Thursday, December 28, 2006

'Tween 2K6 and 2K7

Hi there! Check out my cool felted Dansko clogs from Carson!

I finished my mom's sweater--here are close ups of the frog closure.

And the completed closure--

I will bring the completed sweater for show and tell on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Tis the Season!

I can't believe it, 2006 is almost over. This is a time when we all reflect on the past year, our triumphs, our sorrows, our life. It is time to take an inventory of our lives, to look at where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to go.

Knitting marks our passage through time. Every item we knit reflects who we are. It is tangible evidence of who we were, where we were, and what we were doing at that particular point in life. I look at my oldest knitted artifact--a pair of mittens knitted for my dad. They are made of ragg wool, grey and black, with a cable running down the top. I knitted at least 3 mittens before I finally got one that was small enough to fit. I thought I had to follow the directions exactly as written, including needle size. I didn't know that it was OK to take a detour from the written instructions. I knew what the finished product was supposed to look like, but the path that was laid out in the instructions didn't take me there. I had to forge ahead with my own ideas. After a couple of attempts, I found out that it was OK to think independently from the pattern, to meld your own ideas with those of the designer. So it goes with life. The route we plan to take frequently takes a detour, yet our ultimate destination stays the same.

As Brenda Dayne says in her "Knitter's Manifesto", knitting becomes a living record of who we were when we began, how we changed along the way, and a record of who we are at completion.

Bertha and I were talking about things we have knitted over the past year. I wrote down her completed projects, but I left the notes at home. This is Christmas Eve and I am at my mom's in Roll. Best as I can remember, she knitted at least 4 prayer shawls by herself, and joined in to knit at least 3 others. She knitted at least 2 drop stitch shawls, no--make that 4. She has two, and she knitted 2 for her mother in law, both in different shades of yellow. Add to that scarves that are too numerous to mention and 4 or 5 scarchos for nieces and Sarah. When you stop to think about everything you have knitted over the past year, you will be amazed.

Linda knitted these fingerless glove/handwarmers in a flash.
She knitted them in chenille, on a large-ish needle (11?), around 20 stitches, knitted a rectangle, then bound off, seaming them, leaving a hole for the thumb. Quick and comfy.

A couple of new things I read about--Denise needles have a breast cancer set that costs $55, comes in a pink case with pink cables. The $5 goes to research. Also, they now have size 17 and 19 needles. I hope Santa took the hint I left for these.

And last but not least, the Sven and Olga Sweaters.

Enjoy the photo, we don't wear them often. Especially not with the shirt that Curt has on. My New Year's resolution is to leave the chubby cheeks and blubbery neck behind in 2007. But right now I have to go get a slice of Italian Creme Cake. New Year's is still a week away.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May you surround yourself with beautiful knitted things and people who love you. And Cashmere.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

This old sweater..................

Hi there Knit Wit buddies and possibly some Cast-On subscribers! Here are some photos of what I am currently doing with old sweaters. Brenda Dayne brought this sub's colors ject up a couple of weeks ago in her podcast. I painted my house last April and I am still putting everything back together. The location is in my bedroom, but eventually I will have garments all over my house.

My last post shows my scarves and my Elizabeth shawl. They are hung on wooden dowels that are painted white. I hung them on white toggle bolts. This makes them hang away from the wall a bit, which makes it easier to show them. My idea was to hang them as invisibly as possible, making it look like they are floating there on their own.
The lower two sweaters are well-loved. The cardigan's colors were picked out by Carson, who was about 6 years old. It was a lot of fun because he told me what colors go where. The bottom left is the gnarly little sweater made from Aunt Lydia's rug yarn, with crayola buttons on the tab-front. He wore it non-stop during pre-school and first grade. You can see the fuzzies in the close-up.

This close-up shows the sweater I made after taking Horst Schultz' class at Stitches West a few years ago. I used it to work out ideas. I will probably never give it away, because it is a sampler of many techniques I learned at that Stitches.

And lastly, here are the same dowels sporting my Charlotte's Web collection.
I liked the first one so much that I made two more. The lime green is my favorite.

Hope this helps help you pull your favorite things out of their under-the-bed boxes so they can continue being loved by you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just in time for Christmas!

Happy Holidays! Hope you are recovered from your turkey-tryptophan feasting activities. This post has a couple of quick to knit holiday ideas for you, plus one bind off technique that will become your favorite!
This cute little scarcho was knitted by Bertha for her niece, Cassie. Cassie is 8 years old, and loves the color pick. Bertha used one skein of Lourdes by Sensations (49 yards) and one of Tropez (38 yards. She cast on 10 stitches, I believe she used a size 11 needle, and knitted 4 scarves from each yarn, 40 ridges long.
That's it! Join them together, fringe, and your niece will nominate you for Aunt of the Year! With some of the sales going on at this time of the year, you can make this for under $10---waaaay under $10!

This is the pattern that Helen had last Sunday--it is called "Scarf in a Flash". And I do mean in a flash. I used one skein of Caron's Simply Soft Tweed(a worsted weight) (150 yds), and one of a "fancy" yarn (I forgot the brand, it was only about 89 yards). Using a size 11 needle, cast on 200 stitches with your basic plain worsted weight. Knit 4 rows. Add the fancy yarn, knit 8 rows. Cut the fancy yarn, knit 4 more rows. I bound off using the Icelandic Bindoff (instructions follow). I finged it sparingly with one strand of the fancy and plain held together. What I did next really sets off the scarf, and it was both inexpensive and quick-I added beads.
To add beads, you need to buy one small skein of the yarn used for needlepoint, some beads, and a small crochet hook. I used a size 13 crochet hook, and one tube of 6/0 Czech glass beads. Between each yarn fringe, I added 2 beaded fringes. Cut the needlepoint yarn, and tie 2 overhand knots at the end. Using the crochet hook, pick up 6 beads on your crochet hook (or however many you want). Pull the yarn through the holes in the beads. Double knot the other end. I moved 3 beads to each end, and added the fringe to the scarf. I put two of these side by side between the yarn fringe. I then tied single overhand knots to position the beads at different levels. They really add a lot to the scarf. The whole venture was less than $12. (read:more money for cashmere!) I will bring it next Sunday.

Also finished and in the fringing stage are my 2 Knit Picks yarn bundle-Afghans. I loved doing them. I will bring them next Sunday as well. Here is a sneak peek:

If you've never done the Icelandic Bindoff, the following instructions may seem daunting. Just work through it one step at a time. It is a great finish, and since each stitch ends up with twice the amount of yarn that a plain bindoff would have, it makes it very stretch-able, great for places like necklines, but also great for scarves or my afghan edges. Here it is:
1. Knit the first stitch on your left hand needle. Instead of sliding it off of the left needle, put the new one you just knitted
back on the left needle.
2. Now, reach your right needle through that stitich on the left needle (the one you just made), and knit into the 2nd stitch.
Go ahead and pull it through both stitches (peek through BOTH windows), then Off Jumps Jack.
3. Now put the stitch on the right needle back onto the left, just like before.
Repeat stelps 2 and 3 until you reach the end of your piece. Cut the yarn and pull through the final stitch. Voila!

Now, for the truly SERIOUS Knitter! You can still listen to this, even if you don't have an iPod. You will need to download iTunes, it is free, and also available for Windows machines. Roll your cursor over the title for this blog entry, and click--it takes you to Cast-on, series 1, episode 2, "The Knitter's Manifesto". It's a GREAT listen. Imagine--what if Knitters took over the World. This podcast is free, and Brenda Dayne has a wonderful voice. You will like it.

That's all for now. Next Sunday, I wil bring the Scarf in a Flash and both afghans. And if I find them, the Sven and Olga sweaters. And the "Sweater Curt Never Wore". Knit on------------

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Welcome Knit Sibs!

Hey there--how are your pointy sticks and string? The weather is cooling and our needle are warming up. What's on your needles? Here's what has been on Fran's---

This is Maya's new dress knitted especially for her by her mom. Just in time for the cool weather. The neckline and hem are trimmed with fun fur. It will be really cool and trendy this winter.

This is Maya's sister Sophie---
She doesn't seem to be a bit afraid of the camera either!
Pretty cute, aren't they? Wonder where they get it?

If you roll your cursor over the title and click on it, it will take you to the website for . This is an emagazine with designers that are every day people like us. The patterns are well written and FREE. You can search their archives by type of garment. Check them out---

Helen finished her linen feather and fan shawl. It is a worsted weight linen that softens with handling. The instructions with the yarn actually state that you can wash it in the machine and dry it.

She wet blocked it and decided against the washer and dryer. I agree with her, I would be scared to death to throw it in the washer and dryer. It is a great color, it will go with absolutely everything.

Some of us are in Mexico this weekend, some in Phoenix, some in Yuma, others off to unknown locations. Hope to see you all Sunday after next. Until then, knit on!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I take it back, I take it all back

Did you ever hear me rant about the "mean yarn shop lady" in Encinitas? It's well known that I like Common Threads, it's like a home away from home. Last Friday, I had the yearly doctor stuff in San Diego. In less than an hour I had been pap smeared, pelvically scanned, and boobicably squished. It was only 12 more miles to Encinitas, so damn the horse races, I was bound for yarn shopping!

I was in search of a specific pattern for some cool mohair stuff that I bought in Providence. I had swatched, and it was impossible to pull out, so I decided to go with the yarn manufacturer's suggested pattern, since they know much more than me. I called 3 shops that were supposed to carry this company's patterns--Common Threads first, and The Needlecraft Cottage second. Neither had the pattern. Third and last on the list was The Black Sheep, the shop where I was scolded for touching the felted bag on their wall display.

I called ahead, and a very pleasant lady said that she would hold the pattern for me. OMG. I take back every back thing I said. Mind you---they still have rules here--no touching the display that is still up on the back wall, and a sign stating no cell phones calls allowed while you are in the store. I turned my phone on mute, not wanting to get sent to the corner for bad behavior or 86'd from the place entirely. They had almost a whole wall of Fiesta's La Boheme. I see why Deb opted for the Shimmer Shawl. I've never seen that much of it in one place. A tactile delight.

They also carry Habu Textile's yarns (link is on the title above). This is a Japanese company with very interesting yarn. DeeDee and Linda and I saw it last fall at Arizona Knitting in Scottsdale. I had promised myself that I would not buy any more shawl yarn ( I have 2 shawls-in-progress that are in the time-out room), but didn't have the same sanction against a possible scarf yarn purchase. I bought a scarf kit from Habu that has 3 yarns. Two are called "linen paper" and resemble raffia. The other is a stainless steel yarn wrapped with silk. It is really strange. It is extremely fine, about half the size of sewing machine thread. You hold the steel with whatever color of linen paper you want to knit with, changing colors PRN. Of course, being ADD (or an exceptional multitasker?) I have already cast on and started it. It does scrunch. When you are done knitting, you are supposed to roll it into a ball and "mush" wash by hand in the water, "like you are trying to make a rice ball". Definitely not a functional scarf, just a fashion accessory. I also got some little packets that are combination of paper, linen, and nylon. They haven't spoken to me as yet. I tried to take photos of these, but my camera is on the fritz. I will bring them on Sunday. They definitely need to be put on the Yarn Crawl list. They are open Sundays, tool.

Speaking of Sunday--I hope to see you at the (in)Skeiin Asylum---till then, Knit On!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summer's End

Here we are, school starting next week, and our knitting once again relieves the stress of the day to day toil. We met last Sunday and got to see some great shawls. Yolanda brought in 3 shawls that she did this summer, and I don't know which one I like best. They are all really nice. This one is knitted out of Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes (I think). I know she said it took 7 balls and the cost was only about $12.00. It is stunning, and very simple.

The photo doesn't do it justice. It is quietly elegant in real life. It is an adaptation of a scarf from the Best of Knitter's Ponchos and Wraps book. A simple knit, taking about 770yds.

This shawl is out of the same book, and is called a Waterfall design. Again, a simple knit, with a different technique for the cast on and cast off. I took this photo as Yolanda was getting ready to leave, out in the restaurant part of Papa San. Before we finished the photo, 3 ladies came over and were ooooing over it. Yolanda probably could have named her price and they would have bought it on the spot. It will be one of those garments that, when worn in public, will gather lots of compliments.

This last one will, I am sure, be duplicated by many of us. This is knitted (very loose) out of Debbie Bliss Merino, a worsted weight I believe, and she has woven a beautiful Sari Ribbon by Louisa Harding in and out of the plain stockinette body of the shawl. The ribbon continues down to form a self fringe at the bottom. Again, a very simple and easy knit, but stunning when finished. Yolanda has been very busy!

This photo just doesn't show the detail of the bobbles on the shawl that Linda is knitting. The yarn has a little sparkle to it that almost looks like a tiny bead. A bobble is a smal little "blob" where you knit many stitches in the front and back of one stitch, then knit them all together(?). She is placing them randomly, whenever she feels like it. It is a simple knit, but the bobbles break up the routine of the stockinette and don't compete with the pattern of the yarn either. Linda, bring it Sunday so all can see.

You know, we all need to go out to dinner somewhere and wear our creations. Can you imagine the stir? Or all go to the movies outfitted in shawls/scarves/ponchos/scarchos. Much more fashionable than the red hat ladies!

If you roll your cursor over "Summer's End" at the beginning of my post, it will take you to a link to the Knit Picks website. They have these nifty bags called KIPers(Knitting in Public). I don't think I will be able to resist the urge for one more bag. I really like their concept with the add-on purse.

We will be gathering again at Papa San's (in)Skein Asylum room on Sunday. Hope to see you all there! Bring your FOs(finished objects), WIPs(works in progress), UFOs(unfinished objects), etc, etc.! Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Is summer almost over?????????????

Wow what a summer! Carson graduated-----------

Aimee is married-----------------------hmmm the photo won't upload--perhaps because it is from a professional photographer and I shouldn't be using it? Take my word for it--she was beautiful, the wedding was beautiful.

And what have the KnitWits/Knits of the Round Table/NKLB (No Knitters Left Behind) been up to?

Well-Deb is driving cross-country. last spotted heading into Iowa. DeeDee is teaching native Chileans to knit---they already spin and dye their own yarn and weave. She took 50 pairs of chopsticks donated by Papa
San for the needles. I can't wait to hear about her experience! I saw Linda a couple of weeks ago and she was beautifully tanned--Mexico agrees with her. Shirley is staying cool in Flagstaff and dodging forest fires, and I discovered a latent addiction to cashmere.

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Cashmere. I have a new mantra inspired by Linda and this cashmere addiction---


I now know why I never allowed myself to touch cashmere. I bought a skein back in October on Nantucket Island, and just finished a Seaman's scarf in the Dragon Scale pattern tonight. It would make a great knit-along for someone who is an advanced beginner and wants to learn a new technique (seaman's scarf), a new lace pattern, and practice foul language.

I also finished a cashmere scarf in a Fisherman's Rib pattern with a casing. A great project for anyone who can knit and purl! It's easy, "trust me".

Fisherman's Rib is a variation of a knit 1 purl 1 rib. The knit stitch is knit in the row below. It used appx. 126 yds. I recommend something really soft, if not cashmere, try an alpaca from KnitPicks, something in a worsted weight, or close to it.

I casted on 14 stitches on a size 9 double pointed needles, and purl one row. After that, each row is as follows:
slip first stitch as if to purl,* knit one in row below,purl 1*, continue across to last 2 stitches, purl them. Each row is the same. Continue for 22 inches.

In this photo I am knitting into the knit stitch in the row below (the big hole)
At 22 inches, you divide the purl stitches on the back needle and the knit stitches on the front needle. In stockinette (knit the front row and purl the part that will be on the inside) knit 8 rows. Cut the yarn and do the same with the other double point needle. Here is the casing before the stitches are put back onto one needle.
Put the stitches back on one double point needle. Put one stitch from the back needle on first, then one from the from the front, back, front, etc. Continue in pattern until it until you run out of yarn. Weave in any ends and you are done! This fits snuggly against your neck, so you want a nice, soft yarn. This was a very fast pattern, and was really fun.

I bought some unbelievable cashmere by Great Adirondack Yarns at a cool shop in San Francisco called The Urban Knitting Studio--it's a superb shop. Unbelieveably, it was ON SALE. 50% off. About 200 yards each. Two for the price of one! So I got all 4 skeins. To have left the other two by themselves would have been a horrible travesty. It hasn't decided yet what it wants to be.

I also got a couple of great books. One is called "One Skein" and all the projects are done with just one skein. The other book is a sleeper. It is called"Mason Dixon Knitting" and I have seen it before but was not impressed by the jacket. I definitely should not have judged it by its cover. It has wonderful projects and just plain cool stuff. There are many things I want to do, like a knitted rug, felted bowls, log cabin style afghan, etc.

Summer is almost gone! I return to work on the 20th of July. Anyone up for knitting on Sunday July 16? I will be there and bring any newly finished objects.! Hope to see you! Bring your finished objects! Send me photos of what been up to and/or knitted this summer! If you haven't been for a while, please come back, I miss you!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

AYE YI YI YI SCARCHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First--I love to get emails like the one I got from Helen today. Check out these photos of Bryce--

I think she is pretty happy with her new poncho and hat from Nana'!

If you run your cursor over the title and follow the link, you will visit a knitting podcast hosted by Brenda Dayne, a knitter from Oregon who ls living in Wales. You don't have to have an iPod to listen to her podcasts, you can download it into iTUnes and listen to it from your computer. A podcast is like a radio show. They are free, and have great music from artists who have not signed onto any labels. I think my favorite is episode #2, The Knitter's Manifesto. She talks about what thinks would be like if Knitters Ruled the World. There is talk about knitting, music, more talking about knitting, etc. She has a great voice. And, it's FREE!

Now, you ask "what in the world is a Scarcho??? It is the coolest garment I have seen in a while and is ever so fun to knit and to wear. Technically, it is a poncho made of 8 scarves. You use a size 13 (or so) needle, cast on 10 (or so)stitches, knit away for 10" then cast off. Do 7 more combining any yarns your heart desires, then you crochet or mattress stitch them together. They could be called a "Poncharf", but that sounds like something you would wear with spandex stirrup pants from the 70's. The "Scarcho" sounds at once mysterious, sexy, and perhaps a bit naughty. It begs for tight jeans, preferably leather. See what you think---
Helen made the first one---it was on the cover of the Winter 2004 Knitter's magazine.

Yolanda was inspired and she knit this next one. Here it is being modeled by Fran (AKA "Little Missy"), who by the way, is very shy---

Then Yolanda did one in blue--here it is in the stage where you have to decide what-goes-where-

And the last Scarcho to hit the scene was knitted by Judy--here is the close-up

And here is the front--I caught Judy with her eyes closed--so I cropped---I apologize---

Judy found an interesting phenomena with her knitting. She had a knee replacement a couple of months ago, and has some residual pain that is really bothersome. When she knits, she doesn't feel the pain. A great side effect, I'd say! Knitting uses a different part of our brains, and the tactile sense, which doesn't get used too much. I think it bathes the brain in feel-good endorphins.

Aren't they all beautiful? And this is a project that would be great fun for a new knitter. Not a virgin knitter, but one who knows how to cast on and do the knit stitch. Judy wore hers in Washington D.C., and she could feel heads moving to look at her. Helen experienced the same thing when she wore hers to a gathering last weekend. They are truly wearable art, almost like a fabulous piece of jewelery, except that they are better because they cover up parts that most of us don't want people looking at anyway, and you can combine things from your stash to make them.
AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SCARCHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next Sunday is Easter, so we won't be gathering. But I expect to be back on Sunday, April 23. Happy Easter and Happy Knitting!

Monday, March 20, 2006

How Long has it been???

First things first---Deb--we are all praying for you both. Know that our strength is with you and Les.
"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises"-Elizabeth Zimmerman

OK, I am a baaaad blogger. We have all been busy, and I didn'thave any new photos until Sunday. It seems like posting without photos is not nearly as cool.

We have some new knitters to shout out to. Louisa is one. I didn't capture her on film, but I will be lurking at work this week with my camera to see if I can catch her knitting. She gave me a pattern today for the cutest little knitted baby Uggs. Roll your cursor over the title and click on the link. It takes you to the DIY Channel's Knitty Gritty episode 110. Absolutley darling, Thanks Louisa!

Also a big hello to Karen McNiel, Rene Dhu, and Tracy McNiel. Warning: the camera lurks on Sundays for knitters caught in the act at Papa San. It's all fun. Karen took to knitting so fast that between lesson #1(casting on the circular cap and adding eyelash) that by the time lesson #2 rolled around, she about 5 hats on the needles and enlisted Linda to help her learn how to close them up. She gets the productivity award, most definitely! Plus--she most definitely has the biggest collection of size 10 1/2 needles in town, in case you need to borrow some.

Check out these photos--this project needs a name. It is a collection of 8 scarves crocheted together to form a poncho.
So it must be a "Scarcho" or possibly a "Poncharf". Helen made her first right out of the book, this one uses leftovers from the first with a few additions. I want one. I need one. Must have one. Scarcho I want you.............

Check out Yolanda's Scarcho in progress-- We tried different scarves next to her face to figure out what order to put them in.
Yolanda's is almost all leftovers. She recommends using a yarn with a lot of ease, with a soft hand, because it needs to drape easily. She is going to bring the finished project next Sunday.

HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY SPEAKING OF FINISHED PROJECTS AND YOLANDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is the famous "Charlotte's Web"!
Way to go Yolanda!

Helen has an idea about a group entry in the Fair. Not to be judged, just to be exhibited. So--think of your favorite thing you have knitted, if we could all bring one item we could have a cool exhibition of the
Knit Wits/Knits of the Round Table/NKLB! (No Knitters Left Behind)

Better go----------see you next Sunday, until then --
Knit on..............................