Sunday, July 29, 2007

Erin's sleeves are progressing - slowly but in 85-90+ degree heat with high humidity, lucky I'm touching wool at all. Finding that making both sleeves at once, doing one chart on the first sleeve, same chart on the second sleeve, second chart on the first sleeve, etc. my interest is higher. I'll have this one done to wear this fall - if cool weather ever comes again. Really interesting to knit the charts upside down but that way when the arm is beside the body, the mythical beasts will all be the same side up. Brilliant pattern writing by Alice Starmore as always. One day I've got to play with one of her patterns to see if I can make the sleeves set in a bit so they aren't so droopy on my shoulders.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The gardens are spectacular this year with not a lot of maintenance. They are now in their 5th year and so "English style" that the weeds don't have a chance to grow except at the edges. Our first plantings were from White Flower Farm, a mail order nursery in CT. . We bought a mix of colored lilies, not knowing what we would get. Each year they suprise us with the brilliance of their colors and how much they have spread.

Bee Balm is one of my favorite garden plants. Yes it gets powdery mildew but the color and smell is just devine and worth putting up with the mildew. This photo is of one patch of bee balm with the back of the house in the background.

Everything has grown well this year as we have had lots of rain and hotter days than usual. The iris were tall and colorful, the deck plants growing well. Always a trial to finally pull them out of the deck pots when fall comes and the frost kills it all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We are up in Prince Edward Island, Canada on an RV trip and guess what I found today. A WOOLEN MILL!!! I just about fainted when I saw MacAusland's Woolen Mills by the side of the road. Screeching halt in the camper and out I popped to go see what was there. It is a working mill with women tending the yarn as it moves from fleece to yarn spun out on big fat cones. The thinner one ply is used for weaving blankets. The 2 and 3 ply is sold as knitting yarn mostly. I had SWORN that I would not come back from Canada ever again with yarn. Hey nobody but me heard that promise right?

I did manage to get out of the mill with only one sweater worth of yarn - but the info pack with samples was put in with the yarn. I bought 2 ply in a heathered teal. The weight is going to be perfect for an Aran. It is a heavier 2 ply but the knitted samples showed stitches beautifully.

I've been working on a sock while we are RVing and am pleased so far. Using Encore DK and size 4 Britanny wooden sock needles. Won a book on Ebay called "The Sock Calendar - Socks for All Seasons" by Catherine Wingate. I'm making the May sock which is called Ahoy! Socks. Nice cabling and the DK weight is perfect for size.

MacCausland information is
MacAusland's Woolen Mills Ltd.
Bloomfield, PEI
COB 1EO Canada
Toll Free: 1-877-859-3005
web site -
email -

Our RV travels are at

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Fair Isle tam is done and stretched out on a 10" plate to dry. It was a fun and quick project and a great way to use up some odds and ends of J&S jumper weight wool. I'm not sure how the final shape is going to look or if I will like wearing it. Here in Maine we generally need something to cover ears in winter, not just perch on top of our heads!

Now back to Erin and Shirt Tail sleeves. Fall isn't that horribly far away and those two sweaters are perfect fall weight to wear without a coat.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sunset Tam - Helen (BlueDragon) of the online Yahoo knitting group "Mara" has challenged us knit a tam using sunset colors. Maine rarely has the gorgeous sunsets we see in photos of out west in the USA. My inspiration for the tam colors came from the library book cover of "Obsession" by Jonathan Kellerman. Blues, golds, oranges and a tiny hint of purple were in that cover sunset.

I'm using very little yardage of a lot of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight yarns. This is a learning process for me as I'd not made a tam with the double decreases in the crown. The pattern I'm using is from Alice Starmore's "Book of Fair Isle Knitting". The photo of the tam and the pattern don't match, with the written instructions having more areas of plain knit than the photo. Doesn't matter as I always change patterns as I go along anyway. Fun to knit and light weight during these days of higher than usual heat in Maine. If my relatives lived anywhere but in the deep south, they'd all be getting tams for Christmas as this is a fun knit.

The Fair Isle knitting doesn't seem as smooth to me as usual but I don't usually use a 20" circular and carry colors. I think it will block out okay. Also need to find out how to do a jogless color join as the dark to light joins show rather abruptly. The photos are of the tam with the lid of a basket stuffed inside to spread it out.

I'm using all Jamieson & Smith yarn with one exception noted:
Dark blue - 135
Medium blue - FC49
Light blue - 14
Purple - Jamieson 133 Mauve Mix
Dark pink - Salmon 129
Medium pink - 9144
Light pink - 95
Pale pink - 101
Dark yellow - 90
Medium yellow - 207
Pale yellow - 96