Sunday, February 25, 2007


Its gray and dreary today in southern Indiana, after a windy and sleety storm that knocked out power for a few hours last night. The line crew drove out our lonely road around 1am looking for the "problem" in our neighborhood, just glad they didn't think it was me - this time.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Anemoi Mittens

As if I needed another project on the needles.....

Oh but who could resist this one. Besides I've never knit mittens before. I am sure to learn new things... Yeah, we've heard that before.

Look at this:

If you haven't visited Eunny's site, check out the link and go there! She is a goddess.

I'm thinking maybe gold and burgundy......

Taylor's Sweater

This is a sweater I am knitting for my dear friend Taylor. He lives in the PNW and, I think can wear this pattern well.

I found the pattern in the summer 2003 edition of "Knitter's Magazine." It was designed for a cotton knit, but I decided to use this beautiful bronze tweed instead. I think the wool suits the fish-tail cable pattern better, and of course is more useful for the damp and cool days of Vashon Island.

I started this project a couple years ago. Taylor has been very patient waiting for the finished piece. I tend to knit several things at a time. Its hard to just knit a seed stitch and cables for ever. So, I switch off with a stranded knitting project, or an easy knit I can do with my eyes closed, or a quick knit. That way I can always shift to a project depending on my mood. Gemini nature at work!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


My friend MC told me this story today:

My TaTa called me a stupid clumsy girl. All the socks and mittens we wore as kids were made by her. She taught me to knit. So I started a scarf. She would rip out my work in disgust, and redo it herself. After the third time she did this, I said "no, its ok, that mistake doesn't bother me," but she ripped it out anyway. And so I decided that scarf wasn't mine, and I wouldn't knit anymore. I was in second grade when I lost that career possibility.


Knitting, like any passion, can take you many wonderful places.

Today I was browsing in a local independent bookstore and noticed that the woman at the counter was knitting a sock. We got to talking and one story led to another, as they do, and pretty soon Joy, that was her very appropriate name, was drawing out a design of a tulip as she spoke of the history of this design and its relevance to her family.

It turns out that Joy's family enjoys the heritage of several peoples. From Scotland to the Americas. The rich result is that she was taught to knit by her grandmother, along with her brother. Girls were encouraged to learn color stranded knitting, while boys were encouraged to learn cables and single color knitting. The reason given is that you don't want to be burdened with multiple colors while out fishing. This of course led to the story of how drowned fishermen are identified by the patterns of their sweaters. We discussed the origins of colored knitting being in the economical use of yarn ends, and the family patterns of stockings. And then Joy launched into how these patterns can come back to you in interesting ways.

She told the story of her father responding to a painted pattern on a bus on a reservation. Joy drew the pattern out for him without having seen it, amazing him until she revealed to him the ancestry of the pattern. The tulip pattern on the bus, which her father initially considered just some "hippy" decoration, was a traditional decorative pattern of their tribe. This pattern was adapted from pattern books the French missionaries brought to the Northwest territories in the fifteenth century based on wallpaper designs and embroidery. The pattern was adapted by the Indians for use in their own textiles and is in fact knitted into fabric.

My thanks to Joy for this wonderful lesson in the web of pattern and design and how we all contribute and draw from the wells of our complex communities. I wish I had a picture of the drawing Joy made to cast into this modern well of the Internet. Web 2.0 at work.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More winter birds

The bird feeder remains quite busy with the recent cold snap. This picture I thought was fun for its variety. The red cardinal, the winter goldfinch, and hanging on with his tail for balance, a red bellied woodpecker. Usually the woodpecker scares everyone away while he grabs his seed, but these two snuck back on the other side.

Cashel for grown-ups

This pattern was created by Alice Starmore as a child's sweater in her Celtic Collection. I decided to do the math and make it big enough for an adult. I think it went a little too far and became an over sized sweater, which can be fun to wear (especially for a faerie).

This was a quick knit on US6 needles. The cabling was fun and I enjoyed the details of the cuffs, waist band, and neck. And the yarn is a wonderful emerald green tweed. The stitch pattern is a two-row background, one row in single rib and the other knitted.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Neckdown Pullover

You gotta know you are well and truly loved if anyone ever knits you a sweater.

(unless they are one of those super knitting machines who knit a sweater a month, then they're just showing off, or just need a reason to feed their addiction)

This pattern is from "knitting pure and simple" ( and knits from the top down. I traded a painting for the yarn which was a yummy shetland wool from Alice Starmore's old distributor.

It's pretty essential for me to have an alternative to the stranded nightmare of Donegal, where I can just go on automatic and enjoy the simple production of fabric while my mind wanders off on its own.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Winter Birds

I love how brightly the birds show in this winter landscape.

Ooops, time to fill the feeder!


Ok, here's the question: should I go ahead and knit up this wool (Heilo, black tweed, 4ply, knits in pattern at 5.5 stitches per inch, on US size 1 needles) in aberlady's pattern, or use it for something else? Aberlady was designed by AS to be knit in a silk/wool blend at 9 stitches per inch, on US size 2 needles. So, this version is much coarser. I have my doubts about whether the pearl stitch pattern will show to good effect. The swatch photo is in bright daylight. Under an incandescent light bulb at night, the pearl stitches loose their organization on the swatch. It might be, that when they have the whole fabric to play with they stand out better. BTW, I am planning to knit it up as a man's waistcoat, not the tight gansey AS designed it for.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Here is my first stranded knitting project. Of course it is one of Alice Starmore's more complicated celtic patterns. Someone forgot to look at the level of difficulty before deciding to buy the yarn, typical. Anyway, I will pass on two things I've learned that are probably quite obvious to most knitters (but since I learn to knit from reading - no one had bothered to write down before), but not obvious to someone new to stranded knitting.

First: make sure your loop is almost as long as your work! Since the key to stranded knitting is ensuring the stitches are generously spaced as you strand along the second color, it is essential that you have room on your needle for that spacing. If your loop is too short, the stitches push back on the right hand needle, causing the infamous washboard effect to your work. This picture shows the effect of not realizing this until I had struggled through ten inches of work, cursing it all the way. I tried everything I could think of to address uneven tension in my work, to no effect. Finally a kind soul (thank you Claire Boissevain Crooke! whose Norwegian Hat patterns are available at Yarns Unlimited) clued me in when I desperately sought help in a workshop (not my style). I am told that blocking heals all. I look forward to the day.

Second: With Starmore's pattern directions, it wasn't clear why you place one stitch on a holder as you begin the arm hole steeks. Well, its simply the underarm stitches that you would place on a holder for any armhole work - duh! I can't tell you how many hours I puzzled over those directions, never having done a steek before (thank you Eunny! whose Steek tutorial is the best on the Net). Anyway, here is a detail of the beginning of the Steek.

So, hope you can benefit from my silly mistakes, they sure caused a lot of grief! Of course the next step of cutting the steek will be an adventure of another sort. Cheers!

Ice Storm

Happy Valentines Day! We woke to a winter wonderland today in Indiana. The sunlight sparkling on the ice makes for instant cheer.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

first vest

This is the second thing I ever knit. I enjoyed the rich texture of the seed stitch, combined with the beautiful Manos wool. Learned how to make pockets too!

Cable Hat

This is my first hat. The pattern is a great way to learn cables and double point knitting. I found the pattern in the book: The Hat Book, Creating Hats for Every Occasion, by Juliet Brown, Lark Books 1993.
Cold here in Indiana, we're having an ice storm, brrrrrrr.
This is my brand-new, right out of the box, knitting blog. Here I will be posting pictures of finished projects, current projects, and ambitious new projects being planned. I am a naive and therefor courageous knitter. You might also notice I'm a Starmore fan. This gets me into many tight spots, so I will also be posting my quests for solutions to problems beyond my skill level.
This might be helpful for everyone. I have definitely benefited from the expertise of generous bloggers, such as the outstanding and hope to return the favor.