"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Location, Location, Location

Day 5 Topic:
Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub? (Tag: knitcroblo5)

When I'm knitting at home there are two places I do it. In the Hug and on the deck.

Ruth and Lindy enjoy The Hug.

The Hug is my Lazyboy leather recliner. It is the most comfortable chair I've ever had the pleasure of sitting in. It is flanked by an end table on the left. On the right is an Ott Floor Lamp and one of those knitting bag stands with the wooden frame. I usually knit while watching tv or dvds.

I love my deck.

Sweet Hubby was the master designer and builder of it. We, the family, helped. It's a peaceful place with a beautiful view and very comfortable furniture. This year I'm taking advantage of being out there on it as much as possible. I will be planting marigolds in the flower boxes. A couple years ago I discovered that moose and deer don't like marigolds.

When not home I knit practically every where. I knit at the 3 knitting groups I participate in. I always take my knitting with me because I never know when I'm going to be stuck somewhere idle and waiting. I knit in waiting rooms. I knit in line at the DMV. A couple summers ago we went camping and it was so hot out I sat in the north fork of the Coeur d'Alene River while knitting a sock. The yarn was superwash, so I wasn't worried. I take my little sock bag on hikes because with the gimpy leg my hiking ability is limited. When it gets to be too much, I find a nice spot, sit down, and knit while I wait for Sweet Hubby to go on up to the destination and come back. That's what I was doing in this photo. Waiting for the family to come back from hiking beyond where I could go.

Yesterday I knit in McDonalds while I killed some time before my next appointment at Toyota where I knitted while waiting for them to replace the drive belts in my daughters car. I have even knitted while stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway. Knitting keeps the impatience at bay. (Please note, I NEVER knit when the car is moving.). Lately I've even been knitting while riding as a passenger in a car. I never could do that when I was younger. It always made me sick. So this is a nice development.

I'm a knitter, and proud of it.


A New Skill

Day 4 Topic:

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? Maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork? (Tag: knitcroblo4)

There is a skill very loosely related to knitting I don't just hope to learn, but plan to learn, Quilting. It is related to knitting in that fabric is involved as well as making something larger (the quilt) out of something smaller (the pieces). I seem to have an affinity for that kind of crafting.

Magic Stack-n-Whack QuiltsOver the years I have collected just a few books on quilting-both how to's and patterns that I find fascinating. I have the tools because I've done a lot of sewing in my lifetime. I just need fabric and some time. I've set a 'goal' to start learning quilting when I turn 60 years old. I know myself too well. If I don't make it a goal, it will never happen.

The type of quilting I'm most interested in is Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts I am always intrigued by kaleidoscopic patterns. That's what you get with Stack-n-Whack. It's done by stacking several layers of the quilting fabric a certain way, then cutting the pieces with a rotary cutter. You end up with stacks of pieces all with the same spot in the fabric print on them. It looks like fun. Wow, after thinking about it I wanna get some fabric!


I have been working on the Navy Textured sweater pretty frequently. It's coming along nicely. The issue about what size needle I made the swatch with kept bothering me so I did stop and make another swatch using the size 8 needle. Unfortunately I did do the original test swatch with the size 6. However, I calculated what the resulting size will be if I just leave things as they are (on size 8) and it will only be an inch wider which is within tolerable limits for the size ease on this particular design.

Since I was changing things, I decided to take out the garter sections and replace them with a different horizontal stripe texture. I'll get more into that when I've taken some pics.

Oh yes, and I threw the new swatch in the wash. The yarn feels like wool, it has bits of plant matter in it and even feels like there's a bit of lanolin in it, but when I did the burn test I got acrylic melt (a blob of plastic). It must be an acrylic/wool blend. I wish there was a label to tell me. I decided to find out what sort of care it's going to require. It washed up just fine in my washing machine and did very well in the dryer. It has softened up a bit too.  I'm very pleased with it. So I shall carry on with the sweater knitting.

Have a nice evening.


One Great Knitter

Day 3 Topic: Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way. (Tag code knitcroblo3)

Wow! Just one? Okay then. But this is just one of many in my book.

I call Cookie A my sock goddess. I have never, in my 40 plus years of knitting, had the visceral reactions to sock designs like I do with hers. There's just something about them. I get very excited when I see them. They fuel my creative fire.

For one thing, she likes to knit with lots of texture. She's not really one for a lot of color changes in her designs. Since that's what I prefer to do myself, well, we're kindred spirits.

Another reason why I love her socks is because she has an amazing talent for putting different kinds of stitch patterns together. She has combined patterns that I would never have thought would look great together. She knows just exactly how to place the patterns so they curve around, over, and/or up the foot and leg to maximize the attractiveness. The way she does this leaves me in awe.

Cookie A also has the ability to tell what sort of designs look best with what sorts of yarn colorways. What goes best with muted variegated, semi solid, bright hand paints, etc. or if you should stick with a solid color. For instance, a really brightly colored variegated sock yarn does not do a highly textured pattern any justice. In fact, it makes the stitch pattern a complete waste of time because the colors take your eye away from the texture rendering it almost invisible. And yet the Monkey sock looks amazing done in brightly colored variegated yarn. How does she know it's gonna do that?

I have found the way she writes her patterns and explains how to do things fairly clear and easy to understand. That is the hardest part about writing patterns, putting into words how to do the actions so people can repeat what you've done. 

Lest you think her patterns are extremely difficult, think again. I've found most of them to be considerably easier than they look. The first of her patterns I did was the infamous famous extremely popular Monkey socks. I really thought I was not going to be able to take that one for KIPing. I was quite surprised at how easily I was able to memorize the stitch pattern.

Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-of-a-Kind SocksCookie A has a web site where she sells her sock patterns. She also has free ones posted on various sites that can easily be found just by Googling her name.

Cookie A's first book, Sock Innovation, has 15 wonderfully textured sock designs for the sock knitting addict. I love every single one of them. I have but two complaints about the book. 

1) the socks come in only one size-womens medium. She mentions how to size up and down for other sizes, but not in any detail. Some of the designs are complicated enough that it is hard to resize them without very careful calculations. They would be more accessible to knitters who can't do this if she did more than one size. I kind of wish she'd go to the trouble, but I understand why she doesn't. It's a lot of work.

2) is not necessarily Cookie A's fault. Of the 15 patterns, 10 of them are full of errors. Who ever proofread the book failed miserably, or the publisher messed around with it (which happens more often than you'd know). So if you decide to purchase this book, please go to the Interweave Press web site and download the errata for this book.

Have a nice evening.

Edit to add:

I have just discovered that Cookie A has a new book coming out soon titled Knit, Sock, Love. I can hardly wait!


What I Aspire to in Knitting

Day 2 Topic: Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so! (Tag knitcroblo2)

I'll be first in line to tell you I don't know everything about knitting. There are so many projects that I consider extremely challenging that I would like to accomplish. Just a few of them are listed here.

The Enchanted Forest Cardigan by Donna Karan has been on my list for a very long time. All those gorgeous aran trees going all the way around. How delightful that would be!

A second one on my list is the Pretty as a Peacock lace shawl by Jae Koscierzynski. I want to do it in the color the model on the pattern cover is done in. Stunningly gorgeous. This one would take a lot of hours for me to do. It just looks like a time taker.

There's a vintage 1940's pattern for a double-bed sized intricately cabled afghan done in DK weight yarn that I even have all the yarn for, waiting patiently in storage for me to get to it.  Any one of Alice Starmore's Shetland Wool Fairisle sweaters and one or two of Kaffe Fassets intarsia coat patterns with the dozens of different colors would be right up my ally for a challenge. Just weaving in all those ends puts me off. I think that would take me longer then the actually knitting of the garments.

Then there's Entrelac. It's probably the only technique I haven't had the courage to tackle yet. Me? Afraid of a knitting technique? You bet! I've tried it a couple times and couldn't get it. So I know it's a doozy for me. Some day I'm gonna conquer that one.

Have a great day!


How I Learned to Knit

 On this first day of Knit & Crochet Blog Week the topic is: How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting?

I wrote about this a couple years ago. I am republishing that post:

I don't have anything to write about yesterday because it was a quiet, boring day for the most part. So I thought I'd write about my knitting history.

When I was 9 years old my father took me down to the local Payless Drug store. He bought me a pair of 14-inch blue Boye size 6 knitting needles, a skein of really ugly worsted weight acrylic gold variegated yarn, and a little book with knitting lessons in it. When we got home he showed me how to cast on and do the knit stitch. Then told me to knit a scarf.

Up until that day, I did not even know my father knew how to knit. So this was all quite a surprise. For years and years I wondered how and where he learned to knit because he'd never told me. My father is not one to talk about himself. However, whenever he did talk about knitting, it was stories from his army days about knitting socks while sitting in a fox hole. So I assumed that's where he learned. It wasn't until just a few years or so ago I found out he'd learned to knit from his father, who learned from his father, who learned from his father, on down the line. (I had no brothers, so I got lucky.)

Needless to say, I LOVED it! I worked on that scarf until I ran out of yarn. Unfortunately, I needed a second ball to finish it. I hated the color so much I never got around to asking for that second ball-so I never finished the scarf. Instead, I talked my Mom into getting me 2 skeins of purple and white variegated (see? I've always loved purple). With this new yarn, and my little How To book, I learned the purl stitch. I knit a whole scarf in stockinette stitch, and used the book to learn how to bind off. I was HOOKED.

I used to carry my knitting around with me in a little basket. I even took it to school and worked on it on the school bus and during my lunch break. It took weeks and weeks for me to knit that scarf. I don't remember what the other kids thought about this. I must not have cared.

Over the years I have often wondered why? Why did he decide that day to teach me how to knit? I think I might know the answer. Earlier that year I'd been hanging out in the Cherry tree in the front yard, eating cherries. The branch I was standing on broke. I fell out and landed flat on my back, fracturing it. The fact that I can walk around today is a miracle.

Injuring my back severely curtailed my physical activity, pretty much for the rest of my life. I think my Dad taught me to knit because he saw that I needed something to do while sitting around. Whatever the reason, I'm thankful for what he did because knitting has given me many many hours of joy.


 And now for a current WIP. Over the weekend I started the sweater for my son-in-law. It's kind of a gansey style sweater.

 I like the design very much. It's got nice patterning in it, but it's not difficult patterning. All three stitch patterns are simple and easily memorized. That makes it somewhat portable. At the same time, not so easy that I'll get bored. It's got nice classic lines so I think he'll be pleased with it.

I am using a Navy Blue tweed yarn that I found in the stash. I will from here on refer to it as the Navy Textured sweater.

It has not been without trouble. First of all, I'm not sure about the test swatch. I thought I used my size 8 needles for the swatch and got perfect gauge. However, now I'm not so sure. 

On Friday evening I went to get the size 6 needles to knit the welt ribbing as instructed. I definitely walked into the sun room, took the 6's out of the case, and returned to my chair where I then cast on for the back and did the ribbing. The next day, out on the deck, in the sunshine, I was ready to start the first stitch pattern section. I needed to change to the size 8's. I got 4 rows into it before I noticed I hadn't changed needles so I had to frog back to the welt. I went back into the house to get the size 8 needles, which I thought were on the table next to my chair, but weren't. I can't find them. I've searched everywhere I can think of, including all my knitting bags, under the chair, under the table, all over the house-everywhere! I can't find the 24-inch size 8 Addi Turbos I think I used.

So, now I'm wondering if perhaps I imagined the part where I went and got the size 6 and perhaps actually knit that swatch with the 6's, not the 8's. Clearly, I'm feeling like I've lost my mind. I will continue to feel that way until I find my 8's.

Have a good day.


Knitting & Crochet Blog Week

The Cat Hat has been finished, blocked, washed, dried, and delivered to the birthday girl. She loves it, which is one of the things that makes knitting fun.

Modeled by daughter Ruth

Cat Hat for Sarah

Witch Cats Hat by Christine de Savoie
Size: Adult
Yarn: Lustersheen by Coats and Clark (vintage) in White and Peacock Blue/Cotton Classic by Tahki Yarns in Black
100% Acrylic/100% Cotton
Addi Turbo Circular size 3 and 5.
Cast on: April 8, 2010
Bound off: April 20, 2010

Comments: I'm glad I decided to do this pattern. I re-educated myself on the techniques for knitting Fairisle so it was a good project to do. I don't enjoy knitting Fairisle as much as I did when I was young, but I can still do it.

The pattern for this hat is very very well written. I'd recommend it for those who are Fairisle beginners.

I enjoyed working with the yarn too. Lustersheen, circa 1970's, was a very nice yarn. I do not know if it still is though. I haven't seen it in any stores around here to find out. 

Just for fun, I took a before blocking pic:

and an after blocking pic:


There is something I discovered yesterday that I want to let y'all know about. I ran across a group on Ravelry for bloggers, which I have joined. They have been organizing an internet event for all knitters and crocheters who want to join. 

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week begins tomorrow. I've joined it.
We have one week of specific topics to blog about which are listed on the official blog. It starts tomorrow. For more information you can go to the official blog, or visit the Ravelry Group.

Have a great day. 


Doing My Part to Support the Economy

I have done some stash enhancement this week. We got our tax refund. I have unapologetically spent some of it. First, I ordered the latest colorway of sock yarn from Impulse of Delight.

It's called River Rock. A bit of mossy green, rusty red, rocky grays, sandy gold, muddy browns. The pictures do not do it justice. It's so gorgeous in real life.

On Wednesday my daughter pointed this out to me. She's an enabler now.

It's Trailsock by Fleece Artist in Purples, Greens, a bit of Gold, and all in the same beautiful skein!

On Thursday I was on a quest to find some eyeglass holder findings. I didn't find any, and I looked everywhere so it's internet ordering for me. I did find two books at Joann's that I absolutely had to have.

The Little Box of Socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott has some really nice patterns in it. They use several weights of yarns (fingering, dk, worsted, etc) and a nice variety of stitch patterns.

I have been reluctant to purchase this because it's usually wrapped up in shrink wrap to prevent theft of the cards inside. I don't like to buy patterns unseen. Joann's was kind enough to let me look inside. My favorite pattern in the box? This one.

The new Trailsock above would look great in this.

They had the Vogue Knitting Shawls and Wraps.

Some of everything in here from Lace to Aran in triangles, circles, rectangles, squares. It's a collection of the best patterns from the magazine.

So there you have it. My little bit to help our country out.

Have a great day.


Whew! Big Cat!

We are having big cat problems on the Parkarosa (I've been wondering where all the moose have gone). Earlier this evening my niece heard a big cat (cougar or linx) killing someones dog, or perhaps a coyote, up on the hill just behind her house. That's all we need. A cougar sneaking around. As I've said before, they're one of the few wild animals I'm actually afraid of because there isn't really anything you can do if you run into one who wants to attack you. One of my nephews is going to see if he can track it down tomorrow. I suspect he'll shoot it if he finds it. In the meantime, the fur boys are on lock-down. They can only go out accompanied by a human. And no running around the yard at night. I've put the safety gate up. As beautiful as they are, big cats are scary and have an appetite for small dogs.

We've been having the most wonderful weather the past couple days. It actually got up into the upper 70's. I've done a great deal of knitting outside on the deck. I finished knitting the cat hat this evening. I will not take pics until I've blocked it first. I need to find something to put it on to block it.

I found I enjoy fairisle if I can do it outdoors to the sounds of birds singing. I also read up on fairisle in a couple books which helped me do it better. That might have something to do with liking it more too. I haven't done very much fairisle knitting since college. I'm out of practice. I do it by throwing both colors with the right hand. I can do the one-color-in-one-hand-the-other-color-in-the-other-hand method, but I don't like doing it that way. Doing both colors in the same hand is slower, but more comfortable for me.

I'm glad the hat is done cos now I can start a sweater for my son-in-law. I should probably finish one of the pairs of socks I'm working on first, but I like taking socks for KIPing, so that's what I'll do.

I'm about half done with the lace shrug. I'm really enjoying it. I can do the 6 row stitch pattern without even thinking now. It's coming along nicely.

Have a nice evening.


Knitting WIPS for This Week

I have finished the first Blackberry Rick sock. Oh, do I ever love it!

These socks have a left and a right. I finished the right one.

Here's the other side.

Off the blocker.

I can hardly wait to get started on the left one.

Yesterday I took my car and our Echo in for tune ups and regular maintenance (Ruth helped. I can't drive two cars at once). I decided to take truly brainless knitting for the day. I got considerable amounts done on the first of my Star Trek socks because I ended up waiting 3.5 hours for my car instead of the expected 45 minutes.

Turned out it needed a whole lot more than just a tune up.

Last weekend I started a fairisle hat.

 I'm using some Coats and Clarks Luster Sheen I've had in the stash forever. Those are dancing cats, in case you can't tell.

I've made some progress on the lace shrug.

I sure get a lot of compliments on the yarn when I KIP this project. Too bad it's discontinued. I got the yarn at the Knitwits meeting (it was a donation). However, while digging around in the stash earlier this week I ran across a whole bag of it in the same exact color! I don't remember getting it, or how I got it. Someone must have given it to me or something though. It definitely didn't come to me as a brand new purchase cos some of the skeins look a bit used.  Anyway, it's pretty and nice to work with.

The weather is absolutely gorgeous today. Our first real 70 degree day. I am dying to get outside so I will sign off now.

Have a good day.