirloom tomato gazpacho 4) and tzatziki with fresh dill. Maybe there is a theme going on here... do I ever prepare any easy-to-spell food?

Speaking of food? Speaking of spelling? Speak and spelling? Ah, forget it! Here's the knitting:

I cast on this little number (from Phildar Spring 2 #468) after much humming and hawing. I swatched for it ages ago but was concerned it didn't seem to have enough drape. I'm using thirft store mercericed cotton. Cotton does tend to be heavy, so I'm hoping the finished piece will have enough weight to drape okay. Am I just talking my way out of ignoring the swatch? Swatches are so tricky!

Speaking of tricky (the segue is back!), my first stranded knitting project:

A skull patterned wristband as a quickie gift. Well, at least that was the intention. It will still be a gift, just not so "quickie". I've been afraid of this stranding stuff for too long. Time to seize the day! After a little playing around, I decided to carry one yarn in each hand It's slow, but I'm starting to find a rhythm. An slow, uneven rhythm. Kind of like walking with a limp.

Speaking of walking with a limp (HA!), my boyfriend broke his toe. Not that I needed to tell you that, but why waste a good segue?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Great lengths

If you're a Reckless Glue fan (as you should be!), this post may give you a distinct sense of deja-vu.

I present to you my finished knit grocery bag, filled with lovely fresh produce:

And here we have it, displaying the effects of gravity.

It's the amazing elastso-bag! Stretches to lengths beyond human imagination!

This was a project born of a need to knit from stash and completed with blind determination. Perhaps I should start listening to that little princess in my head that says things like; "This yarn is yucky!" and "Knitting this is no fun!" and "This bag looks icky!".

PATTERN: Elisa's nest tote from the Purl Bee
YARN: GGH Safari in colour # 36
NEEDLES: 3.25 mm
NOTES/MODS: I substituted the "veil stitch" pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury (the 1st book) and cast on the same number of stitches from the original pattern. I knit the bag in the round from the bottom up, splitting into two sections after about 12". From there I knit each section back and forth in stockinette for two inches. I finished the edges and added handles with applied i-cord as in the Elisa tote.

Despite knitting in the round using the magic loop method, I got ladders like nobody's business. Big honkin' fire-truck worthy ladders! Being so accustomed to knitting with wool and animal fibres, this linen business really threw me for a (magic-ha!) loop. I ended up crocheting a seam up each side to try to disguise the ladders and help with the sagging. I can't say it made a remarkable improvement, but it makes the bag look a little neater.

So, over-all I'd give this project a "C minus". It was a bit of an experiment on my part, so I'm not exactly shocked that it didn't work out so well. On the other hand, I learned how to handle knitting with linen (or rather, how NOT to handle knitting with linen). Plus, I learned how to knit applied i-cord. Applied i-cord rules!

I don't think I'll be using this bag much unless I fuss with it a bit more and that can wait. I just finished fussing and fixing my last slightly imperfect FO. New, improved Ms.Marigold pics soon!