Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Life

The bathroom is alive with "peep, peep, peep," and I am so glad when another week has passed and the little peepers can go into their coop; they are now two weeks old. (Warning for Vegetarians: Please skip to update on scarf.) Since the older chickens are starting to lay fewer eggs, they will most likely find themselves in a stew pot this fall, except for the two pets, Darwina and Widget. Even I couldn't butcher those two. Never name an animal you are going to eat, other than "dinner" or "supper." Yum, yum, particularly with home made noodles.

On the knitting front, I am continuing with the scarf. The knitting is boring as boring can be, but I still have to pay attention due to the fine yarn. I am determined to finish it before I start another shawl, but a circular shawl is calling me. It's just that I have so many patterns I want to knit and can't decide which one to do first. Also, the yahoo group EZasPi is starting another knit-along shawl, called "Bugs in the Garden." So that is calling too. The patterns are designed by one of the members of the group. In order to get access to them, you have to join the group. Usually, there are four to five choices for each section of the EZasPi Shawl from which you can choose. The fun is in picking out a pattern and then seeing how the next choice goes with the previous one. The patterns only come out one section at a time. Oh what to do, what to do?

Isn't it an interesting colorway? The yarn is very light and soft and I can see it going well with a basic black dress. Do they still have those?
"Knit on!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Life Lines

I have resisted life lines for some odd 60 years, not the ones on my face or those life lines in which palm readers are interested, but the ones you put in your knitting in case of a visit to the frog pond. Well, after my dog, Pepe Le Pew, managed to wrest the knitting needle from my knitting twice, I decided it was time to be a little less obstinate. The current scarf is knit with a cobweb yarn and while the pattern is very simple, the combination of the pattern, the cobweb yarn, the color of the yarn and my eyes, made it difficult if not almost impossible to pick up dropped stitches. So a life line was born. I am using the Knit Picks Option needles. The nice thing about these needles is that there is a little hole at the end of the needle where the needle is screwed into the cable. A #20 crochet cotton fits easily through that hole and the life line threads itself. This is easy enough to do every few rows--just in case Pepe wants to help with the knitting again.
Speaking of lace knitting needles: I was disappointed in the new Addi circular lace needles. Skacel only makes them in limited sizes and the longest cable available is only 47". So, I am asking myself why should I pay the extra money for the Addis? I haven't decided yet. If I knit some lace with an available size needle, I might just pick one up to try and evaluate the difference, but I am not hurrying to buy a set yet.

Now an update about the current shawl project: It's finished! 3/4 of the shawl is blocked. Now to find enough room to block the border. the size of the shawl will be about 70". In the meantime, here is a teaser picture.

"Knit on!"

Friday, April 20, 2007


The Clapotis is done. Actually it had been done for a few days, but I wasn't motivated enough to wash and block it. It used just a wee bit over two skeins of Knit Picks, 100% Merino lace weight yarn (880 yds.). The color is Sweat Pea. Two skeins would be enough if one were to omit one repeat. It feels light, airy, and absolutely marvelous around the neck.

In other knitting news, the shawl, Niebling's Minettara, is finished. I finished the crocheted edging about two hours ago. Now I have to find something big enough for blocking. I have an idea that the king-sized bed may be too small. I wish, I wish, I had a lawn. Then, I could lay down a couple of blankets and block it there. But alas, no lawn, only weeds and woods and lots of sand.

I've also knitted another Baby Surprise Jacket. I still need to sew on buttons and then I can take a picture.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oh blessed stitch markers

I have used a variety of stitch markers over the last few years, from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s safety pins to small pieces of yarn to rubber bands and a variety of commercial stitch markers. I think I have finally found ones I like, particularly for lace knitting---and all by accident. Since every stitch marker in the house was on some knitting needles or in a black hole in outer space specifically reserved for them, I sent my daughter to the store to buy a package of small rubber bands. This is what she came back with: a package of Vidal Sassoon elastic bands. (Disclosure: I was probably the first one in my town that got a Sassoon haircut. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about; it was a long, long time ago. It was a very, very short haircut, and I loved it.) Unlike regular rubber bands which you have to untwist every so often, these small elastic bands are smooth, very thin, and do not twist. They are fabulous; they slide much easier, do not interfere with knitting and are easily transferred from one needle to another. When Angela gave them to me she said “I got you these; I wasn’t going to go to another store. I hope they are all right.” Well done Angie; I would never have thought of picking these up. Thanks.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


While I am anxiously waiting for the yarn to finish the last eight rows of the Niebling Minettara, I decided to finally knit the Clapotis Pattern from . The yarn is Knit Picks Gossamer, Sweat Peas, a 100% Merino wool. Knit Picks lists it as lace weight, but, in my opinion, the yarn is not truly lace weight. The thickness is more between lace and fingering. The weight would be good for a beginning lace knitter or someone who wants a slightly more substantial shawl. The pattern is a simple diagonal, drop stitch pattern.
I had resisted for some time knitting the scarf. Every time I looked at the pattern and heard of someone else knitting it, I seemed to get slightly anxious and mildly irritated. I finally figured out where those feelings came from. The drop stitch pattern reminded me of very hard times after WWII when my mother and her friends would knit under shirts with the drop stitch pattern, the idea being that by using the drop stitch you would use less yarn. After all, the only yarn city dwellers were able to obtain was either from their stash, or ripping out an old garment that no longer fit, or the person had died and reusing the yarn. I also learned that used yarn would look like new when re-knit by skeining and washing it first.
Now to the weather. Today the sun is brightly shining; yesterday, however, was a different story. This is what we woke up to on Thursday, April 12, 2007.

"Knit on!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Instead of a picture of the latest shawl, the Minettara designed by Herbert Niebling, you get a picture of a pair of socks. The socks are made from Baby Ull and the pattern is the Estonian Lilies of the Valley found in Maigloeckchen by Dorothea Fischer.

Would you believe I am 8 rows shy of being finished with the shawl and ran out of yarn? Of course, you would. It's happened to all of us. Luckily, I could just place another order at Knit Picks; unluckily, it will be at least a week before the package arrives. I refuse to pay almost $19 in shipping to get the yarn in two days.

So back to knitting on the Clapotis.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Count down

The final count down on the Minettara shawl is in progress. Only 24 rows to go.

In the meantime I finished the Baby Surprise Jacket and a baby blanket for afghansforAfghans. A new health clinic is being opened in Wardak Province and knitters were asked to stock the pantry, so to speak. Baby blankets and all things knitted for children are needed with the deadline being Mother’s Day.

So here you see my contribution. The Baby Surprise Jacket is made of Classic Elite wool and the border of an unmarked ball of wool with mohair. The lump on which the jacket lies is a snugly covered up dog, named Pepe.

The blanket is made with Paton’s SWS, left over from a previous project as well as Brown Sheep washable wool combined with a strand of left over sock yarn and a ball of dark green Brown Sheep washable wool combined with some left over hand dyed Tussah silk. The pattern is by Lily Chin as Demonstrated on DIY Net’s Knitty Gritty Show. The pattern is basically made up of three different squares, all reversible. (1) A reversible cable pattern, made by knitting the whole square with a knit 1, purl 1 ribbing and then cabling over 4 stitches, (2) a brioche knit square and (3) a reversible gansey-type square.

After knitting the squares and putting them together, I have for the umpteenth time decided never again to knit another blanket made of individual squares (so she says now). Alas the “bankie” was not large enough for requirements, and I was not going to knit more squares and add them. I solved the problem by crocheting a border around the blanket. The border has mitered corners and was then doubled over and secured to the back. Now to pack up the bundle and mail the package.

In the meantime it is Easter Sunday, April 8th and it finally quit snowing. Kids everywhere in Michigan shouldn’t have too much trouble finding their colored Easter eggs. Happy Easter Holiday!