As the weather gets colder…

I turn back to my knitting needles and yarn, pleased to re-acquaint myself with their familiar weight, heft, and to get my “knitting muscles” back into shape.

I recently began working on a sweater based on a pattern from a vintage book of patterns published by Interweave.  The pattern is sized for a newborn and a different weight of yarn, but I did some calculations and I believe I’ve come up with the correct gauge and measurements for my son’s current size.  If not, it’ll be a bit big and he can wear it again next winter, too.  The colors are absolutely gorgeous – a rich navy for the ribbing at the cast-on (bottom of the sweater) and the wrists, a light blue tweed for the stockinette stitched fabric of the bulk of the sweater.  The yoke features a charming seed stitch pattern near the shoulders and a 2×2 ribbing in the middle (just under the neck opening).  The original pattern also features an adorable buttoned-up shoulder detail (leaves the shoulders open to accommodate large babies’ heads!) that I may or may not include in this version.  If not, I’d leave the neck opening larger to accommodate for slipping over my son’s head.

I’ve also volunteered to knit some socks for a friend of mine – she posted a photo of the yarn on Facebook and asked for some help with making socks from it.  I should meet up with her soon and we’ll figure out which pattern she wants to use and then I can cast on and get knitting!

My mom & dad came to visit recently, and my mom brought the most gorgeous sweater I’ve ever seen!  When they visited last time, I purchased the yarn and pattern and sent her home with them.  She spent the last year working on it, and it fits me beautifully.  I am eternally grateful to her for spending so much time and putting so much love into it.  This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it gives you a glimpse at the gorgeous cables around the yoke!  Here’s a link to the magazine that the pattern is in.  It doesn’t include a preview of the pattern, you’d have to subscribe to see it (sorry!).


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Quick and Easy Slipper Socks

Owing to the cold here in town recently (we made national news!), I decided to pull some yarn out of my stash and make my son some slipper socks.

A friend from across the street came over to hang out during the black-outs (yeah… that’s another story), saw my son’s slipper socks and exclaimed, “I’d love some of my own! Will you make me a pair too?”  I made hers and she said, “I love them!  You should sell these!” No sooner had the words left her mouth (I imagine) than I got an email ordering a pair from an out-of-town friend.

Another in-town friend requested the pattern, and I decided I’d offer it here, but for pay this time.  If you’d like this pattern, just send me a private message and I’ll let you know how to send payment via PayPal ($5).

Here’s a preview:

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Fluffy, slubby, variegated and solid…

Yarn comes in so many different varieties… I want to “taste” them all!

I finished a beautiful project recently, based off of pictures like these of cowls I’ve seen in stores and fashion magazines as well as some knitting magazines, but I’m using this yarn in color 04 – Wine.  It is divine, and I sent it to my friend (actually the wife of the friend who’s getting the Mario & Luigi scarf!).

The biggest challenge I have had with using this yarn is that it is slubbed.

A slub is (according to the Free Online Dictionary):

1. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) a lump in yarn or fabric, often made intentionally to give a knobbly effect

2. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) a loosely twisted roll of fibre prepared for spinning.

I’m using a yarn that fits definition #1.  The first challenge was casting on with slubbed yarn.  I looked through Google – no luck.  I looked through YouTube – no luck.  I looked at the website for the yarn itself – no luck.

What I wanted to know was whether to knit as usual using a looser tension with the slubbed parts and a normal tension with the skinny parts or whether I ought to leave the slubbed parts hanging as I knit.

Well, I’ve figured out what I prefer, and it’s the former.  Use a loose tension when you cast on and thick needles – I’m using American 13 – and you’ll wind up with a very funky-looking fabric, like this!

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Knitting is love: Part 2

The love has been shared (the pattern from my previous post), and the love is flowing in!

I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who’ve requested the pattern, queued it up in Ravelry, commented on it on Flickr communities or just ogled it from afar.  This scarf truly was a labor of love, and it makes me SO happy to hear your positive feedback.

Thanks for the love, y’all.

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A new year, a new project

Well, it took me a while (a couple of months) but the Mario & Luigi scarf is finished!

I learned, through trial and error (mostly because I refused to look anything up online ahead of time about color-work) that twisting the yarn at the point of color change is the best way to prevent gaps and decrease dangling pieces that would just need to be worked in later.

This scarf is going to be mailed to my very best friend’s husband, who was the catalyst for this project in the first place.  Thank you, Dan, for pushing me to challenge my knitting skills and make something SO cool for you!

If you’d like the pattern, click here to open the 2010 Mario Luigi scarf!

Update 1/5/11: If you are having difficulty downloading the charts, here they are in PDF versions, all by themselves.  You can use these charts for more than just the scarf – pillows, mittens, hats, throw blankets – use your imagination!  And send me a picture when you finish your project :)  I used the KnitPro image-to-chart converter created over at MicroRevolt to make these – you can do it with any image!

Mario Chart & Luigi Chart

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Knitting is love

This post is inspired by the class I’ve been teaching this week at our local library to 11-13 year old kids (boys & girls!).  It’s called “Yarn for Youth” and it’s a very basic introduction to knitting and crochet.

On day 1, we met and shared why we were taking the class.  One of the boys said, “I want to learn to knit because it’s not just for girls.” Yeah!  You go!  I told him that knitting is very manly, especially in the sense that he can be self-sufficient when he needs things like scarves, sweaters, gifts for friends and loved ones.

On day 2, we learned the knit & purl stitch (or re-learned – some of the kids had learned before and forgotten, so this is a refresher for them).

Today we’ll learn the basics of crochet: chaining, single and double, and maybe even half double crochet for the “advanced” kids (hee hee!).

Tomorrow’s plan: practice whichever technique you’d like, or pick a pattern and get started on it!

My goal with this introductory class is to get the kids to fall in love with knitting (or crochet) as much as I have.  I want them to look forward to the time of day when they put aside everything else, their homework, their squabbles with siblings, their hurt feelings from a fight with a friend and just KNIT IT OUT.  I want them to feel the healing that knitting and crochet can bring.

And that’s how I “stumbled” onto this realization that knitting (or needlework in general) is love.  First off, I feel love for the fibers and their makers.  I feel a kinship with the person who lovingly twisted this fiber into yarn and then sent it off into the world.  Even when my yarn comes from some giant corporation, I think about the place the fibers started from: a simple, single cotton plant or one sheep in a herd.  Without those plants and animals, my son wouldn’t have the cute sweater his Grandma made him!

That leads to another kind of love that comes from or with needlework – the love we feel when we receive something homemade. We feel the love in every stitch.  The piece of work can literally surround us in their love, especially if it is an oft-used item; a blanket, a sweater, a hat, a bag.

And then there’s the love of the knitter/hooker (yes, that’s what a crochet-crafter is lovingly called) for him or herself.  I know that when I complete a particularly difficult project well and hold it up for examination, when I hear praise from family and friends for the hours and hours of work that went into it… My own love of my abilities increases.  And it’s not a pride thing, it’s an increased awareness of how little I know about my own abilities!  It’s an eye-opening experience, because it shows me how far I can grow and develop, as a knitter and as a human being.

Except for Madame DeFarge (the only example I know of an “evil knitter”), knitting is peace and love.  Knitting is a pathway to higher consciousness and an awareness that we are all connected by fibers that reach across old hatreds and physical borders, time and space.

Posted in Crochet, Dreams, General, Knitting | 2 Comments

Tagging Game: Number 8

We took a field trip a couple months ago, on a morning when I was bored out of my mind.  You other mommies might empathize with me on this one – I could not fathom another second in my own house.  So we packed up and hit the road!

Up and over the mountain we went, to the Archaeology Museum (or something like our local home-town approximation of one), which supposedly had a “kid’s section.”  Tucked in the front of the museum, within easy darting distance of the front (electric, sliding) door, was the kid’s section.  It contained a small adobe hut with some accoutrement inside that gave some indication of what life was like back in the “old days” before white men came to this place.  Young’un enjoyed banging on the floor, wall and other displays with the wooden spoon that was found in the hut.

But the most magical part of the kid’s section was the upright loom.  The strings held such a fascination for Young’un.  He kept coming back, again and again, taking out the piece of wood and pushing it back in between the strings, touching the already-woven strands, staring at the pattern of the blanket that would never be finished, only begun.  As I watched him explore it, I learned anew the wonder of the world around me, something I am constantly hit with while spending time with this little guy.  Everything old is new again.

I happened across this gem of a meme on Very Purple Person:

The Tag game goes as follows:
Go to the 8th folder in which you store your photos
Select the 8th photo.
Post it to your blog and tell the story behind it.
After following the above instructions, you are ‘supposed’ to tag 8 other bloggers.


  1. Ask Moxie
  2. Tried & True
  3. Hilljoy Photos
  4. One Tired Ema
  5. Redefining Rebbetzin
  6. The Baking Sisters
  7. gravity circus
  8. La Greenga

Participate or not – your call!  I just wanted to pass on the love and let all those who read my blog know that I read these blogs (above).  Enjoy!

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