Sunday, December 13, 2015

The evolution of a scarf

I haven't been knitting much lace in the last year because of the tremors I had developed and it was difficult to knit intricate patterns.  It was just too bothersome to get the needle through the correct stitch. But I mentioned this problem to my doctor and he had a miracle cure: a very low dose of a Beta blocker. Low and behold, the shaking stopped. It's amazing what little inconvenient things can crop up once you've hit 75. Luckily all my ailments are mechanical; no heart, blood pressure, kidney, etc. problems, just plain old arthritis and those darn "essential tremors." They really ought to be renamed "non-essential" since one really doesn't need them.

I am a sucker for Knit-Alongs. So this year, I decided to knit Unikatissima's Advent Calendar.  I had two yarns from which to choose, a lace-weight Alpaca and a light fingering hand-spun Shetland/Alpaca. Here are my swatches:
 This is the lace-weight Alpaca

Since it was a particularly cool day, I chose the Shetland/Alpaca mix. Besides, there are few occasions in my life style where I would benefit from a delicate and elegant shawl.

Day 1 looked like this:
Day 2:
Day 10:

Day 12:
This is the insert in the middle of the scarf to lengthen it to your liking. The nice thing about Susann's patterns is that they are adaptable and one can make them wider, narrower, or knit them with a cotton yarn to make a table runner. I am seriously thinking about knitting her 2014 Advent Calendar as a table runner.

Since it is still December 13, I am now sitting down and knitting the 18 rows, a manageable daily portion.

Knit on, merrily.

Friday, October 9, 2015

And another sweater!

I can't believe it, but I have entered the stage of knitting sweaters willingly. I've always knit them for charity, but rarely for myself.  Well that had to change. 

So here is my second winter pullover. Barbara Walker's book on knitting from the top down mysteriously reappeared from the netherworld of my knitting book library. I have no idea when I bought the book, but it has been several years ago. I must have looked at it, saw that it was nothing but text and, therefore, put it aside quickly. This German likes her charts. Give me a chart and I am ready to go. On the other hand give me text, and I'll avoid it like the plague.

Last winter (early 2014) I decided that I needed to conquer this short-coming of mine. I had a five-ball bag of Regia Hand-dye Effect sock yarn which I picked up for very little at Little Knits  and thus this sweater was born. It did end up in a corner for a good year, before I decided maybe I needed to continue with it since I wasn't going to knit socks with the yarn. About midway through, a skein of hand-dyed grass green sock yarn made it's appearance by peaking out of a pile of yarn. And thus the green stripes were born. I call it yarn doodling instead of doodling on paper during those long ago boring staff meetings in which I tried to emulate the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.

(I assume by now you have figured out that I am not the most organized person. I used to blame it on the cat, but, alas, he is no longer around. Sammy used to carry off yarn to his own special hiding place.)

The pullover is a dream to wear. It is light weight, warm and fits well.  I may just have to use Barbara Walker's instructions again, provided I remember where I put the book.

I added two things to the instructions. A series of short-rows right after I joined the front and back together to compensate for my slightly rounded back. I also added a few stitches on both sides of the front to accommodate my ample bosom. And finally, I finished with picot edgings around the neck, hem and sleeves.

 Knit on! Merrily.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I've been busy preparing for winter. It's going to get cold around here, the snow is going to pile up and the heating bill can only be kept down by wearing warm sweaters. When I first came to the United States all those many years ago, every house I entered was overheated in my opinion. But gradually the thermometer in my house went up and air conditioning was installed and turned on the moment summer temperatures appeared. Now I am back to what it was like years ago: the air conditioning was not turned on this summer and the winter heat is set at 62 degrees F. Thus the need for warm woolly things. And I was a lucky woman. My not so local yarn store (not much is local around here) had a "clean up the store" sale. If you bought three bags of yarn, the purchase was 50% off. This meant, of course, that I could buy yarn after which I had lusted for a long time. Bunny yarn or more formally called Angora yarn. Yippee. I was able to get my hands on a bunch of Knitting Fever Angora (70% Angora, 25% Merino and 5% Nylon). It is soft, light weight and warm. It is just right for the milder Fall weather and when deep winter comes along, a Tee underneath will keep this old woman warm.

I chose Heidi Kirrmaier's Simple Summer Tweed Top Down V-neck as the basic pattern with changes needed for my ample bosom. As usual I added stitches once the depth of the arm was knitted. The other problem I have to deal with is my somewhat rounded back. Normal patterns always make the back appear a little shorter than the front. The idea came to me to add some short rows in the back which worked out beautifully. I started the short rows right after I had joined the body at the underarms. So now I have a "drapey", sloppily comfortable sweater. 

Now if I could just straighten up that posture of mine.

Knit on! Merrily.

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Socks

Some more of the socks I've knit in the past year-and-a-half.

These were knit with a strand of Cascade 220 Fingering and a strand of Regia Creativ. The Regia yarn was a sock blank died by Regia. It's the yarn I love to hate. Sock blanks aren't my favorite to begin with, but these were dyed at a diagonal with one color at either end of the blank and the second color in the middle, which actually knits up to half the sock in one color and the foot in the second color. Weird! But at a sale price of about $2 per100 grams, I just couldn't pass up the bargain. When mixed with the  Cascade it doesn't look too bad.

The pattern is the basic sock pattern I have known since "Hector was a Pup." The leg is a simple cuff of k2, p2 and the rest of the leg k3, p1. The foot is knit with a flap heel (my favorite) and the toes are knit with the following formula: No. of stitches on one of the four double point needles less 2 stitches. If each of the four needles holds 14 stitches, the formula is as follows: 14-2+12. Dividing the 12 stitches by 2 = 6. Decrease 4 stitches every other row six times, then decrease the same no. of stitches every row until 2 stitches remain on each needle. Break off yarn, pull yarn through the remaining 8 stitches, tighten and pull end of yarn to the wrong side and sew in. If the stitches on the needle are an uneven no., e.g. 15 stitches, decrease 7 times x every other row and  6 times every row. Simple and no Kitchener stitch.

The second pair, a pair of knee socks,  is also knit with 2 strands of yarn; one strand of light worsted JoJoland Baritone (a leftover from a sweater I knit for a girl at the Akkol orphanage) and 1 strand Knitpicks Stroll Heathers and Twists sock yarn. I inserted a 2x2 left leaning cable with 1 purl stitch on each side of the cable and 6 stitches stockinette in between the cables. The cables are my own design; I think the overall sock pattern was someone else's idea but darn if I remember where I saw it.

As always "Knit on!", merrily.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Some eye candy of finished socks

My sock knitting came to a standstill when I decided that this woman needed some sweaters and tops, but I realized that I have neglected to post any socks I knit during 2014 and the beginning of 2015. So here are some photos of socks that have gone or will go to the orphanages in Kazakhstan.
These boot socks were knit with left-over Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed together with one strand of Regia Design Line Garden Effect. The pattern is fashioned after the Wisconsin Winter Socks pattern.
I am calling these socks “Doodles” because that was exactly what I was doing: doodling. After getting ready to pack a batch of socks for the Motherless Child Foundation, aka Mittens-for-Akkol, I was at loose ends and didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with this yarn. None of the thousands of patterns on Ravelry enticed me nor came I across a pattern in my vast collection of sock pattern books. So I just started to knit.
Pattern: Cast on 56 stitches, 14 stitches per needle. Cuff k1, p1 for 14 rows. 1. 4 rows stockinette. 2. For next two rows purl across first needle of 14 stitches, knit next 14 stitches; repeat one more time. 3. Knit 2 rows. 4. Repeat #2. 5. For the next six rows on fiirst needle: p2, k2 across 14 stitches, ending with p2, knit 2nd needle; repeat once more. 6. Repeat #2. 7. Repeat #3. 8. Repeat #2. Repeat 1-8 as often as needed for the leg.
Just a plain pair of socks knit with Regia Creativ yarn.

Until next time. "Knit on, merrily."


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Breezy Comfort

While talking to my son the other day, I was told that some knitters in the Tacoma, Washington area wanted me to update my blog. I can't believe it, but the last time I posted was in 2013. Ravelry and Facebook have taken over. 

A lot has happened since then. I've gotten two years older, the bones in my spine want me to know that I have a spine and that it's not very happy. After being my constant companion for 15 years I have lost my beloved Pepe Le Pew, the rat terrier. He was approximately 16-1/2 years old. He was suffering from kidney failure and dementia and was just as stubborn and independent as his owner. I adopted him from the parking lot of the prison at which I worked and didn't regret it one single day. 

Besides life happening, I've been, of course, knitting. Socks and sweaters for the kids in the Kazakhstan orphanages, shawls and scarves for one of my daughters, and this year, sweaters and tees for myself. 'Twas about time. Our not so local yarn shop had a "clean up the shop" sale. If you bought three packs of yarn (each bag the same color and dye lot) you got 50% off. Now how can a knitter pass up such an opportunity. 

One of the treasures I found was a boucle yarn called Yardley by Bristol Yarn Gallery, an Alpaca/Silk yarn. I had been coveting it for some time. The yarn knitted up into a light weight, drapy, but warm cardigan that will be just perfect for the fall here in Northern Michigan where the white stuff usually starts flying in October. The pattern is free from Drops (, a Scandinavian yarn company and is called I had to make some slight changes to the front and I made it a little longer so it would warm my derriere when the weather gets colder. All in all I am pleased with it.

I have learned something new in the past few months as far as shaping is concerned. I have fairly narrow shoulders, but my bust is ample. That leaves me with two possibilities: Have the neck so wide that it falls off my shoulders, but fits my bust or have the neck fit properly, but the garment is too small to fit across my front. If I knit from the top down, I use a smaller size, but increase stitches either across the front or on the sides of the front only, depending on the pattern.

Both the Breezy Comfort and the Gemini tee are knit with increases across the front. By the way, the Gemini pattern can be found on It was knit with a very well aged bamboo sock yarn. 

So folks this is all for now. As Elizabeth Zimmermann used to say "Knit on!" To that I add "merrily."