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Saturday, September 20, 2008


For the last week I've been in a state of complete utter confusion. No, nothing happened..well nothing big that is. Actually, come to think of it, I had no idea where this confusion came from. I moped around the house, wanting to knit. But, I just couldn't bring myself to it. This bothered me.

I LOVE knitting. I love working on something all the time. I'll knit in the car, in the waiting room, while cooking supper. I'm an avid knitter in public and I'm proud of it.

So...why couldn't I knit? Why did it just make me feel so lost and sad all of a sudden. Hence...confusion.

I did what any normal person would do in my predicament. I sat on the couch for a week and watched t.v. while feeling sorry for myself. I thought, *gasp*, maybe I didn't like knitting anymore. Nah! I was reading E.Z.'s knitting without tears book that moment, thinking I'd find the answer to my woes there. I mean..she has "WITHOUT tears" on the cover!!


Finally, last night it hit me. I know what cause my knitting blues. A week ago I stayed up late to finish a sock. I know...knitting while tired..not a good mix. I had a few rows and a B.O. on the toe, I HAD to finish it. It didn't matter that it was ticking close to midnight. It didn't matter that I was doped up on Chamomile tea. I was that close..I'm going to persevere.

I thought I'd use the kitchener stitch this time versus doing a three needle bind off. Ah..that's where it all went wrong. It was going well and I scoffed at the whole, "You can't perform well when you're tired" thing I've heard from people. As I finished the weaving I started pulling it all together. And that's when I first noticed a problem..I kitchenered BACKWARDS! Now it looks like a giant purled edge and I'm thinking at this moment..I should have just done the three needle bind off. It would have been a giant ridge..but it would have looked better.

Then, I actually sewed through the yarn! I couldn't tighten it, so in the moment of my exhausted genius, I cut the yarn and tie a large knot in it! What was I thinking? The whole time, there's this voice of reason in my head.."leave it till the morning...fix it in the morning." Did I listen?? Nooooooo

Then, I put it on. You know that feeling you get when you finish a project? It's satisfaction and glee all in one, and you go from person to person saying.."Look at this! Look at what I made!!" Yeah, I didn't do that. I went.." did I do?" I took off the sock discreetly, put it on the shelf and haven't knit since. Well, I have tried..but I kept making mistakes.

Knowing that's where the source of my knitting blues is from, I'm a little happier. I can knit again and not feel sad about it. I'm a little shocked that a toe from a sock was enough to put me in a funk. I guess I just have to not worry about making mistakes. I mean..that's what it's all about right? Make your mistakes..and learn from them. Heh..would it be silly to say, I'm glad no one else noticed the toe on the sock??

Monday, September 8, 2008


Flora is now up for sale in my online store!

Type of Pattern: Scarf

Measurements: 13.5" x 50"

Needle: #5 Straight

Yarn: 400 yards of lace weight yarn (Sample shown in Knit Picks; Shadow, 100% Merino/440yards)

Minimum Yardage: 400
I omitted the gauge seeing as it doesn't really pertain to the pattern. But I measure it at 5 sts = 1" for those who want it.

Isn't she gorgeous?! I love it. It's light and airy, but warm. I was amazed at how it covered the neck being made of lace, but it's fabulously thick for such a light garment.

See, doesn't it just drape beautifully?

I took some pictures outside to show you how it looks in natural light. I've been having a hard time capturing the actual color in my photos. It's green, but not this yellow.

Fuzzy photo of myself wearing the scarf. Why is my hair THAT red in this photo??

A close up of the construction of the scarf. It's picked up from the border and knit upwards. I was amazed at how simple and quick this scarf is. You can simply make it longer if you want, but I personally have a hard time balancing long scarves and other wintery items. So, I like to keep it a little shorter.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Something for all of you...

..just a way to spread the knitting love. I love drawing cartoons and all manner of art like things. I had drawn this on a scrap piece of paper and taped it to my cupboards with the intention of making it into a wallpaper.

1 year later (*cough*) I got around to it and wanted to share it with you! :D

Click on it (the picture), right click (on the picture..again) and then click "set as desktop background."

768 x 1024 resolution.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And she progresses

What do you think so far? I'm quite pleased myself. I loved the stitch pattern for this scarf. At first it reminded me of leaves climbing in clusters..almost like the leaf formation of roses on a trellis.

But, as I knit further, the stitch actually reminded me of little owl faces. Quite cute don't you think?

It's a rather simple knit. But, definitely not for a beginner. Not that it's insanely hard, but the stitch count increases and decreases throughout the stitch repeat, and it does take a certain level of concentration and knowledge of some stitches beyond knit 2 together. So it might not be a good beginner project. I'd suggest knitting a few lace pieces first to get the hang of it and to understand the construction of it all.

I've been a little frustrated by my camera's lack of ability to capture the true color of things. It's more than likely the lack of lighting in my house..which is's full of windows. So, I waited for a nice sunny day to show you the really beautiful color of this scarf. I love how soft it is. It's a very airy scarf, but wide enough to cover the whole neck.

I also wanted to show off a new little project I'm working on. It's just a simple shawl, nothing too elaborate to it. No lace, no beads, just plain knit and purl stitches. I love it. It's going to be my "sitting on the patio at night" shawl.

I'm knitting it in a fingering weight yarn. It's heavy enough to be warm, but not too heavy to be bothersome while drinking tea...(at least in the the winter a heavy one will be just the thing to wear by the fire.)

I was inspired to do this from the other night while sitting outside with my husband. We thought about sitting outside and drinking tea to relax before bed (our little night time ritual of chamomile after the kids are asleep). But, Minnesota being Minnesota, the weather can fluctuate so quickly in temperature. It was FREEZING!

My husband of course says.."Go get a's what they're made for right?"

"AHA! Perfect shawl weather!" I grabbed my pink Zetor shawl and threw it over my shoulders and went back outside. Might I say, though it is a pretty shawl and I'll wear it as a scarf, it really didn't keep out the night chill.

(I also added glass beads to this particular shawl so it felt like little tiny ice cubes all over the wool. )

By chill I mean, huddled over, shivering, and hugging my mug of tea for warmth. That's when I thought how nice it would be for a tighter knit, non lace shawl. Almost blanket like but pretty. Autumn is coming so I might as well be prepared right?

I think I'll save this beauty for a scarf for the fall instead of a shawl. It's great bunched up an layered around the neck with a nice brooch to accent it. But, I'll make sure to wear a nice sweater or jacket with it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And...we're on...

Well, I'm back from my mini vacation/family reunion we had this weekend. Originally I'm from a small town in Wisconsin called Alma. It's a little spot on the map and if you blink while going through it, you'll miss it. But there's so much going on. It's the northern part of the Mississippi and the ol' Delta Queen comes through there to let off her passengers while blowing her musical whistles.

We left for two whole days, poor Mike. He was alone, no kids, no loud noises, plenty of food and water with the couch to himself...can't you see how distraught he is?

If you ever go through Alma, one stop you need to take is to Buena Vista Park. It's a large bluff that over looks Alma and you can see the horizon beyond. least Minnesota. :D

It's a steep road up a large hill/bluff with lot's of turns and rock faces. It's simply gorgeous.

And when you get there? You can see the whole world.

This bluff is where I saw my first rainbow with my dad. I was about 5 or so.

It's such a treasure to see my daughter with her Father in the same spot.

Being here can quiet the mind. It brings so much into perspective. How large the world is, how small you really are...

....and how much of a drop off that bluff it is. I get vertigo easily and boy was I getting it bad up there. If I looked out, I was fine, but down...I almost had to crawl on all fours back to the side walk.

Though the sight was worth it. If you can see it, there's a bald eagle in that picture.
So free and unafraid of falling...I think she was laughing at me and my nausea.

Now for some knitting. I'm working on a new pattern called Flora to those who are interested. It's a lacy scarf that ends up being very wide. I'm sure some would call it a stole, but my I like my stoles to be rather thick and this is just shy over scarf width.

The stitch pattern is beautiful and I love the color green. It's not properly shown in this picture but it's very olive/grass green.

I'm challenging my patience with the construction of this scarf. I'm going to knit it in two separate pieces and then graft them together. I am enjoying knitting this, the pattern is easy, there's a purl row on every opposite row of the body so I can have a "relax" row.

So far, I love the stitches, I enjoy knitting it and I'm looking forward to finished. Over all, it's a great knit.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No Hair? MO-Hair! one of my last posts I told you I was going to show you my nice little process of picking and washing the raw wool. Mind you, I've never done this before so I'm doing this all for the first time really. Having the internet helps for information :D.

I really regret not taking a 'before' picture of the wool. I don't know why I didn't think of it. But let me tell you, it was pretty messy. Well, it was on a goat.. and hadn't been washed before, so what's one to expect? :D

Well, I drew a nice hot bath for the hair. I put in some laundry soap. It's the only thing I really had on hand that was meant for washing fibers so I just went with it. I've heard a lot of recommendations for Power Scour, so next time I'm thinking I'll give that a try.

I made the water fairly hot and just let the fibers soak for almost an hour until the water was relatively cool. See how dirty that water is? Yeah...didn't smell any better.

As I begun to pick out the V.M. (Vegetable matter) I found yellow gunk in the wool. I'm thinking it was Lanolin. The consistency is the same as is the color. seen a yellow oil from sheep's wool. It's a water resistant oil and really beneficial in beauty products. This particular batch I used to make a home made baby bottom balm for diaper rash. It worked amazingly well. Made with cocoa butter and vitamin E, the lanolin repelled the wetness while the cocoa butter moisturized and the vitamin E healed the skin. If you want some of it in bulk I HIGHLY recommend these people!

Ok, back on topic.

Turn forward about 3 1/2 hours.

Here's a nice pile of the finished and picked fiber. Still some dirt and stuff...but not a lot. Majority of it came out when it dried. Normally wool is supposed to dry quickly...but this batch took a little over 3 days to dry! And yes I was shifting it and putting it in ventelated places.

Like the bathtub with the vent on. I even put it in front of the window to dry. The locks just retained the water, so I learned about a little virtue called patience. Odd I never waited around to learn about it before. :D

DRY! That's my handy dandy flick carder. I did the normal flick carding on a few locks. You know, holding the lock's tip, combing downwards on the fibers to open them up. I found out that it didn't do much, they weren't opening up as they should be. I do need to invest in hand carders...but I made do with what I had.

Here's some of the locks after being flicked a few times. Some of the locks had mats, which made it really hard to just flick card. So I ended up combing it a bit. Not sure if that's good, but I want to spin this wool and not have huge lumps in it.

After a bit of preparation, the wool came out VERY silky and fluffy. It was beautiful! This shot doesn't do it justice. It has a very shiny gloss to it and it's utterly soft.

Word to the wise. Don't use pants as a flick card backing. You won't have much pants left.

And here's some of the finished yarn drying in the bathroom. See that lock? It's pretty, but it ended up being very "novelty yarn-ish". I did another batch of spinning and it turned out much better, but my real problem is HOW to spin it. If it were in a roving, I'd spin it lace weight no problem. But being little batches of's terribly difficult. It's almost like spinning poly fill.

After getting the hang of it, some of the yarn became thinner and less hairy, with no locks of hair poking out. (I noticed that the locks actually created "weak" spots in the yarn and it end up drifting apart while being knitted) I'm thinking that this yarn will probably have to be blended with another fiber.

If anyone can let me know how to properly spin this without tearing my hair out (I'm sure I'd spin that too and make a hat) please let me know! :D

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Patterns

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I have two new patterns for sale in my Ravelry Store.

Simply Rustic
and Wisconsin Ave.

Both patterns are designed to be quick and easy to do. Perfect for relaxation knitting or the beginner starting to learn. They both have simple stitch patterns of either color work or a simple rib designed of knit, purl, and seed stitch.

Simply Rustic
Measurements: For a 20" Circumference head.
4 sts = 1"
#7 dpn, set of 5
Worsted Weight yarn. Any two colors will do. 100-150 yards of the main color, 50- 75 of C.O. color.

If you want a hat that is not only warm, and cute, but also quick to knit, this is it. It took me a little under 2 days to knit this. The simple color work adds such a simple interest to the hat to make it easily adaptable to any attire. This would work in a hand spun yarn very easily and not only show off the yarn, but show off the color work.

It can be made in a variety of colors, if one so chooses, for each section of the color work. Or it can be kept to only two colors. And being knit from wool, this hat assures warmth, protection from water, and beauty.

I've included notes in the pattern for how to work with color work on this hat. There's no twisting of yarns here, only straight knitting for color work learning.

Detail of color work.

Wisconsin Ave.
Measurements: 22" Circumference
Gauge: 5 sts = 1"
Needle: #4 16" circular needle, or needle that will give you the correct gauge
Yarn: Sport weight wool. Telemark from Knitpicks in Colonial Blue, 103 yards/ 100% wool, 2 skiens

The beauty about this pattern is not only is it a quick knit, but it looks very sophisticated and "smart" looking. It goes well with the business suit and formal dress of a professional person and can be adapted to the jean jacket for hiking in the woods.

Being a rib pattern it can fit close to the neck and face to hide the nose on cold mornings in the winter, but can also be pulled down to relax and "slouch" for a more relaxed look. Simply shape it bake into place and it will form back to it's conforming shape.

It's a heavy knit (warm) so there's no escape of precious body heat. Also, being a simple knit, you can make one of a different color to suit each jacket in little time. I'm afraid I'll have to make more for my mother who's taking a liking to it! :D

Detail of work.