Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Bit Unusual

It’s a bit unusual but I’ve decided I like it. It’s terribly comfortable and I think this Malabrigo yarn will work much better in this sort of garment than in a sweater. It’s such a loosely spun single ply that it pills all over the place with the wear of a sweater. This design was based on a pattern I saw in a Godey’s Ladies Book for a young boy’s Body Warmer. The picture showed it wrapped around the child under a jacket or worn under other clothes (I’ll try to find the original picture and scan it in for you to see). It intrigued me so I used a stitch pattern that I saw in quite a few other patterns. I’ve used it before, particularly in the ‘pretty man sweater’ or fisherman’s sweater (whichever, both work for me). In these 19th century patterns it’s called brioche stitch and I’ve seen it mentioned under that name and under the name, fisherman’s stitch. I learned the stitch from an Elizabeth Zimmerman article in an old Vogue Knitting magazine. There’s even this web page dedicated to the stitch and it’s variations, if you’re interested.

The way I learned to do it is to K1, knit in the stitch below the next stitch, and repeat across. The way the Godey’s Ladies Book describes it is:

Stitch Brioche, thread forward, slip 1, knit 2 together, the same backwards and forwards. (It might be better said to bring the thread to the front, slip 1 stitch, bring the thread to the back so that there are 2 stitches laying together, then knit the next 2 stitches)

Either way, you get the same pattern. And it’s a pattern you have to be a little patient with because you won’t really see it until you’ve worked 5-6 rows, at least. I also think that if you were going to use it in the round, you would need to use the version from Godey’s. And it makes things much easier if you work it over an odd number of stitches.

I finished my newest
Fiber Trends felted clogs (sorry, I called them slippers before – I stand corrected) and had enough yarn left over that I made a pair of felted mittlets (my own pattern). You probably can’t see it in the picture but I did a little bit of textured stitching that just gives it a little somethin’ somethin’ up close. They fit great. All I did was cast on 36 stitches, did several rows of garter, knit plain for a while, increased for the thumb (until I had 18 stitches between the markers), knit a few rows plain, decreased the 18 thumb stitches, knit plain for a while and ended with several rows of garter. Oh, yeah, and I threw in the textured rows just for kicks.

I love these Fiber Trend felted clogs. I made my first pair 6 years ago and finally decided after they started falling apart that it might be time to make a new pair. And they only take a couple of hours to make. Bonus!

Now I have matching slippers and mittlets. Could come in useful this winter, right?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What a Trip!

Nothing like a last minute trip over about 1,600 miles to renew, redo and redecorate! What a wonderful trip and what a wonderful time with my parents! I’m so glad I went, we had a great time.

This was the first trip to Texas for Robert the Bear and he enjoyed it as well. Here’s a shot of him relaxing after a long day of driving. I ended up having pretty good weather for most of the time with just a little bit of sprinkling and clouds.

If you want to see what Oklahoma looks like, it's a variation of this all over the place (there are lots of casinos).

Here's the family story about Oklahoma. The story, I'm told, is real but the names have been changed to protect everyone. OK, here goes. Relative A and Relative B are driving through Oklahoma. There are signs along the road that say, "Don't drive into the smoke." (I saw these, too, which are what made me think of this.) Relative B asks Relative A what this means. Relative A says, with a straight face, that this is Native American country. They send smoke signals so if you drive through the smoke, you mess up the message. Relative B thinks for a minute and nods. That makes sense.

I did even have a day of 83 degrees and slept under the fan. Not that I’m rubbing it in or anything but I did. Just what the doctor ordered!

But just because you spend 4 days driving doesn’t mean you can’t knit (not WHILE driving, mind).

I made a pair of slippers (still to be felted) from the Fiber Trends pattern.

I almost finished my ‘body warmer,’ based on a pattern I found in an 1880’s pattern book, made from some Malabrigo that I’ve had in stash forever. It’s sort of a stole but it fits tightly around the body with bands that wrap around the waist. You can see the band at the lower right side. I’ve really only got to finish the bands and decide exactly how I want to do the connection (snaps, buttons, other). The body of it is a brioche stitch (which was extremely popular in the patterns of Godey’s Ladies magazine). The ends and bands are done in seed stitch to make them more stable.

I’ve finished my latest socks (made with Berrocco Sox – color 1425). Just basic sock recipe but I absolutely love the colorway on this sock yarn. In fact, I love it so much, I bought 2 more colorways!
I really thought that I would get up this morning and just be ready to get home but I really just wanted to keep driving and driving. Sigh.... It was a wonderful trip!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No pics today (although I need to take some and get them posted). But I do have an excuse. I was homesick and so, at the last minute decided to drive 760 miles south to see my Mom and George. I love driving so having an excuse to rent a car and drive for a full day and a half (and get to do it again this weekend) has been so great. No knitting in the car - hard to do when you're the one driving and you have a healthy respect for the fact that you are travelling at 70 mph (or thereabouts) but lots of music and loving the ipod with the movies and tv shows and going through countryside that I've never seen before.

It's a bracing 58 degrees (North Texas is having a cold spell) and I'm trying hard to cope. (I do whatever it takes for family.)

Got to visit S.W.A.K. in Oklahoma City yesterday. Wonderful shop with lots of character and warmth and friendliness. You know, you go into new yarn shops and they're almost always one of two ways - either they're noses in the air and rude or they're warm and friendly and inviting. This was definitely the latter. I didn't take too long but it was a wonderful experience along the way.

Today it was venturing out to the Recycled Books here in Denton. I love this book store and, if you're a knitter in the area, they've actually got some decent knitting books in the art section. Life don't get much better than this!

Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Classes

I’ve got two new classes in the Spring semester at Lincoln Land Community College. One is a repeat of a class we did in the Fall – Knitting with Jewelry Wire and Beads which will be a Saturday morning class on April 4th. It’s been so much fun seeing the endless variety from the students in this class.

The second class is one I haven’t done at LLCC before – Designing Your Own Purse with Knitting or Crochet. This will be a 3 week class on Thursday evenings starting on March 19th. Some people find weeknights better, others prefer Saturday mornings so we’ll try both this time.

I’m really excited about this class which will cover lots of creativity exercises and lots of different techniques. I think 3 classes will be enough time for people to have fun with it.

If you’re in the area and interested, the catalogue should be out soon. Be on the lookout or contact the
Community Learning office.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bucolic knitting

A couple of years ago, I made this purse (one like it, anyway) for the daughter of a friend of mine. I’ve always loved the look of it. It was made using Brown Sheep Nature's Pride, one of my favorite yarns, particularly for felting. It was felted and the flowers added after the felting. I really love the texture of the green yarn.

Anyway, a while back a friend of mine was talking to me about designing an afghan for her granddaughters and the first thing that came to my mind was this little purse and how cute that could be.

I’m feeling good about this. It was started while watching the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. (OK, it’s not Casino Royale but it’s non-stop action from start to finish – pretty spectacular.) It’s definitely the sort of movie to get a lot of stockinette stitching done! Bonus 50 pts.

In this picture, you can make out the green of the rolling hills, the sky and the beginnings of a cloud. At the bottom left-hand corner, you can see what’s going to be a rabbit hole. There’s going to be a knitted rabbit that will live in the hole – at least one. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be more. With rabbits, you never know, right? Fluffy clouds and cute bunnies…gotta be Bonus 25 pts.

I’ve also used it to practice with the Portuguese knitting style and I’m finding it coming much easier now. Bonus 10 pts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's all good

I finished the Portuguese Fisherman’s Sweater.



Now, there is no historical basis for this pattern other than the fact that a version of it was shown in a 1970’s craft magazine. I’ve tried to track down if there is a ‘style’ of the Portuguese fisherman’s sweaters, maybe the equivalent of the British Gansey. But as far as I’ve been able to find, there is not really a defined style. Of course, if anyone knows something I don’t (not a hard thing to do), I would love to hear about it.

The original plan was to work out this pattern and knit it using the Portuguese style of knitting. Unfortunately, that was too slow for me and I got frustrated so I didn’t follow through with that. Maybe I’ll do something smaller so I can pick up some speed.

The original pattern was done in 2 strands of a cotton yarn. As you may know, I don’t do cotton. Plus I had this yarn I’d bought and dyed that I wanted to use and seemed to be in the rustic spirit of a fisherman’s sweater. It’s all good.

I didn’t use the original pattern because I wanted to see if I could figure it out on my own. I can’t tell you how inordinately pleased I am with it. I still need to wash it and block the collar but it is so comfortable and, I think, charming. I also wasn’t sure about having the placket when I already have so much up front! But it’s all good.

I’ve made pretty good notes so I’m going to try to get the pattern written out. I’m so enamored of it that I really want to do another one – maybe with some Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I think I would get pretty much the same gauge and it would be a whole different feel. Maybe I’ll use that to test the pattern once I’ve got it written up. I may also, if she wants one, try to make one for my mother. She’s much smaller than I so it would be my opportunity to work out the pattern for a small size. Now she does like cotton (and lives in Texas) so I might just break down and do hers with something I can live with knitting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Of being knitterly

The weather has turned cold (with a bit of a vengeance, actually) and with the cold weather comes the return of the delight I feel at being a knitter. Each morning when I get up and decide which knits I’m going to wear that day, whether it be sweater, shawl, stole, scarf, socks or gloves. I’m awash with knits. I knit those knits. And it feels wonderful to venture out into the world wearing the knits I knit.

There’s really nothing that can compare to the knitterly satisfaction (and condescension, I have to admit) I feel wearing these beautiful hand crafted garments and pitying the people who wear only store-bought, factory-produced knits or, worse still, no knits at all. Pity the poor knitless ones.

I’m getting very close to finishing my Portuguese Fisherman’s Sweater. The sleeves have been a little bit of a challenge. I probably could have knit a whole new sweater for the time I took starting, ripping out, starting over, etc.

I decided to do the sleeves top down and it was a bit like the 3 bears – first I picked up way too few stitches, then I picked up way too many stitches but finally I think I got it just right. But then you have the problem of how far you decrease the stitches and then how to sort out the edging. Since the body had a split edging, I thought I might do the same for the cuff. But I shall have to do one last ripping out and do the cuff solid, I think.

Once I finish the second sleeve – which lacks about 3 inches – I will need to do the collar and then I’m done.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There's a new sock in town

I knit a lot of socks. Not as many as some, but I do my part. Mostly lately I've been doing pretty plain vanilla socks, things I can do in meetings and don't take much thought. In fact, I've gone a pretty good way towards using up my sock stash. Granted it was never very large but it was large enough that I haven't been buying it lately.

I did, however, go to Enticements in Decatur on Saturday and saw this Berroco Sox yarn. I've stated before and will again that I'm not usually a big fan of the variagated yarn but this is self-striping - a very different animal altogether. The colors really struck me on this (color #1425) so I bought it and got started on a sock. What about these colors, huh? All my really favorite, really saturated colors. I love it. And looking at the link above, I really, really, (no, really) love the colorways. I think I'm going to have to get me some more of this.

I've decided I must be a Berroco girl because I've been doing tons with it lately and am loving every Berroco yarn I'm getting my hands on. My goodness. You might like to know that they have a Berroco newsletter that's a lot of fun and has links for free patterns and lots of great info. You can sign up from their web site (see the link above). You can also find the link for their blogs from that page. Good stuff, Maynard!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ode to a Mug

I really like mugs. I have a few mugs in my cupboard. Not as many as I used to. I used to have a wonderful mug collection including a number of mugs from Dunoon Pottery but I lost all of them in a fire a number of years ago. But the ones I have have a special story are of special interest to me.

Now, I don’t go for just any mug. There are criterion.

It has to have some weight – none of those cheap, flimsy things. If it’s going to be called a mug, you gotta know you’re holding on to something. There is a difference between cheap/flimsy and porcelain. Porcelain mugs won't have the same heft but then they have to have the translucence.

Next, it has to have great decoration or design. No ponsy flowers or cute little bunnies. It has to be something interesting.

Then it has to have a good shape. No apples with handles, no swimming pools, nothing that holds 2 drops.

Finally, it has to have at least a 3-finger handle. This is something I learned from a very dear friend of mine named Stephanie. We had a few adventures did Steph and I. But probably the most valuable lesson I ever learned from her was that, to be an acceptable mug (or cup), you have to be able to insert at least 3 fingers through the handle. Think about the genius of it. Haven’t you ever had a mug that held about 3 cupfuls of tea or coffee (or other hot beverage) with a handle that only accommodated 1 finger? How do you hold it up? You know what happens – you burn your fingers and/or you drop hot liquid all over your lap. Right? Three fingers – test it now and save heartache later.

I love this mug.
It has everything.
Substantial and can hold a goodly cup of tea.
The Texas flag and a 4-finger handle.
There’s really nothing more one could ask for.

Portuguese Fisherman's Sweater

This is going really fast and I'm pleased with it so far. I'm thinking I could have started the placket a little sooner to make it a little longer but it's fine. Next time. Also next time I will do what I meant to do here which was, when I got to the placket, increase for every stitch in the placket and then move those extra stitches off onto a holder ready to knit up. That would have been much easier than picking up those stitches later! I did also pick up stitches along the right-side edge for every other row and then knitted them off as I went. That was a good move because it made a neat edge and meant I didn't have the bulk of a seam.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Please excuse me while I do my happy dance.

I can’t believe I’ve actually almost finished with this beautiful shawl. This is the Paisley Long Shawl from Fiddlesticks minus the fringe which will take a little bit to do but I’m so pleased with it. I did find one mistake as I was blocking it but I can live with it. Ain’t it purty?

If I get a picture of it tomorrow with the fringe I'll post again. It's huge. I can't find my tape measure (yeah, I know, I can't find any of the 50 or so tape measures that I own) but I reckon it's about 7 feet long and about 30 inches across. And I didn't even block it hard. The fringe will add about 11 more inches to the overall length but I think it will set it off beautifully. I have to reiterate that if you want a challenge knitting lace with the best instructions, this is the company to go for. Here's a link to the designs page. I actually bought the kit, something I don't normally do and I made the pattern in the garter stitch it called for, something else I rarely do. I will end up with almost a whole skein of yarn left over. In all fairness, they did recommend 2 skeins if you're not doing the fringe and 3 if you're doing the fringe. I got 3 skeins because I didn't want to get caught short. Nevermind. I think I already know what I'm going to do with the 3rd skein - about 600 yards' worth.

I’ve started a sweater with some yarn that I bought from Stitches a couple of years ago. It was on sale on a cone so I’m hoping that there will be enough for the sweater. Because it was on a cone, I was advised to skein it and wash it before I started working with it, which I did. I also decided I wanted to dye it. It was an oatmeal color but I thought this red might be pretty so I broke out the old kool-ade and dyed away. The red came out a real rustic color so I’m going to just do a basic, rustic pattern and I think I'm going to borrow heavily from the Portuguese Fisherman's sweater I found in the old magazine from the 70's.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Slightly Felted...on purpose

A few years ago I made a sweater from Elsabeth Lavold’s Designer’s Choice Book 1 (click on the next to last image). I made it with her Silky Wool in Lava. I think it’s really pretty but it’s also slightly too large, especially in the shoulders. I’d made it before I’d really figured out how to adjust the pattern for my narrow shoulders.

Yesterday, after I washed it, I decided to try an experiment. I put it in with my dress shirts in the dryer on a delicate cycle and kept a close watch on the time. Silky Wool is made up of wool and silk (silky wool – clever, huh) so I figured it would felt a bit. You know what? It did and it actually worked perfectly. How often does that happen, right? Weren’t you waiting for the punch line to be that it would now fit a small teddy bear? Well, it wouldn’t. It fits me. Perfectly. And it actually looks better with the fabric a little denser. Cool.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lace Class

On Satuday I finished the last of 3 sessions in the Beginning Lace Class at Lincoln Land. Although we ended up with just 2 students, they were so lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the class. Both students made great progress on their scarves. Both ladies expressed interest in a knitted doily class and a sock class. If you're in the Springfield area and would be interested in either of these classes, please give Lincoln Land a call at (217) 786-2432 or email the Program Assistant at amanda.willis@llcc.edu to let them know. These are not the classes I proposed for the Spring semester but if there's enough interest, I'm sure they'll get it on the roster for the Spring or perhaps the Summer session. It helps them to know what people are interested in doing and they really do their best to accommodate. If you've never taken a Community Education class with them, you should have a look at their catalogue (click on the link above) because you're sure to find something interesting.

Progress continues on my Paisley Long Scarf. I didn't take another picture because I'm just on the second half, which is a repeat of the first half that I pictured before. Unfortunately, the section I'm on right now is a relatively boring repeat of a filler pattern which has to be repeated 6 times (making 12 repeats in all). The good news is, once I finish these repeats (I have 2 left to do) I'll be on the homestretch. Can't wait to finish and block it although I'm not quite sure where I will have room to block it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another experiment

The Yarn Harlot had several posts about how she hadn’t done this popular scarf pattern because ‘everyone is doing it.” She finally broke down and let herself follow the crowd and was enormously pleased with the product. The scarf, however, uses Noro Silk Garden and will cost about $40. For me, now the stand back wasn’t about the fact everyone was doing it but the cost. I’m sure I’ve spent a crazy amount of money on projects like this but I spent it before I realized it, not going into it knowing I was spending that sort of money.

So I pulled out the old ‘what if’ and came up with this:

I just love it! And what did it cost? A skein of yarn from my stash that I think was about $7. Yes, just one skein and not all of that!

I followed the pattern of the Noro scarf which is a simple knit 1/purl 1 ribbing, which makes a lovely thick, double-sided fabric, and knitted on. I cast 34 stitches (I think) on US size 8 needles with
Berroco Ultra Alpaca and worked straight on. I was going to use 2 skeins and make it a long scarf but as I got into I realized it was quite wide and thick so I wasn’t sure it would be that great as a long scarf. So, what if I just made it a short scarf with a button hole which would hold the scarf securely while it’s on? Ha! Just what the doctor ordered and I love it. In fact, I’m going to wear it today. Just because I can. Ha!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is what I call a productive meeting...

I spent a great deal of the week sitting in on meetings. The good thing is that, since I wasn’t an active participant, I was able to spend the time knitting. Here’s what I got done:

Now, I did have 1 of the striped socks already done but I knitted the second one during the meetings and I finished the second purple one tonight. That’s more than a pair of socks in 3 days of meetings. I like that. That’s the way every meeting should be, don’t you think!

The purple socks are Knit Picks Gloss in the Cosmos colorway which is 70% wool and 30% silk. They’re just my basic sock recipe but that’s what I was working for. I just want some basic socks for everyday wear. I made a pair out of Gloss in black last year and it’s a yarn that definitely gets softer with wear and washing. I was amazed, though, that, even though I made the cuff longer than I normally do, I was still able to make the whole pair out of 1skein of yarn. I probably had about 20 yards left over but I certainly didn’t skimp. That’s not bad to have a pair of handmade wool and silk socks for $3.99.

The striped socks are made out of, as best as I can remember, a Brown Sheep sock yarn. I can’t remember exactly because I bought 3 skeins of different sock yarn at the Sticks and Stones over in Jacksonville and I’ve lost the tag. But I think that’s what it was. I really liked it because it was more subdued colors but I’m not sure I really like the colors now that they’re worked up. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I need to do some dying so I’m thinking I may overdye it with a blue dye but I’m not sure yet. I may try to live with them a bit and see if they grow on me. The one thing I did like, however, was the way the yarn looked on the slip stitch heel. Have a look and see what you think.

Now I wish I had made the whole socks like this. I would have had enough yarn and I really like the almost Fair Isle look of them. Live and learn, my friends. Live and learn.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm on my way

Halfway, that is. On my Paisley Long Shawl. I’m loving this pattern. When the Yarn Harlot bragged at how good these patterns are, she wasn’t just whistlin’ Dixie. It’s lace knitting with the pattern on both sides and a yarn that is a bit splitty. The pattern is as clear as clear with the addition of text directions when something different is going on in the pattern out of the ordinary. It’s been a pretty quick knit, too, so far. This picture isn’t really blocked, it’s just lightly pinned out so I could take the photo.

Tomorrow is the first of the 3 classes for the beginning lace course I’m doing for Lincoln Land and I’ll have 3 knitters. I’m very excited as this is the first time I’ve done this in an extended format like this. We’ll be doing a sampler scarf with fingering weight yarn.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Silly stuff

I found this recently and it makes me laugh so I thought I’d share…

“What they said…And what we did

According to the story, after every Quantas Airlines flight the pilots complete a ‘gripe sheet’ report, which conveys to the ground crew engineers any mechanical problems on the aircraft during the flight. The engineer reads the form, corrects the problem, and then writes details of action taken on the lower section of the form for the pilot to review before the next flight. It is clear from the examples below that ground crew engineers have a keen sense of humor – these are supposedly real extracts from gripe dorms completed by pilots with the solution responses by the engineers. Incidentally, Quantas has the best safety record of all the world’s major airlines.

(1=The problem logged by the pilot.)
(2=The solution and action taken by the mechanics.)

1. Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
2. Almost replaced left inside main tire.

1. Test flight, OK, except auto-land very rough.
2. Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

1. Something loose in cockpit.
2. Something tightened in cockpit.

1. Dead bugs on windshield.
2. Live bugs on back-order.

1. Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
2. Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

1. Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
2. Evidence removed.

1. DME volume unbelievably loud.
2. DME volume set to more believable level.

1. Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
2. That’s what they’re there for.

1. IFF inoperative.
2. IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

1. Suspected crack in windshield.
2. Suspect you’re right.

1. Number 3 engine missing.
2. Engine found on right wing after brief search.

1. Aircraft handles funny.
2. Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

1. Target radar hums.
2. Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

1. Mouse in cockpit.
2. Cat installed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One down…234 to go

Woohoo! I’ve finished the border for the Saltire & Thistle shawl. 708 stitches. I did finally decide on a knitted border. It’s one taken from one of the Weldon’s Practical Needlework books I bought in Wisconsin a while back. I’ve figured out this book was from around 1890 and, although everyone keeps saying the old patterns are riddled with mistakes, this one was right on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Round and Round

It’s been a while since I’ve had this kind of weekend. Of course, I always knit on the weekend but this weekend has been overdrive – in circles and circles. Remember the old mommy, mommy jokes? Mommy, mommy, I’m tired of running in circles. Shut up or I’ll nail your other foot to the floor. Seems kind of crude now but at 8 years old, that's funny, I don’t care who you are!

I’ve been fleshing out my 2-hour program on lace knitting to a 9-hour course and have been having a ball. But the overflow of that is that I’ve been a lace knittin’ fool. I’ve got 3 lace projects that I’ve had on the needles, one since February. This weekend, two of them got the business, especially the Shetland-style one. I worked 18 rounds on it in the past 3 days and considering it’s got over 600 stitches, I’d say that was a feat. Then I also worked about 35 rows on my Paisley shawl. Of course, that one’s only about 80 stitches but it’s patterned on both sides.

I’m nearing, I won’t call it the end because I still have the knit off edging, but I’m nearing the point where I can start knitting off the edging. I have to make the final determination about what edging I’m going to use and, at this point, I’m tempted to use a crocheted edging or small knit edging but I’ll have to take a breath when I finish the border to see what’s what.

The Paisley shawl is getting a little boring because you have to repeat this same pattern 6 times before you start the more interesting bit but I’m still enjoying it. We’ll see how I do when I have to join the middle and do 6 more of this pattern repeat. Maybe there will be enough between now and then to get me ready for it!

Oh, and one more thing. I did a class on knitting with jewelry wire and beads a couple of weeks ago and wanted to show you this. It’s something new I did as a sample because I didn’t really have a necklace to show. I love how it came out and it was a big hit with the class. I knitted over 3 stitches, passing the beads on every row and then, when I was finished with the necklace part, I took this wire disc I’d found somewhere and wove the blue wire I’d used in the necklace through it to pull it into the overall design and also to tone it down a little bit. I just want to wear it all the time!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun class

I had a Knitting with Jewelry Wire and Beads class this morning at LLCC and had a great group. There were 6 ladies who came along and all of them were up for anything. Several of them had never even knit before and I thought it was quite brave of them to come to the class. They did a great job, though, not only learning to knit but learning to knit with wire - not an easy feat, for sure, don't you think? A couple were able to finish pendants and we got the necklaces fixed up and the others got quite far in making their bracelets.

It never ceases to amaze me how individual and striking these projects are. I love it when people to catch on to all of the possibilities and the basic simplicity of the process which is why I always bring lots of samples for people to look at. I wish I had some photos but I always get too wrapped up in the class and forget!

I've just started a new lace project, because 4 projects are simply not enough to be going on with! I found Fiddlesticks Knitting from the Yarn Harlot's blog when she finished her Peacock Shawl. I don't always check out these links but I did this one and found this. The Paisley Long Shawl. In plum. Oh, yeah, baby. Paisley. Plum. Lace. I repeat, Oh, yeah, baby.

This is probably the most advanced lace pattern I've ever done with the pattern worked on every row but I'm very excited about getting it started.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vintage Cute

I've started playing with patterns for reproductions of some vintage patterns. This one was from a picture of a beaded purse. In the original version, which was called a vase coin purse, the white stripes were beaded. I didn't do this one that way because I wanted to work out the pattern. It's made with size 5 perle cotton in powder blue and white.

I've posted a free pattern for it on my web site so have a look if you want to try it out. I've also been seeing 19th century patterns for a similar concept but in a larger size. This one stands about 5" and is really just too cute, don't ya think!

One of the other things I've been working on is a linen top. Here's the back of the bodice. It's going to have a square neck with a vintage lace inset pattern. Then it's going to have a lace insert at the waist with a 'skirt' that will go about hip length. This is the Louet Euroflax Linen that I love so much in color "Grape." and using US size 4 needles. The bodice is stockinette and cable, the skirt will use a cherry lace stitch from a 19th century pattern and a yet to be decided lace insert.

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is where the 'N more comes in

I just got home from the Opening of the watercolor show and I’m surprised, astounded and, frankly, a little bit in shock that one of my paintings won an honorable mention. Out of about 50 or so paintings (some of which were breathtaking, by the way) there was 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then about 8 honorable mentions. One of those was mine. I still can’t fathom that that happened. I’m really anxious now to see the notes from the comments made by the judge. They’re being transcribed and I don’t know when they will be distributed but that’s really the reason I entered the paintings I did – to get the feedback from an artist of the caliber of Tom Francesconi.

The show will be at the Chase Bank lobby in downtown Springfield through October so go have a look.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


My Great Grannie was a great character. I remember going to visit her and Great Grandad in their home in Goldthswaite with their 300 or so wild cats and their barn with all the treasures and the spittoon and the pies. The first thing you did when you got there was to watch all the cats disappear - partly because they were wild and partly because my brother, though he has long been a friend of the cat, was at that time quite a terror to them. Grannie's cat, Tiger, wasn't too fond of him, either.

When you walked in the house, before you even looked for which pies Great Grandad had made, you looked for the spittoon so you would know where to sit -always on the other side of the room. Only then was it pie time. Great Grandad put up all his own fruits and I just remember the array of pies - a fruit pie or 2, pumpkin, pecan (it's pecan country, after all!), lemon merange (although I don't know how to spell it) and whatever something he had the urge to bake. Fabulous baker, he was.

Then there was Great Grannie, sitting in state in her chair ready to talk! (And they wonder where I get it from.) She was blind all the time I knew her but boy she could tell stories. She had to go live with an uncle at a very early age - an uncle with 5 grown and almost grown sons. A recipe for a high sense of self and sense of entitlement, if ever there was one. Anyway, she got away with all sorts of things, like rallying the kids in the 1-room schoolhouse to lock the teacher out once he went to the outhouse so they could have a dance with their smuggled instruments while the teacher tried to get back into the building. I once asked my Grannie how much stretching had been done by the time the stories got to us and she told that, as far as she'd been able to find out, they'd pretty much happened as she related.
Anyway, all of that to say that I finally finished my sketch of a picture I found of my Great Grannie where we think she was about 20 years old. Although she was very trying for my poor Grannie, she was a sheer delight for the younger me. I know there are things that could be better with the drawing (I won't point them out to you, I'm sure you'll find them!) but I was very happy with how it came out overall - especially for me as I don't consider myself much at sketching. And, Mom, I finally finished the face!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally, some pics

I've finally been able to get some decent pics of the spinning I've been doing of late and also of the Berroco Cosima sweater/jacket. Usually I don't think about the photos until it's too dark to get something decent.

Here's the yarn I've been spinning. It's from the Lincoln/Coopworth mix roving I got while in Wisconsin. Once I started plying (which was done with a Navaho ply - 3 ply) I could tell how much more comfortable I got with the spinning as I went on. Getting close to the end of the plying (which was the beginning of the spinning) I could tell the ply was much thicker and less confident. I'm really proud at how this came out and am looking forward to finishing it. I ended up with just over 172 yards so I won't have enough to do what I originally intended but I think I can figure out something to do with it! It looks more grey here but it's actually a green/black mix.

And then here's the Berroco Cosima sweater. This is from the Berroco book #281 and made from Cuzco yarn which is 50% alpaca/50% wool - beautiful hand.

Here's the detail for the neck - the buttons are antique shell buttons I picked up a while back and I love what they add to the sweater.
I have been wearing it but can only stand it for about 15 mintues! Don't want to wish cold weather too soon but I can't wait to wear this!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm still spinning...

It’s been rather a busy day, even though I had it off from ‘work.’ (Don’t worry, it was legitimate – I didn’t call in sick!)

I’ve been really on a spinning jog lately and have spun almost a full 8 oz of the lovely green roving I bought a few weeks ago in Wisconsin. This is the Lincoln/Coopworth roving that is being so much fun to spin. I’ll post a picture once I get the first skein plied.

I also spun about 172 yds of black alpaca the other day which also turned out quite lovely to spin. With that one, I was trying to do a 1-ply at a certain thickness to match some wool that I want to use for a design idea I’ve got. I just don’t think it’s going to be enough yardage for the project I have in mind. My friend, Karen, from
Karen Poulakos Fiber Arts Studio has some lovely ‘Colonial’ wool roving that I think will be a perfect match for the other yarn I’m going to use so as soon as she gets in some black, I’ll be good to go. I just want to make sure that I have enough. Nothing worse than running out of yarn and not being able to buy more! Maybe I can get more of the green done while I’m waiting. Well, I do have some maroon ‘Colonial’ so maybe I’ll work on that for a while!

The great Cricket Wars of 2008 are in full swing. Living on the ground floor, this time of year I get invaded by those nasty black crickets. Five a.m. Sunday morning found me stalking the critters as they mocked me from their hidden positions. Somehow, at least one of them got into the cabinetry in my kitchen where I couldn’t get to them but their noise echoed as loudly as it possible could. I did, however, get in some hits to one that was in the open and took some others out later in the day.

I’ve reinforced my perimeter and it seems to have worked for most of today but I can hear them encroaching from the outside so one never knows when they’ll strike next.

By the way, if you're in Springfield in October, go by the Chase Bank building. I will have 4 watercolors in the display there during the month. As I mentioned before, I've just joined the Sangamon Watercolor Society and this is part of their on-going display at the bank. But this month, they have a special artist who will be in town to do the judging and will give feedback on each of the paintings. I'm excited to have some impartial feedback on my work (unless he says it sucks then I won't be so excited!). Hopefully he'll be more constructive than that!

I did finish the sketch of my Great Grannie and will post a picture once I get the mat cut the right size. This is the one that I finished all but the face on and it took me forever to get up the nerve to try the face. There are flaws but I'm very happy with it overall.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast ye maties

Yet again, I've let it sneak up on me again unbeknownst. Arghhhhh...

Aye, it's Talk Like a Priate Day! September 19

Have ye never heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day? Just follow the link above to the secret treasure of pirate talk and pirate stories. Want more?


"Avast belay, yo ho, heave to,
A-pirating we go
And if we're parted by a shot
We're sure to meet below!"
"Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life,
The flag o'skull and bones
A merry hour, a hempen rope
And 'hey' for Davy Jones!"

And you can even watch Pirates of the Carribean to round out your day.

Good day to you, me hearties!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Classes

I've got a couple of classes coming up at Lincoln Land Community College here in Springfield in case you're in the area and interested.

The first one coming up on October 18th is Knitting Jewelry with Jewelry Wire and Beads (click on the Lincoln Land link above, choose Fall 2008 Community Learning Schedule and then go to page 10 of the booklet). We'll be making a bracelet or necklace fob with, as it says, jewelry wire and beads. It's a great technique for quick, unique Christmas gifts. I'll post some sample tonight so you can see the sorts of things you can do with this simple technique. The great thing is that you only use the knit stitch so I've even had people who've never knitted before finish a project during the class.

The second class is 3 Saturday mornings of Beginning Lace (page 11 of the booklet). The first class is November 8th and then we'll also meet for the next 2 Saturday mornings. The project is going to be a sampler lace scarf which will give you the chance to try out a few different lace patterns, getting used to working both from charts and from written directions. We'll also talk a bit about the special characteristics and techniques of knitting lace and take a bit of the mystery and intimidation out of it.

The Springfield Flock Fiber Arts Guild will also be doing a beginning knitting class this fall so you might want to check that out. The project will be a teddy bear-size sweater introducing the knit and purl stitches, increasing and decreasing and casting on and binding off. They're working from my curriculum so I'm quite excited to see how it goes. That will be 3 sessions starting September 27th. The sweater really will be doable for everyone and can be finished by the end of the class. It was originally set for a 4-session class but I'm still confident it can be done in this time. It's also a great chance for beginner knitters to take the step from basic projects to learning the techniques and steps to knitting a sweater. Everything you learn can be translated into making any size sweater. The Guild has deemed this the year of the sweater and challenged Guild members to make at least 1 sweater this year so this seemed to fit right in.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary

I wanted to take the opportunity to wish my parents congratulations on 25 years together. I well remember the day they got married in a quiet ceremony. For making the commitment to each other, sticking through the hard times and always encouraging and supporting each other I have to say I’m humbled and honored to be your daughter. I love you both.

In other news, I finally got my latest watercolor framed and I’m very happy with the way the white frame sets it off.

One other thing I got on my recent jaunt was this pattern and the Berocco yarn in charcoal. I can’t tell you how gorgeous and sensual this yarn is. A fairly chunky yarn in half superfine alpaca, which gives it weight and softness, and half Peruvian wool which gives it some loft and memory. I’ve got the back and the left front done. The right front and sleeves should go quickly (on size 10/6mm needles) and then all I have to do is wait for the cool weather!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Road Trip

I had a bit of a get-away this weekend with a trip up to Madison, WI. The main reason for going was that I’d never been there and it was an easy long weekend trip. It wasn’t until after I’d planned the trip that I discovered it was the same weekend as the Jefferson County Sheep and Wool Festival. I also didn’t know that this was the BIG sheep and wool festival for Wisconsin, as I was told by one of the vendors. There were 2 large buildings just full of fiber and spinning wheels and fiber and looms and yarn and fiber.

Here are some pics:

There was also a sheepdog demonstration from a lady who ranches in southeastern Illinois. I didn’t get her name but she definitely knew her stuff. She was also spending time coaching some folks with sheep dogs that had not had any training. When I first got there, she was working with a man and his dog who was doing amazing. Little did I know that the dog had never herded sheep before that morning. Two hours of work she did with the dog and his owner and they were going through all the paces.

Then she brought out her dog. Wow. What a performance!

Fortunately I was only there for Sunday morning! But I got some yummy roving and a beautiful Border Leicester fleece. It’s so scrummy that I’ve been able to ‘card’ it with my fingers. It’s still in the grease but it’s only a light lanolin and there’s almost no vegetable matter. Can’t wait to get it spinning.

The roving I bought is a gorgeous dark green with black highlights. It’s the exact color I’ve been wanting for the fisherman’s sweater I designed a couple of years ago. Yes, the ‘pretty man sweater!’ I’ve been looking for more than 2 years for the right yarn in the right color and haven’t been able to find it. Well, now I just have to spin it!

I did also visit the 2 yarn shops I found in Madison – both very nice. One is a smaller shop but with some lovely yarns and lots of sweater samples. I found a pattern book from Gedifra Moments that really took my fancy. I’d never seen this company before and when I searched on it mostly found German and Greek web sites that carried it so I’m guessing European.

But it was at
Lakeside Fibers that I fell in love. For it was there that I discovered the Weldon’s Practical Needlework series. Weldon’s was a late 19th century needlework magazine that was published in Britain. Obviously getting hold of a real copy of one of them is not easy these days and not at all cheap. But bless Piecework Magazine’s pea picking hearts, they republished them in a series of 12 volumes a few years ago. I knew nothing about this. I poured over the volumes for a long while before deciding which I was going to splurge on. I decided this was what I would spend my State Fair winnings for! I wish I could tell you how wonderful and amazing these reprinting are for a lover of vintage patterns. Sigh…. I’m still swooning just a little bit. Click on the Amazon.com link above and you can have a little peek into the volumes. Lightheaded. Ohhh… I’m okay, I’m okay. Whew.

All in all, quite a weekend! Just as well I was driving.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You take the high road, I'll take the low road

and I'll be in Scotland afore ye.

I’ve finally gotten back to the Saltire and Thistle Shawl. I put it aside because the thistles in the pattern are going to wrong way. I kept thinking I would spend some time working out how to reverse the pattern, which I’m fairly sure is a pretty easy thing. Thing is, though, I’m not and it’s been sitting patiently by my chair with the border halfway done. I’ve finally embraced the fact that I’m not going to do anything with the thistle pattern and have come to the realization that if the thistle pattern wants to be upside down, I’m jolly well going to let it be upside down. Who am I, after all, to tell the thistle which way it has to face. Here’s my ‘prototype.’ I don’t have a new photo but this is what I’m making except this one is where I’ve done the thistle pattern wrong.

Again, don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty and very uniform so that it looks like it was done on purpose – and it was – but it’s not a thistle. It came out more like a shell. Pretty but not a thistle.

So now I’m doing one with a thistle. The other thing I’m doing differently is in the corner sections. In this photo, you can see I just did plain stockinette stitch in this original 'prototype' shawl because I wasn’t sure how things would go. I decided to go plain and figure out how the shaping works.

On this one, I’m doing a Shetland eyelet pattern, in keeping with the Scottish theme – Saltire (Scottish flag) in the middle, thistles and the Shetland eyelet pattern in the border and then I’ll do a wide knitted off border (over the almost 600 stitches there will be around by the time I finish the border. You're right if you're thinking the prototype doesn't have an edging. I was doing it to learn the technique so I didn't go to the trouble of doing the edging, I just crocheted it off.

I figure I should be finished with the border in the next week or so and then the edging will take a while. The last time I did a simple garter knitted edging, it took me about 3 months to do it!! I’m a fast knitter but having to knit the equivalent of 1200 rows takes a while, I don’t care who you are!

It's nice to embrace the realities of life and enjoy the process of knitting a beautiful shawl that will remind me of my life in Scotland. They not facing the wrong way, they're just facing the other way.

Monday, September 1, 2008


What a nice, long weekend. Of course, it’s never long enough – I’m just beginning to wind down and get the things done I wanted to get done. But, nevertheless, I’ve had a good time.

One of the things I wanted to do was get my hand in with some watercolor projects and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Here’s one of the projects:

Now that I see it like this, I realize there’s still some work to do on the flowers but I’m pretty happy with it.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Mary Salinski, a local watercolor artist and long time fiber artist. She had some fiber stuff she wanted to clean out and invited me to come have a look. Not only did I end up with a back seat full of stuff but I got to see some of her beautiful, beautiful cross-stitch and weaving work. What a lovely lady. I’m looking forward to her watercolor show that will be opening at the Hoogeland Center for the Arts next weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

itsy, bitsy spider

Just a quick post. I was watering plants on the patio after work this afternoon, looked up and saw this.

(Click to enlarge)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do It Yourself

This has been the most fun I’ve had in ages. A cardigan that knits itself! It’s been such a weird experience. It started out, as I posted previously with a yarn that I bought over in Bloomington, intending it for a shawl or stole. I had the inspiration of the simple lace pattern (see Wednesday's post) so I started a wide stole (120 stitches on US size 8/5mm needles). I’d only done a few rows when I realized that it wasn’t a stole, it was a lacy cardigan. It was just the right size for the back. I knitted on, well, I say knitted, I really just held the needles. It really sort of knitted itself. I said I would keep “down and dirty” notes so you can try it if you’d like.

When I’d knitted far enough (12 inches/30 yo holds), I bound off 3 stitches on either side
. From there, I decreased 1 stitches each side until the raglan sleeves were long enough and I did a basic shaping for the back neck, leaving 21 stitches on either shoulder.

I made both front pieces at the same time so I could make sure they were identical. I casted on 60 stitches and worked even until they matched the back (12 inches/30 yo holes) and then shaped the sleeves exactly as I’d done for the back. When they were at 38 yo holes, I shaped the neck like this:

On the last row before I was going to bind off at the neck edge, I knitted the 10 stitches of the neck edge on each side (I didn’t do to the lace pattern). On the next pass, I bound off 8 stitches on each neck edge then decreased 1 stitch at neck edge and armhole edge every other row until there were about 21 stitches (to match the back shoulders). I did a 3 needle bind-off to join the front and back and give it a little structure to keep it from stretching too much.

I also sewed the side seams to make sure it was going to fit okay. Actually, it would have worked nicely as a vest but I don’t like to wear vests so it was on to the sleeves.

Sleeves – Again, I did them together so I would know they were the same, working off of 2 skeins of yarn. I cast on 40 stitches and worked in pattern for 1 inch. Then I started increasing 1 stitch on either side every other row 8 times, then every 4th row 7 times. Then I worked even until it was time to start the sleeve. I worked the shaping exactly as I did for the back until there were 20 stitches left (or so). This fit was a little tricky and I measured against the armhole as I went to make sure I didn’t make it too large. I sewed the sleeve seams and then sewed the sleeves onto the body.

And that’s it! I absolutely love it and it fits perfectly. The large size needles and the open stitch pattern make this go super fast.

Blueberry Bread Pudding

I've been trying out another vintage recipe. This time it’s been a blueberry bread pudding from the July 1925 Needlecraft magazine. So easy, so delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

“Pick the stale bread over into tiny pieces, the smaller the better it will be, until you have two cupfuls (I used a container of bread crumbs which worked great). Then put into a saucepan one cupful of milk and two tablespoonfuls of butter. If you live in the country and have plenty of cream, use fairly thin cream instead of milk and omit the butter. Bring to the boiling-point and pour over the bread crumbs. Let it stand for fifteen minutes. Then press the softened bread with a fork, tearing into still smaller bits until the mixture looks more like a rather rough custard. This not absolutely necessary, but it makes the pudding softer and nicer. Now add three tablespoonfuls of sugar and two well beaten eggs and one heaping cupful of blueberries. Pour into a pudding dish and bake. (I baked it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.) Serve hot with hard sauce or cold with cream.”

It would also be nice with this blueberry sauce (from the same magazine):

“Mix two cupfuls of blueberries with one cupful of cold water. Let them come to a boil and then stew slowly until the water is half gone, and the berries soft enough to rub through a sieve with a flat strainer.”

State Fair Entries
One other thing is that I've had several people ask about entering things into the State Fair. Each state will have a different procedure but you can find instructions by search for the state fair website in your state. In Illinois, the address is here. Click on the Competition tab and you'll want to look for the "Premium Book" for the General Competitions. Of course, you won't be able to see the Premium Book now since the fair is finished but they'll post it in March/April 2009. Section M is the Textiles section and you'll then be able to see instructions for entering and the categories. You'll need to complete the entry form and send it in with the fee before the middle of July. It's only $1 per entry so I chose a wide number of categories which gave me some leaway as to what I was going to enter without getting caught at the end. You don't have to enter everything you have tags for. They will send the tags that you'll need to attach to your piece and that's it. Just follow the directions for when to take them or send them in and you're set. Most categories allow you to enter up to 2 items. Have fun and enter lots of stuff!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meet the Bear

Let me introduce you to my knitting chair companion. This is Robert the Bear, given to me by my friends Robert and Anne when I visited Scotland in February. They gave me the Bear and a magnet that plays Scotland the Brave – the whole Scotland the Brave – all 3 ½ minutes of Scotland the Brave. Still I play it every once in a while when I need a smile. Do do da dodo do do dooo do do do dodo do do. Robert and I exchanged tacky Christmas gifts for several years until I moved away – he gave me a sampler paint pot one year and I sent him a cheesy Christmas yard decoration one year. Ah, good times.

Anyway, the Bear got put in the corner of my big chair when I got back from my trip and he seems to really like it because he almost never leaves it. He’s really helpful and sometimes even holds my patterns for me. Good Bear.

A couple of finishes or almost finishes. I've got almost 700 yards of wool spun for my planned fisherman's gansey sweater. I reckon I'll probably need about 500 more yards but that means I'm more than halfway there (and it's only taken me 2 years!) I wasn't pleased with it after I'd plied the first skein. I'm not that experienced a spinner and my plies are really only good for 2 ply unless you're after super big fat chunky yarn - and I'm not. Like I've been reading on other blogs, my 2-ply yarn was way under spun and I wasn't at all pleased. My friend, Karen, who is quickly approaching master status suggested I should put it back on the wheel and add more twist. At first it seemed like too much trouble but then I thought, "Isn't spinning any yarn way more trouble that just buying some yarn? Is trouble really the point?" I put it back on the wheel, added some more twist and Bob's your father's brother - it came out great. And I got enough twist put into the other 2 skeins that they were fine even after I'd washed them. I'm gonna love this sweater. The plan is simmering away in my strange little brain. I'll let you know when I get it started.

Anyway, back to the post. I finished my scarf that started out as a sampler to show the pattern on the Desert Sunrise yarn I dyed. I liked it so much, I decided to just keep going and make the scarf. Can’t wait for the cold weather to come back so I can wear it. I’m not, by the way, talking about the seriously cold weather, just the weather where it’s cold enough to wear things like this. I need to get some socks knit before the really cold weather comes.

And I wanted to show this project, too. Before I show this project, I want to share the stitch pattern I’ve been using. For some reason this has become my catch-all stitch pattern lately. I started using it because it was the cuffs of the Nancy Bush Norwegian gloves I finished last week. But it’s such an easy, nice looking pattern that you don’t need to think about (too much-see note below) that I used it for the scarf right up there and I started using it with this lime green Mandarin Petit yarn (100% cotton yarn from a Norwegian company called SandnesGarn).

(Cast on multiple of 10.)

Row 1: SSK, K2, yo, k2, yo, k2, K2tog
Row 2: Purl (unless you’re working in the round, in which case you would knit the second round)

Repeat as needed. That’s it. Yeah, the only thing you need to watch out for is that it can be easy to get into your mind that you should yarn over after every time you k2. Not so much. You’ll get into all sorts of Scotland the Brave if you do that because that last k2 is there to keep you on your toes. Ask me how I know.

You probably have gotten an inkling that I don’t generally like cotton yarns but this is one of those yummy soft cotton yarns that knits like a dream, kind of like the Katia Mississippi 3. It not only knits like a dream, it is a dream to knit with.

This, like many of my projects, started life as a shawl/stole. In fact, the reason I bought it was to make a shawl. I have about 6 skeins (180 meters each) and thought that would be a good use so I promptly cast on 120 stitches. I wanted a wide stole and figured almost 1,100 meters would be plenty to make something a decent size. What I didn’t know at the time was that this yarn actually was born to be a lacy raglan-sleeved cardigan. It wasn’t until I had about 6 inches knit with this lovely stuff that I understood what the universe had planned. I did a provisional cast on and will use that to crochet off a little lacy edging when I’m done. I’ll just wait until I have both fronts done and get it put together so it will have a continuous edging.

I’ve already started on one of the front pieces and in an hour tonight got about 6 inches done. I don’t know that I’ll do a formal pattern but I am keeping notes so let me know if you want directions after I’ve finished. It will have raglan sleeves but I haven’t yet decided on the front. My really narrow shoulders don’t do so well with the v-neck so I’ll have to wait till I get there and see what happens.