Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Since I knit Ice Queen last year, I've become quite attached to cowls. Apparently I have become attached to green cowls, since my Ice Queen is mint green, but that may be another story for a later time.

The yarn was a gift from a year ago. It took that long for it to tell me what it wanted to be, after several false starts.

The details:
  • Pattern: Diamond Leaf Cowl by Darlene Joyce, offered as a freebie by Mosaic Yarn Studio. The pattern called for four repeats; the yarn allowed me four and a half.
  • Yarn: Tilli Tomas Fil de la Mer in in Olive; 70% silk, 30% seacell; 140yards/50 grams; 2 skeins. This is amazingly soft and luxurious yarn. 
  • Needles: US7
  • Finished size: About 13 inches tall.
I am likely to knit this again; it really shows off relatively small amounts of luxury yarn.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2010

    Knitting in Circles

    A friend knit and wore this little shawl and I loved it. It is one of those patterns that did not make complete sense when I read it, so I just started knitting. And, never one to leave well enough alone, I changed the edging.

    The details:
    • Pattern: Spiral Octagon Shawl by Selma Miriam, Interweave Knits, September 1998. I substituted the Hilton Lace edging for the designated edging, which involved small bit of fiddling but nothing serious. I even was able to Kitchener without my normal level of aggravation.
    • Yarn: Nature Spun sport weight in Snow. The pattern calls for a fingering weight but this yarn worked for me.
    • Needles: US3 (3.25mm)
    • Finished size: Approximately 14 inches back neck length.
    This is probably a prototype model to see if I could make the pattern work. I can, so I am likely to knit this again — maybe in a dark color to wear over a white shirt?

    Selma Miriam also designed the Kousa Dogwood Shawl, which has been on my to-do list for some time.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Textiles on the Road

    Recent travels to Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., provided opportunities to see some lovely (Richmond) and fascinating (D.C.) textiles.

    First, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has an exhibition of quilts from the Winterthur Collection.

    I am not a quilter, but this collection showed the art and skill of the quilters. Beautiful!

    Equally fascinating is the Crochet Coral Reef at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. Though the reef is almost entirely crochet, I did see bits of knitting, lace, and other textile arts in the displays, along with plastic bags, pull-tabs, and other debris that does not belong in the ocean. I still don't understand hyperbolic crochet, but I appreciate the art in the exhibit.

    The two displays have something in common: The more you look, the more you see and the more you appreciate the craft and art involved.

    Saturday, November 06, 2010

    Very Pink

    It's pink. Very pink. I found three skeins of this yarn in a thrift store and a little more than two of them went into this shawl. It cried out for beads.

    • Pattern: Haruni by Emily Ross, free on Ravelry. I added an additional repeat on the leaf part.
    • Yarn: Mondial Prestigio Super Kid Mohair, 80% superkid mohair, 20% nylon, 245 meters/25 grams.
    • Beads: 8/0 silver-lined champagne
    • Needles: US4 (3.5mm)
    • Finished size: 26 inches center back

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Wine and Yarn

    This has been a summer and fall of wine tourism, which also means yarn tourism. Fortunately, the two are compatible.

    One trip took us to the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, source of some terrific wine. At Robert Sinskey Vineyards, where we found some lovely organically grown wines — and skeins of wool! The Sinskey people use sheep to help mow and fertilize the vineyard. The tasting room/gift shop sells hat kits plus single skeins.

    According to Debbie, the vineyard manager, the sheep are mostly Romney crosses, CVM and Lincoln/Corriedale crosses. In 2009, they used a Leicester cross ram. All of this crossing produces nice wool.

    I used my 132-gram skein to make a scarf.
    • Pattern: Double Cable Scarf, part of the Rib and Cable Quarter in One Skein by Leigh Radford.
    • Needles: US6/4mm
    • Finished size: 4" wide x 43" long
    Earlier this month, we went on a wine-tasting tour the the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia. Again, very good wines. I visited two very different but lovely yarn shops in Kelowna. I can recommend both Art of Yarn and Kelowna Yarn and Needlecrafts. I bought a skein of lace-weight alpaca at the first stop and thread at the second.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Lace Knitting in Boise

    One of the great pleasures of the year is a week of lace knitting and lace knitting education at Myrna Stahman's annual lace knitting retreat in Boise, Idaho.

    This year, among the things we learned were how to incorporate beautiful edgings on towels and hankies.

    We admired participants' beautiful knitting.

    And we shopped.

    Great fun all around. It was a joy to spend a week with such talented knitters and teachers.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Finally, A New Doily

    I have not knit any doilies for a while, so it was time to knit one that I have been thinking about for some time.

    The details:
    • Pattern: Adonienieroschen (I have no idea what this means) from Old World Treasures by Gloria Penning. Perhaps this is a Herbert Niebling design? The ribbing in the center flower gives this doily a lot of great texture.
    • Thread: Cebelia size 30
    • Needles: 2mm (US0)
    • Finished size: approximately 16 inches diameter

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Fair Time!

    One of the pleasures of the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup, Washington, is seeing the beautiful needlework. And taking home a few ribbons. I had a good year.

    First place and Best in Category in the Lace section for my spiral doily.

    First place for another doily, also in the Lace category.

    In the Knitting category, I have second place for a scarf.

    Third place for a shawl.

    And honorable mention for a hat.

    Saturday, August 07, 2010

    Beautiful Bags

    My friend JJ is an amazingly talented seamstress and designer. She recently went on a bag binge, creating beautiful tote bags. She also taught her techniques to some of her friends. Her skill and design sense result in truly artistic creations.

    So I asked her if she could make a bag from a weaving I purchased in Burma in 2000 or thereabouts. It was not the finest weaving in the world but it reflected a memorable time and place for me.

    Leave it to JJ to create not one, but two, beautiful tote bags from this length of cloth. Each is interfaced and lined, with an inside pocket and a key-holder clip.

    Now I have to start some knitting worthy of JJ's beautiful bags.

    JJ is not in the bag business although she sells them (generally $40 to $50 each — a bargain, considering how beautifully made they are) to friends and friends of friends and at a craft fair from time to time.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Summer Alpaca Knitting

    We have had the perfect summer for knitting with alpaca — cool and damp. The alpaca was a lovely gift from Kelsey, who just finished a Fulbright scholarship in Peru and is next going to Ecuador with Kiva. Kelsey is a weaver and, based on her writing, made the most of her time in South America. You can read about her travels here.

    She brought me three skeins of yarn from Sol Alpaca, 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, 100 meters/50 grams. The blue is deeper and richer than in the photo.

    I kept the scarf pattern very simple — stockinette and garter ribbing — to highlight the yarn. Knit on US5 needles. The finished size is 7 inches wide by 74 inches long.

    Thank you, Kelsey, for the beautiful gift.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    A New Shawl

    For the past several years, I have attended Myrna Stahman's annual lace knitting retreat. A week of lace knitting — how good is that! I have made some good friends and learned a lot. This shawl, in a way, represents how much I enjoy the retreat and the esteem in which I hold my fellow lace knitters.

    Those of you, dear readers, who are familiar with Myrna's book Stahman's Shawls & Scarves  recognize the pattern as Marialis, a.k.a., feather and fan. Marialis is Myrna's sister, and a regular at the retreat.

    The yarn was dyed by retreat attendee Patti, who produces and dyes yarn in her studio in The Dalles, Oregon, for the 10th retreat. The colorway represents the landscape of the facility where the retreat is held, with the trees, roses, blue sky, and so forth.

    As to the details, I knit the shawl on US4 needles. The lace weight merino yarn weighs in at 340 yards per 1.8 ounces. I used almost four skeins, about 1,200 yards. I made version B, variation 1. The finished back neck length is about 26 inches. And, yes, the feather-and-fan does its cupping thing as the pattern grows. And I don't care.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    Another Shawlette

    As I have mentioned more than once or twice, I like shawlettes. And I like using sock yarn for them.

    The details on this one:
    Of course, I made a change. I did not like the knitted-on edging with this yarn so I did a picot bind-off

      Monday, May 17, 2010

      Autumn Shawlette

      I like shawlettes and shoulder shawls. They are easy to wear and don't take forever to knit. And it is nice to have small shawl for cool weather or air-conditioning. This one was interesting to me because it starts at the bottom, casting on what seems like a gazillion stitches, then knitting upwards as the shawl gets smaller. I think I prefer starting from the neck but I do like this scarf.

      The details:
      • Pattern: Lace Panel Shawl and Scarf (I made the scarf version)
      • Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Sprindrift, color Autumn, 105 meters/skein, approximately 2.5 skeins
      • Needles: US2 (2.75mm)
      • Finished size: Approximately 11 inches back neck length
      As usual, I made some changes, preferring directional decreases, especially the quadruple decreases in the panel. Instead of making them all as a knit 4 together, I made the right-leaning ones as K4tog and the left-leaning ones as SSSSK.

      I very much like the I-cord bind-off across the top; to me, it makes a nice finish.

      Thursday, May 06, 2010

      True Blue Damson

      I am a big fan of Ysolda Teague's Damson shawl. It is easy and gives a lovely result. I finished this one a few months ago and finally got a photo that I like.

      I added small blue and magenta-ish 6.0 beads to the edging. I like beads on the bottom of shawls for sparkle and to add a little weight to the bottom of the shawl. Other details:
      • Yarn: Harrisville Shetland Tweed, True Blue, approximately 500 yards
      • Needles: US6
      • Back neck length: approximately 15 inches
      The shawl is is hanging on my 50+-year-old Royal Ann cherry tree; I hope recent wind storms have not destroyed this year's crop.

      Tuesday, April 27, 2010

      So Where Have I Been?

      Knitting, of course, and drinking wine. But not at the same time. Mostly.

      First was the Puyallup Knitting Guild Spring Retreat, where we learned all about mitered squares. Great fun!

      Second, a trip to Napa for Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner.

      As soon as we get some good weather here, I have some FOs to photograph.

      Thursday, April 08, 2010

      Another Old Favorite

      Whenever I have a small amount of yarn in search of a project, I often turn to Versatile Scarves by Evelyn Clark. I especially like the Triple Eyelet Scarf.

      The details of this one:
      • Yarn: Brunswick Impressions hand-dyed wool (discontinued), Maui Ombre, less than 1 skein, maybe 250 yards?
      • Needles: US9
      • Finished size: 14 inches back neck length
      I have finished several other items that I will post as soon as I can get decent photos.

      Tuesday, March 23, 2010

      Back to Doilywood

      I saw this doily while cruising through an old knitting and crochet book that belongs to my mother. I did not think I had seen this before, but it turns out that I already had it.

      This doily appears in two places that I know about: Hand Crochet by Royal Society #3, Lace and Doilies and Danish Lace Treasures by Gloria Penning. The latter has errors in rounds 43, 62, 63 and 65, at least compared to the former. I also understand that it appears in Kunststrick/Knitted Lace by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen, but I do not have that book.

      This doily has a bit of everything: some fagoting, some large holes, a section with patterning on every round and an unusual bind-off. Perhaps not the most attractive doily ever designed but certainly interesting to knit.

      I knit it with Flora thread, size 50, on US0 (2.0mm) needles. Finished size is about 10.75 inches diameter.

      Monday, March 15, 2010

      Old Style

      While clearing out a box of old sewing supplies, I found this lovely package of sewing needles.

      Based on some superficial Internet research, it appears the packet was produced in Germany before World War I; some suggest it dates from the Spanish-American War (1898). When folded, it is about 4.75 inches wide and 2.5 inches high.

      And it appears to have most, if not all, of its needles.

      Was this an advertising or promotional item? Sold or given away? If it is from the Spanish-American War era, was it intended to encourage support for the war or to celebrate a victory? Or was the Iowa the focus? How does the German-made Iowa needle book relate to other similar military-themed Army and Navy Needle Books? And why military-themed needle books at all? Sadly, I have more questions than answers.

      Nevertheless, it is still a beautiful little piece of sewing history and military history.

      Monday, March 08, 2010


      The first time I saw this (thanks, Pat!), I knew I had to knit it. It is Damson by Ysolda Teague.

      • Yarn: Pagewood Farm Yukon in Really Red; merino superwash, bamboo, nylon; 450 yards. I did not have enough yarn to finish as written, so I did a crochet bind off instead.
      • Needles: US5
      • Finished size: 15 inches back neck length
      I am working on a second Damson. I expect to have enough yarn to bind off as the pattern specifies, and maybe even add beads.

      Friday, February 19, 2010

      Two Bow Ties

      Finding a pattern for leftover bits of yarn or one special skein is always a challenge. The Garter Loop-Through Scarf by Marci Richardson from the book Designer One-Skein Wonders is a good option. In both cases, I made the scarf longer and narrower.

      One was made with about 160 yards of Gedifra Momentum, a worsted weight poly-cotton blend with a bit of sparkle.

      The second was made with one skein (120 yards) of Noro Yuzen, a DK weight, wool-silk-mohair blend.

      I think this pattern will enter my repertoire of favorites.

      Sunday, January 31, 2010

      More Wine Tasting

      I have come to like JoJoLand's Wine Tasting Scarf, even though I changed the direction of most of the decreases to make a stronger line on the lacy bits. The yarn (which really isn't this orange) was hand-dyed by my friend Naomi.

      Knit on US4 needles. Finished size 6 inches wide by 46 inches long.

      Maybe it is time for some wine tasting.

      Saturday, January 16, 2010

      Hat Trick

      I have been knitting hats recently. Must be the cold weather. My friend Jane had knit the Debbie Bliss Cabled Beret, which I liked a lot. The pattern as written is knit flat; I changed it to knit in the round.

      I started with some Cascade 220, color 4008. Knowing that I am a relaxed (very relaxed) knitter, I used 2.75mm (US2) needles for the ribbing and 3.75mm (US5) needles for the body, sizes I usually use with worsted-weight yarn. The result is a nice hat, but not a beret.

      Could I make it more floppy and beret-like? Yes, with bigger needles. I retained the 2.75mm needles for the ribbing but went to 4.5mm (US7) for the body. The yarn is Plymouth Galway Colornet, color 565. Ta-da! A beret!

      The red hat has a finished weight of 84 grams. The green one has a finished weight of 102 grams. That's a difference of 22 percent!

      And, yes, I know that a hat trick needs three. So here's the third hat, based on Jared Flood's Turn a Square hat. I like the shaping on this hat. The blue is Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb in Blue Flannel; the stripes are Cascade 220 in color 8404 (brown) and color 8021 (off-white). Needles are US3 for the ribbing and US4 for the body. Yes, relaxed knitter.

      Monday, January 04, 2010

      More Fluttering

      When I saw this yarn, I knew it had to be a Flutter Scarf. The yarn is hand-dyed baby alpaca (435 yards per 1.8-ounce skein) from Spor Farm in The Dalles, Oregon. Patty calls this color Wild Child. Knit on US3 needles.

      This is a happy scarf. Wearing this scarf makes me happy.