Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's still Christmas

By most Christian traditions, the Wise Men appear on January 6, the Day of the Epiphany, the day when we recognize Christ as a gift to all of the world.

So I am finishing gifts and mailing just as if I were trying to make a Dec 25th deadline.

This is a Cat in the Hat quilt bound for great grand-daughters in Maryland.  They already have a Berenstain Bears quilt in the same primary colors.  This one will create a set for their twin beds.

Another great kit from Nancy's Notions
and quilted by the talented long arm of
Heather Spence Designs.

Here's the Berenstains Bears Quilt so we can see the set. I hope the bears and the cats get along!
Now that I think about it, I reckon I didn't photograph
this one after quilting and binding.  I've been told it
looks great on the bed in Maryland.

Close-ups of the Cat in the Hat quilt.  I really enjoy these kits from Nancy's Notions.  The directions are clear, the fabrics wonderfully coordinated, and the colors are bright and true.  It's a great way to create a kid's quilt -- especially with the specialty fabrics.

The backing is the striped fabric that
also appears as the final border on the front
Binding is a collection of scrap squares
sewed together to make a long strip.

In progress -- two more cross stitch crib blankets.  Two more babies arriving in 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas . . .

. . .and like all knitters out there, I have "just a bit more to do."  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Every year?  Too many people we want to knit for and even toward the final date we are adding folks to the list.

Confession:  (and you'll be making the same one, I bet)  I didn't get it all done.

Here's the last bit that will be wrapped tomorrow before dinner at 4pm.

Hats --

backside -- before all the weaving

Grandson and his friends will each receive their own Grammy Knits hat, pattern courtesy of Tanis Fiber Arts free pattern.  I bot lots of Patons Canadiana worsted acrylic and mixed it up as I knit each hat.

The first one was fun; the second one, okay.  The fifth one?  Not exactly a "Ho, Ho, Ho."  But they are all done.  PS  I do not like duplicate stitch.  It's tedious and sloppy no matter how carefully you work it.

Enjoy your family time.  Drive carefully.  Eat what you want.  Laugh and hug and let the Light shine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I don't know much but these things are very clear to me.

  • It's pretty clear that if I'm knitting a scarf I'm neglecting the matching hat.
  • It's pretty clear that the 220 stitches for the afghan and the 40 row cable pattern are daunting, especially on November 27.
  • It should be obvious to me by now that some of the projects just won't make it to the "finished" pile in time for gifts.  

But no, I'm still matching up yarn and patterns and recipient for YAP (Yet Another Project) to be completed in time for Christmas gifting.

So the over-arching question for today, for me and for all knitters out there:
Will we ever learn not to add so many projects to the gift list?  

Maybe friend Darliss has learned her lesson.  She just reported the completion of the 7th pair of sox (14 sox!) for grandkids.  Each sock had some duplicate stitch embellishment and some included color changes.  Result:  weaving in ends, lots of ends.

I'm using the calendar as my guide.  This means gifts that have to be mailed need to be finished long before the ones I finish late into the night on Christmas eve.

Here are a few progress pix.

Green lace shawl finally made it to the
blocking board.  Still unable to
capture the brilliant celery green even after
trying 3-4 settings on the camera.
This one will go in the mail by week's end.

Brown and teal will go to a special friend and her husband
-- delivered by hand.
Multicolor hat and scarf to another special friend
-- mailed by end of this week.
Red/Black/White hats -- need 3 more!  All will
be delivered in person on Christmas afternoon.
Battleboro hat will be delivered in person the week before

This one from Weekend Hats, also will be
hand delivered the week before Christmas.

Mailed the mushroom seafarer's hat today to NYC.

So when I'm not doing whatever else life expects of me, I manage to knit on something.  This morning it was a scarf while sitting in the car waiting.  Then I also got to frog it cuz I figured I really did not have enuf yarn.  Maybe this project will migrate to something else.

On the stashbuster front, located some additional sparkly stuff while cleaning out part of the garage.  This is a real find since it will make the headband/turban I have in mind.  

Minus one -- plus one.

The math works, but clarity is still foggy.  The sun here is finally burning off this morning's fog, while I am still in the mist and haze of entirely too many projects planned for Christmas giving.

I reckon I'll never learn.  How about you?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Abundance -- Stashbuster

      It's a hat for a Seafarer.  I will ship it to The Seamen's Church Institute of NY and NJ as part of their Christmas-at-Sea program.  If you wanna participate here's the site.  www.seamenschurch.org

Though, honestly, it looks like a mushroom, probably because of the color I chose.
Lots of ribbing and then garter stitch.
It's NOT knit in the round, but back and forth
on straight US6, with worsted.

I had a full skein of Bernat Waverly, an acrylic I love because it's soft and knits up smoothly.  The color is Bark.  You'll need about 3-3.5 oz for the hat, in worsted.

After the decreases are finished (for the crown)
then the remaining needles are placed half on each needle.
Kitchener stitch is used to join the edges.

I can now log YAH (Yet Another Hat) onto my Christmas knitting list.  And just about the time I thought the list was ending, I discovered two more hat recipients.  More StashBuster projects.  

I am thankful I can knit.  I'm grateful for yarn, whether natural fiber or acrylic.  

Mostly I am thankful for the abundance which surrounds my life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fledge 2 -- Happy Birthday to me

Megan Goodacre at Tricksy Knitter does some wondrous things with style, yarn, and photography.  I've made her Fledge Shawl once as a gift.  Very wonderful and so I decided on a second journey through this wonderful pattern.

The first time thru I had some yarn challenges, as in "not quite enuf."  So I bot some coordinated yarn and finished the last of the border (2 rows and bindoff) in the contrast.  Worked out great.

Even better, the leftovers from the skein of Really Red Chugiak, Pagewood Farm, sock yarn had yardage sufficent for a second Fledge Shawl.   Ooooh.

Yup, it's Really Red.
It's a hand-dyed sock yarn from
Megan's design is just wonderful.  She includes charts and words, plus careful instructions on how to change the size.  In her latest blog she has included notes on choosing a heavier weight yarn, perhaps a sport weight instead of sock.  

She advertises email support with each design and I can attest to a promise fulfilled.  I found what I thought might be an error in the written words in one row, they didn't match the chart.  I emailed her and she agreed and made the correction for her downloadable PDF.

Final dimensions:  48" across the hypotenuse (long side for the geometry-challenged!) and 24" down the center of the back.  The border points are done with a clever stretchy bind-off combined with knitted chains.

Rest rows are inserts of stockinette with yo at ends and center
of each row.  They are a nice break.

So, I will have a new shawlette to adorn my shoulders when I visit friends for lunch on and around my birthday.  It's Really Red -- did I mention that? -- so this accessory will take me into Christmas.

I'm a lucky lady -- I knit and now and then I have enuf yarn to adorn the edge of a gift for a friend and then make something just for me.

Life is good.  Sure hope your knitting adventures are taking you into joy-land.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Matched Set -- Stashbuster

This time a hat and scarf that match.  I really like Bernat Mosaic.  It's acrylic so that may turn some of you away.  But I like it for cowls, hats, scarves.  And it's a lot like some of the Noro, without the high price tag.
See the twist in the hat?  Even with the color waves
the pattern is still distinctive.

Here's the Spiral Hat from the Mosaic free patterns. (see note at end of post, pls.) It's a twisted thing -- K2tog and then M1.  This means, among other outcomes, that the beginning of the round moves to the left.  After my fiasco with the Willow Beret I paid close attention to this spot.

Color is called Fantasy.

The scarf looks a bit distorted.  It's hanging over the side of the bed.
The crown continues nicely with the twist created by the
K2tog and the M1.
The scarf is an extraction from a Red Heart pattern for a shawl.  It's a really pretty shawl, but with only 2 balls of Mosaic, clearly a shawl would not emerge.  Instead I put pencil to paper and figured out the repeat, a multiple of 12 plus 1, then added 3 garter stitches on each side for the border.   Here's the Red Heart pattern -- Romancing the Shawl.  Great name, huh!

I have come to a new place with my knitting.  Sure I like the challenge of a new cable or lace pattern.  But right now I am enjoying the pleasure of knitting things that, for me, are relatively easy.

  • They are easy for me to complete in a reasonable time.  
  • Each pattern uses yarn and needles that I can easily put my hands on.  
  • Each item is wonderful as a gift.  

I am looking forward to more of this kind of knitting.  It's the relaxation I need right now without the pressure.

I wish you joy with your knitting.  Life has so much chaos on its own; we might all be better off if we un-chaosed some of the knitting we choose.

One knitter's opinion.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Christmas Knitting

I'm counting on the fact that the folks in my life who will receive knitted gifts are not generally readers of this blog.  Isn't that a life irony?

This year I'm working on "manageable" which means things that happen fairly quickly.  This means no complex shawls, no afghans, and no sweaters.  (Confession:  have started designing a vest for myself using some stash bulky -- size US 10 so that might happen too!)

A portfolio of sample projects --
Matching hat and toe-up socks.

The Hat is called Grammy's Knits from Tanis Fiber Arts blog.  The pattern includes mittens.  You must check her site!  She has some fabulous patterns.  The blog is well-written.  The pictures are wonderful.  The hat is a free pattern so it's in my Hats folder on Goodreader.

My first time with toe-up sox.  I have a copy of Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.  She includes at least 6 different cast-on methods.  I decided on the "Easy" Toe -- if you have the book it's on page 18.  Worked out quite nicely.  I decided to do two at once and will make a red toe and heel, a black foot/instep and finish with ribbing in a stripe of all 3 colors.  

It's 'fussy' I'll admit.  Cast-on is with waste yarn, 1/2 of the
stitches you'll need at the toe.  

Two toes.  Pattern is Worsted Weight Sock from
Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor.
Love, love, love this book -- great variety of
techniques, designs and yarn.

I'm also sorting this out --
Major heartache here.  It's a nice lace beret, from Webs, the Willow Beret.  Great yarn from Valley Yarns Merino, knit on US7 and 8.  

Big "however", however -- five lace repeats around the 120 stitches.  Somewhere in the middle of the second set of the 10 row repeats I stopped looking at the beginning of the round.  Managed to do only four repeats and didn't realize this till I was 4-5 rows into the mess.  

If you look closely above you'll see that I slipped the 'good' knitting onto a smaller circular, a US4.  Then I carefully frogged 5 rows in one section.  I was able to locate the last row of correct pattern knitting, but only after I knitted 2-3 rows and -- Yikes! -- it still wasn't right.  

Might have been less time-consuming to frog the entire hat down to that spot but I just could not bear to unknit stuff that was knit correctly.  Eventually the problem was corrected and I'm now half way thru the last repeat of the 10 row pattern.  And then there's the last 15 rows of decrease pattern to form the crown.

Hope to finish later so you'll see this one again.
Used alternate US 7 and US8 to recover the section I

Back on track with US8

Highlighting my progress on Goodreader.
(Very hard to capture color on this yarn.)

Blue skies here, plus some sunshine.  Everything is sparkly.  Leaves are mostly on the ground and form piles and piles of yellow and brown ground cover.

I hear the East Coast is setting up for YAS (Yet Another Storm).  Yikes!  No knitting there.

I sure am grateful I can still knit.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mostest Biggest

This one is huge.  The neighbor's tree is shedding, as it does every year about this time.  Found this one on the back deck.  It's the most biggest gigantic-est leaf I've ever seen.  Too bad I can't make sox from it.

Meanwhile, we've had lots of rain, though nothing like the tragic weather events on the East Coast.
 I left this pitcher on the deck the last time I felt a need to water thirsty plants.  That was probably early October.  Someone will have to fact check the first date of our NW rainy season (which will end on July 15, 2013.)  The pitcher holds 2 qts.

Meanwhile, closing in on the last bits of knitted-on lace border for the green lace shawl.  Pattern from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby, one of my favorite lace designers.  
I've turned corner #3 and am making my way across the bottom
of the shawl.  One more corner and a border repeat to
connect to the starting point.
Hope to have this on the blocking board tonight.

When my elderly eyes weary from tiny stitches, I turn to larger needles and yarn.  You've seen this one before, during a progress report.  It's from Weekend Hats, page 89.  All done.  Yarn is Bernat Waverly, very soft.  I used #7 Kollage square point circular (confused!?) and the Magic Loop Method.

The green hat (though it looks gray) is part of Christmas gift knitting, which is the most wonderful knitting I do.  The quiet time with yarn and needles allows me to remember the person for whom the gift is intended.  Now and then I listen to a Rosary and do some praying.  It's all good.

Meanwhile, more rain, and more of the mostest biggest leaves from the neighbor's tree.  It's Fall in the NW.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The first time through a new knitting procedure is always a challenge.  The latest one for me is turning a corner with a knitted on border on a lace shawl.   (Now, THAT was a mouthful, huh!)

Lots of reading, counting, thinking and finally -- the method that works for me.

Suspend everything I think I know about knitting and just follow the directions.  

Works every time.  The only time I've really had big problems with a pattern or a technique is when I tried to second guess the process.

Two pics to show the result.

Just by chance this pic shows the color truest to real life.

Here's to Suspending What We Think We Know.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cat in the Hat

Love the kits available for kid quilts.  Found this one at Nancy's Notions. 

  • Clearly written instructions.
  • Coordinated colorful fabrics, each with a Dr. Seuss motif.
  • Full color picture of what it's supposed to look like.
  • Reasonable price.

Some folks don't 'approve' of kits -- and maybe it's true that creativity is less likely to be unleashed when all the pieces (color, fabric, layout, etc.) are handed to you.

I enjoy kits, especially when mental energy is low, as it is now for me.  There's little time or enthusiasm for designing my own, finding the fabrics, working thru the layout challenges, dealing with disappointments along the way.

So I love kits when I just wanna make something that has a very high probability of a)making it to the finish line and b)looking great when it's complete.

Preprinted panel with great Dr. Seuss drawings.
Great fabrics for the borders.

Border fabrics -- next step for me.

To kit or not to kit.  May not be life's uprooting question but I am sure glad the option is available to me when I need it.

Happy crafting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


The last 4-5 months have been marked by a series of "events' in my husband's health -- heart not working correctly, blood pressure too too high, several falls, a week of nose bleeds (you don't wanna know), accommodating to limitations, hospitals, ER trips, etc.

Knitting not so much.

The #17?  In any day, we each encounter event after event.  Some are part of the every day nature of life -- adding laundry detergent to the list so you can do the next load.  Others have more impact -- a trip to the ER at 4:30 am.  Most days we manage the chaos with a minimum of anxiety -- the first 16 items in the daily encounter are a 'piece of cake' so to speak.  It's #17 that can throw us into a tailspin.

Pick your own number and maybe that number changes daily.  Believe me I don't keep a list but I do know -- and so does poor dear husband -- when #17 arrives.  Friday it was the reminder beep from a smoke alarm that the battery needed changing.  #17 -- the smoke alarm is at the apex of a cathedral ceiling and I have no ladder and sure as hell do not wanna listen to that annoying beep all day.

Firefolks to the rescue.  We're lucky to have a program that funds their visit and work to check all smoke alarm batteries.  No more beeping.  Safety assured.

Moving on to the next set of life encounters . . .

Here's the pix of what I've managed to work on, knitting-wise.

  A crocheted Hair Scrunchy.  Love Stitches.
 A couple of hats because I had the yarn, had identified the recipient, I could maybe concentrate enough to finish.  White one  Battleboro Hat from New England Knits, using Bernat Winter White worsted acrylic.  Green one is from Weekend Hats, using Bernat Waverly.
Green lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today.
Center 26,880 stitches are complete.
One side of knitted on border ready to turn the corner.
The celery green is really prettier than the pic shows.

Second time thru the Feldge Shawl by Megan Goodacre
of Tricksy Knitter.  This one is for moi.

Husband and I are looking for the "new normal" -- that series of daily events that are reasonably predictable, even if in total they re-define our life dramatically.  Next is an EP (electrophysiology procedure) to discover more about the heart activity.

I hope to have finished several of the above items before I choose what to put into my knitting bag for a long, long day at the Cardiac Cath Lab.