timing is everything

I started a vest for myself.  I shouldn’t have, but I did.

At guild on Tuesday I won a mini raffle we did, and got a 2012/2013 Bergere de France magazine.  There are some GORGEOUS patterns in there, but I was taken by 2 in particular.  One of them I’m not sure what yarn to use, but the other…well…it’s a fun fur vest.  I know.

I know.


But it’s really cute, and worse comes to worst I’m always cold at home so….  Yeah.  Moving on…

The body is worked on 8mm needles so it’s a fast knit.  It’s kinda a shrug/vest hybrid, and on Wednesday night I cast on.  I finished the back ribbing and the first few rows of the body.  And then I brought it to work with me on Thursday so I could photocopy the pattern out of the magazine to make it easier to work on.

Now, I shouldn’t have started this project on Wed.  I had realized just that morning that Christmas might be in 2 weeks, but the last day of daycare/kindergarten is next week, which means I’m running out of time to do the holiday teachers’ gifts which I haven’t started yet.  I *should* have started those.  But I didn’t.

Which makes it only fitting that I forgot the project at work last night, and then today both boys woke up with fevers, meaning I had to keep them home, and be home all day, and NOT be able to work on the vest.

Which means that in about 5 minutes I’ll be starting the holiday teachers’ gifts, all due next week.  🙂


that yarn from the other day

My arms are in great shape after a week of winding.

I turned Veronik‘s 2 cones of St. Denis Nordique, last seen looking like this:

Into this:

That’s 2 swatches, and 40 mini cakes, ready for our November MKG meeting.  I copied the gauge for a sample pattern using this yarn (Agathe, from the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the St. Denis magazine), and knit 2 swatches using the required yarn and needles (with a moss stitch border). Our guild project will be to have everyone knit up the same swatches, and then to compare and see what a (presumably) vast array of actual swatch sizes we end up with, as a means to illustrating the importance of swatching.  You know, that just because you use the yarn and needles called for in the pattern, doesn’t mean you’ll end up with anything near the pattern’s gauge.

Each guild member who attends will get a little cake of yarn and a copy of instructions that I printed earlier.  It took me roughly 100 feet of yarn for my swatches, so I wound each cake to 120 feet to account for looser tensions eating more yarn.  (My yarn meter works in feet, and I’m too lazy to do the math right now.  Divide by 3 for yards).

My swatches will be used as examples by Veronik, who is bringing along her trusty steamer to show what a difference blocking makes.  One swatch will be steamed and become the “after”, while the other will remain as-is, as the “before”, and silently simmer and fume.

I also wound up the yarn that Maaike wound for me so I can finish my Linden.  I set up her ginormous wooden cake winder (because it winds ginormous cakes, not that it takes up a large desk footprint) and wound up (heh) with 2 BABs.

Yes, Maaike and I often speak in Three Letter Acronyms.  These babies?  They’re some Big A$$ Balls.


if I…

…told you that I was going to knit a mitten on Saturday and a sweater on Sunday, would you think that I was crazy?  Fear not!

This weekend is the Beth Brown-Reinsel workshop hosted by the Montreal Knitting GuildMaaike and I will be there, along with a packed house of other knitters eager to learn from a master.  To quote from our newsletter:

Beth Brown-Reinsel has been a knitting teacher for 18 years. She is probably best known for her Gansey sweaters and has published what may be considered the Gansey bible, “Knitting Ganseys”.



This is the plan for Saturday:

The beautiful mittens of Latvia will be studied in this class and a child’s mitten will be knitted to learn the following techniques: A choice of the fringed cuff or scalloped cuff, the herringbone braid and many subtle and beautiful variations of the half-braid, the waste-yarn thumb, and round tip shaping. A variety of traditional motifs are incorporated in the main body of the mitten, and reading from the chart will be covered. Additional techniques to be discussed include knitting with two yarns in the right hand, two yarns in the left hand, or a yarn in each hand, as well as setting up the knitting for color changes in the braids and weaving yarns to reduce float size.

This is the yarn I will be using:


Briggs & Little Sport in (clockwise from top right) Teal Blue, Washed White, Light Gray, Orange and Dark Gray, purchased from Robyn’s Nest here in Montreal.  The class only calls for 4 colors, but it calls for 2 oz of each.  The skeins of Sport have 3.5 oz each and Maaike and I decided that since we liked the same colors, it made sense to buy only one of each skein and split them.  So we threw in a 5th color to make sure we didn’t run out.  Now if only I could shake the feeling that I should be knitting a Miami Dolphins sweater with these colors…

I haven’t told Yannick yet, but Saturday night after the class many of us will be going out for dinner with Beth (‘cus I can call her that!) and will get a chance to hang out with her on a less structured level.  I didn’t go to the dinner with Suzanne Atkinson or Fiona Ellis, and I can’t remember if I went with Lucy Neatby, but I did join the group for dinner with Sally Melville, and can say that it is definately a great addition to the weekend!

Here is the course description for Sunday:

Students will learn how to construct a Gansey, a sweater form prevalent in the last century and early part of this century among the fishermen of the British Isles. A small scale sweater will be knitted using traditional construction techniques including the classic Channel Island Cast-on, split welts, seam stitches, traditional knit/purl patterns, the underarm gusset, shoulder straps with perpendicular joining, and picked-up sleeves. Alternative methods to these techniques will also be explored.


My sweater will be knit with Cascade 220 Superwash in Winter White, also from Robyn’s Nest.  I’ve never used any Cascade yarn before, so I’m looking forwards to seeing how it knits up.  I’m assuming that the sweater will be doll-sized and think that a little white gansey will be adorable.



Last night the Montreal Knitting Guild was treated to an appearance by Molly Ann and Mary, the lovely ladies from Ariadne, here in Montreal.  They brought yarn to fondle, and they were gracious enough to give each guild member a loot bag with some samples inside.

 Let’s get in a little closer, shall we?

8 luscious little mini-skeins of yarn!

Frog Tree – Pima Silk (85% Pima Cotton/15% silk, 50g/140m each)

Lorna’s Laces – Swirl DK (85% Merino/15% Silk, 50g/137m each)

Estelle – Young Touch (100% Cotton, 50g/100m each)

Jo Sharp – Silkroad Aran Tweed (85% Wool/10% Silk/5% Cashmere, 50g/95m each)

Butterfly – Cotton (100% Mercerized Cotton, 125g/230m each)

Lang – Silk Dream (50% Merino/50% Silk, 133g/313y each)

Cherry Tree Hill – Cascade Fingering (100% Silk, 150g/608m each)

There were 2 of this one in my bag…not sure if everyone else got only 7 mini-skeins and I got an extra one, or if everyone else got 8 and I received a duplicate by mistake so I’m missing one.

One of the cool things about Ariadne is that they carry a lot of the yarns you hear/read about online but don’t often find in our usual LYSs.  Cherry Tree Hill, Koigu, Lamb’s Pride, Reynolds, Classic Elite, Jo Sharp, Frog Tree and Lorna’s Laces, just to name a few!

Not only that, but since Mary is one of the founders of Twist Collective, another fellow Montrealer, Kate Gilbert, came by to talk about the online magazine, and to give us a trunk show!  We got to see, first-hand and up close, most (all?) of the wonderful clothes from the TC Fall issue, and even get a little sneak peek at some of the items in the Winter issue.  It’s going to be a great issue, let me tell you!

They even did a little cross promotion, and in our Ariadne goodie bags we were given TC tape measures and a little booklet with advice on substituting yarns Ariadne carries for the yarns required in the Fall TC issue.

It was a fun night, and I even got some knitting done on Jakob’s costume.


sally melville workshops

A few weeks ago I was privileged to spend the weekend at the Travelodge Hotel with a bunch of knitters and one very famous knitting designer. In honor of her having led the very first Montreal Knitting Guild workshop 10 years ago, (and also because she’s just a wonderful teacher), the MKG brought back Sally Melville to run a weekend-long series of workshops.

Sally Melville. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Author of Styles, The Knit Stitch, The Purl Stitch and Color, not to mention designer of countless patterns in magazines from Interweave to Vogue to…

Yeah. Her.

If you ever get a chance to take a class with Sally, do it! She is the cutest little thing, and tells wonderful stories. She is also a great teacher. Here are my swatches from that weekend:

On Saturday I took 2 workshops- “Rescue Tips and Emergency Techniques” and “Learning to Love Intarsia”.

This poor swatch got really put through the wringer! First we had to cut a stitch and unravel back to show how you could cut your knitting to make changes (shorten, lengthen, etc). I wasn’t afraid to cut, remember the Superman costume legs? I’d already cut them and lengthened them by an inch, before grafting the feet back on. We also learned how to fix a mistake by duplicate stitching then cutting out the original yarn. In this swatch, the blue stitches in the Fair Isle row were originally black. We duplicated-stitched over them, then cut out the black stitches.
This was our intarsia sampler. She gave us some great techniques for avoiding holes without too much twisting of the yarn.

After the classes Saturday night a bunch of us went out for dinner with Sally. We had a great time and had some yummy (but overpriced) Italian food in Dorval.

On Sunday it was one workshop all day long; I forget the name but it was something about tips and techniques “…for the Self-Taught Knitter”.
This was a little stockinette stitch swatch I made to show Angie that knitting wouldn’t unravel sideways. She was positive that if you cut your knitting, it will all come undone- this was to show her that even in a plain-old acrylic yarn, the stitches aren’t going anywhere. The 1-stitch width you see unravelled above took a LOT of tugging and pulling to get it to “pop out” on its own.
This hideous piece was our increase, decrease and bobble sampler. It also prompted a witty observation- we spend money to go to a workshop, spend all day joyfully knitting away, then come home to our significant others waving this deformed mess at them, proudly exclaiming “look what I did today!!!”. No wonder non-knitters don’t get it!
This last swatch was for practicing seaming and buttonholes. I think one of the best “a-ha!” moments of the class was her tips on picking up stitches for a neckband. One simple modification to eliminate any gaps- it’s genious.

All in all, it was a great weekend spent with some great people. I am thrilled that I was able to meet a knitting legend like Sally, and wish her much success with future books and projects.


tues, sept 11 – my birthday

Ok, truthfully my birthday started at midnight, when I opened up my first card. I was confused because there was no name on the outside, but it was all explained when the card turned out to be from our cat, Sam. He didn’t write my name on the outside of the card, since, DUH, cats can’t write. (Silly readers).

I signed up with a stroller walking group and since it was raining outside they were meeting at a local mall, so I packed up Jakob and went for some much-needed exercise. We were finished right about the time the stores were opening, so I went to go visit my brother at his work.

He took this lovely photo of us. Ignore my crazy-flat hair…I’d been sweating up a storm. Still…this is the only photo taken on my birthday that has ME in it, so here you go.
For the first time ever I took advantage of my brother’s managerial discount to treat myself to something for my birthday. I keep hearing people praising Crocs (the real foam ones, not plastic knock-offs) and had been admiring the Mary-Jane style, so I picked up a pair of them in black. They are SO comfy! I wish I’d bought them earlier in the summer!

From Fairview Jakob and I went to the video game store to trade in the sucky game we’d bought that Saturday night a few weeks ago. I traded it for the 2 games I’m missing in the SpongeBob SquarePants series. Don’t laugh- the one I already have, The Battle For Bikini Bottom is a lot of fun, and not too hard that I can’t play it on my own. I picked up SpongeBob SquarePants: the Movie Game and Lights, Camera, Pants!. The first one is supposed to be similar to the one I have already, the second one is 30 mini-games that you can compete against others for “auditions” for a movie being filmed in Bikini Bottom.

We came home and spent the afternoon sewing in ends on my Knitty submission. (Well, I did. Jakob didn’t really help that much). Yannick has bowling every Tuesday so I didn’t feel guilty going to my first Knitting Guild meeting of the year. I didn’t think to ask my mom to babysit, so Jakob came with me.

He helped Norma teach the proper way of doing an SSK…

…and obediently modeled my Montego Bay Scarf-in-progress.

We left in time to put him to bed, and just as I’d sat down on the couch to relax, Yannick walked in with a little treat for me:

A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard cake from Dairy Queen! YUM. As much as I can’t wait to dig in, I DON’T want the temptation of eating the whole thing, so we put it right into the freezer and will cut it Wed night after dinner at my parents’ house.

We watched the Big Brother episode that I’d taped earlier (bye bye Jameka!) and FINALLY saw some footage from the Jury house! I’d been wondering when we were going to see the evicted houseguests again…

In sad news, we tried the 2 SpongeBob games, and the Lights, Camera, Pants! one was defective. 😦 Yannick will return it for me on Wed and pick up something new.