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Baby It's Spring Outside! (2007)

Spring! Printemps! Bron!

Språng! ربيع Primavera! весна

Welcome friends from around the world! Welcome Spring and welcome back COLOUR!

Thank you to everyone who has signed on to the Frappr World Map. It's great to see who makes up this global community of ours. I hope those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying the Spring season as much as I am. I trust you have been busy and creative.

Life for me always takes on a new level of energy and my daily routine shifts to accommodate the longer daylight hours as Spring takes hold.

It infuses all of the senses; the sound of birdsong, the smell fresh cut grass and rain, the feel of soil in your hands and the warm sun on your back. I always thank God for good vision as watching plants come to life, leaf and bloom is truly wonderful. The colours put forth are mesmerizing. Greens and Pinks are my favourites in flowering plants but just look at the intensity of the yellow in these blooms!


This love affair with colour is why I have such admiration and respect for yarn companies who specialize in hand dyeing their yarns, creating such marvelous, intense colourways with plant and animal fibres such as the following from Colinette of LLanfair, Wales and Blue Heron Yarn of Eastland, Maryland, USA.

Colinette Jitterbug Sock Yarn

Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, Beaded Cotton/Rayon and Rayon/Cotton Seed hand dyed yarns.

Blue Heron Yarns display at Village Yarns.

Close up of Blue Heron Cotton/Rayon Seed worked in Moss Stitch.

The wall of Sock Yarn at Village Yarns. Ahhh, choices! If you have never knit a pair of socks, either by hand or machine, give it a try. Your feet will love you for it. Cotton blended with Wool and Nylon are perfect for those of you with hot, itchy feet. Trust Mr. Size 13 here.

Lush Life.
Zoe loves laying in the lush, green grass in our back yard. She has favourite spots to lay and sleep throughout the day. When she chooses to go outside of course. I must admit the lawn is rather overgrown in comparison to our neighbours manicured lawn next door, but I did finally get part of it mowed yesterday. I'm not so uptight about having "the perfect" lawn anyways. I don't really understand the desire to have this patch of green that you won't even walk on and any and all plants pushed backed to the perimeter. Not for me. I am in the process of converting the entire back yard to one huge garden. Of course that takes time and money to do so but in 10 years or so it should be complete. There is plenty of time. I enjoy the transformation and the process.

Zoe is a Bouvier des Flandres, which is a Belgian herding breed originally. I adopted Zoe when she was 3. Now 10 years old, she is slowing down dramatically but still energetic if there are cats, raccoons or squirrels involved. As a breed, Bouviers typically have very thick, coarse curly outer hair and a fine, dense undercoat. This requires constant brushing or they mat badly. 

In the spring I always have Zoe shaved very short to keep her cool and clean. Well, to a dog this is a shaming process and for two weeks I had a very depressed dog on my hands. If you have a long hair breed of dog you will understand what I just went through. It is only in the past week where she has come out of her shell and is her engaging, affectionate self. She looks very awkward initially, but as her hair grows in she evens out. I will keep trimming her until September and then she will have 8 months to grow her coat out again.

On The Needles:
Pictured is Prism Yarn "Cool Stuff" (yarn on far right), a hand dyed yarn featuring an outrageous combination of over 50 yarns in one ball, all colour coordinated in various textures. The colour is "Rio Fantasy". I have combined it with Colinette "Parisienne" lace weight Kid Mohair. I am trying to keep things simple by alternating the yarns every two rows with Garter Stitch in a Short Row technique. This way you get to see all the textures and colours that are components of the "Stuff" yarn.

If you have never knit with Prism Yarns ( I suggest you give them a try. Prism has an outstanding and very sophisticated colour range and the quality of the yarns are second to none. I have waited a long time to work with Prism "Stuff" as it retails for $69/skein Canadian and is therefore on the "precious" side shall we say. The amount of work and thought that the company puts into their "Stuff" line of yarns is incredible. I have tried to replicate this yarn for customers by combining various other yarns in our store and it just doesn't work nor does it come close to the product they produce. For one customer who was trying to match a certain colourway of Prism she had at home, I got up to 22 different yarns which were well over $200 in price and no where close to what their yarns consists of.

Laura Militzer Bryant is Creative Director for Prism Yarns and an award winning artist with an outstanding colour sense. This is definitely reflected in the yarns her company produces. I am thrilled to be taking a workshop hosted by Laura at The National Needle Arts trade show in Columbus, Ohio at the end of May. TNNA is the largest needle arts trade show in North America. I have been invited by Karen Dinner of Village Yarns to attend the show and participate in their "New Buyer" programme. I will definitely report back to you on what I see.

A big Thank You! to those of you who wrote with kind words about my "Mohair Love Affair" in my last post. I had hoped to have pictures to put up for this entry on blocking the piece I was knitting - but someone forgot to save the photos to his memory stick and doesn't have them on this computer. I will update you.

Upcoming Posts
How do I accomplish all this? I take photos as I work on my own projects. It's really that simple. If I think the processes and techniques I am using would be of use to someone then out comes the camera. The average number of photos I take per project or technique is between 300-500. Think about the number of steps involved and it adds up. Trust me. Then there is the editing, uploading and writing of the text and blah, blah, blah. I just get antsy because 3 months have gone by since I last posted anything new. But we can only accomplish so much in a day. Until I go live with video or learn a faster way to put these on the net, works just fine. Slow but good.

Two topics I have been working very hard on are meant to be companions to the Basic Instruction Book. These will hopefully assist knitters with learning the Principle Parts of their machine and how to operate their Superba knitting machine, maximizing all the wonderful features. I will be dividing this into two parts, focusing on the following:

Superba Principal Parts: The Double Bed Knitting Machine

Superba Principal Parts: The Carriage

Basic Cast On Techniques

Garter Transfer Lace Carriage Basics

Superba FORMA Pattern Driver:

Basic Circular Socks:

Sock Toe and Heel Variations:

The 16 x 16 Grid Programmer:

Double Bed Stitch Techniques:

Japanese Stitch Symbols & Patterns:

New Arrival

I received my Superba System 624 Selection Box from England recently. Now all I have to do is wait for the knitting machine to arrive and I can start using it! I bought this on Ebay to have as a back up unit. Remember, these machines are not made anymore and parts are very scarce, so it's wise if you're serious about knitting to have spares. I'll do a complete post on this model when the machine arrives. Here's a peek at what the Selection Box looks like.

The Superba System 624 Selection Box has over 100 programmed stitch patterns stored in its memory. Using the function keys you can manipulate the length and width to achieve large stitch repeats.

On the back of the box is the memory cartridge, which according to the manual can be removed and other pattern cartridges can be inserted. I've never seen any information regarding other memory cartridges but now I will be on the hunt for them.

The System 624 Selection Box comes with a plastic sleeve which slips over the box for programming your own designs.

You can program stitch patterns up to a maximum of 24 stitches wide and 60 rows long.

The programming guide slips over the Selection Box itself, and then you slide your design sheet in through the guide. This helps align each row to be programmed. You enter a new pattern row by row, one stitch at a time just like on the 16 x 16 pressure pad models.

For comparison, here are three of the five Selection Boxes produced by S.I.T. Group Superba ®. Left to right: the 16 Stitch Programmer, System 624 Selection Box, and the Light Scanning 60 Stitch Selection Box.

The 624 Selection Box in Front of my White 1502 for size comparison.

Friends Called Family
My siblings and I gathered in London, Ontario at my sister Barbara's to celebrate Mother's Day with our mother Genevieve. I am my mothers tenth child and while not every brother and sister were able to attend, six of her ten children, plus grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoyed a fabulous Spring day to honour this grand lady.

Pictured below are four generations of my family. My mother Genevieve on the right, my sister Susan in the middle, granddaughter Meghann on the left holding great granddaughter Maya. Priceless.

This was my first opportunity to meet Maya and she is adorable.

My sister Barbara is a wonderful hostess and a fabulous cook. The menu was Grilled Beef Tenderloin with a Shrimp & Scallop Hollandaise sauce, Grilled Sweet peppers with melted Goat Cheese, Asparagus, Potato Salad and Strawberry/Blueberry Spinach Salad. Dessert was an assortment of fresh pies baked by my mother and Chocolate Fondue with fresh fruit. Lot's of Belgian beer - love Chimay! - and assorted wine made for a fine feast.

Barbara's son Jacob took over as the Grill Master.

Being such a gorgeous day what could be better than a game of Bocce. Canadese style of course.

The women kicked ass of course!

My sister Genevieve with Maya.

My brothers Robert and Michael.

Yours truly pictured with my mother Genevieve and brother Robert. I got all the height genes in the family!

Our grand nephew Avery, happy to be catching pollywogs in the pond.

My niece Meghann and her husband Derek.

My sister Susan, her grandson Avery and daughter Meghann.

Pretty baby!

Susan with grandson Avery.

A very happy Uncle.

There are no friends like Family. God Bless. Patrick Madden.
Toronto, Ontario CANADA