Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cranking them out...

A sudden panic:  Nothing for Rowena... And I have to have something for Sunday.  That's the last day I will see her this year.  And in previous years she's received fingerless mitts, a hat, and a "spa" cloth.  We've been having a cold snap here, so:
Mittens!  Super bulky mittens.  One day, done!!  Dang, and I lusted after them, but they are wrapped and put where she'll see them.  I have enough for another pair, but I'll wait for my gloves to be finished.
Super Mittens pattern from Weekend Knitting.
Used Peruvia Quick by Berroco!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chilly out there!

Strange!  Sub-freezing temperatures, and I feel the need to knit--- yet another scarf!  For me, for my beautiful embroidered leather coat, with the less than adequate opening... It truly needs a scarf, then I discovered that I have just the right colors in this BIG yarn by Garnstudio (Drops). Now I know why Canadians get so much knitting done in the winter.  It feels right and good when the temperatures drop. 

I hope it's finished before we get milder temps. 
(Psst:  there's more of the green hidden under the browns. )
"Knitting is Cheaper than Therapy!"

Friday, December 6, 2013

Scarf: Pros and Cons

Pro:  Repetitive, easy to knit while talking/watching TV/in a meeting...
Con:  Repetitive, BORING, especially when you realize that it needs to get done by a deadline, and you're less than halfway through.

Pro:  Cuddly, you can wear it while you're knitting!
Con:  Will it ever be long enough?

Pro:  Cute!  I love the pattern!
Con:  I get tired of the same ol' pattern...

It's this interesting?  It is knit on the diagonal, yet when you lay it out (for blocking) it makes a nice honeycomb/waffle square pattern.  ahem....and easy to spot a mistake in the middle, while blocking...

Pattern:  19th-Century Honeycomb Stitch Scarf by Diana Foster, from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders
Yarn:  Footprints by Blue Ridge Yarns, Fingering/4 ply, 100% merino, 400 yds.
 (I bought this thinking it was going to be socks, then I realized with no nylon, it wouldn't be MY socks!  It comes in two parts:  One is what you see above, and the other is 30g of a dark green, almost solid, meant to be toes and heels.  I, unquestionably, thought it would be something strong like nylon.  Not.)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Got Gauge?

The Story of Two Mittens:
  1. One mitten (on the left above), knitted, so cool! With thumb, fit perfectly... very proud.  Needed a second, but...
  2. The second was knit within days of the first, yet it was bigger/wider.  Too wide. 
  3. Put together, they weren't a pair, nor did I like the way the black showed through between the white stitches.  (See below)
  4.  All decorated with duplicate stitch pink, they are sweet, but you'd have to have (really) big hands, especially the left hand...Now the left one above is the right one below.
  5. There was teeth-gnashing, and an hour later I had (un)raveled the bigger one, on the left below.
  6. I wanted to make sure the third mitten wasn't too big, so I decreased my needle size (2.5mm to 2.0mm) AND I was firmer with my yarn tension.  
  7. Third one is on the right in the above picture.  But what about that wide cuff, you say?  Got me... I didn't (un)ravel the cuff from the white stripe. (Boring!!!  Who sees the cuff anyway?)
  8. What I didn't expect was the length to be so diminished, so I'm 3/4 done.  Fourth Mitten is in my mind.  Dang!! I hope I can get two alike...

Friday, November 29, 2013

How does this look?

Modeling sweaters, and bottoms... Oh, how I hate looking in the mirror.  And how awful it is to spend months on a hand-knitted item and then find it isn't what you would wear!
I saw this video, and I really like the idea behind it.  Of course, there's only one model, and if she doesn't look like you, it's useless, but if you aren't the "model-type," maybe you'll find this useful.  I did!  It really made me want to knit up the favorite sweater.
See this Berroco Link.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Time for secrets, and gifts to be made. It's hard to share without giving too much information, but besides:
This, for a little girl.
Using up stashed yarn, and getting dangerously short on white yarn, so the thumb is very colorful.
Pies!  From a pumpkin!  Never did this before.  Six pies total.

In two shifts/days:
A Sock;  someday there will be two... Again: ran out of yarn for the very end of the toe.  This is a great selling point for knitting socks "toe-up".  I'll have to decide whether it's worth it to undo the leg and remove a bit.  
Something for Norway in January!  Stunning!  Pattern is Kilm Gloves from Interweave Knits, Winter 2007.  (Again, awaiting a mate.)
And a LOOONNNGGG term project:  A cardigan for myself.  No rush to finish.  I enjoy the mosaic color method.  The sleeves have a different design than the body.  A true knitter's dream project.
Happy Early Winter!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ginger ale

And a sunset! I'm relaxed!

From a few weeks ago... flying east.  Had a great few days with friends.  That's the moon out there... a surprising scene.  One of those flights that you have to close the shade for, and an hour later you open it to see this!  It's the ONLY great thing about flying, well, except for condensing a trip that would take 3 days.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A newborn baby

Robert, born in Denmark a few days ago, is the nephew of my daughter!  Hmmm.  Never thought of that... her "other" family.  I found this Norwegian pattern at Jorid's webstore.  Really great patterns.  I haven't tried any of them in English, but the Norwegian patterns are basic, and best for intermediate knitters.  She specializes in animals and colors... I love her designs.
They are large for a newborn, but hopefully they can be tied on this winter, and used again next year.
What does the cow say?  Mø

P.S. Jorid's blog is on the right, called Muffins Verden (Muffin's World)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Mystery Knitter

Remember my story from a week ago?  HERE  The person I taught to take the first steps of knitting...she impressed some others, too, though she hasn't had a minute to sit and relax.  She's moving this week, and all that that entails... sales, discarding, sorting... all she needs is a new hobby!!!
The first rows look like this... really?  That's better than beginner's luck!
 And she just has to develop her own style...
Good luck, VA!  I think you have a new career starting.

Here are a few tips that I think made learning a success:

  1. The yarn is sticky.  It doesn't want to come apart.  That makes it difficult to drop stitches and have them disappear.
  2. The needles are wood.  The metal ones, again, are slippery.  The first stitches come off the needle but not as easily as the metal ones.
  3. The cast-on:  I started her with "knitted cast-on" which is almost exactly like knitting, so by the time she had some stitches, I only had one thing to add: leave the stitch on the right needle.
  4. No purl stitches in the first swatch.  I hesitated to show her "yo, k2tog" but ... that's pretty easy.
I'm pretty proud of her and myself!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ponchos - Who's for and who's against?

Am I a child of the 70's?  Yes, and no.  I date back farther...  really a child of the 60's, or 50's.  That makes me want to revolt when I see styles from those decades.  (Remember, Pattie?  In early 2000's I said I would NEVER wear "clam diggers"... and I've eaten those words.)
What about ponchos?  I've knitted several, and I love the ease of throwing them over my head... around the house.  Somehow, they've made it back into my heart!
Imagine my surprise when I decided to adapt a shawl pattern into a poncho!  It's not like there are too few poncho patterns, but I REALLLLLY loved this shawl pattern, and I REALLLLLLY don't need another shawl...  so here's my result:
Pattern:  Suki by Miriam Pike from Sherwood Knits
Yarn:  Casbah Sock by Handmaiden Fine Yarn
Fingering / 4 ply, 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon,355 yards / 115 grams

I gave high ratings on Ravelry for both the pattern and yarn.  This is going to be my Best Friend for...awhile!
P.S.: I bought the pattern alone through Ravelry.
P.P.S.:  How many shawls do I have?  I'm not even going there...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A new Knitter!

I taught a friend to knit last Friday night.  It was late.  We were watching a movie at the same time.  This friend has insisted (for the four years I've known her) that she's not the crafty type, never has been, never will be... forget it.  She sat next to me and knitted... cast on and knitted row after row.  After awhile (and after several inspections on my part where I admired her perfect--no joke, incredibly straight even non-dropped stitches--work) she leans to me and asks why my knitting has holes in it.
I explained that I was making those holes, and then I showed her yo, k2tog.  She got it.  Did a row, and then went merrily on her way.
What makes this blog-worthy?  If you are a knitter, you know already, but if you haven't given it a try, and/or you have tried to pass on your craft to another person over the age of 20 or 60, I'll explain.  Learning to knit includes:

  1. Teeth-gnashing as  "It doesn't look right".
  2. Teeth-gnashing as "holes develop and stitches are increased and decreased without meaning to"
  3. No one knits with the TV on, and watches a movie at the same time or
  4. No one carries on a conversation while "learning to knit"
  5. The first piece of knitting is always thrown to the floor in disgust.
  6. You never ask to do more.
I don't know what alternate universe or something.

The next day, I chuckled and asked her if she had knitted any today (because surely she slept, and how can a beginner...???) and she answered no.
An hour later we were packing to leave and she announced she would knit a little to see if she could still do it, and... SHE'S HOOKED!
No help from me... she picked up where she left off, and on the car ride home she asked about binding off.  Well, she didn't know the term for it, but she wondered how you get a finished edge.  I was driving, so I explained as best I could, and she (taking the cue from one intrepid knitter to another) started binding off....  OK... I had to pull over a couple of times, but she got it!
I can't wait to see...take a photo for you.
It was the first time I witnessed someone starting with very little pain, and producing stitches where we didn't even count the number of stitches because it was so straight (garter stitch) I knew there was no need to confirm she had done it correctly!
I hope I get a picture before she rips it out...  Curious about who I'm talking about?

Above project is 19th-Century Honeycomb Stitch Scarf by Diana Foster

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Knitting Marathon

Almost, I say, almost enough to make me want to run!
From the Kansas City Star:  During Saturday's Kansas City Marathon, the graphic design professor from the University of Central Missouri broke the Guinness world record for longest scarf knitted while running a marathon.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nicer than a Rabbit!

How nice is it to make something that someone LOVES!  And looks so... see for yourself.  What do you think?
Upstate New York ready!!
Previous post:  Little Rabbit with Hat

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Warm enough?

Smile?  No, just a self-portrait.  The cowl is finished, and it's toasty-thick and perfect to wear with my sweater.
This is the pattern that goes with the cuffs that I finished a week ago.  The cuffs have come in on Sunday when the furnace/heating expired at church.  The 55ºF sanctuary wasn't very kind to my cold fingers, nor was it to the organ pipes and piano.  Our first hymn was sung in two keys:  The piano in one, and the organ a half step lower.  It was painful for some of us...  I put on my cuffs.  And no one complained about wearing choir robes!
Yarn:  Pastaza by Cascade Yarns
Aran/10 ply, 50% Llama, 50% Wool, 132 yds/100 grams


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Little rabbit

The little rabbit felt a I popped this on his head.  He likes it!  He doesn't quite fill it out like a little baby girl, so it's now in the mail and heading to "upstate" New York.  A 6-month old little girl, Fiona, will be sporting it this winter. (I made it in the 18 month size, just in case.)
Yarn:  Rauma Babyull (washable)
Pattern: DROPS from Baby DROPS catalog 18, #21.  It's my go-to pattern for little heads.
P.S. Did you know that DROPS patterns are free?  See

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Little Quilt

Made with inspiration from Pinterest, using my daughter's ideas and my sewing skills, until (and this always happens during these joint projects) she suddenly realizes I'm either not dedicating enough time to this project, or I'm going too slow.  Or both.  Then she takes over, and I'm ironing and she's sewing.  Gotta love working side by side with my daughter on HER projects!
In a finishing frenzy this weekend... It needed the binding.   That means:
a) Find a color for the binding.  The other side is crazy hot pink and purple with Alice in Wonderland in light blue, with golden hair.  !!!!!!!
b) Find enough of that color (in my stash) to make a biased tape.
c) Confidently sew and cut to make the biased tape.  First measure out strips, re-measure, and re-measure, and then make it wider than I thought.  Binding can't be too big... it always seems too narrow. I like it to be doubled so the edges are durable.
d) Sew it on to the quilt, and hope for the best at the corners.
I do this every decade or so, so I'm always not-so-confident by the time I finish up, and give a sigh of relief when I don't have to seam-rip the whole thing.
It turned out well.
Why the frenzy?  My daughter writes to me:  Don't send the quilt until you've received a package I'm sending to you...  Ummm. Quilt? I think to myself... Oh, THAT quilt, the one folded on the sewing machine for the past 3 weeks.  I guess she would like it BEFORE Christmas.
Biased tape for binding? My grandma taught me to make my own.  Now I can't bear to buy it.  It's the right color, often made of leftover material.  I'm sure there's a youtube video with instructions these days.  I probably should have looked--it PROBABLY would have saved me some time.  Next decade...  
Finished: 57" x 43"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nice cuffs!

There was teeth-gnashing over the workshop/class we took in Taos. It seemed to be the only interesting knitting workshop offered so we had ALL levels of knitters. I hoped to get a few tips even though I've done twisted stitches and cabled (without cable needles) traveling stitches before. Here's the first results.
I learned several ways to cable without a needle, and I chose one way for each (right and left leaning) direction.  I hummed right through these.
And now I want to make a cowl;  a cowl that will go with a specific sweater/jacket.  It makes my hands ache to twist those stitches over each other... It's not easy with bulkier yarn.
The above cuffs and cowl pattern:
Carex Cowl by Stephannie Tallent from Sunset Cat Designs
The yarn:  I wish I knew!  I bought it on the fly from Moxie in Taos, NM, and somehow the yarn band disappeared, along with my reader glasses.  That's what happens in motel rooms!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bigger IS better

I'm talking socks... What did you think?  And this holds true for most garments for children, right?  Too small, so sad. Too big, wait a few weeks!
I started these socks too many times to count; I didn't use a pattern; I only had a vision.  That vision was based on one day in June when Juju attempted to put on her hand knit socks, and they were too tight in the leg, and she gave up in about 3 seconds.  That's the attention span of a 3 or 4 year old. 
My results are roomy socks for a cold wet winter climate. Hopefully she'll be able to get them on in 2 seconds (each).
Finished October 6, 2013. 
Yarn:  Sportsragg by Viking of Norway
Sport / 5 ply
60% Wool, 20% Acrylic, 20% Nylon
109 yards / 50 grams

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Out of Town in New Mexico

No excuses... I've been too busy to think of sharing anything.  First there was a month of daughter and granddaughter, then just enough time to fit in some gigs, and I was off to Taos with friends from NY and PA.  Whew...  I must say that my bed felt great as I sank in, and... napping every day... lovely.  I felt like I had been many time zones away.
Ah!  Taos.  The drive there was amazing, the weather perfect! and the wool amazing.
Rio Grande Gorge
A trip to the nearby pueblo... and I assure you, the sky was BLUUUUe!
Taos Pueblo
The shops were open... we bought... Fiesta Ware!  (Not here, but at Monet's Kitchen.)

And the wools? We succumbed to Colorado Yak!
And finished up with a walk in the Santa Fe Plaza.
That was just last weekend.  I'll catch you up on projects---later!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ants and quilting

The ants are marching one by one... Hurrah!!  Taken a week ago, and now...not so many are marching.
And the machine quilting came back in record time!
I guess I didn't take a picture of the finished product.  It got a little hectic on the last days of our daughter's visit.  I tried to finish up projects, and managed to accomplish the binding off of that quilt, so it's in Norway, soon to be delivered to Denmark for C's sister-in-law's baby.  (GAH!  My daughter is going to be an AUNT!)
Meanwhile, the day she left, her second quilt was finished (at the shop for machine quilting), and suddenly it doesn't seem so crucial that I bind it immediately.
So I took pictures instead!  It looks like a dual-purpose quilt.  This side is suitable for company... Design: Thank you, Pinterest.
 And the machine quilting is amazing!
 The other side will be the popular side in a little girl's room, and probably won't be seen by company.
I just have to decide on the binding... Blue?  White?  Purple?  It will be awhile, because I see many other things I could be doing...

Friday, September 27, 2013

What happened to September?

Somehow, September became the shortest month of the year!  It takes a four-year-old to do that.  Her 12 hour days are cyclonic!
Much time was spent in the hot tub.  Grandpa helped her learn to use a snorkel, mask, and flippers.  I've never heard such silence!  She spent a lot of time UNDER water!!!
The sewing machine got lots of use, too.  Two crib/lap quilts were assembled.

A pullover that I knitted in 2007 returned for an updated collar.  It was "thought about" more than worked on, so it's still here needing to be tacked down.  I hope that the finished look will be this.  (It was a regular rounded neckline, with striped garter stitch.)  Ravelry link
It's a Loop-d-loop pattern.  A tricky fair isle with short rows.
I often become a "bag lady"... Used a pattern (from a previous post) to make a larger version as a satchel.  Dang... didn't take a picture of that either!  Maybe the owner will send me one!
And then there was the knitting that I carried around.  Didn't get much done...
Socks for the four-year-old, which if I don't get them in the mail soon, they won't fit.
Yes, photo is complete with cat tail...
And my Mystic Mosaic Jacket.  Ooooo... I love the colors which don't seem to reproduce well in photography.
I managed to finish both sleeves, and started the body, but yesterday I (again) thought that there seemed to be A LOT OF STITCHES.  Well, of course, there are a lot of stitches in the body of an adult knitted jacket... so yesterday, as I finished off row 10 of the chart I thought I ought to check gauge AGAIN!  The sleeves are fine... but the pattern is different on the body, (mosaic patterns), so I pulled some inches off of the needles and measured.  My calculations showed that with the number of stitches I had (which should give me a 46" diameter body, I confess---LARGE) I probably had close to 60" to wrap around me!!  I took it completely off the needles:
 It was almost 60"!  Below I'm holding it out to show my friends... "Do you think it will fit?"
I spent the rest of the evening frogging and casting on.  Crazy lady... but better than discovering it later.
To my Shelridge Farms friend: I'm going to try casting on using the size SMALL, with lengths adapted for me.  WHEW!  Disaster averted, ....again and again and again and again.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Butterfly - Chrysalis at two weeks...and counting!

No change, so we continue to wait and hope.  The chrysalis stage began two weeks ago, and I'm hoping Ichabod hasn't decided to die over-winter here!  There are plenty of 80ºF days ahead.
The previous butterfly was SO lovely.  It emerged from the chrysalis in 10 days, and I had it briefly on my hand before take off.
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Yes, congratulations to Sacajawea, who crawled out this morning while we were gathered around the breakfast table.  It was very surprising even though we had anticipated it.  First of all, she has been inside the chrysalis for 9 days, and since the target time was 1-2 weeks, we were watchful for the past few days.  BUT!!!  This morning I noticed the chrysalis had turned dark, and didn't look green like before so I thought this might be close.  Still, I saw no movement until I glanced over 10 minutes later, and there she was, hanging on the stick.
We moved outside and in the sunshine, she stretched.  I thought that she would crawl into an upright position, and that would be the time to put her on my hand (or on Juju's hand) but she didn't ever move up on the top of the stick.  About an hour and a half later, I took a short stick, and she readily crawled onto it and onto my hand.  I had only less than a minute to move to the grass where I thought we could transfer to Juju's hand, but instead, Sacajawea fluttered off, across the yard and through a wire fence.  First flight, and she handled it perfectly!  Gone...
We have one more, Ichabod, who will probably leave us tomorrow or Monday.  We HOPE to get a little more contact with him.  It's all in the timing!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Day's Work!

The ANTS arrived!  In a tiny vial, in a big envelope, hurrying, and nasty looking... A quick trip to the refrigerator, and they slower down to less than a crawl, and were dumped into their new home.

It's some sort of space-age gel... and they went right to work!
Meanwhile, we went to work on a baby blanket.  It's for C's sister-in-law's baby due in October.  The idea of a blanket is always nice, but this one contains lace from a dress that C wore to sister-in-law's wedding!  More frogs, please!!
The back will be minkie material, and Oh-so-soft.  It will be machine quilted by Patchwork Pig! A quick project for little Robert half-Norsk-half-Dansk.


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