"Let me keep my mind on what matters
Which is mostly standing still
And learning to be astonished"

~ Mary Oliver ~

Knitting Moments

September 11, 2011
This was my first Wool Peddler's Shawl. I used the pattern that came from Aberle's Folk Shawls, page 71, but instead of the yarn and needles called for I substituted with 5 skeins of Koigu yarn and used 4"circular needles. The pattern needed to be changed to accommodate the finer wool, and I am grateful to Linda Tinkler for giving me those changes. Once I made just one of these shawls, I was hooked!

My Inspiration -- Wool Peddler Shawl knit by Linda Tinkler

I actually hadn't knit anything at all since I had been in Grade 6, ten years old.  My mother had started me off at home a little earlier, taught me how to do a long-tail cast-on, and I was fortunate enough to reinforce and build on my skills by having to take knitting and crochet classes at elementary school.  The teacher, Miss Hutchison, infamous at our school -- not for her patience, I assure you -- was somehow able to kindle the spark already lit.  I knit a pair of baby soakers as my class assignment.  Yes, there were a few visible mistakes, but I had done my very best work and was satisfied.  My mother told me she'd block them for me the night before the project was due.  When I awoke the next day, I had an experience similar to that in the tale of the cobbler's shoes, the ones that magically appeared each morning.  Well, when I awoke on the morning of the project's due date, the soakers were magically error-free, perfect in every way, ready to be handed in and marked.  I guess that mothers just know how to do that kind of magic!

Natalie's Wool Peddler Shawl, August, 2009

I knit several Wool Peddler shawls using various colour combinations, most of them with the Koigu yarns.  For most, I chose one colour for the first three skeins, which took me down to the lace section.  Then I started the fourth skein in a multi-coloured mix, and finally the solid border colour.  I discovered that using 3.75 mm circular needles worked even better than the 4.00 mm ones, ensuring that I could make 6 shell rows as called for in the original.  My first attempts with the 4 mm needles sometimes made only 5 shell rows.  Here is the Wool Peddler's shawl in  various shades of green that looks just beautiful on my now daughter-in-law!

Joanna, Wool Peddler's Shawl, July, 2010

One of my favourites was this combination of colours, ranging from yellow to purple, but with an overall orange look.  It looks just exquisite on my niece, the person I made it for.  Don't you agree?

After creating a number of the Koigu shawls, I decided to experiment, using different yarns.  The one below was made with Rowan Purelife, DK weight in "onion" shade.  I used 4.5 mm circular needles for this one and kept the shawl for myself.  It is so cosy and warm, great for snuggling on the couch, sitting in meditation or taking along when I go on retreat.

Close-up view of lacy scalloped shell pattern (before blocking)
Sheila's Wool Peddler Shawl, January, 2010

The  shawl  in  pink  was  knitted  with Cascade 220, Colour #7802, using 4 skeins, each with 220 yards.  The total yardage needed for this shawl is approximately 826 yards.  This yarn is knitting worsted weight, resulting in a shawl with substantial texture and warmth. The pink one looks most like the original in Cheryl Oberle's book, the lace pattern clearly visible.  I found it quite amazing what a change in size could be made when blocking the shawl by pinning to the desired dimensions and then spraying with a fine water mist.  When the shawl dried, it held its shape beautifully and was ready for gift-giving!

September 12, 2011
Owen's Hoodie, Fall, 2009
 This project was actually crocheted.  When my grandchildren visited during the summer of 2009, I had requests to make specific items.  My grandson wanted a hoodie, black, with flames across the front.  This was quite a challenge for me as I needed to create the pattern!  I used graph paper to design the shape and number of stitches in the flame section, and indicated those  stitches that would be red and those that would be yellow.  As for the shape of the hoodie itself, I looked at a few children's patterns and then basically winged it from there! The most challenging part involved sewing in the 10,000 ends! I ended up lining the flame section with cloth, so that the ends wouldn't unravel.

Close-up of flame section

September 13, 2011

The first project for my granddaughter that summer was this
very easy poncho.  Again, it was a crocheted pattern, from Bernat, Softee Chunky, in Aqua.  The pattern for size 10-12 called for 4 balls of yarn, though it took only 3.  I have often  found the estimated yardage not to be very accurate, but I suppose it's always better to have more than less!  One just needs to have a repertoire of several one-skein projects on hand.  I used an 8mm crochet hook
The poncho was made with two rectangles, one crocheted one day and the other the next.  They were sewn together, one long side to one short side, twice, and then the tie, chained with a length of doubled yarn, was woven in and out at the neckline.

My granddaughter was also the recipient of a winter toque.  This was knit with Bernat denim style yarn, again following the pattern on the yarn label, with 4.5 mm circular needles.  The seam was sewn at the back and last stitches drawn through the yarn for a tight circle at the top.  Doesn't she look cosy?

Owen in his toque for fall, 2009

My grandson's toque used a different pattern and yarn.  Here I used one ball of Softee Chunky, by Bernat, in one of the multi-coloured shades.  I was following a men's pattern, but instead of casting on 78 stitches to start, I cast on 68, using a K2 P2 repeat for every row.  I worked about 8 inches, instead of the 11 in the men's pattern and then shaped the top:
Row 1    K2 tog, P2 tog (34 st remain)
Row 2    K1 P1, instead of  P1 K1
Row 3 - 6   Continue in K1 P1
Row 7    K2 tog across (17 st remain)
Row 8    Purl
Row 9    K2 together till final st.  K1
Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches tightly.  Sew back seam to join sides.
Both toques can fold up a cuff or not, as desired.

September 14, 2011

As fall approached, and a planned trip back east, I began knitting gifts to bring along on the trip.  I had found a lovely pattern for a neckwarmer, much lighter and less bulky than a scarf, and yet warm and cosy -- very reminiscent of a decorative collar.  I made several of these, discovering that I could use less than one skein of just about anything.  It was a great way to use up leftover yarn from other projects, although I did purchase some new yarn when trying to make a particular colour for a particular person!  Not only was this project personalized by colour, but I had recently come across a tin of buttons, left by my mother when she passed away.  For neckwarmers that I made for family, I tried my best to use two buttons from my mother's stash, making these gifts even more meaningful.  Here you can see photos of a few of the finished neckwarmers, in mauve, white, green and red.  I did others in charcoal grey, beige, pink, two-toned charcoal and white, and blue.  For something quick and easy to make, each lacy pattern could be knit up in two or three days, a fast way to feel a sense of accomplishment, as well as creating something special for loved ones.

September 15, 2011
Early in 2010, I moved on with my knitting into sweaters.  My first attempt was this textured sweater to the left.  It was a very straightforward pattern, but the yarn itself was interesting and unique.  I used Gedifra, Sortido, 15 balls, each 50 gm and 55 metres, and size 0 Canadian circular needles.  I was able to do both front pieces at the same time, casting on with two balls of yarn.  The yarn is a blend of 68% wool, 19% acrylic, and 13% polyamide.  Hand washing in cool water and laying flat to dry are both necessary with this yarn.  I am finding, over time, that the yarn pills and sheds.  It looks great but seems not to be the most practical or long lasting.    

                                          Close-up of Gedifra sweater, mainly garter stitch     

Jamie's pullover, May, 2010

Close-up of pullover, showing simple cable design and neckline
 Once completing the cardigan sweater, I moved on to something a little more complicated.  I found a wonderful pattern in one of my old Creative Hands volumes, and though the encyclopedia was originally published in the 1960's,  many of the ideas and patterns still seem very current.  This pullover I knit for my son and finished it in May of 2010.  I made a second one, exactly the same, for my son-in-law, completing it in June of 2011.  The pattern called for sports yarn, no particular brand mentioned, and used American needle sizes, 10 and 8.  I decided on using Mission Falls 136, Merino Superwash, a 100% merino wool that can be washed and tumble dried, and size 11 and 9 Canadian needles.  Trying to find the right number of skeins turned out to be a challenge, as the yardage was never mentioned in the pattern.  I originally bought 8 skeins of the charcoal grey, #004, and one skein of the natural, but had to go out to purchase more of the grey part way through the project and had great difficulty matching the dye lots!  I learned my lesson the hard way.  Better to buy too much than too little, and make sure you know the yardage required!  I ended up purchasing 7 skeins more of the grey and used more than 5 of them!  I tried using a cable cast-on this time, which really helped the appearance of the ribbing.  I switched to circular needles after the ribbing and definitely recommend their use overall.  I was also able to do both sleeves on the same needle at the same time, and this also helps to keep everything uniform by knowing that you're using the same tension on each.  I understand that many yarn shops stopped selling Mission Falls as people couldn't get a proper gauge established with their wools.  I didn't find that problem at all, and was quite disappointed when I no longer could buy it anywhere.  I've heard that they now have gone out of business entirely.
Lauren, in her slouch hat, fall, 2010
From cardigans and pullovers, I moved on to the fast approaching fall and another trip to Toronto for my grandson's 10th birthday.  I arrived before Hallowe'en, ready with a few more handknits, a slouch hat for Lauren and a classic headband for Owen.

Owen, wearing his classic headband, fall, 2010
 I had received a request from Owen to make him a hat with Cookie Monster's face on it, and this took me on quite a search.  No such pattern, of course.  However, I did find a simple knitted toque pattern in stocking stitch that I thought would be suitable for adding colour.  Now I had to learn how to do some intarsia work, as I had no idea how to change colours midstream without creating holes.  I plotted out the face on graph paper, using an idea from someone who had charted a different muppet face.  I used that model to create Cookie's face, read up online about intarsia work and the technique involved, and got to work.  Intarsia creates many strands
Owen's Cookie Monster toque, fall, 2010
that need sewing in, but luckily my patience takes over when I'm making things for the people I love, and I eventually completed the toque in time for my trip.  Owen loved it!  He also asked me many questions about the work, its difficulty, how I changed colours, and so on.  I really felt appreciated!!
Close-up of Cookie's eyes
Lady's v-neck pullover, completed October, 2010
It was time to make a pullover for myself, especially since I found a true yarn bargain at the Dressew shop in Vancouver.  They were selling out warehouses of yarns from a particular distributor, and I was able to pick up 11 skeins of Nashua Handknits, Wooly Stripes, Jewels, to work this project.  I found the pattern in a Nashua Geologie book, but switching the yarn seemed to work out just fine.  I used ten balls for the pullover, all self-striped, and used the extra ball to make myself a little matching slouch hat.  I love this sweater, and even with the horizontal stripes, it fits so well that it is flattering to wear.  I had good practice at setting in sleeves and these came out beautifully with the blocking.  The final touch was the add-on collar.  I made it much narrower than the one in the pattern, and again, this seemed to suit me very well, with the v-neck.    

September 16, 2011                                                                       
For Heather, a toque for Chanukah/Christmas, 2010
For Owen, Sack Boy, Chanukah/Christmas, 2010

Finished off the family's hats in time for the holiday season.  Above left is the toque for Heather, which matches her winter coat.  And below is Ray's toque -- yes, we can't forget the Maple Leaf's blue!  The most fun I had was knitting Sack Boy for Owen.  I actually found a pattern online which turned out to be easy to follow.  This was my first attempt at a stuffed toy, each part made separately from the others and then sewn together.  It is not recommended to unzip the zipper, as the stuffing, purchased at a hobby shop, will definitely fall out.  In fact, after sewing in the zipper, I glued it shut all along its length. To hold the head upright, a number of sucker sticks were tied/glued together and inserted through the neck opening into the head.  The body then was attached to the neck so that the lower ends of the sticks were inserted into the body -- all in all giving a sturdiness to the doll.

Ray's toque, Christmas/Chanukah, 2010

Ray's toque is made with enough length to fold up a cuff or brim .  If creating a brim on a toque with a back seam, then it's necessary to seam the upper part of the toque on the inside and the lower part on the outside, so that when you turn it up, no seaming shows. 

Here's the Birthday Girl!!
Lauren's Birthday Socks, February 6, 2011
Shortly after the New Year of 2011, I took a class in knitting socks.  I had never tried this venture before and learned how to use a set of four double-pointed needles to complete this project.  The first pair of socks I knit were those you see in a beautiful cobalt shade.  They were a gift for my granddaughter, Lauren, who chose the colour.  The class fortunately ended on the Saturday before Lauren's birthday, and I was able to pack and send the socks in time for her special day.  Sock-knitting is a lot of fun!  These socks were made with Unwind Yarns' Merlot DK, a superwash merino in light worsted weight. Completing them led to my experimentation with other yarns and patterns.    The Exotic Pool socks pictured here were made from Regia self-patterning sock yarn.  Not only does this yarn stripe itself, but it also has tiny repeating bumps and curves along some of the stripes, an amazing feat for the feet!  This yarn is much finer than the Unwind yarn, and I used the pattern that came on the packages of yarn, finding it much easier to understand after taking the sock class at Three Bags Full.  I knit another pair of Unwind for myself in a mixed pink, which I wear to day-long meditation sits, where my feet get cold!  That yarn is so lovely to work with that I have purchased enough in a jewelled purple to knit up another pair of warm winter socks.                                                                                                                                                                                              September 29, 2011
Babies!!  Here is a new endeavour for me -- baby wear!  A friend's son married in 2010 and his wife gave birth during 2011.  What an exciting project, with such beautiful colours and a very simple pattern.  I love the combination of the lime and turquoise shades.  The "waistline," cuffs and collar are all done in a simple garter stitch, alternating colours every two rows.  The rest of the pattern is in stocking stitch, and the sleeves are set-in style.

The little pink dress is from a pattern I found entitled "Little Sister's Dress."  This pattern was unique for me, in that it started at the top and was knit in the round!  My cousin, Andi's, daughter, Shira, gave birth to a girl, Sam Rachel Wilson, on September 6, 2011.  I confess that I had the dress pre-made, as Shira and Jeremy knew she was going to be a girl.  Usually, I don't like to make things in advance -- I'd rather wait and see the 10 fingers and toes first -- but I did fall in love with the pattern and enjoyed making it very much. Baby clothes work up very quickly!!  The button again comes from my mother's button box, just one on its own which happens to match the dress beautifully.

October, 2011
My project this month is this beautiful ruanna, very easy to knit, but quite flattering and attractive to wear. 
It starts out in one corner by casting on one stitch only.  Then each row is increased while the colour is changed every two rows.  It's quite simple to carry the second colour up the side of the work so that there is no cutting of yarn and re-attaching required.  While I was making this, I noticed that when I had joined on a new skein of yarn that it didn't look quite as neat as I'd have liked -- nothing terrible.  But once I finished the garment, it started to bother me that it didn't look great and I took out some of the yarn and tried to get it knitted back properly.  It was a big mistake to have waited until I finished.  I should never have gone past the colour I was using because it was impossible to rip the ladders back to fix it, and my own efforts at re-doing just made it look worse.  In the end, I had to take it in to my wool shop for help.  One of the women there did a repair job, and quite honestly, it looked about the same as it had been before I tried fixing it in the first place!!  Another lesson learned.  When I don't like how something looks, it's much better to take the work back to that point before going forward!!  I love wearing this around the house, out on a fall day, or sitting in meditation.  One of my favourite pieces!

November 2, 2011
Whew!  Just in time I completed knitting Captain America, a stuffy for my grandson, Owen's birthday.  Once again, I had no pattern to work from, but I consulted images of Captain America online, and looked up methods of making stars, as well as mittens and boots for dolls.  I had to alter all of those ideas to suit the size I needed for Captain America.   It's hard to tell from the photo, I think, that the shield is crocheted in rounds of single crochet.  I did find a pattern for a knitted star, which I made separately, and then sewed on to the shield.                                                                         
I used graph paper for planning out the letter A, the eyes and facial area on the Captain's helmeted head, and again, I graphed the star on the pullover.  For the stripes, I simply did a knit 2 red and knit 2 white for several rows.

The boots start out in knitting from the top down to the ankles, and then I crocheted the toe section, sewing both together when complete.  

Once I had finished all the pieces, I stuffed them with quilt batting, which is washable, and then sewed everything together.  The only removable part is the shield, which is attached to the right arm with an elastic band sewn onto the shield.

No doubt you will notice the odd wings on the head -- but I was given strict instructions by Owen to make sure I put them on.  I crocheted both of them, and just sewed one side to the head.
I'm afraid that this creation doesn't look proportioned very well.  My first attempt at the head had it almost twice as large as it looks now, and the musculature of Captain America, I'm sure, is nowhere near the girth it should be for a superhero!!  I'll wait for feedback from Owen once he receives it.

November 6, 2011
Well, I've heard that Captain America was very well received!  My grandson loves him and has already started sleeping with his new stuffy every night.  I'm so glad!  Now, I have resumed my work on a sweater for Owen's sister, Lauren, a replica of a Roxy sweater that we saw in a store window during the summer and found online later.  Once again I'm working without a pattern, but I did use several things that helped.  Lauren had tried on an old Cowichan sweater of mine while she was here, and although it was a little bit too wide, it generally fit her very well.  I also looked up a pattern for a zippered jacket in size small, similar measurements, which gave me an idea of the type of wool and how many stitches to cast on for that size.
I used Patons Shetland Chunky yarn, an acrylic and wool blend, which can be machine washed, cool, and dried flat after rolling in a towel to extract excess water.  After all my prep, it was all guess work!  When it came to the Roxy designs on the front, I used my trusty graph paper to chart the tree, heart and snowflake.  I believe they're a bit smaller than the original Roxy sweater designs as they seemed to use much heavier yarn than I did.  However, I think the designs came out well.  I love doing the graphs and then watching them come to life as I knit!

Today I've started the blocking process.  First, I traced onto brown paper the sleeves, fronts, back and collar of my Cowichan jacket.  I cut out those shapes and pinned them down to some heavy towelling on a carpeted floor.  Then I pinned each piece on top of its matching paper cut-out, allowing for a narrower fit down the sides and through the waist.  I've taken some photos in this blocking stage and you'll see them below.  Once the pieces are all dry, I'll sew them together and put in the zipper.  For me, the zipper will be the hardest part, I think.  I don't have a sewing machine so will attempt doing it by hand.  If not successful, I can call upon a friend who has a machine.  I've purchased two zippers, slightly different sizes, just to ensure that I have a final product that looks and behaves as it should.  One zipper is 55 cm in length, and one is 53 cm.  I bought the type called "separating zipper" to make sure that the sweater can open when the zipper is undone.

Here are a few of the blocking photos:

These are the fronts
Sleeve folded in half



Once everything is complete, I'll photograph the finished sweater!  Stand by!

November 20, 2011
Yes, I finished Lauren's sweater a few days ago, and here it is!

Now it's time to package it up and send to Lauren.  Below you will see a few close-ups.

Tree Shape

Heart Shape


I have done some work with Intarsia and Fair Isle before, but felt much more confident this time.  Below you can see the inside of the tree, heart and snowflake.  I've shown two versions of the heart.  In one, I carried the black yarn back and forth across the rows, attaching it every 3 stitches.  This was the Fair Isle technique.  It really made a nice, thick backing to the pattern on the front.  On the other heart, I used only the centre area for the black yarn,  the Intarsia technique.
Tree, inside view
Snowflake, inside view

                                               Fair Isle heart, inside view

Intarsia heart, inside view

February 11, 2012
Hard to believe that I haven't used this blog space for months already!  Here is the Angry Bird golf club cover that I knit for my son-in-law, Ray, for a Christmas/Chanukah gift -- and yes, it did arrive on time!  I have just been negligent in updating the blog.

The pattern I found for this project was unclear when it came to doing the colour work, so I had to improvise, make corrections, make the eyes separately after the finishing the knitting, and sew them on.  The eyebrows were done in  duplicate stitch to add more texture. The pattern needed to indicate the start of the chart-work as I had gone merrily along in the red, as written, before realizing it was too late!                                                                   


Oh, dear, another Christmas/Chanukah gift I forgot to post in 2011.  This is a wine bottle holder that I knit for my son, Jamie -- and yes, there was a bottle of wine inside!

And this was one of many soap sacks I made as small gifts to friends, and as stocking stuffers for my daughter and granddaughter.

Lauren in hat to match Roxy sweater

 I had completed a hat for Lauren to match the Roxy Jacket for her birthday, in February of 2012, complete with the three pieces of colour work -- the snowflake, heart and tree.  However, it looked absolutely atrocious when done as the weight of the colour work weighted the hat down and pulled on the natural drape.  So, I found a pattern and just used the same colours as had been in the jacket.  This was a new venture in brioche stitch, something I'd never tried to do before.  It was an interesting type of stitch, and essentially made every two rows appear as one row; this is because much of the knitting is done into the row below the stitches on the needle!

I made a few pairs of socks over the winter time as well and will add the photos once I take them!!  I've been on a real sock kick, enjoy making them as they work up so quickly, and am looking forward to learning how to make them from the toe up rather than cuff down.  I'm told that once you make toe up socks, there is no other way to go, that you can make them fit much better.  I've signed up for an online tutorial, downloaded all kinds of instruction sheets and plan to start in the near future.

Right now, I'm working on completing one of the shawls from Cheryl Aberle's Folk Shawls.  It's the Aran Pocket Shawl, with a basket weave pattern and pockets, the design meant to be reminiscent of the Scottish woven plaid shawls.  I actually have made another of these, without the pockets, and quite a bit shorter than the one I'm working on now.  I think I lost patience with repeating over and over again, decided that I was short and didn't need such a full-length shawl, and stopped.  So, this one now I'm determined to complete properly.  There are 27 repeats of an 18-row pattern, and as of this moment, I just finished the 25th repeat. Of course, the pockets themselves will be additional work, each of them knitted with two repeats of the pattern and an 8-row border.  I actually am fairly short, so it will be interesting to see if this shawl looks too long for me!  If so, I'll give it as a gift.  At the moment, I'm thinking of it as an excellent warmer for sitting at meditation retreats!  The pockets are intended to keep hands warm, too!

First Aran shawl, basketweave and no pockets
Second shawl, highlighting the pocket, not easy to see
Full length of shawl -- yes, too long for me!
      Visiting the grandkids in August of 2012, I came bearing knitted gifts once again:

A snuggly pair of slippers for Lauren
I had bought a kit from Mary Maxim, ordering the yarn, the suede soles, and the pattern.  They turned out very well.  I really liked the cable-type pattern, which wasn't difficult to follow at all.  The hardest part, I'd say, was sewing on the soles, getting them aligned with the sole of the sock part of the slipper.  The instructions said to wash after sewing and pull the soles into proper shape.  They may not be exact, but I think that Lauren likes to wear them -- so that's the main thing!

And Owen's gift was a request from him -- the character from Tron Legacy!  I had no idea who or what Tron Legacy was, but we looked him up online, saw the shape, the colour, and the neon electric circulation system on the outer body -- and that was it.  I created a pattern from scratch again, and this is what I came up with:
After creating the body in black and attaching two black arms, I basted stitches to follow the path in the photo I downloaded for the neon circuitry.  I didn't have good luck with finding yarn that was fluorescent, so I used the turquoise yarn left over from Lauren's winter jacket and created a very long and thick chain with a crochet hook.
Then, I proceeded to stitch the chain along the basting line.  As it wound around I would add on more and more to the chain until it had covered the planned placement.
Front view of completed Tron Legacy character

Back View

 I absolutely loved creating this project for Owen.  It was so much fun, and a fairly easy concept.  Of course, I stuffed the character with a washable stuffing before adding on the turquoise yarn details.                       

December, 2012

The face of Bane
Well this piece for Owen's Christmas/Chanukah present has been my greatest achievement so far, I think.  Another character from the movies that I know nothing about and thought was totally gruesome and horrid!  And, of course, who would ever create a pattern for a creature like this?!  Well, I did!  This is Bane, from the Dark Knight, and what a time I had making him.  I found many online photos, and close-ups of his face and mask, and I figured that I could create those spidery shapes by making a series of I-Cords, and that seemed to work well.  I asked my grandson for his comments, any changes or additions to what I'd done, and he told me that Bane was just perfect the way he was.  Who could resist making things for someone who is so appreciative?
Bane, standing
Bane, a more detailed look

Owen and Bane, inseparable

So great to have my grandson here over the holidays this year!

Friend, Karen, neckwarmer, Christmas, 2012

A neckwarmer to keep -- so many different patterns!

January, 2013

It was already 2013 by the time I finished Heather's poncho for Christmas/Chanukah.  It was a beautiful all cotton yarn, Ultra Pima, by Cascade, which was lovely to work with.  I doubled the yarn to make a warm poncho and found this pewter pin to set it off.  I am still waiting for a photo of her wearing it!  I had to wrap it and send it off, so my only photos are the ones I took myself.

April 7, 2013
Well, this morning I received photos of my granddaughter wearing the poncho I made for my daughter!  It looks great on her, don't you think?

Lauren in Heather's Poncho

View with pin closure

Pattern Chart magnetized to metal notebook stand
August 5, 2013 
Altogether too long since I've updated this page!  You may think I've been slack and not done a piece of knitting, but you would be wrong!  I've been working fairly steadily on  my most challenging piece to date. I'm making a pair of lace stockings for my granddaughter.  We found a Vogue pattern from 2009, with most of the instructions on the charts.  I have found errors in the charts, even in the numbering of the rows, so it has taken time to figure out what was meant by the person who designed the stockings, and how her instructions have been put to chart.

Aside from the difficulty, this is a labour of love!  My daughter, cleverly, suggested that I use a secretary's notebook stand, made of wire so that it is magnetic, and that has helped keep the pattern pages upright. Aside from that, she blew up each chart so that my vision is not so highly taxed by trying to read the charts up close!  Over time, I have become more familiar with how the pattern works on the charts, finally "getting the hang" of them.  I think I am much more a "word person" than a "chart person" so this has been a challenge!

I am within sight of the top of the leg (they are toe-up design)!  I added several more rows of pattern to Chart 3, as my granddaughter wants the stockings to be thigh high.  I have an idea that the old-fashioned garter belt is going to be put to good use once again.  The pattern calls for attaching elastic at the tops, and I may, but I'm concerned that my granddaughter will be forever hiking them up, or they'll pinch, or, worst of all, that she'll give up on wearing them if they're too much of a bother.  We'll see.


November, 2013

Well, at last!  The lace stockings are finished and fit my granddaughter.  This was an ambitious project and seemed to take me a very long time.  Truly a gift of love!  Now I'm late for the November birthdays and have to get cracking!


This is a long sweater for Heather's 40th Birthday, made of cotton yarn. Until fairly recently, all the cottons were "dishrag" variety, but now there are some beautiful and soft cottons.  I used the Cascade Ultra Pima, as I had for the poncho above, this time with Colour 3716, Chocolate.  The photo doesn't do justice to the rich and dark colour of the yarn.  With the poncho I had doubled the yarn, which made a very heavy poncho.  In this project, I used the yarn as it came in the hank.  My daughter says it fits and she wears it, but she is very reluctant to send photos of herself.  Luckily, I have been taking photos of all my projects. 

Owen's birthday falls on the same day as his mom's.  I really needed to do a rush job to get all the projects done for birthdays and for Chanukah/Christmas.  Eventually, all arrived, a little late.  I loved creating this Evil Purple Minion, two-eyed, from Despicable Me 2.  Owen sent me a picture of this character and I was able to create him fairly easily and quickly from the picture.  The hair was another matter!  I looked up how to starch yarn, followed the "recipe", but was disappointed in the results -- the yarn was as limp as it had been to start!  So, I lay out the cut pieces of yarn on some paper towelling, and used my hair spray to see what would happen.  It worked perfectly!  Once dry, I flipped over the hair and sprayed the second side.  Of course I had to leave the head open and unfinished until I set in the hair standing on end.  I then closed the head, tightening the closure by running the yarn through the remain stitches, pulling very tightly, and then stitching with a needle to reinforce the hair's position.

December, 2013

Before I knew it, Christmas/Chanukah were almost here.  Owen's request this time was for the Walking Dead!  I looked at images on the Internet, which were pretty gruesome!  What kind of grandmother makes "bloody" creatures?!  Then, I received from Heather and Owen an image of a toy person from the Walking Dead.  The toy looks like a toy, and from the image, I was able to create the pattern. 

The legs and torso came first, completed in red, for the blood, and sewing onto that section some red Velcro.  I then created the top half of the body, using duplicate stitch for the eyes nose, mouth and heart, and glued-on stuffing for the white hair.  This time I started with red yarn at the mid-section and later sewed on the other part of the Velcro so that the body could be put together or torn apart!  Off the parcel went, and from all reports, it was well received!!

One more project before Christmas.  This was for Owen's cousin, Jaidyn, who had also asked me to make her an Evil Purple Minion.  I chose a slightly different shade, a different hairdo for this one, and made this Minion with one eye only.

February 24, 2014
And here we are in 2014!  I've taken a short break from knitting for others and have decided to make something for myself.  I had a Mary Maxim kit, sitting for more than a year, with a lovely pattern and shade of wool, all ready to go.  It's a cardigan, this time, with a border all around the bottom and up the two fronts.  I have already finished the back, the two fronts, and both sleeves.  Right now I'm working on the collar, and then will see how the pattern works for putting everything together.  I managed to do quite a bit of it during the Olympics!!  I was watching the tv, but kept my needles going, except in the moments when I couldn't take my eyes off the screen -- some of the ice dance, my favourite skating discipline, and yes, the winning hockey game between Canada 3 and Sweden 0.. 

One sleeve, before blocking or sewing

This is the back before blocking

This is the right front before blocking