Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My CBC sweater

I have been a fan of CBC radio one ( since I first moved away from home. I joined a youth group. The group traveled to three provinces, spending three months at each. The first rotation was difficult I was homesick for far away rural Manitoba. I remember tuning a radio to CBC and suddenly feeling warm. I shut my eyes and there I was safe and secure in my parent's kitchen. From that time to this my dependency on CBC radio one has grown. I usually spend my days with my old friend. This is way December 8th is so important to me. You see they are having a book launch and I am invited. So to celebrate this important day I have decided to design a sweater. The days are ticking away and I hope it will be ready in time. So far I have the back and front done and am currently working on the sleeves. So far so good. ...but in knitting as in life nothing is a certainty.

Tomorrow: Art Council group show at the Mayne Island public library 7 - 9 pm. Please attend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A knitting song for the season

The weather outside
Is frightful
But my dear we're
So delightful
So as long as we
Love it so
Let us knit
Let us knit
Let us knit

The weather pictures were taken this morning. Br-r-r who knows what tomorrow will bring? The knitting pictures were taken yesterday when I finally returned to the Mayne Island knitting group.

Thursday, December 1st 7 - 9 pm Art Council group show at the Mayne Island public library. You are all invited to attend. More on this event in future postings.

Monday, November 28, 2005

If da Vinci knit: part VII

This is the last installment of a seven part blog on knitting groups.

Sincerely I am pleased to say that I have found the knitting community to be kind and supportive. Regardless of where I meet knitters - circle or guild - I have always left with a lighter heart. I would encourage you all to join a knitting group.

A word of caution: I wrote the following questionnaire with a sense of fun. It is my hope that you will read it in the spirit that I wrote it.

Where do you belong?
Knitting Circle:
If you answer "yes" to any of these questions it here that you belong.
-Are you an activist, revolutionary, or social worker?
-Do you like to knit while nursing a martini?
-Do you proudly display your rainbow flag?
-Do you know the name of the sheep whose wool you bought?
-Do you enjoy knitting outside on the grass?
-Would you love to attend a knit-out?
-Is your favourite expression, "You go girl!"
Basically, knitting circles are touchy feely places where you can connect with your inner child.
Knitting Guild:
If you answer "yes"to any of these questions it is here that you belong.
-Are you a banker, accountant, or high school teacher?
-Do you like to knit while balancing your chequebook?
-Do you know the correct way to knit a...? Or wish to learn the correct way to knit a...?
-Do you enjoy knitting at work?
-Is your favourite expression, "That's yarn not wool."?
-Do you have a knitting workshop marked on your calendar?
Basically, knitting guilds are full of knitting police who will teach you the "right" way to knit.
If you like me have answered yes to both groups you are lucky indeed for you belong in both circles and guilds.
Knitting two together will create a beautiful design.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

If da Vinci knit: part VI

This is the sixth installment of a seven part blog on knitting groups. I hope you have enjoyed it so far. I also hope you have been able to read all five parts. If you have encountered any difficulties please let me know. Thank you.

Knitting groups
Starting your own
After years of knitting solo I thought won't it be fun to start a group. If this concept seems interesting to you I would like to share some tips.
-I picked a day, time and venue. The day and time reflected the type of participant I wanted to attract. If you wish to attract retirees or work/stay-at-homes schedule your meetings for the daytime during the week. If you wish to attract 9 to 5ers schedule your meetings for the evening or weekends. Ensure that the venue is easily accessible by public transit. The venue should also reflect the tone of the group you are wishing to form. Want to party all night long: your local bar or nightclub is the perfect venue. Want to be a little less noisy: try your local library. Warn the owner or organizer of your chosen venue that the knitting hordes are about to descend.
-I advertised through our local newspaper. You may also wish to post notices. -I kept my participants informed as to meeting times and dates as well as special events through emails and, or phone calls.
-We found interesting projects. We have knit to readings from KnitLit ( We have also knit for many charities. Direction for these projects should come from the group.
A word of advice: groups take their energy from the organizer. Only take on this commitment if you have the energy and time it requires - or if you can find a willing friend to help. As this group is participant-directed it may become something completely different from what you envisioned. Be flexible or find an existing group.
Mayne Island's Knit Witts was formed about two years ago. Since then due to other commitments I have had to miss many meetings. I am pleased to report that they have continued without me.

Tomorrow: last blog on knitting groups. A fun questionnaire to determine where you belong: circle or guild.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Puddin' Pie


Unfortunately, I forgot to state, on 's web site, the sizes that are included in the Puddin' Pie pattern. The chest size is from 22" to 26"(sizes 2 to 4). The length from shoulder to waist is 11". Please accept my apologizes for the omission.

If da Vinci knit: part V

This is the fifth installment of a seven part blog on knitting groups.

Knitting circles
"Knitting circle" is a term coined to describe any knitting group that is not a guild. Membership is free or not necessary. Socializing not educating is the focus. The environment in which participants meet is created and maintained by the facilitator. 'The facilitator...ensures each contribution is accessible to the whole...; helps the group's natural energy [flow]...and creates' a safe space for participates. RR-CC-DR.html

Knitting circles:
Stitch 'n Bitch
is a knitting book, written by Debbie Stoller, that has spawned many face-to-face and web-based knitting groups. Her goal is to 'raise knitting's visibility and value in the culture.' Log on to: to find a group in your area. Or ask your local yarn shop.

The Revolutionary Knitting Circle
"Social activism through the click of knitting needles." Whether it is by what they knit: 'peace' armbands, 'peace knits' banners, a 'social safety net' afghan, and a black banner. Or by where they knit: global knit-ins. Or by where their knitting is displaced: an exhibition at the Crafts Council Gallery in London. This group is working to transform the world one stitch at a time. Their three goals are to: promote community independence, break down social divisions, and change how activism is done. Grant Neufeld organized the first goup in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2000. Since then groups have spread around the world. For more information log on to:

Meet up Group
'Meet, mingle and trade yarns with local knitters!'
There are 104 meet up groups worldwide.

'Message Boards [discussion groups and the ilk] are discussion areas organized around specific topics. Messages posted on message boards remain available for you to read and respond to at your convenience. You do not have to miss any of the conversation.'

Knitting message boards are many and varied. Here are but a few.

Knitty is a knitting ezine (web-based magazine) with a fun modern favour. Log on to its message board:

DIY's Knitting Message Board
DIY is the 'do-it-yourself' television network. Log on to their message board:

TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association)
Log on to their message board:
I refer you to part IV of this blog for more information regarding this knitting group.

Worldwide Knitting Message board:

Knitter's Review
'is a weekly online magazine for fibre enthusiasts.'
Log on to their message board:

Tomorrow: Starting your own circle or confessions of a founder.

Friday, November 25, 2005

If da Vinci knit: part IV

This is the fourth of a seven part blog on Knitting groups.

Knitting guilds
To become a guild member registration is required. Once membership is acquired you must pay membership dues.
Guilds usually have a educational component. Through this component you can obtain status as a "Master Knitter". Your skills are judged and you must perform to a set level of competency. Participation in these educational programs are strictly voluntary. All meetings are presided over by a president. She "maintains order, keeps discussion [flowing]...and decides...Procedural matters.' RR CC-DF.html

Guilds may be found on the web and through your local yarn shop. "Googling" 'knitting guilds' will yield fruitful results. Excellent sources of information are these web sites:

Wool Works this site lists guilds in the United States and Canada.

About Knitting this site lists guilds in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Canadian Guild of Knitters this site lists guilds in Canada.
Knit Together is their quarterly publication.
write: Canadian Guild of Knitters
P.O. Box 20262
Barrie, Ontario L4M 6E9
*This site has not been updated for a couple of months and I am concerned that this national voice is lost.*

The Knitting Guild Association post a note on their message board to find a guild in your area. Cast on is their quarterly publication.

Guilds require members thus they exist mainly in urban areas. Rural knitters may become affiliate members. I am an affiliate members of the West Coast Knitters (a Vancouver, BC knitting guild). I pay a reduced membership fee and receive the bi-monthly newsletter. Paulette Lane is the guild president and editor of the newsletter. I am also a member of the Canadian Guild of Knitters.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Exciting news!

I just received some very exciting news.
History: I always listen to CBC radio. During one of their morning shows I heard a request for family recipes from around the world. Sadly, there are not that many of us Icelandic-Canadians and so I knew I needed to represent. My Mom was a very talented baker/cook. She had left me her recipe for Vinaterta. I included a word or two on how important it was to our family. I mailed my submission. And promptly forgot all about it.

Until...on March 24, 2005 I received a letter from CBC radio. The formal letter ended with a post script: "We know you live on Mayne Island - but we love your recipe & would be honoured to include it in this cookbook!' I was blown away. CBC would be 'honoured' to include my Mom's recipe? ...a cookbook? I had been introduced to CBC radio by my parents. Mom would have been thrilled that they liked her recipe. The proceeds from the cookbook were to go to the Save the Children Canada fund. This too would have delighted Mom.

However, then CBC went through some problems. I thought surely the project would be lost. But today I received this:

"Flavours of Vancouver:
Dishes from Around the World
is now in bookstores, and your recipe is in it!

Please join us for our very special launch, at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver on Thursday, Dec 8th in the morning.

CBC Radio's The Early Edition and host Rick Cluff will be broadcasting live from 6 to 8:30 am from the hotel's Versailles Ballroom.

We'll have food, music and special guests on hand to celebrate the book, and the people who made it possible - you!

We'd really like to see you there - so we can thank you in person, with your own copy of Flavours of Vancouver.

Time: 6 - 8:30 am
Date: Thursday, Dec 8th 2005
Place: Versailles Ballroom, Sutton Place Hotel, 845 Burrard St., Vancouver, BC

I feel like Cinderella.
You are invited to join me on this special day. So please tune your radios to CBC radio. ( Then follow the links to Radio One)

With all the excitement I forgot to look at the calendar. Happy American Thanksgiving!!

If da Vinci knit: part III

This is the 3rd installment of a seven part blog on knitting groups.

Modern knitting groups

Knitting groups are important not only because they ensure the survival of our craft and give much to our communities but also because of what they give to individual members. Groups help members through life crisis, celebrate life rewards, and help to develop hidden talents.

Tomorrow: knitting guilds and how to find yours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

If da Vinci knit: part II

This is the second of a seven part blog on knitting groups. Please read on.

Knitting groups
The origin of the knitting guild

In the seventeenth century, knitting guilds were the mainly male domain of professional knitters. To join, you had to embark on approximately seven years of study the collimation of which was a demonstrated prowess in the craft. Work was subject to strict regulations as a form of quality control. As a member of the guild, you belonged to a family who would care for you when in need and discipline you when you stepped out of line.

Much like a magic wand: previously owned knitting needles retain the skill of the artisan. All you have to do is discover the secret to unlock it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

If da Vinci knit: the yin-yang of knitting

This is the first of a seven part blog on knitting groups. Enjoy!

Knitting groups
The origins of the meeting circle

I was an Early Childhood Educator for fourteen years.

The philosophy behind the day care center is markedly different from that of school. In schools, everyone, but the teacher, sits at desks. These desks are placed in rows. Teachers stand at the head of the class and "teach" the children. It is teacher-directed learning. In day cares, we have many activities. One of them is the circle. During circle, everyone including the ECE sit on the floor in a circle. The ECE facilitates learning. We, ECE, enrich the environment so that learning may occur. It is child-directed learning. We share in the act of discovery.

What are the origins of the meeting circle?

King Arthur and his knights of the round table are legendary. The round table was chosen to ensure that all knights were equal. All voices heard.

Historians speculate that the round table was adopted from the biblical passage of the last supper. During the last supper Jesus and his apostles feasted from a round table. Yet, the meeting circle is even older than this biblical passage. It dates back to the Stone Age and the existence of the Pagan society.

Nature spirituality was at the core of the Pagan's society. Females, the giver of life, were revered. Mother Goddess was the creator of all. Pagans did not dominate but sought to live in harmony with Mother Goddess' creations. From the harvesting of plants, they learned of the never-ending circle of life. When they celebrated Mother Goddess and when they passed on knowledge of her they formed a sacred circle.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A dream

Last night I had a dream. In my dream: I knit scarves, hats, wristers. I then wrapped each item in tissue and put it in a brown paper bag. Attached to this bag was a note. It read:
" I knit this for you.
If you can use it
it is my wish that you do so.
If not please leave it for someone who can.
Thank you,
A knitter"
I then left the bags in public places: on buses, on park benches, in public washrooms, etc.
It was a beautiful dream.
Some people who need help are too proud to ask for it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Knitting history

Knitting is an ancient craft. This is not in dispute. Exactly how old remains a mystery. There is some speculation that knitting dates back to the Stone Age. Granted the technology of knitting needles was no doubt with in their grasp: two straight bones. Yet in order to knit you need fibre. How did they create this fibre? The drop spindle can be broken down to a long stick with a ball-shaped bone on the end. Could they have developed such a device - possibly? It is hard for me to give them credit for developing something that is beyond the technical ability of this modern gal.

Some speculate that nalbinding is older than knitting. This reasoning seems flawed. Which is easier wrapping fibre around a stick as in knitting or drilling a hole into a bone to fashion a needle as required in nalbinding? Clearly wrapping is easier. Many school-age children have mastered the skill of finger knitting: using their fingers as knitting needles.

Some speculate that crocheting was the forerunner of knitting. They maintain that the first knitting needles were basically two crochet hooks. Yet is it easier to find two straight bones or to create a hook on the end? Clearly finding the bones is easier.

Exactly who was the first knitter? Was she a homemaker? Or was he a fisherman? The knitting terms "cast on" and "cast off" seem to point to the later. Yet, do you need to record your actions in order to make them. Of course not.

Conjecture, supposition, speculation...create your own theory. Who can prove you wrong?

Friday, November 18, 2005

More voices from the past

This article, written by D. McQueen, first appeared in the June, 1936 issue of Knitting and Homecrafts. It is my pleasure to share it with you today:

'Tips From Professional Knitters
by D. McQueen

Did you ever knit an article and when it was finished, feel very dissatisfied with it? It doesn't look like the model. The sleeves don't fit smoothly. You can see the decreasing in the skirt. The seams do not sew up as evenly as they out to. Everyone who knits has felt so at some time or another.

Here are some little hints, which should overcome these annoyances.

Let us think of the model itself first. Did you know that the models are made a little on the tight side? This is necessary to show it off to advantage in the photograph. In fact they fit so snugly that the average woman would not wear them. So cheer up, your dress probably looks better on you than the one the model wears, looks on her.

Now for the sleeves or in fact any part of the garment that calls for decreasing at the edges. Instead of knitting the first two stitches together, try slipping the first stitch and knitting the second and third together. The same may be done at the end of the row by reversing the order, but knitting the last stitch instead of slipping it. Another trick on the same type of work is to slip the first stitch, knit the second and pass the first stitch over the second. This last of course can only be done at the beginning of the row.

You can see the decreasing in the skirt. Did you ever try slipping the stitch to be decreased, knitting the next, and passing the slipped stitch over the knitted one? This makes a very smooth decrease, particularly with silk or any type of boucle.

Now here's a way to make an edge that sews up very smoothly, on a garment knit in stocking stitch. Of course you always slip your first stitch, but on the purl side try slipping the first stitch as though you were going to knit it plain, also at the end of a purl knit the last stitch instead of purling it. This makes a row of little ridges which are very easy to match when sewing.

To make a firm edge when casting on stitches, make a slip knot on the needle, just as you have always done, but instead of picking up only one loop of the stitch, place the right hand needle behind the stitch, put the wool over and draw the stitch through, placing it on the left hand needle. This makes an edge somewhat like crocheting.

When making buttonholes: if the back of the stitch is knitted, on the first row after casting on stitches that loose look will be avoided.

Do try some of these little tricks and see if you are not pleased with the results.'

Some of my best friends crochet. : )

Thursday, November 17, 2005

New knitting technique

People have flirted in and out of my life. If I am very lucky they leave behind a piece of themselves. A touchstone on which to clinge.
Svava did this. I meet Svava at work. We both cared for children at a day care centre in rural Manitoba.
I recall a brief converstation stolen while the children in our care happily played.
"If you like to knit you should learn how to double knit. It makes very warm scarves."
For want of a pair of needles, she demonstrated the knit, slip a stitch technique with two pencils.
Since that day I have enjoyed using this technique. After making my fair share of scarves I have used the technique to design both a purse and a water bottle holder. I am pleased to share a new direction for this technique.
Takka Svava.
To learn this new (?) technique, please log on to: I used this technique in my design: When the Meadowlark sings

There is nothing new under the sun ...?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

what got cut off?

Okay, let me premise this by saying, "I'm not vain." Half the time I run around with no make-up. Thankfully I live on a tiny island and can get away with this. That said, I am experiencing a weird indescribable feeling. You see my hubby had this great idea of donating his hair for wigs for cancer survivors. With memories of my Mom's ordeal running around in my head, I surfed for a way to make his wish possible. I found this informative site: I went to their "hair donation" page and found the info I needed. We discovered that the amount they required was: 8". 8" what is that? Nothing. So I decided to throw my hat (or should I say hair) into the ring. I was the first on the chair. When asked how much I would like to donate I said and I quote: "As much as you can
take. At least 10"." I am still wandering where that came from. So did she take 8" oh no she was up for the challenge she took 12". My hubby was slightly shocked when he saw me. The new length is short. Everyone likes it. Everyone accept yours truly. The only thing I see when I look in the mirror is my very round very large Icelandic-Canadian face with no hair to balance it. I have rediscovered dangling earrings and high collars. So am I vain? This is what I miss

...pulling on my hair as I write.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Voices from the past

Recently the knitting gods smiled upon me and I received a knitting fortune. Among many other treasures were vintage knitting magazines. I would like to share my fortune with you. This first article is from June, 1936 and was written by A. Kischell:

"Tips From Professional Knitters
In the pioneer days knitting was really "work". In a primitive way the wool our great grandmothers used was first shorn from the sheep, then scoured and washed and finally run through the old-fashioned spinning wheel before they could mould it into shawls, scarves, socks or stockings these being the four essentials for the cold winters.

But in these modern days the wool is purchased over the counter in a great variety of colors and weights, suitable for any garment you choose to make. In addition, the manufacturers of these wools have compiled knitting instructions books which, if followed carefully, will be of inestimable value both to the beginner and the experienced knitter.

Knitting never is and never was considered work. It is a pastime. Children love it; and it is really surprising how quickly and eagerly young fingers learn to make things worth while.

If you are using a circular needle be very careful to keep the stitches from turning on the needle, the first few rows after casting on the stitches being the only time in which they will become twisted.

Before any article is started , a sample should be worked, then pressed, and the tension compared to that given in the directions. And, remember that by increasing or decreasing the size of the needles, the tension can be adjusted to conform with the tension specified by the directions. Larger needles will give fewer stitches while smaller needles will give more stitches.

If you wish to make one of the models in a different size than the one illustrated and described you simply have to increase or decrease the number of stitches according to the size you wish to make and the tension specified in the directions.

For example, suppose you wish to change form a size 34 to a size 38. The all around underarm measurement of a size 38 is 38 inches. Therefore, you have to add sufficient number of stitches to make your garment 4 inches larger than the model illustrated.

Suppose the tension is 8 stitches to the inch. If your knitting tension is the same, you cast on 32 stitches more than given in the directions. This means 16 stitches more on the front and 16 stitches more on the back. Increasing and decreasing can be done just the same from the directions.

Knitters should always check size as they go along. This can be done by slipping the work off the needles and measuring carefully so as to be sure that the work is coming out the right size.

These details should not detract form the fun and enjoyment!"

Hope you enjoyed reading this voice from the past.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mystery stitches

I received an email from a new knitter who was knitting a scarf. She was surprised to discover that her simple straight scarf had become zig-zaggy. She had started with twenty stitches. Sometimes her stitches grew to be forty stitches. Sometimes her stitches shrunk to be twenty stitches. What was happening?

I call this the Case of the disappearing/reappearing stitches. There are many suspects in this case. The decreasing could have been caused by dropping a stitch. However, this suspect leaves a smoking gun. In most cases when you drop a stitch it causes a hole to appear in your knitting. Decreasing can also be cause by actually knitting two stitches together. Increasing can be caused by mistaking a loop for a stitch or knitting into one stitch twice. Beware those disappearing/reappearing stitches. Avoid them by counting your stitches regularly.

Every knitter errs

It is the wise knitter

who learns from them.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Excellent knitting book

Sorry short post today. Its my birthday and hubby just gifted me with Nicky Epstein's book "Knitting on the edge". He knows his way into this knitwear designer's heart. I will be pouring over it for days to come. I highly recommend that you run to your nearest library, bookstore, or yarn shop and obtain it. Many great design ideas to be had by all. Thank you Nicky.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

As promised

I can't tell you how much fun I had today. I love working in my little studio while customers shop. Tons and tons of fun was had by all.

My studio is tiny but it is prefect for me. When we bought our house we were delighted that this studio came with. At first my hubby and I were sharing it. I mean how much room can yarn and needles take up. Well you would be surprised. So finally one day hubby looked around and said "I think you need this space to yourself" and so he began to move out. I was thrilled!

Of course there are things I would love to change. It is always thus. For one thing I need a sandwich board on the road. Most Mayne Island studios have this and I should too. Don't get me wrong I love my quilt sign. (One day I will have to tell you the story behind it. It is quite a story.) Its just that I need more signage. I would also like to paint the studio walls and replace the carpet. These things will come. After all I just opened my studio. This year it was open by appointment but after today I am seriously considering having set hours of operation. As I have other commitments this will be a little tricky but I can make it work.

A sweater is knit one stitch at a time.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ponderings on Remembrance Day

'O Canada we stand on guard for thee' -John Stanley Weir

'If ye break faith,

With us who die'
'We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.' -John McCrae

'And if you give yourself to the hungry,
And satify the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness.'
Please forgive me for delaying the promised pictures of my studio. (They will be posted soon ... I promise) I thought this was more important. The pictures were taken today on Mayne Island after our Remembrance day service.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Olavia's studio

This is what my studio looked like last year on or around November 26th. Pretty, eh?
I just ran outside and took a new picture. Do we have snow? I will keep you guessing until tomorrow.
Why all the talk about my studio? Simply because Mayne Island is hosting a studio tour this Saturday, November 12th. So if you are out our way you are invited to pay a visit. Picking up a "Arts & Crafts" brochure will help you locate my studio. My listing is number 13 on the map.

Olavia's Knitting 291 Wood Dale Drive
A short climb up a steep driveway will lead you to knitwear designer Leanne Dyck's working studio. She creates a stylish, growing collection of patterns, kits, knitter's greeting cards, and hand knit fashion. -quote from the brochure

On Saturday, I will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.
While here make sure to visit the other wonderful studios and gallaries and stop for lunch at our fine cafes. Both Morningstar and Sunny Mayne Bakery are highly recommended.

See you Saturday
"You can purl when you knit
but don't knit when you purl"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Come for a walk with me down memory lane

Where were you in November, 2005? What were you doing?
Well, I was on Mayne Island.
And one of the things I did was start blogging.
This is my first blog post.
Have you noticed that acquiring a new blog is like shopping for shoes? Currently, I am trying a few on. It's fun! I am definately up for the challenge.
"When the very first knitter knit for the very first time she dropped a stitch and TINK was born."