Friday, May 29, 2009

It's New Bag Friday!

If you've visited here much you know I LOVE bags*; any size, any shape, any material.

Sheri blames her recent case of startitis on seeing so many wonderful projects on Ravelry. It is great, isn't it?

That's where I found the pattern for my latest stringplay. Here's the start, the bottom, of The Girlfriend Market Bag [Ravelry link - or free pdf here]

I stumbled upon it and immediately wanted to give it a try. I've been eyeing other string market bags but the knit-in-the-round square bottom to this really grabbed me. You start out with 8 stitches and it gives you a chance to use Emily Ocker's circular cast on which is just plain magic. This is So Much Fun so far. And pretty fast, too. The net part is a two-round repeat which should be perfect for a laid-back weekend. We'll see anyway.

*Mary loves bags, too and she's found the PERFECT one for this summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Hi. Just me popping in to say that the linen project started earlier this month made it off the needles today and I think you'll agree that a little blocking and stiffening is in order.

Of course I don't think you can blame either of us for being a bit wilted. It's in the high 80s here today and very humid as well.

This has been a FUN knit and would have been fast as well if I could have been focused and dedicated.

The designer reminded me that I could use fabric stiffener instead of starch. I had forgotten that I had some and that it had worked quite well with the angels I did a couple of years ago. I'll need to first come up with some way to block it.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Only 9 rounds away from the Finish Line on this one and I stalled out.

There is no give to the linen and it is a bit hard on the wrists for any extended time. That and some holiday distraction and I discovered I'm a stitch short. Bah.

The linen doesn't seem to be the problem either as much as the needles. Even though I'm using Addis here, the stitches really seem to cling to the needle and I find I'm constantly urging each one along.

At the same time I find myself unwilling to start another knitting project until I can get this one off and launched so I've turned to a threaded needle for a bit.

and in the meantime, I have serious sock envy.
[#51- pattern not even available in English - so it's hopeless]

How was your holiday?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

AKG Knitted Flowers

Although I'm not a member of the Atlanta Knitting Guild (yet?), I had heard about the large flowers they were designing and knitting for the Stitches South show and had been looking forward to seeing when I went to the Vendor Market. I was disappointed not to see any and learned they were in the banquet room. Since I was not taking any classes or attending the banquet, I missed them entirely.

The AKG members were understandably thrilled when the Stitches team asked to have them for display at other Stitches events and, I understand, rented a truck on the spot to transport them.

If you're interested, you can see several short video interviews of members relating their experience with the project and see glimpses of the banquet room all decorated (and hear some Southern accents in the bargain). Also see several photos in the Flickr set here.
[photo from AKG blog / hope that's OK]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trade secrets

Blog friend, Mary (who's knitting a lovely summer shawl, btw) has been talking about tricks and quirks with knitting.

She mentioned the interlocking stitch markers that I sent her and that I use. You can see my red/green combo there at the toe of the the current sock.

I found this tip in "Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets". My library has the older version, but I see Taunton Books has expanded and re-released it.

I like to use these whenever I have to do something every other round - so it's perfect for gusset and toe decreases. For me red means STOP and do something like decrease and green means GO; keep on knitting around plain. I usually place it a couple of stitches in on the first needle (you magic loopers and 2 circs people work it out yourselves). When I get to the marker I flip it to the other color and do whatever I was reminded to do. If I have to put my knitting down mid-round or suddenly, when I come back to it later I know exactly what to do. Yes, I can get easily distracted.

Today I was in a waiting room knitting away on my sock when I discovered I was ready for toe decreases and my handy, dandy interlocking markers were not with me. Luckily there was a snippet of a different yarn leftover from another project so I knotted two interlocking loops and merrily proceeded. It wasn't quite as neat as the markers but certainly served the purpose.

The spiral-bound index card book is another handy thing for me. It has dividers for three sections. In one I have the yarn/yardage requirements for a few patterns that I like - in case I'm in a yarn shop and see the perfect yarn but can't remember how much is required. One section has a grid I made with my needle inventory (not up-to-date; must work on that!) and one section has some tips. You can see one right there. It's the Retro Rib Sock Toe.

The Retro Rib Socks were the first pair I made from a patterned pattern, i.e. the first non-generic plain rib sock. My beginner and basic pattern was Ann Norling's Adult Basic Socks which I think is a terrific pattern, particularly for beginners, but I found the toe on the Retro Rib pattern to be just a bit more refined and I loved how it fit and felt.

And why wouldn't I? Because just guess WHO designed the Retro Ribs. Yep. Evelyn A. Clark.

and if YOU have a neat tip, pass it on in the comments.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sand Dollar Shawl

Yesterday while it was doing this outside,

I was inside doing this

and it did actually dry completely overnight.
Today it is a bright, sunny day and I have this

Pattern: Sand Dollar Shawl
from Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark
(this would be a desert island book)

Yarn: Jojoland Ballad
superwash wool
220 yards / 50 gr - 2 balls
color 307 - Lake Blue

Needles: Size 4 KnitPicks Options circular

In "Knitting Lace Triangles" EAC provides you with four basic lace stitches (in words and charts) and the instructions for combining them to create your own shawls - along with much other helpful information. Additionally she has provided sample shawls in one, two, three, or four lace combinations and the Sand Dollar is a two-lace combo which I find very pleasing. Besides combining them, you can decide for yourself how many repeats to do of each stitch. The Sand Dollar alternates a 10 row medallion repeat with a 20-row ripple repeat. Fun times!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The sweet spot

I'm on the home stretch now, the edging on the knitted triangle.

It is signature Evelyn A. Clark and is, perhaps, the most soothing, relaxing knit I ever do.

The yarn has kept this from being 100% enjoyable simply because it is not the softest imaginable.* Because it's a superwash? I don't know. But I did want this to be washable. It is destined to be present for someone I feel sure would completely forget and toss it into the washer. Better safe than sorry, right?

*This is not a slight against the yarn which I think would be great for other purposes. It is purely all my fault for pairing it with this particular project.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2 Kays are better than 1

TGIF. It's been a draining week and I'm looking forward to the weekend.

To start it off right, I dropped by the library after work. I had a tip off to a new-to-me author from one of my favorite book reviewers. I usually start off at the library's browser section, but today I headed straight to the stacks for my book, swung by "my section" (746.4), and only then stopped by the browser. Boy, am I glad I did! Look what was waiting for me there! Kay and Ann's latest book.

Of course I had to sneak a peek on the drive home (don't worry; at a stoplight) and was rewarded immediately in the introduction when they reminded me "Knitting is spoze to be fun".
Who else can make knitting seem more fun than Mason-Dixon Knitting?

And speaking of fun........ Giddy with my jackpot, I headed downstairs to the DVDs thinking a little movie watching might be in order since MUCH rain is predicted again this weekend. While I was reading the titles I heard a librarian asked if I was finding what I was looking for. I turned to answer her and it was no librarian, it was my pal Kay! She's out of retirement and back at work for a couple of weeks, so we had a little time to catch up. What a wonderful surprise.

Later at home, with coffee (and a cookie), I started skimming through the book. My favorite quote? It's from the last chapter, The Sophisticated Kitchen - "Everybody has a kitchen, or a wretched rathole that serves as their kitchen". Well! That made me laugh out loud.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beep, beep, beep

(insert sound effect here)

You know that safety sound that trucks make now when they are backing up? Well I think I need that feature on my needles. Sadly.

I'm nearing the end of the latest knitted triangle. I was ready for the last row of a repeat and planned on doing the edging next because I didn't think I'd have enough yarn to do a whole extra repeat and the edging. Except when I actually stop and READ the instructions (yeah, it helps to do that!), I discover I need to substitute a transition chart for the last TWO rows.

So....beep, beep, beep.......I'm tinking back now. I'm even slower at tinking than I am at knitting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Days

are here again!

Have you seen the Throwbacks?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another start

I seem to have a fair number of WIPs around lately.

I'm about halfway through an Evelyn A. Clark knitted triangle shawl. I haven't even posted a picture of it. Shame on me. That may be because I haven't even taken a picture of it. It isn't anything spectacular even though it is a lovely shade of deep teal, but, as with all EAC designs, it is very pleasing to knit and it's destined for a Christmas gift.

Often when I have one project going along smoothly (or even especially if it hits a snag), I tend to start browsing patterns for the Next Thing. Ah, there so many.

This is one that I've had in my mental pipeline for some time. You can't see the cone of 14/2 Euroflax linen underneath that knitted bit, but I bought it at Earth Guild in 2007. Just typing that makes me wish I was back browsing around. Do you know that while browsing you put your selections in a handmade basket! What a wonderful place.

For the longest I worried that the linen was not just right. I worried that I wouldn't get it knitted and blocked just right. And because of all this I almost built it up into more than it really is: knit stitches; one after the other. It's string for crying out loud.

When it gets a bit further along, I'll tell you more about it.

More thunderstorms expected today. I got my walk in just before it began raining. Every lap I had to give a wide berth to this fellow sunning himself on the warm metal. Eww.

Fortunately this is not our mailbox. I would hate to think that this guy lived in our box.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Process or Product?

Do you read Kristin Nicholas' blog? I always enjoy it. My life and hers are quite different and I love looking in to see how things are on the farm. She posts lovely pictures, too.

She also loves color; can't get enough. I tend to be less colorful. So it's fun to see what she's designing, making, or painting because it is always bursting with color.

Her post yesterday which I only just read, has a wonderful link to this article on knitting in public and the reactions the knitter/writer receives. Kristin ends the post by asking her reader if they are a process or product knitter.

Well I've pondered over that one many times and I'm still not sure. Mostly I think I knit for the process; the necessity almost, of having something for my hands and mind. At the same time I pretty much need a product at the end in order to be completely satisfied. [satisfied with the journey, not necessarily the outcome!]

Now tatting is a different story altogether. I'm definitely a process tatter. I mostly never care if the piece being worked winds up used or not. In fact, I have quite a store of finished lengths or items and a number of scraps. Somewhere around here is a half-finished baby bonnet. Now a tatted baby bonnet is a frivolous* thing providing no warmth or shield from sun or wind. I also can't say that I've ever seen a baby wearing one. So why did I start it? The PROCESS, of course. It was simply too compelling to resist. Besides the pattern was in "Piecework". They've got my number!

*frivolitete' is French for lace and frivoliteter is Scandinavian for tatting [at least according to authors Gun Blomqvist and Elwy Persson] and that partial bonnet? Can't even FIND it! It is not in the small zippered bag in which I last remember seeing it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

oh! Galina

Still a little overcast here today so I can't seem to get a picture of this tatting to show it's true colors, but I think if you click to open it up to a bigger size it might help.

I'm still in love with how the colors are playing out and also still not sure what I may use it for. I'm thinking - bag/embellishment. Surprised? Me neither.

In the meantime, I keep thinking about Galina and those gossamer shawls. What a treat to see them 'in person'. In fact treat doesn't begin to describe it.

I was thrilled to find a podcast with an interview with Galina. It is over an hour long and isn't as much an interview as a long narrative by Galina discussing the Orenburg lace tradition, knitting in communist Russia, and how she ended up in America as author, instructor, and historian of Orenburg traditional lace knitting.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


This is a close-up of that beautiful thread I bought at the lace club vendor market a couple of weeks ago. I am just now getting around to trying it out.

Verdict: I love it. LOVE it. It feels great and the colors are just spectacular.

I pondered several uses for it but in the end for this first shot, I decided to try a bit of tatting and I'm using the Chantilly Border from the new "Piecework" which is a reprint from "Weldon's Practical Needlework, Vol. 4".

I can't promise how practical this will be, but it sure is keeping me happy this rainy evening.