Sunday, December 21, 2008

White Pre-Christmas

A winter storm has covered the Puget Sound region with snow. It may not look like much compared to what others typically experience in winter, but we are not very good at dealing with snow. We don't get it often enough or heavy enough to invest in millions of dollars of snow-removal equipment, and the hills that make up our communities make driving — and even walking — treacherous. Road travel, air travel, ferry travel and bus travel are heavily curtailed by common sense as well as blocked roads.

My backyard. Yes, I should have pruned the rose bushes a little more.

The boxes are new raised garden beds.

The good news is that being trapped at home for several days offers more knitting time and more time with our new cat, Mooch. Mooch started hanging around about two years ago. The neighbors named him Mooch because he regularly cadged meals from their house. Long story short: A neighbor three blocks away is involved with cat rescue. She rescued Mooch, recognizing that he is well adapted to living with people. We learned his story when she called after we gave him a collar with a name tag and phone number.

So Mooch is now part of the household. And he does not especially care for snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Shawlette

I like bright colors most of the time, but especially during the winter. This small shawl, which is Rene' Wells' Bison Shawlette from Luxury One-Skein Wonders fits the bill for the holidays. Rene' cleverly uses three triangles to good effect so the shawl fits nicely over the shoulders.

The yarn is not bison or buffalo. It's Takhi Twiggy Tweed, a discontinued wool yarn. I think I knit six repeats of the main pattern. I put small beads on the bottom points to add a little weight to the bottom. You can't see the beads because they match exactly the color of the yarn, but they do their intended job.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bhutan Treasure

My friends know that I enjoy all sorts of textiles and fiber-y things. Friends who have traveled extensively in Bhutan gave me this lovely cotton weaving they bought in 1988. It's huge, 8 feet long by 4.5 feet wide. It makes a great sofa throw. The people who gave it to me have used their Bhutanese textiles as tablecloths!

It's a lovely piece and its bright colors warm up dreary Northwest winter days.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mixed Results

The yarn is as soft as butter and the color is rich with the glow of silk. However, as you can see, the color is wildly different in each of the two skeins; one is far greener than the other. I expected some difference — the yarn is advertised as such — but this was a lot of difference. Also, when I washed it, it bled like a stuck pig.

I know I could have alternated the skeins, but I (and the recipient) wanted to maximize the length of the scarf. The recipient is happy with the result. If anyone asks, I will attribute the color difference to "design feature."
  • Yarn: Alchemy Synchronicity, 50 percent silk, 50 percent wool, 2 skeins, 118 yards per skein, color name Dragon
  • Needles: US6 (4mm)
  • Finished size: 6 inches by 58 inches
The pattern is an easy one that I learned somewhere but cannot remember where. It is a pattern that works for many types of yarn when nothing else seems to. It is a multiple of 4 plus 2:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit 2, purl 2, end knit 2

Of course, you can vary the number of knits and purls to suit yourself and your yarn. And you can add slipped edge stitches if you prefer that look (I do).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Love This Book

The book is "Knitted Lace of Estonia" by Nancy Bush. This pattern is the Raha Scarf. I happened to have a skein of qiviut that decided it needed to be this scarf.
  • Yarn: Moco 100 percent musk ox qiviut, 1 ounce, 220 yards; this is the softest yarn I've ever used
  • Needles: US4
  • Finished size: 4.5 inches wide by 62 inches long (although I could probably block it slightly wider and shorter)
This book has so many beautiful patterns that I want to cast on for all of them immediately.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Mandenblute is one of the patterns in "Old World Treasures" by Gloria Penning. Gloria is a treasure herself; her publications have kept many doily patterns in print and available to knitters.

This is part of my journey to size 100 thread. I'm almost there — this is size 80. The details:
  • Thread: Kordonet 80, made in Slovakia (I bought it when I was in Prague, either at Tesco or Kotva, probably in 2006). I used about two-thirds of a 20-gram ball. This thread is very crisp, which is think is a good choice for this doily, but it did have two knots.
  • Needles: 1.5mm
  • Finished size: approximately 16 inches in diameter.
The pattern has a few errors, which are easy to figure out. If I were to knit this again, I would change some of the double decreases. All are left-leaning decreases (slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over). I would use both left-leaning and right-leaning as appropriate. But in this size of thread, I don't think the direction of the double decreases is noticeable.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two Scarves

In between doilies, I have been knitting scarves. Benefits: using up stash yarn, good travel projects, good knitting-while-yakking projects, and gifts.

The one to the right is the Cat's Eye Scarf from "A Fine Fleece" by Lisa Lloyd. It's knit from Haneke Select 75 percent merino, 25 percent alpaca, 460 yards, on US6 (4mm) needles. The finished size is 8.5 inches by 63 inches.

The scarf below is Off-set Diamonds from Caryll Designs. The yarn is Baruffa Maratona, two skeins from a thrift store. Knit on US7 needles. Finished size is 6.25 inches by 57.5 inches.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Boise Lace Knitting Retreat

One of the great pleasures of the Boise Lace Knitting Retreat is seeing lovely work from so many talented knitters. This year was no different. Learning from the work of others is as important as the learning that takes place in the official classes. Below are only a few of the many stunning pieces.

Plenty of hand-dyed yarn was for sale, providing no end of temptation.

A group of Idaho artists also was meeting at the facility during our retreat. One was a talented beader, whose work earned many ooohs and aaaahs. She might even have persuaded a few knitters to add beading to their repertoires.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Doily with Spiral

I gave myself a break from the teeny-tiny thread for a doily in size 30. This is Doily with Spiral, a free pattern from Nurhanne's site.

  • Thread: Cebelia size 30, approximately 210 yards
  • Needles: 2.0mm for the first five rounds, 2.25mm for the remainder; I find that starting in a smaller needle size helps make for a tighter center
  • Finished size: approximately 16 inches in diameter
This is a fairly easy pattern to knit, even though it isn't charted, with a stunning result.

I'm off to Boise, Idaho, next week for Myrna Stahman's lace knitting retreat. This is my fifth (I think) year to attend. I always come home with a head full of good ideas and new techniques. A whole week of lace knitting — what a luxury!

Monday, September 22, 2008


As I may have mentioned before, my friend Nancy is not (yet) a knitter, but she is becoming fiber-conscious. On her last visit to Tucson, she brought back several beautiful skeins from Unique Designs by Kathy.

The challenge is to use the short yardage (88 yards, wool-llama blend, in this case) to show off the yarn. I ended up combining it with two skeins (107 yards per skein) of Jo Sharp 8-ply DK wool in a color called Owl.

I cast on 24 stitches and knit the Jo Sharp in brioche stitch for 29 rows. Then I used half of the Kathy wool-llama for 66 rows, followed by a whole lot more brioche in Jo Sharp; then 66 rows of Kathy and 29 rows of Jo Sharp. By weighing the yarn carefully, frequently and in grams, I was able to use up almost every inch.

The final size is about 6.25 inches by 67 inches.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Journey Continues

I am moving closer to size 100 thread. Much closer.

The details:
  • Pattern: Lavori Artistici #11, Design #38, 100 rounds
  • Thread: Valdani Hand Dyed Variegated, Silver Foam, 35 wt. (somewhere in the size 70 to 80 neighborhood)
  • Needles: 1.5mm
  • Finished Size: Approximately 14 inches in diameter

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Do the Puyallup

The Western Washington Fair has not used the "Do the Puyallup" theme for many years but I still think of going to the fair as doing the Puyallup. And I still like the "Do the Puyallup" song. Listen here (I prefer the country version). Today's sunny but not-too-hot weather made for a perfect fair day.

All of the knitting on display was stunning. I am glad that I am not a judge. I only wish there had been more entries. A lot of knitters live in Western Washington; it would be terrific to see their work on display. Hey, you knitters! Think about entering in 2009!

I won two blue ribbons in the lace section, one for a large doily and one for a small doily. The large doily is from the Kazuko Ichida (blue) book, knit in size 30 thread.

The small doily is from Lavori Artistici #11, in size 50 thread. (I did not mount it on the hoop; the fair display people did, but I kind of like it.)

I also won a third place for a man's vest and honorable mentions for a shawl and a scarf. Sorry, those photos did not turn out very well through the glass cases.

You can do it at a trot, you can do it at a the Puyallup!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Party Lace

I seem to be alternating between doilies and scarves. Maybe the quick-to-knit scarves offset the attention needed for doilies.

In any case, this is the Party Lace Scarf from the departed MagKnits. MagKnits may be gone but, fortunately, the pattern is available on Ravelry. The yarn is one skein of Crystal Palace Kid Merino (240 yards), knit on US6 needles. The finished size is 7 inches by 58 inches. Each end has a row of 4mm turquoise crystal beads. I am fortunate that my local bead store, the Bead Factory, lets me "try on" beads, allowing me to string them on my yarn so I can see how things will look.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nifty Fifty

My journey to size 100 thread continued with two doilies made with Flora size 50 on 2.00mm needles. This was my first venture to size 50.

The one below, which I knit first, is "Helen" from "Old World Treasures" by Gloria Penning. It has 73 rounds and finished at approximately 11 inches in diameter.

The second one is design #7 from Lavori Artistici #11. This one, at 63 rounds, is about 10 inches in diameter.

Getting started on size 50 was a bit of a challenge, but once I got going, it was just like knitting with larger thread.

Next: size 70-ish.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nancy's Cocoon

Last summer we went to Oregon's Willamette Valley with our friends Nancy and Michael to drink a little wine and to visit Woodland Woolworks in Carlton. Nancy is not a knitter (yet?) but seemed to enjoy looking at the various yarns and colors. She was especially attracted to a ball of Misti alpaca lace. She might have been willing to keep it in the ball just for its softness, but I offered to knit a scarf for her. Maybe she chose the color because it complements the boat where she and Michael live? Michael took the picture (he likes photo credits).

  • Yarn: Misti alpaca lace, 50 grams
  • Pattern: Cocoon Lace by Evelyn Clark from Fiber Trends
  • Needles: US4 (3.5 mm)
  • Finished size: 8.5 inches x 68 inches

The next post will be about doilies. I promise.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Falling Water

I have been knitting scarves as a break between doilies. I love using sock yarn for scarves.
  • Pattern: Falling Water Lace Scarf, a free pattern at the Blue Peninsula blog
  • Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Lapis
  • Needles: US5
  • Finished size: 6.5 inches x 76 inches
For those waiting for my doily march to size 100, stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Interesting Yarn

You never know what a thrift store is going to yield. I don't know what I will do with this. I don't even know what it says. But I thought it was interesting and worth my dollar investment. Anyone read Japanese?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back to Doilies

What with Tall Ships and the Museum of Glass, I haven't written much about knitting recently. But I have been knitting. I finished a doily, still in size 30, on my path to smaller numbers.

  • Pattern: Anna Burda 1086 19A
  • Thread: Clark's Big Ball size 30, color 26B, maybe half of the ball
  • Needles: 2.25mm
  • Finished size: Approximately 13 inches in diameter
I am currently working in size 50 thread on my way to size 100; stay tuned.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Glass

The Museum of Glass offers the opportunity to see artists who are the best at what they do. This week it was Czech artists Jiri Harcuba and Petr Novotny (pardon the lack of diacritical marks; I don't think Blogger knows how to do that).

Harcuba is a master etcher. This week, he was etching on pieces made by Novotny and by the museum Hot Shop crew. He starts by making a drawing on paper, often a napkin, then uses a Sharpie to make the drawing on the glass. Then he etches the design on the glass. (It sounds a lot simpler than it is.) He works on a dozen pieces at the same time, going back and forth between different pieces.

Hot Shop visitors who sit in the front row of the gallery often have a chance to speak with the artist and ask questions, which is great fun.

In addition to making pieces for Harcuba to etch, Novotny (red shirt) made some of his own pieces. He called this one a "cage," although to me it looked like a basket or like this Knotted Openwork Scarf stitch — in glass.

He then had the Hot Shop crew make a gold bubble that was blown inside the cage to create a lining.

Watching glass being made is so interesting that I can't even knit while I watch.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tall Ships

The place to be in Tacoma this weekend was the Tall Ships festival. I won two tickets to board all of the ships from a Port of Tacoma drawing. We aimed first for the "premium" ships, which was a smart move. We had only a 45-minute wait. (Lines for the Coast Guard ship Eagle and the "general class" ships was upwards of two hours at some times.)

The premium ships included the Merrie Ellen, Kaisei and HMS Bounty.

I was impressed with all of the ropes.

The Bounty — built for the 1960 movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" — was one of the more popular ships, especially the fully clothed figurehead.

Tacoma has a long history with shipping. On almost any day, you can see container ships, grain ships, power boats, tugboats, sailboats, kayaks and ferry boats. During Tall Ships, add traditionally rigged sailing ships.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seeing red

I seem to be going a little doily crazy these days.

The details:
  • Design #9 from Knitted Lace Designs in the "Modern" Mode by Kazuko Ichida
  • Thread: Clark's Big Ball, size 30, color 126; thrift store find
  • Finished weight: 24 grams, approximately 300 yards
  • Needles: 2.25mm
  • Finished size: 16 inches x 16 inches
This was a very easy pattern to follow; it didn't have any of the unfamiliar Japanese stitches.

And it looks very nice with my new George Burns rose.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Cables and lace
A few people asked where to buy Rene' Wells's All Seasons Stole cables and lace pattern. Linda's Knit 'n Stitch in Silverdale, Washington, carries the pattern. Follow the link for contact info.

Size 100 thread
I haven't decided what to do with this yet. Often I wait for the thread or yarn to tell me what it wants to be. Perhaps it will speak German and lead me to a Niebling or a Duchrow doily. In the meantime, I have some size 50 and some size 80 that I will work with so that when the 100 speaks, I'll be ready. I usually work in size 30, which makes the finer threads a challenge.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vested Interests

My husband has a reputation among his students for his sweater vests, most of which I make for him. This is the latest.

It's a combination of the British School Slipover in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests, the vest template in Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and the Office Vest from Lisa Knits.
  • Yarn: Black Water Abbey 2-ply worsted in Bluestock; wonderful yarn to knit with, especially when cables are involved
  • Needles: US5 for the body and US3 for the ribbings (yes, I'm a loose knitter)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

World Wide Knit in Public Day

Our small group had a great time knitting in public at the Puyallup Farmers Market, in spite of chilly weather. We had a few visitors, and enjoyed our time at the market.

And fresh English peas were available, along with local asparagus and spring onions.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Knitting in Public

Tomorrow is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Members of the Puyallup Knitting Guild will hold an informal knit-in at the Puyallup Farmers Market in Pioneer Park, beginning mid-morning or thereabouts. Look for a group of talented knitters enjoying their craft. Stop by to knit or to talk about knitting. The market is a great place for plants, veggies, baked goods, arts and crafts.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


The Lacemakers of Puget Sound met at the University of Puget Sound last week. They had a market. The size 100 thread called my name. It said my name was Crazy.

I have never knit with thread this small. But it looks like I will.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Watching Glass

Watching someone knit can be kind of boring. (Don't misunderstand: I love knitting. But sometimes, just watching someone else knit can be a snooze.) But watching a master make glass — that's exciting.

For the past several months, Martin Blank (the guy in the red shirt, below) has been working at the Museum of Glass. He is creating a piece called Fluent Steps, an enormous piece made up of hundreds of glass pieces, for the museum's reflecting pool. Watching the team work is fascinating, especially because this artist appears to enjoy interacting with the people who are observing the work in progress.

Fluent Steps will be finished and installed in late October (I'll post pictures here). I'll enjoy the piece even more knowing that I watched some of it being made.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cables and Lace

This project combined a pattern from a California designer with yarn from Prague, Czech Republic, in a color that is matches celadon that I purchased in Thailand.

The particulars:
  • Pattern: All Seasons Stole by the talented Rene' E. Wells
  • Yarn: Bambus, 100 percent bamboo from here (I don't speak Czech so I have no idea what this means), 100 grams, 320 meters; yarn consists of 5 loosely plied strands, each of the 5 consists of two tightly plied strands
  • Needles: US5
  • Finished size: 7 inches wide x 52 inches long