Friday, April 30, 2010

For Dan and Sharon's Friends!

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My Favorite Place to Knit

I'm not picky... in fact, I've been told where my knitting is not welcomed.  I would prefer to knit everywhere.

I find it insulting that there are people who think knitting is offensive in certain venues.  I'll name a few...
Church, parties and meetings.  Obviously, the people who object are not knitters. Let it be known that I've never hurled an insult while knitting...
Do you want Jekyll or Hyde?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 4 - Learning something new!

I like to be surprised...and I guess I get so obsessed with knitting projects that it's only occasionally I stumble upon the fact that there's another way to do things.

Today I'm totally surprised at how awful my cast on USED to be.  Here's a sample: (Click on it for enlarged picture.)

Such is the case with the "Estonian Cast-on". It's beautiful and stretchy. (Think SOCKS!)
I happened to see it in my Knitting Daily email, and now I use it all the time almost all the time!  It's a bit more complicated, since I have to look it up to make sure I'm doing it correctly, but when I do----- It's gorgeous!

I learned from the best: Nancy Bush.  

Then in March, I found a pattern for "cuffs" and it started with Liidia's Braid Cast-On.  It blew me away!  

Who knew that after 50 years of casting on in exactly the same way, there would be such a radical shift in the universe!   (By the way: Have you seen the Stephen Hawking programs about time travel and aliens?  I'm still blinking my eyes with amazement.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3 - One Great Knitter!

Pattie!  (I got a little excited and clicked POST when I meant to save it for tomorrow's posting.)

Did anyone doubt that Pattie is the one for me!  Anyone I've met, and especially knitted with, will have heard the words from my mouth: "My friend, Pattie, says..."

Here is the Four Corners Sock Conference:  Sue and Pattie with our sock/mitten projects in 4 states at once!

Somehow, after years of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and still over 2,000 miles apart, we manage to communicate.  (History: We went to high school together, we are "farmers' daughters, rode the school bus together--I would "save" her a seat, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding.)  

But about 15 years ago she showed me a quilt that had been in progress for WAAAY too many years (I tsk-tsk'd her), several wonderful baskets she had woven, AND a knitted shawl.  I fell in love with that shawl, the muted colors of forest greens and a dash of pink, pine trees standing tall along the edge, and yummy feel, (you know what I'm saying) and I was hooked.  She gently snagged me with a few mailed copies of instructions and techniques and it evolved into a religion!  We share our daily devotions via email and when our paths cross--- my friend, Irish Helen, would purchase a ring-side seat!  

As with most amazing people, she's a busy woman, and I (again) tsk-tsk her that she doesn't have the time to real show her work on Ravelry. It's all right. You'll see the MANY wip's. Trouble--uncertainty?  I'll ask my friend, Pattie!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 2 - Inspirational Patterns

LYS's:  Display a pattern knitted up!

That's all you need to do to inspire ME!  If I see something knitted, I KNOW "I can do that!"

I should find something that will stymie me, but so far:  Crazy fair isle, cables and twists, bring them on!!  My favorite sock patterns are from Sock Innovations by cookie a.  The most twisted the better!  Currently on needles:

For sure, "My Greatest Challenge":

Fair Isle? To be "fair", my daughter chose this pattern and I made it work with my mathematical skills, and friend, PattieKnits.

Even without my friend, I managed to cut open the band of fair isle to "repair" something that didn't turn out right the first time.
Thanks, Helen, for the modeling job!  Picture taken at Knit Night, November 15, 2007.

A close 2nd Greatest Challenge:  Monkey Blanket

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010

Starting today if you would like to read about knitting on similar topics you can google: knitcroblo1

Everyday, there will be knitters and crocheters blogging on similar subjects.  Use the above code word to bring them up in google.  Each day will have another number, (knitcroblo2, knitcroblo3 etc.) with number 7 wrapping up the week on May 2nd.  For a more detailed description, check out Eskimimi Knits.

I'll lay it on the line:  Where would this world be if it weren't for grandmothers?
Now that I have joined the legion, I hope I am worthy.  I was lucky enough to live in close proximity to both of my grandmothers, and it became routine for them to look out for me.  One grandmother lived next door, was always home, and became my main life line outside of school time. The bus driver would look up expectantly into the mirror and give me the look that asked if I wanted to be left off at Grandma's or my house. (I indicated with one finger or two.)  She was a knitter. I almost said "exclusively" but I now remember there were doilies on the backs of the living room chairs and sofa, although I don't remember her making them.  

She had one pattern for a "hat" that I recall, and no other.  No socks, sweaters, mittens, nothing.  Just that one "hat".  I was there when she turned them out, a girl/woman's "hat".  (Why does she keep putting "hat" in " "?  Because it seems strange to call it a hat. Yes, for your head, tied under the chin, perfect for keeping ears warm, and probably perfect for the 1950's hair styles.  I'll do my best to find a description or picture.) But she didn't teach me to knit.  I found this booklet when cleaning out her house, and used these patterns for my first mittens and socks.

My "Mormor" who lived many places, moving from farm to farm, baking, creating, crafting, the best cook, (all the things my mother was not) was the one who inspired me to knit, and put the needles in my hands. She was my mentor and she hatched an intrepid knitter. 

I remember big needles, big holes, dropped stitches, and no one worried about it. And one day, in 6th grade, our teacher said we would have free time during the day for any project we wanted to do.  And what did I choose for myself? I was going to knit a sweater for me.  I could read, someone helped me find a pattern, needles and yarn, and what did it look like?  Maybe someone from my elementary school remembers:  It was pink, there were pieces.  I knitted the fronts, complete with pockets... dang, pockets!  There were sleeves, and yarn, and a shelf in the classroom where I kept these things. My "recollection of my abilities may not be accurate" but I was darn proud of it, and remembered it as beautiful and soft, and even... Alas, it was never completed. Did it take longer than a month or a year?  I only know that it was never sewn together, and lost in time.

I guess I've always been ambitious.  Had I started with something less demanding... I wouldn't have been so interested in it!! My "Mormor" who would constantly try new things made me a believer in my abilities.  She was painting at 60, quilting at 70 and writing memoirs at 80. She was my best friend.

Here are some needles from my grandmother.

Today I take on the most challenging projects, and many times they are successful due to sheer persistence.  (Who is the "fixer" at knit night?)

I don't remember knitting in the obsessive way I do today as a teen.  That "intrepid"ness appeared about 6 years ago.

Some of the things I inherited:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I don't trust felting!

Nope.  I don't know what I'll get and well... someone else has put it in better words than I can:
Please read!

I promise I'll make these when she finishes tweaking the pattern.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More babies in the family

I'm excited at the prospect of more babies in the family.  A niece gave birth to a grandniece earlier this month.  I haven't seen any pictures yet, but Miss Z has a bonnet on needles.  I've made so many of them, and they work so well, that I expect to have it done in 2-3 days, while working on another project.
The bonnet I can almost do in my sleep:

The bonnet/hood stays on the baby, covers ears, and stays put when baby turns her head.  I think it's a great pattern.  This one is the 5th bonnet I've made in a year. (Good thing I have Ravelry to rely on or I wouldn't be able to verify that fact.)

The Lace Tunic takes enormous concentration.  They are fine projects to alternate.
I have to look at every stitch, every row, every section...

I was surprised tonight when I got to row 68 and I was binding off half the stitches.  Since I STILL haven't learned to read ahead... it came as a surprise!
Yummy color, too.  Perfect for Spain!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ten months Old!

I can hardly believe that Little Juju is 10 months old.  The comparison of a newborn and a now very active moving body is truly amazing!
She seemed so controlling in her needs during that first month:

And it is totally different now that she can almost speak.
In fact, she does speak, but we just don't know her language.

I just booked tickets for her first birthday party!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life in April

Yarn: I promise I won't mention the M. Blanket again, but just letting you know it's resting comfortably in a place where it can be admired by all. Otherwise, I'm occupied by a Lace Tunic which involves constant vigilance on every row, and life lines (and tink'ing, and at the moment a whole section is ripped back 3 rows to the life line). It's a challenge! No distractions, please... DEFINITELY not a project for Knit Night! Ivories: Weekly services at church and the odd job, keep me relatively in shape, while allergy season has affected my sight-reading. Yes, I'm seeing double, my eyes are bloodshot and I wish there was a way to remove them so I could give them a soothing bath! Extra: Today is my 3rd of 4 classes that I am teaching about GPS and Geocaching. This afternoon I'll be "wrangling Senior dudes" in a park. They will be looking for any of 8 caches; the biggest challenge is inputting coordinates into the GPSr's. Anyone else interested? Give me a call!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wet and Resting

The finished product.

It's wet and resting, all 720 g of it. Heavy and soft.
I've packed up the needles to be returned to their owners and now look to the future!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Down and Up again!

After the last blog, I read the instructions, ALL of the instructions, even the last 2 paragraphs, of my Monkey Blanket.  I'm not too smart; just when I thought I was almost done, I found that the instructions wanted MORE!

I was up to what I thought was my last round of border garter stitch, ready to bind off, when I discovered that all of my apprehension about the border rolling would be solved if I read the instructions.  Instead of there being one layer of border, there are two which go back to back and then bind off.  I bit my lip, pulled out 3 rows of garter, picked up another 546 stitches (but who's counting?), borrowed 2 more circs, knitted a 6 row pattern, and am now 2/3's around the bind off.  FOR REAL!  

It's going to be beautiful...
A partial picture to show the process:

A partial picture to show the finish:
I haven't counted the number of needles I needed, but I'm using at least 9, borrowed from 6 gracious knitters!  Thanks!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time for Old and New

I could go another day without comment here, but I should show you that some progress is being made:  Like a few rounds...
Here's the border.  I'm beginning the garter stitch to finish off the edge.  I'm a bit worried that the stockinette part is going to roll, which makes knitters unhappy (especially ME).  In which case, I SHOULD rip it out and do the whole thing in either ribbing or garter.
Here's another shot, showing both the front and back.
I love the look of the Lustra yarn.  It has a lovely sheen!
I guess I'll finish and then decide if I need to redo the border... It really wants to flop forward. Is blocking all it's cracked up to be?

Waiting in the wings (today's project: baby Jasmine cardi), and if I have time:
This has surprised me as being really interesting, and hopefully a successful summer cover-up.
This is probably the most practical of anything I'm working on... it WILL be SUMMER soon!

PS: The border/monkey blanket is perfect for multi-tasking at knit night tonight!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A long Way Around

It's working!
With a total of 8 #7 circulars from across town, borrowing from 4 knitter friends, I'm moving forward.  Last night I thought I would pass out from heat!  This blankie is definitely an outdoor, Norwegian quality winter blanket.  Two layers of 2-stranded knitting: I'm glad it's only 25" x 50".

Thanks to my friends!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Picking up MORE Stitches!

Dutifully I spent a lot of time yesterday half watching golf and picking up stitches, my 546 stitches, using all 3 of my longest #7 circular needles.  

Another reality set in:  I have another side of the blanket to do.  This project is made of two flat pieces (a front and a back) knitted together around the edge.  In reality I need to pick up another 546 stitches, and then 3 needle bind them off.  
Problem:  I need more needles...

The call is out, and this morning I'm hoping I'll scramble enough length of #7's to complete the pick ups!  I can think of at least one alternative method of attaching those two pieces, and if I thought a little more, probably more methods that would NOT require so many Circular needles, nor picking up over a thousand stitches.  If I should ever attempt a project like this again... I won't be using this border.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pick up Stitches!

Sarcasm coming up:
I LUV picking up stitches.  And that's what I'll be doing for the next 24 hours.

Favorite project, Monkey blanket, has the faces all fixed and I'm starting the border, picking up 546 stitches.  Anyone with a secret (i.e. instant) method for doing this, PLEASE write to me NOW!

More tomorrow, IF I get over this. :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sew and Woe!!

That does it!  This confirms my notion that knitting is SO forgiving... Make a mistake? Not to worry: Frog it and reuse.  How friendly is THAT?

My poor monkey project... My decision to double the size has led to all kinds of decisions, good and poor:


  1. Increase Dimensions
  2. Useable for stroller
  3. Hole in the center for seat belt
  4. More monkeys (how can that be bad?)
  5. I'm a genius!
  1. Ran out of yarn for background
  2. Ran out of yarn for background (worth 2 numbers of Poor)
  3. Monkeys are freckled with copper
  4. Knitting like a fiend to beat the onslaught of Summer!
  1. Call the LYS for more yarn
  2. LYS going out of business (none available/not ordering more)
  3. We can live with freckled monkeys
  4. Stitch and cut those ##%@$$&*& steeks.
Ah!  Ready for border, but where are all of my US7 circs?  As I start digging and looking for all of those lost unfinished items that probably are hiding my #7's, what do I find in a completely random location (i.e. the bottom of one of my many project baskets)?  A ball of my background color!!  I'm wild with anger.  Can it be used to fix the problem?  Reality sets in as a realize that there's no ripping out once the steeks have been cut.  
I'm bummed.  Grumbling and swearing I'll be better next time at putting ALL of my yarn BACK* in one place, I make the decision to "duplicate stitch" over as much of the freckle area as I can...

Looks like I have more work to do... And it makes me appreciate how much faster knitting is than sewing in stitches.
The sewing of the steeks went quite well.  I was oblivious to what would develop in the following hour.  The long tubes of 36" were stitched almost half way from the bottom then cut open. Then stitched as far as I could manage from the top and cut. Finally I stitched the middle section and cut.  I was pretty happy then, and after a good night's sleep I'm calmer now.

* How did that one little ball get stranded? When I finished a piece and cut the yarn, I started the next piece with a fresh skein, and dropped my leftover ball in the basket.  It's perfectly clear to me now....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Impossible stitching Monkeys

Monkeys, monkeys and more monkeys... 26 monkey faces!  Whew... I'm finished with the faces, and the O's for the backing... My project is a stroller blanket.  I've put a hole in the middle for the seat belt buckle, hoping that it will be near a useable position.

The original pattern is pretty small:  24" square, and I'm doubling it so it will probably be 24" x 48".  What does that mean?  Of course, I'll need more yarn, but I had SO much left after I finished the first half...  My luck ran out though:  What I thought was another skein of background brown really was the copper that you can barely see in the O's pattern.  Knowing I would run out of background, I started to incorporate the copper (2 rows of copper to 1 row of brown) and even though they are definitely different, it works for me.  In fact, I like it so much... I wish I had the guts to do the whole monkey side with the copper/brown combination.  But that's not going to happen.

I started it a month ago, and am suddenly in a panic to complete it ASAP.  I know that stroller blanket weather will run out around the 1st of June.  And when my little one goes to the tropics... the blanket will probably remain in storage.  It's going to be super heavy too.  It's made of two layers of Lustra held together with a knitted border.  Even though I've read the directions, I'm steeling myself for the sewing/cutting of the steeks, and the binding that will hold the thing together...
The back has long running threads because the pattern says it's OK.  They will all be on the inside, and something tells me that it may snag and pull but... I'll hope for the best, again!

Here's the hole for the seat belt.  Not too easy to see since it's in the dark colors.  My photo skills are lacking;  The background really isn't this dark.

And here's the odd yarn I found in my stash because I needed something more colorful than my original purchases.  (My local yarn shop: LYS, is 60 miles away, and alas, going out of business at the end of April. Tears, please! I don't get there very often.)

I would like to finish it, maybe over the weekend, and send it off.  Or I could take my time and show it off at Knit Nite on Thursday.  That gives me a whole week.  Time's a wasting!
This is what I'll use for the border.  The red color hasn't been used at all.  The white, I have too little to make a round for the border, so three colors it is!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Orchid blossoms

March 19, 2010 blog, shows the first blossom opening.  Today:
(How many blossoms do you see?)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Traditional Dress

Norway is a country where tradition and progressive thought merge beautifully. 
Let's talk tradition:  First of all, the landscape is stunning.  Tourists agree and the locals admire it every Easter.  Most Norwegians have Easter week plans to get the last bit of winter nature out of their systems before ALL of the snow disappears:  Skiing in the mountains is probably the most common tradition for them.
But the MOST traditional of traditions is the "bunad".  This is their traditional dress which differs for every location within Norway.  Each valley has not only its own dialect, but its own dress.  Here is a picture I took on the most traditional of days: May 17th, where everyone who has a bunad wears it proudly while strolling the streets and watching the parades.
This is at the harbor in Bergen.  I swear this is the best day to get Norwegians to pose for pictures.  It takes time to get into these costumes and everyone is very proud to show them off. When the weather cooperates, as it did on this day, nothing is better.  No work, just enjoyment that day. 
What prompted me to write about the 17th of May today is  C & H's wedding last week.  H's mother arrived in town with a suitcase full of her bunad.  I had no idea of the layers!  Keep in mind that once you own a bunad, you jump at the chance to wear it at every appropriate occasion!  Someday I'll ask her how often she gets to wear it, however, I know that she has worn it for the weddings of her three children.  
She disappeared into the bathroom and emerged with most of it on and needing a little assistance with the jewelry.
It's quite the work of art, and I imagine that it's a tradition to be able to sew these and present them to brides.  This one is intricate and worn with pride.  The vest is surprisingly colorful, and the whole thing can be comfortably worn outdoors--sturdy fabric!
See the laptop?
That's M visiting the party from 4,000 miles away, keeping up his end of the conversation.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No Ivories/Yarn

My life revolves around Ivories and Yarn but somehow, I've found lots of topics lately that remotely refer to them.  C'est la vie!
And today will probably be one of them:
In my travels of the past week, I carted 3 bottles of champagne across the ocean to a country that taxes alcohol so highly that it was definitely worth the risk of filling my suitcase with liquid and having my clothing soaked.  After all, there would be a washing machine at the other end of my journey!
Upon recommendation and tasting, we have come to enjoy a certain Blanc de blanc, and have convinced ourselves that it truly is champagne without the name. (And it tastes better, too.)  When C decided to have a few friends over after her wedding ceremony, and toast them with champagne, I said I would bring it.  I had original packing materials from the case, so I threw carefully placed the packaging and 3 bottles (legally, 5 liter limit) into my hard sided suitcase, and the hardest part of schlepping the bag was the final 4 city blocks to her apartment.  It was a success!
I'm sure you have already guessed my conundrum!  What to do with the empty space in my returning baggage.  No?  Well, it wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't decided to return with ONE bottle of PIMS, without all of the packaging materials.  Of course the obvious option would be yarn... and I did my best!  I didn't want to purchase yarn because I'm good with my yarn diet.  C presented me with various projects that she doesn't see in her future which included a huge bag of sheep New Zealand wool that was once a pullover.  We bought it in NZ in '98 for her, she's kept it all of these years, and, upon my encouragement, frogged the whole thing.  It was nastier than I had anticipated since it was either cut and sewn at the side seams, or C cut the seams herself... In any case, it looks like this:

It definitely helped take up space, but the last day I purchased the perfect filler:
I love Norwegian toilet paper!  They have lovely patterns of color on them.  I wonder why USA can't do that?  TP is so boring... And before you ask, I don't know why the packaging is in English.  It's not made in England...  In small print on the back, all of the EU countries have a translation of "made in..." address.  Now I'm not so sure it is genuinely Norwegian, but it is definitely Scandinavian.  
Soft, and sturdy!
What a successful trip!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


My decision to spend 5 days on a 3 day trip to Norway evolved from... cake!  Chocolate cake at that.  A week before the wedding, I mentioned cake, and C hadn't thought about it.  She had intended to feed a few friends and family wine and nachos.  I said, "You have to eat cake! I'll buy it!"  She proceeded to send me a link to a local bakery with a chocolate cake to die for.  Click here and see if YOU could resist!
I immediately purchased my tickets. 
You put

  1. Your daughter getting married
  2. Your granddaughter learning to crawl
  3. Chocolate cake
together and... you have to buy tickets!
The end product?  We had to buy a second cake, because one wouldn't be enough...


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