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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Since there were many heavy, non-negotiable items to carry, I saved weight by bringing few clothes and never smelled too bad.

I brought 2 t-shirts, 4 pairs of underwear, and washed one out every day; lots of wool: leggings, 2 long sleeve shirts, sweater, 1 pair of hiking pants, hand knit hat, 4 pair of hand knit socks, a lace shawl, gloves, down sweater,  waterproof shell, hiking boots, and a pair of crocs for camp. I wore every item more than once since it was November and temperature dropped to the low 40’s at night. I used a camelback for the first time and was very happy with it. 

Here is a tableau of my hand knit socks. The blue patterned socks were knit specifically for hiking and are made out of heavier yarn than I usually use. I used one pair as a pad under my shoulder straps.

My feet remained pretty happy. They really hurt on days we had heavy loads – water, all our food – and walked longer distances. A little lambs wool tucked into my socks usually did the trick.

We had long and short days. Here is our itinerary and National Park Service information. We needed backcountry permits for all our campsites.

  • South Kaibab to Indian Garden: 8+ miles, fully laden with 6 days of food, ouch, descent 3500 feet
  • Indian Garden to Salt Creek: 7+ miles still with lots of food and 6 liters of water.
  • Salt Creek to Monument Creek: 3+ miles, starting to feel good and little elevation change
  • Monument Creek to Hermit Creek: 3+ miles, rocking it except for dreading the hike out, which is getting closer and closer
  • Hermit Creek to Hermit Rapids and back: 5 miles, with NO PACK!
  • Hermit Creek to South Rim: Light pack, especially since I gave everything to Tim, 7+ miles and 3500 feet elevation gain.

I wore a hand knit lace shawl I had just finished around the camp, always stylish. It’s the forest path stole and was fun to knit. Made of silk, linen and cashmere, it’s as light as a feather and warm as toast.

I started knitting a lace shawl from the same yarn on the plane to Phoenix, which kept me occupied until I went to bed at 7:30 most night. 26 repeats, about 2 yards long. I’ll pick it up again after my Christmas knitting and weaving is finished.

Wedding shawl “Cecilia” border
A last look at Hermit Creek campsites, note the blue tent

Here’s a 360 degree view of our campsite at Salt Creek.The image works best on an iPhone because you can move the phone around and see it all.

We missed the Canyon on our flight out, but saw a beautiful sunset. It already seems like a dream.
 

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I’ve been on a knitting tear since the summer on Protection Island. I think I made four adult sweaters since April.  I started the Dublin Pullover in August. I knit it with Jamieson’s Shetland spindrift yarn, which turned out much softer than expected and will definitely use again. It took me about 5 months to knit and a week to sew in all the ends. Here’s one night’s waste yarn.

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I needed a wooly board to block it and found plans online. You can buy one for $150 or spend $8 on material and have fun in the process. Mine can block sweaters from 32″ to 48″. I will warn you however, dowels in the hardware store are WEAK! They snapped in seconds on my first attempt to stretch a sweater. I perused the hardware section (one of my pet pleasures) and found an alternative, a 1/4″ metal something or other.

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I initially hang the sweater in the boiler room, because there’s a drain in the floor,  then move to the wood stove where it dries in 1/2 a day. The stretcher doesn’t stand on its own but balances nicely.

This is the Dublin pullover.

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It fits Tim much better than me so he wins.

This vest had gradually gotten smaller and shorter. Now it fits again! I’m pretty sure it was the sweater shrinking, not me getting larger, although I’ve been a little lazy this winter.

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In contrast, this last sweater, knit in Lopi bulky yarn, took one week to knit! It was a little big so I purposely shrunk it but went a bit too small. The wooly board let me stretch it to a proper size. The neck remains a little wonky and I have to do something about that. Back to planning and looking for more sweaters to knit and stretch.

 

 

 

 

 

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We celebrated early with the family away and never brought a tree into the house. My geranium, salvaged from Seguin Island several years ago, brings holiday color to the room.

This year’s family craft project was paper cutting animal snowflakes.

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Be careful, it’s another worm hole to fall into. We used the book, 100 Amazing Paper Animal Snowflakes by Marion T. Nichols. For some reason, the templates are available online on this website if you feel the urge.

My work area looked like a warehouse from Thanksgiving until now. I knit, wove and wove. I finished my final ? project yesterday but didn’t take a photograph it yet. I made tablet woven tiebacks for the log cabin’s curtains.  Tim also received a wool rag rug for the cabin in the white elephant fiber exchange. The cabin may be complete – never.

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There were hats, scarves, slippers, rugs, bath and hand towels to name what I can remember.

We sneaked a quick trip in to Montreal to listen to a choir perform in the Notre Dame Basilica. Despite the slush and the Montreal shuffle it demands, it is a beautiful city in the winter.  Our new NEXUS passes let us sail across the border.

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My fair isle sweater is almost complete. It’s knit but there about a million ends to weave in. I built a wooly board yesterday from plans I found online to block it. The pattern was for a man and it fits a little wonky. I hope the stretcher will help. For now, it looks just as nice inside out.

FCC9AF5C-F8D4-48E6-93DD-9F16030E60A4Today is a lovely snowy day to sit by the wood stove and finish this task. After I use the snow blower to clear the driveway.

 

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Another spring snow storm.  Not a blizzard but lots of wet, heavy snow bending trees and fences, and obscuring views. It is in juxtaposition to spring blooms indoors.

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Looks like “we” will be manhandling the snow blower again. Especially since Tim has a small concert here tonight.  I need a break from my latest endeavors anyway.

I fell into a rabbit hole that held a pin loom.  These are small hand held looms that make small woven squares.  But they are addicting.  One website I found said they are just like potato chips, you can’t make just one.

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Now I’m puzzling over piecing them into a baby garment.  I found my 1930’s edition of 2″ and 4″ looms on ebay and they even came with some finished blocks.  The pattern books from that era are a hoot.  I could make a coat for myself, blankets, rugs… The mind boggles.

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After I made a couple of hats on my Passap knitting machine, it needed something else to do.  Here’s a cotton blanket for a new baby.

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These sweet blocks were a fun knit for a charity knitting project.  I finally found and joined a fiber guild.  Who cares if it meets an hour away – at night.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  So many talented fiber artists there.

Here’s another obsessive project.  I knit 6 strips on, ahem, my other knitting machine, 3 at a time, then wove them into this cute little ball.  OK, maybe I have a bit of cabin fever.

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And we can never have enough rugs.  Really, I am trying to reduce my stash.  I had these sock loops and even had some unused warp.  They go together nicely.  The classes I took at Red Stone Fiber Glen have paid off.  I can dress a loom with finesse these days.

The stash I am not using has been squished so at least the volume, if not the quantity, has been reduced.  Tim picked up 5 gallon, lidded spackle buckets for me and I stored my 3 clean fleeces in them.  For another day.  Maybe next March?

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At my darling daughter’s request, I’m back to knitting hats. Stranded  hats.  She wore one of my hats to a party and ended up requesting 4 more, including 2 moose hats, which I had to design.  I got out my punch cards and away I went.  They appear to be frolicking or playing leapfrog though.

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Frolicking moose

I’m going to sew these on my machine to try to speed up the assembly.  Right now it takes me almost as much time to finish them by hand as it does to knit them on the machine.

Our good friend is heading way north to volunteer for the Yukon Quest.  She is an avid dog lover, skijoerer (yup I spelled that right.  Skijoring (in Wikipedia) which is defined as:  sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving. So she wants to see the pros at work with their sleds and  beautiful dogs.   I made her a hat of course.

It’s not my pattern; I bought the knitting chart and made my own punch card for my knitting machine.  I’m quite pleased with it.  Everyone at the dog shelter coveted one too.  A good endorsement.  The pattern is Husky Sledding Chart and its graphics are perfect.

Next up are panda hats I am still designing and punching cards for.  Three color punch card is keeping my brain fresh. My machine is older and relies on punch cards instead of the computer.  This means a lot of up front work before a pattern may be knit.

Loki looked stranded in the snow yesterday when he was stalking something in the bushes.

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So handsome.  Then he came in and cuddled with the rambunctious, hyper, mildly annoying, but so sweet, kitten, Elli. They were even touching for warmth.

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We had a small dinner party the other night and I made the American version of a self saucing pudding and I have to say it was delicious and easy.  The recipe is from King Arthur Flour.  They call it a self saucing chocolate cake.  Our chocolate loving, skijoerer loved it too.  A good testament.  Here’s how pretty the table looked before dinner.  I won’t show you the aftermath but a good time was had by all.

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Here’s the link to the King Arthur recipe.  Try it!

 

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Sometimes it’s fun and educational to follow a knitting pattern as written.  I rarely do and end up with a variety of results.  Not so with my most recent hand knit projects.  The patterns are from Brooklyn Tweed kids and are beautiful and a fun knit.

The first is a young girl’s sweater, Petal.  It all began when a niece requested another sweater for her daughter, in white please. Well she also has a son, and a sister with two boys. You see how it goes.  One white sweater became four.  I had fun planning the projects.  

Here’s Petal.

  
Look at those details. Not your average circular yoke cardigan. I have a cone of lovely sock yarn from Webs I’ve been using for all sorts of projects and it really softens after washing.

The next is Wyatt.  I liked the Henley style and stitch pattern.  I happened to have some yarn recycled from a girl’s dress made of cotton, cashmere and angora that is machine washable. It knit up beautifully and I have some left over for a soft hat.

   
 
Now for the older boys.  I wanted to knit sweaters on my two knitting machines. One can handle worsted and bulky weight yarn.  I found a nice raglan sweater on the Webs’ sight and converted it to work flat.  I liked the bold stripe and, since the boys are big Islanders fans, I incorporated their team colors.  It worked out beautifully.  What a way to sail through all that stockinette. The pattern is Jonathan.

  
Finally, I wanted to do some stranded color work on my knitting machine that works with fingering weight yarn.  I saw another pattern I liked in Brooklyn Tweed called Carson, which appealed to me because of the way the colorwork was used in the hem and sleeves.  But it was too small and a little tricky to convert.  I decided to make my life simple and knit a modified drop shoulder sweater with a V-neck.  Then I found a stranded pattern I liked in the book, Traditional Knitting by Michael Peirson, and made a punchcard to work with my Passap Dm80. I kept the neck detail from Carson, which rolls a little.

 
The first two sweaters took two months.  The last two, four days!  
Now I can finally get back to working on Tim’s quilt for the log cabin. 

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Put it in writing

The holidays are behind us.  The stockings, which were hung with care, are back in storage.

  
Attention turns to the New Year and our resolutions. Here’s mine.  In 2016 any additions to my wardrobe will be made by me.  That is not to say I will only wear handmade clothing but I have to make everything I would normally buy.  

Needless to say, I shopped at Victoria’s Secret and the Gap on December 30.

First on my list is a few silk camisoles.  Perhaps pajama pants from handwoven fabric.  My homemade bathing suit (sewn, not knit) is holding up just fine. I’m flush in hats, gloves, and slippers. I may need a wool coat. We’ll see what the New Year brings.

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