Sunday, November 25, 2007

Half Way There

Finally, one glove done! I made another modification to the pattern. I did a regular cast off instead of the ones recommended in the pattern. I’m impatient and I want to get my gloves done. I’m quite happy with the results. It looks good and feels great. I've included a close-up of the knitted product.

That work thing kind of gets in the way of me knitting. This coming Thursday will be the last knitting class I teach for the term so that should free up some time. The week after will be my last yoga class and the last family swim class. I don’t know what I’ll do with all that free time – work, Christmas shop, work, knit a bit, work, try to get some sleep, work, try to keep my sanity with the approaching holiday season…hmm Bailey’s.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Queen of Procrastination

I guess it was inevitable. I said I was going to work on the dragon sweater, and for a whole week, I did. Then, as usually happens, something more important and/or critical comes up. So what’s the delay this time? Answer: my hands. As has so often happened in the past, my hands get really cold in my office when winter approaches and I’ve been meaning to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves for a while but I was trying to find the right pattern for me. There are so many beautiful ones out now. I finally picked one from a Knitty summer 2006 pattern. It’s hard to believe that in my yarn stash, I didn’t have enough of the right gauge yarn. I made a trip to the Wool Bin in Oakville and picked up a lovely yarn made in Peru, Mirasol Hacho. It’s hand dyed merino, colour 302, 50 g/125 m, and very reasonably priced. I like supporting a good cause, too. This supports their local Andean shepherds. It’s a particularly long story which I encourage you to read at the website. The yarn feels wonderful against the skin and knits up well.

The yarn has a slightly larger gauge than the pattern asks for but I thought it would work for me since I’m a tight knitter. Using the needles the pattern recommended, I did in fact achieve the gauge stipulated in the pattern. I intended to knit the pattern as is, but once again, I found something to change. When I did my stocking stitch gauge swatch in the round, I found the edge curled. I was concerned about the fingerless part of the mitten pattern because it made no mention of doing a different stitch after you cast on. Then it occurred to me, one of the fundamentals of knitting that had temporarily slipped my mind, ribbing along a border to prevent curling. So for the first three rows of the fingers, I did a 1x1 rib and problem solved. These gloves are knit from the top down in case you’re wondering why I’m worried about curling. The pattern was originally for embroidered gloves but since I ended up getting a variegated yarn, I think I’ll skip the embroidery. My son thinks I should still do the embroidery as shown in the gloves hanging from the tree in the Knitty pattern. We’ll see. I think you might drown the beauty of the variegated colour by embroidering.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Useless yarn?

I could not believe my husband would dare to utter these words in my presence. This from the man who is normally so supportive and understanding about yarn and knitting. Bite your tongue. There is no such thing. This is very different from my husband’s opinion. He’s even threatening to post about it. What spurred this debate – a yarn containing silver. The yarn is called Sterling and is produced by Kraemer Yarns. The yarn’s composition is 63% superwash Merino, 20% silk, 15% nylon, and 2% silver. A detailed review of this yarn can be found in the August 16, 2007 Knitter’s Review newsletter.

There are some truly novel yarns out there, bamboo, silk stainless steel (
Habu Textiles in New York). Funny, he never quipped about the stainless steel bit but he got his feathers all ruffled up about silver in yarn. Why? The first thing that came to both our minds was, “but won’t that tarnish?” I haven’t had experience with this yarn and I don’t know the grade of silver or manufacturing process that went into this that might prevent tarnish. Another reason is because some people believe the antimicrobial properties of silver will carry over into the yarn and might prevent some foot odor. I’m not convinced that will be the case; again, I have no evidence either way. Is there an environmental impact to doing this? I don’t know if anyone has evaluated that aspect. Aren’t there other better uses for silver? I would have to say yes, but that argument could be made about the use of silver for jewelry as well.

All that being said, I’m really not sure why they put silver in yarn. I am sure that to me, there is no such thing as useless yarn (yet; never say never).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Suitable Accompaniment to Knitting

Today’s blog post is a little different. I was inspired by what Wannietta wrote today as well as something my hubby recently brought home. It’s called Bénédictine. It’s a sweet cognac-based liqueur flavored with various aromatics. It was first made to a recipe dating to 1510, originally to combat malaria, at Fécamp Abbey in France. It was supposedly rediscovered by one of the monastery's lawyers and went into commercial production. Ingredients in the secret recipe include juniper, myrrh, angelica, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, tea, fruit peels, herbs and honey. You can really taste the spices that went into it. It's so smooth and goes down so easy; that’s what makes it downright dangerous. The alcohol content is 40%. Definitely something you want to have as a once in a while treat and reserve for special occasions. Works well in coffee too when you just want to celebrate a little quiet time to yourself.