Saturday, December 15, 2007

Design III Instructions

Hello Design III Knitters,

Well, we are gearing up for Christmas and it almost seems ridiculous to think about January knitting but we should go over a few things...

Yarn Selection:
In this class we are going to master the basics of stranding. Therefore, you need to choose a plain, basic, solid color yarn and a multi-colored long-play yarn. The long-play yarn is given that name because the color changes are longer than most. We have several good selections at Stitches & Scones for the long play -- Inca Print is a Alpaca blend and the yarn that I chose. Paint Box and Poems are also good wool choices. Choose a worsted-weight solid that coordinates with your long-play yarn.

How much yarn?
How much yarn of each color depends on what pattern you choose. In other words, if you have chosen a color pattern of equal color repeats than you need to buy half solid and half colored. If you have more solid than colored you need to buy more solid.

For Example: I know I used about 1075 yards in a st st sweater for myself, sometimes a bit less. I had chosen a color pattern with equal color repeats in it. So I purchased 600 yds of my solid and 600 yds of my colored yarn. I also purchased an extra skein of each -- one extra of the solid and one extra of the colored. This was my safety-net just in case I changed my mind about a pattern or decided to make my sweater longer than I planned. I can exchange those extra skeins for store credit when I am through with my sweater.

How to Choose a Color Pattern:
When you are just learning how to strand it is best to choose a color pattern that is small and has good equal repeats. I recommend patterns from, "The Mitten Book". They are small patterns, easy to read and easy to memorize so that you can knit without looking at your graph paper.

Swatching for your Gauge:
Now that you have the yarn, your pattern and your needles (choose needles to correspond with your yarn) you have make up a swatch for your gauge. Knit up a good sized swatch so that you can test out your color repeats and see if you like your yarn and color pattern.

Cast on and start knitting across according to your pattern but when you come to the time when you would flip your work and purl across DO NOT TURN YOUR WORK. You will not be purling in this class you will only be knitting. Therefore you cannot purl the backside of your swatch.
Instead, loop your yarn comfortably across the back of your work and start at the beginning again. You will end up with loops across the back but that is okay. We need the gauge to be just in knitted st st.

For those of you who can make the Sit & Knit on the 27th of December, I can definitely help you with your swatch at the Sit & Knit.

Happy Knitting & Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Design III

I am knitting along nicely on my demonstration sweater for Design III: Top Down In Color. It has been a ton of fun to knit and I have been very surprised by how quickly it has knitted up. Although, should I be surprised? Top-down sweaters seem to knit up a bit faster. I am ready to do the sleeves and then on to the steeks. I won't show you the whole thing until after the class has started.
Also, there has been a lot of interest in this class. If you have your name on the sheet but have not handed in your deposit (half of the class fee) by December 20th I will have give your space to someone else (sorry).
Happy knitting everyone!

No Dumping

Sometimes I just can't believe people. When you live in a neighborhood you must go out of your way to be nice. You just have to. Especially since the subdivisions these days are built with such density. If you aren't nice and forgiving it doesn't work.

This is the little figure our neighbor has recently put in his yard. Can you believe it? There are a lot of dog people in our neighborhood but these people are NOT dog people. They are not even cat people or goldfish people. They are luxurious lawn people.

Thank goodness Bobby never "dumps" on their lawn. I always take Bobby out our back path and I pick up after him -- yes, I do. I think it is kind to others to pick up after your dog. Who wants to step in a squishy pile of yucky stuff.

However, as a dog owner I was offended by my neighbor's sign. I wanted to go out and place a sign around this plastic doggie's neck saying, "Equal opportunity for canines" or "We need potties too" or "Get a life." But, because if you live in a neighborhood you have to be nice, I have refrained.

Oh, the drama of life....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mr. Bobs

Bobby is my little dog who keeps me company in my studio. I just had to post this picture of him looking out the window. After a half an hour of staring out the window he'll finally curl up on this stool and fall asleep. Notice the vent -- he has it all, a view, a soft cushion and heat!

Knitting For Christmas

With Thanksgiving behind me and Christmas yet to look forward to I think it finally hit me -- I have to get knitting for Christmas!

I love to give something that I made. A handmade gift seems to have more quality and character than something you picked up at a store. Granted the quality of these handmade gifts have varied depending on my age and skill level.

When I was really little and had first learned how to crochet I got on a "crochet-slipper kick" and all my presents that year were crochet slippers. They were abominable. My poor mother must have died laughing in some closet after I gave her a pair.

Then came the knitted vest phase. I was about 16 and I thought vests were so cool. My mother seemed to like the one I made for her so I made my sisters vests too. My oldest sister just came across the one I made for her and with my hearty permission she is planning on felting it and making it into something else!

Now, I rarely make the same gift for everyone. I would rattle them off but... they need to be kept a secret until Christmas!

Happy Christmas Knitting everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving day started early in our household. My sister Emily and our dear friend and "sister" Christine spent the night so that we could spend the morning cooking together.
After making our traditional trip to Starbucks to get a cup of coffee and wish our local baristas "Happy Thanksgiving" we started into the awesome task of cooking the feast.

Christine happens to be the best "grill girl" you will ever find. She smoked two scrumptious turkey breast for us this year. Last year we only did one breast and vowed we would do two. This year we did two and vowed we would do three... it is just that good!

We had some sweet little Indians join us for our Thanksgiving feast. Here is Indian Andrew helping me at the stove.

The feast....

The feasters.... (I know it's not really a word but...)

And the little Indians...

Thank you so much Em and Christine! You two were amazing in the kitchen!
Now... back to knitting! =)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I love swatching. I used to hate it. However, once I understood its importance, how it guides and is the framework for any new design, I have come to adore it. It's like an artist sketching the first few bits of what will soon become a masterpiece.

Since the chill of winter has entered my little universe and has begun to freeze me to the very core (I tend to get unreasonably cold), I have started working on a colorwork sweater. A colorwork sweater really is a double-layered sweater, there is the top layer, which you see, and the back layer, all those lovely little strands carried behind.

One little tid bit knitters sometimes don't fully understand, all those lovely little strands behind your work will eventually meld and felt together to form that second layer. This is why stranding, rather than tucking the little bits in as you go, is still the preferred way.

I am making my colorwork sweater out of alpaca. Why? I love the feel of alpaca and it is warmer than wool. Yes, it is less durable than wool, but at this stage in my life I am so miserable being cold I have opted for the warmer version. Wool will indeed felt better in the stranding layer but, alas, again, the warmer version has one out.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Morning Walk

Despite the rain I went out this morning to see the leaves. It was worth it! I could take three months of this kind of color!

Bobby went with me on my walk. He looked a bit ragged when we arrived home but he was quite happy to have accompanied me on my outing.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Orange is the dominant color of the foliage this year. Last year it was vivid red. It is interesting to me to see what influence the rain or lack thereof does to fall's colors.
I finished my Cozy Cable Jacket. I wanted to make one for myself rather than just for the "pattern." I made it out of Classic Elite's "Princess". It is a beautiful blend of merino, cashmere & angora. I was very pleased by its stitch definition.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Little Bits

The last two weeks have been horribly busy. The Dear Handsome Husband and I have been painting the cedar siding on our house. I am still plucking splinters out of my hands.

But I have been knitting. I actually finished a Cozy Cable Jacket of my own, (which I'll put on a post sometime later) 2 pairs of fingerless gloves out of Boku and half of a pair of Fetching. (This accounting is for those of you who have been following Knitting Daily's UFO poll. Also, I only have two projects on needles at this moment! Yikes, something is wrong with me!)

I made my first pair of fingerless gloves out of Boku and gave them to my sister. Then I discovered I could squeeze out another glove from my lone skein and found yet another half skein of Boku in my stash -- oh, that marvelous stash. This is my dog-walking pair of fingerless gloves.

But I knew I needed a nice pair. That is when Joanne came into the shop! She told me all about Fetching and its popularity right now. It is an archieved pattern on Knitty and only requires one skein of DB Cashsoft! Both Joanne and I decided to knit a pair of Fetching in Revue -- I opted for the black version -- I thought it would be very "fancy."

I hope your pair is going well Joanne!

Happy knitting everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Exercise Science

I love taking long brisk walks outside. I hate exercising inside. I just do. I feel like a hamster in a exercise ball. But... sometimes it is necessary.

Well, in my Design I class my students have told me their wonder stories about how they exercise and knit as well as drive and knit.

I decided to try to exercise and knit but not drive and knit. So, here is my exercise shawl. I have been knitting it as I exercise on my walking machine and it works out quite well. I get to listen to the radio and knit! I actually exercise a lot longer than when I didn't knit!


Delia is finished and has actually been worn this week despite the hot weather. I knitted Delia out of one ball of Fleece Artist Silk & Merino. The bit of silk gives it a nice sheen as well as drape. I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I thought this would be just a sweater for me but several friends (Kelly & Tonia -- you're responsible) have asked me to make Delia into a pattern as well. So... stay tuned, I might just have this pattern for sale soon as well!

Oh -- I got a mannequin! I am so excited. I no longer have to be the model nor do I have to just hang up my sweaters and take a picture! I have a real mannequin! I have been searching Craig's List for a dress form for a long time and each time one came up it just seemed to slip through my grasp. Well, yesterday I noticed a lady selling three and they were priced at $25 each! That was the best price I had ever seen so I quickly emailed the lady. Even at that rate someone had already purchased one of them.

I drove down to pick up my purchase this morning. The lady lived in Fountain Square in a really cute loft apartment. It was like walking into a movie set for an artist living in NYC -- it was so cool. She used to have a vintage clothing shop but had closed it -- perhaps to focus more on her art, I don't know. But therefore she was getting rid of her mannequins! Sweet happiness for me!

Now I have to name my mannequin. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Crochet Afghan Finished

I finished the beautiful Plymouth Crochet Granny Square Afghan today. I am quite pleased with it. It is a little larger than a lap blanket size. I also think it could be folded over to create a nice shawl.

It will be in the shop on Wednesday so you can come by and inspect it! =)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Crocheting a LARGE Granny Square

I'm working on a store sample for Stitches & Scones right now and it's a crochet project! I have fallen in love with it because it reminds me of the granny squares my mother taught me when I was little -- but it's easier! Instead of crocheting 40 or 50 squares you just make one really big square!

The Granny Square Afghan is made out of 12 skeins of Boku - a wonderful self striping yarn Molli has at the shop. When I began the pattern I quickly realized it was better to wind all the skeins into nice center-pull cakes and put them in a box. Therefore, I could easily see which ball I needed next for the next row (every row you change colors).

It is quite addictive and I find myself saying, "Just one more row." I'll have to show you the finished project. Hopefully I'll have it finished soon so you can pop in to Stitches & Scones and see it!
Happy Knitting Everyone! (And crocheting too!) =)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall Patterns Completed!

I am so happy -- I finally finished my two new patterns for fall. A lot of work goes into formulating the pattern -- a lot of math and knitting. Even though I adore designing it is nice to complete a design project!

Cozy Cable Jacket: I designed this top-down jacket with the idea of interesting those who have never attempted a cable before. The cables in this sweater are very easy and great for beginners. I through in the belt to add a modern twist -- belted things are so in right now!

Lady Brown Skirt: The Lady Brown Skirt is delightful to knit -- it is very simple. The cables in are very simple -- just a step up from the Cozy Cable Jacket. The shaping comes mainly from the belt and the cables at the bottom! It is a breeze to knit and fun to wear!
Both patterns are available for purchase at Stitches & Scones.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Note to Self: I need a sock project

Okay -- I am so dumb. I don't have a small sock project I can stuff in my purse. Most places I go I can bring my knitting bag and sit and knit but this morning I couldn't.

This morning I escorted my husband downtown to watch him host a healthcare panel. I didn't want to take up space at the breakfast so I sat in the lounge of the Marriot Hotel and sipped a coffee until it was time to go up and listen to the panel discussion. For 45 minutes I sat still, sipped coffee and read the newspaper! I NEVER do that. I always have some sort of knitting in my hands when I sit down. Perhaps I am crazy and I should sit still more often without something in my hands to do, but I tell you, I felt so strange without my knitting.

So, this week, it is on my to do list -- I am getting a sock project to stuff into my purse so that I never have to sit still like that again! Yikes!

Sock knitters -- any suggestions on a pattern and favorite sock yarn?

Monday, September 17, 2007


JK is out at his classes and I am home spinning tonight with E.M. Forster's "A Room With A View" crooning on for entertainment. I am working away on the mohair I was given on holiday. It actually is coming along quite nicely when it is blended with some Blue Faced Leicester.

On a knitting note: I have been so jealous and eager to procure some Kauni yarn for myself and make one of those fantastic sweaters. I have scoured the net and finally found a shop in NYC that has it and one in Canada so at least the shipping and custom charges won't be exorbitant. But still.... we definitely need it here in Indiana -- after all, it's the rage right now!

Back to spinning!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home with a cold

I am home with a cold today. Between sleeping, blowing my nose, making steaming pots of tea to soothe my sore throat, and an aching headache I am getting hardly anything done. Even knitting is a bit of a task. But my goal is to be better by tomorrow. If that's the only thing that gets done today -- shaking this nasty cold -- I'll be happy.

I am almost done with my fall sweater pattern! Here's a sneak peak!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Holiday Weekend = Knitting & Cooking

I have high hopes for this holiday weekend - i.e. I hope to get a lot of knitting done. JK has an old college buddy visiting and they are doing the "old college buddy" outings. So I am at home with the sole responsibility of providing meals when they are hungry. Therefore, I should be able to knit to my heart's content.
While our guest was sleeping -- getting adjusted to the time zone -- I went to the Farmer's Market with my sister. I love to get there early to purchase the "cream of the crop". But it also gave us a nice chance to have a long, lingering morning cuppa at the local cafe. I.e -- a nice long, lingering time to knit!
I just adore this little shop front. It is always closed when I walk past.
Someday I'll get a chance to peek in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creative Space

I have been dreaming about having my own yarn studio. It would have lots of cubbies for yarn, a big cork board for my drawings of new designs, and a large comfy chair in the corner. Well, I decided to make it happen.
The 4th bedroom in our house is this odd little space. It's really small -- probably a baby room originally. No one wants to buy our house because of this small room. So, I took it over. I kicked out the TV and its accessories and moved in all my yarn, my baskets, my spinning wheel, my fiber and a big comfy chair. I now have some creative space of my own!
I still need to find a cork board, a dress form and a big basket for ... yarn. =) But that's okay. I'll find those items some day soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Vermont Knitting Shop

I forgot how much I missed the mountains until we arrived in Vermont on Thursday night. The Green Mountains are spectacular. The air smells like pines and ferns mixed with pure mountain air. The result is this bewitching perfume that takes your breath away.

I must still have the Vermonter spirit (it's where I was born) because I could barely hold back my excitement as we crossed over Lake Champlain and entered Vermont. However, I think I lost my Vermonter blood because I was FREEZING the entire time we were in Vermont. On Saturday the high was 63 F! Can you believe it?

Our purpose in Vermont was to celebrate my Grandmother's life with a memorial service and family reunion. Before the gathering started I stole away to Essex Junction and visited a very nice knitting shop called, "Kaleidoscope Yarns." It was beautiful, well organized and very friendly! I bought two skeins of "The Shearer's Yarn" in a lovely turquoise color. I think it will soon turn into a shrug!

JK managed to get a hilarious photo of me! I was delighted to be in a yarn shop again -- can you tell? =)

On Holiday

This was the first vacation I have ever had where I got to laze about. It was so nice! JK and I had two favorite spots we would frequent every day -- the beach and the coffee shop. It was great!

Knitting on the beach

Reading at the coffee shop

JK at the coffee shop

Reading on the beach

We went to a fabulous farmer's market on Monday. It was a true farmer's market owing to the fact that the occasion for the market was a cow auction. They also had a great antique section and I enjoying browsing through it.

Crochet doilies for $1

The water -- something I can never get enough of.

4 o'clock tea -- enjoying a good knit

Enjoying the Fall 07 Interweave Knits before I fall asleep.