The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Taming the Silk Lace

My shrug is knitted!  We had an hour to kill before seeing Star Trek in IMAX, yesterday & I got in a few repeats of the ‘little fountain’ lace pattern.  The movie was fierce IMHO.  Spock, Spock and Spock!  Scotty showed good sense with lovely knits too.

Here’s the (rechristened) shrug – pinned into submission:

Tender is the Night, wet & pinned

Tender is the Night, wet & pinned

The other name was too literal & I’ve strayed a long way from the original “Reading in Bed” pattern.  I blocked her wet but it was only a quick dip in a little water, and pressing in 2 big towels.  She’s taken every last pin in the house.  The openwork yarn-overs are fairly uniform and I won’t mind if they aren’t all gridded out.  See my 3 naked pin cushions?  They are huddling for warmth.

I concentrated on making the edges & back border even:

Same shrug with zoom

Same shrug with zoom

As I read online, the lace grew alarmingly in blocking.  I’ll have to fit her before seaming.  Speaking of fitting… I am not exactly sure how one gets an inelastic silk shrug on & off.  Please tell me this is not all for naught!!

This took less than half of the hank, so I can make something else with this beauty.  Nothing immediate in the works since I want to get back to the baby gift(s).  I am thinking of using the new lime Sirdar Snuggly Bamboo for a hat & bootie set.  The cardi was probably much too much… I’m not that tight with the parents.  I know of a still-secret baby who I can fawn over!  Nooooo – NOT OURS!

Happy Mother’s Day if applicable!  My Momma is happy by the beach, and MIL is also taking it easy but in town.


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Shrug Saga and then some

I’m out of the hard-core lacy bit of my Shrug.  After all those ‘knots’ for the Lily of the Valley borderthe sleeve’s basic 4 stitch repeat for just 4 rows was sweet.  Too sweet.  The eyelets were decidedly leaned to the right.  As in not matching the left sleeve.  Grr.  I swallowed hard & ever-so carefully frogged it back down to:

Shrug Love

Shrug Love

Even without blocking, I like the panel’s effect.  I may be scheming to add an edging.  Then again I may not be.

I had a lovely, warm summery day.  A highlight was finally visiting Spun Fibre Arts in Burlington.  The space is well-organized and warm.  She has much of the same stock as my other LYSs but with some interesting additions on the luxury end.  For example, camel,baby camel and Araucania’s sugar cane yarn, Ruca.  I noticed hand-spun yarn as well as a selection of roving, and hand felting tools.  Maybe I’ll go to her Sit ‘n Knit sometime.

My fears about the Baby Cardigan are in full swing.  I’m worried about the dusty pink.  My friends aren’t too sure it’s a girl & she did ask for a non-girly colour.  So many Mothers are anti-pink…  She’s 3 weeks shy of her due date.  Here’s the substitute – I even have another friend in mind who it would be perfect for (in case) –

Baby Gift Take 2?

Baby Gift Take 2?

As for my earlier soapbox post – the trustworthy folks at Flora2000 obliged by taking my order.  At least MIL will be able to have some flowers this year.


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Caveat Emptor – Local Streets

Which interpreted means – Buyer Beware of Local Streets’ TopFlorist .  My order of a flower arrangement for delivery to MIL in Jamaica was confirmed at 10:06 a.m. this Wednesday.  It was the cost of the arrangement plus a US$20 delivery charge.  Some 15 hours later at 1:52 a.m. on Thursday, they sent me this message:

Dear customer: sorry to inform you that we need extra USD$20 for this order because the florist on the island increased the price the mother’s day flower. Please advise us if you agree to pay this extra money or we can cancel this order for you. Please reply to us ASAP. Thank you very much. Eric

Local Florist refused to honour the purchase price.  They rudely insisted they had every right to bait & switch for a further $20.  So much for the website’s statement they only choose florists with good reputations in terms of customer service.  Is it not customer service to stand by the advertised price?  Well, my friends it is established basic contract law.  Here’s how Local Florist’s customer service defended the upsell:

…we can’t list all the change for every florist anywhere anytime. The email you received is computer auto generated email. It just confirmed we received your order and processed your order. If there is any problem occurred later on, we can cancel the order without your permission.

Really?  Local Florist does not stand by its posted prices.  They are fluid.  So much for their “customer benefits.”  They refused to deal with the local florist, and gave zero service.  By the way – there were no terms of service on the website to set up these conditions such as unilateral termination of the contract.  I’m not sure what legal world they operate in.  No reputable business comes with an afterthought “we need another $20.”  It’s ludicrous.

They insisted that I pay or cancel.  Well who needs to do business with such sharks?  Not me.  I’ll go back to Flora2ooo who live up to their website in my experience – same day too.


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Knitting to distraction

My shrug has grown a bit, and needs one last repeat of the Lily of the Valley motif to finish off the back body.  To be honest, I have been preoccupied this week.  Housework; fretting about the future; sleeping off a virus; and spending a lot of time on Ravelry.

I typed out a whole analogy between Ravelry fora and case law.  Then deleted it as rubbish!  The general point was that I’ve taken to searching for answers to my burning questions instead of sticking to the current thread-stream.  For example, I wanted to know more about blocking this silk yarn.  Old threads say it’s fine to block but be careful because silk keeps its shape once pulled.  I also got invited to a pub knitting group in the area, which is cool.  I’ve never been exactly shy but this is a group that regularly meets, and I am the newbie who will be needing to fast for a blood test!  Better to go this month when I am free than to procrastinate…  I’m also planning on going back to visit Spun today.  During their business hours…  Some of the pub people also seem to do Spun’s Friday Sit ‘n Knit.  I’m thinking of going this week.  Assumption being I am more social when blood sugar is at normal levels!

On another random note… Hubby got sent home yesterday for coughing at work.  He’s working at home.  I sure hope it’s not Swine H1N1 Flu.  I also had a trace of a cough earlier this week, and felt exhausted.  It hasn’t developed into flulike symptoms at all but I have stayed in this week.

The other day, I wrote about my friend harshing my orchid-keeping mel.  Two blooming in April are joy worthy.  Hell, two blooming anytime are joy worthy…

April blooming Phalenopsis Orchids

April blooming Phalenopsis Orchid

These Phals are living up to their reputation as the easist orchids to grow at home.  They are in our kitchen window & have been going strong since December.  Gotta love that!  Hubby gave me a red Oncidium that’s in the left corner of the window.  Her name is Pippi, and she’s alive & well.


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Quickie post

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  My cousin & an old friend were both born May 5th, so it’s always been an auspicious day.  Hope they have a good one.

I’m still on my yarn shop exploring kick.  Tried 2 yesterday but they were both closed.  That’s cool – gives them back a 2 day weekend from the looks of their business hours.  Lettuce Knit is the only yarn store I go to in the GTA that is open Sundays.  When I have worked, Sunday was really the only day I was semi-relaxed enough to shop.  I was commuting east, and never could dream of making it back to our town before shops closed.  Harried existence that.  I’m slowly trying to come out of that head space & look around.

My fall planting is now paying off:

Hyacinth survives the rabbits

Hyacinth survives the rabbits

Am off to change (shirt annoyingly short) and run to an early appointment.  Hope 090505 is a good one for ya!


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Good knitting thanks to EZ

In reading/ entering Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop, I realized this all-over tight lace was not a shrug but a kind of doiley.  On page 112 she writes about designing lace shawls:

MUCH DEPENDS on the color and wight you want for your shawl.  You may work a shawl in any way you please; the looser you knit, the larger and lacier the shawl will be.  If you work tightly, you end up with a kind of doiley.

My dresser is doiley-free, and I’ll be damned if I am going to wear one myself – expensive yarn or no!

With EZ’s honesty, I discovered this tight stuff would make a good sleeve.  So, I got away with no frogging.  I studied my Knits Spring 09 issue & now have a looser back body:

Wedding Guest Shrug back body

Wedding Guest Shrug back body

I’ve gone up to 4.5 mm needles, and used Kristin Omdahl’s Lily of the Valley panel with the balance in openwork lace.  I am thinking about a crochet edging.  Of course I am!  May need a How to Crochet tutorial or three but that’s the thought banging in my head now.


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Mini Yarn Crawl

I did my first yarn crawl of West Queen West, yesterday.  Typically, I just head straight to Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market when in Toronto.  It’s still a great store – no complaints here.  I just got the yen to explore.  I had a sketchy idea of things, so decided to walk.  About a year ago my old boss gushed about Romni’s and I had a vauge idea it was around Bathurst.  I also had the street addy of Knit Cafe.  It was a long, sometimes brisk walk.  Lunch was seeming like a problem until I noticed Pat’s Restaurant.  The people were great, and the food was authentic Jamaican.  The tamarind balls were sweet!

Romni’s is by far the biggest yarn store I’ve been to.  No pretensions and floor-to-rafters stock.  It took me a while to even adjust to what I was seeing.  At first I thought there must be filler or acryllics.  Wrong!  The scope was jaw-dropping.  The book section alone had me for many minutes.  Moving through the stacks, I realized what I was looking at – good yarn.  Better in some cases than I’ve seen before.  In every conceivable colourway.  That’s when I got the idea they might have a match for my lone hank of Colinette.  I managed to choke back the other ideas…  Moving away from the wool roving was difficult.  They even have silk roving – wow.  Camel yarn anyone?

I managed to crack up one of the store staff.  He asked me what my accent was.  Hilarious, eh?

Of course in all that warehousing I found my Colinette: –

Colinette Iona in Dusk - perfect match for my stray hank!

Colinette Iona in Dusk - perfect match for my stray hank!

I managed to leave with only this baby.  Then I kept on in search of Knit Cafe in the just-one-more-block mentality.  It was a bit underwhelming at first.  The yarn selection looked spare against the white & very high walls.  It felt unfinished as well.  The space under the sink/ prep area was open, full garbage bins and all.  I had a latte (over $3.50!), and am glad I stayed to knit.  The concept is excellent, and the yarn selection was actually quite good.  I was thrilled to see they carry Peace Fleece, and liked the store samples of projects.  Kristin showed me the most darling EZ Baby Surprise jacket, and I left with this:

Elizabeth Zimmermanns Kniting Workshop from the Knit Cafe

Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Kniting Workshop" from the Knit Cafe

My shrug is coming along as well:

Wedding Guest Shrug on April 30th

Wedding Guest Shrug on April 30th

I have a sneaking suspicion it may end up looking like an over-sized doily…

Lace Detail of Wedding Guest Shrug

Lace Detail of Wedding Guest Shrug

Do NOT want to frog again but the stripey effect will be vertical on my back.  Last thing I want is for it to clash with the dress.  See where thinking takes you?!  I’ll let you know…