Friday, October 30, 2009


I'm having a hard time explaining my current knitting even to myself.

What you see here, first, is the start of the Evergreen Bag from the book Handknit Holidays which I found in a bookstore while on vacation for the low price of only $10.98. Since it is a nice hardbound book with several projects I like, I was quite happy to find it.

Tuesday, in the pouring rain, I went to my LYS to try to find some suitable yarn. Naturally the specified yarn was not to be had. The few yarns that I found that I really liked, weren't available in two colors that I liked together. I wound up trying out one of the new Berroco yarns - Vintage - a blend of 40% wool, 50% acrylic, and 10% nylon. I picked Tidepool and Wasabi. I'm not sure I like this combo, but it was all I seemed able to come up with at the time. The lighting in my LYS is abysmal on the brightest of days and Tuesday was certainly not one of those!

Wasabi. One of those words I never heard until the last couple of years.

What I'm having trouble understanding about my own knitting is why I've turned to this project when I already had this one going.

That is the Lily of the Valley Scarf in 100% cashmere.

See! Doesn't even make good sense.

Since writing this post, I've worked a few more rounds on the bag, getting that wavy line in below the buttonholes for the drawstrings, and I'm even more ambivalent about it. None of my knitting seems to be pleasing at this time.

It may be time to call in Evelyn A. Clark!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lace In Translation

The Design Center at The University of Philadelphia has an exhibition "Lace In Translation" which is running through April 3, 2010.

[which, by the way, does 2010 sound like science fiction to anybody else??]

Contemporary artists were invited in to view, examine, and take inspiration from the Design Center's large Quaker Lace Company collection.

There is a 12-minute video (Blogger didn't let me embed) that is so interesting. Would love to get up there and see this in person.

The image gallery and background information is also fascinating. Visitors are invited to share their pieces as well and there are several intriging pieces already posted.

ETA: It would be hard for me to pick a favorite among the pieces made and displayed, however I was particularly taken with the oil tank. See more of Cal Lane's work here - and don't miss the dirt!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parade of hats

Cooler weather. Fall is finally here even though the afternoons are still warm. I love to see the fall colors in the leaves. A pity that with all the many trees in our yard, none are maples.

I've been enjoying reading about and seeing all the pictures taken at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.

If you are thinking of making a hat, or even if you're not, you might enjoy a parade of 85 hats spotted at Rhinebeck. I just clicked 'slideshow' and sat back and enjoyed.

Know what tastes great with a slideshow? How about this fall mix - equal parts candy corn and cocktail peanuts. Salty and sweet. Tastes a lot like a Payday.

And you thought I only ate M&Ms!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Monster Mash

I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the mash
He did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash

Frankenstein's Monster Cloth was FUN to work. As soon as I stumbled upon the free pattern I had to get my hands on some acid green yarn (Hot Green Sugar 'n Cream) and try it out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whooo needs a new dishcloth?

I don't know how it is with you, but when I seem to be slogging along on a project and am in need of a quick knit, I usually turn to dishcloths.

They never take too long, the yarn costs only a bit and comes in such bright, cheerful colors. To top it off, the internet is full of free patterns so there is something new to try every time you get the urge.

This one was just a HOOT to knit. : )

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gone Platinum

I decided I really needed a finer needle, a size 28, to facilitate stitching the mosaic stitch in that floral band. Naturally I had no 28s, so last Saturday while I was out, I picked up a package. Two tiny platinum needles, very fine, $4.77. Amazing. But worth it. It has made all the difference in the world.

[kind of puts the cost of addi Turbos in perspective]

I knew I wanted John James needles when I left the house. John James needles have been manufactured in England since the 1800s and were even mentioned by Charles Dickens

"We have been to Redditch, that remarkable, to see needles made...
because our English needles of to-day are spreading all over the known world,
wherever exchange of commodities is going on. We are allowed to go over the Victoria Works,
the manufactory of Mr John James. That so many (needles) should go forth
into the world from one house is wonderful enough...
but the making ready for sale exhibits a miracle of dexterity."

Also a miracle of's a link to a picture of the Loara Standish sampler, 1653, the earliest known American-made sampler which also happens to be a band sampler. Loara Standish was the daughter of Miles Standish.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shrinking Violet

Are the blue socks done yet? Why, no. Why do you ask?

It isn't that I've lost interest in them either, its just that I got the urge to knit something else and that I had an idea for this yarn that I've had for some time.

According the receipt, I bought this in May 2005. I cannot even recall the project I had in mind. Doesn't matter because I only realized when it arrived that the put-up was 25 gr. balls and, whatever the project was, I had half enough. I've not seen this color listed since. Victorian Violet. Love that name. Don't you?

When I recently decided that it might do for a narrow scarf - and for a November birthday for someone - I first tried a shifting rib pattern based on a larger design in The Book of Yarn. A simple enough pattern it would seem, but I couldn't seem to keep it straight - or wandering really as the case may be - and I flubbed the seed stitch, too.

So I found a Feather and Fan (sometimes called Old Shale) pattern online, started at the other end of the ball, and am eating my way through the botched first attempt. This one has no edge stitches but there is no curling. If you'd like an edge; add 4 stitches making the cast on 42 and knit the first three on each end on all rows. [note: this will require thinking and, frankly, I just wasn't up to it.]

Monday, October 12, 2009


Turns out that this year the office closed for Columbus Day so I had an unexpected day off this week. Since it was another really rainy day, it was perfect to be home and knit and I did.

I had finished up the first of the Rib and Cable Socks over the weekend and this morning I got the second one cast on and under way.

Thanks to the still-overcast skies, the photo is a bit dark. I think the flash came on even though I took this outside in natural light.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh, October

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

The sock is coming along nicely, I'm actually to the heel flap since this picture. It is a most enjoyable knit, too.

Even though we continue to have much rain, there has been a bit of blue sky - enough to remind me of one of my favorite poems.

The leaf is from a walk. Alas no maples in our yard.

Speaking of poetry, have you heard about the giant knitted poem? Here you can see a knitter diligently sewing the letters together. I think I first learned of this project on Cornflower's wonderful blog. She knitted an 'O'.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yummy Yarn

I didn't crop all the orange button mums out of this shot because I loved the orange color with the bright blue of this yarn. Besides I just had to have a bit of orange after seeing such orangey goodness over at Mary's.

Isn't this blue yarn lovely? I think I deserve some yummy yarn and a soothing sock experience for a change.

This is just the very start of Rib and Cable Socks, a pattern by Nancy Bush from the Fall 2005 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. The pattern calls for this yarn, Mountain Colors Bearfoot.

These are going to be VERY warm, but also incredibly soft. I'm only about 15 rounds into the cuff and already they feel fabulous.

If the rest of the experience goes as well, it will more than make up for all the frustrations of that last pair.

Nancy Bush writes classic patterns in the traditional folk method, top-down with a heel flap on double-pointed needles. I'm a confirmed dpn knitter. Every once in awhile I read about other methods and consider using circular needles or knitting a toe up pattern or a short-row heel. This pause for considering lasts about 2 minutes before I dismiss the idea completely. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Still I recently read where another confirmed dpn top-down knitter has recently converted.

Reading that post and then seeing Jolene's fabulous leaf socks has got me thinking some more.
[be sure to scroll down and see Jolene's perfect, contrast heels]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Speed Bump

Things have slowed down to a crawl here on the embroidery project. The flowers in this second band are worked in two colors using the mosaic stitch. It is a lovely stitch that adds a nice texture, but the two shades of pale yellow are very similar and, without great lighting, the lighter one is difficult to see against the pale background of the linen.

Even with my OttLite nearby, my eyes tire easily and I only work a bit at a time. I didn't have an OttLite for a long time, but recently ran across one in the sale bin at Office Depot for $10. What a deal since the bulbs alone generally sell for $15. I must say it has been nice having it, especially for this project.

A very sunny, fall day here on the cul-de-sac. Perhaps if I could find a spot outside to stitch....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A threaded needle for a change

I've been wanting to start a large embroidery project for some time. The Schwalm kit that I started has not worked out for me. I don't like the way my stitching looks. Perhaps I can try again some other time, but it wasn't satisfying and I didn't enjoy working on it.

After seeing so many wonderful samplers at the Magnolia Guild exhibit, I decided I wanted to stitch a traditional sampler.

Finally after going through my many patterns and needlework magazines, I found exactly what I wanted to stitch; an English Band Sampler designed by Sandy Orton and characteristic of examples from 17th -century England. [pictured here] The pattern was published in the Summer 1992 issue of Treasures In Needlework, a specialty publication of Better Homes & Gardens that was very short-lived.

In 1992 I had a seven-year-old daughter and a much busier schedule so it is no wonder that this one was read, admired, but never stitched. This has lots of repeating patterns, stylized floral bands, whitework, and a lovely drawn thread band. Umm-umm, Good.

I'm not sure yet if I'll stick with this steadily. Right now I have a high interest level and want to work on this instead of lace knitting. Can you believe it?!

Some examples of English band samplers around the net can be found here, and here.

A lovely image here courtesy of the V&A.

A bit of history given here.