Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Afmaeli - Blocked

Afmaeli is off the blocking wires. As it was snug when I first finished knitting, with wet blocking, I stretched it out to the desired dimensions and let it dry like that.
It stays like that once dried and the pins and blocking wires are removed.

My model tried it on and deemed it fitting like the Riddari (that he is still wearing daily).

I started Scooter's Riddari, knitting one sleeve. I have decided to exchange the light grey for a darker shade as there isn't enough contrast between it and the white accent. I'll head up to Myrtle Station Wool again tomorrow. I also discovered in my Léttlopi stash that I have a ball of the denim-coloured that I used for Skip's Riddari so I will return the darker blue ball as well. So the grey for Scooter's Riddari will be the same shade as Skip's Afmaeli and the blues will be the same.

Since I can't knit on it any more 'til I get the grey yarn, I continue to stitch away on my Stars piece. This is where I left off yesterday.
Today I am continuing the green tendril up the right side and will finish those leaves and start stitching the woman in the blue skirt.
I still have lots to finish on the houses at the bottom and need to remember to buy some 4mm white buttons for the 'flowers' between the houses. I'm also looking forward to doing the specialty stitches and all the 'stars'.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Afmaeli - Finished

I finished Skip's Afmaeli sweater just now. It took four tries to get the neck right.
I finally frogged it back to the beginning of the black on the neck and re-did the decreases, for a total of 88 sts instead of 80. It had to be multiples of 4 for the k2 p2 ribbing. I then did a stretchy bindoff.

Here's the detail of the cuffs.
I do need to give it a hard blocking. I used exactly the same needle size as Skip's Riddari but this seems to be a denser fabric. I think with soaking it and stretching it out to the desired size, I can get it to be the same airiness as the Riddari.
I can now start Scooter's Riddari.

This frigid weather is very conducive to knitting and stitching. We've had snow and will be shovelling out tomorrow morning. Skip just heard on a weather report that we're supposed to be getting some of the coldest temperatures we've had in 25 years. Great - the year we aren't going south in February. Curse you, Climate Change!

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Trip Delay, Distractions, and Learning New Things

Skip and I were scheduled to head south tomorrow. Unfortunately we've had to postpone our departure due to some medical tests that were done last week and we await the results. We're really bummed out but it can't be helped so we're trying to 'roll with the punches'.

To comfort myself, I've been stitching and knitting like a fiend.

I've been knitting the yoke on Skip's sweater. Before starting the colourwork, I knit 5 short rows back and forth between the underarms on the back to add a bit of extra length for the back. Now on the yoke, I'm on the first decrease row.
I went back up to Myrtle Station Wool again today to pick up the yarn for Scooter's Icelandic sweater. I'm knitting him a Riddari like this
except with the lighter grey as the main colour. I also had to pick a shade darker of the blue yarn and a heathered black.

Yesterday at Jeanette's I got more stitching done on my Stars piece - a lot of the leaves and the beginning of the alphabet.
Speaking of Stars, I really want to get this chart - Cinnamon Stars by Plum Street Samplers. I love the colours and autumn themes with the sunflowers, pumpkins, scarecrow, corn stalks, stone house,and stars. I will be obtaining this one sometime soon.

I've been watching a lot of Floss Tube videos on YouTube. Some of my favourites are  Priscilla and  Chelsea, Yankee Creek Stitcher, Jen's Stitching Niche, and Sassy Stitchin Sisters and Brother.

Recently I've been intrigued by all the different ways people hand dye their fabrics before stitching and in some cases, after stitching. It gives a nice mottled or primitive affect.

I still want to kit up some of the projects I'd planned to take south. In most cases I have the threads or the fabric but rarely both.

Recently Skip read 'The Inconvenient Indian' by Thomas King. It was a bestseller in 2015 and won several non-fiction awards. I've been listening to the audiobook.

From The Chronicle Journal review:

"The Inconvenient Indian' is a book of stories with a lot of history in it. It may well be the best analysis of how Native people have existed, and still exist, in North America... Even if you think you know North American Aboriginal history, you will be richly engage by the stories [King] tells. And if you don't know it, this is a fine place to begin."

I am pretty ignorant about the specifics of how North American Native people were (mis)treated for the past 400+ years. These issues were never taught in my social studies classes in school. I do know about the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that occurred in the residential schools, the 60s 'scoop', the abject poverty many First Nations people live in, but not much beyond that. I think everyone in North America should read this book and educate themselves about the way the 'colonists' interacted with the First People who roamed our continent. It would certainly lead to a greater understanding of why things are the way they are - far from ideal for many Native people.

King is a very good writer. He has researched the topic of his people well and makes a clever use of irony and humour while outlining the many atrocities that were committed in the name of religion, commerce, and 'knowing what is best for the Indians'. It makes one think...

From the Toronto Star:

"Every Canadian should read Thomas King's new book, 'The Inconvenient Indian'...It's funny, it's readable, and it makes you think. If you have any kind of a social conscience, 'The Inconvenient Indian' will also make you angry."

I'm sure all libraries have copies in print, ebook, and in audio format. When I finish listening to this book, there are a couple more that I'd like to read on this topic.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Starting the Yoke

I finished knitting the body up to the underarms last night and did the first round joining the sleeves.
I'm going to do a few short rows on the back between the sleeves to give it a bit of extra length on the back before starting the colourwork on the yoke.

There are 14 underarm stitches on holders on both the sleeves and body. They will be grafted together later. All other sleeve and body stitches are yoke stitches.
In colourwork one often goes up a needle size to compensate for the floats tightening up the knitted fabric. Instead, I am choosing to consciously stretch out the stitches and knit loosely. It worked well on the other Icelandic sweater (Riddari) I knit for Skip. That way there won't be a sensation of tightness around the shoulders.

I'm starting to set aside stitching patterns and fabric that I want to take south. I always get a little anxious that I won't bring enough stitching to keep me busy. I acquired so many wonderful patterns when I was on my NY state trip, I want to get going on some of them rather than buy a bunch more at Judy's Stitchery Nook down there. Of course, I'll be checking out what Judy has and will likely buy some fabric for some projects there but I really want to use up as much of my stash as possible.

Some of my proposed projects are:

I've worked out most of the thread substitutions from the called for Needlepoint Inc. Silks.
I LOVE the donkey on this one and  may redesign it using the donkey and the alphabet only.
 I also really like monochromatic projects. I'll use DMC 115 on this one.
I may or may not do the pink zig-zags on the sheep. Instead I'll use French knots.
I've had this pattern and fabric for over a decade. I just need to get the threads from my stash.
I got this one either at Twist or the NY state trip. Again, I'd used DMC 115 for a lot of it. Then will come the task of finding a tray the right dimension. I like that little needlebook, too. It would be fun to use the Eiffel tower 'scissors' on it.
This came with the buttons.  I have all the called for hand-dyed Weeks Dye Works threads.
I got this from Laura's destashing. Again, I'd skip the zigzag on the sheep and probably do French knots instead.
I have everything to start this. The bee charm and chenille trim came with the kit. I can't believe how much these little bits of chenille trim cost when buying separately.
I really love the Hands On Design patterns. I think it's the colours that really sing to me. The farm-themed chalk designs are not my 'cup of tea' but I do appreciate all the elements of them. Calvin the cat, Ronnie the dog, Chelsea's chickens, etc. etc.

I'm going up to Myrtle Station Wool once I get going so I can buy the yarn for Scooter's requested Riddari. I'm doing it in the same basic colours as Skip's but will use a lighter colour of grey for the body.
I can probably get the sleeves done in the car on the way south.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Canvaswork Class

Yesterday several of us participated in a canvaswork class with Kim Mather from Kimat Designs.
Ahead of time we selected our preferred colours of the various threads we would use: Caron Watercolours, #5 Perle Cotton, Very Velvet, Impressions by Caron, Snow by Caron, Flair (stretchable tubular ribbon), Petite Sparkle Rays. Our design is called Whitby Whirlwind.

Our personalized kits were beautifully packaged.
Our first stitch was the Lace Wheel in the centre with Caron Snow. It is a two-part stitch. The first part is the spokes 'x's and '+'s. The second part is circular needle weaving over and under pairs of spokes.

We then used Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet to do the satin stitch around the lace wheel and fly stitch on the corners of the satin stitch.
Next was the Norwich waffle stitch with #5 Perle cotton. This stitch radiated out from the centre Lace Wheel and Satin Stitch grouping.
We then stitched four in each direction, then put in some guide stitches to determine where the corner was. Then we stitched another Lace Wheel.
Our goal was to learn every stitch in one quadrant. The next stitch was the Diagonal Fern Stitch using the Caron Watercolours - stitching from the corner back down to the corner of the centre piece.

We then used the Flair on each side of the diagonal fern stitch to do Diagonal Long-Armed Cross stitches (in darker green).
Next, we learned the Queen or Rococo stitch. Some onlookers believed it was a very difficult stitch, however Kim taught us in a very methodical way which made it easy for us to master (bright purple to right of the Diagonal Long-Armed stitches). It is an excellent filler stitch.
Kim demonstrates the Rococo (Queen) stitch
I practiced the stitch first outside of the design area. The purple knot is a waste knot.
Happy with that, I carried on.
Beside the Queen stitches were the Diagonal Greek Stitches with Rainbow Gallery Petite Sparkle Rays (shiny gold braid-like stitches).
We then decided how we would fill in the rest of the triangle. Kim suggested either Scotch stitches in one direction with the option of weaving them. I chose to do 'checkerboard' Scotch stitches to fill in the rest.

Kim also suggested back stitches along the edges of the corner lace wheel to give it more of a finished look (see corners below).

Here are other people's colour choices:

It was a very fun way to spend the day.
Other Trillium Guild Members also spent the day stitching at the next table.
Once I got home, I worked on it for the rest of the evening, again today stitching at Barb's and most of the afternoon back at home.

I finished it at 5pm.

I'm not quite sure how I will display it, possibly in a square frame.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Another FFO

Back in November, Marilyn, Barb, Jen, Jeanette and I took a class in wool appliqué. I've had most of it done since about the 2nd week of December and only had the windows and doorknobs to do as well as the blanket stitch all around the edge.

Tonight I finished it up while listening to an audiobook.
It's November of "Penny Mats Thru the Year" from Buttermilk Basin.

Marilyn and I both did the same pattern. Here, hers is tastefully displayed with one of her watercolour paintings.
While at the quilt shop where we took the class we both bought a pattern for the Three Woodland  Ornaments.
Flannel or wool could be used. Marilyn already made hers. I'm going to reduce the pattern size on my printer as I'd like mine smaller than 6.5" tall. Then they'll go in my 'projects to start' pile for next fall. They're so cute!

Afmaeli Update

I got pics of the two finished sleeves.

I used stitch markers on round 1 of each series of increases to show where I had increased after the first stitch of the round and before the last stitch of the round. I was then very easy to count total stitches. After the maximum required, I just knit straight until the desired sleeve length. Now that the sleeves are done. I really don't need to keep the stitch markers in place.
I'm just whipping along on the body. 
I have 10" of the 18" done.
It would be great if I could finish this before we go south. Then I can start Scooter's sweater - but there's no rush on that.

Crisis Mode

I went to do a blog post Wednesday morning only to discover I had missed renewing my domain and my blog was no longer accessible. PANIC! After live chatting with someone from Google I learned that the domain ( had been snapped up by GoDaddy, in spite of the 30 - 60 day grace period. I put in a request to get my domain back. If that doesn't work, I'll simply revert to again. If I do get the domain back, either URL will get you to this blog.

I need to put the renewal in my calendar for next year so I don’t have to go through this again. I think I’ve toggled ‘auto renew’ so (fingers crossed) it will renew automatically (if I ever get it back, that is).

So I apologize to you if you tried to check my blog the couple of days only to get a message that it had expired. I've been just sick about this and am thrilled that all was not lost.

I finished the second sleeve of Skip’s sweater and have about 10" done on the body. At this rate I could have most of the body knit before we head south. Scooter has just informed me he would like one, too so I may be visiting Myrtle Station Wool again soon (tomorrow?) to buy yarn for it as well.

On Tuesday night at spinning I finished plying together the two singles I’ve been spinning since the fall. I purchased the braids of fibre from The Black Lamb when I was at Twist this summer. They are from the same dye lot although two different fibres.

I had quite a bit more of the stellina fibre than the other so have a little skein of it plied on itself.

Basically I did no spinning on Tuesday, only plying and winding onto my niddy noddy.

I found two more handpainted braids of fibre so will work on those when I return from the sunny south. They’re not next-to-skin soft so are possibly Shetland or some other ‘scratchy’ fibre.

I’ve started thinking about what stitching patterns, fibres, and kits I want to take south. I always get a little panicky that I won’t have enough to keep myself entertained. However, there is a fabulous stitchery shop less than an hour away. Of course I’ll take all my threads so will only have to supplement for any projects I start.

I also have a couple of punch needle kits to take and want to start on The Old Tattered Flag’s “The Village Christmas Tree” (pictured bottom left) from the Christmas 2018 Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher magazine now that I have the kit. I just need to trace the design onto my weaver’s cloth. I also may reduce the size on my printer before tracing.
COVER - Xmas-Winter  Issue 2018 Web LG.j
I also want to start Teresa Kogut’s “Santa Knows” from the same issue (pictured above on the right).

If you love primitive punch needle or cross stitch, I cannot recommend more highly the subscription to Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher Magazine. Check out their website and scroll through the images of some of their issues. They don’t mail outside of the US but a digital subscription is available for $24US. It entitles you to .pdfs of four issues as well as all the issues from the previous year. At $14.99 for a hard copy of an issue, $24 is an excellent deal.  One tip if you want to print one of the patterns, select a high quality print setting so you can see the symbols easier.

Monday, 14 January 2019

First Sleeve Done

This sweater is knitting up very quickly. I might even have most of it knit before Skip and I head south. I finished the first sleeve last night and have about 10cm done on the second one.
The sleeves and body are knit up to the underarms. Underarm stitches are put on holders on both the sleeves and the body. They will be grafted together later. The rest of the stitches around the sleeves and body form the yoke are put on one long needle for the knitting of the yoke. The Lettlopi that I'm using is Aran weight and with the 4.5mm needles I'm using, it knits up like a dream with great stitch definition.

This morning I stitched with a Monday morning group at Alda's. I got some more work done on my Stars sampler.
I've started the leafy vine above the verse and will stitch the alphabet above that when I'm done.

I have been listening to lots of Flosstube videos on YouTube. I like Vonna Pfeifer (The Twisted Stitcher)'s finishing tutorials. She explains the steps very clearly. I have also enjoyed Chelsea and Priscilla "The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch" and Teresa Kogut's Flosstube.