Saturday, March 26, 2011


So, I am almost back in the habit of blogging regularly. It is at least back on my mind on a regular basis. I think I will get there.

I actually have much to talk about, but haven't been taking photos. When I tried to do it this afternoon my camera died. I only managed to get a few photos. So, I'll share everything else another time.

I finished the top down sweater a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love it, though it did turn out a bit larger than I expected it to. The unspun Icelandic was wonderful to work with, and I will definitely use it again. This sweater is thick, and warm!

I will also definitely be using Barbara Walker's top down method for sweaters again. Being able to try the sweater on as you are making it really helps, and it was so much easier than I expected it to be.

I have put the blue ski sweater on hold for a bit. I didn't like the way the sleeves were coming out. So, I decided to stuff the whole thing in the closet, and take it out in a few weeks when I can have a fresh perspective.

I hadn't been crocheting lately, and one evening two weeks ago I was really longing to have a hook in my hand. So, I dug out a basket of scraps & odd balls, and a big bag of natural Irish wool my brother had picked up for me at a yard sale, and got to work on a scrap afghan.

There are 36 nine inch squares here. I intend to have a total of 48, to make the center of the blanket 54" x 72". I'll then add a striped border that (if I have enough yarn) will bring the dimensions to 66" x84".

I hope to be posting about the other things I have going on in the next week. If I can only remember to buy batteries...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Think It Might Just Work

I think I may just be able to get back in the habit of blogging regularly. I had intended to post last week, but the flu got in the way. I am back this week, though.

Last week's post was going to be about projects I had completed in my long absence, but after two weeks I have so many other things to post about I will play catch up another time.

While I was sick I spent several days confined to my room. Most of that time was sleeping, but there were several stretches of several hours in which I couldn't sleep at all. During that time my joints hurt too much to knit, and my head and eyes hurt too much to read. I almost went completely crazy until I realized I could actually tolerate spinning with out an excess of discomfort. It had been quite some time since I had sat down at my wheel, and I really loved it! First I spun a bobbin very fine brown cashmere. Then I spun a bobbin of fine-ish, but slubby white yak. Then I dug out a bobbin of finely spun camel down from ages ago. I plied them all together into this beautiful worsted weight yarn. I have about 200 yards, with lots of camel and cashmere left over. I used all of the yak, but I am thinking of ordering more so I can spin up another couple hundred yards of this amazing stuff. I'm picturing a sweater made with half comercially spun, smooth yarn, and half with this.

After my last post I got several comments about how I knit a sweater on the fly with no planning/swatching/measuring. Well, this current WIP is the complete opposite.
Made with Classic Elite Skyy Tweed that I got on close out forever ago, this will eventuallly be a Scandinavian Ski Sweater. This is the entire body. When the sleeves are done sleev openings will be steeked out of the colour work portion, and the top with be joined at each side for the shoulders with live stitches left in the center to work a collar.

This project definitely required a great deal of planning. I am using Elizabeth Zimmerman's instructions for the sweater proportions/construction, and all of the patterns are from Luise Robert's 1000 Great Knitting Motifs.

The electronically sharpend, and back-lit image actually shows the colour-work in a bit more detail than the naked eye. Because the light blue has flecks of dark blue, and the dark blue has flecks of the light, the patterning is actually more subtle in reality. I really like it. You have to give it a good look to really make out what's there.

This will be my first time steeking a major project like this. Everyone seems to think I should be nervous, but I'm really kind of excited to do it. I'm sure I will be blogging more about it when the time comes.
After all the intense planning, and colour work of the ski sweater I really needed another casual, intuitive project. Actually, I had expected to do much more planning and swatching for this piece, but it just wanted to work itself into a sweater naturally.
I had bought some unspun icelandic, because I've just been dying to try it. This past weekend I was dragged to an evening of Bingo, and decided I needed some knitting on hand to keep me from going nuts. Since the ski sweater was not at a point that I knit with out giving it total attention I grabbed some of the icelandic, with the idea of doing some swatching.
I cast on 60 sitches, and worked 1X1 ribbing for two inches, then switches to stockinette. After a couple of rounds I realized I already had a perfect collar.
I had been wanting to try a pattern from Barbara G Walker's Knitting From The Top, and the perfect moment was born!
When I bought the wool I was thinking of another icelandic yoked sweater, but I quickly realized I liked the weight and thickness of the fabric just as it was, and didn't care to incorporate any stranding. So, I decided on this fading stripe pattern to give this sweater a little visual interest. In the photo the yoke is complete, and I have knitted down the body just a couple of inches.
I am having so much fun with knitting this sweater top down. The method really lends itself to knitting with out much planning. Once I knit the neck, I checked my gauge, and figured out how many stitches I would need to increase over the progression of the yoke. Once all of the yoke stitches were on my needles I tried it on to see how much longer I wanted it before splitting off the body, and arms.
Once I made the split I tried it on, decided I wanted more room in the under arm, ribbeb back a few rows to the full yoke, and knit again until I was satisfied. It will be great when I get to the waist and sleeves to be able to try it on, and be able to really see when it's the perfect length.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm Still Here!

I can't believe I only managed to get in two posts for all of 2010, and now it's two months into 2011, and I'm just getting to my first post.

I really do want to keep my blog alive, and have lots to post about. So, here I am, attempting to get back into the swing of things (again).

This is the most recently completed sweater that I have made for myself. I finished it about two weeks ago, but it was started way back in October. It was a completely unplanned project, that I think evolved very nicely.

Back in October my friend Maureen had asked me to attend an equestrian show with her. I agreed to go, but honestly did not have much interest. On the way to her house I realized I had forgotten my knitting, and didn't feel like I could sit through the show with out something to keep me occupied. So, I told her we had to leave a bit early to stop at the yarn shop.

The Hub Mills Store is only a few minutes away from her. So, we went there, and I found several mill-end cones of Classic Elite Montera. This is an aran weight 50% wool/ 50% llama single ply yarn. The label suggested a size 9 needle. So, I picked one up, and just cast on. No gauge swatch, not even any measurements for the sweater. (I lost 30 Lbs in 2010, and didn't know my new measurements.)

By the end of the horse show I had about 12" of the body done. Then it was time to decide what I was actually going to do with the tube I had been knitting. I had always wanted to incorporate some of Barbara G. Walker's Mosaic knitting patterns into a sweater, and decided with the two colours I had that this was the time.

If you are not familiar with Mosaic Knitting you should definitely check your local Library for the book. It's two colour knitting, but only one colour is used at a time. The pattern is created entirely by slipped stitches.

Shortly after I started the mosaic patterning in the sweater body I had to put this project to the side. It hibernated for a while, until I finally decided to get it finished a few weeks ago. Since most of my sweaters are made seamlessly, with the EPS, I still hadn't decided on the shoulder style.

I decided to use the Shirt Yoke Sweater. I really love the way it turned out. The back of the shoulders is really neat & clean looking. Much better than the normal back saddle for this style sweater.

Shockingly, with out a gauge swatch, or even knowing my size, this sweater ended up fitting beautifully as a second layer, and it is so warm I can wear it out in 10 degree weather with out a coat.

The next project I'm going to share today is a sweater I made for my sister. She had asked me for a warm sweater to wear in the spring. She wanted something to wear when it was too warm for her winter coat, but too cool for indoor clothing. I had decided to make it as a birthday present, and cast on only hours after finishing the mosaic sweater.

As usual, I cast on the body tube for a seamless sweater without a complete idea where I would go with it. This time I did have measurements, and gauge. When I was about 2 inches into knitting this sweater I received a call, "We had to change the family birthday party to this Saturday." It was Sunday. I had 1 week to complete the sweater!

Luckily I wasn't married to a specific design at that point. I had thoughts of a fancy Fair Isle yoke that were immediately chucked. Instead I decided to try a pattern I had been wanting to make for quite some time, Meg Swanson's Box the Compass.

Luckily, my sister is rather small, and the Cascade Ecological Wool I was using knits up quickly. The sweater was done on Friday. 6 days for an entire sweater is a record for me! I was thrilled to have done it, but I hope to never have to do it again.

The sweater fit perfectly, and was very happily received.

I'm now about 10 days into my newest sweater project. No pictures yet, but I hope to share a few more of my recent projects before I finish it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quick Update

So, I have not gotten back into blogging as regularly as I had hoped, but I do have a couple FOs to share:

This is a tote bag I made for an exchange in the Peaches &Creme group on ravelry. My partner was skullsnbats, and said those were two of her favorite things.

I used my Meredith Tote pattern, and America's Best Cabled Cotton (which is my favorite for totes and market bags). I added some skull beads to the top of the bag to personalize it a bit more to my swap partner's taste.

The tote pattern is currently unavailable, but should be in print again soon.

This is a gift a made for a friend's little sister. She is a huge Harry Potter fan, and I thought a magic wand might be fun for her, and was very easy to make out of a birch knitting needle. The wand case was knit free styke out of Patton's Silk Bamboo. I added small hematite stars to the trim, and pewter dragon buttons to the draw string to add to its magical appearance.
A roll of rice paper made a perfect scroll to roll around the wand inside it's case. I've never actually met the recipient, but am told she was quite excited about this.
I have a new project OTN, started on a road trip to Chicago last week, but I haven't taken a photo yet. I'n not sure how well it is turning out. I brought yarn, and needles, but didn't think to bring any patterns with me. The yarn was purchased for a pair of mittens for my niece, so I just started free-styling some mittens. Free styling colourwork with out any pens/paper to take notes is not the easiest thing. So far I am happy with the look of the first mitten (didn't gat far) but I am a little concerned it will be too small. I think I will put them on hold until I can have her try on what I have done.

I had a fun surprise yesterday. While in Borders with my brother, I found this magazine. I have a pattern in it, and didn't know when it would be hitting the shelves.
My afghan (I think it's on page 58) is an expanded version of my Iris Baby Blanket (scroll down), the pattern for which had not been published previously. This version has larger motifs, and directions for two sizes. I also worked it in a more subtle colour sceme. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the nice magazine photo, yet. I do have a picture of the blanket just as it was finished:

Friday, July 2, 2010

WOW! It's Been How Long?

So, for the longest time I have been telling myself, "you have to get back to blogging." Somehow it seems that all of my time is taken up these days. Lately, however, I have received several requests to get back to my blog, and as luck would have it, I found myself with some free time today!

It has been so long that I am going to only highlight a few things in this post. Even though I have had significantly less time for my projects there has still been too much done to cover it all at once. So, here is a small sampling of what I have been up to in 2010:

Here is my very first FO of the year. I just love it, and use it all the time!

It's the Felted Mammouth Tea Cozy by Laura Jefferson. The pattern is from Shannon Okey's book Spin to Knit. The pattern calls for a bulky weight hand spun, but I actually used Cascade Eco Wool, double stranded. The tusks are made of polymer clay. It was a fun quick project, and really keeps my tea hot a lot longer than a pot alone.

This is a more recent FO. A simple crocheted ripple blanket made with Classic Elite Bubbles. I was making this for a co-worker that had not found out the sex of her baby before birth. I picked the blue, yellow, and green knowing that there were flecks of pink through out the yarn. When I found out the baby was a girl I added a pink border with Fun Fur to pull out the pinks. It doesn't show so well in the photo, but does in person.

One of the most exciting things I have to share is that, since I have last written here, I have had my first pattern published in a magazine. It was in the June issue of Crochet World (sorry I'm so late). The pattern is Nautical Dishcloths, a trio of dishcloths based on nautical flags.

This is the photo from the magazine.

I hadn't really thought about submitting a pattern to a magazine at this point, but the people at Pisgah Yarns asked if I would, and I thought "Why not?" I was very pleased with the whole experience. The editor, Michele Maks was a joy to deal with, and it really was great fun to see my own work in the pages of a national publication.

Can't say too much, but I will have more patterns published soon.

I hope to get around to posting about more of my projects soon. Thank you so much to those of you who wrote and said that you missed my blog, and sorry to those of you who's blogs I haven't been keeping up with. Hopefully I will get the time management thing under control soon, and be back to normal in blogland!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some FOs, and a bit of progress

I feel like I have barely posted this month. That's mainly due to much of my knitting/crocheting time has been spend working on gifts. Some of the pieces have now been gifted. So, I can share.

The largest project I have been working on has been this comfort afghan for Aly. This is another group project from the Peaches & Creme group on ravelry. Aly has been suffering horribly from the effects of Lyme Disease. This summer I called to the group to make squares for her. This time around I received so many squares I couldn't even fit them all in.
Once I had all the squares I edged each one with Aly's favorite colour, and sewed them all together. Aly received her blanket yesterday, and had been feeling very yucky. She said it was the best possible day to receive such a gift.
In order to disguise the blanket a bit I managed to make sure I was sending to Aly for the group's holiday exchange. So, for her exchange gifts I made this crocheted snowflake (free pattern) out of Dazzling Diamonds. The sparkle of the thread doesn't show up well in the photo, but I really think it is the perfect thing for these ornaments.
I also made a pair of potholders. Just a simple shape in single crochet. I made one side in variegated purples, and the other in a fun multi-colour. Not exactly holiday themed, but I like them much better than the ones I started in Christmas colours, and I think Aly would, too.

My hand spun sweater has not gotten the attention I would like but it is still coming along. I decided shortly after the last time I posted about it to go with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Nalgar construction. It's a very interesting way to shape a seamless sweater. It's a reverse raglan. The body tube is knit up to armpit length, then instead of joining sleeves and decreasing, you start rapidly increasing until you can fold up the top and work the sleeves outward from there. The remaining top stitches are later kitchenered together for the shoulders.
I don't think I've explained this very well, but the instructions are in Knitting Workshop. If you don't have the book it's loaded with great stuff, and well worth checking out.
In the photo my sweater is at the point where I am ready to start the sleeves. In reality I have one sleeve nearly complete. I hope to get back to work on this week.
I hope everyone in the U.S. has a wonderful Thanksgiving, and for the rest of you, simply a great week!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Prayers For Maile Square

Some of you may have already heard that my friend Maile Mauch has recently suffered a stroke. Maile is well known in the online knitting community as she runs the yahoo groups Cloth of the Week, and Monthly Threads, as well as her free pattern site K1P1 Keeping you in Stitches, and the Peaches & Creme group on Ravelry. She also publishes Clothsline Ezine, and does knitting design for Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc.

A few days ago Norma contacted me. She is organzing and assembling a comfort afghan made up of squares from the members of Maile's various groups. She had decided to request that the squares all be made with one of Maile's dishcloth patterns. However, she was concerned that this would exclude those who only crochet. So, I have designed a square especially for Maile, and those crocheters that wish to make a square for her blanket.
I'm publishing the pattern here, as it is the easiest place for me to make it available to those who need it. However, if you have a comfort, or prayer blanket working for another person, or for charity, please feel free to use this pattern.
Prayers for Maile Square


1 ball Peaches & Creme in Main Colour (I used #89 camel)

1oz (probably even less) Peaches & Creme in Contrast Colour (I used #97 burgundy)

US I-9, 4.5mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Yarn needle to weave in ends.


3.25 sc = 1 inch (this square should be worked loosely with whatever yarn is being used to avoid too much curling and puckering)

Finished Size should be 7" square or a bit larger for Maile's afghan.

Stitches/abbreviations used:

CC- contrast colour

ch- chain

FPDC- Front post double crochet- wrap yarn around hook, bring hook to front of work, insert behind the post of the stitch to be worked into, from right to left, work double crochet.

MC- main colour

sc- single crochet

slst- slip stitch

sp- space

st- stitch

yo- yarn over

Special Instructions: when two colours are being used in the same round MC should be dropped to the back of work when not in use, and picked up when needed again. CC should be carried inside the MC stitches for the entire round, and dropped to the back when the round is complete. The loose strand of MC yarn left when it it carried across the back of the CC stitches can be hidden by working the stitches in the following round over it.


With CC, ch-4, slst to first ch to form a ring

rnd 1) ch1, 8sc into ring, slst to first stitch to join

rnd 2) ch1, 2sc in each sc around. slst to first stitch to join(16 sc)

rnd 3) ch1, sc in first 4 sc, ch2, [sc in next 4 sc, ch2] 3 times. switching to MC, slst to first stitch to join. (16 sc, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 4) ch1, **sc in each sc, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** around. Switching back to CC, slst to first stitch to join. (24 sc, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 5) ch1, **[FPDC into sc 2 rounds below, leaving the stitch from round 4 unworked] 4x- switching to MC in last yo of 4th st, sc in next 2sc, (sc, ch2, sc) in ch-2 sp, sc in next sc, switching back to CC in last yo ** 3x, then repeat once more with out switching back to CC. slst to first stitch to join. (16 sc, 16 FPDC, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 6) ch1, **sc in each st, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** around. Switching back to CC, slst to first stitch to join. (40 sc, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 7) ch1, **[FPDC into FPDC 2 rounds below, leaving the stitch from round 6 unworked] 4x- switching to MC in last yo of 4th st, sc in next 3sc, (sc, ch2, sc) in ch-2 sp, sc in next 3sc, switching back to CC in last yo of last sc ** 3x, then repeat once more with out switching back to CC. slst to first stitch to join. ( 32 sc, 16 FPDC, 4 ch2 sp).

rnd 8) ch1, **sc in each st, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** around. Switching back to CC, slst to first stitch to join. (56 sc, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 9) ch1, [FPDC into FPDC 2 rounds below, leaving the stitch from round 8 unworked] 4x- switching to MC in last yo of 4th st, sc in next 5 sc, [sc, ch2, sc] in ch2 sp, sc in next 4 sc, switching to CC in last yo of 4th sc, **2FPDC in next FPDC, FPDC in next 2 FPDC, 2 FPDC in next FPDC, switching to MC in last yo of last FPDC, (there should be 6 sc from round 8 left unworked), sc in next 4 sc, [sc, ch2, sc] in ch2 sp, sc in next 4 sc, switching to CC in last yo of 4th sc** 2 times, then repeat once more with out switching back to CC at end. slst to first stitch to join. (42 sc, 22 FPDC, 4 ch2 sp)

rnd 10) ch1, **sc in each st, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** to last two sc. in last yo of next sc switch back to CC, DO NOT slst. (71 sc, 4 ch2 sp).

rnd 11) 2FPDC in next FPDC, FPDC in next 2 FPDC, 2 FPDC in next FPDC, switching to MC in last yo of last FPDC, (there should be 6 sc from round 10 left unworked). drop CC to back of work, **sc in each st, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** around. slst to first stitch to join. ( 74 sc, 6 FPDC, 4 ch2 sp)

round 12) ch1, **sc in each st, [sc, ch2, sc] in each ch2 sp** around. slst to first stitch to join.

(88 sc, 4 ch2 sp)

secure yarn. weave in all ends.