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Nina Knits

Updated: 2014-10-04T23:46:48.793-07:00


The body of my Delsbo


Finally, the body of this sweater jacket is done. One sleeve is cut and picked up. The gauge is different for the solid color sleeves which I am not stranding so I figured out how many stitches I needed, picked up every round on the body side of the sleeve and adjusted the number on the first round. It goes quickly, especially after the 2 years the body took.

Louet Victoria Traveling Spinning Wheel for sale



For Sale: an almost new OAK Louet Victoria Traveling Spinning wheel that was lightly used at SOAR 2010. The wheel folds up into its own black travel bag with room for the 3 bobbins and Kate as well as an extra high-speed lace flyer with 3 additional bobbins, included. The whole thing, packed up, weighs about 6.75 pounds. Comes with .5 lb Corriedale from New Zealand and orifice hook. I just don't need 3 wheels! $700, shipping to US included.

Knitting while retired is very productive


Recently finished items proliferate when there's lost of time to knit. Top picture is of a lacy rib cardigan I designed using Joan Schrouder's top-down-picked-up sleeves. The yarn is Cash Vero by Cascade and nice to knit with. It doesn't knit plain in stockinette as smoothly as I would have liked resulting in the rib pattern.

The second idem is another cardigan I designed myself, knit out of a silk/wool dk weight from Blackberry Ridge in Wisconsin. It stretches considerably when worn, and I'm going to try to get it back to it's original size and shape by washing.

Third picture down is one of a pair of footlets from a Curious Creek kit, knit as a sample for Carolina Homespun. The last two are a pair of "Thumb Only Work Mitts" also a kit, from Kathryn Alexander, and also a sample.

On the needles:
1. top down cable v-neck for Jim, Dream in Color Classy color Nightwatch
2. socks for Ken, Koigu
3. mittens with hidden fingers, in Malabrigo silk/wool for a rapidly approaching birthday gift
4. Shetland Garden Shawl (design by Sivia Harding), for me, in golden lace weight merino



Well, it's been over a year since my last post. I now have the leisure time to start keeping track of my knitting once again. First, some photos of recent completed projects. Daughter Anna, in the Swing Jacket from Vermont Fiber, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in black. She's pleased with it, but doesn't have much of an opportunity to wear it now that she's moved to New Orleans for law school at Loyola.

Mariposa Shawl



The Mariposa Shawl is done, in plenty of time to wear to the wedding as planned on June 10. The pattern is by Merrily Parker for South West Trading Co., designed to be knit in their Bamboo yarn. I was just browsing (note: not shopping) at Yarns on First in Napa, CA when a sample of this shawl, in bright red, previously draped over the counter found itself on my shoulders. The sample was done in SWTC OPTIM wool. Since I couldn't have the sample and liked the purple color better the yarn and (free-with-yarn-purchase) pattern came home with me. Size 6 needles, a chart and magnetic board, 5 and a little bit of the 6th ball and 8 weeks later I had the shawl done.


Here it is on the needles - looking more blue than it really is. The pattern is a combination of frosted flowers and pebble stitch. It is my first attempt at lace knitting -patterning on both sides. The P 2 tog. through the back loop was a bit awkward at first but became easier and easier. The rhythm of the pattern was easy to learn.


I blocked it out before adding the crochet border called for in the pattern. It doesn't seem to curl and I don't think it needs the additional length. The back is knit in a parallelogram shape and finished at the top with ribbing. Then you pickup and knit sideways on both of the sides, one of which has a tube for the other side to fit through, which keeps the whole thing on your shoulders.

I am very pleased with the yarn which was lovely to work with, the pattern which was a bit skimpy on directions but understandable after a moment of panic resolved with a phone call to the shop, and the finished object. I might even consider doing this again, in black.

Knitting with Meg Swansen


Knitting Camp with Meg Swansen was a transformative experience. Not only was I knitting with true masters - Meg, Joyce Williams and Amy Detjen - but there were 19 other obsessed knitters there as well. As for the location being "in the middle of nowhere" to quote Meg, it made absolutely no difference. The only time we left the building was to visit Schoolhouse Press to try on garments knitted by Meg and Elizabeth Zimmermann and to shop. Food was brought in for most meals. Some knitters also had breakfast at Meg's sister's restaurant with residents of Msarshfield. At the hotel there was great lighting and seating, lots of help before and after class from Amy and Joyce, and inspiration from the samples brought in for demonstration. The other knitters provided inspiration as well - show and tell was scattered throughout the four days and ranged from beginners projects all the way through intricate lace and color work. I wish I had been quicker with the camera - but picking up the camera meant having to put down my needles, something I was loathe to do. We saw demonstrations of 3 ways of working 2 colors in a row. We practiced Kitchner grafting on samples knitted by EZ. We crocheted and cut steeks. We floated a pattern around a spiral yoke. We practiced knitting back backwards and purling back backwards (something I have not mastered.) We compared unspun Icelandic wool and Shetland 2-ply and wool spun for Ganseys. We talked about I-cord in numerous applications and practiced several. I can't wait to go back for more.Joyce, Meg, and meAmy and meKate in the Sweater Room at Schoolhouse PressTrying on EZ's Pi R Squared shawl in the Sweater Room. Which led, of course, to the purchase of Jameson & Smith 2-ply Shetland jumper weight to make my own with insertions of lace patterns from Hazel Carter's booklet.Other purchases included Satakieli to make my own color way of Amy's Faux Argyle in Sweaters from Camp. And a video of knitting information with both Elizabeth and Meg. And books by Meg , Joyce (Latvian Dreams), Hazel Carter and Wendy Keele (Poems of Color) about the Bohus knitting.I learned to have confidence in my ability as a knitter to do whatever I wanted with my knitting. After all it's just yarn and needles and I can manage them.[...]

Shopping with Carol in Wisconsin


Shopping with Carol in Wisconsin - what an experience! Dinner that first night was with some folks from the Midwest Masters at a truly Wisonsin restaurant. Fried cheese curds, anyone? Then Carol and I sat and knitted while getting to meet Carol and Denny's daughter Kelley and SIL Dan and their two lovely girls and exuberant puppy. The next day it was on to shopping. Between the four shops we saw on our way from Appleton to Madison and the four shops and Blackberry Ridge Mill in and around Madison we hit 9 yarn-acquisition stops in 32 hours. No, we didn't buy something at each stop. No pictures at Iris in Appleton - but we both bought yarn for the lacy shawl collared sweater in the current Knitters. Both had to be ordered, so no pictures. I also got 6 balls of Rowan Linen Drape - couldn't resist the sale corner - but it's not enough to do anything with. I'll have to do a search for more but since it's been discontinued this might be a challenge. Then out to Yarns by Design in Neenah. They were almost cleaned out by the Midwest Masters shoppers but I managed two buys - Lorna's Laces sport in Mindshaft, a color way I've not seen and 900 yds. of Dream in Color sock wt. in Beach Fog (even if I didn't love the color given where I live that was a must buy). A shawl? A baby blanket?Then off to The Knitting Room in Fond du Lac - we both bought the new Filatura Di Crosa book for summer. And I scored another batch of yarn with insufficient yardage - a mystery blend that looks like a Monet painting.Then off to Prairie Junction in Sun Prairie, where we were told we missed the sale by one day (why tell us that?) where Carol found more of the mystery Monet and now I have enough to do a long sleeve something. Carol got caught up in some Silk Garden for a shawl pattern.Then on to New Glarus where we met up with Ruth and some cows:While Ruth drove, Carol and I got to browse through the pattern books Ruth had stacked up for us. I got Vermont Fiber's twin set to shop some more - first at Sow's Ear in Verona where I me Amy (not Detjen), also going to Meg's. Had a nice sit down in rocking chairs to knit a while.Then off to a shop in a house (the name escapes me) where Carol and I had a tussle over a skein of merino lace weight Cherry Tree Hill in "Green Mountain Meadows".I promptly ripped out the shawl I had just started, to cast on with this beauty. 2400 yards - enough to share if Carol's still interested!Lakeside Fibers in Madison was the nicest place to sit and visit - with a large coffee shop in the back, lots of natural light, and a deck. Carol scored a lovely basket (furniture, not yarn) and I resisted more Dream in Color.Our final stop was Blackberry Ridge. I resisted the Hazel Carter patterns - how could I explain a christening gown?- but didn't resist some wool/silk sport wt for the Lady of the Forrest in English Garden and some all wool sport wt. for a Vermont Fiber pattern from among the books Ruth stocked in her car for us to check out, while she drove us all over southern Wisconsin.Finally, dinner at The Dining Room in Monticello was scrumptious and Ruth's treat. We ordered a lovely 2003 Merlot from Duckhorn which paired nicely with the quail stuffed with chorizo. We got to say a brief hello and thank you to Ruth's daughter Jane. After a farewell to Ruth I had to reorganize my luggage to fit all the yarn. And I still hadn't been to SchoolHouse Press!Here is some of my new stash: starting at the top and working clockwise:lace weight Cherry Tree Hill, Rowan Linen Drape, sock weight Dream in Color, Blackberry Ridge English Garden silk/wool, and Blackberry Ridge sport wt. Burgundy.Then on Thursday morning I left Carol and Denny for Marshfield and Meg at my next adventure.[...]

March 2007 knitting


The Alberta shawl from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves is finished and I'm extremely pleased. So please that I begged the intended recipient to let me wear it just once. The hand dyed mohair is from a trip we took together; she bought the yarn fully intending to do a sweater but somehow it didn't happen. Top left is the blocked and finished shawl, to the right is the unblocked version. I was quite surprised at how nicely it bloomed. A closeup of the pattern is to the right.I leave for a workshop with Meg Swansen in 4 weeks. The homework for the class is partly done - the Norwegian sweater body is finished; 1 sleeve is almost done, and I'm thinking I'll only do one in advance and pick up the stitches for the second after the body is cut. Breathe in and breathe out. There'll be lots of knitters there to pass the smelling salts. I've done the name tag although this may need to be redone, larger.I hope to have the Mariposa shawl finished for show and tell. It's in a heavenly "optima" wool by Southwest Trading Co. and the pattern (photocopied) was supplied by the LYS with the yarn. I questioned SWTC about the copyright situation on this pattern but have not had a response so I'm assuming what the shop did was fine. This is patterned on both sides, a first for me, but it's not hard to memorize so it's going along okay. Picture here: and scroll down to women's patterns and find Mariposa. The picture is terrible - it was apparently worn inside out by the model but the actual shawl is wonderful and fastens with one end fitting into a tube of the other end.Another sweater that will not be done by May 1 is the Cable Cardigan designed by Kim Barnette for Classic Elite in their "Luxe" booklet. The yarn is some hand dyed merino twist, dyed in turquoise/teal and blue by Morgaine of Carolina Homespun. My gauge is right on and the sizing seems okay for this month at least. The pattern has the reverse stockinette side as the public side with the cables in stockinette; I just can't get used to what I've always considered the wrong side to be the primary fabric of a sweater. I may have to change it around but that would mess up how nicely the cables stand out. This is just in the pre-planning stages. Also in pre-planning is another Faroese shaped shawl this time in some wonderful yarn that I'll keep. Several choices are available -and I'm going to swatch no so much for gauge but for fabric consistency.The Diamond Patch has been terminally frogged. I had too much trouble getting the size I wanted. Now I have umpteen little balls of lovely cotton knit tape and no idea what to do with it. It might have to continue being little balls of yarn until I give in and make a modular baby blanket.[...]

Finished Projects in January 2007


January was a good month for finishing things.Here are Jim's socks in Regia 4 stretch which took more than the two balls so the heels and ribbings are in a mottled blue. Dave's hat was a present for his 70th birthday on Ground Hog's Day. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. Cozy and warm, and it matches his Mini Cooper S in British racing green, of course.This is the swing jacket from Vermont Fiber. I made very few modifications - the sleeves were way too long so I snipped a stitch, took off the cuff and about 3 inches of sleeve, then reknit the cuff. the shoulder fit well, I love the pleat in the back which makes it comfy, and I did the chevron pattern on the yoke with needles one size smaller than the body. Fits well, it's comfortable, and I have worn it almost every day since finishing it! The yarn is from Elann, Sierra Aran in color Mallard. is a little sweater for a newborn granddaughter of some friends from school; I knit for her father and now for his baby. The yarn is Louet Gems Merino, machine wash and dry, a pattern I did on Sweater Wizard. I love the little pockets. It's ready to ship out to Texas and I have to get it in the mail before it gets too hot for wool sweaters.And what else have we been doing in January? Jim had his rotator cuff surgery and although we were prepared for the loss of the use of one arm for a while, neither of us realized it meant he would not be shaving for six weeks! Here he is, four weeks into recovery:The new "fiber furniture" arrived. I have a new desk and hutch for my day job, and two new bookcases 84 inches tall, for yarn and knitting books and magazines. The plan was to stack the yarn directly on the shelves, like a shop, but I found all these neat baskets and 3 glass vases so the yarn is actually all contained. Sock yarn is in a cubby hole cube meant to hold shoes; each of the 25 little boxes has enough yarn for 2 pairs of socks, and I still have a drawer under the captain's bed in the guest room full of sock yarn. If I knit a pair of socks every month it would take me about 5 years to get through all the sock yarn I've already accumulated! The old bookcase, which was going to be relegated to the garage, is now in the upstairs hallway, against a curved wall so it doesn't exactly fit, but it holds more yarn now, which leaves some room for new acquisitions. And in the guest room closet is a tower of shelves, filled with bags. Mostly empty waiting their turn for a new project. [...]

New home for my needles



Here is the new home I knit for my Holz and Stein needle collection. They are all considered "children's needles" because they are less than 12 inches long - mostly 10.5 and some 9 in. I used about two and one-half balls of the purple, and just bits of the teal, all Cascade 220. The purple case itself is fulled; the teal cable is knit separately and sewn on. The buttons were a gift from a knitting friend and fit the case and colors perfectly. Pattern source:

What else is on my needles?
1. Swing Jacket from Vermont Fiber Arts
2. Baby surprise jacket pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann
3. Top-down Malabrigo set-in sleeve, made up as I go
4. Ginny Cardigan, pattern by Medrith Glover and of course
5. more socks
and soon to start:
1. Norwegian snowflake child's sweater, for Meg Swansen's workshop in May
2. watch cap for friend's birthday February 4 (better get clicking on this one)
3. Fair Isle hat for my daughter and of course
4. more socks

General Musings


After several months of computer woes, I am again able to keep track of my knitting. I've been to Medrith's Knitting Camp - great knitting, not great accomodations, learned to darn socks from Emily Ocker and saw some of her original lace work, picked Medrith's brain about short rows, Fair Isle evenness of gauge, the need to eliminate mistakes as soon as they are found, and a new kind of sweater construction - the Ginny cardigan. I've also been to the Ashland retreat with the Ample Knitters at the Ashland Springs Hotel - great accomodations and people, lots of fun but costly. Not only did we spend lots of time and money at Web*sters but I got a speeding ticket driving up with Sheila.

The new desk/drawer/shelf combo was designed today for both work and stash and knitting books; final decisions still need to be made (can we afford doors? Can we stand to have the work station not covered up?) but I should be able to fit all my stash in one room and closet. Pictures of the before to come soon; installation will probably be at least a month away.

Something finished, something started


Here is Jim's SF Giants sweater - finished just as the season was finished. Jo Sharp DK wool with black borders of Gems Merino. The diamond pattern is the same as on myLaurel sweater.I added 3 pairs of short rows across the back shoulders and two 1 inch. gussets at the sides. I'm pleased with how it hangs straight across in front and back. The short rows are nearly invisible, as is the gusset as long as he keeps his arms down! Jim seems to like it too, and maybe next year it will bring the team a better season than this was.And, just so my needles don't get cold - I swatched and started a new sweater for me. The yarns are 1 strand of Lacey Lamb (from Article Pract, in Oakland) a lace weight merino in my favorite color of teal, and 1 strand of hand dyed silk/merino fingering weight, from Ellen at her 1/2 Pint Farm in Vermont, which we visited a couple of years ago. The hand dyed is nicely aged and pairs well with the brand new Lacey Lamb. The chevron pattern is from "Latte" in Knitters' Summer 2006 page 57. I had to change the shape somewhat, to make it a-line, and redid the shoulders so they actually sit on my shoulders, and I'm going to think about doing the sleeves top down, and full length, but otherwise it's the same sweater. I will use the crochet edging by the designer, Robyn Diliberto.I'm getting ready to head up to the Sierra's for five days of knitting with Medrith Glover, from October 8 through 12. The biggest question, of course, is how many projects to take, and whether to take a full selection of needles. The needles don't take up much room, so they'll all go. Maybe 5 projects - 2 mindless knitting (Anna's Ameilie sweater, Jim's current black silk Regia socks) one total concentration (Medrith's Seaweed vest - I need to decide if the cast on is acceptable. Can it be reined in enough to be a decent looking bottom edge? I hope so - I've got about 4 inches done and it is - v e r y s l o w knitting) and a couple of projects I can work on if there is something going on but I am not actively involved - an "in between concentration level" - my Malabrigo which will have the tavelling cables down the front to create an illusion of a waist, and maybe this new chevron sweater, and Sheila's Alberta Shawl. That should be enough - and if not, we visit Medrith's Woolroom on Tuesday. Just in case I get bored with what I bring. The spinning wheel might come too, if it fits in the car with all the yarn I'm bringing to give away, a small suitcase of clothes for each of us, and Jim's golf clubs. Jim will head out to Reno, for some wine and food, cars and visiting his sister Janet. For me, it'll be five days with no internet access, possibly without phone access, and knitting all day every day.The other question is whether to go on the horseback ride. Not having been on a horse since I was about 18, I don't know if my back/bottom/legs can take it, and just think about the poor horse who'll have to carry me. I'll see what the other knitters are doing, and whether Jim wants to go that way. [...]

A permanent UFO and a new project


This is going to be a pemanent UFO. It is about 2/3 of the back of a sweater designed by Kaffe Fassett on size 2 needles - Rowan wool and cotton and a variety of other Rowan yarns. Intarsia. You can see some of the strings that would have to be woven in on the back side if it were ever to be finished. I started this a very long time ago, never could get the gauge even, hate all the ends, and finally decided I would not start it. I'm not going to frog it, but maybe, as was suggested by Sandy, a knitting buddy, make it into a pillow. Or a bag. Just not something that requires more knitting. I don't mind size 2 needles, and now have gotten to the point where I can control my tension better, but I am DONE WITH INTARSIA. On yarn this fine, weaveing in the ends shows; and it would take longer to weave them in when it is finished than knitting the thing. I have enough of the yarn left to make at least a short sleeve sweater - maybe even a long-sleeved one, in stripes perhaps knit cuff to cuff. Sort of the same shape as Vivian Hoxbro's Kimono? Oh, maybe someday.

I did just start a new shawl for my friend Sheila - it's Alberta from Stahman's Shawls and Seaman's Scarves. Sheila bought the yarn on our trip with Jean Moss to England and Scotland in 2004; dyed mohair, from a women's collective in the very north of England. The yarn is sort of scratchy and stiff but softens up considerably when washed. Here's the start: the yarn is about fingering weight and I would normally knit it on a size 3 but for the shawl I'm using size 6 circulars from Knitpicks Options set.



Hoxbro shawl is finished! Anna turns 21


(image) Here is a picture of the Laurel sweater on - I think it fits weel but is a bit more see-through than anticipated - worsted weight cotton and it will need a camisole of something underneath.

(image) And - another FO - the Wing Shawl I knit as a sample for Carolina Homespu(image) n. The pattern is from Vivian Hoxbro and the yarn is Harrisville New England Highand. I used a size 7 needle. The pattern calls for fingering weight shetland but we wanted a larger shawl. Hard to see in the pictures, but it is shadow knit - both sides are the same colors but one has garnet ridges and yellow valleys and the other side has the colors reversed. Have to be careful that the back stripe hangs straight - very odd looking if it curves!

While in Baltimore the weekend of September 9 we celebrated Anna's 21st birthday. Here she is, all grown up, with her boyfriend Ken Levin, and a couple of photos of her with Jim and me:


(image) (image)

A new start


Yesterday I started again on the Malabrigo yarn - after frogging the front t(image) hat was done entirely in twisted rib I am now doing it in stockinette, with a single twisted rib that will be like princess seams down the front and the back. I'm going to try some waist shaping - or rather, a-line shaping on either side of the twisted rib so it will look like waist shaping. This is the first sweater I'm going to knit from Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top Down and doing all the calculations myself. Math, ugh. This is the upper part of the back with short-rowed shoulders - the very best short rows I've ever done and the pickups are just about invisible. Neatly done, if I do say so myself! I hope to keep this a log on the sweater so if it fits I could use the pattern again.

So here goes: I'm using a circular H&S size 4.5 mm needle and getting 4.75 sts nad 6.5 rows to the inch. I provisionally cast on 76 sts, worked 3 rows and started short rowing. I'll work down to the top of where the armhole shaping starts but I haven't figure that out yet - that will probably have t(image) o wait until next week.

Here is where you can't see the short rows:

Anna's Home! and I visit the frog lake


Anna's Home! Back from Baltimore - Excited and scared about going to France; being on her own (more or less- she'll have a family there) for five months with visits from me and Jim, and Ken the boyfriend and other friends. She'll be here only 9 days, but bettern' nothin'.

She released me from the dreaded beaded sweater. Beading in knitting takes more patience than I have, especially when there are six other things waiting for attention all of which I enjoy working on. On Thursday last, I took Ora, an old friend (both in time and years) to Nine Rubies in San Mateo . She didn't need yarn (who does) but wanted something new. She loved the shop - open, well-lit, spacious, sales people who knew when to help and when to step back. She ended up getting some Amelie by GGH- 100% nylon "eyelash" yarn (see it here: (look under yarn manufacturers - GGH, then by name, Amelie)
It's strange stuff - solid core, with lots of fuzzies that don't fall off or shed. Soft as angora. So I showed the sample to Anna and she loved its look and feel and so now a bunch of it is on its way to me. I checked the LYS to see if they had the color she wanted (teal) and they didn't so I ordered it from Jimmy Beans Wool, which is in Truckee and a lovely store. My first all nylon sweater.

So still on the needles:
the Hoxbro shawl for Carolina Homespun - about 65% done
Jim's orange and black diamond pullover - one sleeve done, body cast on
my Diamond Patch - in the third row of diamonds
my Hoxbro kimono - about 90% of the first half done
Jim's Mermaid vest - it would be finished if he needed a 5 inch side seam length!

So that's two things off the needles - both frogged - the Malabrigo, which is going to become a top down pullover with some kind of openwork& cable down the front; and Anna's beaded Cotton Fleece. Deciding something is going to be frogged and not finished is very freeing, almost as good as being finished with it! Now the question is what to do with all that cotton fleece! Maybe a baby blanket, to be had at the ready.

The Diamond Patch goes quickly but I'm not at all sure it will look good when finished. My gauge is right on to what I figured but each new patch pulls the last one sideways so that it is now too wide and probably not long enough. I'm onto the third row of diamonds and have gone down 2 needle sizes. After this row, the rest will be on US size 8. It's cotton ribbon so I'm not sure how it will hold blocking, but it might stretch the right way when hung. My first modular garment - I enjoy the process and hope the best for the project.

Projects, finished and in progress and AK list withdrawal



First up: the finished Laurel. I name sweaters by the kind of yarn, or the pattern or possibly by the recipient. But when I'm knitting for me I use just the name of the yarn. So this sweater is knit in Laurel, mercerized, multi-color cotton from Shaeffer Yarns. Not great to knit; it's got little give and is hard on the hands but it is a joy to wear. Pattern was done using Sweater Wizard and is A-line, knit in pieces from the bottom up, v-neck, with set in sleeves. The stitch pattern is from Basically Brilliant Knits.

(image) Of course there are the exceptions: This is the Diamond Patch, pattern by Jill Vosberg at Just One More Row(image) .

And this orange and black is Jim's SF Giants sweater - DK wool from Jo Sharp, same stitch pattern as in my Laurel above.

And next up is Anna's diamond beaded sweater, pattern from Rowan's Classic Knits for Real Women. One sleeve and one front is done; I re-wrote the pattern for Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and reshaped it a bit. The beads make the front very heavy. I washed the swatch in the machine and it shrunk up a bit in length only; the pattern as I did it allows for the shrinkage. What looks like yo lace is actually clear crystal beads.
I've been spending more time on the internet dealing with Shelda Eggers' retirement of the Ample Knitters list than knitting. She is taking a well deserved rest from running this list. There are two lists trying to fill her shoes, neither is doing a perfect job but since we can't have the original they'll have to do. I knew I would miss the list and Shelda and all the regulars but I had no idea how much. It's like a friendship ended too soon for one of the friends. But I will continue knitting through this crisis as Elizabeth Zimmermann said we should. If I could toast I would toast SE and EZ who together taught me that I could do it if I really tried.

Front entrance changes


We had some new plantings on the front entrance to the house. Looks much neater, no overgrown and leggy plants, trees that are planted in the dirt instead of inside their intact plastic posts, and new colors.

One FO and one New WIP


(image) Finished Sherlock: I'm very pleased with this sweater! It fits nicely, and I think it looks okay if I may say so. I used Carol Hurt's method of ampling - a needle one size larger for the bottom. Didn't interupt the pattern at all. This was designed using Sweater Wizard, top down raglan style. I did the front bands twice. The first time the button holes were not even and looked awful; but I had to cut the band off because I sewed the buttons on so tightly that I couldn't get them off any other way. The final button hole was a simple YO, k2tog. because the buttons are tiny.

And one new project: The Diamond Patch sweater designed by Jill Vosberg (Just One More Row). The yarn is a cotton knitted ribbon from Blue Heron Yarns. The pattern gives lots of options for construction (it's modular knitting) and sizing. I'm using a 46 st. diamond, horizontal method, and 6 diamonds around. The bottom row will be on size 8 mm. and the middle row on 7 mm.; the bodice and sleeves on 5.5 mm. You can see the difference one mm. makes in the picture here: (image)
I'm going to make at least 3/4 length sleeves, maybe full length if I have enough yarn. It's on the bottom of the list of projects, though, because there are so many things in front of it on the queue.

Needles According to Nina


My Definitive Needle AnalysisDisclaimer: my opinion and my opinion only!First Choice: Holz and Stein "children's" needles: 10 in. length, ebony with rosewood knob or rosewood with ebony knob. Smooth, warm, beautiful, sharp points for lace, hard to come by and smaller sizes are somewhat delicate. Useful for small projects or small parts of large projects because the back of a sweater to fit me or Jim or Anna won't fit on them. Sleeves and/or fronts, bands, collars, flat knit scarves and hats do fine. Available from Susanne in Germany at and maybe from in Brooklyn.Okay Substitute: hand turned 10-12 in. rosewood needles with short tapered point and minimal decorative turning on the non-working end. I got one set at TKGA in Oakland in April, 2006 and available through Carolina Homespun. These were very expensive and don't come any smaller than US 8.Also okay substitute: Lantern Moon 10-11 in. straights, from Viet Nam in beautiful woods, but not available in anything smaller than a US size 5. The taper on the points is a little shorter than H&S but the points are nice and sharp for cables and lace. Also expensive.First choice (and only choice for me) for socks: Double points from Crystal Palace. Bamboo, impregnated with some kind of resin so they don't snap and take a long time to be bent to my hand. Mostly I use US sizes 0, 1, 1.5, and 2 and occasionally 2.5.Second Choice: H&S circular needles. Same wonderfully sharp points and perfect taper, smooth wam, and beautiful in my hands and lovely to look at. The joins are smooth but not perfect; I imagine joining wood and plastic is difficult. The cables are flexible, smooth and very thin. I had the entire front band of my Sherlock sweater on a 24 in. needle - that's 408 stitches. I use the circulars for everything that doesn't fit on my children's length needles unless the yarn needs a blunter point or is very sticky and needs the slickness of metal needles.Third choice for specific yarn: WAS Addi Turbos for yarn that is too stickly for the H&S joins, but now that I have my Knit Picks interechangeable set I prefer these. The Addis' point is much too thick for lace that requires a lot of K2tog. or K3tog. At the moment I am using a size 3 mm for my Fair Isle vest using Harrisville Shetland wool that is 2 ply, splits a bit, and is somewhat sticky. The points on the Knit Picks set is sharp and these babies are slick. The taper is a bit long, requiring moving some stitches off by finger push, and the working end could be another half-inch long. And, the cables are purple! I like them sufficiently that I'm selling my Denise set. (See below)Third choice for other yarns: Brittany Birch 12 inch straights - lovely points, warm in the hands. not as smooth or as beautiful as the rosewood/ebony of H&S. For circulars, Clover bamboo - ok join but not as smooth as H&S, points are midway between blunt and sharp, and readily availableif I need a specific size and my H&S are busy on another project.Needles I have and won't use:Pony pearl straights - these sit in a Yarn Angel vase; look pretty but are unpleasently heavy with blunt points and no discernible advantagesHand turned walnut needles with a full 2 1/2 inch decorative end. Why lug the extra weight? They look lovely in the Yarn Angel vase.Balene dps and straights: I've given these away. They bend in my hand, which makes for very slow knitting, the points have a nib on the end that sent a little shock wave up my wrist with every stitch. Inox: I h[...]

Frog pond visit


I do have a life other than knitting - and here's proof. DH Jim, wiht our brand new Lancer Evo MR. It replaces our beloved white Integra Type R, stolen a month ago from a public parking garage in Oakland. 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, once we get the turbo broken in. And our two kitties, on their window perches, Eleanor in front and Frosty (the white one) in back.And on the left we have a picture of the Sherlock raglan knit from the top down and 2 button choices. So I picked the smaller diamond shaped black and gold (colors of the sweater are way off on my monitor - it's mostly dark purple and black). Got the band all picked up and knit and it doesn't pucker or pull, the fronts are even, the pick up is looking fine. Get the buttons sewn on. Try it on. Look in the mirror to figure out why it's so hard to button. The button holes are on the wrong side AND they are way too uneven. I was so pleased with the bands and the way they fit I finished off the ends and sewed on the buttons so well THEY WOULD NEVER COME OFF. I had to cut most of the band and then unravel back to the pick up row.I hereby promise myself and the knitting Goddess that I will always stop when knitting bands to count and use the proper math formula to determine the distance between button holes. I will always try on the thing before I sew buttons or finish the ends so well they can't be found with a magnifying glass. I will pat attention to what I'm doing no matter how much I want the blasted sweater done NOW.And next we have some sock toes that were worn through by the toes of the same DH seen above with the car. I cut the toes off and picked up stitches and reknit the toes, using stranded knitting which made them look a bit weird - the stranding pulls in about 1/2 inch from the non-stranded part - but the double yarn might help them wear a little longer. I'm going to use a size 0 needle for the next toes, and I will never knit him toe up socks! Frogging the right way is bad enough after the socks have been worn and worn and washed and washed, but to try to re-knit socks that were started at the toe? No thanks. [...]

Knitting in Salinas


On UFO night (Monday) I was down here in Salinas, CA for work. But being a dutiful knitting I brought with me two, well, okay four, projects one of which definitely qualifies as a UFO in my definition. It's the second Vivial Hoxbro kimono. Love the yarn, love the pattern, want to wear it ...but I've done it already. I have definitely learned my lesson: do not plan or attempt to knit the same thing twice. I got about 10 rows done last night and realize that it will take me forever on size 2.5 US needles. I have one sleeve done and I'm working on the part wehre both front and back and shoulder are on the needles. There must be a gazillion stitches on this poor 24 inch roundneedle. But I will slog through it so I can wear it maybe next year to Stitches.

I spend most of Sunday trying to figure out what kind of buttonband and collar to put on the Sherlock. Toyed with lots of ideas, from a classic shawl collar (it has a v-neck) to a ruffle. Pulled out all the refrence books and lots of magazines and pattern books and swatched a coupld of things. Finally decided that I'm not the ruffle type. (Does this surprise me? Have I ever worn ruffles since the age of 2?) Shawl collar will limit it's use I think and I don't want to knit that much more on this yarn which splits. So I settled on a plain 2 in. seed stitch band. I added a couple of short rows at teh back of the neck to accomodate a lovely bit of excess there and hope that this will help the back hang straight. I might end up sewing the fronts together, with buttons on a fake button hole band - have to wait and see how it fits when the blocking is done.

The other things I brought with me: the Laurel. Jim wants his SF Giants orange pullover in the same stitch pattern. But mine is variegated cotton; his is plain orange Jo Sharp wool; mine is knit in pieces; his will be in the round, I have set in sleeves, his will have saddled shoulders. I hope this will be enough difference so I don't think of it as the same thing over again.

And lastly, 2 pairs of socks. One in leftover sock yarn for me (I've got little feet and like short socks) and some sposrt weight fingle for Jim.

When I get home maybe I'll add some pictures here.

We have to face buying a new car soon. Jim's white type R was stolen 3 weeks ago from a parking garage in Oakland CA; the insurance company is about to settle with us. The decision to be made is what to replace it with. Something fast and unruly or something sedate and boring but cheap. Decisions don't come easily to us on such things.



Today was time for reorganizing. I took all of my projects, each in its own bag, emptied every bag, and looked at it all. Make 3 small zippered pouches of tools and implements - markers, tape measures, stitch holders, sewing needles etc. and put them in 3 bags. Then realized that 7 on-going projects is too many. And, almost all of them are blue/black/green/purple or some slight variation.
So I decided I have to realign my priorities, and stick to the list or nothing will ever get done.
1. My Sherlock sweater - only 1 sleeve left to do from the armhole down, front bands, and then figure out what to do about a collar.
2. Jim's Seaweed vest -in case I get into Knitting Camp I want to have it almost done so I can secure the steek and cut it there. I got 8 rows done in about an hour, slow but steady and lots of fun. I decided that, unlike Medrith, I like being able to memorize the pattern so I am not offsetting the strands of seaweed .
3. Anna's beaded sweater from Classic Knits For Real Women. I strung about half the 2500 beads. We're talking real tedium here. And then I got the first sleeve done to the armhole. It's in Brown Sheep cotton fleece, and trying to keep the knitting even is hard because even the slightest variation in tension shows. I love the look of the cotton fleece and know it will be great to wear but I don't care for working on it.
4. Laurel - the back and one sleeve is done, the front is about 5 inches up. Again, I love the way it looks but the cotton is hard on my hands. I want to wear it this summer so I better get moving on it.
5. Malabrigo - 2 sleeves (not matching) are done. One with Joan Schrouder's idea of the decreases down the outside looks great, the other will have to visit the frog pond. One front panel is almost done and now I'm not sure I like the twisted rib stright up the front. It's heavy and very dense. Maybe I'll try again with some plain ribs in between the twisted ones.
6. Socks, more for Jim and some for me, (actually, mine aren't on the needles yet but the needles are ready with the yarn to start)
7. My second Hoxbro Kimono - knit cuff to cuff I'm at the middle of the first shoulder. I like working on this but I'm afraid at this point it's a UFO. Never gets picked up.

So that's the list and here's the plan. I'll alternate a cotton project with a wool one, one day cotton, one day wool, until at least 3 are done.

Poor Frosty, his leg got torn on something outside during his five minute stalk through the back yard, a week ago. He has stitches on his leg and he is shaved in 3 places. Sitches come out Monday or Tuesday. He's getting a lot of extra lap time and for the first 6 days we followed him around to prevent him from chewing off the stitches. He hated the little plastic collar the vet gave us to keep him from licking the stitches and he couldn't navigate in it. Bumped into things and couldn't eat or drink so we mostly kept it off.

Well, that's all for now.

WIPS May 12, 2006


Feeling overwhelmed by the number of things occupying needle space I have decided to cataglogue everything in progress, and try to prioritize/organize what I work on. So, in order of closest to being finished first I have:Jim's mystery socks-mystery fiber - from the Adella for whom Adella's yarn shop is named. I'm about to turn the heel on the second sock. Part of his holiday present, these are the May socks. On the right - Body of my Sherlock cardigan and a closeup of the pattern. I'm using Carol Hurt's a-lining system of using a larger needle for a-lining the bottom. The bottom finishing is an open question - hem? I-cord? The pattern is a k3 p1 diagonal rib - I thought that no additional bottom treatment would be needed but this curls as if it were all stockinette. And the next group: On the left, 2 pictures of my Laurel which has become a pullover. The back and a closeup of the pattern. Back and 1 sleeve are done, front is started. And on the right, a neck scarf pattern from Hand Jive Knits in camel, hand spun and hand dyed by a collective in Mongolia. This is another sample for Carolina Homespun. Size 8 needles, the largest in a while!Next up, a cardigan in Malabrigo, kettle dyed merino from Uruguay. Softest wool I've ever work on. The color is actually deep blues with some blud/grey. I'm doing the sleeve increases in the middle of the sleeve and not at the seam line - a decorative twisted rib up the middle. Joan Schrouder's idea, really, to have the sleeve curve at the outside where the arm it will cover curves. My first time trying this, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes. This is the project I pick up when my hands get tired or sore; working on this spectacular yarn is soothing and calming physically and mentally. This is the beginning of the Mermaid vest, a Medrith Glover design in Sweaters from Camp. The yarn is Jamieson and Smith, actual Shetland yarn. I think I'm postponing working on this because the rib is easy in comparison to the body. The plan was to have this done to bring to show and tell at Meg Swansen's knitting camp in July but now that I'm on the waiting list the incentive to get it done isn't as great. Once I get into the pattern it will be closed door knitting.And the last WIP is the Bead Trellis Jacket for daughter Anna. The pattern is from Classic Knits for Real Women. Changed the pattern, of course, to a smaller gauge yarn (Brown Sheep Cotton Classic) and reworked it so the shoulders are narrower. The beads are sort of clear/irridescent, 1000s of them. The first sleeve is close to being done, and this I think I'm putting off because it means I have to start stringing the beads for the fronts and back.I also have one UFO. The poor Kimono jacket from Vivian Hoxbro. A picture of this is on an earlier blog; it doesn't get much attention, probably because it is the second one I'm making and I have learned from this that I don't like to do the same pattern twice.Finally, the next project up: (right afater I said I don't like to do the same pattern twice) is the stitch pattern from my Laurel sweater in Jo Sharp orange classic wool in a knit-in-the-round pullover for Jim. I'm justifying this because1. I have the yarn and it's different than the cotton Laurel I'm using in my sweater;2. It is in SF Giants' colors for the first Pitch and Stitch day at Willie Mays Field (correct name: AT&T Park);3. this one will be done in the round.So there you have it. TOO MANY PRO[...]

THe joy of wearing Alka


Here is what my lovely Alka shawl looks like on me. This one I'm keeping, for sure.