Archive for August, 2014

Moth

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Moth is a four letter word to knitters and wool enthusiasts everywhere. I (knock on wood) haven’t had a case of moths, but as you saw in the last post, our family coronation blanket has been attacked. My goal is to repair the blanket, but in doing so I don’t want to expose my clothes stash to the nasty critters.

I brought the blanket home in a ziplock bag and put it immediately in the freezer while I researched online all about moth infestations. It suggested that freezing works to kill moths eggs and larvae, but it has to be done in a non cycling freezer like a chest freezer. Since I don’t have a chest freezer, keeping it cold enough for long enough would be tricky.

Another way is to heat it up to 120 F for at least 30 minutes. One suggestion was to put it in an oven on a low temperature setting (to me that spells disaster, so we’re not going to try that). Another suggestion is to use warm water. I know better than to put such a treasure in the washing machine- the agitation would tear it apart where it’s weak, and felt it in all the other places. I got out my candy thermometer to see how hot 120 F (50 C) is….it’s not that much hotter than the water coming out of the tap.

I’m being brave. The blanket’s on the stove now (the element’s off) and the temperature’s coasting down from 70 C. I’m not poking at it until the buzzer goes off in 40 minutes.

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I’ll dry it flat after using a towel to get out the excess water. I use the jelly roll method, where I lay the damp knitted garment on the towel, fold in the towel sides and roll it up, and sometimes I stand on the roll to squeeze out more water. The method eliminates any wringing motion which can damage this delicate material.

Next I’ll see what I can do as far as repairs go. Lucky for me, the yarn I bought lots of in Toronto is a pretty good match.

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How would you go about the repair?

A family Heirloom: the coronation blanket

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Here’s a family treasure that has been spoken about for as long as I can remember, but I don’t know that I’d seen it before today. It’s called, in our circle, the “coronation blanket” because it was being knit while Queen Elizabeth was being crowned (in 1953, I looked it up).

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It’s a very sweet checkerboard pattern, and edged in delicate crochet. You may notice the moths have taken a good chunk of it, and I hope to repair it over the next little while, but that’s not what this picture is here to show you. The eagle eyed might notice that this blanket has a mistake in it. And whether it’s a genuine mistake, or a deliberate pattern change, there is a section without the checkerboard pattern. This marks the broadcast of the coronation of the Queen, that my ancestor (we’re seeking clarification on just who knit it) listened to on the radio as they knit this blanket.

It’s a neat idea…knitting history or events into your garments. My mom knit an “Obama row” into the socks she was knitting when he became the president of the USA. I knit a garter stitch stripe onto a pair of socks to indicate when the rapture was supposed to have happened and the world was to end. I’ve heard of others changing colours when they crossed state lines on a long road trip.

This could have been just another blanket, made by one of the many ancestors who have kept our family warm and wooly for years, but the “mistake” has made it something to treasure a little bit more as it has a story to tell.

Knitting Feverishly

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

For the last few days I’ve been fighting off a bad cold. Lucky for me, it’s still holidays so I can sleep when I need to, and I’ve been getting better pretty quickly, and except for a feverish trip to the grocery store to get lemon juice, ginger, and kleenex, I’ve been avoiding contact with the world.

Knitting while feverish leads to some interesting choices. First of all, I was limited to my stash yarn, which is not all that limiting in reality, but when you get to the cast off edge and run out of the grey yarn you used through the entire sweater, some “design features” develop out of necessity.

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Can you tell that I added a darker grey to finish the edging on the bottom and the sleeves?

Once I had pulled out the stash and found the quantity of grey yarn, I kept going on the theme of grey and yellow. I made a little hat. It’s a hard one to photograph without a baby to put it on, there’s a point in the middle of the forehead and also over each ear.

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In the process of making the hat, I just about ran out of yellow yarn! Luckily I have a big bag of sock yarn stash, and found lots of yellow. So then, with the wealth of yellow and grey, I kept going and made another hat

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And a pair of booties.

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So there’s the set….that don’t match, and each fits a different size baby!

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With my logic, it will just keep the baby in handknit love for a longer time! But what do I know, I have a fever…
The next part of my knitting seemed to flow from the bootie pattern, but merged with fairisle motifs, and turned out pretty good so far– don’t look too closely, there are three different greys at play!

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This is the kind of knitting that needs to get finished quickly so you can remember what you did! Flying without a pattern here.
The next thing I made stemmed from the fairisle motifs I’d looked up and the stash of worsted acrylic I had uncovered. Soakers! I have no idea if they are useful, or how to size them, so I aimed for a medium size and gave it a shot. I followed the CurlyPurly soaker pattern and improvised a bit here and there.

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I am pleased with how well they turned out. I have lots of ends to sew in still. While I’m at it, I’ll be sewing ends in on the pair I made pre fever

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I’m pretty excited to get feeling better so I can get out and deliver some of these things!

Puerperium the second

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

We’re waiting for another baby to join our family in the next week or two. I’m busy making some little things, and my favourite pattern is puerperium
My new niece or nephew will look pretty sweet in this outfit!

IMG_8562.JPG The yarn is random superwash sock yarn from my stash, with buttons from my jar. The colours are chosen to match the nursery.

Spinning on the road

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

I’ve been spending a few days a week at summer camp, and this week I brought my spindle, rather than my knitting. I had a few minutes to spin a bit while the campers played a few rounds of capture the flag.

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As the sun was setting we were treated to the most spectacular double rainbow I’ve ever seen.

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Many of the campers and staff wondered what I was doing as I dangled my drop spindle and kept wrapping more and more string onto it. A few gave it a try, and found that it’s not too hard to learn.

Elephants

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

I was inspired to use up my fluorescent pink yarn and knit a puerperium cardigan. To jazz it up a bit I added a teal border, and a parade of elephants walking around the base.

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It was such fun to knit, and such a small sweater that it was done before I had the chance to take any progress pictures! I think I’ll be making more of these in the future!

Strange requests

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Most people I know are aware that I knit..I don’t really keep that a secret, I knit in public, and at meetings, and at the movies. I sometimes get ridiculous requests, like “knit me a sweater” or “knit me socks” to which I usually smile and change the subject, but when someone requests a beard, well that was something that made me take notice. A beard is a small project that makes a big impact, and I happened to have some eyelash yarn hanging around after knitting a toupee hat for a bald colleague as a Christmas joke.

So, last night, I got out the yarn and had a bit of fun. The pattern is an easy one to follow. I was having trouble purling though so I worked it in garter stitch, and held the yarn with one strand rather than doubled as it suggested for eyelash yarn.

The result is pretty awesome! The girl who requested it has worn it most of the evening and said that it makes her feel powerful.

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It’s fun to surprise someone by following through when they make a ridiculous request. I have a feeling that this beard may make the rounds of the summer camp this week!

Finishing A Lot of Things

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Thing 1: steeked sweater got washed and dried

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I dropped it off tonight…it’s way too big for my niece, but she’ll grow into it eventually!

Thing 2: i finished sock one that I started on the bus home from Toronto last month.

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The cast off was touch-and-go, there’s only 3/4 of an inch of yarn left. Usually I,m much worse at estimating. I have to start sock 2 before I forget what I did! (Joys of pattern-free knitting).

Thing 3: a pair of mittens.

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These started out as an experiment in dyeing fibre. Chloe (pictured here) dyed the wool “Barbie pink” and green, and was worried that she ruined it. I told her that I’d make it into something…I spun the wool, plied it with white (to dilute the colour a bit) then knit fox and geese mittens using a dark green wool from my stash as a contrasting colour. I had just about enough yarn to finish these, the handspun ran out before the thumbs got done, but there was just enough green to finish them. It’s feeling a bit wintery here now, mitten season may come early this year.

Of course, as the needles are freed up, I start other things…it really never ends!

Eeeeek Steeeeeks!

Friday, August 15th, 2014

I knit this sweater over March Break, but I had hesitated to steek until today. For those of you who don’t know, steeking is cutting knitting to make a pull over into a cardigan. It’s way easier to work an all over coloured pattern if the garment is knit in the round (because it’s all knitting) rather than flat where you need to do stranded colourwork while knitting AND purling.

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I planned to steek this sweater in the end, so I included 5 extra stitches of alternating colour up the front.

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Because I’m a bit of a chicken, I decided to pick up stitches for the button band while the knitting was all still joined up. I knit the button band in ribbing using my trick of putting button holes on each side to quickly position the buttons (by sewing them on top of one set of button holes).

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I had lunch and a nap and finally felt brave enough to cut. I hand stitched through the yarn to catch the stitches on either side of the central stripe (necessary since this is knit out of acrylic and superwash wool, non superwash wool will felt together and prevent the unravelling)

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I’m pretty happy with how it’s worked out. I had no reason to be scared. I think I might even do it again sometime!

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There sure are lots of ends to sew in, and I need to tack the cut edge down to create a facing, sew on buttons, and give it a good soak and blocking, but the hard part is over!

Labour of Love

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

For some reason I woke up at 6 this morning with the urge to knit. Nothing that was already on my needles seemed right, so I looked up some neat patterns for newborns, chose Composite and cast on.

The pattern is really good. It’s knit top down with raglan sleeves so there are no seams to sew up. The lace makes the pattern interesting, and adds a feminine touch, and the asymmetrical neck opening allows baby to be dressed easily (I hope). It also calls for a single button, which is often easier to find than 5 matching ones. I used this bright reddish pink acrylic dk weight yarn, and needles that are slightly larger than recommended, but that’s what circulars I could find. I figure it’s better to make things a little bigger than a little smaller. Babies grow quickly (or so I hear)

I was thrilled to hear later in the morning that today would be the day that a new wee one was joining our family. With this specific baby in mind, the sweater flew by! Keeping track of the lace part was a bit tricky–I don’t often make lacy things. I worked on the stockinette section over at a friend’s house in the afternoon…and was almost done when I got the news that my niece had arrived and both she and mom are doing well.

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I just had enough time to darn in the ends and sew on a button before delivering it tonight. This is the first time that I’ve seen a baby just hours after being born. She’s so tiny!

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These wee feet need booties don’t you think?