Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don’t drop stitches in lace . . .

You might end up starting all over again. Second time I’ve done it in three months –DROPPED several stitches, and lost the whole pattern, frogging away to start over again. The first time this happened, back in November, I thought, no it’s the pattern, it’s a fairly complicated lace pattern..

But this time .. it’s a very easy lace pattern, Adamas Shawl from KnitPicks, with their yarn, Shimmer, which is really nice. And the stitches were dropped because I picked up the project wrong . . . .

Maybe if I hadn’t abandoned it late last night to start the Orenburg scarf which is a subscriber’s gift from Interweave when I renewed my subscription yesterday. So when I looked at the pattern, I knew I had to dig in my stash for yarn to make it. I found some lovely lavenders and blues Kid Merino from Crystal Palace, and got rolling last night. I’ll post photos tomorrow – I did the whole first border last night before I went to sleep, and then today I’ve turned two corners, and done two full 16 row pattern repeats , and it’s really lovely, and I’m enjoying knitting it.

But back to frogging Adamas . . . and starting over.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I did indeed, finish the Fair Isle hat over the weekend. I think I’m pleased. I’m not totally sure, but it was nice and warm walking to the local sushi restaurant to have lunch with a friend. I’m not sure it got over 32º today, and there’s been quite a biting wind.

I love the Waterlilly yarn from Classic Elite. The colors are not completely solid, just ebbing and flowing in intensity.

That's me modeling the hat!
I found a basic chart in Alice Starmore’s Charts book, and I was going to use a variegated yarn for the swirls, but it didn’t work, so I just went with three colors for the hat, and I think it works.

The yarn was lovely to work with. I really enjoyed knitting with it. Now back to the Bressay Jacket – yet Russian River is calling me, and my SIL’s birthday present. (As I said before, photos once it’s gone to Iowa). Oh, and there’s this lace shawl . . . .

Schizophrenic Knitter, that’s me.

But here’s a wonderful photo of my most recent finished Fair Isle sweater, Pyramids designed by Ron Schweitzer for Yarns International’s Shetland 2000 yarns. (The model’s my husband Bob, it was knit for him!)

Friday, January 26, 2007

New yarn store . . . therefore MORE Yarn

There’s a new yarn store here in the DC suburbs, and it shows great promise! They just opened this week. The store is spacious, well-laid out, inviting, and good starting selections of yarns. AND nice people! (A Tangled Skein, in Hyattsville, MD)(Their website is not up yet, I’ll post a link as soon as it is.) My friend Sally (of and I had a wonderful time checking them out, and then I introduced her to Burmese food at one of my favorite local restaurants.

I bought some new yarn – just out this fall, Classic Elite’s Waterlilly, to make myself a warm hat that doesn’t itch. I fought starting it, but the yarn won, and I cast on yesterday afternoon. Waterlilly is lovely to knit, and I love the soft variations in the color, a bit like the Lorna’s Laces solids. I might add the weather report for DC also influenced the starting, since it was suppose to get below 10º last night, and artic air is going to influence our weather for the next week to ten days. I’m designing the hat as I go, so I probably won’t post pictures until it’s done. As it’s a hat, it should be done by the end of the weekend – if I get enough knitting time.

I also got some new sock yarn, Tofutsies, its fiber content is: 50% Superwash wool, 25% soysilk (hence the Tofu in the name, I expect), 22.5% cotton AND 2.5% Chitin—Chitin – what is Chitin you ask –it’s fiber from shrimp and crab shells – naturally antibacterial! I think it’ll be the next pair of socks I start, just to see how it knits. One of the nice ladies at A Tangled Skein was knitting a sock from it, and I liked how it was going, and I think either my husband or I will like the socks. I got a colorway that will work for either Bob (husband) or me. And the Favorite Socks from Interweave Press. It’s nice to have all the sock patterns in a book, and not have to go through how ever many years of mags to find one you vaguely remember. (I was a “charter” subscriber with Interweave Knits, which is still my favorite knitting magazine, so I have all the issues).

And I finished the left front of the Bressay Jacket. (gee, I got a fair amount of knitting done yesterday . . . .)

Back to the hat--almost to fun part

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Re Focusing . . . . .

When I reach the finishing stretch of a knitting project, I tend to get very tunnel visioned, my usual schizophrenic knitting patterns change, and I focus on the project to be finished. It is very frustrating to be stopped dead in my tracks, and have to wait for yarn – and for a response from the yarn source.

So, I have frogged two socks (different pairs) that wouldn’t fit over my feet (one’s the Jaywalker sock – it’s a wonderful pattern, but even six stitches more than my basic stitch count for me, it wouldn’t fit over my heel, I’m debating between

1. going up a needle size, staying with 72 sts.
2. going to the larger size – 80/84 stitches (don’t have pattern in front of me so don’t know the number)
3. Or going up the needle size AND stitch count.)

Has anyone else had problems with this pattern fitting? I’m not the only one, I’ve a friend who’s doing the same thing I am, we’ve been wondering if others have had the same problem.

I’m going to finish the Trekking socks that were lost for two months before I go back to the jaywalkers or the other ones I frogged.

The other pair is a wonderful beaded design from Heartstrings. I’ve made one, and it’s awful tight. I’d started the second one, but I’m rethinking it, and ripped out the one inch I’d already knitted. When I get back to them (they’re out of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in Baltic Sea, one of my favorite colorways), I’m just going to go up a needle size, I was doing ‘em on 2.25 mm and I think if I knit them on 2.5 mm (both listed as US 1s) that’ll do the trick. If it does, I’ll frog the first one and reknit it.

And then (this is what happens when I’m set adrift from my planned knitting . . . .)
I knit a gauge swatch for my FI February project – first needle size wasn’t quite on gauge, and since I want to make the project SMALLER than the smallest size, and would like a TIGHTER gauge for it, I went down even more, and got a very nice gauge of 8.5 sts to the inch instead of 8 sts to the inch the pattern called for. I think it’s going to work well for the finished sweater. AND then I cast on for said sweater – all 351 stitches. (Haven’t got much further than that, because the first 18 rows of the sweater are a hem, so just St st -- I’ll work on it a choir tomorrow night).

And if that wasn’t enough – I cast on for the Adamas Lace Shawl from Knitpicks in their shimmer yarn. I’m to the main body of that already, and will probably work one or two full repeats before I rein myself in, and refocus back to the trekking socks, or the Bressay Jacket, or even to Russian River Fair Isle. And all because I ran out of yarn to finish the Elephants Baby Blanket.


Good news: I think my email has finally gotten through to Virtual Yarns – when they were bouncing yesterday they did so within half an hour of sending, and nothing’s bounced back today! And since I sent it “after” business hours in the UK, I’m not expecting a response until tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


ALL my emails to Virtual Yarns are bouncing back! I’m am SOOOOOOOOOOO frustrated!

So, I’m knitting on the socks, and my Fair Isle February project.

1:07 A.M. New rant

I’m feeling VERY frustrated. I’m on round 12 of the LAST 15 rounds of the Elephants baby blanket body – AND I’VE RUN OUT OF YARN!

This is an Alice Starmore pattern AND KIT bought from Virtual Yarns over the internet. I received a set amount of yarn. I’ve run out of two colors COMPLETELY – one I need to finish the body, and the other is used in four rounds of the border, which STARTS with 904 stitches and INCREASES over the course of the 10 rounds of border.

So out of SEVEN colors of yarn – I’m completely out of two, and sure I don’t have enough of two others to do the border.

I have emailed Virtual Yarns, just before I started this rant. Hopefully I will hear back from them tomorrow, and yarn will be on it’s way to me by the end of the week.

I made another of her blankets two years ago, and ran out of TWO of the colors for that one. I had problems getting a response from Virtual Yarns, but it was over Christmas time, and it turned out they close for two or three weeks around then, and the Hebrides had horrible gales etc, and internet connection was out for a bit . . . So once they responded, I think I had the additional skeins in about two weeks.

I will add that the colors are wonderful, the yarn is wonderful to knit with, I LOVE working her patterns! (I think I’ve knit almost ALL the designs in her Pacific Coast Highway Book, and I think I own ALL of her books – even some very off ones from the late 70s or early 80s -- Knitting from the British Isles and Scandinavian Knitting or some such)

So elephants is on hiatus until more yarn arrives. Bea will have to wait for her birthday present [her birthday was Sunday, it was going to be late anyway – but now I guess, IF the yarns comes quickly, she’ll get it for Valentine’s Day)

I am VERY frustrated. But, now I’ll go finished the found sock! (Tomorrow, after I sleep some.) And if my bestest friend in the whole wide world happens to see this (she doesn’t do computers much) HAPPY Birthday – You’ve caught up with me again!

Monday, January 22, 2007

That Which was Lost is FOUND!!

About two months ago, around Thanksgiving, I was working on a sock for someone, out of a most wonderful color of Trekking Sock yarn, it was my carry in my purse project (I can’t/don’t leave home without a knitting project – the basic is socks). I had it in my KnowKnits bag that I just love – anyway – somehow it got out, got mislaid, and I couldn’t find it – I will confess to being more upset about the bag, because I find it just perfect for socks carried everywhere – and they’re hard to get.

I searched EVERYWHERE – I called the bookstore and the two restaurants that my knitting groups meet in, I crawled under pews at church (I knit during the lessons & sermons, and when the other sections of the choir are rehearsing—I listen BETTER), scoured the Choir Vesting Room, check various offices and meeting rooms I’ve been in at Church, and I’m quite active, so I’m there two-four times a week on average. Searched ALL over the house. No dice. Couldn’t find the bag. I didn’t want to start another sock in another skein I have – I didn’t want to give up MY skein of the same yarn – so very frustrated.

Well, here in the DC area we finally had snow – not a lot, and unfortunately it was followed by freezing rain, which means we’ve been dealing with black ice. So instead of driving anywhere, I walked over to Whole Foods (lunch), Borders (books) and Starbucks, and back home. I was reminded that the two main hats I have knit for winter, I find a bit itchy – so I thought, well I’ve got to knit one out of a yarn that doesn’t get itchy on my head (head being much more sensitive then other parts).

I’ve come up with an idea, a yarn (either WW Debbie Bliss Cashmerino or DK weight), and style – Fair Isle band, and found a design that will work, and I went to sharpen a pencil in my knitting room to sketch things out,) and lo, and behold! there, between the wall and the little chest the pencil sharpener lives on, there was the bag!

Since I found it, I’ve been carrying it around like Linus with his blanket – I am so please to have found it, and so, here’s a photo, with the sock – which is two-thirds finished, and I plan to finish sock one by the end of this week – and start No. two immediately!

The hot pink bag on the left is my KnowKnits bag.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Updates . . .

First, the finished Afghan . .

Then the Elephant blanket which is moving along nicely. I’m on the 10th elephant row, out of 11!!!

And a close-up

Then . . .the border – I just looked it up – it’ll be 904 stitches! Probably take as long as the rest of the blanket did to knit the border.

Meanwhile, the LYS I used to work at had an anniversary party this weekend (they’re now a web-based business). They’ve imported their own yarn from the Shetlands for seven or eight years now, Shetland 2000©. They debuted three new designs, two Fair Isle and one cable. Very nice! They had a party at a room at a local church, (see photos below) and it was great fun. It was nice to see a number of the former customers, and my co-workers. I really miss working there – I had excellent bosses for one thing. I did buy some of the Shetland 2000© to knit something (I’m not saying WHAT, as it’s a birthday present for someone who does read this blog!—I’m sure she knows who she is.) Those in my Tuesday knit groups will see it come February – have to finish the Elephants first, because that blanket is suppose to be a birthday present – today … and I’m still about a week from finishing IF it’s the ONLY thing I knit on this week.

If you haven’t gathered, I’m sort of a schizophrenic knitter – I get focused on one project for two or three days, then I’ll flit over to something else, and then yet another - - - - etc. etc.

And to cheer things up this week there’s a new LYS opening! Not too far away – I plan to check it out very soon!

One more full repeat of Elephants to go – I’m off to study some reversible patterns to make another scarf for Food & Friends. (And soon to bed)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Scarves . . . . .

For Food & Friends ( here in the DC metro area has a drive to collect enough hand-made (knit or crochet) scarves for all their clients. They are trying to collect 1,000 by February 6th.

Last Tuesday night, at the Silver Spring Knitters (SSK), over half of the 16 people there were knitting scarves to give to Food & Friends. I wasn’t one of them, but felt guilty, because this is the fourth year that F&F has had this drive, and I hadn’t made one.

I came home from SSK, and dug around in my stash, and found a skein leftover from a vest I made in the Fall out of Wool in the Woods (I think), figured out a pattern (the Knit Stitch a day perpetual calendar – January 12 – waterfall lace (I think), fussed with needle sizes – and off I went.

I have just now finished it – and it’s really nice, if I do say so myself – and it’s just about 48 hours from cast-on (for the final time) to cast-off. It was knit on size 9 needles, and only 31 stitches wide – it really did fly. And I like the stitch pattern so much, I’ve dug up another yarn, and am going to cast on for another scarf – but I really should finish the body of the Elephant’s baby blanket.

I am really pleased with the way it looks on the RIGHT SIDE and on the WRONG side -- nice contrast.

Anyway, if you live in the DC area, you might want to crank out a scarf or two for F&F by February 6. I’ll do a second one for sure. And I think the pattern may make it’s way into a pair of socks for ME!

And the other fun thing – I dug around for some larger (for me needles) to knit the scarves on, and for some reason rediscovered the stash I have of OLD, OLD, knitting needles. By OLD, OLD – I mean, 1930s or so --- and marked with a K on the end, and 5 imprinted on the needles themselves – in my needle gauge they measure out to US 9 or 5 mm. One of my many knitting “pin” gauges is from Inox, and it has BWG, US and metric sizes. Under BWG it lists US 9 as being also BWG 5. I’m having fun knitting with them.

And here's the promised photo of the finished afghan!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Colds –

I haven’t blogged this week because I’ve got a cold. I’m knitting, but my brain is fuzzy a lot, so I’m just letting folks know.

I finished the afghan, and have given it to my friends – now if DC would only have real winter weather – they could use it! They love it. More on it, and photos soon – when my brain un-fuzzes.

The Elephants baby blanket is progressing nicely – two more repeats and the body of the blanket will be finished – then it’s just the thousand (and I think it is a thousand) stitches around for the edging. Again photos soon.

I also rediscovered (I really am shopping my stash this year [so far]) the Bressay Jacket from one of the Jamison Shetland Book – I finished the back and will be starting the front soon – and my new set of needles (I’ve had them since October), the interchangeable needles from Knitpicks – are PERFECT for this project, as you use three size needles, and it really is easier to change the points then have to keep three sets of needles floating with the projects. (you know about photos soon.) And I love the sharp points these needles have -- and they are so much less expensive than Addis!

Tell my head clears . . . .

Friday, January 5, 2007

Twelfth Night! The end of Christmas Season

I always like twelfth night. For those who don’t follow any church type calendar (and I don’t mean Christmas and Easter calendar, I mean the minor ones). The first day of Christmas is Christmas Day, December 25. And twelve days later is today, January 5. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany, which is when the wise men came. (And part of liking Twelfth Night may be that my favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night!)

For me, twelfth night has often meant a really nice dinner party with good friends. The friend who usually did this moved to Maine a few years ago, and none of us left here in the DC area have picked up the habit – but maybe someday. The other thing it means is time to take all the Christmas decorations down (UGH!). Stockings came down yesterday, tree tomorrow and Sunday – along with the electric candles in all the windows, and the wreath on the front door.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front I’m over half-way on the elephants baby blanket, and ditto the afghan. I think the afghan could be finished this weekend – that’s my hope, if my hands hold up to the size 11 needles.

I watched my friend Amy ( knitting on 19s (I think it was) the other night, and it just look so LARGE---

I really can’t knit for very long on anything larger than 13s, and I really don’t want to even knit on 13s – the 11s are being hard enough for the afghan. The up side – it does go faster . . .

So I’m switching between elephants and afghan – though I could happily just knit on the elephants, finish ‘em so I can go back to MY cardigan! And alternate between that and my simple vest from 20 year old yarn. (and always socks).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Lessons Learned by Frogging . . . .

The first lesson is amazement at HOW much my knitting has improved in twenty years – in many ways.
1. My gauge is more accurate, fits what the yarn wants to do. I know that suggested needle size is just that, SUGGESTED. I’m a loose knitter (not as loose as I was, perhaps five years ago, but still loose.) An example of how suggested is just that, my former boss at the LYS starts checking gauge by going UP two needle sizes from that suggested in the pattern, another friend might start with what the pattern says to use, and I go DOWN two needle sizes – and we will all end up with exactly the gauge called for in the pattern!
2. Finishing. It was very sloppy twenty years ago. If, I had found this as a completely finished sweater, I would not have found a new home for it, I would have trashed it or sent it to Good Will.
3. I never bind off at shoulders anymore – I’ll short-row if it’s stepped bind-off, and then do a three-needle bind off putting the front(s) and back together.
4. And, the sweater would not sit as close to finished, languishing for so long – it would have been frogged within five years of becoming a UFO. – the reason it did languish all these years is we moved sixteen and a half years ago, and it was in a box of yarn that didn’t see the light of day until we started digging out our attic (I said there were boxes that went into the attic when we moved in, and hadn’t been looked at since then.)

The LYS I worked at existed in a physical space for 12 and a half years. I discovered them within the first two or three months of their opening. I was a customer only for the first four years and then went to work there for eight years. I took many classes, taught several sock classes, and learned an amazing amount, just hanging out there and from the many other knitters (mostly fellow staff members) that were at the store. Frogging this sweater has shown me HOW much I learned!

And it’s taking longer to frog than I thought it would – I’ve only finished the sleeves right now. Still have to separate the back and fronts, and then frog them. Below is a photo of the sweater being frogged.

I started the sweater at Knit Group tonight. I’ll show photos of the first few inches of the new vest, once there are a few inches. It’s looking good, I think I’m going to be happy with it.

And to finish, here’s a photo of the revived afghan.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Among the knitting books I got for Christmas (dear hubby kinda let me a little loose on Amazon) was a bargain at Amazon , The Northampton Wools Knitting Book, the Shop Patterns by Linda A. Daniels. It was only $4.98! It started a small spree, and I now have finally added the Vogue Knitting Stitch Directories (all three – one was Christmas present), the above mention book, and Brandon whatsits book – all for MUCH less then I’d find them in a LYS.

Anyway, in the Northampton book is a very basic vest that is speaking to me – especially as a nice mindless project to cart around.

a lovely old, old, Rowan in a nice muted rosy pink – but . . . when I went upstairs to find another ball with a label and gauge on it . . . . . too thin.

BUT, I found an unfinished sweater in a tweed with flecks of orange, aqua against a soft median brown – a great, really nice color. Scratchier than I really would have liked (one of the Debbie Bliss cash merino’s was a possibility – pattern calls for Classic Elite Four Seasons). Part of the unfinished sweater was still in a ball, so I have just done a gauge, and it’s PERFECT! So, for the new year, a short start of a mindless vest, and then back to the Afghan. I’ll take photos and post all tomorrow. We are still invaded by my goddaughter’s friends (three have been staying here since Thursday, and usually there’s been one or two additional local friends over too), so I’ve abandoned my knitting room (they’re in the living room, and even being quiet, well a group of five 20somethings enjoying each others company . . . .) and am hiding out in the bedroom, working on frogging the aforementioned unfinished cardigan (horrible gauge on it – way too loose for the yarn!) But it’s only, maybe 19-20 years sitting there unfinished – I THINK I was making it for my husband(before I realized he doesn’t LIKE cardigans [whereas my father ONLY wore cardigans), and I know the yarn came from the first yarn store I worked in, which closed in 1987.

And 20 years ago I hadn’t knit any socks, and not done “true” fair isle, or any AS knitting, so my gauge wasn’t as tight as it is now. I don’t think I really knew then that I needed to automatically go down two needle sizes to even check my gauge, let alone doing it. That may have been in the days when I didn’t think “I (important, full of self, I) was an experienced knitter, I didn’t need to do a gauge swatch like a beginner.”

Life lesson since then – that’s actually a sign of an experienced knitter, IMO, that, yes, if it’s a yarn you’ve not knit with, or a pattern that you REALLY need to be on gauge, you do need to do a gauge swatch

So, even if I felt I should “finish” the original cardigan – to do so would require frogging the whole thing, and re-knitting it anyway, and a safer, happier result will be to make the vest.

So, Happy New Year all. Back to frogging!