Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nothing More Than Ribbing

My aran jumper has been slowly growing. I lost enthusiasm for it, I think on account of its greyness, but with the return of sunshine and flowers, my interest in it has flickered on again. In the lull, I wet blocked the completed lower body to check on the width and length. After all, aran knitting is nothing more than fancy ribbing, and blocking does wonders to open it all up.

The body, showing the blocked portion at the bottom, moving into unblocked work at the top.
Unblocked.
Blocked.
Unblocked, the patterns have a lot of attractive stitch definition, with deep valleys and high ridges, and if this were a scarf I might be tempted to leave everything that way. However, since this is going to be a sweater, I prefer to block out the stitches. When first laid out after soaking, the patterns stretched out to a scary degree. When dry, they pulled back in a bit and that's what I wanted to see. It's the only way to be really, really certain that all this effort won't come to naught. Granted it would be nice if I had had a more interesting colour than grey in my stash (I'm working on that), but at least now there's a little colour in the front garden.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Well, That Explains It

It's been a while since I've knitted with Sandnesgarn's Babyull. Really, the last time I knitted anything out of it was when I made this.

 

 

Since then, I've commented several times on how much I loved the Babyull, how it comes in so many adult-suitable colours, and how it doesn't do all the bad things that most superwash yarns do. It holds its shape fantastically and doesn't grow or do anything weird when wet-blocked. See how beautifully the rippled edge on Brookline (above) turned out? There's a reason. The Babyull ISN'T A SUPERWASH WOOL! I honestly don't know how I got the idea that it was into my head. 
I'm working on a new project now with the same lovely stuff.



No doubt about it; that explains everything.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Nordica

I seem to have an affinity for most things nordic. Perhaps it's because Scandinavians and Canadians share a northern climate and its consequent quest for light. Whether it's TV (Anno 1790), pared down home decor, or knitting, the nordic aesthetic beckons. So, it shouldn't be any surprise that I just bought a ridiculous quantity of Norwegian and Danish yarn.


Yes, there might be a bit of a colour trend going on here--soft cream, pewter, and plum, colours that always work with my colouring. 
On Friday, my pal Cheryl, of Little Church Knits, and I made a road trip up to Wool Tyme in the south of Ottawa. Here Cheryl is outside my front door just before takeoff on our journey--she's such a good sport when it comes to posing for the camera.


We gassed up the car and grabbed coffee in Smith's Falls, where I couldn't resist this photo for my non-Canadian readers. It's maple syrup season! The sap runs best when the days are a little above freezing and the nights a little below. March, in other words.


I hadn't been to Wool Tyme in ages. Clearly, I've been missing something. This has become the go-to place for yarn in this neck of the woods, especially for sweater knitters. You know how difficult it can be to purchase sweater quantities of wool in the colours you want at the prices you need? No problem here! The inventory is mind boggling. The shop/warehouse seems to carry the entire line of Sandnesgarn yarns from Norway. I found beautiful natural fibres (wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, mohair) in stunningly lovely colours and equally stunning prices. My retired IMF/World Bank economist husband informs me that Norway is not part of the EU and this may have something to do with the price break.
What else is going on here on the north shore of Lake Ontario? So far, the ice hasn't disappeared, although the snow is long gone. Apparently, breaking up is hard to do.


In my knitting universe, while I contemplate what to do with my recent acquisitions, I'm moving forward with the aran jumper. This morning I unvented (to use a Zimmermannism) the "Twisted Perpendicular Join". More about that next time...
P.S. Wool Tyme is totally set up for mail order both in and outside of Canada. Think of it as WEBS Northern Edition.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Surreal

Just back from my daily walk down by the lake. The air temp is pretty warm for March--9C--but the ice still hasn't broken up. Without ice, the lake is all motion all the time as waves lap (or crash) onto the shore, and there's the constant noise of the water in motion. Today, with the water held in check under the ice, there was no noise at all other than some occasional creaking and cracking from the movement of the melting ice. No wind, no movement, no people. Lots of fog because of the difference in temps between the air and the frozen expanse of lake.



Eerily silent, like the end of the world.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ganseys Galore

It's no secret, if you've been following my latest series of designs, that I'm in love with gansey texture, and have been ever since I purchased Beth Brown-Reinsel's "Knitting Ganseys" (many, many years ago), with its minimalist black-and-white photography. Here's a summary of my own modest efforts in this direction.

Wolfe Island Gansey


Snakes and Ladders Socks

Bibliogloves




Modern Gansey (his)

Modern Gansey (hers)
Buttonbox Waistcoat
Penelope Hat
Inverness Gloves
Now, Brooklyn Tweed has just come out with a collection of gansey designs. I'm so excited. I hope you'll check out BT's mix of innovation and tradition, and understand why I'm not the only one to find these fishermen's sweaters so fascinating and inspiring. And really, Jared Flood, Veronik Avery, Norah Gaughan et al. do it with more panache than I can possibly aspire to. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Harbingers






Hurrying to get this done before the need for it evaporates with the snow and ice.