The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


1 Comment

Models the new Tank Top

The weather is co-operating with me for once – it’s warm and my Skimpy Sarah Tank is ready:

Rocking the Skimpy Sarah Tank

Rocking the Skimpy Sarah Tank

Here’s the peek-a-boo front view:

Tank and skirt - my time of year!

Tank and skirt - my time of year!

The straps did ‘grow’ a shade with the wetting, and is a little looser on the back.  Not to the point of sagging but Hubby says the bra was peaking.  Resewing the straps would be a pain since I pretty much went to town with securing them…  I’ve also ruled out going bare – that lace tells no lies, and the silk is still too shall we say, textured, for that.  It’s comfortable as is but I can always layer it.  The best would be to wear this tank over my bathing suit.  Which makes me wonder – our Houston hotel must have a pool right?!?


Leave a comment

Knitted from Stash

My batch of knitting projects was overwhelming at one point but now I feel like a regular pro rolling out all these FOs!  I wore my socks through the cold snap & finally took pictures of them.  Yeah, and I know they are pretty hokey as pictures go… What can I say –  it was a busy morning!

Denim socks knit plain

Denim socks knit plain

Feet are propped on our Rubbermaid step stool.  Not sure what exactly I was thinking there.  And another:

Top down view for top down socks:)

Top down view for top down socks:)

As soon as the 2nd sock was off the needles & kitchenered shut, I jumped into making the Sarah Tank Top by Christine Buhagiar on Knitting for Boozehags.  You can find her pattern here for free. The idea was to use my stashed 200g of Estelle raw silk yarn.  It was also my instant project for showing up at the Burlington Pub Night.  The pattern was in queue with size & yarn adjustments, so I figured I was on safe ground.

Well, I don’t know about you all but my instant projects always have 1 or 2 froggings in store for me.   This one was no different.  I did screw up the courage to join the Pub Night, and the ladies gave me a warm welcome.  It turned out my inviter couldn’t make it, so they must have been surprised to have a stranger drop in like that!  First frogging was at the Pub Night.  It was a silly mistake – I had twisted the first round when joining it together.  After a few inches of pushing things around, I accepted facts and frogged.  In the re-do, I realized that the scallop repeat was not working.  That took some hard thinking but I finally realized the instructions were to start with three p2togethers, then do five repeats of k1 yo, followed by six p2togs.  With that learning curve climbed, I got to knit like a maniac.  Good way to spend the Victoria Day long weekend.

The pattern is only for a medium, so I sized it down to a small, and added some waist shaping thanks to the formula in my copy of Stich ‘N Bitch Nation.  The rest of the pattern was all well & good but I was short on yarn.  So, it ended up being a Skimpy Sarah Tank Top.  For starters, I nixed the upper back body.  Then I chopped the upper bodice, and it evolved into a criss crossed i-cord strappy tank top.  It looked cute on before blocking.  Here she is pinned and drying:

Skimpy Sarah Tank Top

It’s hard to see but I did keep the pattern’s scallop detail under the bustline.  With luck I’ll be wearing this in Houston & all summer long!  Does this make me a boozehag?

Hubby is extremely pleased to throw the manual lawn mower to the back of the shed.  He was the laughing stock of our sub-urban neighbourhood.  Every guy on our street offered their mower to him at one point or another…  One went so far as to say, “There are easier ways to get exercise!”   We went with a corded electric model that mulches.  Believe you me our back yard has not looked this good in 3 years!  I spent a fair chunk of time weeding, and also planted out the Easter hydrangea.  We now have 3 hydrangea along that side of the fence.


Leave a comment

Knitting in Interesting Times

Shrug accomplit!  For all the worries, I think this is perfectly wearable for my cousin’s wedding.  First of all it slides on easily.  No worming to get into it.  I’m many things but decidedly not a victim to fashion.  This shrug is also a perfect twin for the dress.  The yarn’s silky sheen is my favourite but the dye striping also matches the material’s subtle stripes.  Hubby’s Oohs & Aahs?  Priceless!  I’ll post pictures from the wedding but here’s a pre-coffee FO pic in the meantime:

Tender is the Night back view

Tender is the Night back view

Not showing you my smug grin…

I decided against going for an edging.  Overly girly accessorizing ain’t my thang.  Since it grew in the blocking, there’s some sag at the armhole joins.  It may be a little distracting but I am thinking it’s comfortable to move around in.

Now this is completed, I’ve also returned to the Straight-Up Socks (remember?  blue denim superwashies).  No 2nd sock syndrome here.  I am also leaning towards finishing the pink baby cardi – come what may of it.  My other girlfriend will get a yummy lime creation for her bambino/a.

We live in interesting times.  This 2nd sock came along a ways as Canada’s fromer Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney took the stand, yesterday.  I was a teenager in Jamaica when Mr. Mulroney was in office.  The Inquiry is back live on CBC television, and I am watching.  He seems to have aged rapidly between the Ethics committee hearings in November 2007 and now.  The public scandal is obviously taking its toll.  He held himself proudly but the bags under his eyes made him look alarmingly like his nemesis, Karlheinz Schreiber.

At its heart the scandal is whether Mr. Mulroney took that first wad of 75 $1,000 bills, and the rest of it as a kick-back.  Led by his lawyer, Guy J. Pratte, Mr. Mulroney spoke to and around the allegations of suspicion in his own lawyerese.  As he testified, the veil fell from the processes by which major policy decisions were made in his executive government.  I was fascinated to hear how he controled the personel of the central government, and the chanels of communication.  To be on my couch hearing the authority that kept Bearhead alive, how and why.  This is the stuff of L1 Constitutional Law.

The negative space of his testimony was even more telling.  As one example – Why was he Memoed on Bearhead at all?  He was a national leader, “tenacious of office” to use the language of Stanley de Smith & Rodney Brazier in my old “Constitutional & Administrative Law” text.  He tells the Inquiry that his public reputation would have been boosted by creating jobs in a province with up to 50% unemployment.  Bearhead’s light armoured vehicles were undoubtedly his pet project.  He exercised muscle, and the decision was in his hands outside the Cabinet.  He spoke of reassuring his Cabinet on the principles that were guiding the decision.  It is not every day that the inner workings of a Parlimentary democracy are laid bare.

There is much ‘material’ for Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination.  His chief was depressingly thread-bare in all of the important places.  Was I dreaming when I heard of a single meeting that moved from Schriber’s threat of a law suit to a fat envelope passing hands?  There were other days when the money passed and was accepted.  As what?  From what source?  Never asked; was never told.  Mr. Schriber dances there too.  Then we hear of photos with “UN insignia” that Mr. Mulroney insists speak for themselves.  Lastly there’s the paltry excuse to keep it all hidden.  As the saying goes – we are as sick as our secrets.

As if that were not enough, we also have the spectacle of Ruby Dhalla in Nanny-Gate.  Her white suit was blinding.  Her statements were wooden, and delivered in such an imperious tone.  It came together to enhance the caregivers’ allegations that she and her family were overbearing, autocratic employers.  I cringed to hear her intone over & again, “I, Ruby Dhalla…”  Misguided in the extreme.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

Surprise and Shrug Roadblock

I knew I had a Babylon Falling “Owner’s Choice” set on the way but the contents blew me away!  Sean made artful picks & here’s what I have to chew on:

BF Owners Choice picnic!

BF Owner's Choice picnic!

Here the lovelies are on my bookcase:

BFs in pride of place

BFs in pride of place

I feel smarter already!  Big thanks to both the benefactor & the facilitator of this care package.  Good push forward for month-end blues.

The Wedding  Guest Shrug hit a wall.  The double-stranding was a pain in the ass.  I was bound to drop one half every stitch & mindless knitting was well nigh impossible.  Also, the colours weren’t flowing.  The silk was falling flat on the lace pattern too.  I knew to call it a day when Hubby saw only a few holes.  So I thought – time to frog.  A few deep breaths later, I had the warring balls of silk separated.  Here’s what I’ve come up with as a solution for these issues – back to basics.  Keeping it at lace weight, and going with a simpler motif.

This means more work – teeny tiny needles.  Ergo more time.  But who am I to blow against the wind?  I’ve also ditched the 1 x 1 ribbing for my preferred 2 x2.  Here’s where it’s at:

Wedding Guest Shrug take 2

Wedding Guest Shrug take 2

The new motif is called ‘little fountain.’  It looked cute on my swatch & only has a 4 row repeat.  Even if I have more stitches, the pattern is easy to remember, so I may make the deadline yet! [Yeah, if I knit every moment available, and manage to ignore the new book stash…]

I honestly cannot fault the yarn for all of this.  It was a gamble going with lace-weight.  The Hand Maiden is holding up very well, and is still a star.  It’s taking the innovation like a pro!


Leave a comment

Perchance a Shrug

After much ado, I finally casted on for the Wedding Guest Shrug.

Step 1 was to find a fishing line counter to accurately split my hank of Handmaiden Lace Silk in two.  I started off on the wrong foot, or as my father would say – with one of my trademark egregrious errors.  I was very certain that the local Hiker’s Haven would have a Shakespeare line counter for sure.  People must fish once they have hiked, right?  Wrong!  I was hunting for Shakespeare thanks to advice from a fellow Raveler, Feather Song.  The good folks at Hiker’s Haven pointed me in the general direction of the big box stores.  I ended up with a Rapala counter.

Step 2 was rigging it to the ball winder (formerly a dining chair support).  At this point, Hubby was highly amused.  It is attached with plastic cinch ties.

Step 3 was counting/ winding.  It is gorgeous yarn with a mind to tangle on itself.  Took most of Saturday but I managed to best that hank.

After all that, I find that even with the yarn knit double it’s a much lower gauge than the Reading in Bed Shrug pattern’s.  Will take longer to make for sure.  I’ve settled on using my 4 mm needles.  That gives me a stitch gauge of around 23 for 4″.  The yarn is making up for all this trouble with every step though.  I simply love it!

Wedding Guest Shrug started at last

Wedding Guest Shrug started at last

On Saturday afternoon we got out & enjoyed the summery weather.  It was blazing!  Hubby’s been dying to walk over to a bridge.  It’s a fair distance but we did cut through a playing field.  Toby couldn’t have been happier, even on the main road.  The bridge is over a golf course valley, and creek.  They have some benches along the side, and the view was really worth the walk.

Yesterday, I headed into Toronto for my cousin’s poetry reading.  I meant to take the train but missed it by a hair.  I did make it in by car but had to wend through & around parade-goers.  The annual Sikh New Year parade was on in the downtown core.  Although 30 mins late, I did catch the readings.  My cousin isn’t decided about having an internet profile, so I’ll keep mum about the details.  I am so proud of her though!  A great way to put the icky week behind me.