Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ellen's Stocking

The first of a pair of Ellen's Stockings from Folk Knitting in Estonia is finished. I'm not sure how well this Regia Silk yarn will wear, but it surely feels nice. I enjoyed the patterning on this one and liked the stockinette for the heel flap. I do not like the heel turn on this one because it doesn't seem to fit my wide heel as well as others. The spiral shape toe was a first for me as well and it was quick and easy and fits well.

Now I'm torn between beginning its mate and trying something out of my new book:Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I love Piecework magazine. My bulging file cabinet attests to this, as does the two or three ever-changing back issues that can be found beside my chair at any time. This Interweave periodical was welcomed in my house long before I finally learned to knit and started buying their Knits magazine.

In early years I read with interest all the articles on knitting and looked with longing upon the wonderful related projects. Those instructions were like a foreign language, as strange to my eyes as the history behind the technique was to my knowledge.

The Nov/Dec 1995 issue (no longer available) had an article by Veronica Patterson on Poetry Mittens that particularly intrigued me. I must have pulled this one issue out once or twice a year to read again the directions and ponder upon those little wooden dpns. Having never seen dpns, nor anyone ever using them, you can imagine how puzzling they were.

Finally last summer I felt ready to try them and I knit Dorothy Parker mittens for my daughter's 21st birthday.

The newest issue of Piecework, Sep/Oct 2007, announces a new contest - on pincushions. I was pleased when my entry got an honorable mention in the 2000 contest.
[spot it in the group photo here?]
I'd like to enter something in this newest contest. But in the meantime (and by 'meantime' I mean when I'm not working on socks and things already on the needles!), I think I'll pull out the July/Aug 2000 issue and admire again the Plum Tomato Pincushion - a beaded confection crocheted with Silk Pearl thread! Yum.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

Friday, August 24, 2007

at least it rained tonight.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another day; another book

Seems all I do is whine about the weather. Was I always so dull? But honestly, day after day of such high temps is wearing.

Luckily I have been able to stay inside with a/c a good bit and spend some pleasurable time with my silk stocking. Nancy Bush is delighting me with this pattern. The Regia Silk yarn is so very soft. I think these will feel quite nice (even if I am having difficulty imagining ever being able to stand socks).

[click on picture to enlarge and see the details of Ellen's Stocking]

Did I mention something last week about Book Reports? I'm afraid my initial excitement was too strong. Only two of the four books really pleased me. I didn't find anything tempting in Knitting Loves Crochet and I absolutely hated The Knitting Circle. I read far more of it than I should have since it was the only fiction I had, but finally tossed it across the room in disgust.

Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby was very nice, especially as it had the pattern for the beautiful cabled blanket I've seen. I'd really like to knit that one day.

My favorite turned out to be Georgia Quilts. I've been wondering about this book for years; since 1996 in fact. That year Atlanta hosted the summer Olympics. A little smocking group I was in made a quilt for the Olympics which went to Guam. I knew the Georgia Quilt Project had been documenting quilts throughout Georgia and finally they have published the book. Mother currently has it, but I look forward to renewing it and reading all the history of quilts in Georgia.

Loyal reader and sole commenter, Mary, visited Tender Buttons yesterday. I get to visit lots of places and see lots of NYC sites thanks to Mary's blog and e-mails. It had been awhile since I had poured over the amazing buttons in the book by the Tender Buttons owners, so I picked it up from the library yesterday. Oh! What lovely little gems.

"Books are digested, but never consumed." Francis Bacon

Monday, August 20, 2007

Swallowtail Shawl

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Interweave Knits - Fall 2006

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill - Suri Alpaca laceweight
50 grams/437 yards (less than one skein)
color: Green Mountain Madness
purchased half-price ($13.00) at Knitting Emporium

Needles: size 4 bamboo circular

This is my third Swallowtail. I love the pattern and have loved everything of Evelyn Clark's that I've knitted so far. I wasn't sure how the coloration would work with lace but just really loved all the colors in this colorway so much! I stretched it out as much as I dared. Because of this, the colors don't seem as strong as they did in the pre-dressed 'blob' stage. Still I think it's quite nice. Maybe I'll be able to part with the next one. How many do I really need?

the nupps

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Blob ends; a blob begins

The Green Mountain Swallowtail has been knitted and its dressing awaits. I like the term that Myrna Stahman uses for shawls. She prefers the term 'dressing' instead of 'blocking'. According to Myrna (may I call you by your first name?), " 'Dressing' is a gentle process, such as the dressing of a baby."

Sounds nice, doesn't it? Perhaps I'll have time this afternoon to dress my shawl. It should certainly dry quickly as temps are still depressingly HOT here.

What next on the needles? How about some silk stockings?

I bought two balls of Regia Silk sock yarn yesterday and have plans to knit Ellen's Stockings from Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia. And as usual, at the outset of a project, I have high hopes that these will turn out just beautifully.
Experience, you see, has taught me nothing!

Monday, August 13, 2007


I thought it was just some ploy by Madison Avenue types, thinking they could fool us. I've never thought that $9.99 was anything other than $10. Gas? $2.79-9/10? Well, that's $2.80 (or in my mind practically $3/gallon for crying out loud).

So whether the news says it's 98 degrees, the bank says it's 99 degrees, or the car shows it's 101, it doesn't matter.

A number is just a number [as I tell myself every time I get on a scale!]. I don't need the number to know it's HOT.

Still working on the Swallowtail (close) and the 2nd Lumberjack sock.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Library Jackpot

It's been a long summer here. It still IS a long summer since temps today are 104 or so. Whew. (pause to wipe forehead and whine)

I love my libraries - Central and the branches - and visit often. Luckily Central is very near work so I can pop in at lunch for a quickie.

They've been renovating 'my' library all summer. It will be very nice when they're finished, and the new circulation desks are looking great already, but meanwhile finding something can be a challenge. In fact today I discovered they had moved 'my' books (746s - Textile Arts). Well, they hadn't quite finished moving them so some were here and some were there. I found them and made sure they were all safe and sound.

Before checking on them, however, I visited The Browser and hit the Jackpot:

Book Reports later. Time to brew the coffee (yes, I drink hot coffee in HOT weather), prop my feet up, and point the fan in my direction. (yes, the a/c is on, but the fan helps)
The Knitting Circle
Debbie Bliss Simply Baby,
Georgia Quilts
Knitting Loves Crochet

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I give all credit to the internet and knit bloggers for my current knitting fascination. I had tried to learn to knit several times over the years, but never seemed to 'get' it.

Finally, several years ago, an older friend of mine managed to get me started. This time I was a bit more determined. And this time I had the internet at my fingertips as well.

I particularly wanted to knit socks. A LYS suggested the Ann Norling Adult Socks pattern as a good one for beginners. I fully agree. It has step-by-step directions with number of stitches and is written for different yarn weights. Now I might could figure some of this out for myself (emphasis on might). Back then it was all foreign to me. My well-thumbed pattern has a notation of 12/30/03 as the date I purchased it. The page protector also keeps my enlarged copy of some kitchener stitch directions from an IW Knits magazine.

But before I embarked on the sock, I read and re-read the Socks 101 tutorial. What a great resource! Terri Lee Royea has terrific pictures. This gave me the confidence to try. Seeing the heel turn made reading how to do it easier to understand.

Knit bloggers were the greatest inspiration, however. Reading about their projects, and especially reading about their mistakes, was such an encouragement. Wow, I thought. These great knitters make mistakes? The Yarn Harlot knits two mittens for the same hand? They made mistakes and they ripped out. Sometimes they threw the project in the corner in disgust for awhile. This all made perfect sense to me. I might be alone with my knitting, but I wasn't alone.

Sure I may be wasting loads of time surfing around the knit blogs and reading all my Favorites (that list is sooo long!), but I prefer to think of it as research. Thanks bloggers. I owe you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Feel Bad About My Heel

Nora Ephron may feel bad about her neck, but I'm feeling bad about my heel.

Determined to try something a little different on this sock (and not knit my standard heel flap/toe combination), but still knit a fairly basic not-too-much-thinking-required sock, I chose the Oak Ribbed Sock from Nancy Bush's ,Knitting Vintage Socks. The Lumberjack striping obscures the nice irregular rib. I really like the rib in this pattern and think I'll try again in a non-patterning yarn.

The heel? Not so much. It's worked over 33 of the 63 stitches and is very wide and boxy. And even though 64 stitches is 'my' number (although these aren't for me), it is a very loose heel on my foot.

I also don't care for the purl stitch that runs up the center back of the heel flap, even though the pattern lines it up nicely with the rib above.

The bad thing about knitting things in pairs is that you need to repeat something you'd rather change in the second one.

Still, I learned something. I just hope it won't make me wary of trying something else new next time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm O.K.

I sleep all night, and I knit by day!

From the picture of my current sock-in-progress, I'm sure you can tell why these (somewhat altered) Monty Python lyrics have been bouncing around in my head!

This Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn was purchased at 50%-off and gifted to me by my good friend, Kay. I cast on Friday night because I needed a sock on the needles for Sat. I was going to be spending the day helping out as my husband and his sisters moved their mother into an assisted-living facility. I would have some helpful chores throughout the day, but knew I'd spend much of the time sitting with my mother-in-law. You can see I made quite a bit of progress.

As the sock started, I immediately thought it looked like a lumberjack shirt, so it really brought a smile when the ball rolled over once and I read the color name "LUMBERJACK BLK PATT"!

I didn't have anyone in particular in mind when I started, but now I think I may end up mailing them to a nephew who is starting college (in the North GA mountains) this fall. He was a big help in the move today. He's been wanting a knitted cap (and might still get one), but somehow there are so many memories tied up in these socks, that I think I can only give them to a family member.

My father-in-law was a top-notch in-law. I miss him a lot. He was always making things. I will think of him as I knit.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Is the Glass Half Full, or Half Empty?

My nicely wound (hand wound, thank you very much) ball of yarn had been in a slippery ziplock baggie and wanted to roll around. I decided it might fit in a glass and, sure enough, it did! This works great now.
This Cherry Tree Hill suri alpaca is lovely to knit. You'll see I'm still on my bamboo needles. I switched over to the KnitPicks again for two rows but found I knit so slowly and carefully, so I switched back. I think I'll probably use these all the way through.

I'm on repeat 11 (of 14) of the first chart. It doesn't look like much here, but I think I'm going to be very happy with the color. There's a bit more green than shows in this photo.
I'm already thinking of starting a pair of really basic socks, though. I think I need some comfort knitting or a more portable project.