Monday, July 30, 2007

And another pair of socks

And another pair of socks hits the dust. They were interesting to knit, but I stopped with the pattern at the heel because of Michigan weather. I might make them again in another cooler yarn. The yarn is Opal, uni-colored which I got on sale. The yarn store where I bought it is getting out of Opal. It just doesn't seem to sell well in this neck of the woods. The pattern is from a German Sock group to which I belong, called Socken-Kreative-Liste (creative sock list). One of the owners appears to design a bi-monthly sock. I still have to do the July sock.

Have you ever signed up for a KAL and then realized you've most likely signed up for too many? Well, I think I've just done that. Signing up for KALs is like having fifty dollars all in one dollar bills. I say to myself "Ah it's just a dollar. Nothing to it." And in the blink of an eye you realize you've spent all your money. Let's see for what I have signed up: (1) 2 monthly dishcloth groups = 3 dish cloth a month), (2) a shawl KAL for an Icelandic Shawl that was in an old PieceWork magazine which has been republished for free by Interweave Press in their on-line letter "Daily Knitting." The link for Daily Knitting is and for a pic of the Icelandic Shawl click here . I think it's beautiful. There is still time to sign up for the KAL. We'll start on Labor Day. The Daily Knitting newsletter is worth signing up for. The benefit is some really nice patterns, like this shawl. The magazine is out of print and when Interweave heard how the group was looking high and low for the pattern, they decided to unearth it and reprint it for free. (3) A KAL for a mystery shawl on a German site. The list owner decided that if the US can have a mystery shawl KAL, Germany can too. Many of the members of the German group are members of the Mystery3 Shawl KAL. (4) The German Sock List which has a pattern every 2 months. (5) the EZasPi group will most likely do a PiRSquare shawl (Elizabeth Zimmermann) sometime in August. (5) I have not started the second Dutch Sampler yet, but have downloaded the patterns. And of course, there is something called housework.

Well, I better get out of my chair and do something.

"Knit On!"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bad Hair Day!

The last few days have been busy with airing out, spritzing, sorting, re-blocking shawls, and various small knitted items for the first fiber fest of the year in Charlevoix, Mich. Then it's on to the Fremont, Mich. Art Festival, the Michigan Fiber Fest in Allegan and the last one is on the east side of the state. Please excuse my ramblings, my brain isn't working too well this week due to allergies; it must be ragweed time. On top of that, the dog is trying to help me type.

I've gotten one sock finished and the second one is started. I've also made four hats for our local elementary school. I found a whole skein of Red Heart (shush don't tell anyone that I'm knitting with acrylic, but the elementary school isn't into washing hats by hand). I think I've enough left for another hat. I have no idea how long this skein has been hanging about, but it's from at least two moves ago.

So here are the four hats I've made so far:

So "Knit on" and don't let those turkeys get you.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lace Withdrawal

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon, just the right weather to be lazy, but I am suffering severe withdrawal symptoms; I don't have a shawl on any needles. And I have no idea what I want to knit next. I have lace weight yarn on hand, but nothing that calls out "knit me, knit me." So, I am knitting a new pair of socks, have finished a couple of dishcloths, have a knitted T that I should finish up, but it's not lace. Oh, I also could be cleaning house, planting the last currant bush, pay bills, or price my wares for the first of the Michigan Fiber festivals at the end of the month, but that's not lace knitting either. I've joined the "laceyshawl" group at Yahoo with the hope that they had found a shawl for a KAL, but the designer of the pattern wants US$26 before the end of August and then US$36 for the pattern. Thus, most of the discussion has been about the high price the designer is charging for the pattern. I really like the pattern, but don't think I can justify it since I already have more patterns than I can knit in my lifetime. So, all in all, I am in a funk. I did finish three dishcloths, one from the "MonthlyDishCloths" group and one from the "dishclothfunknitalong" group. My daughter found the third one on the Internet and wanted me to make a hot pad for the teapot from it. It's not the most even knitting I've ever done it'll do. Now I suppose I'll have to knit a second one, so I can sew them together and have a real hot pad.
The fawns seem to be twins since I only see one mother out with them and we've had an invasion of finches; they are feasting in droves on the yellow blooming weeds outside of the living room windows, the benefits of not having a manicured lawn.

Monthly Dishcloth Group


Teapot Dishcloth
Having the blahs, but knitting on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yahoo! Bad Yahoo!

Yahoo is driving me crazy. I have now gotten Yahoo 360 notices three times over all for the months of May and June. Enough is enough. I found the above cartoon on , it came from a Scottish site, and I think it says it all. I belong to a sock group out of Germany and some of the members are complaining about the same thing over there and it's not but

We'll I've started a new pair of socks. As soon as I get another pattern set done, I'll post a picture.

In the meantime, here are a couple of dishcloths sites my daughter Angela sent me, just in case you haven't seen them yet.

Enjoy and "Knit on."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Christmas in July

I had written this wonderful piece of prose, when the world wide web ate my words, the computer froze, and all was not well in the blogosphere. I am glad to report that the computer is up and running again and the Rainy Day Socks are finished. You can find the link to the pattern in my blog of July 15.

I always try the sock on before knitting the toes and the foot came right up to the end of my little toe. The fit was perfect and so I did the toes. Then, I washed them, shaped them, dried them and put them on one more time before putting them away for winter.

Horror upon horrors, the socks were too big. Hear me sob, imagine my cheeks wet with tears, tend to my woes. My socks don't fit. Somehow the wool relaxed by washing it. What to do? And then the answer came. My middle daughter's feet are longer than mine. They've become a Christmas present; the first present for Christmas I've ever made this early. Now I better stash them some place where I can find them, that means not with the Christmas Angel I bought for her three years ago that was also put in a safe place and never was found again.

So I have started another pair of socks with Opal yarn I had on hand. The yarn better behave as it has in the past or I am giving up on socks for a short while. (Nah; it'll never happen.)

"Knit on!"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In Honor of National Icecream Day

We went out to our local Mom and Pop's Ice cream place and got a cone of ice cream. I really don't need a specific day for eating ice cream since I could easily eat every day of the year. I spent all of my summer vacations with one of my mother's sisters. The place was a spa which has a long history. My mother's brother had inherited the family business, a "Cafe" which in Germany is basically a fine restaurant in which fancy cakes and deserts are served and which has a very good wine list. In the summer time things were always hopping since all the summer guests needed their coffee and desert in the afternoon.

I would get up between 4 and 5 a.m., put my clothes on and walk to my uncle's Cafe. He would comb my long hair and then would give me a chair to stand on, a long paddle, and I would be hard at work stirring the ice cream so I could have a bowl as soon as it was frozen. Now, there is not enough money in the world to get me up that early in the morning, but then the ice cream had a powerful lure on me. Of course, the miracle was that I never fell into the vat or that none of his customer's found a hair in their ice cream. That vat looked awfully big when you are a skinny little six year old.

Now that I've been nourished by a cone of ice cream, I am ready to go out take care of the chickens and then continue to knit. I've started a new pair of socks with discontinued Swiss Froehlich Wolle, Special Blauband. I've finished the leg, heel and half the foot of the first sock. The photo shows the pattern. It's from March 2007 issue and is called "Rainy Day Socks."

"Knit on!"

Friday, July 13, 2007

All things new...

The fauns were out for the first time last night without their mamas. They even gave me time to go out the front door, aim the camera, and take their pictures before running back into the woods. I suppose I better forgive the mamas for eating all of our gooseberries this year. But they are on notice that next Spring there will be a fence keeping them away from the gooseberries. After all, they have 9 acres of blueberries they can eat.

The scarf/shawl is finished, washed, blocked and photos taken. The size is 15" wide and 60" long. As I wrote in my blog of June 27, I found the pattern at but adapted it just a little bit. I put a garter stitch border around it and added an extra cable pattern at the end to have more symmetry. So here are the pics of the finished shawl:

The yarn came from a cone of Brown Sheep Nature Spun, fingering weight and the color is Ash. The actual color is a wee bit darker than what my monitor shows.

I've also knitted two more dish cloths. Angie wanted a Harry Potter one in HP colors and then I also knit the sun dish cloth again in a bright yellow.

All things new

The fauns were out for the first time last night without their mamas. They even gave me time to go out the front door, aim the camera, and take their pictures before running back into the woods. I suppose I better forgive the mamas for eating all of our gooseberries this year. But they are on notice that next Spring there will be a fence keeping them away from the gooseberries. After all, they have 9 acres of blueberries they can eat.

The scarf/shawl is finished, washed, blocked and photos taken. The size is 15" wide and 60" long. As I wrote in my blog of June 27, I found the pattern at but adapted it just a little bit. I put a garter stitch border around it and added an extra cable pattern at the end to have more symmetry. So here are the pics of the finished shawl:

The yarn came from a cone of Brown Sheep Nature Spun, fingering weight and the color is Ash. The actual color is a wee bit darker than what my monitor shows.
I've also knitted two more dish cloths. Angie wanted a Harry Potter one in HP colors and then I also knit the sun dish cloth again in a bright yellow.

And now a note to a reader of my blog who wanted to know how many stitches to cast on for a wrist warmer. It all depends on the yarn used. The best thing to do is to make a swatch, measure your wrist and then take the no. of stitches in an inch from your swatch x the measurement of your wrist, and you have the no. of stitches you need to cast on. If the pattern is somewhat lacy, then cast on a few stitches less. If the pattern has cables in it, cast on a few stitches extra.
Next project is a pair of socks, just for a change of pace.

"Knit on!"

Monday, July 9, 2007

Joined two new groups...

Can you believe it? but I saw all those fabulous dishcloths by various blog friends and just couldn't say no. Most are quick to knit, and I've been able to use some leftover yarn. Of course also had to buy some Peaches and Cream.

It took about an hour to knit the July KAL dishcloth from MonthlyDishcloths, but the pattern doesn't show up well with the yarn I used. Our local store only had yellow and white variegated and the yellow with rust and green bits in it, so I used it. I'll either have to order some solid colors on line or look at one of the bigger craft stores when I go to Grand Rapids, Mich. Good excuse to accumulate more stash, isn't it? I figure knitting dishcloths is also a quick project when I get tired of the bigger ones.

The dishcloth got knit so fast because our transformer got hit by lightening today, again, and thus no TV news interference. Actually, we have our own transformer on our property. I have no idea why, but the Great Lakes Energy guy was out in less than half an hour after our call. It's either the second or third time in two or three years. we've been struck by lightening. Once they had to replace the whole thing, then last year lightening hit our house and came right from behind the TV. Didn't fry the TV, but fried the phone lines, answering machine, DSL, Ethernet cards, DVD player, Satellite, and several of the electrical outlets. Scariest thing I ever saw. I was standing nearby when lightening came from behind the TV, and around the corner of the entertainment center. The satellite installer had grounded the dish incorrectly. Today's lightening damage was a bit easier to fix. We had just enough warning to unplug the DSL modem and electrical cord. But Angie decided to have a cigarette and touched the metal part of the back screen door and got a jolt. She is OK.

Some of you may have these links to various dish cloths, but they are fun and I particularly like the one that is both in English and French. One of the dishcloths called Vineyard would make a really nice lace pattern for a bigger project. So without further ado here are the links:

That's all folks.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The infamous thumb wedge

One of the readers of my blog (Wow! I still can't believe that folks read my blog. Nothing daring, racy, x-rated, just plain old knitting content) asked how I made the thumb for my fingerless gloves, pictured yesterday. I used the thumb wedge which particularly suited this pattern since it basically is a 2 purl, knit 3 repeat. I've used that particular thumb pattern since my mother taught it to me. I told you I don't like to mess with things that work.

Knit the cuff to the desired length. At the end of the row M1 by picking up the bar from the previous row between the last knit 3 stitches and the purl 2 of the beginning of the row. Twist the bar and knit 1 stitch into it. Knit row in pattern and when you come to the stitch you just made knit it.
In the following row M1 on each side of the previous M1. Continue to knit in pattern and knit an extra row between increases. Follow this pattern of increasing the thumb wedge until you have reached the desired width of the wedge. I decide if the wedge is big enough by figuring out if it fits loosely around the base of my thumb. In this pattern I increased until I had 19 stitches. (This will vary with the thickness of the yarn.) I decide how long the thumb wedge should be by trying my knitting on. When it reaches the crease between the thumb and the hand, it's long enough. This may mean that you will have to add some rows in which there are no increases. OK, now we have reached the crease between the hand and the thumb. Transfer wedge onto a piece of scrap yarn. (I usually don't have to get out of my chair to find a piece of scrap yarn because there always is at least one on the floor by my chair.)

Knit one round in pattern until you get to the end and cast on 5 stitches (maybe 3 if you use thicker yarn). I used the knit cast on, but you can also do a simple e-cast on. I cast on 5 stitches because it made an additional pattern. Then knit in the round in pattern until you reach the length you want it to be.

On fingerless gloves I like the edge to reach just above the knuckles. Then cast off in pattern. I usually use a needle a couple of sizes bigger to give it a little bit of stretchiness when casting off.

Now the thumb: put your stitches of the thumb wedge on 3 needles and then pick up five stitches on the fourth needle from the five cast on stitches and knit one round. These extra stitches are then decreased as you knit the thumb. Usually they are decreased every other row, but since this is a shortened thumb, I decreased every row, by knitting together a stitch from the edge of the wedge and one from the "bridge" made after I put the thumb stitches on a scrap of yarn.

When you are back to the original stitches of the thumb gusset, you may have to knit a couple of rows or however many it takes to make it the correct length. Then cast off, again with a needle that is two sizes larger than the ones used for knitting the glove. Voila! The thumb!

I apologize for the length of these instructions. I've noticed that there is a difference between written German and American instructions. If you look on the back of an Opal sock yarn label, the basic instructions are: Cast on, knit leg as long as you want it to be, make heel flap, turn heel, make gussets, knit foot, make toes. Weave in ends. The same for mittens. German patterns are not newbie friendly. I think they assume that you (a) know how to knit and (b) you learned by watching your mother, aunt, or grandmother; mostly all three. But this also teaches how to take any yarn and knit a sock, a glove, a sweater without detailed instructions.

If anyone is interested, some place I have a link of measurements for mittens for children, etc. I've also seen instructions for the relationship between palm width, finger length and thumb length. I will gladly dig them up if anyone is interested. Just let me know.

And now two fun links which I swiped from a knit list. You'll probably have to view a couple of things until you reach "Don't let it unravel."

And this one is for an Iphone at a drastically reduced price. In fact, you can knit it from your stash. The only cost is your time.

"Knit on!"

Two blog posts in a day...and a rant

I was knitting on the scarf, laid it down and misplaced one of the knitting needles. Hopefully in my next life, although I've told everyone that I refuse to live life over again, there's got to be an obvious place where all the lost things automatically go to. Anyways, I had found this Harry Potter dish cloth on one of the knitting lists, and decided rather than obsessing about to where the needle had disappeared, just to knit the dish cloth. My daughter is a Harry Potter fan(atic). I used leftover Plymouth Linen Isle, made of 50% cotton, 30% Rayon and 20% Linen. I found it here:

Now on to the rant. We've gotten new neighbors (well they are not that new; they bought the one acre plot next to us in the fall of last year. This bit of land used to belong to the daughter of the woman that owned the property which we bought. The dad of the family was up last week to fix something, while the son went fishing with his big boat on some lake near here. They also brought the lawn mower with them. I politely pointed out the milkweed and it's importance to the Monarch butterfly. I also pointed out to him that if he mows the spot of grass in front of his single wide, he will deprive the deer of their sleeping area. At least that's were they slept all last summer. Well, guess what? The milkweed and the "grass" got mowed. He then started talking about watering the lawn. I must say I looked at him as if he came from another planet. Watering? We live smack dab in the woods. In fact, we are surrounded by the Manistee National Forest on three sides. The only thing I've been watering are the red currant bushes I've planted this year next to the house. The "lawn" is weeds and they stay green all summer even when we have a drought. Most of the "weeds" have pretty flowers on them and thus provide a flower garden without having to plant one. Besides if I wait long enough there will be more trees and shrubs growing from the seeds the birds and squirrels drop. In fact, I've spotted an oak seedling in my "lawn" right where I would like a tree for some extra shade. No digging holes, no spending money, but the tree is growing all by itself, right where it will be of use. Why do people want to bring city life with them when they move to the woods, including manicured lawns. Water is already in short enough supply, the fertilizer and weed killer he will need to get grass growing will get into the water supply we use, since we have a well. Since I allow him to use our well, I swear I'm going to cut him off, if I see him watering the lawn. Then he can dig his own .

I really try to live with leaving as few foot prints as I can. I try not to disturb the fauna and flora and try to give them as much space as I can. The critters and my daughter and I live together harmoniously and if we keep the scratch grain for the chickens long enough in the trunk of Angie's old jalopy, we don't even have to drag it out since the chipmunks have found a way into the bag. I kid you not, I told her the other day to get the bag out of the trunk, and she informed me it was empty. No wonder I saw them scurrying back and forth under her car. I even let most of the mice live; I am quite sure the owls are grateful. Of course, this one the owls missed, and the cats are fed too well to catch them.

We have no outdoor cats because of the birds and thus both birds, mice, and the cotton tails can play as much as they want.

Hi there, that's an awfully nice lace curtain you have and a "nananananana" to Sam and Tommy 'cause you can't catch me.
I used to live in the city, with the neighborhood "police" telling you how short your grass had to be and that you couldn't park anything on the lawn on the side of the house even though it was only one time overnight. So the question is "why do some city folks move to the country and then want to turn it into the city?" Who knows. Maybe one of these days I will become independently wealthy and buy a hundred acres or so and set the house smack dab in the middle of the property and then do what Ed Begley does to make his toast in the morning, pedal his bycicle to get power for the toaster. I'd be a lot healhier, for sure.

In the meantime, "Knit on!" and eat cheesecake.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It seems ridiculous... show fingerless gloves in the middle of a heat wave, but that's what I just finished. They are knit with one of Angie's earlier spun yarn. The color is natural and the pattern used is a mock cable, consisting of a 5 stitch repeat:

Row 1: P2, K3
Row 2: P2, K2, slip 3rd knit stitch with yarn in back
Row 3: P2, slip third knit stitch over two previous stitches, and then knit 2 remaining stitches.
Row 4: P2, k1,YO,k1

Repeat these 4 rows. The gloves used less than 140 yds. which would qualify them for the Bits and Bobs Yahoo Group. I used 2.75mm DPs and the yarn had about 20-24 WPIs. The nice thing is that the pattern is very stretchy and thus fits a variety of hands. I know because I was knitting on them at the local bar while waiting for my food and a mother and her strapping teenage son tried them on.

This is the detail of the stitch.
I've been wasting time (my view of it) transferring my photos from Yahoo to Flickr, but haven't got the faintest idea as yet how to replace the Yahoo photos with Flickr. Drat, I hope they'll explain it soon. Betcha they're going to wait until the very last day. I've also been playing with Ravelry, but haven't decided yet how I will like it. I realize the older I get the less I like monkeying around with new things. Why mess with stuff that works.
The scarf I've been knitting has grown considerably since I showed it first; another foot or so should do it. It's coming up to my chest. It's become an easy lace pattern to knit although I still have to glance at my make-shift chart. I've already got my next lace project percolating in my mind. I think I'll make the Cherry Blossom Shawl from the Interweave Knits Spring 2002 issue. The original shawl was knit with Cascade Kid Seta yarn, but I'd like Angie to spin and dye me some yarn on her new wheel, so it won't have Mohair in it since she is allergic to it. But she can easily spin a 28 WPI yarn. So I'll have to wait and see how busy she is.
"Knit on!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lace, lace, and more lace

I can't help myself, I have to pass on this link. Oh how I wish I could fly to Oakland, Calif. to see the exhibit, but this has to be the second best. Pour yourself, a cup of coffee, tea, sweet tea, Scotch or Bourbon, or anything else you like, settle into a comfy chair and view all 111 photos or however many you like.

On the subject of wrist warmers, here's a picture of my fourth pair of warmers. The original pattern came from Compassionate Knitting by Tara Jon Manning. The eyelet edging is my contribution. I just can't leave a printed pattern alone. Written instructions just call to me to mess with. I'll most likely keep these for myself since I ought to be able to find them with such a bright green. This was a ball of leftover hand spun, hand dyed yarn, the maker of which shall stay anonymous (a clue: she lives with me and her first name starts with "A").

That's the new wheel in the right corner.
Oh, by the way, I also found the stitch for the previous wrist warmers in the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar under February 8. It's called "Feather Openwork."
"Knit On!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another pair of wrist warmers

I seem to be in a rut: another pair of wrist warmers. I've been looking for small amounts of yarn around the house to use up on smaller projects. Of course having a spinner and a knitter in the same house bits and bobs are never a problem. In fact they seem to be overtaking us. Angie is sitting on the couch right now figuring out yardage and prices on all the yarn she's spun during the year to get ready for the Charlevoix, Mich. Fiber Festival. It's being held on July 28 and 29 at the Castle (no not Phil Spector's castle in California). It's one of the newer Fiber Festivals in Michigan. If any one visits this particular festival, we are part of the booth called Dances with Wool.

I like visiting fiber festivals, but staffing the booth is not my cup of tea. It's a good thing that Angie loves to.

The photos do not do justice to the yarn. The top photo is too dark and the other photo is too light. Between the monitor and the digital camera, it's hard to show the actual color.

The pattern came out of Omas Strickgeheimnisse (Grandma's Knitting Secrets). It consists of only two rows with four stitch repeats. Row 1: K1 through back loop, K1, YO, knit 2 together through back loops. Row 2: Knit 2 together through back loops, YO, P1,K1 through back loop. Unfortunately, the book is in German, but it has all patterns written two ways, for circular and back and forth knitting. The other draw back is that the symbols are entirely different from any I have ever seen. For example, in most graphs, even Germans, a yarn over is represented by a circle; in this book a yarn over is represented by "/" which of course in English written graphs means k2tog. Oy weh!

The yarn was spun by Angie to about sports weight; the roving was Colonial top most likely purchased at one of the fiber festivals.