April 30, 2005

Spot the blogger:


I can’t believe I haven’t seen this on a GTA blog yet, but maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough. Anyway, while Stephanie is off gallivanting around the US on her book tour, she’s also making the news here:


That’s the second page of the Life section of the Toronto Star. The full story is linked to from this page, though you seem to need to register to read it. It’s a nice story, though it says most of the same things as all these articles say. On the bottom of the page is an article about male knitters — but it’s the same article I’ve seen elsewhere, that talks in part about snowboarders knitting to save money on their gear (which makes absolutely no sense to me — we all know that knitting never saves money!).

Nice to see that Stephanie won’t fall victim to the usual Canadian practice of ignoring our own celebrities while they make it big in the States…

Posted by Aven at 11:15 AM | Comments (8)

April 28, 2005


While I was working out the numbers for the vest, and as a break from the monotony of black stocking stitch, I’ve been working on some socks for Mark. As you can see, they’re deisgned to match a sweater I made for him a while ago:


I’ve actually finished both socks now. The great thing about these socks, and the other pairs I’m going to make that will also match sweaters he already has, is that they’re worsted weight. These ones are Patons Classic Merino. At that weight they go very very quickly, even when I’m making them man-sized. I only worked on 52 stitches for each this time, for instance.

I’m a few inches away from the armhole shaping on the first front of the vest. I think I’ll only put up pictures when major milestones are achieved — how much black shapeless knitting does anyone need to see?

Posted by Aven at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2005

Taking the plunge

After making detailed notes and careful calculations,


Ok, after scribbling some “schematics” and a 5 line pattern, I took a deep breath and produced this:


Impressive, isn’t it! And the good news — this is just one of the fronts, and I have 18 more inches to go before I start any shaping. Why do I suspect that this may not hold my interest exclusively for very long?

Thanks for all the advice and good wishes. I am using Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas as a guide — it has a felted vest pattern in it. And I am fully prepared for it all to fall apart — but now I’m too intrigued by the challenge of trying to make it work to give up. So stay tuned for picture after picture of black stocking stitch…

Posted by Aven at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2005

New project

Thank you, as always, for the compliments on the silk raglan. I think it’s going to become a definite favourite in the wardrobe.

The end of one project means the beginning of another. I’m signed up with Dani’s Stashbusters knitalong — the idea is to knit up one big project a month from stash, for April, May, and June. The silk raglan was my April project. For the May project I’m cheating a bit on two counts — I’m starting now, and I’m using yarn that I’d ordered the day Dani announced the knitalong, but didn’t receive until a few days later (does that count as stash?). However, when you hear the details, I think you’ll agree that I need the extra time. Next up is my most experimental design problem yet: a felted vest for Mark. For reasons that are too complicated to get into, but involve sports coats and a silver pocket watch, Mark would like a felted vest with pockets. So I’ve undertaken to provide him with one, although I admit to some misgivings about it all. Still, I’m sure at the very least I’ll learn something from the process…

The first step was swatching. I made a large swatch with Patons Classic Merino in black:


The bits of white thread are marking out 20 sts by 20 rows. I measured the swatch itself, as well as the 20X20 section, and then ran it through the washing machine. This was the result:


The colour didn’t change, regardless of what the picture seems to indicate; it’s still black. It seems to have shrunk to about 78% of its width and 65% of its height. The fabric is nice and dense:


(Again, ignore the colour — just camera weirdness). Now I have to measure one of Mark’s knitted vests, calculate the size of the pre-felted pieces necessary to produce those measurements, figure out the numbers of stitches for each part, work out rates of decrease for the armholes and neck, and then hope like heck I’m right about it all. And then, of course, knit miles of stocking stitch in black…

If anyone has any advice, feel free to give it — but don’t bother telling me that it’s crazy to make a felted vest to be worn under a sports coat — we already know that. Or that there’s a good chance this will all go hideously wrong and I’ll be left with alot of potential coasters. I know that, too. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And this way you’ll all be assured of entertainment as it all unfolds…

Posted by Aven at 12:41 PM | Comments (13)

April 21, 2005

Another FO

This one seemed to go very quickly indeed. Here’s the silk top-down raglan, picture by Dani at Lettuce Knit last night:


There’s another picture that shows the top better, but I look like even more of a crazed woman in it, so I’ve cropped it to show just the top itself.

I finished it Tuesday night and washed it; yesterday I was drying it on top of a box fan to try to get it dry in time to wear to the SnB. It relaxed a bit with washing, so it’s not too tight. I’m very happy with how it turned out, actually. I think I’ll be wearing it alot. As always, details are in the sidebar.

I still have more of the silk, but I’ll get back to that later. For now, I’ve got complicated plans for designing a felted vest — but I’ll talk about that more in the next entry. For now, thank you again for all the nice things you all said about the Tintin sweater. Mark says thanks too!

Posted by Aven at 10:14 AM | Comments (15)

April 19, 2005


The official modelled shot:


Of course this occurred on the warmest day of the year so far — it’s 27C out there! The house is substantially cooler than the outside world. Mark wasn’t thrilled about putting on a wool sweater and standing in the sun, but he understands his responsibility to the blog. And, just for Jacqueline, here’s a close-up of the tag I put in the sweater:


It’s just a generic tag I bought from the local Lewiscraft. It finishes the sweater off nicely, and makes it easier to tell which is the back and which the front — though with this particular sweater, that’s hardly a problem!

Because the day was so beautiful, I spent some of my afternoon marking exams on the back porch, and even took a brief break to clean up some of the back garden (though there’s tonnes of work still to do).

I also took a picture of the progress on the silk striped raglan, though the sunlight seems to wash out the colours a bit:


I did rip out the first attempt at a sleeve and redo it a bit longer, and now I’m about halfway done the second sleeve. This is going to be quite a close-fitting top — just as well, since I don’t think I’d have had enough yarn for a roomier one, without making it short-sleeved.

And I’ll close with the requisite “I want in the picture too!” shot of Tigger:


Posted by Aven at 05:27 PM | Comments (12)

April 17, 2005


No pictures of Mark in the sweater yet, sorry — but soon. There just hasn’t been time. This weekend I was helping to organise a conference on “Plato and the Divided Soul” for an ancient philosophy professor in our department, which meant I was out all day Friday and Saturday and this morning setting up the reception and the coffee and the lunch and the dinners, and doing last-minute photo-copying. It all went smoothly, which was a great relief, but I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep several of the nights either, for unrelated reasons. One of which was friends in from out of town last night (hi Anatole and Miriam!) so that was fun, of course, but I’m still tired. I also didn’t get much knitting done, though I worked on my green sock a bit while sitting around waiting for coffee to be delivered. Mainly, though, I translated parts of a German commentary on Catullus while sitting in a windowless seminar room… now that’s a thrilling way to spend a beautiful, sunny spring weekend! Ah well, it was lucrative and good experience, and most importantly it’s over now.

All this meant that I couldn’t get to the Knitter’s Frolic on Saturday, so I missed lots of Lettuce Knit SnBers stash enhancement and GTA blogger sightings. It sounds like it was lots of fun, though probably not good for the budget!

I also never posted about the book launch, which was tonnes of fun. Many of the other GTA bloggers have written about it — my one regret is that I didn’t mingle more and meet some of them. I meant to — but I was comfortable, and knitting, and surrounded by my SnB friends, and I never managed to get my butt in motion and out into the crowd after Stephanie’s talk. I feel like a bad, anti-social blogger — but really, it’s just my essential laziness coming out again.

The exam for the course I was teaching is tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll be into marking mode tomorrow. Nonetheless I’ll try to get a picture of my top-down raglan; I’ve finished the body and am working on a sleeve, which I may or may not redo if a) I run out of yarn or b) I don’t like the length it turns out to be. I haven’t really worked out what I’m doing with the numbers, so it’s a bit hit and miss.

And finally, thank you all for your compliments on the Tintin sweater. It’s been a lot of fun to do, and it’s been made even more fun by the enthusiastic cheering squad! I’m always happy if I can entertain you.

Posted by Aven at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005

Voila Tintin!

Here it is:


I haven’t got a modelled shot yet, though I promise I will. Here’s a picture of it with the sleeves extended, though, to tide you over until then.

Specs for the sweater are in the sidebar. Notes to myself for the next sweater I design for Mark — make the body longer (hip length) and the sleeves a little shorter. They’re ok, but not perfect. Otherwise I’m really happy with how this turned out. I love the blue, and the picture came out even better than I’d hoped. Now all we have to do is find occasions for Mark to wear it! Probably not until the fall, though….

While I was waiting for the back to block and seaming up the sweater, I cast on for my next project, out of the Turino silk I mentioned a few entries ago. I decided on a top-down raglan, following the formula given here. This is my first top-down project and I’m liking it so far — it certainly gives me alot of flexibility. I don’t have enough of any one colour to do a whole top, so on the advice of some of the ladies at the SnB I’m combining the blue and grey, with some stripes on the yoke, the cuffs, and the hem. Here’s what I have so far:


I still may not have enough yarn for a full sweater, so this may end up being a t-shirt. I’ll see — I’ll finish the body, and then see how long I can make the sleeves. I’m not quite sure what to do about the collar, though — it curls a little, especially at the v-neck, so I thought about putting a row or two of garter stitch around the edge — but how would that look down the edge of the stripes? Would it break up the pattern too much? Any ideas?

I’m off to Stephanie’s book launch tonight — I’m starting to think it’s going to be quite crowded, so I think I’ll try to be there pretty early. After all, I can just knit while I wait! If you’re going, I’ll see you there! I’ll be working on my silk raglan.

Posted by Aven at 01:55 PM | Comments (15)

April 11, 2005


It seems that I come by my knitting interests even more honestly than I knew. After meeting Stephanie, my mother happened to accompany her father to visit his sister. My mom told them all about her encounter with “The Yarn Harlot” and it led to her finding out things about her own family that she either didn’t know or had forgotten. I think it’s easiest to just give you the story in my mom’s own words:

She (your great-aunt) told me that she has her name in several knitting pattern books. She used to resize patterns that came in from the States for her publisher (can’t remember the name). She also used to give knitting shows at Sears with, of all people, Dave Broadfoot.1 Then Gordon pitched in to remind me that his mother, your great grandmother, supported the family for years by holding knitting classes in the back of her friend’s shop, and knitting commissions. She was convent-raised and that was one of her only skills when she and her husband divorced.

A fascinating link to my knitting heritage, and a reminder that what I do for fun has also been very important to others for many different reasons in the past. I look forward to talking about knitting with my great-aunt the next time I see her!

1 A well-known Canadian comedian

Posted by Aven at 11:28 AM | Comments (3)

April 09, 2005

Brush with fame...

Yesterday was very busy (though lots of fun — the party was great, and then a bunch of us went to a pub for the rest of the evening; that’s almost unprecedented socialising for Classics grad students. Plus we sat on the patio… yay spring! Though it was pretty damn cold by the end of the night) so I wasn’t able to respond to the lovely mention of my parents in Stephanie’s Friday post. A belated “Welcome!” to anyone visiting from there. My parents went to Stephanie’s book signing at Yarn Forward in Ottawa, and I’ve stolen the lovely picture of them from Stephanie’s blog:


They’re wearing the Pacific Grove Pullover and the Fisherman’s Rib Sweater if anyone wants details. I’m so glad they made it to the signing, and met one of the stars of the blogging world. These on-line connections are just lovely…

This afternoon I’m planning on venturing out into the garden for the first time this year, to start the cleanup that we didn’t do in the fall. It’s a beautiful sunny day and term just ended, so I really don’t think I’m in the mood for doing any of the work I should do. That can wait until tomorrow. Today I garden, and start sewing up the Tintin sweater!

Posted by Aven at 12:50 PM | Comments (3)

April 08, 2005

Very quick

It’s the last day of term (yay!) and I have to run off to teach my last class, bring in treats for our end-of-term party, order the sushi, and buy and prepare the other assorted goodies (I’ll have help, but I’m usually the ‘social girl’ for the department parties). So this has to be brief.

Thanks to Laura, who took my 3 intact Lantern Moon needles in exchange (meaning that she now has 7) I was able to get back to knitting my green sock on Brittany needles:


I’m also four rows from finishing the back of the Tintin sweater. Pictures once it’s blocking — probably not until tomorrow, since I’ll be out tonight.

I hope everyone enjoys this Friday as much as I will — classes are over, the sun is shining, and we’re having a party! Have a great weekend.

Posted by Aven at 08:57 AM | Comments (4)

April 04, 2005

Good and bad

Good: I finished the last pink and blue variegated home-dyed sock, making four in all, none of which match:


I’m ok with that, though. And if I decide I’m not ok, I’ll overdye them to even out the colours a bit. But I probably won’t.

Bad: I broke another Lantern Moon needle, rendering the set useless. I’d just started a sock from the home-dyed green yarn, and I guess I was gripping the needle too hard while picking up a couple of dropped stitches:


This means I can’t work on that sock until I get some more 2.25mm needles — this time either in metal or in much cheaper wood.

Back to the good: I’ve finished the sleeves for the Tintin sweater:


They’d be blocking right now, but Tigger got in there before I’d even finished pinning the second sleeve. I’ll have to wait until he’s gone before putting on the damp towel. (Tigger’s been following me around as I take pictures for the blog — this slowed down proceedings for a while.)

And, finally, more good: I think I’ll have enough yarn for the back of the sweater, and won’t have to put another picture there. I’ve weighed the back and the remaining yarn, and they seem about equal… we’ll see!

Posted by Aven at 04:09 PM | Comments (8)