12 August 2010

Dog Days of Summer and Preparing for Winter

First the preparation part. I just finished sewing the buttons on this adorable "romper" from Dale of Norway. It's located in Book # 203 and is pattern 20302. Since they don't name their patterns, that's all I can tell you! I knit it Baby Ull, color 5701, an Ice Blue. There's a simple-to-knit little pattern at the leg cuffs, and then again around the bodice. But, correct me if I'm wrong - I think there is a big mistake in their pattern. (Not that I've ever written a pattern with mistakes! Ha!)

There's a little chart with symbols, but basically, Row 1 is the Right Side and all knit. Row 2 (Wrong Side) all knit again. So now we have 2 rows garter stitch. Row 3 (RS) reads "Knit 1, slip 1 st on RS (okay, I'm working on RS, so just slip one stitch) with yarn at WS". (Slip stitch with yarn held away from me on WS). (Knit, slip, knit, slip.) Now comes Row 4 (WS) - Knit 1, "slip 1 st on WS with yarn at RS". (Slip 1 stitch on WS, where I am, and with yarn on RS which is away from me, again.) Following those directions, the slipped stitches on Row 3 are at the back and the slipped stitches on Row 4 are at the front giving a pattern that looks like this:

However, when closely examining the photo of the little cardigan that goes with this set and can be knit with up to three colors, it's obvious that all the slipped stitches should be on the Wrong Side. (Slight, grrrr.) It's still a cute little pattern, but I'll have to change it when I knit the cardigan in white and ice blue.

This will be a nice and warm little romper for Caleb when he's born into an Omaha autumn, followed closely by an Omaha winter! All that is to come is hard to imagine when we've been having a very Houstonian summer. The Weather Channel is on now..."hot and humid...". But the weather is supposed to break tomorrow with a high of 82. Yippee!

And so on to the dog days of summer:

The bum at the top left is Jessie, with Keltie hugging her new friend from Virginia, Joy. Mornings around here are interesting with three dogs needing to go out and then being fed. But, at least they get along well together!

30 July 2010

Mr. Sock Meets Lord Kitchener in Kansas City

The sock is complete! And for all you two-at-a-time-on-circular people, yes, I know, ONE sock is complete. I was pushing for a Kansas City finish line and just made it. I tried to get a photo of the sock with the "Welcome to Kansas City" sign, but it flew past us too quickly. (Or rather, we flew past it...)

So now we're home. Ashley is in the upstairs guest room for now. Her permanent residence will be my studio as soon as we can clear out some yarn, and books, and patterns, and loom, and did I say yarn? I'll have photos of that, even though the disarray in my studio is very embarrassing at the moment. But for now, it's just good to be home. Dave says he and I logged over 1600 miles in the last 5 days. (Five days and all I have is a few photos from the gate at an airport, and from the inside of a car. This was not a sight-seeing trip.)

28 July 2010

Mr. Sock is a Heel

Mr. Sock became a heel somewhere in Kentucky, or Indiana, or Illinois. Definitely before Missouri. Since this photo there's a finished gusset, too.

Let's see, I'm a day behind on our trip. Yesterday we left sunny Virginia Beach and headed west on I-64. In an 8-hour day we drove through Virginia, West Virginia and just into Kentucky. We might have made better time except for traveling with a 7-month pregnant lady and her beagle. Thank goodness there was Cullahan's Pub and Grill in Ashland, KY, AND the bartender could pour a really fine Black and Tan!

This morning we started out at 8:30 and were making great time until all traffic stopped. Not moving. Not creeping forward. Stopped. Then bit, by bit we started inching forward. At one point we were even with the cab of an 18-wheeler and I yelled up to the driver, "So, why are we having so much fun?" He answered, but with the cheek of chew and the noise of the engine I missed most of it. I did get, "...exit at 96 and get back on at 94." Well, there was promise with that, since exit 94 held the first Starbucks of the morning. Several hours later we passed the same truck, again. He must have gone beyond us during one of our many stops. Then miles and miles down the road we saw him pulled over by an Indiana State Trooper. Poor guy. And then, yet again, we passed him in Illinois. So, if any of you know a friendly truck driver for Magnum, who wears a straw cowboy hat, but he seems grumpy tonight, buy him a beer from us. (I'll be good for the money!)

I've never been through St. Louis and I was pleasantly surprised at how cool the Gateway Arch looks. It's fun that you can see it from miles away, and then I-64 passes right next to it. But where does everyone live? We drove 20 miles west of the city in heavy traffic the whole time. No one seemed to be exiting the highway, and we didn't see a single street of houses or development. Farmland, yes. Houses, nope.

So, tonight we are in O'Fallon Missouri, not O'Fallon Illinois, which is a few miles back. I thought it seemed like an extraordinarily long day, but the car clock said 5:20. Then it dawned on me that we were in Central Time, once more,so it was 6:20 to us.

Ashley has been fed. Joy, the beagle has been fed. Hopefully they can both get to sleep, soon. And that's were I'm headed. Missouri to Kansas City, then up to Iowa, and finally Omaha tomorrow.

27 July 2010

Mr. Sock Goes to Washington

I thought I'd make Dave happy and knit a pair of "Steeler Socks" for him since, as I've been reminded repeatedly, "Training camp starts this weekend." This yarn has been in my stash for several years (Lorna's Laces Bee Stripe Sock Yarn), but I've forgotten about it every year until football season is half-way through. At that point I'm doing the crazy-Christmas-knitting-dance, so I keep promising myself that I'll be more timely the next year, then the next year, then... Well, this is the year. The yarn is lovely to work with and he's thrilled . Here I am (okay, my left hand) at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, waiting to fly to Chicago-Midway, and then on to Washington Dulles:

I'm happy with the beginning. They'll just be basic stockinette socks with a k2p2 ribbing. Then next to me sits Sue who pulls these from her bag:

Swedish Fish Socks by Spilly Jane. Sue graciously allows me to capture her left hand and these yummy socks.

Oh, my...they're just too fun! I can't wait to get back home and get the pattern and yarn to make some for myself!

And now my little Ode to the Steelers socks are looking like a poor relation.

This is the trip to get Ashley and bring her to Omaha. She and Phillip are expecting their first baby in October, but he's being deployed next week. So little Caleb Patrick will be born in Nebraska with Grandma being the coach. Wait...what?

Maybe that's why I'm just concentrating on simple knitting. One stitch, one stitch, one stitch, change needle, repeat. More on Mr. Sock, Ms. Ashley, and training camp (!) to follow.

14 July 2010

Wicked Beautiful

Wicked: We had a big thunder/rain/wind storm just pass through here. At first it looked like we'd be between two storms, but they joined. Then it looked as if it would be a narrow band and pass by quickly, but it grew and grew. Some of the winds were clocked at 74+ mph. Then, as if that wasn't enough for the evening, the active lightning-producing storm south of us pushed it's edge right over us.

Beautiful: When things finally started to settle down at 8:30 P.M., there was still some sun off to the west, creating this...

...a double, complete rainbow. I wish I had a wide-angle lens. I couldn't capture all of it. The sky looks bizarre, but that was the real color at the time. We, like many of our neighbors were on our deck and front lawn, just staring at this sight.

Both arcs spread across the horizon from ground to ground. (One of the pleasures of living in the Great Plains. Massive vistas.)

Just had to share this awe inspiring moment.

12 July 2010

Hat With Heart

What was I thinking at the end of yesterday's post? Quit knitting?! Get serious! I might as well not breathe.

And so I present a new pattern, Hat With Heart:

Those who know me well have seen me knit quite a few of these for The Ships Project, a massive group of crafters who have hand made hundreds of thousands (really) of items for our deployed troops. I designed this pattern a few years ago and like the rapid decreases in the crown. Not only is it an easy-to-remember pattern (perfect for road trips or plane rides), it also has a contemporary feel.

Here's the free pattern. It's also on Ravelry here.

Hat With Heart

For many years I have joined hundreds of knitters who have knit thousands of hats for our troops through The Ships Project . This is the hat pattern that I developed and use. The military requires that there be no cuff, but there are many organizations that need hats for civilians, as well. Please knit a hat for someone you love, and then a hat for a stranger, whatever the cause, need, or group.


· Worsted weight yarn, approx. 150 -200 yds

For hat in the round:

· One 16” circular needle, size 8, or size required to get gauge

One set double-pointed needles, size 8, or the same as the circular needle

For flat hat:

· One pair knitting needles, size 8, or size required to get gauge

· Stitch marker

· Scissors

· Darning needle

Size – to fit average adult head, 20”-24” Gauge 4 sts/in, stretched slightly

Abbreviations & Stitches Used

CO – cast on; K – knit; k2tog –knit two together; p – purl; p2tog – purl two together; rep – repeat;

rnd – round; st(s) – stitch(es)

(Try this: 7-8 yds are needed for the decrease rounds/rows. Measure this amount from yarn end, tie a knot to mark remaining amount for crown. There will certainly be enough to complete hat.)

Hat (in the round)

CO 88 sts. Join in the round, being careful not to twist stitches. (Try this: Cast on one extra stitch. When joining in the round for the first row, knit together the last cast on stitch with the first cast on stitch. This makes a firm join without the usual “gap”.)

Place marker at beg of round.

Next Rnd: *K2, p2; rep from * to marker.

Continue with this pattern until the hat measures 8” for hat without cuff, or 11” for hat with cuff.

Decrease Rounds (change to double-pointed needles when there are too few sts for circular needle)

Rnd 1: *K2, p2tog; rep from * to marker. (66 sts)

Rnd 2: *K2, p1; rep from * to marker.

Rnd 3: *K2tog, p1; rep from * to marker. (44 sts)

Rnd 4: *K1, p1; rep from * to marker.

Rnd 5: K2tog for complete round to marker. (22 sts)

Rnd 6: K to marker.

Break yarn, leaving a 10” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts and pull tightly. Secure to keep crown tight. Weave in all ends.

Hat (flat)

CO 90 stitches.

Row 1 (RS): *K2, p2; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 2: *P2, k2; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Rep Rows 1 and 2 until the hat measures 8” for hat without cuff, or 11” for hat with cuff.

Decrease Rounds

Row 1: *K2, p2tog; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2. (68 sts)

Row 2: *P2, k1; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Row 3: *K2tog, p1; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2tog. (45 sts)

Row 4: *P1, k1; rep from * to last st, p1.

Row 5: K2tog across row to last st, k1. (23 sts)

Row 6: Purl.

Break yarn, leaving a 18” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts and pull tightly. Secure to keep crown tight. Seam down hat, using one stitch from each side as seam allowance. Weave in all ends.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved – Lynn Anne Banks

This pattern is provided for your personal, non-commercial use (don’t sell hats from this pattern at the Farmers’ Market!) and may not be resold. Please do share it, though, and encourage others to knit for charity.

I hope you enjoy this, and will consider knitting a "donation hat".

11 July 2010

Love the One (or City) You're With

It's been a glorious weekend in Omaha, starting with coffee and news on the deck:

No, I'm really not scowling. Dave wouldn't let me put on my sunglasses.

After reading all that the Omaha World-Herald has to tell us, we took a ride downtown to the Farmers' Market in the Old Market section of town. Lots of local vegetables, lots of bake goods (ooohh, baklava!) and lots of music. This was a group playing some Cajun tunes. They had high hopes with that large pail for tips!

The Old Market is filled with these old buildings (many of which were once warehouses) turned condos. And look ... a fellow sitting there playing the clarinet.

Great window boxes. (Excuse the No-This-and-That sign.)

And, finally, a shot of a small section of the market, itself. AND, another clarinetist! This young man is much improved since last summer!

Maybe I should give up the knitting gig and go to work for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce!

07 July 2010


Yay! A new pattern is finally out! I'm calling it Cubicle and have the pattern available on Ravelry. This has been a long time coming. The Silk Garden version was knit as my Knitting Olympics challenge. Then I thought it would be good to have a solid version. (Note to self: It's even more difficult getting a second afghan knit than a second sock!)

I love this color #84!

Now on to more...I have a bunch of ideas, and want to get started right away with a baby blanket pattern for Ashley's baby.

I hope everyone's summer is going along nicely. It's hard to believe that the first week of July is a thing of the past!

07 June 2010

Still Kickin'

(Hunh. I started writing this on June 7, but needed to be away from my laptop for a few days. It seems I can't fix the date. It's now June 16. One more of those mysterious computer moments!)

It's been an unusual last couple of weeks, and that seemed to sap my creativity. (Thanks to those of you who have been checking in and waiting for the next post!) I did keep knitting (well, duh), but really enjoyed following patterns written by others! I just finished these:

Little Dude jeans called Blu from Knitty - Winter '05, and designed by Christina Bernardi Shiffman and Kay Gardiner, the Mason-Dixon Knitters. My example was knit following the 3-6 month directions and will be good for Ashley's (DD3) due-in-October baby, Caleb. There's a happy/sad story to this...

Ashely's hubby, Phillip, is set to be deployed in August, so she'll be moving to Omaha while he's away. That means...she'll be here for Caleb's birth...and we'll have a newborn in this house! Hopefully, Phillip will be able to get "leave" to be here for the birth, but I'll be getting geared up to become the substitute coach! (Exciting, though I do break out in nervous sweats at times!)

I was thinking of keeping these jeans as a surprise for Ashley, but they're just too darn cute not to share! It would be fun to make them "girlie", if needed, with some embroidery. Maybe hearts on the back pockets, or flowers up the legs.

Now I want to knit up a bigger size for Adam. He can wear them in the fall, and then share with his cousin when they're too small for him.

Speaking of Adam...He's 9 weeks old now, and according to Anne, he's a big bunch of smiles and coo's. (Repeat after me, "Awwww.")

(Since I started writing this post I have completed a couple other items. Pictures to follow, shortly.)

21 May 2010


So, it seems I'll be knitting for two grandsons now. Ashley had her ultrasound yesterday, and it is definitely an unashamed boy! That will be lots of fun for everyone (well, maybe not to big-sister Audrey!) to have two cousins just 6 months apart in age! What are your favorite baby boy patterns and/or yarns?

So, yesterday afternoon I treated myself to some fresh flowers:

Seriously, how does Nature manage to create such color? I'd like to spend the whole day just looking at these tulips. They'd like it, too!

Well, I can look at them while knitting on this beauty:

Patina by Rick Mondragon from Knitter's magazine, Spring 2010. Sally of String of Purls (also of the Big Louie post) made this bolero as a shop project. Then Judy whipped up one. Now I'm hooked. It's a lovely, speedy-to-knit project. A squared-off bolero. No fuss, but has a perfect fit. I'm following the size medium directions for the number of stitches, but the size large for row count so the ribbing doesn't fall right across my chest. Sally changed up the colors just a bit to match what the shop currently had in stock. (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine - color 1293, Lane Borgosesia Toreador - color 104, Berroco Lumina - color 1610, color 1618, color 1605, color 1620)

Gotta run. My stomach is growling for lunch and the tulips are feeling neglected!

17 May 2010

Wanderings II

1. I found a fun group on Ravelry - Prairie Girl's Guide to Life. It was started by a Mom as her way to spend a entertaining summer with her daughter by making many of the crafts that are mentioned in the "Little House (...in the Big Woods, ...on the Prairie)" series. I've joined, though I don't have a young daughter at home anymore.

2.I've completed my sock design for the Twisted Yarns Sock Club. I'm hoping to get my model (she's a young knitter/nurse friend of mine who loves the model title!) to wear them for photos today. It's a beautiful Spring day in Omaha. Here is not a sneak peek:

[Photo was here]

I lost my head and jumped the gun. I really don't want a sneak peek out there. Duh.

Oh, Linda-B, you may like this...I checked out your profile and saw that you like all things Robert Frost. I had to smile since all along I've been thinking of this sock as "Two Roads Diverged", thanks to Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken.

3. I just completed the new knitting/mystery novel Moon Spinners, by Sally Goldenbaum. This is her third novel set in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. They're enjoyable books. They sure do make me want to move to a little town full of salty air, great food, resident artists, and life-time friends. The murders that happen in Sea Harbor are just a minor negative in an otherwise blissful community!

The knitting references also seem believable. There aren't any mentions of lace gowns that are knit (without a pattern) in two weeks. I suppose that could possible, but certainly not if you are also an LYS owner with just a couple part-time employees!

Sally, the author, mentions the myth of the Moon Spinners - women/goddesses who wind the light of the moon onto a distaff and then let it out again once a month for a full moon. "The moon spinners were working their rightly magic, winding the strands of moonlight onto their distaffs, moving the world toward darkness. Providing protection in the darkness, or so the legend went." (Moon Spinners, Sally Goldenbaum)

I did a little on-line research last evening. There are many ancient myths with three spinners who spin the full moon. In Greek mythology the goddesses are Selene who is the personification of the moon, Artemis who is the goddess of the hunt, and Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Baltic mythology has Saule, the life-giving sun goddess. This myth connects the Sun and Moon (no Moon phases to see without the Sun's light being reflected at the Earth) as Saule spins the moonbeams. And the Celts have three goddesses (sometimes one goddess at the three different stages of life) of the moon, the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. I didn't find mention of the legend that Sally speaks of, but I'll keep looking. It sounds interesting - especially for fiber fanatics.

4.And, finally, a big, BIG thank you to the readers and followers of this little blog. It amazes me that people take time from their busy lives to check out what's rattling around in my head. I am honored and delighted to have you stop by this site.

"...I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

09 May 2010

New Day, New Phrase

One of the joys of knitting is that there is always something to learn. Yesterday, for instance, brought along the term "rowing out". I knew of the situation, but not the term. If you look at the top rows of this swatch you will see that my rows of stockinette are lumped in pairs of rows. Two rows, gap, two rows, gap. Rowing out:

What a great term! I read that Priscilla Gibson-Roberts coined that phrase. (That may or may not be so. You know, don't believe everything you read!)

It's most apparent on the purl (usually the WS) side, but is also visible on the knit (RS?) as uneven-looking stitches:

Unforgiving fibers, such as cotton, really make rowing out apparent, though it can pop up any time. The trick is to keep your tension even with your knits and purls. TECHknitting has some great tips and strategies here, and Janet of twistedknitter.prettyposies.com has written about rowing out here.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, sliced bread, and seamless gutters, let me tell you that if you use a search engine of your choice and look up "rowing out knitting" you will find many articles and blogs on the subject. For me, I've solved my conflicts with rowing out, more or less, by knitting a row with Continental knit, and then purling a row in the English, or throwing style. My usual Norwegian purl will stretch the purl stitch too much, especially when working on cotton stockinette.

One final website of note is Annie Modesitt and her article on Combined Knitting, or as I've heard it called - Eastern Uncrossed - here. I'm thinking I might want to practice this technique.

Here! Here!

01 May 2010

"Lizard" Wraps

If you've been around me at all, you know that I hate to miss a party. I'm a social-events joiner - and that especially includes KAL's (Knit-A-Longs). All I need to hear is, "Wouldn't it be fun if we all...?" and I'm grabbing my needles, buying yarn, and downloading a pattern.

So I was a sitting duck when I asked my friends from Twisted Yarns some questions about the Lizard Ridge afghan from knitty.com. Did they knit separate squares, strips, or Version 2 - all one color? I heard back from Janet (aka Twisted Knitter) and she suggested a KAL! (Run for the needles, buy yarn, print pattern!) Within minutes we had the Lizard Ridge KAL set up on Twisted Yarn's Ravelry site here.

We were all set to start on May 1, but being the weak person that I am, I jumped ahead. (If this doesn't sound plausible, ask Nancy Bush. I don't think she was too pleased when I jumped ahead in a sock workshop of hers. And Nancy, you were right, I got into a mess!) I'm not a big fan of Wrap and Turn's because the wrap yarn always stretches when I lift it up to knit with the stitch. But I learned something great from my partially finished (I promise, I will finish it!) Hanne Falkenberg Mermaid - you don't have to W&T to get the same effect!

Using the Lizard Ridge pattern, purl to the first W&T location, turn without doing the W&T stuff, yo (as usual, from front to back) and knit the required number of stitches. Now turn as before, without the W&T stuff, yo, and purl the required number of stitches. (This last yo is again from front to back, and then forward again to purl.)

After doing this as the pattern instructs, you will get something that looks like this on the purl side:

It looks like multiples of the gaps that occur in turning a heel of a sock, and you treat them much the same with "closing the gap" by working the two stitches on either side of the gap together. On the purl side, purl the 2 stitches together through the back loop. This can be a little awkward at first, since the needle is going into the two stitches through the back from left to right, but it becomes easier with time:

You need to p2togtbl to get the correct twist to the stitches. If you just p2tog it will look like you forgot a to pick up a wrap.

When closing the gap on the knit side, you just need to knit 2 together in the usual way:

I'm loving this pattern. Way to go, Laura Aylor, the genius designer!

The "egg crate" bumps disappear. "It all comes out in the wash (or blocking)."

Next Generation

Public Service Announcement #1: When at Washington Dulles International Airport, use the security check-point on the lower level. I made it to my gate 55 minutes ahead of others who entered the airport with me, but used the upper-level security.

Public Service Announcement #2: If while traveling you meet up with a 30-something named Echo, run the other way. No details.

I was in the D.C. area a few days ago to meet this fine young man:

My grandson, Adam. This photo was taken the day that my daughter was running her 3 1/2-year old to the doctor's after she got sick in the morning. (Ruptured ear-drum with no mention of pain, etc. Kids.) Grandma was left babysitting, so I got a shot of Adam with Baby Blue.

My grand-daughter, Audrey, isn't so fond of having her picture taken. We bought her a shark towel, since she thinks sharks are grand, and I wanted a post-bath photo of her with the towel. My little Canon has a setting for Kids/Pets that helps, since kids/pets are always on the move. Here are the shots I got of of her:

And then I finally waited until she was walking down the hallway:

Maybe I won't apply for a job with National Geographic. Sure do love those kids, though.

23 April 2010

Roller Coasters

My daughter (the one with the 3 1/2-year old and 9-day old) told me that she felt she was on a roller coaster. Up and down, lots of screaming, and sometimes it helps if you close your eyes! That's just how I've been feeling the last, umm, 22 1/2 hours.

Last evening I was sitting here, calmly eating my tangerine and chipotle tofu (don't snicker) with green beans when I thought someone had fired a gun near me. No gun, just a golfer, trying to muscle his golf ball onto the 8th green, but getting our window instead:

For 14 hours we were trying to convince the golfer that it's best to call his home owner's insurance company. (FYI - accidents like this are considered "third-party liability" and don't carry a deductible. Call your insurance agent.) This window is above our air conditioner unit and we're expecting severe weather tonight and tomorrow, so it needed to be covered before the glass fell and damaged the unit. Finally the golfer realized he couldn't "fix" this and called his agent. So, now we have this:

until the window is ordered and replaced.

Just when I'd had enough and started day-dreaming about the vodka bottle this arrived in the mail:

and, suddenly, the birds were singing, the sun was shining (seriously), and I poured myself a Diet Coke. My liver thanks Elisabeth of Wolles Yarn Creations for rescuing it! Too beautiful for words. Elisabeth offers this yarn on Etsy. Color Changing Cotton yarn, 4-ply, 480 yds/100 gr each ball of lace-weight perfection. This color that I grabbed is called Lights and Lights II - balls wound in reverse directions. I can't wait to swatch!

So, now that the little grey cloud over my head has cleared...and I get to pack a suitcase so that I can meet my new grandson tomorrow!

P.S. Elisabeth tops it all off by adding the Original Gummi Bears with the order. Way to go, Elisabeth!

Update: So much for shining sun. Now under Tornado Watch. Whee!!! Down the roller coaster we go!

18 April 2010


Just half an hour ago, I had all sorts of "mental wandering" thoughts in my head. Since then I opened a friend's email with the Chocolate Calculator game, and now all other thoughts have skittered away. (Thanks, Debbie!) If you haven't seen this game floating around on the web - and I've been told by Dave that it's been around for a while - you might want to look it up. I just Googled for Chocolate Calculator Game 2010 and came across many sites. I'll let you find one, since there are so many and none seem to be the "Official" site. It is fun. This kind of stuff always amazes me, even though I know there's a mathematical reason. It's like magic tricks - you know there's a logical explanation, but you want to believe what you "see".

Ah...now I'm starting to come out of my pre-breakfast chocolate fixation:

1. One of the coolest things about knitting is that your mind does wander to many interesting spots when it's released into that Zen atmosphere. I've heard many people talk about being able to sort through issues and solve problems while knitting. Just this morning I was sitting here, knitting in my hands, one dog by the fireplace (cool mornings), and the other dog asleep on my feet, when so many ideas and answers were popping around my head like last night's popcorn. I find that early mornings are best suited to the simpler projects. I'm currently working on a dishcloth (yeh, yeh, yeh, but they're great for using up bits of cotton, and it makes me smile while I'm cleaning pots and pans. And that's always a plus!) from the Monthly Dishcloth group on yahoogroups.com. Check it out sometime. Two cloths a month, 10 rows a day, perfect to wake up the fingers!

2. So, I (we) wander. Many times I'm asked, "Where is home?" Hmmm. Where do I live at the moment? Where was I born? Where did I spend most of my youth? Where is my heart connected? (Omaha, Germany, New Jersey, where the kids are) At times I envy my friends who have grown up and lived their lives in the same area. They seem to have such a connection to their surroundings. But, then, just think of all the interesting places we've lived, and all the interesting people who have crossed paths with us.

3. (Connected to #2) I'm designing a pair of socks for Twisted Yarns and their sock club. I've chosen to make socks with cables. Every time I work on the pattern I think of the cables as representing the paths crossing.

Yikes- This is getting too mushy and deep for a Sunday morning!

4. I'm also tossing around ideas for Stitch Play Studio. This is a new on-line knit and crochet magazine - the brain child of Lynn Burdick. (I sure hope I'm correct with the last name! I've misplaced the email where we discussed the fact that we both have the same first and middle names - different spellings.) I'll have something in the October edition. (Can't tell you what, though. You know, if I did...well, it wouldn't be good for you.) Anyway, check out this mag...the fiber community always needs new activity.

5. Yesterday I finished the Twisted Yarns sock club sock for April:

It's from Lisa Knits and is called "Sock of the Month - April". Appropriate. Dave felt them and said, "Yummy, " or the guy equivalent. Two hours later I have 4 balls of Cascade Yarns Cash Vera DK - guy grey, color 029. (Twisted Yarns sent Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK for their socks, but my LYS, String of Purls carries the Cash Vera - almost identical fiber content.) The yarn will become a very basic sock. I'll put the free pattern on my blog and Ravelry when the socks are completed.

6. (Connected to #5) I know that some people would just as soon go to their major discount store to buy a pair of men's grey socks, but for sock knitters it's the process and thought put into the socks. Don't we, as hand-knitters, try to explain this to non-knitters when they suggest that we could buy a sweater like the one we just spent $200 for on yarn, and used the last 7 weeks of our lives knitting? Process and thought.

7. I need to wander to the coffee maker for a refill.

13 April 2010

Adam Taylor

May I present Adam Taylor White-

born today, April 13, 2010, and weighing in at 6lbs, 12oz, and 18.25" long. (Baby Blue was designed and knit for him.) Mom, Dad, and older sister are all fine...Grandma is exhausted from a sleepless night waiting to hear of his arrival!

Off for a nap!

06 April 2010

Gremlins in Knitting Instructions

Good morning, All! I have my steaming-hot cup of coffee by me (and, yes, I really do use my French Press Foulard), so I feel strong enough to share the next photo with you.

This, my dears, is my friend and student for my Eighteen Fair Isle class at String of Purls, Karen, cutting away the top half of her vest. Not steeking, but actually cutting half of her knitting to remove it from the other half! She did say that having the rest of the class with her gave her the courage to do this without crying and saying naughty words.

I am very impressed with Karen's fortitude and willingness to complete this project, gremlins and all. They struck the first time while Karen was purchasing her yarn, changing the words Fingering to Sport on the ball band. She was well into her vest, nearing the armholes, when she discovered the gremlin mischief that had caused her to use fingering-weight yarn for the background color and sport-weight for the contrast colors. (The pattern calls for all sport-weight, so this was going to be a peculiar vest!) Karen huffed and puffed just a little bit - in public - and took the project off the needle. (She plans on using this piece to make a felted Fair Isle bag, which I think is brilliant!)

Karen, then, cast on again, and we all know how deja-vu-ish (in a negative way) that can be, got through the armhole and v-neck steeks before she realized that the gremlins had visited again and changed the words in the instructions from "decrease one stitch at each side of neck steek on the next 8 rounds" to "decrease one time each side of neck steek every 8th round." This was going to create a neck line that would resemble a slit more than a V.

When I walked into the shop yesterday morning for our final class, Karen was running a life-line through a pattern row just below the steeks. She then cut the top away, a few rows above the life-line. While this was drastic, it seemed more plausible than unraveling all those rounds with 7 colors.

How were the other students feeling during this unnerving display? Check for yourself:

No beads of sweat on their foreheads!

The color combinations have been fabulous! I offer 3 choices in the pattern. (Doesn't Captain Jack Sparrow say something about guidelines more than rules?) And these ladies have taken off from there. Here is Ro, modeling her just-completed vest:

I love the vibrancy of the purple/orange/gold colorway she created! And for me, it's happiness beyond words to see someone wearing a garment that started it's existence in my head...and she's smiling!

Moral of the gremlin story: This has happened to all of us, and no matter how brilliant we might be, read carefully and don't allow the words to be altered all willy-nilly!

17 March 2010

The Six Steps of Perfection

Enough said.

Oh, okay..."The Six Steps of Perfection" refers to the perfectly drawn pint of Guinness.

16 March 2010

Monkey Surprise

I just got back to Omaha after spending a great weekend surprising my daughter, Anne (daughter #1), at her baby shower. We had just been there to visit in February and I truly didn't think I'd be able to make it there again - especially since we'll fly back out when this baby arrives! But I hadn't seen Ashley's (daughter #3) townhouse, yet, and I didn't want her to make the drive to the shower alone since she's in her first trimester. (Baby shower or showering babies?) So it seemed to be the perfect time to visit and it's so rare to really, really, really surprise someone.

There was a moment of iffy-ness that I'd actually make it out of Omaha. On December 23rd, we were all packed, waiting for our ride to the airport for Christmas with our granddaughter when we got a message that one leg of our flight was cancelled. Well, that just brought the whole trip to a screeching halt. There was no chance that we would be able to get on a different flight. I love spending time with Dave, but the two of us, alone, couldn't compete with Christmas in the presence of a 3-year old!

We waited, semi-patiently, through a record-breaking Omaha winter until we could fly to finally visit Anne and family. No sooner did we get to her house then the first of the two blizzards hit the mid-Atlantic. We were delayed getting home, but who cared? We were with family!

So, this past Thursday, after days of pleasant late-winter weather in Omaha, while I'm finishing packing (what knitting should I take?) it begins to snow. Huge flakes. Humongous flakes. I could use these flakes of snow as lace doilies! Jeesh! My little Jetta performed valiantly and I managed to get out of Omaha this time. I think I would have crawled out!

Anyway, it was a big surprise for Anne and we had a great time at the baby shower, meeting her friends and listening to all of the baby/childrearing stories. I gave Anne the completed baby blanket (see "Events", Feb. 11) that will have a written pattern shortly, and this rendition of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket:

Monkey Surprise

I couldn't find the perfect baby blue sock yarn (sock yarn makes a superb newborn jacket!) in my stash and was just turning away from all the yarns when my eyes hit on the tan and red and my brain yelled, "Sock Monkey!"

It makes me happy.

I followed EZ's pattern with the first 13 ridges in tan, then 6 ridges in white, 6 ridges in red, and 6 more ridges in white. Then I continued along with tan to the section of 10 ridges of 90 stitches. Here I knit one ridge in tan, 3 ridges in white, 2 ridges in tan, 3 ridges in white, and the last ridge in tan. Two buttonholes spaced about 5 stitches apart (I put the buttonholes on both sides. It gives me a guide as to where I sew the buttons.) and flip, flop, it's a jacket!

All this talk of daughter #1 and daughter #3...is there a daughter #2? Absolutely! And she's celebrating her birthday today! Happy Birthday, Allyson!! We'll see you soon for a NYC weekend.

06 March 2010

Big Louie

So here comes Innocent Lynn Anne, walking into her local yarn shop, String Of Purls, for a little Thursday knitting with friends. "Evil Sally", the super-genius saleswoman, is lying in wait for her. Over she strolls to the table, smile on her face, and some gorgeous yarn on some needles.

"What are you knitting?" asks Innocent Lynn Anne.

"Why, I'm knitting that cute lace cardigan in the new Vogue Knitting, " replies Evil Sally.

The spell has been cast and Innocent Lynn Anne can't help but blurt out, "Ohh...Can I see a photo?"

This is what Evil Sally had at the ready to display to Innocent Lynn Anne: (Rats! The photo was visible for a few hours, and now it's gone. I'll see if I can do something else. Ugh>)

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Lace Jacket from the Enchanted Lace collection in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting.

I'm not expecting to wear it over anything formal (Where do I think I'm going?), but it will be perfect over some dressy slacks with a cute sleeveless shell.

I bought the yarn in this beautiful color (#271 peach):

and now all I want to do is knit with it.

As I sat here this morning, happily knitting each stitch, I became aware of the cadence of the knit stitches that I was silently repeating in my head with each repeat of the lace pattern. Many of us have learned to assign each stitch in the repeat a number, or to set up a little sing-song reminder of the directions. I often use the number bit. Knit and purl stitches are numbered and silently spoken in a normal "voice". Yarn overs are silently spoken with a rise and fall in the word. Since knit 2 togethers and slip-slip-knits take a bit longer to knit, I lengthen each of those numbers.

K3, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk, becomes, "One, two, three, ff-oo-uu-rr, fiiiive, six, seven, eeiight, nn-ii-nn-ee." Repeat many times. (Please don't tell me if any of you are in the psychiatric profession. It weirds me out. Like smiling at a dentist.)

This Lace Jacket pattern has a 16-stitch repeat so I'm finding it a little easier to just say the stitches instead of assigning my usual numbers. There is, also, a double decrease that requires moving a stitch marker each time. I was calling this stitch "the big one" until my coffee must have kicked in, and it became "Big Louie". Why? I have no idea. But Big Louie it now is!

"Yarn over, knit 2, Big Louie." Geesh!

Anyway, it's lovely yarn and a lovely cardigan pattern:

Happy silent knitting to all!