Visit us in the quaint hamlet of Myrtle Station, ON at: 9585 Baldwin St. N. (905)655-4858
(17.8km north of 401 exit 410. Look for the green house with the red roof a few doors north of the Myrtle Station railroad tracks)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Retreat 2014

Lovely weekend, knitting, munching on the great food, strolling and cycling in perfect weather.
Sharion had great notes and directions for us. Yarn Pooling this year
Gorgeous flowers for inspiration from her garden, 3 pots in all
Plenty of time for personal projects, especially those that want focus, as in double knitting
I had a go at the river stitch in shetland wool, grows quickly and lots of counting.
Wonder of wonders the shetland hap got started. Hmm the cone of wool isn't getting smaller, though the garter stitch mates well with such excellent company.
Especially this sugar maple tree, with the two tone leaves.
The beach at Fairhaven is sunset friendly, good bye summer, hello sweater weather.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thumbing a mitten

Here are a few pictures and descriptions of how I thumbinate honeycomb mittens.
First step is while you are making the main part of the mitten. Knit the future thumb stitches with a short length of contrasting yarn. I prefer a bright, sturdy cotton, similar in weight to the main yarn.
After completing the mitten body, return to the thumb stitches and pick up the "stitches" on each side of the contrast stitches with a smaller double pointed needles.
Unpick the contrast yarn, to reveal the opening.
Knit the stitches off of the smaller needles with fresh yarn and proper size needle. Pick up a few at the corners.
Knit the thumb, work a couple decreases at the corners of the opening to acheive the correct number of stitches, as indicated in the pattern. Here 15 stitches were picked up, 5 on each needle.
Work one round, decrease one stitch per needle, 12 stitches or 4 per needle. (This is the child's size)
Final knit 2 together decrease at the tip of the thumb, cut the yarn a few inches away from the last stitch.
Thread through the remaining stitches. The top stays closed better if the yarn is run through the open stitches twice, with a large tapestry needle as illustrated in this drawing.
Poke a finger into the top of the thumb to even out and snug up the yarnand stitches.
Remove thy finger and pull it again to completely close the top.
Thread the loose ends through the tops of mitten and thumb.
Turn the mitten inside out and darn the loose ends into the knitted fabric.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Polka Dot Mittens

These are the days to get going on a mitten expedition. I dug out the Peer Gynt pattern from last year and my basket of DK wool colours. To start, it seemed right to knit one pair in each size.
My granddaughter is a big fan of Frozen. She requested a pair of polka dot mittens. Blue with white polka dots to be precise. Good to be clear about what you want in life, that is what I say.
I had previously made a pair for her little brother in rust Cleckheaten 8 ply superwash from this old chestnut of a book. I think it dates from 1951 for some reason. This is my favourite weight in the store, it is a European standard, 5.5 stitches to the inch on a 4mm needle. My favorite Aunt would say, Britain is certainly not part of Europe. Note, the mittens are actually made on a 3.25.
The book has a super chart for mitten making, all the sizes laid out for your knitting pleasure. 
There are variations on the theme, though I made the straight forward ones. Drop me a line and I am happy to send you a scanned PDF of the chart.
Next I dug out my other 4 needle mitten pattern book, these being made in a slightly heavier weight, I used Cascade 220 superwash. I picked a summer colour, to remind me of sunny days and blue oceans. It was lovely to work with, and also using a 3.25 needle.
I needed a model to measure the Frozen mittens by, since my orginal pattern was for adults. The Beehive Starlight is vintage too. Likely 40 years old and made in Great Britain. It is a wool wrapped with an iridescent thread, so I am imagining it as the snow.
The pattern uses an afterthought thumb, which you can see here with the pink cotton yarn. You purl the thumb stitches with a scrap, back up to the main yarn and repurl the stitches. After all is done, you pick up the stitches, pull out the scrap yarn and knit the thumb. This practice is well explained in the pattern. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

lovely linen

Our beautiful Punta handpainted linen in on sale and Kim knit this scarf from the summer issue of Vogue Knitting magazine. From the look of this pile, one could never guess much of the fabric structure of the piece, though I find that to be the case with all unblocked knitting.
The thing about linen, more so that any other fiber, is how well it holds a yarn over. The soft green and blue colours look so sophisticated to me.
I set it up the scarf with my blocking wires, though of course you can go the low tech way by basting the work right sides together and using a pin every inch or so. I would use a stiff thread for the basting too, because linen has a much stonger character than soft wool.
Bonus, you can merrily apply a generous amount of steam because linen is not shy about heat. Look at this! an cool butterfly shaped lace pattern emerges and stays open to enjoy!
The work could also be lined with a sheerish sage coloured silk to enhance the patten even more.
Enjoy the summer!