Monday, December 29, 2014

Third time charming

The third Doctor Who scarf really is charming. I have to say, knitting 3 Doctor Who scarves in about 5 weeks was a little over the top but I know the kids loved theirs and I definitely love mine. 

Theirs were knit with the most accurate colors I could lay my hands on in 100% acrylic so easy wash and easy dry for Mom.  ( has everything you need to know if you want to make yours)

Mine, however, was knit with Cascade Pacific, 40% super wash Merino/60% acrylic, in the colors most closely related to the proper colors. It's not really that close but they were what was on hand at Knitorious in St Louis. 

(This pic doesn't really show the colors very well.)

I probably never would have used this yarn had it not been for this project but I really enjoyed knitting with it and the Merino gives it enough softness that I'm seriously considering it for a new sweater. 213 yards in the skein so you could definitely do something cool for a reasonable price. 

It would be a perfect pick for a modern take on a fair isle pattern. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's my perogative

As usual I started a spinning project with one garment in mind only to change my mind once I got into it. 

A few weeks ago I bought 8oz of blond alpaca at Knitorious in St Louis. To make the most if it, I plied it with a Merino/angora blend. 
Even though I was able to get about 500 yards, it wasn't going to be enough for the original project. 
That stripy look will become a tweedy look once it's knitted up. The new plans are to use a baby sweater pattern that has the bodice knitted from wrist to wrist and then stitches are picked up and the skirt is knitted in lace. 

The other thing I've been working on is the oven pads. With the latest one, I thought it would be cute to have a hotpad and a washcloth to go with it. 

I just can't make myself stop making them!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be prepared

The latest snow and cold made me realize that I needed to start beefing up my winter warmies. (Warmies to include those made with acrylic yarn.)

Chunky yarn + size 8 needles = fast and easy hat. 

This is a quick pattern that I designed last year. 

Start with a 4-stitch I-cord and make it long enough to tie a little knot in it. Then transfer them onto 4 double points (or two circs) and increase every stitch so that there are 4 stitches on each DP.  These represent 8 sections of 2 stitches each. 

Make sure to work a knit row every other round. 

On the increase rounds, increase at the beginning of each of the 8 sections until there are 13 stitches in each section. Increase more for a more slouchy hat and  fewer stitches for a less slouchy. 

Knit even in stockinette until the hat is as large as you want it. 

On next round, decrease once every 5 stitches (or as many as it takes for band to fit snugly). Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 2-3 inches if you want a single band or 4-5 inches if you want to turn up the band. 

Do a stretchy bind off and BAM you have a hat. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Believe the magic

I want to doff my hat to the most brilliant person in the world. The person who picked up a crochet hook and some cotton yarn and did this:

Crocheted a chain (this one is about 40 stitches). 
Then worked single chains up one side and without working any increases, single crocheted down the other side. 

Then kept working around, single crocheting in the back loop of each stitch like this:
And then kept working around and around
Until both sides met
And finally sewed it closed and created an oven mitt. 
That's either bloody brilliant or it's magic. 

By the way, I also finished the 2 Doctor Who scarves I was knitting for my friend's kids for Christmas. One is 12 feet and the other about 14 but they'll stretch. So blinking adorable! I lived doing then so much that I've got the yarn to do one for myself now!!
If you're interested in making your own, you can find the recommended yarns and pattern to match the originals, visit 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I have a new category (or at least a new name for the category) of projects that I like to call lurkers. 

If you're in a corporate environment, it's likely that you participate in a certain number of conference calls. Lurkers are what we call those who join calls but don't announce themselves, usually trying to catch someone off guard. 

The same can be said of internet discussion groups of someone who follows the discussions but rarely or never participates. 

My lurker project has been an argyle vest that has been laying around a while waiting on duplicate stitches and the decision about whether it will be a sweater or a vest. 

I finally made it come out into the open the other day and finished the dup stitches. 
The next decisions were to be a vest or to be a sweater. I'm not really a vest-y sort of person but I think it's finally convinced me. 
Vest it is. 

I need to work in the final ends and I haven't actually stitched the sides because I wanted to make those decisions but I also want to do some side shaping because it did end up a little too wide. I'm also, I think, going to felt it ever so slightly. 

I used the size needles recommended on the yarn band but the stitches are a little too open for my liking. I think I can fix that with some minor felting. (It's Galway yarn - which I love - so I'll have to be careful. It's a good felting yarn.)

And the lurker is no more a lurker but a full participant in the wardrobe. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter. Need sweaters.

It's definitely winter in Central IL and with the winter is the realization that I need a new batch of sweaters. 

Here's one I started earlier...
On the left is the front that I need to duplicate stitch and on the right is the back that I just finished stitching. 

I'm anxious to see how this is going to come together since I need to make some decisions about whether it's going to be a long sleeve sweater or a vest-type garment but I love the cheery colors and I love the argyle thing so I think it's going to be a very happy whatever it turns out to be. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Can I just say a few words about finishing?

How a project is finished, of course, depends on whether the project is knitted, crocheted, tatted, etc. Crochet? Easy peasy. Knitting? Even with color work pieces, I don't mind. I even kind of enjoy that process. Tatted?  Ahhhh, this is another story and a big reason I need to learn a new technique. When working in a larger piece (in this case a doily for a friend at work), at the end if each round you have to work in the finishing threads. Into tight knots. Each one. Seperately. Every one. Tight. Knots. 

I finished the work but not the doily. It's kind of like winning the battle but not the war. The challenge is to get a needle with an eye large enough for your thread (DMC size 30) that will fit through the aforementioned knots. 

Now some people would stop and work them in as they go. But not me.  Nooooooo....I leave them to the end, me. Now I have this beautiful doily that can't be called finished until I sit for the better part of an evening working in ends. 

There is a technique used in bobbin lace where you can work in a loop that will allow you to easily pull the ends through when you're finished. That's next because however annoying the set up is, there's no way it beats this. 

But I'm happy with the finished doily and the finished crocheted doily that just needs a good press, both for ladies at work who asked for them. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sometimes it just works

Several weeks ago I visited the Myers House in St Louis and found a cute little pattern for a stole. I didn't particularly care for the yarn it called for plus I was in the midst of spinning a yarn I hoped would work for it. 
While I was on vacation, I cast on. Bit before I could cast on, I realized I didn't have the size needles it called for. Also I didn't think the yarn was quite as chunky as what it called for. Sooooo...I improvised. 

I had size 8 needles (2 sizes smaller than what it called for) and the yarn fit the needles so I increased the cast on by about 10% roughly and started knitting. It was knit from the top down so I made sure the # of stitches did what it was supposed to do and kept knitting. 

It was an easy stockinette/reverse stockinette stitch pattern with the increases coming every 2 sections. And because of the smaller needles/smaller yarn, I added a couple of sections until I got this:
Pretty much just what the pattern calls for. It has the little pass-thru ties at the front and came out pretty perfectly. 

Oh, yeah, I also did an i-cord bind off to make sure it was a pretty edge and that it would bunch up. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

All the way around

I've completed my first year in my house and now I can finally relax a little. I've just finished and hung the final curtain. 

I love this lace pattern and the nod to Scotland it gives to my home but I was surprised at how fast it worked up after I got serious about getting it finished. 

Now for the tour of curtains:

Just what I envisioned. Ahhhh....good times. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finale - Curtains

Now that I've got the transom curtain done, I just have one final curtain to finish. It's for this window. 

When I first moved in, I was all gung-ho to get all the curtains made and I completed a knitted single curtain, a crocheted single curtain and a double crocheted curtain. I purposely didn't do one for this window because I had the pretty stained glass there. 

But later I decided I did want one and thought I need to even things out with a knitted one. Crochet goes much faster for this sort of thing but I didn't want the other knitted curtain to get feel all alone. 

So I cast on one if my favorite lace patterns, a thistle pattern. I got part way through before other things took it's place but I'm now back at it and determined to get it done. 

I'm almost through the first pattern repeat but will need to do another one to get the length I need. But it's a pretty easy pattern and goes pretty fast when I actually manage to work on it. I'm a little disappointed that the knitting fairies didn't make a little more progress while it was sitting on the side but what'cha gonna do?

Just have to finish it myself, I guess. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Better late

About 4-5 years ago I spun a lace weight yarn out of some blue faced Leicester wool dyed by Frabjous Fibers, my favorite all time dye house. The colorway was called English Garden and it was easy to see why. 

I started a project with it but it was another one of those situations where the yarn had an opinion and the project never went anywhere. 

About a year ago I ripped out and started a new project. Even though it's taken me all this time, I should get credit for perseverance, if not for speed, because I've finally finished. 

I was running really short on yardage
(That's how much I had left in the end) but I knew I needed at least a small border on each end. I just happened to have some books covering my coffee table (and spilling off onto the floor but that's another story), one of which was this one:
Which contains a whole section on edgings. In it I found this sweet little edging:
It's super easy and super fast and super cute. 
Now I just need to block it-just an easy block and I'm all set for fall. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Greener pastures

Last Saturday I was helping my friend, Karen, with her harp workshop. That basically meant that I had about blocks of time while the harpers were harping to otherwise amuse myself. 

My bobbin lace wasn't going to be easy to transport so I figured spinning was probably going to be my best option so the night before, I dove the stash and I came up with 2 different fibers. 

One was called apple green, an Ashland Bay favorite of mine. It's a very flat color but I love the tone in it. 

The other was a mixed fiber I bought at a wonderful little yarn shop in Charleston, WV. I'm afraid I don't remember the name of the shop but this is a mix of silk and Merino, I believe, and has different tones of greens and some blues and some touches of other colors, including the pure silk. So it's glossy and interesting but loses some of the interest when plied because there's so much going on. 

So I decided that these two were made for each other and I started spinning. And I believe you'll agree. 

Before washing:

Once it's all washed and dried, I'll show you what it looks like (because I think it will bloom like crazy) and what I intend to do with it. 

Friday, September 26, 2014


It's done and hung. 

The silly thing was wearing me out with just one more thing, just one more thing but it's finally where it belongs and it's spectacular, if I do say so myself. 

I've got the next thing started (or rather restarted) but I'm going to just enjoy this for a little while. Cup of tea coming right up. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Next step

I keep thinking if I just finish this section I'll be done but then there seems to always be another step to take. 

I got the border done then I got everything laid out. The first thing I tried to connect the pieces looked horrible so out it came. So far I'm happy with plan B so when I get this section finished, I'll be done. 
Surely I'll be done one of these days.  Right?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crazy person working

I have been working like a crazy person trying to get this curtain done. I'm sooooo close but am exhausted and I have a long day tomorrow. 

I'm the person who hates to put a book down when I'm in the last few chapters so this is making me even crazier. But I'm also a lot closer. 
I only have 2 more repeats to finish and then the straight solid tape across the top but I HAVE to go to bed. 

Did I mention how close I am?

Here it is with the squares. I'm so excited I can't stand it. Maybe just one more minute...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rolling along

To the soundtrack of an old Dragnet radio show marathon, I've made a very good start to my border. 

14 repeats done and 12 to go. If I had just another day off, I believe I could almost finish it. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Intrepid or bat crap crazy?

I tried a few things to piece together the squares for the curtain but I didn't really like the look of any of them. 

So I went back to the book and found this edging:
I measured it out and it will fit the width perfectly and accommodate the squares. But it also means doing this:
All except the top row. I won't need that but it still means 26 repeats. You can see I've already completed almost 6 of them so they go quickly. 

The answer to the question has yet to be determined. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Two fer

What do you think looking at this skein of yarn?  That it must be 2 skeins hanging together?

You would think so but, no, it's one skein spun on the same spindle from what (I thought) was the same bunch of fiber. I decided to do a Navajo ply which means that it was plied on itself in order.   After I washed it and let it dry, I couldn't figure out why it was all wonky. Until I cut a couple if the ties, that is. 

Evidently I used 2 different bumps of fiber because in one skein of yarn, I managed to get 2 very distinct and very different skins of yarn. One is a very smooth, very sproingy yarn. Lots of bounce. 

And the other is a soft, halo-y yarn with almost no bounce. 

I thought I was spinning a cashmere/merino blend (which is the second one) but evidently I was also spinning a merino/merino blend. That would be the first one. 

So my question is, should I divide them when I wind them and use them separately or should I wind them together and see comes out in the end?  I was thinking about dying them (for which I would keep them together). Or I could add them to my white on white project (in which case I would probably separate them). Hummm...