August 23, 2007

Grey with improvements

It is grey in Toronto. Cold, rainy...Toronto this time of year should not be sweater weather. It should be "wearing the smallest clothes you can without being arrested" weather. This is the time of year that Toronto begs for mercy. It's usually hot, almost unbearably hot, with humidity added to make sure that lots of people cry in public. It is an odd truth about Toronto that the heat (even though it doesn't last very long) kills more people than the long winter. I think that the vicious unyielding heat of August in Toronto is designed to try and make us grateful when it ends and the dark winter falls on us again.

I, however, am never, ever glad when the summer ends, and this very cold, grey weather here is both disturbing (seriously. I mean - a high of 15C in AUGUST?) and sort of discouraging. I love the summer. The long days, the evenings with family and friends outside, riding my bike, never being cold, eating fresh tomatoes that don't resemble pink styrofoam in any way at all.... It's my favourite time, and I'm really quite bitter about having some of those precious days taken from me by a cold wave. Summer is short enough. The irony of how cold it was was most intense when I was in Aurora, which traditionally, is a day when the Aurora knitters guild and I try to poach as many knitters as possible. Not this time. To avoid the heat, we took to a church basement, so naturally, it was freezing. (Sandra is apparently in charge of everything but the weather.)

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I got to see Boop again, who had made herself a very nice certificate proving that she survived the heat wave during my last visit (where we are so not kidding about the heat. It was 40C/104F outside the shop, and we had 50 knitters in the unconditioned upstairs of a yarn shop. I have no idea how hot it was in that room. We should all have certificates.)

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Jo-Anne came to confirm my choice of stylin' footwear.

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Sara brought me a baby. (I didn't get to keep it.)

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Rochelle was showing her Campanulas a good time.

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Knitters came from BC, knitters brought beer, knitters brought seriously funky roving and yarn, and Angela brought a tiny little dpn needle roll up, which is sheer genius.

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I have lots of big ones, but the tall roll-ups don't work well for short dpns, and as a result, my dpns live (most inefficiently) in a bin. This is going to be much better. Angela is clever.

Fiona came and showed off her advance copy of her new book.

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It's very good, but I think that you probably would have guessed that any Fiona Ellis book would be.
The whole evening was warm and lovely, despite the chill, and I had just the most fantastic time. When yesterday was grey and dismal, I had homemade buttertarts and Creemore beer to take the edge right off.

I have decided to make hay while the sun shines, and look upon this weather as possibly the only time in my life that I will ever think that it is a good idea to pile a gansey on my lap in August. I'm giving Joe's gansey 48 hours to see what can be made of it, then I'm switching to another UFO (Un-Finished Object). I have a suspicion that pulling out that much heavy wool with improve the weather instantly.

First, I pulled back the last 10cm of the back which was actually the front and added the neck which should have been there. (A gansey has a front and a back established early on. There are initials knit into the lower front.). This corrected, I started the saddle shoulders. (I am leaving out several episodes yesterday where I got the rate of decrease wrong on the neck and had to pull it back (twice) and then got the rate of decrease right and promptly mis-crossed a cable. This sweater doth vex me.)

Saddle shoulders (or shoulder "straps", as Beth Brown Reinsel calls them in her most excellent and useful book Knitting Ganseys) are a sleeve type where part of the sleeve extends across the top of the shoulder, joining the front and back. In a gansey, because the sleeves are knit onto the body, the strap is what you knit first, starting at the neck, and working towards the armscye. (That's fancy talk for armhole.)

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I decided what pattern I wanted on the strap, cast on that many stitches and am now happily engaged in the matter of knitting back and forth, integrating the strap with the front and back. Every time I come to the edge that faces the front, I knit a stitch from the front together with the last saddle stitch, and turn. I work to the other edge, then knit the last stitch of the other side of the saddle together with a stitch from the back.

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It's pretty nifty, and gives a miraculous little cable (or whatever) that runs along the top of the shoulder then down the arm, which I think is tremendously flattering. Next up, I've got to read about how to figure a gansey sleeve, then pick up my stitches and sally forth.

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Guess what? It's warmer out already.

Posted by Stephanie at August 23, 2007 2:59 PM