Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A day ahead

So, sometimes it happens. Sometimes I live my life a day ahead.
Today's blog plan was to announce the end of the sale and to start adding new designs to my web site. Then I looked again at the calendar and realized that today is February 28th not March 1st.
So what's the rush?
There is none.
So how to fill the blank space that is my blog entry?
Well, I could share how I solved yesterday's dilemma.
Sure, why don't I do that.
I have added twenty more stitches and started the double moss section.

(Boy, I am not very observant. Don't know what day it is. Don't realize that a comment was added to yesterday's post. Thank you for your advise Donna. I am very pleased that I added the stitches. That stitch pattern really does look best when left light and airy.)
I was planning to wear the sweater to the World Day of Prayer ( on March 2nd. That's two days away. Perhaps I should choose something else. Really the reason to attend the service is not to show off a new sweater. No there are much better reasons. World unity is one. It's time to join in fellowship with our sisters throughout the world. It's time to celebrate our differences and similarities. There many ways to do this. One way is to watch the new show: Little Mosque on the Prairies.
I am a big fan of this dear little CBC show. The show's skilled writers wrap education in fun to swallow pills. But beward the pills are addictive.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Eating chocolate...or not

Okay, it's confession time. I have an overwhelming sweet tooth. I know it is the reason I gain weight. I know there are not many benefits to eating sweets. Strangely, this knowledge does not often lead me to refuse sweets.
Hubby, knowing my weakness, recently bought me a box of chocolates. Chocolates wrapped around Cheri. Your teeth sink into the sweet chocolate and then discover the splash of Cheri. Luxury. Trouble was they didn't last long enough. No matter how careful I was -- or thought I was -- the chocolates are now gone.
When you are thoroughly enjoying something it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security blissfully unaware of the dangers.
I love this knitting: two strands of smooth wool with one strand of hairy mohair. The plan unfolded as I knit. I would knit the 4 x 4 rib in the three strands then when I got to the double moss stitch I would switch to two stands.

It's it lovely? It's it wonderful?
Trouble is (the danger that lurked) that I made my calculations based on the three strands. I had finished the front before I thought maybe I should measure to make sure that it will indeed fit. I have knit wonderful sweaters for others in the past. Sweaters that I wanted to wear. So wishing to avoid this fate I measured. Sure enough the top half of the sweater was two inches smaller than what I was intending. No matter how I wished it was not true. Three strand minus one strands is two not three. Go figure? So I did what I must. I frogged the top half. It now waits patiently on my needles.
Here's a brief list of possible solutions...
1) increase the top half by twenty stitches.
2)add another strand of wool and continue in the double moss stitch.
3) simply continue working in the 4 x 4 rib stitch using the wool and hairy mohair.
What would you do?
Tomorrow: Kissing "Playful" good-bye. End of sale and the new patterns begin to spring up on my web site. ...all being well.

Monday, February 26, 2007

For your eyes only

Reading my blog does have it's advantages. For example you are one of the first to know when I have a new design...
Introducing "Promise"
Usually I am inspired to create by my own little muse. It is self-driven. Just me and the muse. However, occasionally...only occasionally...I am inspired by others.
And so it is for this design. I received an email from a knitter who was looking for a vest like this...
It is one size fits most. The pockets have a unique side opening prefect for hand warming. The vest has wide lapels and I-cord button closures.
I wore it last Sunday and received many complements.
I will add this design to my site after March 1st. However, you may order it from today on. Emailed patterns are $5.

Tomorrow: Eating Chocolate...or not

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Besides that...

Besides working on my latest book "Yarn Therapy" and working like mad on my knitting I have been attacking the front yard. Attacking is the right word.
Let me tell you a brief story.
You see the house that I grew up in had an unfinished basement. Mom was deeply embarrassed by this part of our house. She would move heaven and earth to ensure that no guest ventured forth into the lower reaches of our house. It was strictly reserved for family.
One day I heard to my surprise Mom say to my boyfriend, "It's just downstairs in the basement. Can you get it for me?"
I was shocked. Then I realized that Mom was not blind. She had noticed the way I looked at him. Her inviting him into the basement was her stamp of approval.
Now just where was I going with this story?
Oh, ya, I guess we all have certain things about our lives that we wish we could hide away. I know I do.
Currently, I am working to eliminate one. Well, maybe eliminate is not the right word. Perhaps I should say take care of one: the front yard.
I promised myself that each and every sun filled day I would weed the yard. It is sunny today. However, after reading the Yarn Harlot's latest post I wanted to send to her and all other knitters who are experiencing "winter" a small gift.
There among the weeds I found....
a tiny promise of spring.
Okay, I'm off to the front yard.
Next post: For your eyes only

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Disappear forever

This is your last chance to buy this "Playful" pattern. Although it is shown here cropped the pattern offers a full-length version as well. I have put this pattern on sale: $2.00 off. This means that for a mere $3.00 Canadian I will email the pattern to you and you could have your "playful" by next month. (Upon re-reading this sentence, I thought it warranted clarification. You may read it as it takes me a month to send you a pattern. This, my friends, is not true. In fact, patterns are usually sent the same day or at least the same week. What I meant to imply is that you could have your version of the sweater within a month. Sorry about any confusion.) Fast, easy, save - three of my favourite words. Sale ends Thursday, March 1st. Log on to your pattern waits.

Monday, February 19, 2007

How I breathe

So just where have I been all morning?
Did I take a day off like Alberta and Saskatchewan?
No, sadly, in B.C. it's just another Monday. Well, not quite here in my studio it is exciting. You see, I am working on some new designs for spring/summer. Each little stop along the road to a new garment has its moments of excitement. For me, the closer I get to a finished garment the more intense my excitement grows. Today I finished the back and front. Currently I am working on the sleeves and collar. Here's a peek at the front.

I "discovered" a new stitch pattern for the design. Or at least a stitch pattern that I haven't seen in any stitch pattern book.
Even more excitement if that's not enough. I am almost finished Yarn Therapy...for the third time.
You see I have been very fortunate with the help I have received on the book. The first time I received the manuscript back from my editor I got into a conversation with the owner of my favourite yarn shop. She advised me to add instructions on finishing the accessories. So this I did.
With the second finished manuscript in hand, I got into a conversation with a friend that just happens to be a workshop instructor. She advised me to add information on the basics like casting on and off and the stitches knit and purl. My immediate reaction was to justify this omission. After all, it was a first knitting pattern book not a how to knit book. With a smile, she re-stated her advised and changed the subject. Later I began to think just why I was recoiling at the very thought of adding this information. Usually I have a reason. I knew the reason I gave her was lam. So what was the real reason? Slowly it raised it's ugly head. You see knitting is such a part of my life that describing how to knit was like attempting to describe how I walk, talk or breathe. I would have to slow down and analysis each and every step. The idea overwhelmed me. I challenged myself to attempt to do so. I wanted to present a through, well-written description of each process. I am very pleased to say I reached my goal. I can't wait to show the final (underlined three times) manuscript to my editor. I can't wait to share the book with you.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Presidents' Day!

Friday, February 16, 2007

this weekend

"Mayners" have meet at the Ag. Hall since 1900. This weekend we will meet there again.
T. Nile will rock the joint. Here's hoping I can attend. She will be performing on this months Folk night Saturday, February 17th, 7 pm.
What is this? Find out this weekend by logging on to the Leanneism blog accessible from oknitting's link page.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Muffin Recipe

As in posting on a blog, knitting a sweater is not without it's challenges. This is my second attempt at posting. I am currently knitting my last Muffin for...oh...about the third time. Headaches - I've had them.
"So, what's the problem, Leanne. I thought you wrote the Muffin pattern? How can you have problems with it?" You ask.
Well, let me tell you. The problem is not with the pattern it's self but rather with the yarn. If it's not one thing it's the other.
I began by choosing these colours from my stash.

They look pretty here ...but they fight like mad in the sweater. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and ripped the whole mess out.
The yellow went back in the stash. The green and the beige were left.
New problem, the sweater was almost complete and then I realized that I would have insufficient yardage.
Once again the sweater was frogged.
I scanned the stash once again and found a plain beige ball. So the new version was started with two rows of beige speckled yarn and two rows of beige yarn. I am also planning to have green detailing. With hope, this version will not be frogged.
...but please stay tuned I may need the support to regain my sanity.

Oh, yes, and I almost forgot the muffin recipe...

Chocolate chip Banana Muffins (from the Eriksdale Personal Care Home's Family Favourites)

I changed this recipe slightly. Instead of chocolate chips I throw in two tablespoons of peanut butter.

1/2 cup softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 mashed bananas

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter, vanilla, and sugar; beat in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with mashed bananas to creamed mixture; add peanut butter. Place baking cups in muffin tins. Spoon batter into cups. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Yes, for good or ill, I am one of those Valentine Day celebrators.
To those who don't please forgive my sweet tooth.

Short on Paper is advertised as a non-knitting book. Yet three stories about knitting slipped in. Here is one...

Time together
Male meets female. The air drips with estrogen, adrenalin, progesterone, androgen, testosterone, and pheromone. The chemical mixture ignites. Nothing exists but passion.
His muscles flex with each movement. Hot steamy sweat collects on his brow. In and out, his movements excite her. Her attention is wrapped up in him. Her pulse races.
“That’s right! Very good! Now… oh that’s right in there… very good.”
Encouraged by her words he continues. “This is rather tricky.”
“It does get easier,” she promises. “With time the stitches will slip off your needle. You really are a natural.”
“Should be, after watching you for years.” He grins up at her. He knows how to make love to a knitter.
Copyright, Leanne Dyck, 2007
Short on Paper will be available in May from (scroll down the page) or on Mayne Island at the Farmer's Market.
Tomorrow: A Muffin recipe

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Seniorly Canadian

2007 is not only the year of the pig but it is also an important year for crafts.
The Crafts Association of BC and the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre is planning this:
Relatively speaking Canada is a young country.
However, we do have a growing elderly population. A population of who we should be proud. They have brought us here.
The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library ( celebrates it's 75th year in 2007. Quoting their web site, their mandate is "the study, preservation and understanding of handicrafts" and yes this does include knitting.
And much to the pleasure and delight of knitters Briggs and Little ( of York Mills, New Brunswick has been producing 100% Canadian wool for 150 years...150 years...since 1857.
Yes, we have a proud history. Let's celebrate it.
Tomorrow: Happy Valentine's day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Blow my mind

You may remember my plans to start marketing in the "real" world. I was going to start out small on Mayne Island.
That was the plan.
Plans change.
In April, I hope to market my books and patterns at the Artists and Crafts guild sale. In May, I will be at the first Farmer's Market and all others that year. ...but June...June changes everything. On June 8-10 Olavia's will sponsor our first event: Victoria's Fibrefest and Knit out. I am one among many supports of the event. Please look for my table at the Sunday market. I have two months to develop a professional table. I'll have to be a quick study.
Why the change?
Well, it's all her fault:
I am a big fan. When she's only a ferry ride away I can't stop myself from taking that ferry.
So there you go my plans blowin' out of the water.
And there's more...
Not only will have a table at the Sunday market but I -- little, old me -- will be presenting readings from Novelty Yarn. It will be my first off-island reading.
Am I nervous?
Am I excited?
I hope you can attend. I'll greatly appreciate the support.
And, I promise, I'll make it as fun as possible.

Tomorrow: Seniorly Canadian

Friday, February 09, 2007

A review ...and a peek

We began our Muffin making odyssey on January 17th. Since that time, with your help, I have made four muffins. I was going to - at this time - review each and every muffin. Then I gave my head a shake. If you would like to see them please read back over the old posts.

Okay, so, most of you know I live in British Columbia. Mostly of you also may be aware that I live on a tiny island that gets very little snow. Oh of course there is the occasional exception. Case in point this year when we got large dumps of the stuff. Ha, ha, ha Mother Nature. Big joke. We haven't had the stuff for a while but I am aware that by mentioning it I am jinxing us all. So if we get a large dump tomorrow please accept by apologizes.
Moving on...
Lately Mother Nature has tried a new trick. Have you ever felt that you are trapped in a black and white movie? Looking up you notice the sky and it looks something like this...

The sky is shades of grey.
Well, no special effects here. The picture was taken in colour. Let me type that again, the picture was taken in colour. This is as close to blue skies that we have come for what feels like weeks.
In honour of Mother Nature's latest joke I bring you "...and a peek".
Here's a peek at the purple Muffin I just finished.

Please notice the tassel on the hood. Cute?
I just have one more Muffin to make and then I move on to something new.
On the lookout for something new I scan my stash.

Oh, beautiful natural yarn. Luxury.
What to choose?

will hopefully become this: Pulse
I know by posting this I am sealing my fate. I am also tempting the knitting gods. If the Alpaca doesn't become Pulse not just me but you will know of my failure. I hope, if that happens, that you will be kind and allow me to cry on your shoulder.
Fibrefest & Knit out Please log on to:
Monday: Blow my mind
Week-end: Please read: Leanneism
Log on to and click on "Links page".

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A muffin recipe

After completing four "Muffin" s I am about ready to cry Uncle.
I know, I'm weak.
So I was delighted to see that I had two muffins left this morning.

The recipe for these muffins came from the recipe book: Family Favourites. Family Favourites was compiled by Eriksdale Personal Care Home.
What or where is Eriksdale?
Eriksdale, Manitoba is where I am originally from. Most of my family still lives there. Occasionally I still find myself referring to it as "home".
I was going to tell you who submitted the recipe. Then I wondered if the person would want their name spread all over the Internet?
Probably not.
Anyway, I am sure they won't mind if I shared the recipe with you. I have changed the recipe. Forming it into a recipe that no one can really lay claim to.

Apple, Strawberry and Almond Muffins

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup slightly melted butter

2 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1 small apple

4 small strawberries (or more if desired)

1 hand full of whole almonds

Cut the almonds, strawberries and apple into small pieces. Set aside. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder together; cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add strawberry and apple pieces. Beat egg and milk together. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients; mix until just blended. Fill muffin cups full. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown.

The fact that I only had two muffins left and that my interest in muffins was failing combined in my brain. The result: I will, after I finish my last two muffins, eat and knit something else for a while. I will no doubt return to the muffin pattern. ...but I just need a little, tiny break.

So today I will sew this.

And this week-end I will finish this.
Tomorrow: A review ...and possibly a peek.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

another muffin

Although we don't have snow it is still yucky outside. The skies are gray and it's raining. So taking pictures outside is out. We do what we can.

You may find yourself asking, "Why is Leanne knitting children's sweater after children's sweater? Is she trying to tell us something? Will she soon be a new Mom, Aunt or Grandma?"

The answer is sadly none of the above. The reason I am knitting "Muffin" after "Muffin" is simply to develop inventory.

You see, as I have mentioned before, I am very pleased with my presence on the web. What I am displeased about is my presence in the 'real' world. And so I will be participating in as many craft sales as I can this year. Not the huge craft sales. I'm not quite ready for them yet. It is something that I am building towards, however. No, the craft sales I will participating in are on Mayne Island or if I'm lucky on Salt Spring Island.

I recently was informed that being able to sell through ArtCraft is not a given. I was under this illusion and so this knowledge came as a shock to me. I began to frantically look around for sale opportunities. Recently I discovered the Mayne Island Artist and Crafts Guild. For a very affordable yearly fee (and if you are lucky enough to become a member) you have an opportunity to participate in perhaps as many as three sales a year. The first one to take place Saturday, April 7th. April...
Then there is the Mayne Island Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market runs from Saturday, May 21st to Saturday, October 8th. It takes place outside on the Agricultural Society grounds.

So now you know why I am in such a mad scrabble to knit, knit and knit some more baby sweaters.

I will try my best to entertain you. It will be a rocky ride to April and so your readership is appreciated.

Tomorrow: Muffin recipe

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Yet another 'Muffin' is finished as May looms ever closer.
My Grandma taught me how to finish a sweater. She adviced me never to use knots in my knitting. She promised me that it was not necessary if I would only ensure that the yarn end was woven carefully back and forth.
Well, until she passed away I failed to follow her advice. Then one day I decided to test her theory. So in a sweater I was knitting for myself I used not a knot.
Know what? The sweater was smooth. No yarn ends popped out. Who knew that a knitter with years of experience knew so much about knitting? : )
Some knitters strongly dislike sewing seams. I, however, have always enjoyed hand sewing. ...but don't even show me a sewing machine. I hate the monsters.
Now what arrived in the mail.
Always an interesting read: articles on knitters, knitwear designers, yarn and more. It shines the light on knitting in Canada.
Moreover for me it offers even more. You see I am proud to have a presence on the web. If you google or yahoo "hand knitting patterns" you'll find me on page one. Yet out here in the real world it's a different story. You see it's expensive to advertise in knitting magazines. Or I should say in most magazines. Not so Knit Together: for an affordable yearly fee, my business has a presence in the 'real' world.
I call on all Canadian knitters to support our magazine.
The Canadian Guild of Knitters welcomes American readers. So why not find out what is going on with your Canadian cousins?

Tomorrow: yet another muffin

Monday, February 05, 2007

sewing side seams

Behold a sweater in need of sewn sides.

The sweater is right side out.
I begin at the bottom and slowly work my way up. I sew the waist using the mattress seam.

Then I sew the armholes.
You: "Excuse me, but haven't we already sewn the armholes?"
Me: "The armholes get a lot of wear and tear so it is important to reinforce the seam."

I would like to apologize for the quality of the next picture. It is very blurry. I tried some magic and sadly it didn't help. Anyway between the waist and the armhole lays the rest of the sweater. To sew this part, I turn the sweater inside out. I sew a seam as close to the edge of the sweater as possible. Then in to the top of the sweater and out through the bottom. In to the bottom of the sweater and out through the top. Make sure you leave no holes.

And now, behold our sweater has sides.

Right side of the sweater.

The wrong side.
What awaits us is weaving in all those ends.
Tomorrow: a muffin finished and what came in the mail.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Playing web designer

Do you remember the days when you would slip into your Mother's closet and dawn her high-heels and jewelry. Although they didn't quite fit your imagination allowed you to visualize yourself as an "adult". Well, I feel the same way about the program that allows me to play at web design. I know that I am not a web designer. ...but boy oh boy do I like to play "dress-up". I have made a few changes to my site. See if you can spot them.
Here's a hint: B-o-o-k-s page

Oh, no, don't beg...I won't say anymore. : )
Please look on the book page.

sewing the sleeve seams

I begin sewing on sleeve seams at the cuff. Here I employ the mattress seaming.
Once the cuff has been sewn I move to sewing the underarm.
Here also I employ the mattress seam.
By sewing the cuff and underarm first I ensure that the sleeve seam will not have puckers. Puckers caused because the sleeve was not properly lined up.
Then I turn the sweater inside out. Many knitters continue to use the mattress seam. I don't. Instead I use a tailor's seam. More on the tailor's seam when we sew the body of the sweater.

Now we have seamed our sleeves.
Next post: Seaming the body of the sweater.