Monday, September 29, 2008

And they were there...

A group portrait of boys from the Western New York Institute for Deaf Mutes located at 1545 St. Paul Street. The boys, wearing dress jackets and ties, are pictured here with knitting needles making socks for servicemen overseas. The socks, along with other knitted items, will be included in Red Cross packages sent to the WWI soldiers.
Notes Printed in Rochester Herald, February 3, 1918.

Image from the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center

I don't think there's a single one of these guys who is not into his knitting, do you?

It's been a busy week in knitting for me, although I don't have any new pictures. I'm just finishing up the second blue sock that I talked about last week, the one with the lavender scented strand of mohair knitted in along with the sock yarn. These are for my Auntie Margaret. I'll push on to make a second pair for Michael. Can't have him setting out for the golf course smelling like lavender, though so I'll have to forgo the mohair strand.

I've got to finish these 2 pairs of socks within a week or so that I can deliver them in person in Northumberland, UK in October. The Canadian government finally coughed up my passport last week (phew!) and now I feel more comfortable talking, and even thinking about this trip. I envision myself sitting for two weeks in front of a stunning view of sheep and cows meandering across a bucolic landscape, whilst I knit madly away on the Pine Tree Palatine and other sundry concoctions... There will be occasional excursions to stretch our legs on the sands. I'll find that photo, it's here somewhere!

Meanwhile, I went for a walk in the rain yesterday and entirely by accident took this very nice picture. I wish I could capture images like this purposefully, but, well...luck counts for something, right?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Busy Week and an Aword

It's been a busy week. I have socks to make. I also did a lot of work on the Pine Tree Palatine shawl, but I've had to put it aside. It was hard to put it down. Too hard. In fact, was having a very difficult time parting from it each evening and not much else was getting done. I'm still on the last wedge of the Wedgette cardigan skirt - awaiting further instructions from Nora Gaughan.

Meanwhile, the Fingerlakes Fiber Festival has come and gone for another year. I love this festival. It's a manageable size and it's fun. You always see lots of local people that you know and have a chance to catch up. The weather Saturday was perfect.

While there, I purchased a quarter pound (ca 3800 yards) of laceweight mohair for $11. It is suffused with a strong scent of lavender, which leads me to wonder about the M word, but nevermind. I put it to immediate use in one of the socks. See, I'm knitting it in with the sock yarn (Wildfoote). The shade of the sock yarn is called "Blue Flannel" - it's in the royal blue family and the mohair is a kind of blue-green gray. I added the mohair after I finished knitting the cuff and the resulting combination is warm, fuzzy and mottled looking. Mmmm.

I also bought the book Favorite Mittens, by Robin Hansen. This is a paperback which brings together selected patterns from the author's earlier volumes on mittens, "Fox & Geese and Fences" and "Flying Geese and Partridge Feet," both of which are now out of print but available on Amazon for prices ranging from $5 to $500 (raised eyebrows). Should be fun to knit some of these mitten patterns particularly with this fine mohair in combination with another yarn.

Helen of Chronic Knitting Syndrome gave me the "I love your blog" award, which I have redesigned in my own clumsy fashion based on a LOLcats picture. Now I have to nominate four blogs. Ack. I'm not even going t look and see if they've already gotten it. As Helen says, this is very time consuming, tho' fun.

I am going to give this to Cheviots for one. I love her down to earth posts about her generous knitting for others, not to mention the great name of the blog itself. 
Also A Stricke who wrote such interesting posts about knitting in Russia and who has a great middle name! 
Patti's Purling Place for Patti's great photography and frequent posting. 
And, Primetime Knitter, from whom I always learn something valuable and interesting.

Here's to you all.... now you know what to do...nominate 4 blogs that u luv!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Wedgette is a pattern that Berroco designer Nora Gaughan is currently developing for her Ravelry Fan club to celebrate reaching 2000 members. It also appears on the Berroco design blog. You can see a drawing of it there. 

So far, we have the pattern instructions for the bottom half of the cardigan only. It will have an empire waist (shades of Jane Austen). The "skirt" section is knit sideways starting at the center front and working around back around to the other side of the front. The slight flare is created by knitting short rows similar to those in Berroco's Wedge Scarf.  

I'm using Cashsoft DK rather than Berroco's new yarn, Inca Gold as suggested. I'm enjoying the knitting very much and also the excitement of seeing the design evolve. At least two different versions have emerged. The first has a gentle flare like some of Nora's other designs such as the Eastlake sweater. The second has a more exaggerated flare. One person has introduced different colours for the different sections and varying lace stitches. I'm sticking with the original version.

I'm nearing the end of the "skirt" section and I'll be anxiously awaiting further instruction soon! So far, it's been a very portable project - easy to put down and pick up. You can easily count the rows in each section to figure out where you left off. The wedges consist of one inch garter stitch sections on either side of a simple lace pattern. Each "wedge" is separated by a plain stocking stitch separator. The short rows that create the flare are done in the lace sections. The stitch changes result in a scalloped effect along the lower edge. 

Today I took my Wedgette on a mushrooming expedition in Letchworth State Park.

There were plenty of mushrooms, many poisonous. My husband, who has been picking and eating mushrooms since he was a child managed to find some edible ones. He is very careful. Here are some that looked striking. I kept wishing Patti Blaine with her fantastic camera and photography skills was with us, but alas, these are my best shots...


Oh, and best of all, we kept seeing these tiny Red Spotted Newts Where's Patti when you need her?

We must have seen 6 or 7 in different places.

We ate lunch and I had a nice sit down with the Wedgette while the hunt continued.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Grey is Setting In

We need this rain, we need this rain, we need this rain. Mantra.

I've been feeling shattered all week. A tooth broke off at the gum line. I'm anxiously waiting for my passport to be renewed. Work is well, work. 

I've been turning for solace to the Pine Tree Palatine Scarf.

It's a big project for me. I'm on row 49. The rows seem long and until tonight I thought I was knitting back and forth on the long edge of the scarf. I have now figured out that I have been knitting on the narrow edge, that is the width, and it's actually very wide. I have 225 stitches on the needle.

There is no way I'll have enough yarn. I'm using a lace weight called Impressions by "A Touch of Twist." They're located between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, New York (I just had to work that in). Hopefully, they will be at Hemlock again this year and I can buy more in a close enough match. Actually, I just noticed on their web page that they will dye yarn to specifications. Well, I won't go that far, but it's nice to know. I recall that their prices were reasonable too.

So. The Pine Tree Palatine. By Galina Khmeleva of Skaska Designs, of course. Here's why I like Galina's way of knitting:
  • It's all about the knit stitch, never purl.
  • Her decreases are always k2tog or k3tog - none of this fancy sl1k1psso or ssk kind of thing. None of that.
  • Her increases are always done with a yo.
  • On many of her patterns you just knit the return row.
  • The edging is knitted on so there's no having to go back and pick up hundreds of stitches.
  • You always know where you are with Galina.
  • Mistake? Ignore!
I really hope that Galina will come back to our part of the State soon and we can knit with her again.

I've gained confidence in sweater knitting this year. It's fun to have all these attractive, relatively unique things to wear without having to shop for them in the usual way.

Yesterday it was cool enough that I wore Big Baby all day. Such a comfortable sweater! Didn't want to take it off. I'll have to make it again. For sure. Today was muggy so I wore the cotton North Sea Jacket. My portable project these days is a Nora Gaughan design called "Wedgette." Some of us are knitting it along with her on Ravelry. I'll post about it next time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rochester Knitting Guild: First Night

Tonight was the first night of 08/09 season of the Rochester Knitting Guild. Fantastic turnout as usual. The room was packed and a big room it is too. We have over 300 members and there must have been a good 150 there tonight. We had a good show and tell with people showing off the results of their summer knitting. There was a skein exchange (put a skein of yarn from your stash on the stage, take a number and wait until your number is drawn and select a skein from the pile). It was fun, even at the end when the pickings were very slim indeed. I donated my second skein of Sockotta sock yarn (good yarn - just not my colour) and took away a heavily petted skein of dark brown mohair. News flash - no one likes fun fur anymore - leave it at home, please next time!

Sue Sayre brought several knitting sheaths she had got a carpenter to make and some of us tried them out. He's going to be at the Hemlock Fiber Festival later this month and will bring some of them with him. That's all I know abut that, except that Wendy Caffee is still looking for a few volunteers to staff the gate or various desks. Volunteers get in free so let her know if you're still interested.

Oh, and there were 80 pairs of mittens brought in by local knitters for the mitten drive. Wow! Jeannine is carefully watching the mail for the arrival of Shandy's mittens from England.  We're very excited about receiving them. I think that just the idea that they're coming is really inspiring some people to knit more mittens. 

Here are the details on what I was showing off tonight - the recently finished Heartland Lace Shawl:

Pattern: Heartland Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark.
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine 1 skein Turquoise mix and 1 skein Oceanic mix
Needle: 2.75 mm/ 2 US
I used about 1 and a quarter skeins
I did 6 repeats of the Bison Tracks pattern, then switched to the darker colour for the border.
My aim was a shawl that can be used as a scarf, under or over a coat.  When I was up in Ottawa I read in the Globe and Mail that we're all supposed to be wearing our scarves babushka style. How can that be?! I imagine it should be sensibly worn over the shoulders like so:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big Fir

So, I was saying about the fir. About sitting under it. Did I mention I had a bad cold? I do, but it's getting better. I overdid it last Friday at work and woke up the next day feeling my throat was in a vice. As a result, I've been doing a certain amount of sitting under the fir and, yes, knitting.

Somehow, with the change of seasons the sunshine now plays all morning on the back porch. I've been driven to the back of the garden. Here's the view ahead:

You can see that I was working on the Heartland Lace Shawl. I worked on it enough that the 20 row repeat of the Bison Tracks portion of the pattern became almost like music in my head. Boring music. 

I watched the turquoise ball getting smaller and smaller and started thinking that maybe I'd stop while I had enough for a pair of gloves. I did one more repeat. I looked at the ball and thought, well, just one more and then there will be enough left to embellish some gloves knit in a darker colour. Then one more. 

I stopped at 295 stitches on the needles which I think is about 6 repeats of the Bison Tracks, for anyone who is contemplating doing this. Then I switched to a dark teal for the River (or something?) of Life edging. I have 20 rows to go. Yeehaw!

On second thought, I shouldn't say such things about this shawl. It's going to be a beauty. I wonder how big it will be? Not too big, I hope. Just enough to sit on the shoulder under a winter coat over overtop to dress things up. It will have taken just under 1 skein (433 yds/400 metres).

So that is that.

Next, I finished the second sleeve on the dreaded Side to Side Ribbon Pullover. I sewed it up and it's not as bad looking as I thought it would be, though I think it does look a bit like some of the costumes from Alexsander Nevsky. Thanks to Helen of Chronic Knitting Syndrome for that link! Hopefully it will look well on the wearer. The two sleeves are actually the same size.

Here's a seasonal picture. The last of the tomatoes ripening in the sun...