Friday, March 30, 2012

More colors!

I went back to my favorite LYS in the off chance I had missed something. Guess what happened? I found more Briggs & Little Sport yarn in colors I didn't have and wanted!!!

Check it out. These are the skeins I bought today:

With those I bought this week:

Which, when I add the Sport yarn I already had, brings me up to 27 colors!!!

I feel like a kid with a new box of crayons! :-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn and snow!

After an unusually warm and sunny week, winter has decided to come back with a vengeance and to stay awhile... It was really cold (-20 celsius!) and really windy for a couple of days and now it's snowing!

Well, all things considered, it wasn't such a bad idea to knit so many wool hats! :-)

Since I'm in a color work craze, I went to my favorite yarn store, Softi, to get more colors of Briggs & Little Sport and Durasport yarn. As I already told you a few days ago, I use all the wool yarns from Briggs & Little a lot! I've been knitting with it since the 70's, when I was a teenager. It was the only pure wool yarn I could afford at the time and everything I made with it through the years, held up beautifully! It comes in more than 40 shades, it's great for hand knitting, it's great for crochet and it's also great for machine knitting!!! What more could you want (or expect) from a really affordable 100% wool yarn? As a matter of fact, I'm not the only one, Schoolhouse Press (you know, Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swanson's little company!) says that Briggs  & Little's Regal is one of their favorite yarns!

In both pictures, I mixed my new yarn with the colors I already had.

There are still many colors I need (or want!) but that weren't available at my LYS. I'll be ordering them directly from Briggs & Little!

Don't you love all the possibilities that yarn offers? So many colors, so many different ways to combine them! The sky's the limit!!!

                                              Just a few of the many possible choices!

My Dollheid (one of many great patterns from Kate Davies) is almost done. It would have been finished a few days ago, if my real life job hadn't interfered so much!

I have a break tonight, I'll be happily knitting away!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Peerie Flooers completed!

The Peerie Flooers is finished! The ends have been woven in, it took a nice relaxing bath in warm water and clothes softener, it dried and now, I want to cast on another one!!! :-)

I love the mix of colors, I love the look, I love everything about it!!!!

Here it is before its bath!

It was a bit too deep for my head, so I removed a few rows from the crown area.

 Then, it dried over a fine mesh strainer.


The end result!

Very, very happy with it!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A tale of hats...

I've been knitting a lot of hats lately, a lot of which have been miserable failures. You know how it is, you win some, you lose some... It all started when I needed a  hat to go with a short green cape my daughter gave me for Christmas. First of all, I made two different dark green hats in two different yarns and two different patterns (Wurm and Monkey bread) that I made a bit too big... So I had to frog them and before attacking them again with smaller needles, I decided to go for something else entirely, a very clean and simple basic beret. I chose Hanna Fettig's "early morning beret". I was thinking of it as a kind of palate cleanser, something to reset my knitting mojo!

I even chose a very neutral (easy to see) color. I was letting my eyes take a rest after all that dark wool...

When I felt a little better, I knit another Snappy Hat to put me in a good mood. 

Then... It was time to start anew, it was time to knit not one, but two Peerie Flooers!
Yes, I did change the colors, I wanted them to match my coats! :-)

The first one is made of crochet cotton in springtime colors. Since cotton has no elasticity to speak of, knitting it is a bit hard on the hands, so I'm also knitting one for next winter in Briggs & Little "Sport" and "Durasport", because it's a lot more fun and easier to work with! Notice that there is a hint of green in the pattern, so it will be worn with the green cape! Yeah!!!

I love that wool! It comes in a lot of great colors, it's very inexpensive, it's really warm, it's indestructible and  it comes from an old mill in New Brunswick! Granted it's pretty scratchy to begin with, but it softens up and blooms beautifully when you add a few drops of softener (or hair conditioner) in the soaking bath.

I also have a "Dollheid" in the works... Stay tuned!

I'm off to do the crown decreases!!!  

Sunday, March 18, 2012


For many years, I've collected vintage linens and knits. I inherited some, others I bought at antique auctions or got at swap meets. I always find it sad, that pieces that took so long to make, that demonstrate such expertise, were not kept in the family. It also breaks my heart to see them sold for a few dollars... So, I always feel that I have to save them, repair them and display them!

I thought you might be interested in seeing two pieces, that are presently in the place of honor in my bedroom.

This is a knit bedspread that I recently got at an auction. Nobody else bid on it, because it had a tiny bit of easily repaired damage. As you can see below, I haven't repaired it yet...  It's knit in a very fine cotton on very small  needles. It was knit in squares and then, sewn together with the same cotton.

I'm in awe of all the work and patience that went into this work of art and I feel very lucky that I get to enjoy it!

Now, I have the pleasure of showing you one of my grandmother's shawls:

                                                               Isn't it beautiful?

It's made in a complicated hairpin lace pattern. She taught me how to do hairpin lace  when I was a child. I remember that the big hairpin was fun to play with, but that doing something beautiful with it was very hard...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Knitting for social change...

A group of Montreal students, who are also knitters, are using their knitting (and yarn bombing) in the present conflict between the provincial government and students.
Here is their bilingual site:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Knitting patterns from the past!

Many years ago, I inherited my grandmother's old knitting magazines. Most are from the 30's to the 50's, with a few quite colorful crochet magazines from the 60's.

A sample of the collection.

                                        Out of all of those,  my favorite is from 1939!

Judging by the wear and tear, it probably was my grandmother's favorite as well!

                 It contains very interesting designs, just look at the pleats on that skirt!

  Make only a few small changes and these knits could have been made yesterday!

I could knit one of these skirts a lot faster on my Passap knitting machine...Hmm... Since  I would make them shorter, I could even knit a few of them... Hmm...

A bra, would do wonders for this pullover! ;-)

There's a lot of inspiration in those old pattern magazines and many yarns (unavailable  for a very long time) to drool over:

All those great yarns were 100% wool, extremely soft (I know, I have a few shawls from that era that my grandmother made), offered in many colors, inexpensive and easy to find! How I wish I could go back in time to purchase yarn!!!!!!!!!!

Contrary to popular belief, women did not only use straight needles in those days, my grand-maman said that she used her circular needles to knit dresses and skirts.

This is one example of her old metal wire circular needles. Believe me, they're great , they don't twist on themselves, like our modern circulars do. If you find some in good condition in a flea market, or online, buy them (or tell me)!!! :-)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Principles of Knitting

A few days ago, I downloaded the new revised Kindle version of June Hemmons Hiatt's "The Principles of Knitting" from Amazon.

I've been sitting with yarn and knitting needles, trying all sorts of techniques ever since!

It contains so many different ways to do so many things, cast ons, cast offs, stitches, you name it, it's in there! I'm having a lot of fun!

On the real knitting front, the over dyed sweater is dry. Finally! I'm still looking for buttons..

I've also made two hats that had to be frogged, because they didn't fit well!

Since it takes more than a few bad hats to get me down, I've now started Kate Davies' "Dollheid"! I'm just starting the crown and it already looks lovely!

If you don't know Kate, go visit her blog! She's simply wonderful! She makes gorgeous knits, takes beautiful photographs and is a joy and an inspiration to read!

Talking of inspiration, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, The Yarn Harlot, wrote the most heartfelt, touching post on monday. If you haven't read it yet, don't wait a minute longer, click on the "post" link, now!

P.S: Don't forget to have tissues handy! ;-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yes, you can dye a finished sweater!!!

O.K. I tried overdyeing my yarn with red food dye, it came out a dark burgundy red. Not ugly or anything, just not what I was looking for... I then tried the blue food dye... Oh, that produced very interesting results! That's what I chose!!!

Here are a few examples of my experimentations, starting from the left:
The original color, first red bath, second red bath, red over dyed yarn dunked in a blue bath, first blue bath, second blue bath.

The February Lady Sweater is now soaking in a blue bath corresponding to my favorite result, the first blue bath... Here's how I did it:

After soaking the sweater in warm water, I poured two 28ml bottles of blue food dye in a big pot, also full of warm water. I stirred the dye in the water, then I lowered my sweater in the mix. I heated the water to the almost boiling point (to where a bit of steam was coming out of the pot), after 10 minutes, I added a splash of white vinegar to the mix (it helps the wool absorb the color) , then I let everything steep until the water turned clear. The wool had absorbed it all!

The pot went on the counter to cool naturally. When the water was almost cool, I rinsed the sweater thoroughly.

Here it is drying slowly:

 Remember what it used to look like? Blah...

                                                               Isn't this much better?

                                           Now, the hunt for the perfect buttons is on!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Congratulations to Ravelry for reaching the staggering number of 2,000,000 members on february 29th!!! Wow!!!

Over dyeing update...

Here's an update on the over dyeing of the February Lady sweater. Well, in Quebec, Kool-Aid is mostly sold during the summer, so it's very hard to find in march! I've looked everywhere, all I could find was orange Kool-aid with sugar added!

I'll be stocking up on it next summer, you can count on that!

In the meantime, I'll be trying food coloring! I've found a lot of links that explain how to do it. It seems that food coloring works just as well with wool. The only problem is the choice of colors... For the results I'm looking for,  this afternoon I'll try dyeing  a few strands of yarn with red and a few strands with blue . I'm not confident enough, as of now, to try dyeing whole swatches, A few strands with different concentrations, will give me a better idea of what I can achieve before I go on to swatches and then, if all goes well, to the sweater!

Keep posted! :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wrong color...

Last year, I knit the mega popular February Lady Sweater in Galway Worsted. I haven't worn it. The color I chose washes me out, it does not make me look good... :-(

I'm not crazy about the fit either, although I have a feeling that a brighter color would do wonders for my appreciation of it.

I'm seriously considering overdyeing it a brighter purple with KoolAid... Of course, I would start by overdyeing a few swatches, before attempting the process on the whole sweater...

Luckily, I have a lot of wool left, so I can make as many test swatches as I need. What's tricky about this, is finding the mix of colors that would transform my boring sweater into a glorious piece of my wardrobe...

Here is the culprit:

When (and if) I succeed in reaching a color that suits me, I'll hunt for buttons...

I'm off to play with colors, wish me luck! :-)