29 November 2011

Day 1: Tools of the Trade

The Day 1 part of Adventkalendarschal 2010 is complete. This was easy and enjoyable, with a 8-stitch repeat. Easy-peasy. The one thing that came to mind was how important the "tools of the trade" are. After testing out a few needles, it became apparent that I needed to use US 3 to get gauge, or more important to me with a scarf/stole, a "fabric" that looks nice. I borrowed a #3 from a 3-year old WIP, but it was 32" long. This ended up being much too long for this project, making the knitting feel cumbersome and awkward. I must have a 24" #3 somewhere in the house on a different WIP, but I broke down and bought a new needle. What a difference! The knitting just seemed to flow along.

I was so pleased, I moved on to Day 2 - a motif pattern without repeats. I lost count on Row 3, ending up with too few stitches. As I was tinking it seems that I've dropped one or two stitches. Rats. I think I'll wait until tomorrow with natural light coming through the windows to figure out where I am in the pattern. I was really hoping to get a big jump forward today.

The yarn is gorgeous for this pattern. It isn't noticeable in the photos but there is a gentle shift from cherry red to orange/red and back again. I can only describe it as "alive".

28 November 2011

24 Days in December (and November)

My yarn is wound and my needles are at the ready! I've always loved knit-alongs and the crazy pre-Christmas season is no exception. I've wound a skein of Lorna's Lace's Helen's Lace in color Ysolda Red...

(oh, gosh, isn't it beautiful?) to make Adventkalendarschal 2010, a free pattern on Ravelry for a lovely lace stole designed by some (obviously) lovely German women. The general premiss is one lace pattern each day in December until the 24th. And voila, presto you have a Christmas stole.

You who know me, know that LAKNITS (my Ravatar) stands for Looney-Arse Knitter Nears Irrationality This Season - or some such sentiment.

So, here we go. I'm casting on this evening. I know it's not December, yet, but seriously, only 24 days?

26 October 2011

Christmas Comes Early

On this date, at 4:20 p.m. Central Time, I saw my first house in the next neighborhood decorated for Christmas! Am I the winner? Just asking.

14 July 2011

Dinner and a Movie

First and foremost, no, we aren't having rabbit! It seems the babies have flown the coup, or rather, hopped the warren. The evening after my last post, I saw Mrs. Rabbit scurry away as I opened the back door. Two of her children were just outside the safety of their nest. Cute as cute can be. They were each about the size of my fist with little bitty rabbit ears and beady little black eyes. Yesterday they were gone. The Rabbit family has relocated to a different rabbit neighborhood. I hope they keep in touch with a Christmas card or two!

Dinner tonight will be a lovely vegetarian dish that my sister found and served when we were visiting in London this spring. She was the one to think that arugula (rocket in the UK) would be so much nicer than green beans. The combination of sweet potatoes with peppery, bitter arugula, pasta, and feta cheese is awe inspiring!

Here, then is Sweet Potato and Feta Pasta a la Laurie:

2 sweet potatoes
1-2 bags, or a big bunch of arugula
1 lb round or short pasta of your choice
3-4 Tbsp good olive oil
a good handful of pine nuts (Darn conversions! The recipe calls for 50 grams.)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. feta cheese

Peel the sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Boil in salted water for about 5 mins, until just about tender. Drain. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water; drain., saving a little of the water. Return pasta to pot with a splash of the good olive oil. and 2 Tbsp of the cooking water. Quickly stir-fry the pine nuts in 1 Tbsp olive oil until golden. Place all of the cooked ingredients in a warmed serving bowl, crumble the feta cheese over the top, add a splash of olive oil and toss with arugula to slightly wilt before serving.

Pick a movie to watch while enjoying dinner, or if you're really (reel-y) lucky, try to stay awake for the midnight showing of the last episode of Harry Potter. I won't be there at midnight, but I'm excited to see the movie. Excited and sad. It doesn't seem possible that this is The End. When I read the last book, I knew I still had the movie in my future. As of midnight tonight, well...the book is closed.

"Goodnight, Harry."

11 July 2011

Mr. McGregor's Garden

We've had gardens big and bigger, and now we have a very small garden. This spring we purchased two 4"x4" raised bed forms. The perfect spot for them was in front of my studio window where I could watch the seedlings become large plants. (Massive plants! Take a gander at the zucchini leaves.) I bought plastic fencing to put around the upper edges to keep any little critters away from the tender seedlings. One planter has the zucchini, green beans and a tomato plant, the other had spinach, beets, and peas. This mini-garden also sits up against the patio - the very same patio that our two hunting dogs run across at least four times a day, when I take them outside.

I guess I didn't plan very well, since all the early plants were in one planter. Maybe I should have planted the early vegetables along with the slower ones to harvest some and save space for the others. On the other hand, it would have been nice to re-plant some quick-growing vegetables in the same planter after harvesting the early ones. This is where the story gets interesting.

Two weeks ago Dave went out to pick the last of the peas. I had planted them in circles around a "teepee" of wooden stakes. He was downstairs for several minutes and then called me to come down. There was something different in his voice. When I got outside, he was standing by the teepee, holding some old pea vines. "Take a look at this, " he said.

In the exact center of the teepee was a depression filled with dried grass, fur, and several fuzzy, squirming animals. The ears were small, yet too big for mice or rats. Baby rabbits! Mrs. Rabbit had managed to get through or over the fence and built a nursery in - the - very- center of my peas. Not a pea, or spinach leaf, or beet was ever nibbled. But here was her family. Raised beds, fencing, two hunting dogs (is it too late for a refund?) and still Mrs. Rabbit decided this was the perfect bunny spot.

Fast forward two weeks, and they're doing quite well, thank you. This may seem surprising to those of you who know that Dave has four geese, two ducks, two turkey tails, two deer, an arctic caribou, and a musk ox suspended on the walls of his "man cave", but even he decided that it would be bad form to eat his neighbors!

Since we cut away all the "walls" of their house, I've tied cut grasses and weeds to the teepee for a little protection. I've never seen Mrs. Rabbit, but her children are growing, so she must be there every night. I even used our Webber kettle cover as a sun block yesterday, as it was so hot and humid and I can't imagine how sweltering it must be for furry bunnies in the moist dirt, with grass covering them.

I suppose I should start designing clothes for the bunnies. Let's see, a sweater for Peter Rabbit, dresses for Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, and a jaunty jacket for cousin, Benjamin Bunny. Sock yarn would do well. It's washable!

18 June 2011


A new FREE pattern was just added to my Ravelry page. Claire is a light-as-air stole, knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze. There is just one written row! Repeat that row until you run out of yarn, then bind off. Easy-peasey!

If you want your stole longer or wider simply add pattern repeats - and more yarn. My finished measurement are 63" x 19" using the 2 skeins of "Killer Red" (unusual name for such a gorgeous deep coral) that were in my stash.

I'm glad that I managed to get the above photos last evening as this morning has been rainy and gray. At least my petunias will be happy when the sun comes out later today.

16 June 2011

Flood Pants

I've been meaning to introduce my new patterns, but I feel this needs to be shown, first:

This is Omaha from the north. It's an amazing sight as the Missouri River is flooding eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. There have been so many natural disasters in the U.S. this year. I realize that people can get overwhelmed. Just keep the farmers, restaurant/shop owners, families in your thoughts...and The Red Cross can always use some monetary support.

14 June 2011

Home Again, Home Again

I got home yesterday at 4:30 pm. My pajamas were on by 7:00, in bed by 7:30, read one chapter, lights out (not that it was dark) by 8:00, and sound asleep in 5 minutes. After 11 hours I felt delightfully refreshed. Two hours later, I was feeling heavy-eyed again. Fun times in Columbus at the TNNA Market! It wouldn't have been so bad if I had acted intelligently and gone to bed early each night to be ready for another busy day. But, nooooo, I stayed up till after midnight talking with my good friends from Twisted Yarns.

The exhaustion started before that, though. I only got about 2 hours of sleep before my flight since the alarm was set for 2:45 am, but I woke up at 2:15 to just stare at the clock, waiting for 2:45. Luckily, I was entertained by listening to late-night radio and a man who had his aura "read" by sticking his finger in a machine where they could see his aura "glow" (he then went into a room where all sorts of gases were blown at him, and then his aura was re-read and was...different!), and a woman who feels that people are sneaking into her house and poisoning her Frosted Flakes since she feels sick every time she eats a bowl of them!

I felt as though someone should have checked my aura as I was driving to the airport. It was 3:45 am and hardly a soul was on the road. The speed limit was 45 mph on a 4-lane street, and I was doing slightly over 50 mph when a car pulled directly behind me after entering the road froma ramp. Red lights went off in my head, luckily, since when we drove under a street light I saw that it was, indeed, a police car. Not wanting to appear even more guilty, I took my foot off the gas to slowly reduce my speed. Eventually he or she must have decided that I had learned my lesson for the day and pulled away from me.

Things seemed to be running fairly smoothly at the airport, but I was so sleepy I almost didn't realize that I was being waved into the dreaded scanner. I have a thing about that machine. It's not so much the picture-taking as the incomplete testing on long-term effects. So, I requested, for the second time, to be patted down. This seems better to me. The TSA ladies have been nice and polite, and use the back of their hands at "sensitive areas". After the pat-down, you are instructed to stand where you are while they run their gloves through a scanning device. Beep-beep-beep. Her gloves read positive for "chemicals". Chemicals? I'm trying to think ...deodorant?...laundry detergent?...no perfume...what? Now I got to enter the "private room" with two TSA ladies for an additional pat-down. Great. Do I want an attorney present? Truly, it wasn't that bad. Just more of the same. We even discussed underwire bras and how the wire broke for one of the ladies. (Ouch.) A few more minutes and I was declared "clean".

Luckily, from then on things got better. The other passengers didn't even shy away, thinking that there must really be something up with me since I had a double pat!

Home. Still sleepy, and trying to put faces, names, and business cards together. Bit by bit, it's all coming back to me. I met so many interesting people while at Brown Sheep's booth and walking and walking around the convention center floor.

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

To market, to market, to buy a fat hog.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum bun.
Home again, home again, Market is done!

09 June 2011


The Nonsuch Knits website is up and running! Stop by and see it at www.nonsuchknits.com. I'm very pleased.! I love the slight movement and interactive feel. Dave's pretty pleased since many of the photos used were taken by him. But, I have to give major praise to Tomek Sawan, the wonder tech! He understood what I needed from the start and didn't mind the many, many emails back and forth. "So, how do I...?" Check him out at Atomic Design and Media. You'll be happy you did!

Now I need to dash off and finish packing for an outrageously early flight to Columbus, Ohio for the TNNA Market. I'm excited to have a space at Brown Sheep Company's booth. My 6 Brown Sheep items are ready to go. They're on Ravelry now. When I get home, I'll put some photos of them on this blog.

I'll try post while I'm at Market. There are links to Nonsuch Knits' Facebook page and Twitter on the website.

See you when I get back!

30 May 2011

NYC Dreamin'

Just a week ago, as of this very moment, Dave and I were sitting at La Guardia, waiting for our flight home. Ah, New York! We spent a long weekend visiting Darling Daughter #2 (DD2), Allyson.

Visiting = eating.

The Meatball Shop. Who would have thought - meatballs on a salad!
Aroma. We had a fabulous dinner downstairs, with lots of wine. (Don't miss the restroom down there!)
Tom & Jerry's for a Hendrick's Gin, limeade, and cucumber.
Sweet Grapes for drinks, and then dinner at
The Ten Bells Oh my what a dinner! I'm happy to announce that after many tapas plates, and 4 hours later, we were the last group in the back. (Thanks for the final bottle of wine, Arturo!)
Lombardi's pizza, delivered, so I have to check the address, but oh, my goodness, it was pizza as I remember. What is it that is so special with the sauce? And a terrific meal at a
Chinese Restaurant. (Once again, I need to check my facts.) And what trip can be complete without hot pastrami at
Katz's Deli? "Send a salami to your boy in the army"!

By this time, Dave and I had to slow down a bit and eat more sensibly...protein bars and green tea and then strolling down the ramps at the Guggenheim Museum.

Isn't it great when a weekend can contain so many links?

Allyson and Chris were very obliging hosts, with Ally even being coerced into some modeling for me!

With all of the food, and walking to find the food, there wasn't that much time for LYS spotting. I did get to Purl Soho. It's such a pretty and colorful shop! Then we wandered over to Downtown Yarns where I bought some Malabrigo Lace to make a lovely long vest. Very warm and welcoming shop!

The only glitch came with our return trip. Because of weather around NYC we didn't walk through our front door until 2 am. The older I get, the harder that is to take! I sure hate to admit that, but it's a fact.

I'm now "TNNA minus ten days". It's been a busy week since I got home. There's a lot to write about with this, but it will have to wait for another day!

05 May 2011

Lego Post (Bits and Pieces)

Nonsuch Knits is now on Facebook. Just don't laugh when you realize that I have no idea what to do with it! Honestly, I wish someone would write how-to instructions for the technological illiterate. Jeesh. I promise to get "buttons" and "banners", etc., but my kids are all celebrating Cinco de Mayo tonight, so my questions for them will have to wait till tomorrow. (We were absolute Mexican cuisine failures tonight, eating a pasta dish from an Ottolenghi cookbook along with a Californian red wine.)

I met Debbie Macomber today. (I said "Hi" to her once at Stitches, but I won't count that.) She was in Omaha to speak at a fund-raiser dinner for The Omaha Hearing School. We had a lovely few-minute-conversation, and something may come of it in the future. I wish I could come across to people as half as friendly as she truly appears to be. By that I mean to say that she is one of those delightful people who makes you feel as if you are the most important person in the room while she is speaking with you. When I grow up I'd like to be like Debbie!

More exciting news is that I will be at the TNNA Market in June! Brown Sheep Yarn will be displaying several of my new designs for a trunk show. I'll be at their booth during the day and then enjoying my evenings with some of the Twisted Gals from Twisted Yarns. (I was just trying to think of some witty way to mention mixing work with pleasure, when it dawned on me that this trip will be ALL pleasure! Please, fiber and friends? What's not to enjoy?)

Knit on!

09 April 2011

Spring in the UK

One more pattern is complete for the Brown Sheep Company trunk show. Here is the Tetbury Throw, complete:

This is a quick knit throw using Lamb's Pride Bulky, and best of all for some of you...it's made with all knit stitches. Yep, not a purl in the project. The patterning comes from an easy to remember slip-stitch pattern. My favorite part, though, is the bold border of garter stitch with mitered corners. The finished size is 38" x 47", perfect for covering your lap and legs on a chilly morning. If you were to use a DK yarn, you'd end up with a baby blanket of about 21" x 35".

I named the pattern for a town in the Cotswolds, a region in western England. We got to travel to England in March to visit my sister and brother-in-law. We had a perfect mix of time in their house in London, along with visiting their new/old cottage in the Cotswolds.

This isn't theirs, but the photo captures the mood of the area with the weathered stone cottages. (I want a dry stone wall!)

Being a more temperate climate than Omaha, the spring flowers were in bloom.

And then one of my favorite features...sheep!

These ladies are, in fact, neighbors to my sister. I'm having her keep an eye out for available fleeces.

No trip is complete without visiting at least one LYS. Mine this time was "loop" in Islington.

It is a lovely shop where they treated me to some of their signature candies as well as their canvas bag, as you can see. I managed to find some gorgeous English lace-weight yarn:

Juno Fibre Arts' Alice Lace - and since this blog does not have "feel-o-vision" you'll just have to imagine the happiness in 70% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk, 10% Cashmere. Yum. I've got to design a shawl that is "yarn worthy".

26 February 2011

Na Na Na-na

Hey kids! It's been a while since I've posted. I think of you often, but I'm usually so busy knitting that I don't take the time to put my project down and head to this shiny screen of technology. Unfortunately, I was knitting so much I injured myself. Next time I'll know better and take a break. When I knit using bulky yarn I put too much stress on my right shoulder (broken when I was 9 years old) and then I get nerve issues that travel down to my hand. This was the cause:

I've been requested by Brown Sheep to design and knit some pieces for a trunk show that will begin at TNNA in June. Very exciting! This little number will be a throw/ afghan when it's all grown up.

I also have a hat/mitten/cowl trio:

And a lace stole:

I'm still waiting for yarn to arrive to start some socks and a sweater.

The weather here in Omaha has turned back to winter after some glorious days that were just teasing us. Once again, the ground"s white, the sky's white, and our fire is going. I took this photo a couple weeks ago and posted it on Facebook, but didn't want to put it in this blog since the weather had taken such a nice turn. The photo seemed so out of place with the warm sun - just as red and green look so awkward after Christmas. Now the landscape looks the same as when I caught this Bald Eagle sitting in a tree behind our house:

We don't have any large bodies of open water that eagles like right near us - the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn rivers are all 5-25 miles from us - but I sure am glad that this guy/girl decided to drop in for a few minutes! About 50 yards away was another large trees filled with 20+ nervous little birds who were all keeping a wary eye on the Big Guy!

Oh...Na Na Na-na. Last night Dave and I were hanging out listening to songs he's downloaded to his iPad. He found a bunch from the 60's and 70's that were taking us for a little stroll down Memory Lane. It was surprising to us that he had 4 songs with they heavy, thought-provoking lyrics containing an assortment of "Na-Na's". A good Na-Na speaks volumes! (The dogs headed to bed after we started singing along to the choruses.)

Steam - "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
Journey - "Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin' "
Deep Purple - "Hush"
The Grass Roots - "Midnight Confessions"

Please post to me if you think of any other Na-Na songs. I'll compile the International Na-Na List!

I'm still working on the Stora Dimun Shawl, slowly, though I think it will be this weekend's pleasure knitting.

Enjoy the last days of February. It brings Spring even closer - though I always hear my Grandma Clark telling me not to wish away my days.


02 February 2011

Shawl, Cookies, and WIP Wednesday

For some time now I have been meaning to get a decent photo of this lovely shawl onto this blog.

This is the Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 from Goddess Knits, knit using Spinning Bunny's Blue Face Leicester Lace Weight Yarn. The mystery shawls from Goddess Knits are great fun. Once a week "clues" are released through Yahoo!Groups. The clues consist of charted rows to be knit before the next week's clue. The mystery is not knowing what the finished shawl will look like. It is a bit of a leap of faith, though I've never been disappointed. This pattern is obviously winter-themed, with beads (a little difficult to see here) knitted in using a crochet hook to load each bead.

The yarn was delightful to use. There was one massive skein of lace weight yarn, that when wound into a ball, didn't have a single break. That's happy dance wonderful! I chose color Merlot and enjoyed the soft and lofty feel. Being hand-dyed there was quite a bit of color bleeding onto my fingers. I had to be extra careful not to let the yarn slide across the off-white upholstery. When the shawl was complete I simply ran it through a couple rinses of vinegar and water to set the color. I'd gladly use this yarn again.

Today, being Groundhog Day, I had to break out my groundhog cookie cutter to celebrate. (I just googled "groundhog cookie cutter" and found many available.) I use a terrific sugar cookie recipe that tastes and looks like the best from a bakery. I had been given this recipe by a friend and felt that I shouldn't openly share it until I discovered last year that I had the same recipe written done on a 3x5 card from years ago.

Here's my favorite sugar cookie recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream the butter; add sugar and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and salt; mix well.
Roll the dough to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick and use cookie cutters.
Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet, covered in parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops look dry. Do not bake until brown.

I spread a thin coat of melted chocolate (6 oz. chocolate chips with 1 tsp. solid shortening melted in a double boiler) on the back of the cookie - the groundhog's shadow! There isn't any vanilla ice cream in this house, or else I'd put a scoop in a bowl, stand a groundhog in the ice cream, and then drizzle some homemade hot fudge, as more of a shadow, behind him.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, so winter will be over soon! I wanted to take a sunny picture of these little guys, but the 4 degree afternoon chased me indoors. We'll see how accurate the Punxsutawney rodent is!

"Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

And so now onto WIP Wednesday. I've been designing a few things for Brown Sheep Yarns. This is a sneak peek at the beginning of a stole. The yarn is wonderful to use. I just love lace.

Knit through everything!

Lynn Anne

31 January 2011

One - Done

I completed Litla Dimun Shawl this weekend. Here it is:

(If you put your computer on the floor and then lie in your right side you will see this photo as it is meant to be seen! For some unknown reason Blogger has decided that even though I rotated this photo on iPhoto I must not really want it that way.)

No matter. I do love this shawl. In fact I've been wearing it all morning while straightening up my blog page a bit, since it looks like this outside:

Actually, it's a bit worse now, but I'd never get a good shot of it since the ground, sky, and trees are currently all the same color. We've been having freezing fog (I've never experienced that before this year) and drizzle.

No matter. The shawl is making me happy. Cheryl Oberle must be a tall woman as the photo of this shawl in the book hangs just past her waist, while on me it's down to my bum. There were a couple other issues with the pattern, like the gusset decreases on Row 151, and do you decrease 8 stitches in the main sections on Rows 151 and 171 along with the usual 2 decreases, or in place of ? No matter. I learned to just roll with the punches. Like "Shakespeare in Love":
"Strangely enough, it all turns out well."
"I don't know. It's a mystery."

With the weather the way it is around here, I was thinking about all the women through the ages who ran about town or farm wrapped in a woolen shawl. I wear a down jacket, wool hat, felted mittens, and bulky scarf, along with one of many pairs of non-skid Gortex-lined boots. It wasn't always this way. Once again, I am in awe of those who came before us.

So that got me thinking and I googled the Faroe Islands. Wow - they're really out there! Eighteen islands are floating smack-dab in the middle of the northern Atlantic, northwest of Scotland and their Shetland Islands, halfway between Norway and Iceland. Now...they may be the final stop for the Gulf Current, but still...I bet they get some interesting storms rolling in.
Take a peak for yourself, it looks lovely when displayed by the tourism board! Faroe Islands (Check out the Gallery, and the Icelandic sheep on the roof!)

So, on to Tvey, the Faroese word for two. This is the cast on and first rows for Stora Dimun Shawl. Once again, I'm using yarn that is listed in the pattern, Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill Silk Blend in color red trillium. The yarn looks very red in the book photo, but is actually a lovely raspberry. The pattern starts the same way, at the base, and with more stitches, but has a very different feel with 75% wool and 25% silk.

Knit through everything!


19 January 2011

Great Expectations, Lessened

I should know this by now. When it comes to blogging, I should never make promises. I have glorious great mediocre expectations for hammering out posts a few times a week, and well, it just doesn't always happen. Mind you, I have fairly reasonable excuses. My latest was babysitting Caleb for 3 days while Dave, Ashley, and Joy the Beagle drove 1400 miles across half the country with a car loaded with all their STUFF. I then flew with Caleb to Virginia to be in his "home" for the first time. (Now that was interesting: awake at 1:45 a.m. watching The Weather Channel as they showed a great blob of "mixed precipitation" heading directly to Omaha; up at 2:15 a.m.; waking Caleb at 3:15 a.m. for a bottle; plopping Caleb in his car seat at 3:45 a.m.; arriving at Eppley Airfield at 4:30 a.m. after a slow drive on the highways, keeping the sander trucks company along the highways; "wheels up" at 5:45 a.m. after being de-iced; land in Detroit 1 1/2 hours later to change and feed Caleb; take off for Virginia an hour later; hand Caleb to Ashley in Norfolk and breath a huge sigh of relief!)

We are all back in our proper places ("Take your seats, class) and ready for a new day.

I have been knitting (well, duh), though not as much as I was hoping. I'm now up to Row 95 on the Litla Dimun Shawl. I'm nearing the end of ball 3 on 5 of yarn, and the rows are coming along so much faster after all the decreases.

Interweave Press has had errata pages for Folk Shawls for years now. I'm assuming that the later editions have been corrected without need for looking for the errata. But as I was knitting along I found an issue that wasn't mentioned - and when I googled about it there was only one mention in 4 or 5 pages.

Okay, on page 25 of Folk Shawls there is a chart for the center lace pattern, or gusset, that travels up the back of the shawl. Beginning on Row 71, and then every 20 rows, you're to decrease one stitch each side within the gusset. But the pattern seems a little funky:

Look at Row 71. The first stitch is a k2tog followed by 4 knit stitches. My pattern wasn't working out, so I counted and recounted before noticing that the k2tog decreases the pattern by 1 stitch immediately, not in the next row. So, it should read "k2tog, k3, ssk, yo...". This happens on Rows 51, 71, 91, 111, 131, and 171. There are gusset decreases on Row 151 as well, but I'm going to have to work them out since there is a k2tog and ssk next to each other.

Am I looking at this correctly? I'd love it if you could check my thinking and let me know. Well, I've corrected the issue for myself and now the pattern is moving along without problems. Do any of you have a later edition? Does the chart remain the same as mine?

Thanks for checking. I know you will.

This is the right edge with decreases every other row. I can't wait to see it blocked when all the stitches relax and the yarn "blooms".

Take care. I'll have more to post about another completed shawl - not from this book.

11 January 2011

Do's and Don'ts

pick up your shawl midway through a row, look at the stitch markers to help you remember whether this is a right side or wrong side, think "ah, wrong side so I'll just knit to the end", realize that the yarn is on the wrong needle tip, turn the knitting, and forget to re-think the plan since you are now, obviously, looking at the right side, knit a couple hundred stitches before getting to the orange stitch marker (see previous post) to realize the dreadful mistake that will now cause you to spend 1/2 hour frogging a couple hundred knit stitches.

Photos - happy photos - to follow tomorrow, after a good night's sleep.

05 January 2011

Litla Dimun Shawl, Act 1

Act 1, Scene 1
Casting On - Faroese shawls are knit from the bottom up with borders on either side, two side panels, and a center gusset. I always feel that a shawl that will decrease it's stitches as you progress will be a happy shawl. Maybe that makes this a comedy. Anyway, 421 stitches cast on using the crochet cast on. Sloooooooow, but nicely flexible, and best of all...no guess-timates as to the amount of yarn needed for a long-tail cast on!

I used my friendly stitch markers every 50 stitches to keep my sanity as I really don't like counting and recounting large numbers of stitches as they twist around circular needles.

Then I set things up with different stitch markers as Cheryl points out. My modus operandi is a green marker at the beginning of the RS, since green means GO. Then an orange (for these particular markers) for the last marker of the row, since orange is almost red, which means STOP. Then there are 2 markers on either side of the gusset - green first, then purple.

Act 1, Scene 2
Knitting Begins - This is always an exciting time for knitters. A vast "unknown" lies ahead. Maybe there will be multiple repeats, yarn overs and decreases, maybe even double decreases. The mind boggles with the possibilities!

I begin the shawl with 190 stitches in each of the side panels and after 4 rows garter stitch I am decreasing at the beginning and end of each side panel until I have 170 stitches in each. I will have 12 garter ridges at this point, but I like to double-check that my numbers are correct, and I still hate counting large numbers of stitches. So, I placed two additional markers in each side panel, 10 stitches in from each end. (10 sts, 170 sts, 10 sts) When I'm through with these decreases all of the 10 stitches will be gone, leaving 170. No counting!

It's surprising that at this point I've used almost all of my first of five balls of yarn. 225 m each. I'm almost one-fifth of the way through, which is another beauty of from the bottom up shawls.

Technical Stuff
The Icelandic wool is interesting to use. It's not unpleasant, but is certainly a coarser yarn. Icelandic sheep continue, after 1100 years, as one of the pure breed sheep, lacking the cross breeding as with many other breeds. They are a dual-coated sheep with a heavier, outer fleece, or Tog, along with a finer inner fiber, or Thel. The Tog is used for rugs and other weaving, while the Thel is used for garments that touch the skin. When blended together, the fiber is called Lopi. (Ah-ha!)

We will now return to our previously scheduled performance.

01 January 2011


Well, Hi there, kids! Long time, no post...but I have been here, just as Mom and Grandma for a while. Knitting has been happening, without doubt, along with designing. It's the pattern writing and publishing that has been absent. BUT, I have had an excellent reason - Ashley and Caleb:

As much as I've loved posting and publishing, I learned that those take a backseat to holding a baby and spending time with one of my daughters. Dave and I have a lovely time traveling and spending time together as empty-nesters. That has all changed, however, with our temporarily/permanent house-guests. But, alas, all things must come to an end. Ashley and Caleb will be returning to Virginia shortly since Phillip will be ending his deployment. That is "the way of the world" (to quote Kermit the Frog) and I'm pleased that their little family will be reunited. I desperately miss all three girls (Anne, Allyson, Ashley) and their families, though I feel a connecting thread to them at all times. I'm always amazed that so much time can pass since I've last seen them, since I can picture and imagine every detail of their lives through phone calls and emails.

It shouldn't be surprising that I'm so reflective at this time. A new year always does this to me. I purchase my monthly desk calendar early October and then keep it, untouched, till January 1 when I sit down and finally write in all the birthdays and anniversaries. I may even enjoy New Years more than Christmas. The latter is busy, busy and so very tiring. New Years is calm, for me, and a chance to take stock of my life.

For weeks now, I've been waiting to write today and discuss my "2011 Knitting Plans". Just as I decide what direction my life will be heading, something happened to remind me that I am not the person in charge. It looks as if I may be getting a wish of mine to share my knitting thoughts and ideas with others. Suddenly, all my plans changed. Flexibility (and a good night's sleep) then lead me to decide that more IS better. I can tackle all of it! I am woman!

Okay, okay! Enough of this!!!

My original plans were to make 2011 the Year of Folk Shawls. For the most of a decade I have loved Cheryl Oberle's book, Folk Shawls. A little late in the year I realized that 2010 was the 10th anniversary of the publish date for the book. Rats. I missed my chance to knit my way through the book during a memorable year. Okay...rethink this...I'll follow through with my plans beginning at the 2nd decade of "the book's" publishing date!

As of this moment I have 3 hours, 56 minutes to cast on (55 minutes) the Litla Dimun Shawl. Begin at the beginning. I have my yarn, needles, book at the ready.

The yarn is a lovely Icelandic laceweight, ordered from Schoolhouse Press. Being an Icelandic wool, it's not the softest I've ever felt, but I want to keep this experience as authentic as I can. The next decision will be whether or not to re-knit the Aran Pocket Shawl, Wool Peddler's Shawl, Highland Triangle Shawl, Bird's Nest Shawl, and Sampler Shawl in more appropriate yarns. Only time will tell.

So, keep posted, boys and girls. I'll try to keep my posts current, and somewhat meaningful. No promises for either.

Happy New Year and happy knitting!