Thursday, August 31, 2006

Steeks!! Steeks!!! Don't we all love Steeks!! Not but they sure solve a lot of problems with Fair Isle sweaters. They eliminate purling back across a row with two colors and trying to read the charts backwards. They let you spit splice colors in the center of the steek and eliminate all those ends to sew in. And lastly, once your online guru knitter friends and a bunch of books help you out, you learn how to neatly crochet the steek center, cut and end up with a perfectly secured edge with no raveling.

Next steek will be planned a bit better for contrast of color in the center rows. this steek was 12 stitches wide with the center two the same color, pattern in this case with the outside two rows in background and the ones in between speckled. . Next time I think I would do the two center in darkest color and the one on each side in the lighter color. Would make finding the edges of the steek a lot easier.

One shoulder is three needle bound off, the other is next. Then on to pick up for neck ribbing and then for sleeves. The end is not in sight but it's a lot further along now that the steek cutting is done.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Neck Steek is started!!! The Shirt Tail Hemmed Fair Isle from "Sweaters from Camp" by Meg Swansen is finally done up to the neck. I've started the steek and the decreasing for the neck. I have learned so much making this sweater. It is a long knit, over 82,000 stitches plus the ribbing so far. If we ever think of sweaters as how many stitches there are, we would probably never make one!
I start short rows for the first time in 12 more rows. I'm really glad the online knit groups exist since there is always someone, somewhere who has done short rows before and are willing to help. Cloudy, rainy day today so might even make it up to the short rows. Weeding is done for the day and housework doesn't interest me as usual so knit on.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I've joined another online Knit Along, this time to make Jade Starmore's "Beadwork". The KAL is at We're all in the middle of chosing fiber for this beautiful cardigan which is one color and uses purl stitches to make the sweater appear to be beaded.

I'm very lucky and live about a half hour from Halcyon Yarns in Bath, Maine. This is a huge yarn shop originally set up for weavers but knitters now have as much space. Always fun to drive up and visit the shop plus see all the yarns in person. I took all the Beadwork swatches and talked with staff and other knitters. We all agreed the only one that really worked was the Harrisville Shetland. Sat in the store and knitted a small swatch with their in house Jagger 2/8 yarn and fell in love. Home now with two cones of color #9, pewter, and now will knit and post a larger swatch. This is right on gauge and also has a nice sheen to it. Ruth, the store knitting guru and teacher, told me she knits it right off the cone as it is already washed unlike the Harrisville Shetland. I'm going to knit a swatch off the cone and also knit a swatch with some pre washed to see the difference.

Photo is of all the swatches done to date plus the cone of pewter Jagger. Amazing how many yarns just did not work for a small gauge that needs to be firm and show stitches well.


Would useJagger Spun Maine Line Wool 2/8's

Fiber Content: wool fingering weight 2 plyGauge (stitches/in...needle size): 6.5 to 7 on size 2 to 3 Good color range

Price in Size: 1 lb cone, approx 2240 yds Price: $31.95

Price in Size: 275 yd mini-cone Price: $7.50

Nice tight twist and has a sheen to it

Stitches popped very well, fabric is firm but still soft (if that makes any sense)

Halycon Web site says "These versatile, high quality worsted spun yarns have become staples of commercial and recreational knitters, weavers, and others. Made in Maine of soft, medium grade wool, these yarns will easily make a way into clothing and other products. As a worsted spun yarn, it is smoother and shinier than woolen spun yarns, such as Harrisville. They also won't full as much when washed/finished, so plan on a closer set or tighter gauge (finish your swatch to determine if you like the finished piece). JaggerSpun is dyed with the finest dyes possible and mothproofed for a long life. Excess dyes may be present in some colors so sample first. If excess dye is present, skein the yarn and rinse until the water runs clear. Deep purples may not be colorfast when exposed to sun, so avoid prolonged exposure to bright light."

Monday, August 14, 2006

How much better can it get? Photo says it all, RV trip, mountain lake in the mountains of NH, sitting to knit by the lake. Started the day at a county fair in Skowhegan, then a cross country trek to the Rangeley Lakes for lunch, through the mountains to NH. Tomorrow we go to Saint Gaudens National Historic Site (home of a sculptor) to tour the gardens and see the garden sculptures. Other reason is to pick up Joe's Golden Age National Parks pass since he just turned 62!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just back from another short RV trip, this time up to Greenville and Kokadjo, Maine and then over to St. Andrews, New Brunswick. We cut west to east through an amazing expanse of unoccupied forests, broken occasionally by old farms. Never did see any moose but Canada geese are not in any danger of becoming extinct. They are everywhere. Stayed at a campsite at Northern Pride Lodge right on First Roach Pond at Kokadjo. Sat by the lake and knit and read after taking a very long hike. No noise, not many people, just a night sky almost white with stars. Moosehead Lake is still unspoiled and worth the trip. Town of Greenville is not the quaint logging town it used to be, it's two blocks of stores now being mostly tourist shops.

We returned to St.Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada for another visit to Kingsbrae Gardens, 27 acres of every perennial and ornamental tree you can imagine, all in full bloom. We spent several hours just walking around enjoying the color and variety and then had lunch at the tea room, a sampler of salmon and fruit and pastries - not very calorie wise but delicious. Walking through St. Andrews, I was again drawn to the Cottage Crafts knit shop and couldn't resist some light weight off white wool yarn. This should be perfect for "Beadwork", a Jade Starmore design. I liked the colors of the one ply yarns though there is no where near the variety and depth of color of Jamieson and Smith.

Somehow just happened to stop in Harvey, NB at Briggs and Little yarn store and another sweater worth of yarn made it into the truck. Bought "Knits from the North Country" a truly wonderful design/pattern book by all Canadian designers. Link is here to more details on the patterns - I go the suggested yarn and colors for the "Prairie Sunset" sweater Good gift for mother in law for Christmas.

Since the line at US customs to get out of Canada was hours long, we drove up to Vanceboro to cross back in. Good move as we were the only one at the border! Customs went into the camper to look around but they said they enter all campers. The border patrol people don't even blink at the amount of yarn in the truck. I think they are used to it since Vanceboro is so close to Harvey. Truck camper worked flawlessly again. Mileage is now up to 12.1 mpg fully loaded. This rig has been perfect for us, letting us get into small areas without the worry of trying to move or park a big rig. Time to plan the next trip!