Thursday, December 4, 2014

November 2014 - meeting notes

Preparing Wool for Spinning
If you aren't inspired to start spinning after the other night, then you'll never be inspired to spin! Mary Charles presented a fantastic evening on preparing wool for spinning. We learned about the various kinds of locks and roving, how to clean and preparing wool for carding and the current trends in spinning.

The Pass-It-On-Project
Monica had the PIOP for the final Kniterary month. As you can see, this monstrosity, er masterpiece, has grown considerably. Click the "Pass It On Project" tab above to see its evolution.
The project will now be making a migration to the Spinners and Weavers Guild of Peterborough, with Mary Charles and we will stay in contact to see its future transformations.

Five years ago this November, Kate Siena and Kelly Plunkett had a brilliant idea to create a space for the Peterborough community to learn knitting and crocheting, and to socialize with other crafters. You can read the whole original story on the Examiner website.
To celebrate we enjoyed a wonderful cake, crafted especially by Lisa at Black Honey on Hunter Street...
Kelly made a rare trip out (cursed babies!) to help us celebrate, and recounted the story of the creation of Kniterary.
A great shot of the Kniterary members who came out to celebrate!

Then Monica read a great title by Tomie dePaola (thanks for the recommendation, Christina!), about shearing, carding, spinning, weaving and sewing a new cloak...from sheep to cloak in just a few pages. Very appropriate title after Mary's fantastic presentation!
- available from the library

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014 - meeting notes

Social Knitting
Last night, after a slight misunderstanding, turned out to be a great social night. We completed a lovely roundtable "Show and Share" and welcomed some new faces. We spent the evening enjoying  some social knitting, helping each other out with some minor knitting problems and issues.

Up for discussion was the topic of "How many projects do you have on the needles at any given time?"  Feel free to comment here and let us know what your UFO stash looks like!

Fixing Some Issues
The first pattern brought to Monica's attention was for a lacy, long-sleeved, seamed bolero. The issue was the instructions for the front panels, specifically the increases along the button edge. The instructions were to increase one stitch just inside the button-band. The confusion was in incorporating the single stitch increase into the pattern stitch (which was a three stitch pattern) while still maintaining the 1x1 rib of the button band. After some reading and knitting through the rows, we began to understand that the stitch count for the pattern stitches would be off for most rows, until the increase was incorporated correctly into the count.

The second issue was a new member who brought in a cardigan that had been in her UFO stash for some time (maybe years?....who can't identify with that?!). With the back completed but still on the needles, we needed to figure out what the other two pieces were, and where exactly she had left off in the pattern. After a little reading, counting stitches on the needles and laying out the pieces together, we figured out that she had nearly finished the right front panel, and had only the armhole shaping to complete on the left front panel. We'll be sure to get a picture of the completed project and post it to our Gallery...and speaking of the "Gallery"...

The Gallery
We are still looking for contributions to our Gallery page. If you have any projects (either by yourself, or by a family member or friend) please email them to Monica and we'll make sure to get them featured in our Gallery. Make sure to note whether you'd like credit or would rather remain anonymous.

Pass-It-On Project
Ciobhe will also hold on to the Pass-It-On Project, as she completes her amazing multimedia addition to the monstrosity, er, masterpiece.

Upcoming Nights
We look forward to next month's presentation, from Veronica, on "Knits that Fit" part II. Veronica will expound her vast knowledge of altering knitting patterns to fit and flatter your unique and beautiful body!

This is an interactive workshop, where Veronica will help us learn how to take and record our own measurements.
Everyone coming should:
  • come with a buddy, with whom they feel comfortable taking body measurements
  • wear a close-fitting shirt, over your best-fitting bra (if you wear one)
  • bring a good, un-stretched measuring tape with which to take accurate measurements
  • a pen or pencil to record your measurement (on sheets that will be provided)

PLEASE REMEMBER that because of the municipal election, our meeting falls on OCTOBER 20TH, the penultimate Monday of the month!

November will now see Mary Charles presenting on Preparing Wool for Carding and Spinning, and December will be our annual Panic Knitting on the first Saturday, the 6th, in the Computer Lab. See you there!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014 - meeting notes

The smell of popcorn was in the air, as we enjoyed the talent of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.), Bing Crosby and Barbara Rush in the 1960's classic Robin and the Seven Hoods. Music, dancing and laughs...complete with a thug who loves, and occasionally loses, his knitting!

Pass-It-On Project
Last month, Pam volunteered to take the Pass-It-On project, and we all were waiting with baited breath to see what she would add to our monstrosity piece of art. Not only did she add her own flair for garter stitch, but she nearly doubled the size of the project!

Next month, we look forward to seeing what Caoimhe, one of our youngest members, will add to it.

Monica has also come up with a potentially great idea to showcase our members favourite completed crafts. Knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, embroidery...our incredibly talented members have created some amazing artwork over the years and we'd love to see it.

Please take photographs of your favourite projects (anything made since December of 2009!!!) and email them to either Christina or Monica and we'll add them to the Gallery.

Upcoming Dates
Next month (September 29) - We will hear again from Mary Charles. Mary's expertise in spinning is known to most of us, but how do you go about preparing wool for spinning. Mary will share everything she knows about preparing and carding wool.

October 20 (NOT the last Monday of the month because of Elections scheduling) - Veronica will conduct the second part of her series on Knits that Fit. Learn more about perfecting your knitted garments to be the most flattering and most attractive clothing you can create.

November 24 - Have you ever flipped through vintage knitting patterns and been baffled by the terminology and instructions? Have you ever wondered how do get a hold of some of the oldest and rarest knitting patterns? Monica will take us through the great history of published knitting patterns and everything you need to know to decode, read and knit from them.

December 6 (first Saturday) - Our annual Panic Knitting will take place in the computer lab in the basement of the library. Enjoy some uninterrupted time to get some holiday knitting complete. Computer access is helpful for looking up patterns and clarification, cookies and tea and coffee will help keep up your energy, and the friendly faces of our Kniterary members will be a welcome comfort as we head into the holidays!

Monday, August 25, 2014

July 28, 2014 - meeting notes

As part of our regular summer season, the Kniterary Nights played host to the first of two summer movies. Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda, along with Dabney Coleman entertained us to no end in 9 to 5. Such a great classic 80s movie and kudos to those who caught the knitting reference!
( was a knitting rabbit in the Lily Tomlin/Snow White sequence)

Next month, we will enjoy a Rat Pack favourite with Robin and the Seven Hoods. Enjoy this trailer as a sneak peak tease!

June 30, 2014 - meeting notes

With summer fast approaching we had one last night of regular Kniterary before our movies night of summer. Our Pass-It-On project is going strong, but Lou was not in attendance, so we'll have to wait for next month to see her contribution. In the meantime, we learned exactly what Zentangle is!

Zentangle Drawing

Anne Gallant joined us tonight for a fabulous introduction to Zentangle Drawing, a relaxing and focusing way to expand your creativity and create beautiful pieces of art at the same time.

Anne gave us a wonderful talk about the why's and how's of Zentangle, then walked us all through the steps of creating our own pieces.

Appealing to both sides of the brain, Zentangle has easy-to-follows rules and steps, while allowing your hand to lead you into a level of creativity vastly different from knitting.

Lynn brought along Dean last night, who has some experience with Zentangle. They both showed off their skills, along with some other Kniterary members.

Summer Movie Nights

We look forward to seeing everyone for our summer movie Nights!

July will be the 80's classic, 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin, while August will dig even further back to the 60's Rat Pack classic, Robin and the Seven Hoods, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Barbara Rush.

See you there!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 26, 2014 - meeting notes

Another great Kniterary Night, but the warm weather kept some of us outside. With a small, intimate group we got underway with a few quick announcements, including this updated blog, some new comment and question sheets and the Pass It On project.

Pass It On Project
Last month, Aisling eagerly volunteered to take the Pass It On Project, which so far has had pieces from Mary Charles, Monica, and Mark. Aisling was quite excited to share her contribution to this community piece and rightly so. She knitted a small cotton rectangle, then added a sparkly black cover with the word KNIT! embroidered on top. What great creativity! The next Kniterary member to volunteer to add a piece was Lou, and we really look forward to seeing what she has to add!

Story Time!
Tonight's theme was Story Time and we had some wonderful selections and a good variety.
First up was Aisling, reading "Socks for Supper" by Jack Kent, an adorable picture book about a poor couple who trade her knitted socks for food and get more in return!
Then, Lisa shared with us the entertaining and timeless story of "Derek the Knitting Dinosaur" by Mary Blackwood. Derek is a knitting dinosaur who at first thinks that his knitting hobby is strange in the community of dinosaurs, but soon learns how necessary his contribution might be!
Kelly, our fearless leader who is on maternity leave, was unable to make it but foresaw this possibility and had provided Monica with her selection. Reading from "Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting" a collection edited by Ann Hood, Monica read The Pretend Knitter by Elizabeth Berg. Berg tells of her love of the idea of being a knitter and always wanting to learn to knit, and her traumatic experience with knitting. Witty and touching!
A night of knitting literature would be incomplete without a selection from the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and Karen was the one to provide. Reading Failure to Think from  "All Wound Up", Karen regaled us with McPhee's hilarious story of trying to knit a lace shawl and failing miserably at every we all have done!

Next, Siobhan read another great kids picture book, Amos's Sweater by Janet Lunn. Amos is a sheep, who is not impressed with having to be sheared again and left cold. But he learns what a blessing it is!

And last, Monica again read, this time from the timeless classic Through the Looking-Glass, the second half of Lewis Carroll's masterpiece. In the chapter Water and Wool, Alice finds herself suddenly in a tiny, dark shop with a sheep who is knitting with an impossible number of needles. They magically transport themselves into a row boat, where Alice attempts, in vain, to pick water rushes, with the most beautiful always being out of reach.

Although Pam was not able to read from her selections, she did share with us how much she's enjoyed reading the Kate Jacobs books, both the Friday Night Knitting Club, and Knit Two.

We are very excited for next month's Kniterary on Zentangle Drawing, presented by Anne Gallant, who will demonstrate this technique for expanding your creativity. Something a little different for Kniterary, to be sure!

Monday, April 28, 2014

One Llama, A few Horses and a Ton of Sheep!

Click on the photos to enlarge.
We arrived at Hubbert Farms in the damp and chill of noon and were met in the parking lot by Jody.

Jody gave us an introduction to her history with the farm, discussing husbandry, shows & competitions and the basics of running an alpaca farm.
Then she led us to the outdoor paddock which contained the two sheep who had not reproduced this season.
The ewes were incredibly friendly and eager to see us!
The poked their heads through the fence and wanted to be rubbed!
All the while, a trusty alpaca stood guard!
Cathy got a little love.
Jody led us into the barn, where we spent most of our visit. Many of the ewes, alpacas and the Llama were inside....along with the one- and two-week old lambs!

There were both new and experienced mamas, and many different shades of coats.
This ewe was playing 'stepmom' to a rejected lamb, along with her own!
Jackson, the llama, stood watchful guard over the flock!
The alpacas were on their own, and a little more wary of our presence.
Beautiful shades, from white to caramel to chocolate!
Pregnant and waiting.
"Who ARE these people?"
Another small paddock of ewes and lambs.
Once we'd been in the barn for a while, Jody allowed us to pet, and then hold the lambs.
Jody had just fed them grain, but that didn't deter them from nuzzling and rubbing our hands.

Holding the lambs was the highlight of the day...for everyone!
Victoria with baby Jiggy!
This little one really thought she'd get something out of my knuckle!
Jackson still watching over everything!

Judy brought out some handspun alpaca and wool, as well as some fresh fleece!
Outside again, we met these gorgeous beasts!

These beauties seemed to enjoy the chilly, fresh air!
Thanks so much to Jody and Hubbert Farms, for a fun-filled and entertaining tour!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March 2014 - meeting notes

Last night's Kniterary was another huge success! There were some new faces and we hope that everyone had a great time and felt welcome enough to come back in May.

Knitting Trivia
Thanks so much to Travis for hosting another great night of Knitting Trivia. Everyone had a great time with some fun and challenging questions, and the winning teams took home some great prizes! Congratulations to Team Knit Wit's, Team Dunno and Team KnitWitz!

Email Reminders
Christina would like to remind all members (even those who haven't come out in a while) that the library sends out a reminder every month in the week before our meeting. If you are not getting these emails, or if you would like to start getting them, please email Christina Sills at the library and she will add you to the email mailing list.

Pass-It-On Project
For those of you who don't remember the Pass-It-On Project, Mary Charles began this free-form piece in January, then passed it on to Monica. Monica then worked on it during the month of February, then passed it on to John for March. Lisa, John's mom, dropped it off quickly before our meeting last night and we got to see its latest progress! As you can see from the photo, John has added a variegated piece that acts like a handle. When we offered up the piece for the next person, Aisling jumped at the opportunity. We can't wait to see what she does with this....'thing'!

School for Young Moms
We had a lovely Thank You card from the School for Young Moms, thanking us for the donation of knitting needles and yarn. The moms are learning to knit by making baby blankets for their wee ones and are truly appreciative of our donation.

Hubbert Farms
Next month we have scheduled the field trip to Hubbert Farms. Jody and the crew are excited about having us visit...the lambs should be frolicking and we'll be able to see the alpacas, the horses and the dogs!
We already have 13 signed up, which means we have room for 2 more in this time slot. If we get more, we can just book a second time for the same day. There will be some fleece and handspun for sale, so check out the website for directions, and to peruse the photo gallery of their animals. Remember that THERE WILL BE NO KNITERARY ON THE LAST MONDAY OF APRIL!

Peterborough Fibre Arts Festival
This Saturday is the 4th Annual Peterborough Fibre Arts Festival, which takes place in the lower level of the Peterborough Public Library, in the same room in which we meet for Kniterary. The Kniterary Society will have a table, which will include a running slideshow of all past posters, as well as projects of pride made by members. If you would like to have a favourite project featured on our table, please feel free to drop it off while you visit the festival and you can pick it up afterwards. Lisa Noble will be conducting a workshop at 10:30 on Fibre Related Computer Apps and Programs; register by emailing Monica. Vendors and demonstrators of a huge variety of fibre crafts will fill the auditorium and the hallway, so come and check out the amazing fibre crafts showcased at this fantastic event!

Knitting Kninjas Blog
We've mentioned this blog before, but there seems to be some action planned soon with the Knitting Kninjas. Check out the blog and keep your eyes peeled in the Peterborough area for a knit bomb event coming soon!?

Question of the Night
Each month I will post a problem, mistake, pattern dilemma, or just a general fibre-related question that a member has and I will do my best to answer the question. This month I have two issues to cover.

The first question comes from Joan and is actually a request for help from other members. Joan has just finished a hooked rug project and would like to have suggestions and help for what to do next. Joan knows that she has many options, such as pillow cover or wall hanging, but would like some assistance finishing this piece. If anyone has any suggestions, or is able to help in any way, please touch base with Joan at our next meeting, Monday May 26th (Storytime Kniterary).


The next question comes from our feedback sheets (that you can fill out at any meeting).
The question states "How do you know which wool to knit for the right gauge? How would you know who many balls you would need if you use a different wool than the pattern calls for?"

This is a doozy! 
Choosing the right materials for a project is a very important aspect of the process. Most often the pattern will either call for a specific yarn (such as Malabrigo Lace) or will call for the general weight and fibre content of yarn (such as worsted weight cotton), in addition to dictating the needle size. The weight and fibre content are usually chosen for both their gauge (stitches and rows per inch) and for aesthetic reasons, such as the drape or stiffness, the feel of the fibre, the look of the fibre, etc.

A good pattern will also include the gauge necessary to achieve the same results (size, drape, stretch, etc) as intended by the pattern. With many patterns, it is not entirely necessary to achieve exact gauge, such as for toys, household items (dishcloths, pillows, etc) because they don't really need to 'fit' anything. Wearable items, on the other hand, are intended to fit a person, often a specific person, and need to fit the correct size precisely.

Knitting a gauge swatch before starting your pattern is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! Even if you are using the same yarn, or the same weight of yarn as called for in the pattern, it is still essential to knit a gauge swatch. All knitters knit with different tensions, and sometimes the same knitter will knit the same pattern with different tensions, depending on how they are sitting, how relaxed or tense they are, how many drinks they've had (Pints and Purls)...or any number of influencing factors.

To knit a gauge swatch, double-check the gauge instructions in your pattern, whether they state that the gauge measurement is in stocking stitch or in the pattern stitch as directed in the instructions. You will need to use the needles and fibre that you plan to use, knit up a swatch at least the size of the swatch instructed, which is usually 4"X4"; making a larger swatch (even 10"X10") is highly recommended, as you can measure a section within the piece, and making a significantly larger swatch will help to give you an idea of what kind of drape you'll get from your finished fabric.

Regardless, when you are finished knitting your piece, you should bind it off according to the pattern directions, then (and this is integral!) wash your piece exactly as you plan to wash the finished project. Hand wash, machine wash, tumble dry, hang to dry, lay flat to dry....whatever you plan on doing with your final piece on a regular basis. This will give you the final and true gauge of your finished piece.

You will then measure your gauge swatch. Use a knit gauge to measure exactly how many stitches and rows you have per 4inches. In the photo you can see that this swatch measures out 10rows X 6.5 stitches per 2inches; you would need to multiply this by two to find the gauge over four inches Make sure to calculate precisely; a half stitch may seem small but when measured over the circumference of a sweater it could mean the difference of a couple of inches!

If you have fewer stitches per inch, then your knitting is too loose and you need to use a smaller needle. If you have more stitches per inch, then your knitting is too tight and you need to use a larger needle. You will want to start the process again.

This may seem like a waste of time and yarn...BUT ITS NOT! Compare the few hours and metres that you will use to make a few swatches, to the hours/days/weeks, and hundreds or thousands of metres that you may use to make a sweater, only to find that it is not to gauge, and therefore not going to fit at all.

As far as figuring out how much yarn you need for a pattern, the pattern should tell you either how many balls of a specific yarn you need (such as 2 skeins of Madeline Tosh DK in "Grasshopper") or a general description with the yardage (such as 155metres of worsted 10ply). Either way, if you are buying a yarn not specified in the pattern, you need to figure out how much total yardage you will need, for example if there are 206m in each skein of Madeline Tosh DK, you will need 412m total for your project. If you are buying a skein of DK yarn that measures only 100m, you would need to purchase 5 balls...400 plus an extra skein for the remainder. You will always want to purchase more yarn that you think you need...its better to have too much leftover yarn, than to run out and not be able find the same dye lot!

Keep in mind that Ravelry is always a fantastic resource for helping you to find yarn for your project. When you are looking at a pattern on Rav, there is a plethora of additional information at your fingertips. Along the top of any pattern page, you can choose to look at yarn ideas (to see ALL of the yarn that others have used in this pattern), you can look at projects (to see ALL of the actual projects that others have finished of this pattern; from which you can filter your search by a variety of variables), you can look at comments (which will be comments that others have made on the actual pattern including problem comments that they've sent to the designer) and finally you can click on forum posts (which shows you all the forum posts in which members have commented on the pattern, especially long conversations, which can be helpful if you are having problems with the pattern).

Hopefully, this answers the question and feel free to comment on this post, with your input, suggestions or any questions that you may have.

Next Kniterary Night
Remember that April is our field trip to Hubbert Farms, so the next time we meet at the library will be the end of May...