Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Opal Yarn and new and old Projects

I still haven’t found that bag of yarn to finish the baby blanket, but like all things that I “lose”, I know it will show up sooner or later. In the meantime, I finally found a pattern for the Lorna’s Lace lace weight yarn. In comparison to the cob weight yarn I knit the last shawl with the LL yarn feels almost thick.
I’ve adapted a composition pattern out of Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting. It alternates spiders and webs with strips of lace holes. Rather than knitting the patterns in garter stitch as Shetland patterns usually are, I “decided” to do it in stockinette stitch. The “decision” was rather accidental since I didn’t read the chart carefully. The patterns in Miller’s book are in garter stitch and are knitted in lace every row, rather than having a purled row in between. But I didn’t realize the error of my ways, until I had knit about twenty or so rows. Right there and then, I made the decision that this scarf was going to be made in stockinette rather than garter stitch. You see how easy it is to design? I will knit the scarf the Shetland way, by making two matching halves, grafting them together and then adding a border. I haven’t decided yet what type of border to use. The width of the border will depend on the amount of yarn I have left over. Sometimes, I do live dangerously. I doubt if there is any more of this yarn left to be found, particularly since the label has long been lost.
The shawl with the cob weight yarn is done. I still have to block it, but it will have to wait till my aching back feels better.

Onto sock yarn news: Yarns International, , is deciding whether or not to start stocking Opal yarn. Apparently PT Yarn will no longer be the distributor for Opal. According to Yarns International, the new distributor is supposedly more reliable. They asked for feedback from customers. I suggested to them that they might want to look into Opal’s sock yarn club and see if subscriptions could not be made available to US knitters as well. They immediately replied promising to look into it. Yippee! (OK that’s enough enthusiasm for one day.) So if you like Opal, you might want to encourage Yarns International to start stocking it.
“Knit on!”

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sock Yarn. beautiful sock yarn

I promised a photo of the yarn my daughter Angela gave me. So here it is. It's calling out to be knit into socks, but what pattern to use. The very last skein is Finn which she bought from Wee Crofters Cottage at the Michigan Fiber Festival. The front three skeins are spun from Falkland Islands roving, aka Polwarth, which she bought locally and then hand dyed herself and spun into fingering weight yarn. I think, there is enough yarn to make one pair of socks without having to use the Finn in some way.
Now a little bit of whining. I have some Lorna's Lace lace weight yarn that we bought ages ago. Angela knit a shawl with it, but had problems with casting off. My attempt to help her resulted in the whole shawl going to the frog pond. In other word, I messed up and she wasn't too happy with me. I pulled the yarn out again and was going to make Eunny Jang's Print O'The Wave shawl. Well, I started twice and ripped it out each time. I don't seem to be able to count to 16 or at least not consistently. I am starting to wonder if there is a wicked witch that curses yarn? So back to the drawing board . The problem: An unknown no. of yards of Lorna's Lace yarn (2.8 oz. to be exact) and a pattern that wants to be knitted, but the knitter's hands and brains seem to be at odds with each other. What to do? I shall conquer this yarn, if it is the last thing I do.
And there is another thing that has gone wrong today. I bought extra yarn for the baby blanket I am knitting. It's in a blue bag, but where is the bag? Someone send me some good mojo, please?
"Knit on."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Chick Update

No, not the two legged human kind, but the two legged feathered ones. They are finally big enough to not be able to slip through the chain link fence around their coop. Oops, I spoke too soon one of the smaller dark ones (hopefully a Cuckoo Maran), apparently still finds a spot it can squeeze through. Marans are chickens that supposedly lay the darkest brown eggs known. They are of French origin. But I have to wait since they are still young enough not to be able to tell whether or not the two I got are roosters or pullets. They only come in straight runs, so you take what you get. I can't help it but I am a little bit simple minded. I get pleasure out of the most simple things. I love to watch these youngsters scurry around and facing each other off.


The socks are finished. In fact, I finished them last night. They are too warm for the summer, but then I rarely (maybe never) were socks in the summer. My toes only get covered up in the winter since the Birkenstocks are a wee bit drafty.
Next project started is the T Twist Tee from . I have 9 balls each of Svale of two different colors. Svale is made by Dalegarn and is 50% cotton, 40% viscose, and 10% silk. It is very soft and very loosely plied. Using Addis, the yarn knits quite well despite its loose ply.
I still have to finish the Baby Blanket. I think I'm probably 2/3 done and then have to add the I-cord edging. It gets a wee bit boring to knit the same 4 row pattern back and forth. The problem is that I can almost do it blindfolded, but not quite since that is where the mistakes creep in.
My daughter Angela has also gifted me with 120 grams of hand spun, hand dyed sock yarn. I haven't decided yet what pattern to use with the yarn. I'll have a picture of the yarn tomorrow.
"Knit on!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I have decided...

...on the pattern for the baby blanket for my doctor's wife. Finally! It's taken me weeks of buying several different colors of Encore and then changing my mind again and again. So now I have to get more yarn because I don't think I have enough. Oh well that is easily corrected. I am probably going to finish the blanket with an I-cord. Otherwise I am thinking about a garter stitch border, but the I-cord appeals to me more.

The chicks were thrown out of the bathroom. They were having too much fun and escaping from their box and having fun in the linen closet. I figured if they could fly out of the box they had enough feathers to go into the coop. I made a temporary enclosure for them since they are only three weeks old and at night still gather under the heat lamp. It still gets down into the thirties during the night.

As far as birthdays go, some of you wondered how old is she? Well I'll tell you. I've been through thick and thin for 67 years and 2 days. So there! Now you know how old this youngster is.
"Knit on!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cherry Tree Hill Socks

The first sock is almost done. I started yesterday on it. Originally I wanted to make Jean Townsends Lilac socks because the Cherry Tree Hill yarn reminded me of lilac bushes blooming in a riot of colors. But the pattern as written was too large and I wasn't patient enough to adapt the pattern to sixty stitches; the eight extra stitches in Jean Townsend's pattern just made the sock too big. I found the current pattern in my documents section of the laptop; naturally, I have no idea from where I swiped the pattern. The name I gave it was "Sande lace socks." There is a Sande on several of my knitting lists, so I presume it came from her. Thank you Sande, if it was you. The lace pattern is simple and almost looks like a check mark. In any event, the pattern repeat is 10 stitches and, thus, was perfect for a 60 stitch sock. I've also learned why I like to stick to a familiar brand of sock yarn. I know if I use Opal or a yarn similar to Opal which is incidentally made by little elves from the Black Forest, I can cast on a certain no. of stitches, knit a certain no. of rows, etc., without having to think. In other words, automatic, relaxing knitting. With new yarn, I have to do the "figuring" and trying on the sock all over again.
The Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn has a wonderful depth of color to which may camera does not do justice. It knits well on 2.0 mm needles and the sock comes out somewhat substantial and sturdy looking. Just right for those who have the ability to murder socks in a brief period of time. Only my daughter Angela wearing them will, however, substantiate my assumption.
Here is another view of the sock in which the color of the sock is slightly truer to the actual color of the sock, at least on my monitor.

"Knit On."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I've been tagged...

Joansie tagged me to write seven random things about myself. So here they are:
1. I was bi-lingual. I was born in Germany and lived there until age 22 with two years in England, at age 19 and age 21. The word "was" is highlighted because speaking fluent German is no longer possible for me. I've been in the United States for 45 years next month, and have had little opportunity to speak the language. However, I can still read any German lace pattern. Besides English, I also had 4 years of French of which I have retained zero (I thoroughly disliked the French teacher) and two years of Latin of which I also have retained little. The Latin teacher smoked a pipe that came down to his knees, was way past retirement age, and this class of bratty, precocious, smart girls made his teaching experience quite unpleasant. Besides he wore coke bottle glasses, and when the principal introduced him, he was instantaneously labeled "May bug." He was called out of retirement because no other Latin teacher could be found since they were either prisoners of war or dead. We also made the math teacher's teaching a not too pleasant experience. He spoke with an eastern German accent since he was a refuge from East Germany. He also attempted to teach us Biology. He brought a cow's eyeball to class and my row poked the eyeball, so all the gelatinous material oozed out. Of course, I was the only innocent one in the row (cough, cough, cough).

2. I was born prematurely and weighed 3-1/2 lbs. but was too obstinate not to make it even without life support. I would have had an older sister named Helene, but she either died during childbirth or immediately after she was born. She, too, was premature.

3. I became a United States citizen in 1966 without having taken citizenship classes. I informed the Judge who interviewed me that I had a husband, two children and a full-time job and that going to classes was at the bottom of my to-do-list, but that I read the daily newspaper from front to back except for the sports section since it didn't carry real "football", i.e. soccer. He giggled and asked me the names of the first President of the United States, the name of the President during the Civil War and the name of the current (1966) President. I passed and got my U.S. Citizenship. Is there a theme of being oppositional emerging?

4. For late bloomers, I started college at age 42 and received my M.A. degree in Counseling Psychology in 1989. I worked for 13 years for the Michigan Department of Corrections as a Correctional Psychologist in a 'close custody" or "behind the fence" setting, i.e. lifers, individuals with severe behavioral problems, murderers, robbers, sex-offenders, assaultive offenders and anything else you can think of. I loved my job, but had to take early retirement in 2001 due to being attacked by one of the "darlings." In my first life I was an Executive Secretary. My third career was going to be long distance truck driver, but I can't parallel park and nearly drove the motor home into the river, so I gave up on attempting that career.

5. I love desert, but not necessarily chocolate. My favorite "fat machine" food while working was "Zingers."

6. I love cross word puzzles, newspapers, and books. My favorite German writer is Heinrich Boell who helped me deal with war and post-war experiences that I was too little to process properly. I like Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie Brown, and Lilian Braun's "The Cat Who..." as well as C.S. Lewis , Reinhold Niebuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer as well as all the knitting mysteries which are presently being published.

7. And last but not least, and not necessarily in order, I loved camping, real camping with a tent and a backpack. But, alas, the arthritis has set in and sleeping on the ground is not as appealing as it once was. I'm thinking that I might still be able to crawl off a blow-up mattress so don't be surprised if I take it up again.

8. I had a serious car accident in 1995. The doctors' prognosis was that I would need bone transplants and most likely would not walk again, but they didn't know about my oppositional personality. I fooled them all, except for the resulting arthritis.

So Joansie I've been a good girl and answered the challenge and added an eighth item.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Greensburg, Kansas Tornado Victims and "darning" or what is darning Mommy?"

I'm bad about links, but I'm going to try. On another list someone sent a message about Greensburg, Kansas and the "one block at a time" project headed by Eldorado Baptist Church in Eldorado, Kansas. Ray Whiting of talked with Laura Spradlin of Eldorado Baptist Church and they are willing to take other items, such as socks. Since Ray did all the work, just click on the above link and it's all there in case you want to either contribute a block for an afghan or socks, or anything else for that matter.
Here are the instructions for the afghan blocks (from shawl knitters group):
What: 8" garter stitch squares
Pattern: knit from corner to corner on the bias (pattern specs below)Fiber: Worsted Weight - wool, superwash wool, wool blendsColor: Any color - solid or variegated yarn
Mailing Deadline: to be announced - will update when estimated home construction completion date is known
Pattern Specs: cast on 4 stitches, increase one stitch* at the beginning of each row, knit in garter stitch (knit on every row) until one side measures 8", k2tog at the end of each row until 5 stitches remain, cast off.*the increase stitch that I am using is kfb (knit into the front and back of the first stitch)
Designs or various stitch patterns or stockinette can be incorporated if you wish but the basic pattern is intended to simplify seaming for the various people who may be helping with seaming. If we collect more squares than we need for one family we will continue assembling afghans to be given to other families. If any one would like to include a note or postcard sending good wishes to the family who receives your afghan square we will keep those messages together with the square(s) you send. We're looking forward to being able to get these afghans and messages to the families!

Onto another topic: "Capote, darning and the modern age" was contributed by another member of one of the lists to which I belong. It is really an interesting read.
So enjoy and "Knit on."

Friday, May 11, 2007


This was pilfered from Lizzie via Joansie's blog.
Mark with bold the things you have ever done, with italics, the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Here's mine: (I think my mother would have been proud of me. She was an avid knitter).

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Top-down Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting (that's how my mother taught me)
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns (my favorite knitting)
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
(Fair Isle)
Knitting to make money
Button holes (both hand and machine on knitted garments)
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art (does my lace work count?)
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
EntrelacKnitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere (one of these days)
Darning (I come from an era when darning was mandatory)JewelryKnitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
RugKnitting on a loom (tried it once and didn’t like it)
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Lace Pattern Heaven
I am in lace pattern heaven. Each birthday, my middle child (daughter) sends me a check and each year I buy something knitting related. I've been lusting after several Burda lace pattern books on this site . So I took the plunge and ordered two old Burda Lace issues. They arrived today. It only took one week. On top of it, the seller sent me an extra magazine, named Lea, also a lace pattern issue. Now which do I choose first and which pattern do I want to make first. Now remember, I already have several other old German lace pattern books/mags from which I already have a "must do" list. At this rate, I'll have to live forever, not just to a hundred, particularly since I also have all three books of Christine Duchrow's lace patterns and just received my copy of Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. (I couldn't pass up the bargain since Amazon had it on sale. They must have had more orders than copies since I ordered mine in February and Amazon was not able to ship until May. But it was worth the wait. So now the dilemma is what to knit first: Shetland or German, or both at the same time? Decisions, decisions.
By the way, for any cross stitchers, the above site has a wealth of cross stitch magazines; of course, most of them are in German, but then a chart is a chart. Right, folks?
So here is some eye candy from the mags I just received. Lust with me, so I am not so lonely.

I think the top two are my favorites so far. The round table cloth is called "Steinrose" or "Stone Rose" and is a Herbert Niebling creation.
"Knit on!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

This and that

It’s time for updates since I really do not have any finished articles to show.

Chicks: Troublemakers, they are. Troublemakers with a capital “T”. They started flying out of their enclosure, so I took out the chicken wire enclosure I had so cleverly (at least I thought so) created in the chicken coop. That’s all it took. They immediately started flying around the coop, facing off with each other in mid air, beak to beak, and generally being sassy. They are nothing like the Buff Orpingtons and Astrolops I got two years ago. They were calm, stayed in their box, and generally had a sweet disposition. This batch is bratty. Yesterday, they also escaped from their side of the coop. The door which divides the coop was just enough warped at the bottom that they could squeeze through. I was able to catch all but one who decided it was time to take an exploratory walk in the woods. Since I twisted my foot the other day, my mobility was somewhat limited. In any event, this little bugger was much faster than I was, gimpy foot or not. I assume it became someone’s dinner last night.

Lace Shawl: I am slowly progressing on it. It’s an interesting color way; so far no color change is exactly the same as a previous color way. I am not too sure if I will ever buy another ball of this yarn, but will have to wait until the Michigan Fiber Festival to see if Saska has a booth there and what they have. Last year they had coned cashmere, but I am glad I did not by a cone since I can get it for much less from ColourMart on E-Bay or directly from the company in Scotland . For those who may be interested, I found the pattern at the following site: .

Second Baby Surprise Jacket: I finally found the buttons and they are sewn on and now I can ship the afghan and the two jackets to afghans4Afghans.

Baby Blanket: Is also coming along. I have to order more yarn. With gas prices at $3.25 it’s cheaper to order yarn than drive an hour to the nearest yarn store. I found the pattern at . Three more balls of Encore should do it, I think. Well maybe I should order four.

New Project: I’ve started, frogged and restarted the new Pi shawl from the EZasPi group at Yahoo. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Pi shawl is extremely easy to knit, but one has to be able to count and stay on track. Well I had a “senior moment” and went from the 6 row section to the 24 row section leaving out the 12 row section. The basic Pi pattern is casting on 9 stitches and joining them. Then knit one row. Double stitches, by K1, YO (18 stitches). Then 3 rows are knitted. The stitches are doubled again in the same manner (36 stitches). Knit 6 rows. Double stitches again (72 stitches). Knit 12 rows. Double stitches to 144. Knit 24 rows. Double stitches to 288. Knit 48 rows. Double stitches to 576 stitches. Knit up to 96 rows and then decide on edging. If needed one can double the stitches again and knit up to another 192 rows. But my shawls are always big enough if I knit the 96 row section. I am knitting it in a fingering weight 100% coned wool yarn from Brown Sheep. The color appears to be a natural tanish gray, almost like the natural Shetland roving my daughter gets from Chickasaw Farm. I usually make these shawls in a less expensive wool until I see what the finished product looks like.

Knit Picks Option Needles: I really like knitting with them, but the plating wore off on my 3.5 mm (US 4) needles. They are still functional, but I sent them an e-mail yesterday advising them of same. Today, I received a reply stating to do what I want with the defective needles; they have put another set of tips in the mail. I'll order them again if I need some, particularly since the new lace Addis only come in very limited sizes and length.
That’s all folks! Knit on!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I am awfully well for the shape I'm in!

In honor of my birthday on May 1, I thought I'd share this poem. It has been floating around in my head all week long. Finally, I "googled" for it and found the poem. Enough said.

I'm Fine, Thank YOU
There is nothing the matter with me.
I'm as healthy as I can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees And when I talk,
I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak, and my blood is thin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
Arch supports I have for my feet
My memory is failing, my head's in a spin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
The moral is this, as my tale I unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It's better to say "I'm fine" with a grin
Than to let folks know the shape we are in.

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my "get up and go" just got up and went.
But I really don't mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my "get up" has been.
Old age is golden, I've heard it said;
But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed
With my ears in the drawer my teeth in a cup,
My eyes on the table until I wake up.
Ere sleep overtakes me, I say to myself,
"Is there anything else I could lay on the shelf?"
When I was young my slippers were red,
I could kick my heels over my head
When I was older my slippers were blue,
But I still could dance the whole night through.
Now I am old, my slippers are black,
I walk to the store and puff my way back.
I get up each morning and dust off my wits
And pick up the paper and read the obits.
If my name is still missing,
I know I'm not dead
So I fix me some breakfast and go back to bed.
Author Unknown