Friday, December 31, 2004

A Lot Of Nuthin'

I knit and knit yesterday. I knit so much that my hand ached. I had a goal in mind. I wanted to complete the knitted in Latvian cord that I am using as the turning point of the hem on the Daugava. I knit off and on throughout the day and as the end of the day approached and my goal was coming close, I saw it.

Something was definitely not right with a portion of the braid. At first I thought it was an uneven tension, but as I looked at it closer I found I had gotten the alternating black and white stitches out of order on the first row and it was throwing off every subsequent row. I could have left it I suppose but it would have irritated me every time I looked at the cardigan. With all the work I am putting into this, I do not need to have negative emotions attached to it.

So, out it came. I ended up having to frog six rows.....and at 486 stitches per row it was a LOT. It even took quite some time to rip. First I ran my "frogging needle" (yes, I have one designated primarily for that's an extremely thin circular needle) around the entire row, below the mistake, to hold the stitches and then I pulled out the knitting needle and ripped and ripped. Adding to the complexity of this particular frogging episode was the twined nature of the Latvian braid. I actually had to cut one of the strands so that I could get them unwound.

So after all that knitting, I went to bed last night EXACTLY where I had left off the night before. *sigh*

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am whining.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's A Long Long Row

I've started on the body of the Daugava and it is a long, long way around each row! 486 stitches and about 25 minutes of knitting per ribbing anyway. My time per row might be different once I start on the fairisle.

So far I have the hem facing done and, like I did with the Rogue, I have included my initials and the year. NEXT year, as I know I won't have this done by tomorrow.

I'm a little concerned that it might be too big, but I don't want to decrease the number of stitches in a round because that would throw off the pattern repeats. If I use less stitches I will have a partial motif at the underarms where I must reverse so that the pattern will match at the shoulders. I want the pattern to flow seamlessly all the way around and so it has been necessary to allow an extra 2 inches in the circumference of the body over what I normally have. The only thing I can do is knit a few inches and then try it on hoping for the best.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Second Sleeve Done

Last night I completed the second sleeve of the Daugava. This is one of those rare projects that seem to get MORE interesting and addicting as I go along. Usually I am at the "been there done that" stage by now and am looking forward to finishing and getting on with other things. This one is different. Perhaps it is because there are still lots of puzzles to be worked out.

I sat for quite some time last night with calculator in hand, scribbling notes, erasing them and rewriting them. All in an effort to get past the problem of how to handle BOTH a hem facing AND a front facing while at the same time knitting in the round. Think about it. If I don't do some sort of fancy jog in one facing or another they will overlap and I will have corners that are four layers thick! That won't do!

I think I have it conquered (looks good on paper and in my mind's eye anyway) despite the fact that this cardigan also has a fairisle band that changes direction at center front, going from parallel to the hem, to parallel to the front opening. LOTS of math, visualization and problem solving.

And now I go to cast on.....all 461 stitches for the lower facing. There will be 486 stitches in a round after the facing is knit, the steek stitches are added, and it is joined.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

In Reverse

My husband and I purchased a scanner for Christmas and I have spent the afternoon installing it and then playing around with images. The photo program that is needed to interact with the scanner is a bit different than the one I had been using before. For one thing, it has a negative-image feature that was kind of fun to play with. I had a chance to see what the Daugava would look like if I had reversed the images. How do you like it with the cream in the background and the charcoal for the foreground?

I like it both ways, but know that a mostly white cardigan would be an impractical thing for me.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas Everyone

Today is going to be a busy one for me as we are having our Big Christmas Dinner today to accommodate family members who must be elsewhere tomorrow. I think it is going to work out quite well as not so much will be happening all on one day. Usually, with the gift exchange, special breakfast, socializing AND dinner all on Christmas day, I am rushing around and too busy to sit for a minute! This year it will be spread out over two days so there just might be more relaxing and enjoying......maybe even some knitting!

For now though, off I must dash, I've a big turkey to stuff and get in the oven. Just wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Last Batch

The last shortbread of the year.....and they are going fast! These were made using the "Grandma's Shortbread" recipe from the back of the "Canada Corn Starch" box. Years ago I upsized the recipe by 3 times so that it uses the entire pound of butter and makes about 7 dozen cookies. Using a little less flour, I was able to put them through the cookie press and with a "double pump" they came out quite well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pot Of Gold

Everyone could use their own little pot of gold these days. Should I let my neighbour know that his home is at the end of of the rainbow.....or should I just go digging in his front yard myself?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Famous Last Words

Last night as it approached bed time, I held up my second sleeve of the Daugava to show my husband and said, "Look how much I've done." I was feeling particularly proud of my progress, having done all the border patterns and gotten as far as the 9th row of the main chart pattern.

As I packed up the knitting for the night I realized that I had centered the wrong element in the main design. Grrrrr. I have to frog those 9 rows even though the "innovation" looks BETTER, is easier to work, and makes more sense than the way I did the first sleeve. Now THAT hurts! It has to be done though. Sleeves SHOULD match dont-cha-know?

I've GOT to make more detailed notes! All this grief is because I didn't write down which stitch I started the chart on when doing the first sleeve.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Where Have All The Crowds Gone?

My husband and I went shopping last night and once again, it was really quiet out it has been for a week or more. Has everyone finished their Christmas shopping? All those nutso crowds from late October to the end of November....was THAT the "Christmas Rush"? Has internet shopping taken over? Will there be a last minute panic on Christmas Eve? Or has everyone finally had enough of the commercialism of the season and cut back on how much they are spending?

A few days ago I actually had a cashier in Zellers call me over as I approached the general area of the cashiers. There were NO lines, and she was standing there waiting to grab the next "live" customer. Are you shocked? I was. In Future Shop we had several sales people more than willing to give exceptional customer service. No lines at the cashier there either.

What have your shopping experiences been like? I would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Underarm

Leisel asked to see the way the pattern comes together at the seam.

OH DEAR. (Moaned in my very best Eeore voice).

Well Leisel, I was kinda hoping that if I always kept my left arm down I would never have to show that part of the sweater. Now, being one that can't resist a challenge, I will have to photograph THAT part of the sweater. The less than lovely part. The part I would do differently next time......perhaps even with the second sleeve.

Okay, fact of the matter is, I should have handled it different. Up until the main pattern begins it looks GREAT. I managed that by placing all increases evenly spaced around the row and by always keeping them within the plain rows between pattern changes.

Then came the main pattern. Unlike the other motifs, I had to increase within the pattern area. I did this, as you would guess, at the underarm, one increase on each side of the "seam" (not really a seam because it is done in the round). I SHOULD have just left it at that but Noooo, I decided to make the seam a "feature" by knitting the first and last stitches in alternating light and dark. I wish I hadn't. Anyway, what's done is done and I am willing to live with it.

But now you want a photograph? Hmmm. My camera broke. Yeah, that's it. . . . No? Okay, how about if I take a quick picture as I speed by on a galloping horse?! . . . . No?

*Sheesh* You DO realize I will probably have "finding myself naked in public" nightmares for a month after this?!

(I was tempted to make the picture VERY small!)

First Sleeve

Here at long last is a photo of the first sleeve of the Daugava.

I finished it up last night and immediately started the second one. The second sleeve is going much faster because I don't have to work out all design elements, increase rates and so forth.

I am using "Lanett" superwash 100% merino. So far, on the first sleeve alone, I have used up one and a half balls of the charcoal and one full ball of the cream. If the "1/3 for the sleeves" rule of thumb holds true, that would mean I will need 9 balls of the charcoal......which is all I have. If it takes more than that I will be in deep ka-ka. It looks like I will have more than enough of the cream though as I also bought 9 balls of that and I will likely only need 6.

Should I panic?

Edit: It's funny the things you notice when you stand back a bit. I was proof reading today's entry when I suddenly noticed an error in the pattern that I hadn't yet corrected! It is the same problem I wrote about yesterday.....I guess I just missed one. Good thing the swiss darning works like a charm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Graphing Error

What happens when you make a single error in "coloring" a chart using "Stitch and Motif Maker" but then "copy and paste" that one corner of the graph 4 times to get the whole graph....and then knit from the resulting graph repeating it a multitude of times? Why you get a multitude of errors of course!


I was in a cold medicine induced haze the other night and was staring bleary eyed at the sleeve-in-progress of the Daugava when all of a sudden the errors just "popped" out at me! Once for each chart repeat I have ONE stitch that was miscolored on the graph. Of course the graph repeats several times around the row, and then every 48 rows I repeat the entire graph. At least the mistakes were consistent!

I would have noticed it sooner except that the "error" actually makes sense (sort of) because it occurs right in the center of the motifs and looks like it should be there. The only problem is the OTHER motifs that occur later in the graph do not have this same mistake so they don't match.

It's a teeny, tiny error even if it is repeated a multitude of times. In the very busy pattern it is not that noticeable. (I had to point it out to my husband and tell him exactly what the problem was). He dismissed it with a snort and a wave of his hand. He said I should just leave it.

I am going to fix it.

NO, NO, NO....I am NOT going to frog the whole darn sleeve! The first error was on the very first line of the main pattern. I am NOT about to rip it back that far. If that was the only alternative then the mistake would be left IN!. What I plan to do is to duplicate stitch/Swiss darn over it in the correct color. Out of sight, out of mind......sort of.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Another Oldie.

I don't quilt much anymore, but here for your viewing pleasure is another project dug up from the past. This small quilt was made somewhere around 12 years ago. The poinsettias in the centers were cut from printed fabric and appliqued.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Borrowing From the Past

Due to the lack of current WIP pictures, I take you back......WAY back 20 1984 and an ornament that I created for our Christmas tree that remains a favorite of mine to this day.

I have another of these done with our (at the time) infant son's photo. The pattern for the picture frame/snowflake ornament came from a "Workbasket" publication that I have since lost.

For a trip down memory lane, check out the hairstyles. On our oldest daughter (on the left) we have the classic "mullet" hairstyle "tres chic" at the time. On the younger daughter is the easier to keep up "mushroom cut". Both girls are holding the much coveted "Cabbage Patch Kid" in home sewn matching outfits of course!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Late Night Experimentation

I decided I wanted a tea cozy. I looked through my craft books and patterns and tried a few. Nothing really seemed to work with the scraps I had in my stash so I tried doing my own thing. After several false starts with a knitted cozy, I switched to crochet and eventually created this:

While its not exactly as I would like, it will do for now. Some day when I have less going on I'll actually go out and buy new yarn and make one of the tea cozies from the "Bazaar Novelties" booklet.

Friday, December 10, 2004

In Danger of Becoming a Baking Blog

My blog has been a little lacking lately in the Knitting/Fiber Arts content. I AM knitting as much as I can, but with all that needs doing in the Christmas season, that is a little less than usual.

My current project, The Daugava, is an elaborate fairisle done in fine fingering yarn. I knit and knit on that project and don't have a lot of progress to show. For those who are interested I am coming close to finishing the first sleeve and will post a picture at that time. It is looking great! I didn't realize HOW great until I slipped the sleeve on and stood in front of a mirror one day. Sometimes you are so close to your project while knitting that you don't realize the impact it has from a distance.

Maggie Ann left a comment here about the doilies in the background of the recent plant pictures. Unfortunately I can't claim credit for those doilies. The large poinsettia doily in the background of the picture of the little poinsettia was made by my mom a few years ago. It has a place of honor on my square coffee table. The little white doily under the African Violet is just a cheapie bought at a dollar store. That one sits on my kitchen table. I refuse to risk my hard work on a doily that is subject to the spills and spots of a messy family dinner table. When the little store bought ones get stained I just throw them out!

I did crochet this one is one of a set of two.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Success by the Dozens

Finally success! I purchased a new Cookie Press at Linens & Things and THIS one works. It is a "Wilton" brand press, and it is made mostly from metal. It is much sturdier than the lesser known brand made from plastic that I originally purchased. The thing is, this much better press was only slightly more money......and it WORKS.

And HERE is the recipe. (Nothing special, just a standard Spritz recipe.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


This was the view from our veranda early this morning. Brrr! Pretty though.

By the time we returned from shopping out of town, it had all melted. Yup. That should just about do for winter. Thanks Mother-Nature....we can go back to sunshine now. Oh yeah. I forgot. Around here the choice is not snow or sunshine, it's snow or RAIN.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

We Can't Go On Like This

My husband and I went Christmas shopping today. The idea was to buy gifts for relatives. We couldn't decide on anything for them but we came home with this:

Not just the african violet, but a pretty ceramic pot for it to live in. We also got this:

It's a small poinsettia jazzed up with a bit of sparkly red glitter and sitting in its own Christmas theme pot. I carried it around while still looking at other arrangements. There were bigger ones, fancier ones, rarer ones, and poinsettias mixed artfully with other plant varieties (ALL more expensive!), but it was this little one that really grabbed me. In fact, I tried to put it down when something else caught my eye, but I just had to go back. It's hard to explain but this plant seemed to exude sadness when I put it down. It was like it was expecting to go home with me and I disappointed it. Kinda like picking up a puppy at the pound, fondling it, loving it, and then saying goodbye. Couldn't be done. I had to come home with this little poinsettia.

It's happy now.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Day's Work

From the title you thought I was about to show pictures of some great progress on the Daugava? Nope. I spent the day in other pursuits.

First I blocked my daughter's cardigan. Her gauge changed a little in the process of making it and she was a little unhappy with the fit. I added length and width to the sleeves, straightened the button band and added a little depth to the collar. The collar does not stand up like it shows in the was just a convenient way to block it.

In the afternoon I assembled the wire cubicles for my craft room. [Yes, I am one of the lucky ones who actually has a whole room dedicated to their hobby(s)]. I then unloaded numerous plastic tubs and cardboard boxes, filling the cubbies as neatly as possible and in an organized manner.

Okay, so it doesn't look all that neat, but it IS organized and maybe now I will be able to find the things I knew I had in there somewhere but could never find. The neatness will come later when I find enough pretty lidded baskets to file everything away, organized but out of immediate sight.

The large Rubermaid tubs can now be passed onto my kids who REALLY need to box up some of their "collectibles".

The remainder of my day was spent emptying the last of the Christmas decoration boxes and arranging the mantel. I was going to skip it this year but got too many complaints from the kids.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Deck the Dog

I've been busy the past few days decorating for the holiday season. Even Shelby got a touch of the red and green.

Even though she looks a bit peeved in the picture, now that she is used to the collar (and has chewed/shook the bells off) she seems to quite like it and leaves it alone.

I've also been knitting on the Daugava. One of the drawbacks of designing a project like this is that not everything turns out as planned so there is more than the usual amount of frogging going on. 10 rows forward, 15 rows back. I am gradually creeping along though, and I am keeping copious notes so that I can make a second sleeve to match. I am now several rows into the main pattern and I think it is looking pretty good.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Beauty Comes In All Sizes

The Big.

And the Small.

Just a couple of visual treats from yesterday's walk....from me to you.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Not a Stitch

I didn't knit yesterday. Not a stitch! I did the finishing work on the Aurora Borealis cap, blocked it, photographed it, and made a blog entry about it, but I didn't actually KNIT anything. And it was weird. I sat watching a movie with my husband and for the first time in ages, just sat there with my hands folded in my lap. How unproductive. Gaaak. How can non-knitters stand JUST watching television?

I haven't knitted yet today either. I have read about knitting on the Knitter's Review forum. I have photographed my daughter's knitting so that she can post pictures on her blog. I have searched the Amazon site for good Christmas wish list ideas (all knitting related books of course). But I have not actually KNIT.

When I do finally pick up my needles it will be to work on the Daugava. It is a complicated fairisle project that I am designing as I go, so I have to have a clear head to work on that one. Later tonight if I can find some quiet time......

Meanwhile, the sun is shining and I have a dog that has gone without a walk for three days.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Aurora Borealis Earflap Cap

The Danish Earflap Cap is finished and I have named her "Aurora Borealis". The colour scheme, with its shifting pastels on a dark navy background, suggested that name.

The pattern for this cap is found in "Hats On!: 31 Warm and Winsome Caps For Knitters" by Charlene Schurch.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


I took the cookie press back. It just was not doing the job intended. I gave it a good try. I made four different recipes and got only marginally good results with ONE of them. The special Spritz recipes (that the presses are MADE for!) could not be forced through the press.

On a good note, the employee at the mall kiosk that sold it to me was great about the return. She was apologetic and honestly seemed dismayed that it didn't live up to my expectations. I was given a full refund.

In knitting news: I am working away on a Danish ear-flap cap. I think this one will be called "Aurora Borealis" after the colors in the northern lights. Pictures will be posted when it is completed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Foot Snuggies

These are no ordinary socks. No, these are Foot Snuggies. Warm, comfy hand knit socks with a custom fit. They match my Rogue Hoodie because they are made of the left over yarn. They go almost all the way to my knees so they will be great for those all too frequent days when I feel chilled to the bone.

I have noticed something about hand-knit wool socks that store-bought socks just can't seem to duplicate. Air seems to flow through hand made socks allowing your feet to breathe but remain warm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Wallowing in Cookies

The experimenting with the cookie press continues. So far the jury is still out on whether it is a success or not. In the meantime, we are being buried in cookies! Every evening since I bought the press I have been making large batches of cookies. I mean, this IS a family of cookie monsters, but I think that this time I have gotten a little ahead of them! I keep baking and baking hoping to find the secret to success with this gadget. It is NOT going to beat me down!

So far I have made Chocolate pressed cookies from a recipe that came with the press. Far too stiff. I ended up filling the tube and then slicing the cookies off the end "slice and bake" style. For THAT it actually works quite well. It makes perfectly round cookies that are all uniform in thickness. Hmmmm, just like store-bought, but with ALL the WORK. Not exactly what I had in mind.

The next day I made Classic Peanut Butter Cookies from the label on Kraft smooth peanut butter. THOSE were quite successful. The dough is much softer for one thing, so the shapes actually came out through the decorative holes quite nicely. The recipe isn't meant to be used for a cookie press though and I think it contains a little too much leavener to have the cookies keep their details well when baked. Still, of all the cookies I have formed with the cookie press, these have been the most successful.

Look! These lasted long enough that I could actually take a picture. (Okay, I did have to slap a few hands!)

The ones in the picture are just the tip of the ice-berg. I don't seem to be capable of making a SMALL batch of cookies. It seems a sin to get all thosed bowls, measuring spoons/cups, and cookie sheets dirty and then only make 3 or 4 dozen. If a recipe makes less than 7 dozen cookies I automatically double (or triple) it. So....I have a lot more of these peanut butter cookies in my freezer. And yet.....still I baked on!

The next day I got an email from my mom. She had a couple more recipes for me to try. These from a Scandinavian cook book that belonged to her mother. So last night I gave the first of them a whirl. "Sprits" mom called them. I wonder if these are the same as the "spritz" you mentioned Debbie?

So I set in baking a large batch of "Sprits". Really large. Another failure. Once again the dough was too stiff and I ended up using the dough in a slice and bake manner. It's a good thing that all these "failures" are still edible. They aren't working the way I want them to, but they do taste fine and I have a large don't weep for me.

With each successive failure I am learning a few things. I have a better idea now what the consistancy of the dough should be. I think somewhere between the stiffness of the spritz recipe (very similar in stiffness to regular shortbread) and the softness of the peanut butter cookie recipe should work.

Tonight I will try putting Whipped Shortbread through the darn contraption and see what happens. Mom thinks maybe it will be too soft. If that fails, I shall resort to altering recipes. I'll hold back some of the flour from the recipes I have already tried and see if that is more satisfactory.

I have decided to keep the cookie press. I need time to get the better of the thing!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Baa Baa Black Sheep

If you are a fiber enthusiast you must hear this fun rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep done by Wren Ross!

Check out her main site here:

Pre-Christmas Saturdays

I went out shopping yesterday.......a Saturday. I know. What an asinine thing to do. I was in a great mood when I left the house. I was humming. I was smiling. Then came the traffic, the line-ups, the crowds and the delays. (Do people who walk slower than a snail can crawl really have to walk down store aisles 3 or 4 abreast?!) By the time I had found a semi-suitable package of Christmas cards (searched through ALL the cards in 3 different stores to find them), and gotten out of there I was in a rage. I was gnashing my teeth and swearing under my breath. The thought of catalogue and internet shopping was looking better and better. I was hoping that Christmas would be cancelled. I vowed that I would not set foot in a store on a Saturday until after the "festive" season.

As I was leaving the mall I happened upon a little kiosk selling kitchenware. Given my ill mood, a present for myself seemed like a great idea. I bought a cookie press, hoping that a little baking would bring back my Jolly-Ho-Ho.

I thought I would be finished knitting my warm wooly socks by now, but I didn't spend as much time knitting last night as I thought I would. I ended up baking cookies instead.

My first attempt at using the cookie press was a miserable failure. I used one of the recipes that came with the press and it made a VERY stiff dough. I have never made pressed cookies before so I had no idea what to expect. I assumed that the dough for pressed cookies should be soft so that it could be forced through the small decorative openings, but was THEIR recipe, so that must be the right consistency right? Guess not. The dough was so stiff that I couldn't get the cookies to come out. (Okay, I DID get maybe one dozen forced out, but they were not well formed and it took forever and far more than the one to two "clicks" the clerk suggested. I ended up taking off the decorative attachment and used the dough "slice and bake" style. They TASTE fine, but I didn't buy the gadget to make slice and bake cookies.

Today I am going to try again. I have a recipe for peanut butter cookies that I know makes a very soft dough. I'll use that. I also plan to get my mom's Whipped Shortbread recipe. If the cookie press doesn't work with those recipes then it is beyond hope and will be returned.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

As the Heel Turns

Last night I got the whole foot of both socks done. The heels were a real interesting feat (pun intended) because I was knitting from a "toe-up", one-sock-on-TWO-circular-needles pattern, but was using a SINGLE circular needle to knit BOTH socks at once, and I was incorporating a heel stitch pattern that came from a top-down sock pattern. To add to the confusion, the stitch pattern I used on the top of the foot required an ODD number of stitches, but the toe and heel required both the sole and the top of the foot to have an EVEN stitch count.

I was flipping stitches back and forth, changing from one to two needles and even back to knitting the socks seperately at one point. The result looks good, but I doubt that I could ever duplicate exactly what I did a second time. Good thing I was knitting both socks at once because I would never be able to get the second one to match otherwise!

It's easy going from here. Round and round, straight up to the bind off. I'll likely finish them today and have pictures for you tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Twin Hats

Okay, so maybe they are not "hats", but the toes of a pair of socks. I've been plagued by icy cold feet lately and I had about 7 ounces of Briggs & Little "Heritage" wool left over from knitting the Rogue. I decided that the left-overs must become a pair of warm wooly "work" socks.

I am "winging it" as I go, combining several different features from different sock patterns. I wanted to try the "2 socks on 2 circulars" technique, and I did try it, but that method just does not seem to work for me. I am so used to using the Magic Loop technique that within the first few rows I had knit all the stitches off of one of the circulars twice. I decided at that time that the Magic Loop was far more intuitive for me and that I might as well stick with it. So, now I am doing 2 socks on ONE circular. I have no idea how I am going to handle the heels when I get to them. It'll probably end up being some kind of a hybrid of the two techniques. I could always go back to the TWO circulars just for the heels if need be.

The pattern stitch on the socks is from the "winter" sock from the Magic Loop book. It is a "beaded rib". I am working the socks 2 at a time and toe-up so that I can maximize my use of the yarn I have available.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Rogue is DONE

I finished the Rogue AND it is a success! If fits. (Bonus!) I spent much of today finishing up the zipper application and then seaming the sleeves and sewing them in. I really like it. I can now peel the Green Possum Cardi off my back and give it a good wash. ;-)

I am not too happy so far with my photos of the Rogue. Inside, using the flash, all detail is lost. You can at least tell the shape and fit of the hood here though:

I tried a few photos outside, but should really wait for a nice sunny day so that the lighting is better. A little of the side detail shows here:

And you can see the intricate cable in the hood in this pic:

And now, with that one out of the way I am free to work on
The Daugava
and to dream of other future possibilities. Perhaps this afghan but in a more nuetral colorway? It is a pattern from Philosopher's Wool Company

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Nifty Edge Treatment

The Daugava is off to its second start (actually, about the fifth but who's counting, eh?). This time I am doing a sleeve first.....and am I ever glad. At least it started with only 72 stitches, but I ripped it out several times today, not because of mistakes, but because I was making "design decisions" and kept changing my mind or thinking of better ways to do things.

I really like some of the changes. For one thing, I scrapped the PWYC border. Meg Swansen uses this partially purled border to prevent rolling, but after doing the whole sleeve border I decided it looked too messy. The purls distort the pattern more than I cared for so.....I frogged.....again. I am much happier with it now. I have done a 10 row k1, p1 facing with a very special turning treatment which I think looks fantastic.

I invented this turning edge, on my own, when fiddling with one of the samples I made before starting the project. The basis of it is a knitted-in braid common to Latvian mittens, but rather than use it in the main part of the knitting, I used it as an edging. Used as the turning row it makes a nice crisp turn with a decorative squared off edge. Oooo, I feel so creative and designer-ish.

Another change I made is to the increases. Rather than increase with one new stitch each side of a "seam-stitch" every 2 to 4 rows right from the start, I have increased a little more drastically, but evenly around the entire row, only in the plain rows between the patterns. This leaves the pattern motifs intact all the way around. Eventually, as the sleeve widens and the chosen patterns get deeper, I will have to revert back to increases every few rows with that standard "seam-stitch", but for now, while I can, I would like to keep the motifs intact....especially in the cuff/forearm area where they are more likely to be seen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

FREE Stitch Markers

Hey, lookie what I made! Over six dozen stitch markers and all the supplies were FREE.

I found this little tip in "Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets". You can make dozens of stitch markers just using snippets of a plastic straw. I can use a whole bunch of them when I cast on for The Daugava so that I don't have to keep recounting. The needles I will be using are only 3mm so the small straw should fit just fine. For larger needles a person could use a milkshake straw.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Second Sleeve DONE

Michelle you will be glad to hear that the second sleeve of the Rogue is done, complete, finished....hem and all. I added the hem last in the lighter grey wool, like the dated body hem. Now all I need to do is block those sleeves (I did the body and hood a few weeks ago) and make the applied I-cord edging then sew in the zipper.

I've done I-cord before but I had to look up applied I-cord. I found several different ways of doing it here. I'll likely do that tonight.

Leisel I can hear the "Daugava" (new name for the black and white fairisle cardigan) calling. I think that when I restart it I will begin with a sleeve though. That way I can work out some of the design ideas on less stitches per round!

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Considering my recent set-backs with knitting, I thought today's horoscope was rather on track.

"You are too hard on yourself, MARLENE. If things have not gone exactly as you had planned over the last few days, there's no sense berating yourself for it. As long as you did the best that you could, then what's the problem? Likely you have experienced a delay, not a cancellation. All signs indicate that your goals will come to fruition, though it may take longer than you had anticipated."


My black and white cardigan was coming along so nicely. I had the entire bottom border done. There were to be increases done in the last row of the border and I needed to double check my math so that I would increase evenly across. As I was counting the 444 stitches I discovered it. THE TWIST. A circular knitter's nightmare. Somehow, despite my best efforts to avoid it, I got a twist when I joined it into a circle.

I knew I could leave the twist in, moving it along to where the steek was (seeing as it will be cut later anyway) and then knitting without the twist from that point, but it seemed better to frog it and start over. *sigh* There were a few things I wanted to change about that border anyway. Next time I attempt it I will start the border with two purl-on-the-right-side rows. Doing that should also help me keep that join straight too.

As soon as I had ripped out the first attempt, I immediately began casting on again. After 100 stitches I caught my hand in the circular loop as I was getting out of my chair and I accidentally ripped out about 25 of those stitches. That was it! I'm all for "getting back on the horse" after a fall, but two falls in a row? It was just too much for my over tired brain to handle. I packed the project up and vowed to finish my other works-in-progress first.

So that is where THAT project stands. I need to give it a rest until I have other things taken care of. Then maybe when I have those ones off the back of my mind I will tackle the cardigan again.

Thanks "knothead" for the excellent naming suggestions. When I get back to knitting this project I will likely use one of the mean time it is dubbed "THAT PROJECT" in a less than kind tone of voice!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Slow Progress

So far I have knit 3,996 stitches (more if you include some "tinking" and reknitting that was done!) and have less than an inch to show for it. It's funny though, the slow progress is not really bothering me. I think it is because I expect that this fairisle project will take an incredible amount of time and I am in no hurry. I knit around and around without expecting to see any measurable difference. I am enjoying the process rather than watching for significant progress.

As always, I need a name for this project. Repeatedly calling it "the fairisle cardigan" doesn't seem fitting of the grand nature of this designing/knitting adventure. Any suggestions? It will be a charcoal and natural,(softer version of black and white) fairisle cardigan knit at a very fine gauge with several different fairisle motifs. It will have pewter clasps for the front closure. The general idea for this project comes from Meg Swansen's pattern which she calls "Giant Latvian-Mitten Cardigan". Somehow though that name conjures up images of an extremely large Latvian wearing a mitten shaped cardigan......not the image I want to work with. Har, har. All suggestions for a name will be gratefully considered.

Friday, November 12, 2004

PWYC Border Graph

I had already mapped this border graph off once, but after casting on all 443 stitches for the body and then counting them off from the center back toward the front edges I found that the pattern repeat didn't fall quite where I had originally placed it. I kind of expected that, but you know, a gal can always hope. Anyway, this turned out to be a good thing (if you overlook the fact that I had to remap it) because, the second time around, the repeats ended up falling in a BETTER position than origially mapped. This graph of only 59 stitches represents all 438 body stitches (5 of the 443 cast on are used for the steek). It shows how the center back will be reversed (marked by the green block) and how the design changes direction at the lower front corners.

It worked out perfectly for a simple, yet attractive, direction change arrangement in those front corners! Yay!

On this graph the purl stitches are marked by the ' - ' symbol. It is a "Purl When You Can" border which is supposed to prevent the edge curling that occures when a garment is done completely in stockinette stitch. With this technique you (of course) "purl when you can". That means anytime you are working a stitch that is the same color as the one below it, you purl the stitch rather than knit it. Using this technique allows a color work pattern to be used right up to the edge of the garment with no hem and no garter stitch border. I must give Meg Swansen full credit for this innovation. I read about it in her pattern "Giant Latvian-Mitten Cardigan". (Wool Gathering #67) My border graph is based on the border she uses in that cardigan, with my own adaptions for stitch count resulting in a different front corner treatment.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I Must Be Crazy

I've spent the last several days swatching, graphing and doing a whole lot of math in preparation for the biggest project of my knitting "career". I am designing an elaborate fairisle cardigan in super fine, fingering weight merino and I will be doing it at 10 stitches and 10 rows to the INCH. That will be 480 stitches per round and 4,800 per knitted inch of progress.

Yup, I must be crazy.....but what a challenge. I've really been enjoying myself so far. This is the first graph I've mapped out. It is a design I found in Lizbeth Upitis' "Latvian Mittens".

I have four other graphs ready as well. One more from "Latvian Mittens" and two from "Wool Gatherings #67" by Meg Swansen. I am basing my design loosely on Megs concept of the "Giant Latvian-Mitten Cardigan" but I am substituting different graphs, a different size, different sleeve style, different length and a different gauge. In other words I am entirely remaking the cardigan and using Meg's original idea only as a jumping off point.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Autumn Splendor

It was a beautiful morning for a long walk....lots of crunchy, colorful leaves to wade through. I always forget to take my camera along, so THIS is a photo taken in my backyard after I got home.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Circular Needle Storage

This is my solution to the problem of storing circular needles neatly and in an organized way so that they are easy to find when needed.

I bought 15 "snap-envelope" style pockets and a three inch, three ring binder. Each pocket is labeled and holds one size of needle with as many length variations as I own. Now that I know the "Magic Loop" technique for smaller circumferences I no longer buy anything other than 32 inch, but I do have a few shorter ones from before that time. I have also used the pockets to store a few double-pointed sets.

I decorated the outside of the binder with a picture gleaned from the internet. It is of a painting of a little girl knitting.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Vicious Headache

I had my 10,000 steps for today all finished by 8:30 this morning! It required an hour and 20 minute walk, but my plan was to spend much of the rest of the day sitting on my butt knitting so I wanted to have my goal accomplished early.

I've done some knitting......I'm now past the cabled part of the second sleeve for the Rogue (finally!).....but a MASSIVE headache has taken over. It is one of those "hide in a dark quiet room" type of headaches so there will not be much knitting going on today. It is impossible to knit while curled in a fetal ball!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Lack of Entries

Sorry about the lack of entries lately. We've had computer problems. Big ones. We ended up starting over with the Back Up disk. I've spent days on the computer re-installing programs and there are still a few that I need to do. One is the program I crop photos with. I have my camera program loaded and running and I CAN crop with it, but I have never figured out how to resize pictures there. I prefer PhotoShop for that function. Without resize, it looks like my blog will be photoless for a while longer.

My sparse blog entries are also, in part, due to my walking, walking and walking. The pedometer is really doing the trick. Each day since I bought it I have been meeting or exceeding my goal of 10,000 steps daily. I MUST take at least an hour walk plus be reasonably active for the remainder of the day to meet that goal. One of the days I spent too much time on the computer and as the evening wore on I had to slip in a bit of dashing about putting away laundry during all TV commercials to be sure that I would make my goal.

Yet one more factor in the long intervals between blog entries is my lack of knitting success to report. I am still plugging away on the Rogue's second sleeve! It seems for every 20 rows I knit I have to rip back about 12 of them. It is NOT because it is difficult. It is because I am having trouble concentrating! I make silly little errors like forgetting to increase when I am supposed to. I can be thinking of it 4 stitches before it needs to be done and them.......fffwip.....I've knit right past the spot and on to the next row.

Sunday, October 31, 2004


I've spent the last two days fighting with the computer. We got some kind of virus that gradually messed up the computer so bad that I had no alternative but to dump it and start over with the Restore Disk......and then of course reload all the programs, favorites, shortcuts, players etc. Not fun.

Not much knitting happened this past week. I went through several days where I didn't knit at all. Shocking but true! I just didn't feel up to it. I wasn't really sick, unless you count a pounding headache (which usually doesn't stop me). It was more that I was feeling like I was lost in a mental fog zone. I couldn't think straight. That's NOT the condition to be in when knitting Celtic cables. I had no simple projects on the go so I refused to knit at all until I snapped out of it.

The fog lifted today and during my morning coffee I was able to knit about 8 rows on the second sleeve for the Rogue. Man that felt good. I really have missed the knitting. How DO people sit still and watch TV without something in their hands anyway?

Not much sitting still for me today. I bought myself a pedometer yesterday. I think it is about the 3rd or 4th one I have owned. Some of them worked well but broke, others were so inaccurate that I returned them the next day. The one I bought yesterday seems EXCELLENT. On a walk today I counted out 200 steps and looked at the read-out and it said exactly 200 steps. I have never had one that accurate before. I paid a little more to get one that had a good clip (I've had them break before) and a sensitivity adjustment. My goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day. I have exceeded that today, but that is with an hour long walk and a busy day. Past experience has shown me that if I sit on my butt too long I won't make my goal.

I will record my daily steps an incentive. Obviously I won't be able to record each day's steps until the following day when I actually know what the final count was.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


We had perfectly clear skies here last night and got a good view of the lunar eclipse. It was......boring. Haha. If you missed it, don't weep, you'll get another chance in 2007.

This picture was taken 10 to 15 minutes before the eclipse was "complete". If I had waited for it to be complete I wouldn't have had anything to take a picture of now would I? Actually, even when it was complete it was not really all that exciting. The moon often looks just like that through a light cloud cover. For those who missed it and really want to know, it looked a little darker, somewhat "smokey" in appearance.....and....that's it. It stayed that way for a long time, and then a crescent of light grew on the other side. *yawn*

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Quizilla says.....

Knitting Goddess
You appear to be a Knitting Goddess.
You are constantly giving and are unconcerned with
reward, you simply want others to love knitting
as much as you do. If someone wants to knit
miles of novelty yarns, you are there for them.
If someone wants to learn short row shaping,
you can help. There are no taboos in knitting,
only opportunities to grow. Everyone should
have friend like you around if they want to
learn to knit, and there's a good chance that
your passion has rubbed off on a few others.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, October 24, 2004

3 in 1 day

I made three more of the "Timmie Cosies" yesterday. Kristy wanted one, so on the 50 minute drive to her apartment yesterday I made one. I also made another one while there visiting, so she got two. Then, on the trip back home, I made a third one. With the prototype done the previous day, that makes four in all, and I left two of them in the glove-box of our car for future use.

In Rogue News: I am working on the first sleeve. It is going quite well, but with my not so perfect gauge I think I had better block the body so I can get a better idea as to how much alteration will be necessary to the sleeve. I know that if I make them exactly as the pattern states they will come out too short. The Rogue pattern gives the row count for the sleeves, not the measured lengths and my row gauge is off.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Timmie Cosie

Have you ever been handed a steaming hot coffee at your local drive through and found that it was just too hot to hold? Our local "Tim Horton's" doesn't double cup or put a sleeve on their paper coffee cups unless you ask......and we frequently forget to ask. I've decided to crochet a couple of "Timmie Cosies" to throw in the glove box for just such occasions.

I tried at first to knit one, but the cups are tapered and I found the shaping was faster and easier with crochet.

I had an empty Timmie's Cup to check the fit, but of course after I got the prototype done I had to make sure it actually worked. I am happy to report it fit just fine on both the large and extra large coffees and did a wonderful job of preventing burnt fingers.

It also fit an A&W drink cup....not that I would use it for that....just wanted to see if it was "universal". ;-)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Rouge Hood

I have the hood of the Rogue done....this time correctly. I haven't blocked it yet so it looks a bit rumpled. This first picture shows detail of the cables.

This second photo shows a little better what it looks like on an actual head. To receive permission to use this photo I had to guarantee the anonymity of the model. ;-)

I am hoping that the puckering at the top of the hood will block out. It is more noticeable in the first picture than it is in the second one. I had read that some previous knitters of this pattern had had the same puckering problem.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


It will be a while before I have pictures of the Rogue hood. *sniffle*

I HAD finished the hood for Rogue....all but the top bit of the left side. As I was packing up my stuff to prepare for bed, I set it out to admire.. Grrrr. Way, WAY back I found a cable that was crossed the wrong way. I tried to drop back just the 4 stitches, but by the time it was dropped down nearly 20 rows, there were far more than 4 stitches involved and with all the crossings it was just too complicated. I had to FROG 20 freakin rows!

It's a good thing that I actually enjoy knitting these intricately woven cables or I might be in more of a snit than I already am.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Small Projects For Children

Knowing that most children would not be too thrilled with knitting "practice squares" I have looked around the internet for simple projects. I found a couple of easy projects like earwarmer/hairbands and simple hats but there really isn't much available at the Brand New Beginner level. The usual "garter stitch scarf" seems too big and time consuming for that very first effort and a child's shorter attention span.

I have been designing a few simple little knitting projects for children. I felt that a simple bookmark could be a good teaching tool for Cast On, Knit, and Cast Off.

A "Mug Mat" or coaster, although much like a practice square, at least would have a purpose for being. It would be a good project for introducing purling and counting stitches.

And a little purse/bag takes a bit more effort and involves learning to decrease and make a button hole. I-cord for a handle is another easy to learn technique. This is a pattern that I adapted from one on the internet.

Maybe after getting a few quick to knit, near instant gratification projects under their belt the children would be ready for a full size scarf for themselves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Homemade Needles

For over a year I have been wanting to teach children to knit. I am considering going to the neighborhood elementary school to offer my services. Perhaps they could use a lunch time knitting club or something. Anyway, before I dive in too deep I want to get an idea of potential cost. Schools don't have much of a budget these days so I am guessing there would be ZERO funds available and I would have to cover any costs myself.

I have a small number of knitting worsted scraps, but not enough for more than a few kids to get started. I could probably get the most mileage for my $$ by buying one of those economy sized Super Saver acrylics and then re-balling them for multiple children/projects. As for needles, I have managed to make 9 inch 5mm needles for only about 44 cents per pair using dowels and dollar store wooden beads. I think they have turned out rather well.

I rubbed the needle shafts with candle wax then warmed them over a candle flame and rubbed them smooth. They work very well and are extremely light. Of course I have been spoiled by the slick surface of Addi Turbos and find that these drag a little, but I have heard that a little friction is desirable with new knitters......less dropped stitches.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Fun Fur vs Eye Lash

Michelle commented: "I think I can just take a plain sweater pattern and add the fur as trim on the cuffs and hem...possibly manage a different style collar to add the fur there as well."

Michelle, is this the kind of thing you had in mind?

I made this a while back (still no buttons) doing the exact thing you are talking about. I simply knitted "Fun Fur" on the cuffs (no ribbing) and collar of a plain sweater pattern. I think it turned out rather well, but won't really be sure until I see it on an actual child. I just made it because I liked the yarn.

The pink and white baby sweater is being done in the opposite way. The trim is in the smoother pink, and the main portion is knit in "Bernat Eye Lash" yarn. The pattern calls for the body to be knit in stockinette, but I found that all the fluff was more prominent on the purl side so I am doing it in reverse stockinette instead.

I really love this "Bernat Eye Lash" yarn. It is so soft! I wish they had a better color selection locally. (I see now that there is a better selection of colors through their internet site.) There are only about four colors available here and only the white is even remotely acceptable for a baby. The "LionBrand Fun Fur" I used in the yellow sweater comes in many more colors but was not nearly so soft and pleasant to work with.

In Rogue News: I am on row 38 (of 82 rows) of the hood. I have to print another copy of the hood graphs. I realized last night that I have the right and left sides of Chart C printed on opposite sides of the same piece of paper. That doesn't work so well when you are keeping track of your rows with a magnetic board! I won't bother posting a photo until the hood is done.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Crawling Up the Hood

I am making my way up the hood of the Rogue. It is interesting to knit as every row is a little different and I never know quite what is going to happen next. Pictures in a day or two.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Starting the Hood

I decided to rip out the shoulder error even though it was only one extra stitch. I knew leaving the error was going to bug me and it didn't take much time to correct. That's done now and I also finished up the front pieces last night.

I've done a few little things along the way that were not included in the Rogue pattern. I think the changes will make the finishing neater. After the short rows for the shoulder shaping I left those stitches "live" rather than casting them off. I then used a three needle bind off to join the front and back shoulders. I also left the back neck stitches "live", rather than bind them off, and when it came to the directions to "pick up stitches along back neck" I simply slid them off the stitch holder and back onto the needles (decreasing in three places). Ta-da! No back neck seam.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Note to Michelle - Problem with Rogue Cardigan

Michelle, for the life of me I can't remember your KnitReview ID name. I was going to leave you a private message there. Anyway, here will do:

I ran into a problem today with the cardiganizing of the Rogue. It is not a big problem.......if you know ahead of time. I didn't. *sigh*

In step # 6 where it says "bind off central 23 (23, 25, 25) sts of body back" DON'T FORGET THAT with the cardigan YOU HAVE ONE EXTRA STITCH! For the cardiganized Rogue it should read 24 (24, 26, 26). Dang! I have knit the whole upper back with one extra stitch on the left side. No where in the pattern does it give a further stitch count so I didn't even notice. Just suddenly, while working the fronts a little birdie whispered "where did that extra stitch on the back go.....hmmm?"

I think I am going to leave it, but for YOUR benefit I thought I would mention my boo boo.

Baby Fluff

When my daughter came over for Thanksgiving on Sunday she brought her numerous knitting projects along. One of them was a cute baby sweater she is making for her friend. Just looking at and touching the tiny, pastel thing made me want to rush right out and buy yarn for a baby outfit.

And so I did.

This fluffy pink and white confection is not quite as innocent as it looks. It is a seductress, taking me temporarily away from knitting the Rogue. (Which by the way, I have nearly completed the back of).

I think I'll two-time today. I'll knit a little of them both.