Tag Archives: 2KCBW

It’s knitting time!


Today’s question on 2KCBW: “Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. ”

Looking back over past couple weeks, here’s where I’ve knit:

  • On airplanes. I got a lot done; it was a cross-country trip.
  • While teaching a class at the LYS (waiting for students to get to the next instruction point).
  • In the chair at the ophthalmologist’s office. (I thought about asking her to take my picture, but decided that she already thinks I’m odd enough.) Also in the waiting room, and while waiting for my vision to return to normal so I could drive to work.
  • At knit nite. This is the best!
  • While watching Castle with the Teen, or watching Glee on my laptop
  • In church…(it really does help me focus)

I find I tend to knit more when I’m waiting, or traveling, or doing something else, as it keeps me from being impatient and helps me to focus. If I’m just home, I tend to surf the internet instead. But when I really need to get something done, I’ll pop in a dvd and that’s just enough to get me to sit still and knit. I watched the Tudors series from Showtime on dvd, and that was highly productive for knitting. Knit nite is fun for knitting, but there’s a lot of distraction there, too. It’s good to have the time set aside, though.

My favorite knits are not quite mindless, but not projects that take a lot of concentration, either. I like a good multi-tasking knit project. I can even knit and read on my Kindle! I find that stitch markers are a great help; I can knit along until a marker lets me know that I need to pay attention for a moment. Here’s the current knitting:

sakura laptop

Yes, it starts with a ruffle!

What’s your favorite kind of knitting?

This is the last of the Second Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week posts. It’s been really fun! I think I’ve knit less this week because of all the blog reading and writing, but I’ll catch up next week. Big thanks to Eskimimi for planning this, and for all the fun topics!I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along.


Something to aspire to…


Do you know everything there is to know about knitting? Probably not. Do I know everything about knitting? Definitely not! Today’s 2KCBW topic asks us what pattern or skill we’d like to tackle. For me, that skill would be steeking. Yes, I want to cut my knitting. With scissors. Really.

I have a plan for this, though. I’m certainly not going to start with an Alice Starmore Fair Isle sweater. That would be foolish. No, I’m thinking of something much smaller. Teddy bear sweater? No, smaller, still. A swatch. Just a swatch. Because no one will feel bad if things go awry. (I teach a class on fixing mistakes, and I have students bring a bulky swatch that we can torture. Much less threatening than trying to learn to fix mistakes on your current beloved laceweight project. The techniques are the same, but the anxiety level is quite different.)

steek fodder

I’ve started my research. The second Mason Dixon Knitting book has a good hand-holding walk-through of the process. And Rick Mondragon discusses reinforcing steeks with crochet in Knitter’s magazine, Spring 2002. (Yarn pictured is from the aforementioned underbed boxes of leftovers. No new purchase here!)

(I’m still thrilled that I met the MDK ladies and got my book autographed!)

Have you steeked? Does it require reinforcement with crochet or machine stitching? I don’t see a reference to reinforcement in the MDK book…Discuss!

Also: How do you learn new techniques? As you can see, I go and read up on things. (I did this with parenting, too. It worked pretty well.) I google search and YouTube. Taking a class would be good, but my LYS doesn’t offer one in this. Hey, maybe I should teach it…after I learn how!


2KCBW: Playing the wild card


The experimental blogging scheduled for today is just too much for this busy week. A pictorial only post? No new pix around here. A podcast? I don’t listen to them often (although I’ve been on one!), because I can’t skim them like I skim reading. A videocast? Even worse for me. so I’m playing the wild card. “Embellish the story: Blog about an embellishment…”

Buttons. I love buttons. Choosing the perfect button for a project is the icing on the cake. And like icing, I don’t get to have it until the cake, or project, is done. The buttonholes have to be made before I take my project to my favorite button store, the Button Emporium in downtown Portland. It’s a great incentive program to have to finish knitting before shopping, and it also means that I’ll be able to tell if the button is the correct size!


These are the buttons on my most recent sweater, the Heather Hoodie (cardigan instead of vest). I love how heavy they are, perfect on a garment knit with bulky yarn. I also love the gear motif. A friend saw this picture on Facebook and asked if she could use it to illustrate the concept of a hub. Sure!


These are the buttons on my February Lady Sweater. They’re also from Button Emporium.


And these buttons are perfect on Hey, Teach, and they’re from…Button Emporium. I told you it’s my favorite button source!


But sometimes you just need quick and cute. These are on a February Baby sweater, and they’re from Twisted.

Cardigans aren’t always so quick to knit, so I don’t get a button fix all that often. What’s a knitter to do? What can you put on plain knitting to give it a little kick?


Yes. Ruffles.


I love them on this otherwise plain tank that I made last summer. This is Leigh Radford’s Ruffle Tank. Perfect.

I’m currently experimenting with ruffles on a couple current design projects. I hope they do what I want them to do. The first version ruffle had a mind of its own!


Where are they now? The lives of handknits…


That’s the topic for Day 4 of the second annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. The question sent me to my Ravelry projects page, and strangely enough, I know where most of those items are. I seem to knit mostly for me or for family, and things stay in house. Or I knit as a design project, and then I usually keep it. But occasionally things get away.

I loved this sweater that I knit for myself, Aguave by Katharine Hunt, from Knitter’s magazine Summer 2005. It was gorgeous in mercerized cotton (and not as bottom heavy as it looks from this angle). I wore it a few times, but I realized that it was way too big for me. I was swimming in fabric! Even the shoulders were too wide, so I tried stabilizing them with fabric seam binding. Nope, still swimming. I’ve since realized that most knits look better on me with either zero or negative ease. I’m not completely averse to frogging an entire sweater (been there, done that), but it was so lovely, and my friend Anna thought so, too. So I gave it to her! I just emailed her to ask if she still wears it…


Here’s one of the oldest knitted things I have.

gromit sun

I knit Gromit in 1996. The pattern is by Alan Dart, and was published in the magazine Woman’s Weekly in the UK. I was on the KnitList (still am), and someone offered to send me the pattern. (Thanks, Norma! I still think of you fondly.) Two other knitting mom friends also knit Gromit at the same time, and while they all looked like Gromit, they were all completely different from each other! Our little guys loved them. Before you ask, I’m sorry to say that I don’t have the pattern any more. But Gromit still sits on my piano, where I see him every day.



Tidy mind, tidy stitches…


“How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised?”

I don’t stash a lot of yarn, so I don’t have a lot of yarn to keep track of. I like to choose yarn for each new project as I go. If I buy too far in advance, my fancies usually take me in a different direction when I’m ready to start a new project, and then the purchased yarn never gets used.

Most of my knitting stuff lives here. Needles in Lantern Moon silk needle cases, notions, a few skeins of sock yarn, UFO’s on temporary hiatus, FO’s, a basket of hand knit socks in the lower right corner, because they take up too much room in my sock drawer. I bought this shelving system at IKEA, and I love it. The empty cubby? It has a Lantern Moon rice basket of miscellaneous stuff that needs to get put away.


This is how the shelf looked last summer when I set it up, and pretty much how it looks, now. The only yarn that doesn’t live there lives in a couple underbed boxes; it’s mostly leftovers from past projects. I tend to buy an extra skein so that I don’t run out before the project is finished. Another lesson learned the hard way. It’s better to have too much than too little!

I generally have one or two projects going at any one time; more than that guarantees that something will get abandoned. I hate that. Current projects live in whichever knitting basket has my fancy. I have a lot of Lantern Moon baskets, LOL. You can see several on the shelf: the green Polka Dot Ring tote, my all-time favorite square Lantern Tote, the black fabric Gidget tote, several of the iconic rice baskets in different sizes and colors. I’ve acquired a couple more since that picture.

The Anna tote, and

the fabulous Bindi.

The one downfall of my basket system is that I tend to dump from one basket to another, so I can take the one I want on any particular day. Leftover yarn and tools from finished objects tend to stay in baskets and get dumped from basket to basket, too. It’s time for a clean sweep. Um, maybe next week. I’m blogging this week!

What about books? They live downstairs, on their own shelf. I have a lot…


Mad Knitting Skills: 1 Up!


Knitting skills: They’re cumulative! Each new skilled learned is another tool in the toolkit, leading to another idea. What else can I do with this skill? I love that!

One new skill that I’ve learned this past year is adding beads to my knitting. Actually, I learned the basics of this at a “one hour wonder” workshop with Sivia Harding at Sock Summit in 2009, but the new skill languished until I wanted to embellish a shawl I was designing, Pacific.



I love this method of adding beads as you go. It’s a little fiddly, but you only do it when you need to. That works for me. I once started a project that began with pre-stringing a hundred beads. I didn’t like the way it felt with the beads hanging on the working yarn, and I never finished it.

In case you’re interested, I’m donating 100% of my proceeds from now until April 30 from online sales of my Pacific shawl pattern to the Red Cross for Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief. I’m paying the Ravelry and paypal fees myself; 100% of the purchase price is going towards disaster relief. I’m hoping the gentle waves on this shawl will help bring healing to our neighbors across the Pacific.


Oh, yarn, how I love thee…


…but not just any yarn. My favorite yarns these days are those with a long slow color change like many of the Noro yarns, the Crystal Palace Mochi line, Crystal Palace Taos, and Knit Picks Chroma. I’ve been designing with entrelac lately, and these yarns are perfect for it! I think you’ll agree.

Infinity Entrelac Infinity Scarf in Noro Silk Garden Lite

mochi cowl
Infinity Entrelac Infinity Scarf in Crystal Palace Mini Mochi

lacy midwinter
Lacy Entrelac Infinity Scarf in Knit Picks Chroma

athena 4
Athena in Crystal Palace Taos

I’m not the best at choosing colors that work well with each other. (I picked colors for my parents’ house once; what should have been vanilla and tasteful pine turned out more peach milkshake and garish green…) These yarns have the colors already set, and the entrelac makes it look like I changed colors as I was knitting each section, but really the yarn did all the work. Clever!

My other favorite yarns are semi-solid, tone on tone yarns for lace. I’m working on a design project now, with these lovely stormy gray yarns from Knitted Wit (individually, not together).


And here are some other semi-solid lace projects I’ve knit.

My Pacific shawl, in Malabrigo Sock yarn.

Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle in Painted Skeins’ Merino Silk & Silver

Ysolda Teague’s Ishbel in Malabrigo Sock Yarn

blue ishbel
Ysolda Teague’s Ishbel in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Silk Lace

One color at a time. Safe, right? I love the way handpainted variegated yarns look in the skein, but I’m not always happy with the way they knit up. I find color pooling at the ankles of my socks irksome. That’s not going to happen with a semi-solid! Oh, here’s a picture of one of my least favorite projects, a Frankenstein’s monster of variegated and entrelac. Not a good combination. Check out the pooling/flashing, and general awkwardness. (This is not a handpaint, BTW)


Lesson learned. Long slow color repeats for entrelac!


Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011

Hey, bloggers: Are you doing Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011? I think I’m in. It starts on Monday, March 28.

Participating bloggers will all blog on the same topics for the week. There’s a wildcard topic if one of the topics just doesn’t work for you. If you want to search for posts by all participating bloggers each day, you can search with these tags:

Tagging graphic

I may be a little slow getting the first post up. I’m off getting in touch with my inner princess.


I had an enabler…