Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In the studio

Stole, seed stitch, acrylic and viscose yarn size 11 wood needles

I stalked this yarn for months, looking at the store sample in one of may favorite shops, Saratoga Needle Arts during each visit. It has a very strange feel, but works up beautifully into lacy fabric. It's by Diakeito and it's called "Diamist". I'm not sure I'd like it on smaller needles as a more dense texture. It's actually quite heavy.

This is a piece I am making for myself, and it's a stole that I will wear in the manner of Punjabi traditional costume for women, with the stole draped from the front to the back. I think it will work beatifully that way with dressy trousers as well as with skirts and dresses. I'm planning on wearing it a lot, and not reserving it for special occasions. Since I wear mostly black all the time, I think it will work well with most of my daily outfits.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, wool, "curry" and "raisin", rib stitch, intarsia color work, size 5 plastic needles.

I started a scarf with this wool that was a twisted stockinette stitch, but I couldn't enjoy the weight of the fabric, even though I loved the stitch pattern. It was too flimsy for my taste. So I ripped it out and began with this rib stitch version and the fabric is the perfect weight. I also like the neatness of the color change.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Finished scarf

Yellow mohair scarf, garter stitch, size 9 wood needles

I had to get a little extra red into the yellow to get close to the deep purple color. I actually have not finished the purple, but sold the yellow scarf by itself. I had plans to fasten the two together with buttons. But that's for another day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, purple mixed synthetic fibers, rib stitch, size 8 plastic needles.

This strip will be combined with several others to make a scarf of purple and gold.

One of the yellow strips is posted in the Nov. 27 entry. Another is very fuzzy. I also have a dark purple wool strip, smooth like the Nov. 27 yellow one. So the idea is to have four strips with complementary colors and contrasting textures. Each strip is nine stitches per row. I'm going to attach them together with crocheted circles using the yarns from the strips.

I spent a good deal of the past few days combing through stash, organizing colors for projects that I'm doing that require lots of different yarns. I got a lot of things off my studio floor because I'm done with lots of projects, or using the yarns in different ways so that they don't need to be sitting in open shopping bags ready to be selected any more. I put lots of things up onto shelves so they are out of the way. I collected a group of whites together and I'm ruminating on doing several projecs involving a lot of white. Of course it will have flecks of something else.

I worked a bunch on the blue/green/teal/purple afghan, but because I'm in the middle it still basically looks the same as the Nov. 6 entry, although bigger -- yay!

I also worked on the "Shriek" projects. So far a hat, a big scarf and planned fingerless gloves, each with a different stitch pattern. They will be interesting as a set, if someone doesn't mind the way they each look different because of the stitch pattern, but the same because they're done with the same yarn. I guess I have to photograph this, don't I.....

Friday, December 15, 2006

Borrowed questions

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I love silk yarn - it has that dry feeling that I like very much.

Acrylic yarn is the yukkiest, I think.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I decided to use the top drawer of a small chest of drawers in my knitting room (my spare bedroom and studio). It works very well and is large enough to hold the entire 30-year collection.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for 45 years and my mother taught me to knit. I'd describe my skill level as advanced - I'm designing things now. But I still learn new things frequently thanks to all the cool knitting bloggers!

4. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I crochet, tat, embroider, sew, quilt, a little weaving and paper arts.

5. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I don't wear ponchos, but living in upstate New York requires being able to wear lots of things to keep warm. A hat is necessary most of the winter, and scarves do a wonderful job of keeping the cold away.

6. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Simple shapes made of fabulous fabrics that I invent as I go along. I also like intarsia color knitting.

7. What are you knitting right now?
Er...umm...about 20 different things.

8. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

My current faves are wood straight needles.

9. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Both!! They are wonderful! I recommend getting them to anyone who is pretty much continually knitting.

10. How old is your oldest UFO?
I would have to say at least a year, but I don't really care to keep track. Eventually if it's become totally uninspiring I rip it out and make something else that holds my interest.

11. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn and interesting hand made papers.

12. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Book: Knitting Beyond the Edge by Nicki Epstein
Yarns: Just about anything by Colinette
Needles: I'm starting to try smaller guages, so I'd like to get some nice wood needles in size 7 and smaller.
Subscriptions: I don't subscribe but buy interesting issues of Knitter's, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit1, and others that are attractive.

13. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

14. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No - they scare me!


Willow, by Tahki; the fiber content makes me giggle: 66% Linen 34% Cotton I'm wondering how they come to those exact percentages.

I'm getting a substantial amount of linen yarn, so I'm wondering what sort of interesting textiles I can create with that fiber, maybe mixed with both cotton and hemp. At this point I have quite a wide variety of colors and textures. So I'm wondering both about intarsia, which I've been practicing, and my usual mixing by rows. I'm also starting to think about wall hangings and doing either mixed media on top of the fabric or some sorts of beads and embroidery embellishments.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun ; Mel Clark and Tracey Ullman ; 2006 ; Stewart, Tabori & Chang ISBN: 1-58479-534-4 ; 168p. ; $27.50(USD)

I found this to be quite an interesting book, but I haven't purchased it yet. I like Tracey Ullman's work, and her kntting seems to be quite sophisticated, but I'm still not certain why I'd buy the book - what do you think?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Rowan Chunky Print; color: "Shriek"

I couldn't help myself and got another grab bag from Webs. This is my most problematic yarn, so of course I tried to start working with it immediately. I made a beanie that's a k4 p1 rib and the inherant wildness of the yarn makes it nice and exciting. Then I thought about making a "set" of beanie, scarf and gauntlets. So I started a basketweave stitch on the scarf: Nice and exciting. I think I'll do the gauntlets in garter stitch. Because of the chunky weight it knits up very quickly.

The other yarns in the grab bag are yummy and inspiring, so I'm sure they'll end up in the blog too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In the studio

Tote bag, single crochet, fabric strips, size N crochet aluminum hook

Crochet with fabric strips is a good workout for the hands in two ways. The cutting gets to be very challenging after the first 10 hours or so, then it's always a bit harder for me to pull loops of fabric strips than yarn. Lots of breaks are necessary. But I love this bag. Its weight is quite wonderful, and I'm going to continue to keep the colors very bright and gaudy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

In the studio

Handbag, cotton tape, seed stitch, size 9 wood needles, braided strap

I didn't get this finished in time to have it at the little craft fair held by my food coop on Saturday. Well, this along with about 10 other projects. But I had a table full of things! You've seen them all here in the blog. I displayed them on a table draped in black velvet (thank you again, Dr. Brat) and the colors popped out like jewels.

A friend recently let several other friends comb through her hand-made bead rejects and we all thanked heaven that she has very high, exacting standards. We were all crazy over the "rejects". So I'll be using one wonderful bead from that stash to make the fastener for this bag. If I can stand to let it go.

I also mailed off six hats to another friend over the weekend. In the misty past I gave her a hat on impulse and since she has many indications that it is much coveted, we made sure she'll be able to keep hers by spreading around similar hats through her group of friends.

After the little fair and shipping off all the hats I felt oddly free of obligations on Sunday. I mused over getting back to paper arts again and not doing another show and sale until our annual Art on Lark fest in June. I need a break from the pressure of trying to make things by certain deadlines.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Knitting magazines for the young

Ok, I can understand the knitting magazine publishers wanting to pick up the younger crowd. But do they all have to do it in exactly the same format with the exact same publication design ideas? I'm sorry to have to say that they look like brainless idiots in the way that they have copied each other.

Bravo for Rowan, coming up with something really fresh and innovative a couple years ago.

Booooo! to all the others for being merely copy cats.

You'd think with all the new fresh talent abundantly available they'd be able to use some of it.


Friday, December 08, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, forest green kid mohair and silk, rib stitch, size 9 plastic needles

I love the way the rib stitch works up in this yarn!

I've also begun to collect short straight needles for doing scarf projects, and I like them a lot. I think these are 9 in and they are perfect. Sometimes the cables make me nuts - if the cable is too short it's a drag, causing more stress on my hands to hold the needles in place, and if the cable is too long it is flopping all over the place. The only problem I have with plastic is that I tend to bend them. I'm even bending a pair of wooden size 5 needles as I knit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, wool, rib stitch, intarsia color work size 7 aluminum cable needle, 24 in.

I'm so bent out of shape with Blogger Beta right now,......argh

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In the studio

Blogger is busted, so no photos today.
Mostly I'm digging into my incompleted projects and trying to get ready for the show and sale at the coop this weekend.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, raisin and curry, wool, rib stitch, intarsia color work, size 5 plastic needles

I got several inches along with these yarns in a twisted stockinette stitch months and months ago, but I ripped it out because the texture just didn't feel substantive enough. This rib stitch is producing just the color effect I want, and it produces a bit heavier fabric than my previous attempt.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Finished Scarf

Scarf, black kid mohair/silk, seed stitch, size 9 wood needle

Voila! The sequins don't show, with the exception of the one little glint in the upper left corner, but I'm really enjoying this scarf. Threading and managing the sequins was somewhat of a drag, but I'm glad I tried it. I think beads might be a little bit easier, or even larger sequins. It was very difficult to get the little blighters to separate once they were threaded. So there was a lot of fumbling with teensy pieces of plastic every four stitches. It makes be appreciate Borocco's carry-along sequin strands, which make it all very easy.

I'm doing a forest green scarf with a similar kid mohair/silk blend, and I'm doing it in rib stich, which makes a delightful fabric, and I have no idea how I'm going to embellish it. I'm wondering if beads would pull it out of shape all the time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In the studio

Collar, Angora, size 8 cable needle, 16 in. rib stitch

Like the black mohair, this yarn warmed my fingers as I knit it. In spite of the fluff, it's very well behaved and I do love the feel of it going through my fingers. It's a little bit too big in circumference, so I'm thinking about taking it out and starting over or putting a button on it so that it can be tightened. I supposed I could do the same thing with an interestingly placed draw string.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, yellow wool, rib stitch, size 8 cable needle, 16 in.

This strip will be combined with several others to make a scarf of purple and gold.

I worked on it and several other "in progress" projects over the weekend in Germantown Ohio with a small klutch of knitting friends and one crocheter. We were tipped off about the Yarn & Needle shop nearby at the intersection of 725 and 48 and took a little trip. What a great shop! I picked up three balls of Ironstone "Paris Nights" yarn and look forward to working with it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, black kid mohair/silk, seed stitch, size 9 wood needle

This scarf has been altogether a very pleasant experience in knitting. I caught the last couple balls of this yarn at the Woodstock Wool company and I'm soooo glad I did! I wanted the photo to show the sheer nature of the fabric. The way it works on the wood needles feels quite nice in the fingers, and it clings to itself because of the mohair so that it never slips around and becomes unwieldy. If I had my druthers I'd knit with it all winter long because of its superb insulating qualities. My fingers have been kept warm as I knit. This is the Rowan Kid Silk Haze, I think it's called, and there are a few other brands that are also very pleasant. I'm knitting up something in a deep forest green from France that is satisfying my ever-growing fondness for this yarn.

I've tried knitting the kid mohair silk yarns with smaller needles and I'd recommend something larger in order to get the lacy effect, and a fabric that is not too warm. As it is, I'm not sure I'd knit a sweater with it. I'm not sure anyone could keep it on for long. If I wanted something that warm I'd use something that is also rugged and could be worn outside. This seems too dressy/fussy for that somehow. That's my sense of the aesthetic qualities and choice of what to make with it.

I'm crocheting a single crochet border with sequins spaced every four stitches.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finished Scarf

Scarf, mixed fibers, purple and gold, garter stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

I started this one immediately after I completed the first one (in the previous entry). It is another playful design based on school colors. This time I tried for an asymmetrical stripe with the gold, and added some flashy gold. I cast on with the purple, knit three rows then knit two rows of gold. Then I knit about 20 rows of purple and cast off with gold. I want to try much more playing with asymmetrical stripes.

The photo captures the purple a little better, however I had to do a lot of pursuasion with Photoshop.

In the studio last night all the struggling with sequins paid off and I now have tried threading sequins onto a yarn strand successfully for the first time. It's a kid mohair and silk yarn which is a very fine strand, so it went easily through the holes of the sequins. But more later on that... Photo is coming up!

Addendum: this purple yarn I keep praising is GGH "Madonna", which is no longer produced as far as I can tell. Hence the 70% discount when I got it. I couldn't find a better photo than this: http://www.woolworks.com/Knitting/Yarn/Disc%20Yarns/GGH/madonna/?M=A

Monday, November 20, 2006

Finished scarf

Scarf, purple and gold, garter stitch, size 11 bamboo cable needle, 24 in.

I cast on 130 stitches or so and made long rows for this interesting scarf. What makes it most interesting is the wool purple ribbon yarn, which I got at 70% off in Lenox, Mass. at Colorful Stitches. Yum! It is a very springy yarn when knitted, and it's important to be very careful while knitting, as the needle tip must be guided in order not to split the ribbon. The deep purple of this yarn is impossible for me to capture with my camera, so I tried fiddling around with Photoshop, but to no avail.

It's a school colors scarf, and the first of many that I'm doing for the heck of it this year.

The scarf is a very nice rendering of our school colors due to the beauty of the purple, and I can't wait to wear it to the next basketball game.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Finished capelet - circle scarf

White and pink capelet, reverse stockinette stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

Although I feel like the capelets are by now a well-worn cliche for me, I think this is lovely because of the pale, pale colors. I'll be using this combination of yarns again soon, because they all feel good in my fingers as well. Yummy!

I haven't worn them until recently. I wore the autumn one (September 11, 2006 entry) to a party over in Connecticut recently and not only got a lot of compliments but felt very special. It's putting on those gorgeous yarns that is a wonderful feeling. I wore this one a few days ago and it, too, made me feel quite regal. I hope everyone who is wearing them is getting that same boost.

Meanwhile, last night I threaded a few hundred sequins onto a strand of kidsilk mohair and I'm planning to crochet a fringe and intersperse the sequins. Previously I've tried sewing them in with a needle and thread, and I've been less than eager to try it again. So I'll be trying this experiment, which only works with a very fine strand and big sequin holes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

New project frenzy

I'm not sure what hit me, but I started a black kid mohair scarf, a forest green kid mohair scarf, a purple and gold scarf, a handbag, and a shawl within the past week or so.

Friday, November 10, 2006

In the studio

Dress, linen tape, rib stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

This is the second shift in what might become a series. They're for wearing around the house and being very comfy. The first one was a silk and cotton blend (see September 12) and was stockinette on the bottom and rib from the waist up. I began that piece by thinking of a long cylinder, but in the middle I decided to do a halter top and have an open back. While it looks good as a piece, it looks really bad on me, so I'm going back to my original garment design ideas for this one.

I also decided to do this one entirely in rib stitch, because I think the linen tape looks really good in the rib stitch and that the garment will have an overall better shape - like a big sock. I'll see.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stash confessions

When I was standing in line at the Web's tent sale this summer, oggling the great buys that my fellow shoppers had nabbed, I sniffed when I heard a newbie saying "I have a *drawer* full of yarn that I haven't used.

Yes, all you seasoned knitters out there know what I mean. All the knitting writers and bloggers have written about it, contemplated it and just given in to it. Stash is unavoidable after you truly fall in love with yarn.

I've been guiltily stashing art and craft supplies since 1977, so it has sort of been not a surprise to acknowledge that I have a lot of yarn. But...I have a *lot* of yarn. It's not crap, either. Also not terribly expensive since I get an extra little thrill from scoring at yarn sales, scrounging sale bins and wandering around shops until I find the sale areas.

Lately I have been wondering about my increasing efforts to slow down on collecting. This is serious. I've never thought so hard about cooling it in 30 years. Could it have been tripping and falling into the 10 very large shopping bags crowding the studio floor? Honestly, I felt like one of the characters in the classic scene where the protagonists end up sliding down a long chute into the whatever-it-is thing that begins to attack a few minutes after everyone settles down and stops screaming.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Finished hat

Hat, wool, rib stitch, size 9 double pointed needles

This is one of my favorite yarns ever. Or maybe to state it more accurately, it's a yarn by one of my favorite yarn manufacturers ever: Noro. I hope I never find out bad things about this company, because I love their yarns for their colors, their fibers and their textures. This yarn is a wool that doesn't look like it's spun very much actually. It's appearance is more like a felted strand.

But the colors. The color changes and combinations are some of the more intriguing and attractive available today. Yum!

I knitted this using a set of plastic dpn that drove me crazy. I'll try to remember to produce a photo to warn you off them. They have a long slender tip with a slope that suddenly broadens to the actual needle size. It produces an audible "thup" as every stitch slides onto the needle from the point and it takes considerable pressure to force the stitch from the point to the needle. They'll be donated soon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, mixed fibers, size 10 wood needles, seed stitch

This is one of the complex scarves I've been attempting over the past month or so in the studio. This is one half. I will knit another piece the same size and attach the two using buttons as embellishment at the attachment points. It will be twice as wide as the piece shown when completed. The buttons are hard and shiny, about 3/4 in. in diameter. I have used pieces of approximately 20 yarns, each about 18in. to 24in. in length. I have not woven in the knot ends, so they act as small tufts on a surface that is very rough, hairy and fuzzy. I've got two bags of these autumn color yarns and it's been fun making hats scarves and bags.

My fiendish knitting has been abated only by a little housework and library work. As a result I'm getting places as far as really trying many of the ideas that inspire me.

I picked up Knitting Over the Edge by my current knitting heroine, Nicky Epstein. The bookstore lady from my favorite independed bookstore gave me a sort of mysterious discount, which was wonderful. Yeah, I'm drooling over that every day. But for some reason I haven't tried any of her patterns yet. Go figure. They're steeping.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In the studio

Afghan, mixed fibers, "woven" stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in.

Still growing! I'm wild about this work. The texture is some of the best work I've done so far in my knitting, and it'll be my largest work, at least until the black afghan gets completed.

As I read other knitting blogs I realize that my blog lacks commentary about my life, feelings and so on, so I'm going to try to add a bit more to my descriptions of my knitting. I'm pouring my soul into this afghan for a few different reasons, and I really do feel as though it's a masterwork of my knitting ouvre. The size means a lot because I have in general stayed with smaller work, feeling that I get the experience of the textile that I'm after without spending months looking at the same fibers. I've afforded myself opportunities to experience many combinations that way.

I also have not been that great a knitter and have struggled to improve my skills. I have had many technical weaknesses that I've worked hard to overcome, and I think this piece demonstrates my level of ability as masterful in the handling of the yarns and fibers and especially the color and texture aspects. It has virtually no technical flaws, and that to me is the mark of a master work. I also think the concept and design have reached the master level as well as the execution. I still have ambitions and there is still work to be done in areas that I believe are critical to the art of knitting, but I think this piece illustrates a mature level of craft.

I know, I know, this is still as dry as dust, but...I'm working on developing a more loose style.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In the studio

Capelet, mixed fibers: wool, cotton, nylon, acrylic, lurex, polyester; size 10.5 cable needle, 16 in.; reverse stockinette stitch

I'm making fewer of these, but still have a huge attraction for them. I liked working with whites and very light tints. The lurex glint does very well in whites. I've made this heavier than versions I consider being more appropriate for summer by using heavier yarns and knitting with a bit smaller needle to make the fabric more dense rather than more lacey.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In the studio

Crochet capelet, hemp, single crochet, size 3 aluminum hook

This poor thing was forgotten and left in Colorado for a month or so, but I'm finishing it gradually now that it's returned. I like working with hemp, and I think I'll be putting beads in it to give it a jazzy tone. I'm looking at red beads that will glint a little bit but not be too gaudy, to put around the bottom.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, mixed fibers: wool, nylon, size 13 cable needle, 16 in. Rib stitch.

I dreamed of this scarf for quite awhile before making it. The finishing touches will be two applique red circles, one on each end. I want to play a lot more with this high contrast color scheme, and develop some interesting embellishments.

I love this black and white yarn! I've thought of a million things I want to make with it.

Monday, October 30, 2006

in the studio

Afghan, rib stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in. mixed fibers: wool, cotton, silk, rayon, lurex, nylon, angora, polyester, acrylic, mohair

I love this afghan, although it's hard to see the black yarn unless I knit in very bright light. It is going to be fabulously yummy. This is one of two pieces that I'll price for major dollars, in the hundreds, but I think many people will fall in love with it as I have. I'm using a different yarn for each row, so I'm using the ends of each yarn as a fringe, which will be along each side of the horizontal rows. I'm switching the rib pattern every few inches and the mottled colors you see are the occasional reds and whites I'm putting in for interest. wheeee!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Each time I have the impulse to get some photos of what I've been doing "something" happens. But real soon now I'll stop dithering and line up all the beautiful things I've been doing and make some pitchers.

1. Purple and teal afghan
2. Black afghan
3. black, white, red scarf
4. hats hats hats
5. whites capelet

And there's more.
I forfeited another entire day of knitting (which was my Saturday) in order to go to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival on Sunday, reports of which are covering blog entries all over the northeast. For the third year in a row I scored some great linen. go figure

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Finished hat

Hat, mixed fibers, stockinette stitch with rib stitch edge, size 10.5 cable needle, 16 in.; double pointed needles for finishing, crochet "twirly things" on top

For some reason I'm not hitting my hat "groove", and it doesn't quite feel right yet. But I'm going to keep on trying until I get it. The hand of this fiber mix is soft and loose, with lots of drape.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Finished hat

Hat, mixed fibers, stockinette stitch with rib stitch trim, size 10.5 cable needle, 16 in.

I took a ball of "Kureyon" and used it for every other color in this hat. Since the colors in the ball change, there's an interesting subtle blend of orange, brown, gold, green and purple. I enjoy these small items because almost as soon as I dream up a fabric it's rendered to create something. Wheeeeee!

And speaking of weaving, Queer Joe spoke of his adventure with a table top loom as being about as complicated as Weavettes. I've had a Weavette as long as I can remember, which is about 40 years now, and I'm still hard pressed to figure out a way to use a piece of Weavette fabric that isn't hideous. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Monday, October 02, 2006

In the studio

Handbag, mixed fibers, size 5 needles, woven stitch

The fall colors are some of my favorites, so I'm sticking with this palette for a month or so. I've been fooling with purse designs so Real Soon Now I'll get out of the envelope design and move on to something else. But until then I'm having fun with it!

Friday, September 29, 2006

In the studio

Purse, red linen, woven stitch, size 5 needles

The little stitch marker is helping determine how many more inches. Once I've reached three inches past the marker I'll start decreasing to create the flap. I've picked out a beautiful button as a fastener. Now I'm tring to dream up what to use for the strap.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finished hat

Hat, stockinette stitch, mixed fibers: wool, silk, cotton, mohair, acrylic, nylon, cable needle size 10.5, 16in., changed to double pointed needles (dpn) at the top for descreasing to the crown; rib stitch at the bottom done with size 8 dpn

I'm having a great time banging out these hats, and they provide the perfect contrast to larger projects such as the afghan. This one will get a little embellishment in the way of pom poms or "twirly things".

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In the studio

Afghan, mixed fibers, "woven" stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in.

It grows and grows. I added in the bag of yarns I'm using so it's clear how many I'm including in this baby. I'm loving every minute of it!

I'm taking a break to make a few small things like hats and purses.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In the studio

Afghan, mixed fibers, "woven" stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in.

I decided to get a photo after I completed a row and stretched the afghan out on the needle. I've practiced the "woven" stitch enough now so that I'm not getting mixed up very often. It's starting to feel normal.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In the studio

Afghan, mixed fibers, "woven" stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in.

I finally started an afghan. I know it looks like a capelet. That's an accident of it being on cable needles. I cast on 201 stitches and decided to gather together some of my favorite yarns and let her rip. More photos to come.

Monday, September 18, 2006

In the studio

Purse, red linen, woven stitch, size 5 needles

This has been one of the most difficult pieces I've worked on lately. The lack of stretch in the linen yarn makes it hard for me to work in the middle of each row in this particular stitch pattern. I also have a huge problem concentrating on the pattern and often make mistakes. It's one of those that requires I work in silence, and really stay conscioous of what's going on in my hands. I recently ripped out about three inches of knitting because there were so many mistakes that I was wondering whether to keep going. I'm happy that I re-knitted all those rows, and am finally beginning to be able to read the stitch pattern and figure out where I am and what to do next, and how to find where things have gone wrong. *whew* With size 5 needles I'm also glad this is a small project. I'm trying to decide whether to keep it plain or make it very gaudy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Finished dress

Dress with halter top, cotton/silk blend yarn, size 10 cable needle, 24 in. stockinette stitch and rib stitch with I cord for halter

I decided to quit fiddling with photos and just get the best one I had. et voila! I left it as the most simple possible dress with no embellishments. They'll come in subsequent iterations. I'm looking at Nicky Epstein's book on knitted embellishments every day at lunch time. I've worn it a little bit and it's very comfy. I almost began one last night on smaller needles. The proof of the practicality of this one will be how it behaves once washed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Finished capelet - circle scarf

Capelet, mixed fibers, size 11 cable needle, 16 in.

I couldn't resist these autumn colors, and I'm delighted with the results.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Design notes

Today I completed a dress I designed from scratch. Photo to come soon. I'm trying to figure out *how* to photograph it in a way that makes me happy.

This is the project for which I did a swatch, figured out measurements from the swatch and started. It's a shift with a halter strap, and is meant for hanging out at home.

I started knitting from the bottom edge, so I had time to contemplate what to do at the top. I began with stockinette so that I could mindlessly knit for hours on end, and that was highly satisfying. I wanted a loose shift for lounging at home, something like a mu mu. Remember mu mus? Since I am under five ft. in height, it is almost impossible for me to find a dress that is knee length, so I thought since I'm making it myself I'd get that knee length for which I yearn. At about the waist I decided to change to a rib stitch, thinking it'd draw in just a bit and have a little shape to it, and that was a great idea. Then a little above the waist I decided that I'd like to try something besides a straight tube, and I went for the halter, open back design. I began to knit back and forth, binding off about 25 stitches to give a straight bottom to the open back. Then I began to decrease one stitch each row to give a graceful curve to the back. It has a fabulous loose and comfy feel to it and is a refreshing change from a straight band at the top with gathering in the mu mu style.

So - my sojourn into garment design has taken a giant step forward. I'm ready to try something else, or do this shift idea again with some variations. I could use two or three of these house dress/nightgown thingies, so I may stick with this for awhile.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Finished capelet - circle scarf

Capelet, "Melody" yarn by Southwest Trading Company, nylon and rayon, size 10.5 cable needle, 16in.

I do love the way this yarn takes on a frothy texture when knitted on large needles. I confess to making this same cape with this same yarn in at least four colors. It's a request from a gallery manager.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, garter stitch, mixed fibers, size 13 wood needles

This is a very different palette and texture for me. I wanted to try very bulky yarns and the palest pastels I could find. I've found that with the slip stitch selvedge the knots on each row start to push out the selvedge edge, and I'm not entirely happy with the results. The left edge looks different from the right, so there's a visually asymmetrical thing happening.

I've moved the studio into my apartment and have been taking photos literally on the drawing board. I'll be playing with backgrounds and having fun tacking things to the board. So there will probably be a bit different look and feel in the photos.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh yeah...right here in the studio

Scarf, garter stitch, alpaca, wool, nylon, size 11 cable needle

I wrestled with the basic photo editor on this machine, having got a new machine with no Adobe Photoshop on it. *whew* So here is, at last, what I've been doing lately. I chose this palette of dreamy aquas with a sprinkle of other pastels because it just felt like time to do something frothy. It all started at the farmer's market in the stall of a spinner who raises sheep and makes the most of them, including spinning and knitting. She does a bang-up job with dyes, AND the wool was on sale. Then I saw some Alpaca at a shop in Saratoga Springs, New York, and I was already putting this scarf together in my head.

I'm apparently not done with the shaggy effect, even though I think it's going to happen each time I finish a project. Maybe this is the last one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where was I?

I was vacationing for a couple weeks, knitting all the while, so when I get the camera and my work together in the same place, there'll be more photos. I was crocheting also, using this wonderful hemp yarn, in a raspberry color [this photo was altered to get close to the color]. It's a little bit fatter than crochet cotton, and I'm knitting it now also, with a size 3 needle. My plan is to sew some beads into it as well, to give it a little flash and weight.

So while you're waiting for photos to show up, get yourself to Franklin's Panopticon and enjoy his reports of Stitches Midwest.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In the studio

I'm starting to do some of the things that wise knitters who write books recommend, and I'm pleased with the results.

Although it has taken more than a year to get up and running, I now have a knitting journal that contains all the labels of the yarns that I use with a sample strand of the yarn wrapped around the label. That way I not only know what I've used for projects, but the care instructions and fiber contents. I use transparent tape to stick the label to the page, or a stapler.

And now I've begun to make swatches, but that's still a rough practice and I wouldn't call it a habit yet. I've swatched a few yarns and put them on the pages of the journal with the labels, just to see what they look like worked up into fabrics, not much writing. Over the past few days I swatched a cotton and silk blend, then figured out from the swatch how to create a nightgown by using measurements to figure out how many stitches to cast on and approximately how many rows it's going to take.

The swatch is stapled onto the journal page along with sketches of the garment and measurements as well as a record of the guage and which needles I'm using. Tape will eventually let go, so I'll probably start to use the stapler to fasten things to the pages or sew them in, which I have also tried successfully.

It's not a complicated garment, but it was very cool to design it using a plan rather than something in my head that has no rational basis for completion, just a hunch. Once I'm done with the gown, I'm going to make a hip length kimono with short sleeves from the same yarn, same guage. I'm diggin' it. And I also need the gown and kimono.

Photos to come when I get in the mood with the camera.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments: 350 Ways to Enhance Your Knitting, by Nicky Epstein, 1999, Interweave Press, ISBN: 1-883010-39-X, 276p. $31.95(US)

I'm getting a thing for Nicky Epstein. I like the illustrations and directions in her books and the way the pattern ideas are organized. This is the third reference work, I'll call it, that I've appreciated not only for the sheer volume of ideas, but the way it's not about specific projects, but about an aspect of knitting. The three I happen to like are all about ways to embellish. But I'm all about embellishment, so she's my gal. She takes a form and then illustrates many variations, so I feel like I've really gained an understanding of what the embellishment form can do, how to expand it if I want to or how to alter it in other ways that make it just right for my current project. This sort of thing keeps me going for years. I've already thought of dozens of ways I can spruce up my own knitting from ideas in this book, and I'm not contrained by specific patterns. Since I don't usually work from patterns, this is a good thing.