Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

The holiday season has been busy which means that there hasn't been much time for knitting. I did get one sleeve finished on Jack (Rowan Tweed).

Mom and Dad left three days before Christmas for Myrtle Beach. Dad got to golf on Christmas day-we were very jealous. Beth and I tried to fly down on Saturday afternoon and come back on Monday but the flight times didn't work out. Mom does much better in the warm weather so we urged them to leave as soon as they could. She actually goes out of the house there-better than being inside every day here. She will call home and tell us that she is in the PT Cruiser with the top down-nice when it is snowing here.
We had Christmas dinner with our friends John and Jen and their families on Christmas eve. Christmas day I went to my parent's best friends for dinner-Beth was in bed with the flu.
The store was busy during the week. Lots of people visiting from out of town and many people are off work giving them time to come and browse. Many people finished their Christmas knitting and they wanted something new for the new year.
I started to feel crummy on Wednesday night and actually went to the doctors on Thursday afternoon. I don't do doctors so this tells you that I really was sick. I have bronchitis, an ear infection, sinus infection and possible a kidney stone. Beth worked for me on Thursday (this will cost alot because she hates working in the yarn store) and Cathy worked yesterday and today. I am only sleeping a couple of hours a night (coughing too much) so I don't have much energy but I did get the urge to knit this afternoon. I am starting a new sweater-you know that working on something old doesn't inspire you when you feel like crap. It is from Sirdar book 295 and I am using Jamieson's Shetland Heather in Pippin. Working on the sleeves-not too much thinking. I won't be going partying tonight but there is great tv. Canada vs US in World Junior hockey, the Leafs are on as well as an NFL game.

The good news is that there is just over 2 weeks until warm weather. We (Beth, Bev and I) are going to a yarn trade show in San Diego. Unfortunately you can't fly directly to San Diego from Toronto which means that we have to go through LA. Didn't want to do that so we are going through Vegas. We have 2 days before San Diego (staying at Treasure Island) and 2 days after (staying at Bellagio). Nothing like a few days in Vegas to make someone feel better. San Diego will be fun as well. Our friend, Oliver, from New Zealand will be there. We were in New Zealand in February for his wedding and we just found out that his wife is pregnant.

Have a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Minneapolis is bloody cold!!!

Just got home from our shopping trip. We had the most amazing time. I don't think I will be complaining about cold weather here anymore. You had to be bundled up any time you went outside. We would wait in the hotel for the shuttle, run out and get on, run into the mall and do the reverse going back to the hotel. You still had to have on a ski jacket-it is that cold.

We left Toronto at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, arrived in Minneapolis at 6:30 their time and we were at the Mall of America that night. Stopped at the hotel bar for a drink before retiring for the night. They charged us $8.50 for a Kahlua and milk. Unbelievable. We shopped on Saturday from 10am until 9pm. Luckily Nordstroms had a bag check. We were continually going back adding more bags. Beth and I had to buy a suitcase to get our purchases home. Bev bought us a bottle of Kahlua ($19) and a carton of milk so we had drinks in the room and played cards before bed. Sunday morning Beth and I decided to go to the football game (Pittsburgh vs Minnesota) The young girl working at the desk of our hotel suggested taking the train. It left from the mall and dropped us off right at the stadium. Didn't have tickets but there were lots of people scalping. The seats were okay-second deck but the game was awful. Left in the third quarter to beat the crowds to the train. Dinner was at The Cheesecake Factory. That was a bit disappointing-they took my favorite thing off the menu so I had to try something new. It was good but not what I had been dreaming about. More cards before bed. We were going to go to the casino but it was a $50 cab ride each way and then we would lose more money there. Back to the mall Monday morning-the stores opened at 8am. Because the mall is so big it never felt like there were crowds. So much better than shopping here.

The shoe shopping didn't turn out as good as I would have liked. Did get 2 pairs of UGG slippers/slip on shoes. You can wear them outdoors but I will be wearing them around the house-very warm (one pair is on my feet right now). This is DSW (Discount Shoe Warehouse). It is the size of a grocery store filled with rows and rows of shoes. It takes quite a while to walk the aisles and trying on shoes.

The mall is phenominal. It is a huge square with a major department store on each corner. There are 3 levels of stores. My map was quite beat up by the time I got home. The centre of the mall is an amusement park. Lots of rides for kids and adults. Great place for the family-mom can shop while dad takes the kids on the rides.

I didn't have time to knit. Did pull out my sleeve and do one row but there were so many better things to do.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I hate snow!!

It is almost 4am and I have been up for an hour. We are supposed to be flying to Minneapolis this morning but Air Canada called at 3 to tell us that our flight was cancelled. They have booked us on the only other flight today at 4:30 this afternoon. One small problem-I have to get in touch with Bev and Lisa. Do I want to call them at 3am? I decided to let them have as much sleep as possible so I am waiting until around 5 when we would have been getting ready to go to the airport. Pain in the ass.

I like to have knitting with me when I travel. It usually doesn't come out of my suitcase but I want to have it there just in case. Now my decision-what do I take? My Sally Melville jacket is almost done. If I take the last front then I have to take the other one to make sure that they match. This takes up too much room so strike that one. I can take a scarf but I vowed that I wouldn't knit another one so strike that. I could start a new project but if I don't do much kntting then I have yet another started sweater in a bag. Jack was the final answer. I am going to take the sleeves. Got one cast on last night, the ribbing done and started into the pattern. Of course, the chart is wrong so I had to sit down and figure it out from the picture. There is a left and right sleeve-sewn into the sweater opposite of the charts. Wanted to make sure that I get the cables going in the right direction. One sleeve goes front and the other back but they are both going back in the pattern. I haven't shown a picture of the finished sweater so here it is.

I do have the camera packed and hopefully will have some pictures next week from the mall. Might even get my Christmas shopping done while there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Finally finished!

The store was a mess today but I put on blinders and sat down to finally finish my Swing Coat. In the pattern there is one button at the top of the jacket to hold it closed. I decided to leave this off and close the jacket with a Knit Stick from Trendsetter. This way I can change it as my mood changes-also the stick can be placed further down should I choose.

Beth, Bev, Bev's daughter in-law Lisa and I are leaving for Minneapolis, MN on Friday morning. Look out Mall of America. I have an empty suitcase ready to fill. The weather forecast is for cold and snow. The highs are from -6C to -10C and the lows from -11C to -16C. Unfortunately I no longer have a ski jacket (my father wore it when he and Mom went on their Alaskan cruise and it is covered in paint-a really long story) so I had to go out today and buy a new one. $200 before I even get on the plane. Not much planned other than shopping. Maybe a visit to the nearby casino. Beth and I hope to get to the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness for a dome.

Speaking of football, our Fantasy Football is now in playoffs. We won our first match and play again this weekend. If we can pull out a win we are in the finals. Not too bad for a couple of girls.

Tonight was my last knitting lesson for the year. Not much knitting was done-Susan and Cathy both brought baking so we had a small party. A little different from my Thursday night class. Sparkling apple cider was served.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Late night rambling

Sometimes I really hate my computer. I work with Netscape because Internet Explorer won't work on my computer. Goes back to a virus and now nothing makes it work. Today Netscape decided to delete all my bookmarked pages. Pain in the ass!! I have spent the last hour rebookmarking important pages (banking, etc).

I did spent a bit of time (about 10 rows) knitting today. It was one of those days when my needles weren't calling my name.

The big event for this evening was watching the Survivor finale. I have been rooting for Dani for the past couple of weeks so I was glad to see that she won.

It was a busy weekend - Christmas is coming. Beth and I never know what to buy my parents so we took them out to dinner on Friday night with 15 of their friends. They had a great time. Worked out to an expensive gift-their friends can really drink!! Saturday night was dinner at Jane's. Jane has worked for me for almost 10 years now and she is referred to as Mom #3. From there it was off to another Christmas party.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Guild, Swing Coat and New Yarn

From my kitchen window it looks beautiful outside-3" of fresh snow. I haven't been outside yet so I can make this comment. Once I get out there and have to clean off my car I won't be so generous in my observations.

We had our guild meeting on Tuesday night. Everyone was ready to procede with their bags. They learned how to do the tuck and then started into the entrelac. The comment I continued to hear was 'this is so cool'. Here is a picture of some of the ladies working away. The meeting was very quiet-everyone was concentrating.

I didn't get my Swing Coat finished yet. Here is a picture so far. Just have to sew up under one arm and add the collar. Maybe tonight.

Got a parcel from New Zealand yesterday with some yarn (called Vero) that is going to be available in April. (Remember that their seasons are opposite of ours.) UPS has had the parcel for over a month but claimed that they couldn't find it. They wan't us to describe what it looked like. Beth's response was 'It is a box. What more can I tell you?' Then UPS wanted to know what was in the box and how we would know that it was ours. Beth's response 'It is yarn. If you find any box with yarn then it is ours. I am sure you don't have many of those hanging around.'
This is 100% wool made in Italy that will stripe. The colours are great. I have swatched one colour and the yarn is very soft-nice to work with. Am going to do another swatch to felt and see how that goes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Where did the day go?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel like you accomplished nothing but you never sat down during the day? That was my day today. Friends were in Toronto from New York City so Beth and I met them for lunch. Of course it wasn't a quick lunch-2 hours later we got out of there. We were close to Romni so Beth wanted to stop in and talk with Marilyn the owner. I spent time tidying shelves and picking yarn up off the floor. If you have visited there you will know what I am talking about. Then the long drive home from downtown. If you aren't on the road by 2:30 you are into traffic-blew that one. I am now on my way to teach knitting. One more week and then a little time off.

My dad is arriving home from Honduras tonight. Mom talked with him this morning from the airport and he begged us to bring him a winter coat. It is cold out but when you have been in a tropical climate it is really (you know the word) cold here.

Also getting ready for tomorrow's guild meeting. The bottom of everyone's bag should be done and we will be starting the entrelac. This should be interesting because most of the guild didn't know what it was let alone know how to do it. I am including the picture again for those who haven't seen it. This is a bag that I designed and Fiber Trends will be publishing the pattern in 2006.

I have the shoulder seams sown on my Swing Coat (Nashua) and one sleeve almost done. The sleeves are knit from the shoulders down. This means almost no sewing when done-makes any knitter very happy. I hope to finish the sleeve during football tonight and if the store is slow tomorrow I can get the other one done. Hopefully pictures tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I learned a neat knitting trick

My dad called from Honduras last night. He is doing well but says that the weather is very hot. Their construction is completed so now they can go to a resort to rest for a couple of days (showers, toilets and laundry facilities). Sunday was a bit of a scary day for them. Elections for president were being held and they were told not to leave their compound-there could be unrest. Luckily all went well.

While knitting the Swing Coat from Nashua (no more progress made) I learned the neatest trick for knitting the shoulders. I am not big on knitting short rows-no real reason but just can't be bothered. Mari Lynn Patrick wrote the pattern and in the stitch glossary it describes doing the sloped bind-off method. To avoid the 'stair-step' effect of binding off, work as follows: on the row preceding the bind-off, slip the last stitch on the needle with yarn in front; turn. On the next row (the bind off row) slip the first stitch over the second stitch (first bind off stitch) then continue to bind off as usual. This gets rid of that big gap that normally occurs when doing shoulder shaping.

Tonight was the last of my Thursday night class until the new year. We had wine, cookies and carrot cake-what a mix. Not much knitting got done. Lots of talking though. I really, really tried to get them all to quit but no go-they have all signed up to come back. (They want to start next week but I decided on January.) There is a list a mile long of people who want to take class but can't fit them it with the full load that I already have.

I hope to get back to my knitting tomorrow night. The newsletters are all done and in the mail. 750. What a job!!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

One of a Kind Craft Show

Today was a day out with Mom in Toronto at the One of a Kind Craft Show. Arrived at 11am just as the doors were opening. There had to be 300 people in line to buy tickets. Luckily I bought them on line before we went. The next line was at least 200 people who already had their tickets. Because Mom needs her walker I begged them to let us in instead of walking to the end of the long line and then walking all the way back. I was very good about spending today. Many of the vendors were the same as last year with the same things. Did get a leather carpet bag for carrying on the airplane. Great teal colour with brown accents. I do have a leather problem. Bought sheepskin slippers for Beth, Mom and me. Also bought Mom some hand painted wine glasses for the house in Myrtle Beach. There were some neat knit items - great ideas. One booth had chunky mittens with lots of long fringes on the cuffs. If anyone saw the coupon for this year they were on the front. A young woman made great scarves from yarn but they weren't knit. She took heavy plastic wire and tied fringes along it making a great boa. The yarn was Fleece Artist Wool Slub but Colinette Point 5 would work as well.

Knitting report-I have finished the body of my Swing Coat in Equinox Stripe. Just need to sew the shoulder seams and then the sleeves are knit from the top down. Small pickup around the neck and then done. I hope to be wearing it by the weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Which knitting needles to buy?

I started a new project today-just had to. The yarn is called Equinox Stripe from Nashua. It is 73% wool and 27% acrylic. The pattern is called Swing Coat from the Play magazine. 12mm needles so it should go quickly.

Samantha asked me about Denise Interchangeable needles. I have only knit a few stitches on
them and didn't like them. I am not a fan of bendable needles and these are a softer plastic. There are many advantages to them. You have all sizes readily available and can make them any length. One disadvantage is that they are in US sizing which doesn't always translate correctly into metric sizing.

Here are the needles that I have knit on and really like.

Addi Turbos-amazing to use. The only sizes I don't like are 12mm and larger-the tubing doesn't allow the stitches to slide easily.

Pony Pearls-I use the short straights when knitting scarves. Don't need to have long needles and these work just fine.

Brittany Birch-great double points. I also use larger sizes of the pairs for scarves.

Lakewood Birch-very sharp points. These are relatively new to the market so many of you probably haven't heard of them. Currently they are available in double points and straights. I interchange these with my Brittanys.

Clover Circular-I have only knit with the 8mm circular. No complaints but would rather use Addis.

Crystal Palace Circular-I starting using these for the first time today-12mm circular. I love them. The yarn just slides along, no catching on the joins.

Off to teach knitting class. Not sure how many are going to show up. It is cold and windy with snow mixed in. A night for staying inside.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Update and a scarf pattern

Here is a quick run down of my last few days. Melo is doing very well. The incision is healing and he doesn't have to wear his cone. Makes for a very happy puppy.

Friday night was dinner and drinks with friends. We met playing baseball when we were 12 and have been friends ever since. There was lots of laughter-we went to a very upscale restaurant and were getting dirty looks from all around. Luckily another friend owns the restaurant so we got to stay.

Saturday was busy in the store-thank goodness Sarah is back. Saturday night was spent relaxing watching tv, playing poker and working on the mist scarf. Do you have any idea how long it takes to cast off 675 stitches?

Sunday was Nascar and football. Worked on my Vision Coat-1/2 way through the second sleeve. My dad was being picked up at 2:30 am on Monday for his trip to Honduras. Beth decided that we should call him at 2 to say goodbye. Instead of going to sleep her bright idea was to watch a movie-The Posiedon Adventure (a remake of the original). This could possibly be the worst movie ever made. What a waste of 3 hours. It was so unbelievable!! We did get to talk with dad before he left so I guess it was worth it.

Monday was spent running around to the post office and banks. A nap was necessary in the afternoon before teaching. Class was relatively well behaved-no bad words. There wasn't nearly as much ripping out as there usually is which could have helped. Two ladies are working on complex cabled patterns so some nights are knit 2 rows and then rip out 3. Another lady is working on a sleeveless top in ribbon that is a k2tog, yo pattern. Everything was going fine until we got to the armhole shaping. I think she finally understands the pattern which makes it much easier. If she makes a mistake and has to rip out she gets anxious because the ribbon is so slippery that stitches drop down a number of rows.

Today was spent working on the newsletter. 200 are in the mail. I had to quit because my little gizmo to wet the envelopes to close them broke. There is no way that I am going to start licking 500 envelopes.
Taught the first night of a 2 night class on my felted Christmas stocking. The ladies were very afraid of double pointed needles at the start of the class but after one hour they all decided to work on the double points instead of a circular. Next Tuesday they will learn how to turn the heel-very scary for many until they try it. We should have a whole new group of sock knitters after this.

Here is the pattern for the scarf. Have fun!!!

You need:
3 balls Naturally Mist

8mm circular needles 80cm or longer

Work with 2 strands of yarn. Cast on 150 stitches. Work back and forth on stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit into front and back of every stitch across the row. 300 stitches
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: (K1, knit into front and back of next stitch) repeat across the row. 450 stitches

Row 8: Purl
Row 9: (K1, knit into front and back of next stitch) repeat across the row. 675 stitches
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: Knit
Row 12: Purl
Row 13: Cast off.
NOTE: You don’t have to count your stitches. If you are out one or two stitches it won’t matter.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Melo is home

Melo made it through his procedure just fine. The only problem is that he wants to lick the incision so he has to wear a cone on his head for the next couple of days. Not a happy dog. Actually Jekyll and Hyde is the best description. With the cone on he cries and cries. Take it off and happy Melo who likes to play. We got snow here today and he loves running and playing in it. He went to the vets with grass in the backyard and came home to snow. A little confusing. Here are pictures of happy Melo and Beth playing in the living room. He won't sit for a picture with the cone on.

Dad is leaving for Honduras on Monday morning. We now have to keep Mom busy for the next 2 weeks. I am going to take her to the One of a Kind Craft Show in Toronto. Always find amazing things and having Mom along means that she pays. For something like this she needs to take her walker. Luckily she has a wheelchair parking pass meaning we get to park right at the front door. Easy to bring parcels out during the day. Last year we could barely get everything in my SUV.

Just finished my newsletter-just a little late. Usually I mail this out in September. Where does the time go? This means that I get to stuff 800 envelopes over the weekend-Wannietta-why do you live so far away? This was a great job for her kids!!

Not much knitting to report. More scarves. I have knit over 20 of the same scarf in different colours-need to find something new. I did pull out an old Rowan sweater to work on-Jack from The Tweed Collection. The chart is wrong but I am working from the picture. It is obvious that the person who knit the sweater did not write the chart. I have been in a cable mood and the sweater has been calling my name. The yarn is amazing-Chunky Tweed. I am on my 5th ball and so far not one knot. Can't believe that Rowan discontinued it. The bright picture is the actual colour of the yarn but the dark picture shows the pattern better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dress Vases Warm for Fall

At dinner with my parents the other night my mom brought me a newspaper article-Hamilton Spectator on Saturday November 12. I found the article on the internet (The Montreal Gazette). It was written by a lady named Madeleine Langlois who does decorating ideas for newspapers as well as for Home Depot.

This particular article was called
Dress Vases Warm for Fall

The article tells you how to make a crochet cover to dress up a vase. I am sure that you could also knit this. All you need is some left over novelty yarns and a little imagination. You can use up leftovers from scarves and make gifts for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An Uneventful Tuesday

What a yucky day-cold and rainy. The perfect day for sitting in front of the tv and knitting. Someone said that we might get some snow tomorrow.

Many of you have been coming to my blog to see the Rowan pictures. They aren't here but I do have the posters in the store now. If you live in Southern Ontario, stop by and I can show them to you.

I must apologize to my Thursday night knitting class. I am always talking about them and their behaviour in class. My Monday night class now ranks with you. Last Monday out of the blue someone told a joke and the punch line dropped the 'F' bomb. That started things rolling. I was in such shock. I have tried very hard for 3 years to keep that class clean and now I learn that they all know the word and use it!! I thought that it was a one night thing until last night's class and they started again.

We scheduled Melo for surgery on Thursday-he is being fixed. Unfortunately we signed an agreement with the breeder that we would do this. He is such an amazing dog that I think he would make good puppies but no such luck. He even has to stay overnight at the vets. Our first night with out him.

The other dilemma in my life right now is scheduling dinner with a group of friends before Christmas. There is 5 families trying to get together. We have sent at least 15 emails back and forth trying to find one night that works for everyone. What did we do before email? I can't think about the hours that would have been spent on the phone.

Not much knitting to report.
I am working on yet another scarf sample for the store. The colours knit up are the ones that sell (I have been out car shopping so I really need to sell more yarn!!!)
I did get one sleeve finished on my Vision Coat. The back and one sleeve are finished. One front is finished to the neck shaping and the other sleeve is cast on.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Samantha and Wannietta meet

It was a crazy in the store today. Sarah (who works on Saturdays) was away in Montreal for the weekend so I was by myself. I keep hearing that the scarf craze is over-wrong. We sold yarn today for many, many scarves. The difference between this year and last is the yarn being used. Last year was 'Funny' and 'Fizz' - thick fluffy yarns. This year is totally different. Knitters are choosing finer yarns and knitting 2 or 3 strands together, many adding metallics. The other trend is exotic fibers-alpaca, silk, cashmere and angora.

There were also a few guest appearances today. Samantha was in with a knitting emergency. She is knitting a shawl for her mom and made a big, big mistake-check out her story-if I tried I think I could have had her in tears. The store was so busy that she had to take a seat for a bit. Luckily Wannietta came to the rescue. (The two had never met but have been reading eachothers blogs for the past month.) She arrived to pick up yarn and sat down to help Samantha as well as customers.

Beth and I took my parents out for dinner tonight. They are celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary this week. It's hard to believe that they have been married this long. We are happy to have grown up in a home with parents who love eachother. Well, we think they do. For many years we have been threatening them that if they think about divorcing we would bankrupt both of them!! There is no way that they could afford a divorce.

My dad is leaving for Honduras next week. Through our church he is going on a 2 week mission to help build a school. Beth went with him last year but couldn't get away from work again. He wanted me to go. NOT A CHANCE. There is no way that I can live for 2 weeks out of a back pack. No running water. No toilets. No washing machine. No curling iron. You even have to bring your own toilet paper. Anyone who knows me will be laughing at the thought of me on that trip. I can't go away for the weekend without a suitcase.

Not much knitting to report. I am going to sit in front of the tv for a bit, watch Hockey Night in Canada and finish the 2 shawls I am working on. Pictures to follow on Monday.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Spring Rowan

At the request of Rowan yarns I have removed pictures of the spring Rowan until the magazine launch on February 1.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I am a knitting machine!!!

A lot of knitting was accomplished over the weekend. Leaf game Saturday night. Football and Nascar on Sunday. I shouldn't forget Party Poker-not a bad weekend. Lost on Saturday and then won a mini-tournament on Sunday. Ended up almost even.

My blog has been a good motivator for me. I want to get projects done to show off. This means actually completing them and for a notorious starter of things this can be torture.

I knit another Felted Christmas stocking in earth tones. It was an easy way to show another Kureyon colourway. This also let me knit from the pattern that I wrote and I found a few errors. My students will be laughing at this because I profess to never make a mistake!

I mentioned an Ann Norling wrap (Ann Norling pattern #63-7 different ponchos and wraps) that I was knitting-got it finished as well. I am going to show you what the picture looks like on the pattern and then mine finished. The back is a triangle and the front is the triangle split down the middle. I have a hard time wearing wraps like this due to my broad shoulders-the one side that you throw over your shoulder doesn't make it over mine. I adjusted for this by making one side longer. I was smart enough to make the right side longer-being right handed this leaves my hand free for writing, etc. The yarn in the original was Musique from Crystal Palace. I used Overture from SR Kertzer on 6.5mm needles (the ones that I steped on). It is mohair combined with a fine metallic railroad ribbon. The close up of the knitting is closer to the real colour of the garment. I should learn that taking pictures at night don't work.

Then I picked up one of my many UFOs. It is from the new RYC collection-book 6 Classic Winter. The yarn is Soft Tweed (56 wool, 20 viscose, 14 polyamide and 10 silk). Knitting on 8mm needles in garter stitch makes me very happy.

Rowan - Summer 2006

Here is the poster for the spring Rowan magazine #39. This won't be showing up on the Rowan website until the spring. Click on the picture (and then click on it again) to get an enlarged view. The magazine uses Cotton Glace, Denim, Summer Tweed, Kid Silk Haze, Calmer, Handknit Cotton, All Seasons and Cotton Rope. There are new colours in every yarn quality.

I was very critical of Rowan #38-Rowan was sick of hearing from me. In my opinion they took the magazine in a bad direction. The people currently knitting Rowan do not want funky sweaters. They want a garment that is wearable for the next 10 years. Most of the young women who want funky don't have the money to knit with Rowan. The photography was also done in poor judgement. The pictures were beautiful but it was hard to see what the garments looked like. I believe that knitters want the best view of the garment to see what their's will look like. I must say that this magazine is vastly improved.

There are 2 new yarns which are featured in their own magazines.
Holiday (56 cotton, 37 viscose, 7 polyester) has 42m on a ball. It is super thick. I wasn't able to borrow the poster for this magazine.

Glimmer Print (50 cotton, 50 acrylic) has 40m on a ball. It is also a super thick cotton with gold pieces overlaid on the yarn. My description doesn't do the yarn justice. The magazine is called A Midas Touch. There are 13 great designs in the new magazine by Marie Wallin (who I believe is the new in house designer for Rowan taking over for Kim Hargreaves and Louisa Harding)

RYC-a new division of Rowan whose website I just found, is introducing a new yarn called Natural Aran Silk. Here is a sampling of these as well.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Debbie Bliss Pure Silk magazine

Since my last post I played a few games on Party Poker. Very addicting! Our account goes up and down very quickly. I was on a lucky streak at the beginning of the week. (Sigh-it didn't last long) I was adamant that I didn't want it on our computer but I am the one who plays the most. The good thing about playing poker online is that you can knit while doing it. Many of my students comment that I am getting a lot of knitting done-sit in front of the computer for a few hours playing poker and you can get alot accomplished.

While playing I was thinking about how to convert the pictures so that I could download them. Maybe I should have being paying more attention to the game-lost 3 in a row. I have to be positive-I figured out to do it. Here is a few of the designs. The logic behind the pictures I chose was to show the different colours.

Rowan and Debbie Bliss spring preview

Today was like Christmas in the store. My sales rep was in showing new yarns for spring. Hard to think about it when it is so warm out (18 C in Southern Ontario today.)

Rowan looks great for the spring. The fall disappointed me but things are looking up. There will be two new yarns and a magazine for each. There are new colours of the existing yarns that will be featured in Magazine 40. RYC has 2 new yarns and 3 new magazines. I will have yarn details and hopefully pictures early next week.

Debbie Bliss is introducing a new yarn called Pure Silk. The colours were great. No tension was shown on the ball but it looked somewhere between a 4ply and DK. There will be a whole magazine for this yarn - I have pictures but need to figure out how to get onto the blog. Her other yarn for spring will be Cashmerino DK. New colours of Cotton Angora, Cathay and Cotton Cashmere will be a separate magazine.

Not much knitting to report-too busy trying how to download pictures. I hate it when the computer beats me.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Melo goes to knitting class

The ladies in class haven't met Melo yet so he came to class.
I keep a toy in the store for him-a stuffed sheep. He has the same toy at home that is a pig. Unfortunately the sheep oinks like his pig. (This really confuses the children who play with it.) When he runs into the store he goes directly for it. Nothing upsets him more than a basket of yarn in the way so he can't get to it. He has only touched one ball of yarn since we got him-Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora. Pretty good for a six month old puppy. His name describes him perfectly. We have him on a raw food diet-raw meat, fruits, vegetable and cheese. The only treat he gets are Timbits. If you don't live in Canada with a Tim Horton's, Timbits are the donut holes. Don't show up to our house with a brown cup or brown bag unless there is a Timbit for him.

I finished my Tapestry shawl during the day. The picture doesn't do it justice. There are 5 colours used. It is knit lengthwise, leaving tails at the beginning and end of every row to create the fringe. Two rows are knit in each colour. The yarn has long fringes of silver metallic thread hanging from it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I've been tagged!!

Samantha tagged me for a knitting meme. I'm going to tag Wannietta-this should be interesting.

What is your all time favourite yarn to knit with?

This is a hard question for me to answer. I have been lucky enough to knit with almost everything from Rowan-there isn't one that I didn't like. I enjoy the Noro yarns. You want to keep knitting to see what the next colour will be. Scarves have let me knit with many of the fancy yarns on the market.

Your favourite needles?
Addi turbo needles hands down.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
A fairisle sweater (and I love fairisle)-the pattern was terrible and I would never recommend the yarn (don't want to mention the company)

Your most favourite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
Almost impossible for me to answer. I have knit so many great patterns during my 18 years in the store. I just finished Skeppstra by Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton in Noro Transitions which I would knit again. The most memorable would be a Kaffe Fassett full length coat-over 150 colours in it.

Most valuable knitting technique?
Mattress stitch for seaming - I hate seeing a finished sweater with ugly seams.

Best knit book or magazine?
The most influential in my knitting career is Glorious Knitting by Kaffe Fassett.

Your favourite knit-a-long?
Haven't joined one yet.

Your favourite knitblogs?
See the list on the right.

Your favourite knitwear designer?
I love Kim Hargreaves, Debbie Bliss and Annabel Fox. Debbie has been a friend of mine for many years and I have her teach in my store whenever possible. I will even take a bit of credit for her starting her own yarn company. Bev and I had pressured her for many years and she finally took the plunge. Annabel and I were friends while she was in the knitting industry-she even stayed at my house for a weekend.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
Another tough one. I am in a handknit sweater almost every day. I love my Button Jacket by Annabel Fox. I have an entrelac jacket by Debbie Bliss in Noro Kureyon but I didn't knit it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I flat spotted my Addi

I would like to say that I did it while knitting really, really fast but I actually stepped on the needle. My knitting fell and on the floor and I wasn't paying any attention to where I was walking. (My parents call me a bull in a china shop so this isn't surprising) It might help if I wasn't wearing my 'Shit kickers' or cowboy boots to everyone else. Luckily I am using the needle for a shawl so tenison isn't important but I don't think I want to use the needle for anything else. People suggested that I send it back because they are guaranteed, unfortunately that only works if the joins break or the polish wears off. The picture isn't great-with a flash it is too bright and with no flash it is too dark. Those are my bright red finger nails. Everyone asks 'how do you knit with those?' I have had them for so long that it is second nature. If one breaks my world ends-it is hard to do anything. They have been great for the golf score as well-my handicap has dropped since I have had them.

Tonight our guild starting on their entrelac knapsacks. They started out by learning a provisional cast on. Then they worked the base from the outside in. I think it is easier to decrease in the round than increase. Next meeting we will be picking up the live stitches and starting to work up. Here is a picture of our cute meeting room. Fireplace and free coffee-can't go wrong.

Rhonda is the wearing the pink cabled sweater at the bottom of the first picture.

Samantha didn't make it into the picture-sorry. I learned the Samantha has 'tagged' me. Being new to blogging I had no idea what she was talking about but now I understand. She has a list of questions for me to answer and post. I have to think about these questions and will post the answers tomorrow.

What is your all time favourite yarn to knit with?

Your favourite needles?

The worst thing you've ever knit?

Your most favourite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)

Most valuable knitting technique?

Best knit book or magazine?

Your favourite knit-a-long?

Your favourite knitblogs?

Your favourite knitwear designer?

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Felted Christmas Stocking is Done

My life has been crazy busy. This really means that the store has been busy and I haven't had time to write. The weather has turned cold which gets everyone thinking about knitting again. I was going to sit at the computer on Thursday night after class but instead I had to sit down with a drink. They are great ladies but they keep me on my toes. The language in class and topics of conversation can become X-rated. I have to interview anyone new who wants to join to make sure that they won't be offended.

I did get the Christmas stocking felted and in my opinion it looks great. The pattern is completely written except for the heel shaping. A smart person would keep track of what they did-not me. I have to get out some scrap yarn and cast on the number of heel stitches and try to recreate. STUPID!!

I've been knitting a shawl using Ann Norling's pattern #63. You start at the bottom of the back, work up to the neck and then down the fronts. I have the back finished and almost done one front. The yarn is called Overture from SR Kertzer. It is a mohair with metallic thread. The new colour in my wardrobe is chocolate brown which doesn't photograph very well so I will wait until finished to show a picture.

Tonight is my beginner/intermediate class. They actually get out their needles right away and start knitting-no gossiping, no movie previews-just knitting. New knitters can be so keen!! Tomorrow night is guild night. I will be starting the group on the Felted Entrelac Knapsack. Many of these woman have never taken a knitting class so they are sponges for new techniques. We are starting with a provisional cast on and working the base on circular needles.

Fantasy football went great this weekend. Our score will more than double our opponents!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

16 Inning Christmas Stocking

Last night was spent watching the baseball game. 14 innnings and the outcome did not go my way.

A customer came in the store on Saturday and told me that she was making felted Christmas stockings out of Noro Kureyon. What a thought!! I sat down last night, worked out a pattern and started knitting. After 14 innings the stocking was almost done. 2 more innings was all I needed to get it finished. I completed the stocking today in the store and will felt tomorrow. Here are pictures of the pre-felted work.

I used less that 3 balls on 7mm needles.

Tonight was my crazy knitting class that has been with me forever. At 8 (the class starts at 7) they finally got out their needles. We discussed Las Vegas (one of my favourite places in the world), grandchildren, doctors, knitting blogs and At Knit's End by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot). At 8:45 I have to suggest that they start packing up so that they are out by 9-translates into 9:15.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday afternoon knitting and watching sports-life is great

Sunday was spent knitting while watching football, Nascar and baseball. Beth and I are in a fantasy football league. This means we draft a team (pick position players from every NFL team) and play each week against another team. Our league has 8 teams-7 run by men and then ours. We are known as the 'bitches' because we do really well and it pisses off the guys. We spend the afternoon flipping between games to see how our players are doing. Many of you are probably groaning-this sounds just like your husband. We won again-our record so far is 6-1 (tied for first).

Between watching sports and playing Party Poker I knit 2 scarves out of Trendsetter Sorbet. 2 balls of Sorbet, 10mm needles, 15 stitches and knit every row. It doesn't take long.

I also worked on my Tapestry shawl from Trendsetter. This is a new ribbon yarn. One edge is finished and the other isn't and there are long metallic threads hanging from the yarn. I was on my way to being finished when I ran out of one colour. I am in the process of ripping back the row and a half and leaving that colour out. I hate to rip so it has been set aside until later tonight. The shawl is knit on 12mm needles with 94 stitches using one ball each of five colours.
Here is another picture of my Pandora scarf which shows the changes in the yarn better.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fall is definitely here

It is another cold and rainy day. I would give anything to have a fireplace-it is the perfect day to sit in front of it and knit.

Not much knitting to report. The scarf knit out of Trendsetter Pandora is done. This is Sarah who works for me. She decided to act up when I was taking her picture-who's laughing now Sarah? I knit the scarf lengthwise. 2 balls, 150 stitches on 9mm needles-knit every row. If I was to knit it again I would cast on 160 stitches to make it a bit longer.

I have yarn everywhere in my apartment (I live above my store). The building is 200 years old and all the ceilings have slopes in them. The couch in the living room can't go all the way to the wall so there is great storage behind it. Every once in a while I start pulling out bags just to see what is there. The greatest thing arrived yesterday-a Yarn Catcher. It is a canvas cube that stands open to hold your yarn and collapses flat for easy storage. It works great for keeping the yarn from rolling all over the floor (and out of Melo's reach). It is filled with Tahki Donegal Tweed-a dark purple colour with flecks of brighter purples and green. I keep dreaming of this yarn in a cabled sweater.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Every year my sister (Beth) and I go on a vacation for the first week of December. Usually we go to Vegas but occaisionally a cruise is taken. Unfortunately it isn't going to happen this year. But I really, really need to get away so we are flying to Minneapolis for a weekend in December to go shopping at the Mall of America. What an amazing place. SHOES!!! Lots and lots of shoes stores. The shoe department in Norstroms is huge and beside that is DSW (Discount Shoe Warehouse). The store is the size of a grocery store-aisles and aisles of shoes at great prices. Luckily Beth will be along to carry all the boxes. My best friend Bev will be coming along as well. There is a competition between us to see who can buy the most pairs while away (Bev always wins but I do try hard). Bev and I travel together often to yarn trade shows and an extra day is always planned so we can go shopping. Now you understand why I need to work so much-it is so I can fulfil my shoe obsession.

There has been a small change to my blog. I learned how to add titles to each post. You learn something new every day!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Another finished project...

and at this rate I might have all my started projects finished by the time I am 60. This is a poncho for a 2 year old knit out of Naturally's Colourworks. The yarn is chunky weight, handpainted, machine-washable wool. I knit it on 6mm circular needles-very, very easy. Now I have to sit down and write the pattern. There should be some kind of computer software where we enter the picture and the pattern is spit out. Now that would be amazing.

As a reward for finishing a project I get to start something new. This is a new yarn from Trendsetter called Pandora. (100% polyamide) There are actually three different yarns combined in one ball. As you knit it changes from one to the next-it looks like you keep changing yarns but without the ends to sew in.

The pink is for a scarf. Probably knit on the bias to get diagonal lines. I have chocolate brown arriving at the end of the week for a shawl that I am designing in my head.

With all the sports currently on tv I am not getting much knitting done. It is hard to hold the converter and knitting needles. Saturday night was flipping between NHL, NASCAR and baseball. Sunday was flipping from one football game to the next followed by baseball. Monday night was teaching followed by football and baseball. Tonight is easy tv viewing-The Amazing Race. As you can see, tv is a very big part of my life. After working 10-12 hours a day I need some relaxation time-it is also a good excuse to sit and knit.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I sold my first pattern

For a workshop at our knitting retreat I designed a felted, entrelac knapsack. Bev Galeskas from Fiber Trends purchased the pattern which will be available in the new year. The model is knit out of Tussock Chunky from Naturally of New Zealand.

This is my five month old Golden Retriever Carmelo Anthony (called Melo for short) using the knapsack as a pillow. Melo doesn't play with yarn unless it is really expensive. Luckily he hasn't discovered my shoes which are worth way more than the yarn.

Small Rant
Sometimes I wonder if yarn and pattern companies read their patterns before publishing them. I had a lady come in the store today with a well known hard cover book. She was at the neck shaping and the instructions did not make the neck look like the picture in the book. She emailed the company and they told her that their customers had no problems with the pattern and maybe she was having problems because she was a new knitter (which she isn't). I spent less than 5 minutes reading the pattern and looking at the picture and she was right. The instructions were totally wrong-not just a little wrong. We got it figured out but I have to ask if the people who wrote the pattern knit it after it was published.