August 29, 2012

Knitta Hata!

Picture: my Blue Bird embroidery project from
1st and 2nd grade, and one of two matching
cutie sheep wall hangings done much later.
Some time ago, I was at a party at a friend's house. I was actually separated from this friend by one more degree: it was really a friend of a friend's house. I didn't know most of the guests at this party and of the guests I was acquainted with, I was not really very acquainted.

Great start, I know.

The party was in a very up and coming, very hip, part of southeast Portland. There were increasing numbers of tidy Tudors and Portland foursquares coming back to life in a massive--and beautiful--rejuvenating effort.

The neighbors (and consequently, many of the guests) were hip to match. Many educated, socially aware and, let's face it: too cool for school people were at this party. Of course, this also means that many of them were clever--be it contrived cleverness or not--and that made for great conversation and usually lots of laughs.

For the most part, I am one of those semi-chameleonic folks who really has no bones to pick with anyone and I can have a great time anywhere. I enjoy meeting all sorts of people and always love to hear what new acquaintances might have to say; after all, what's wrong with learning new things?

The flip side of my "love to learn" coin, is that I also love to share. I love to tell others about new things that I have learned so much, that I have made an art (and a personality flaw) out of turning any conversation into one about myself or my own learnings. I don't mean to do it, but it is hard to contain my excitement about awesome new information. I am very aware of this annoying feature of my character repertoire and try pretty hard to keep it at bay, though I am not always successful.

Back at the time of this party, I had not been an official knitter for long. In fact, it was a New Year's Eve party, which means that I had only been knitting for about 7 weeks--since the second week of that November. This was very exciting to me and I wanted to share my newly found, magical fiber discovery with anyone who would listen.

As we drove down the street to the gathering, I tried to remember that, even though knitting may be almost cult-like to many of us, declaring you are a knitter to certain others may conjure up visions of the Amish or the 50's. And unless those latter people enjoy Mad Men or Pennsylvania, well, they may just not be interested in what you have to say. My social faux pas radar was up--or so I thought--and I was ready to dive into conversation as my husband and I stepped into the soiree that icy December night.

As we passed through the solid wood, hand-carved front door with its tiny square peephole complete with tiny, scrolled, wrought iron bars, I began to have a look around. There was laughter, conversation and food. Someone put a glass of Merlot in my hand. There were folks standing around the now-hip-but-formerly-antiquated old fireplace, with it's graceful Art Deco arch. Some people were standing in the kitchen near the vast wine selection, while others were seated on the trendy, sparsely stuffed, wood framed furniture. And they were all wearing sweaters.

I gripped the slender stem of my delicate wine glass, remembering the ones that were on my wedding registry--that cost $12 a piece. These were much nicer than those. I loosened my grip and instead put my energy into controlling my Chatty Cathy nature. Purposefully, I strode to the food table to stuff my mouth so it could make less noise.

After several minutes, I believed that I was okay. My husband and I had meshed into the larger group. To the onlooker, I had no undue excitement in me; no one would even have known that I was a knitter. Since I was really new to the art of knitting, I didn't even have a headband to signify my status. I was in stealth mode.

An hour passed, we had more wine, relaxed further and were all just having a great time. I was getting to know some of my acquaintances a bit better and we were all laughing and eating...everything was fine.  I had almost forgotten my earlier concerns. Then a group of three women came my way. Most people there were new and emerging friends of mine, but these ladies were strangers.

Two of them were very friendly and introduced themselves as a friend of yet another friend who was also in attendance (don't worry, I couldn't follow it, either). They were pleasant and we jumped right into a conversation about their hometowns and how they used to live in Portland, but no longer do, etc. It was normal, tangential conversation that happens when people meet as they search for ways to connect.

I kept looking at the third woman in the group. She was distracting. She just stood there, too quietly, with her drink in her hand. She looked sullen. She stared out from under a shock of short, frosted hair (Yes, I went there. To 1975.) with starkly contrasting browns and blondes, at others, at me. She didn't speak. Maybe she was trying to shoot lasers at us with her eyes.

She reminded me of one of those women (or men) who, upon reaching 45, had never quite achieved the life she had hoped that enough time would simply bring. And, after many years had actually passed, she had realized that time alone would not change her life. Men in these scenarios stereotypically might buy a sportscar, but women in these scenarios sometimes just become bitter toward other women.

The bitter looking, fortysomething woman had a sweater on, like so many others in the room. It was a store bought, short sleeved, oversized knitted lace top. For some reason, there was something about it that just said, "I couldn't find anything else that fit me tonight and I wore this because it was the loosest thing I had."

In spite of these peculiar warning signs, I couldn't stand her silence anymore. It was too uncomfortable and she was making me really nervous. I had to act. I shot out my hand at a sort of inappropriate moment during someone else's sentence.

"Hi, I'm Janelle." I smiled the most genuine, friendly smile I could muster. Maybe I was wrong about her. After all, people have bad days. Or years.

She smiled back. It was hollow, void. Thin. "Hi, I'm Jane." Her hand was clammy. And limp.

Her two friends jumped right in for her. "Jane still lives here in Portland. We have been friends for, oh, about 30 years!" The two friends laughed heartily, as though all their memories from childhood had flooded back anew with the statement. They looked knowingly at each other, the way old friends do. Jane forced a chuckle, dry and unconvinced.

I took this as a challenge. Here we were at a fun party, it was New Year's Even and this woman had just been reunited with her old girlfriends. What was up? Did one of them steal a high school boyfriend of hers and now she was still mad? Or mad afresh?

I launched into several questions. Where did she live? Go to high school? I told her where I went and that my parents still lived nearby in my childhood home. Did she have kids? No? A cat? A boyfriend? I got a little information about her divorce several years ago, no kids, thank you, just a job.

"Where do you work?" I asked innocently.

"At this shop in Beaverton. We sell cross-stitch supplies exclusively."

I could feel my excitement suppression lifting--like when your Advil wears off and you feel your headache returning because you forgot to take your ibuprofen on time. When was the last time I stuffed food in my mouth? 

I thought this briefly, but I couldn't stand the enthusiasm rising in my body. I had been a sewer, cross-stitcher and embroiderer for all of my life. Not seriously, but I enjoyed those activities. I had not met someone else who knew about cross-stitch for a long time, let alone someone who worked in a whole store of it! Who even knew that existed?!

"You are kidding!" I said, "What is the store? Where is it? I must check it out!"

She told me briefly--only the necessary information, it seemed--what I wanted to know, gave me brief directions and went back to staring. Was she even drinking that drink in her hand?

I dismissed the last thought and went on. After all, maybe my good feelings were enough for the both of us. Maybe I could bring her up a little. I was starting to feel a kind of sorry for her.

I ranted on. "You know, I never meet people who know about cross-stitch. I used to do a lot more of it, but lately I have been doing a lot of knitting! I love it!" That was it. The flood gate had opened. On the worst possible person in the room.

My favorite one. This admittedly took over a year to do, but it
has a nice mat and mahogany frame and will forever hang in
my kitchen!
I went on and on. And on. About how neat all the yarns were and the patterns and all the great stuff on Ravelry and the internet. I told her what I was making for my baby girl and how much fun all the learning had been.

If it were possible, she stiffened even more. Her body had been rising during my rant. Had I been paying attention to her body language, she might have seemed like a 10 foot tall and angry troll by now. Dark storm clouds could have been imagined gathering around her frosty hair, casting shadows and light like white and black clouds mixing up in an impending storm.

I was oblivious.

It was like she was waiting for me to be done. On purpose. Like she was using all my energy to gather her own, looking for a reason to be angrier than she clearly already was.

Upon my taking a pause mid story while talking about a new knitting shop in Portland called Twisted (new to me at the time), she struck.

"We HATE knitters!!"

I stopped, surprised. "WE?" Why would trolls hate knitters?

She went on, "At work, we are always, always talking about knitters and how they are always stealing away all the cross-stitchers! Then, once they get a taste of knitting, they always leave us!! They all say that knitting is faster!" She punctuated that last word with a bitter, drippy tone of slimy sarcasm. Then decided she would put the final touch on it all, repeating, "We HATE knitters!"

Stunned, I stared. She stared back. Her friends had abandoned her during the curious tirade. She and I were left. Standing in a tunnel. A tunnel of blackness. I thought I heard Deatheaters screaming in the distance.

She now towered over me. She was only about an inch taller, but somehow she was glaring down at me over her straight, pointy nose, and the hate was sliding off of it rapidly and onto me.

Hate. Strong word, I thought. Isn't hate one of those words reserved for only very special persons? I mean, for those enemies who you have known for years. Those people who you have fostered an extreme distaste for, slowly convincing yourself that they never have your best interest in mind, that their every deed is a misdeed, intended to slight you. That sort of animosity is very rare and can only come with the very careful crafting of those evil feelings, then linking them together bit by bit, and yard by yard until they become a tangled chain; such a complex entity in their own right that they are alive and begin to control the builder.

Apparently this woman had thought that all out. Carefully.

Knitters, as a group, were thieves, kidnappers even, perhaps even stealing away cross-stitchers in the night! Maybe even from the comfort of their own beds, only to leave their samplers behind them. Knitters were then outfitting these abductees with weapons, needles of a different sort. Needles, medieval and made of wood and steel--in her eyes to resist the existing and dying regime.

Yes, knitters were heading a resistance and committing guerrilla warfare to do so.  In her view, knitters thought of themselves as freedom fighters, deceiving the innocent cross-stitchers into thinking that they could have a better time--and a faster one--creating items not only for show but to wear and to keep their grandchildren warm in the winter.

And I had apparently converted to be a part of this evil group.

Of course, this is all silly. Perhaps in this woman's own little world, she really felt this way. I am not sure if her business was struggling, if her living was in danger or if she was just displacing her anger onto me from another source.

I do know this: I still love cross-stitch. It is a beautiful art and I have several pieces in my mental queue, alongside my knitting and sewing projects. And I love it on Antiques Roadshow when you see things like embroidery samplers from 8-year-old school girls from many, many years ago that are beyond the pale in intricacy and perfect detail. It strikes awe into one's soul to think what people can accomplish when they turn off the computer and television (after checking out Youtube for instructions, of course!). I wish I could have told this woman those things and that just because I had started knitting did not mean I would forsake my stitchery forever.

Alas, in those situations, one cannot say much of anything. We have to let it go. As for the angry woman, no skin off my nose. I have never seen her again. And though I would still like to go to her shop, I have been afraid to encounter her.

One thing is for sure: we are all crafters, no matter what our art. And I know that almost all of us admire one another and really enjoy learning from each other, even oftentimes crossing over our skills or learning new ones.

As my teenage boys say, "Don't be a hater!" And really, almost all of us are not. Aren't you glad? Like my friend Robyn has said when adults behave this way, "How old are we again?"

Happy cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting, embroidering, sewing....even shell art-ing to all of you! Keep our world creative--in every possible way!

Done for my daughter, Jo. I have a matching one for one of my boys.

August 25, 2012

Addiction, Aliens and a Knitting Frenzy

My new project: the one I thought
I could never do
I have a knitting pattern addiction. There. I said it.

I, like Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame, love knitting patterns. At last count on my Ravelry page, there were a total of 1,707 patterns in my library. And that doesn't include the books I have yet to add there, the hard copy patterns I have printed from sites other than Ravelry, or the pattern leaflets I have picked up at local yarn shops, yarn labels, or my mother's old stash.

Patterns. I love to read them, download them, print them (and buy ink at at Costco to do so), buy books filled with them (I recently had to dedicate a bookcase to them) and read them, read them, read them.

Since knitting itself as an activity is slower than all this collecting and reading (I just did a bit of math and realized that is an arguable statement--I may have to change my ways. But for this blog post, let's just go with it.), it stands to reason that I have a lot more patterns than completed knitted pieces.

I did not follow the pattern's pick up
instructions for underneath the cabled yoke.
Instead, I picked up only
what was there and did my own M1 increases.
For details, see my ravelry project.
I was contemplating this the other day and I realized something: most of my patterns, no matter their source, were collected early on in my knitting life. Those of you who read the blog may remember some of my accounts of maniacal yarn buying, most of which occured 2-3 years ago when I was a new knitter. Those same stories apply to patterns. Oh, I still collect them, but not nearly as voraciously as in the past. Why?

I don't believe I was preparing for some sort of yarn-a-geddon, where a Y2K-like event would occur such as this: aliens would suddenly appear on earth and steal all the sheep, goats, musk ox, cotton plants and tencel in the world because their world is depleted and they are sucking our resources to continue knitting their own selfish, cozy socks, leaving us with none.

In this scenario, yarn would become a scarce commodity that people would be killing each other for, just to make one more lace twin set before knitting became extinct. Unlikely. And boy, howdy, would those aliens rue the day. Want to see a woman scorned? Take away her fiber. And I don't mean her Activia.

No, alien fiber abduction was just not it. The same goes for a pattern disappearance scenario: giant termites/purple paper eaters from space are probably not coming to eat all the books, leaflets and trees--unless you ask Giorgio A. Tsoukalos from Ancient Aliens, but let's not get off track too far.

The original design was a little to wide for me at the top,
so I added more picked up
stitches around the top of the yoke to create a ribbed crew neck.
Why did I buy patterns and yarn like they were going out of style? They certainly have not.

I pondered this at length recently, sitting looking through a few of my books.

I browsed the sweaters, the cowels, the socks. I do this all the time--often times to learn something about how a particular type of pattern works, or to find out how a fiber behaves and if I should use it, cross referencing different patterns. But that isn't the reason I formerly browsed my books.

 I used to do it to dream, to think of what I could make in the future once I was no longer feeling so intimidated by the patterns. As I looked through my books on this sunny afternoon by my favorite window, I slowly began to realize how many of the items I actually had the skills to knit now--and the yarn to do it with.

Then, one of the sweaters in a booklet, Bernat's Cold Front, caught my attention.  I had just been dying to make it a few years back. It was the Cable Yoke Sweater on page 11(the link is above). I had even saved several JoAnn's Fabric's and Michael's coupons over several weeks' time in order to buy the yarn on sale, then had stashed it away for that sweater--for that sweater in the future.  Back then, it had looked so complicated that I dared not try to knit it because I was sure I would ruin all the lovely yarn or have a wonky, unwearable sweater.

I read the pattern over and over. I saw that the pattern was nothing more than ribbing, a lot of picked up stitches and some great cables. By this time in my tiny place in knitting history, I had completed several socks. In fact, a lot of socks. How many times had I picked up stitches from a heel flap? More than I can count.

Energized, I got down to the business of trying out the sweater pattern.

I got out the needles--and one more 40% off coupon as I needed just one more circular pair--the previously purchased yarn from its Rubbermaid home, and got to work. I read other people's notes on Ravelry to check for errata, tips or tricks and found a few alterations that may have been needed.

Once I got going, the knitting really was pretty fast. The yarn was bulky and the pattern was pretty straight forward. I was able to make necessary fit alterations (if anyone is interested, they are here) and completed the project in about a week of knitting. Granted, it was a lot of knitting--I couldn't stop as I was too excited to finish--but it was still pretty quick.

Now I am planning to look at more of my patterns, and with new eyes. Not only are patterns great for learning new things going forward, but they are good for learning about where you have been, and where you are now, too.

Happy knitting and happy learning--alien free.

August 22, 2012

"ME!" ~Reese Witherspoon

My own design: Beadboard Beach Socks
"I never win anything." We all say that.

Yet, most of us also don't purchase lottery tickets, enter random contests (like the sketchy ones at the county fair...where strangers are asking for your name, address and the times of day you are not at home). Most of us also don't think much about entering legitimate contests, either.

For example, at the same county fair, absolutely anyone can submit their artistic works including photography, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, quilting...even food items or spun and dyed yarn. If we do these things, not only do we contribute to our communities and support the arts, we can also win something.

I have personally let these and other opportunities go by time after time, always saying, "Next year I'll do it," or "next time." Next time never comes. Until now.

Last March something possessed me. I was on Ravelry (oooohhhh...big shock....) reading along in some of the forums, and noticed something about a Martha Stewart/Lion Brand Yarn contest. I thought, hmmm...that might be fun. And for some alien reason, I actually clicked the link and read the information.

There was a contest for creating something from Martha Stewart's new line of yarn. The Grand Prize was 125 skeins of yarn plus a weaving loom, and the first prize winners--of which there would be 10, likely the finalists who would compete for the Grand Prize, I assumed--would receive a weaving loom. The final winners, the second place folks, 20 of them, would get a subscription to the Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

My first try with Debbie Stoller's 100% wool,
worsted weight yarn
In spite of my first thought that this contest was most certainly a marketing tactic to get people to try out the new yarn, and in spite of my next thought that it would be a lot of work to create something for a contest that I likely would not win, and in spite of my final thought that I make it a general policy to not throw my hat in such rings since I don't have much extra time, I decided to enter.

Those of you who follow the blog know what happened next.

Not only was I late to the party--er, contest--and I was also a newbie. (A newb, for those of you with gaming teenage boys. Is that mixing metaphors? Gaming/knitting? Both have grids, right? Oh, wait...that's Dungeons and Dragons. Mixing again...I digress...) I learned quickly that I had to hurry up and find a design to knit, purchase some yarn for it, actually knit the design and take photos of it, put in in the Lion Brand web site, etc.

Upon my first reading of the rules, I thought the design had to be original. Meanwhile, while I was completely wrong, I became engrossed in quickly coming up with a design that I though represented my home, would appeal to a Martha Stewart-esque audience and, most importantly of all, that I could do quickly.

I didn't see a lot of socks in the sample patterns for the new yarn line, so I decided on socks. After all, there was a merino yarn. There was, but not in the local stores here in Vancouver, Washington. After ordering the yarn I needed online (with a rush to boot), writing the pattern, practicing it with some "Stitch N Bitch" yarn (worsted wool), I was ready. The minute the real yarn came, I hit it hard.

Several sleepless nights later, it was done. A pair of socks. Photos shot, put on the site. Contest entered.

For about 5 months I waited. No contact about being a finalist. I thought, "ok, so I won't get 125 skeins of yarn. And probably not first place. Maybe there is a spot left for me in second place, probably not, but I do like the magazine." At least, if nothing else, I had two pairs of socks that I really liked.

During this time, I semi-obsessively checked the Lion Brand web site and after a while, I didn't know why I was doing it. I had gotten into a habit--like brushing your teeth before bed. 8 times. I couldn't stop. Every day, a few times at least--really like 15--I was looking for contest announcements. Then one day there was an announcement: winners would be announced on August 20, 2012.

On August 20th, I checked. Nothing. Next morning, I checked again. Nothing new. Then on August 21st at 4:05pm, I looked again.

There was the grand prize winner at the top! She had created a very cute baby set in crochet with chrysanthemums as the theme. I thought maybe that would be the only winner pictured. Then I saw some projects below the grand prize winner, the first prize winners.

I quickly did the math before moving on: 15 finalists-1 grand prize winner. 14-10 first prize winners. That left 4 that would fall into the second place category. 6 additional people would still be able to win second place.

I had hope. I scrolled down.

As I was speeding through the first prize winners, I did a double take. There was mine. My name was on the list of first prize winners. MINE. MINE!!

No way. My name was on the list.

I looked at the list again. I was at work. I squashed a squeak that tried to leave my lips. I wasn't really supposed to be surfing the internet. I coudn't stand it. I ran, silently waving my hands to my friends at the front desk. I began shout-whispering to them, pounding--quietly--on their collective desk. "I won! I won first place!! There are others, too, but I won!!!" My throat was dry. Who wins anything?! 

"What? What are you talking about?" My friend Linda was confused. I was still trying, and failing, to not cause a disturbance. I was whisper-squealing now, too many words were spilling out of my mouth at once and then all over the floor, out of order like in an impromptu game of 52 card pickup. Linda probably thought I was having a seizure.

I dragged her to my computer screen. I couldn't stand it. Linda had known about the contest, so my wild gesturing and scrolling around the screen said everything she needed to know. She understood. Her eyes grew wide. As she proclaimed her congratulations, words would still not come to me. I couldn't even figure out how I felt. I thought about my inhaler and wondered where it was.

Then I remembered Reese Witherspoon.

I thought of her character, Elle, in Legally Blonde standing in front of the newly posted list of candidates who had been accepted to a competitive internship at Harvard Law. She, the unlikely candidate, was on the list. She herself could not believe her eyes. She stood silently in a crowd of other students that were high-fiving each other, and talking loudly and excitedly about the list. Overwhelmed with feelings unknown to her (except for a bit of revenge that does not apply here) all she could say was one word: "ME!"

Knitting may not be Harvard Law, but Elle, I get it. I get the feeling.


Congrats to everyone who won and to everyone who entered!! In all seriousness, way to support art and creativity! We can't live successfully on this planet without it! Here is the link to the site where everyone's artistic endeavors can be found.

Happy, happy knitting, my friends,

Janelle of The Knitting Muse

August 8, 2012

The rest of the pattern....

The original sample sock
Hello, all! Well, the pattern is done and hopefully error free!!

I am linking to the new pattern here. It is a free pdf download on Ravelry.

Please direct all questions/errata to me in email at

This is improved heel flap. It was a bit off center
before, but is right on.
Happy knitting!

August 5, 2012

Fountains of Portland: Now Knittable!

I was looking over the "pattern" I wrote about a year ago called The Fountains of Portland. I was trying to convey the way I built a pair of anklet socks for myself for the practical use of others.

Since writing that pattern, I have been knitting several more new items--including several socks--and generally adding one more year to my now 3.5 years of total knitting time.

Well, it turn out that the Fountains of Portland pattern is well, un-knittable. Really un-knittable. It seems I fell into the pitfalls of not saying what I meant/not knowing how to convey the information needed/not knowing what the crap I was doing.

Do I now? Well, it's better than before. It's like I told a friend who recently asked me for help with her photography, "I'll try to help you out, but all I really know are the camera buttons."

I still feel new, but I am learning. I hope you all can forgive me if you tried to knit the sock pattern. The only consolation for me is that I know you would not have gotten past the ruffle, thus, hopefully limiting your irritation.

I have been working feverishly on the pattern. It is still an untested pattern, as it is free, but if you will all be so kind as to give me another chance, I will give you what I have. Please indicate any errors you find.

I have included 3 sizes this time, and I think it is a little better.

Here is part I:

The Fountains of Portland

I wrote this pattern for myself last summer when I became really sick and had to stay home from work for a while. It was right around the time before Sock Summit and I thought the pattern was an appropriate way to welcome fellow sock knitters to my hometown, Portland, Oregon.

It is a ruffly ankle-height sock, fashioned to resemble a lesser known Portland fountain called “The Carwash,” and my object was to give the effect of water flowing down the foot. The bobbles are a nod to our “Benson Bubblers” here, which are lovely, historical drinking fountains found dotted around the downtown area.

Size: Small (Medium, Large) women’s. Corresponding approximate measurements: 8” (9”, 10”) foot circumference.
Gauge: 8 stitches to 1 inch in stockinette and in fan pattern on size 1 needles, unblocked.
Yarn: 1 (2, 2) skeins Patons Stretch Sock Yarn. If substituting yarn, use a stretchy sock yarn containing elastic, approximately 239 (478, 478) yards.
Needles: Two 24” circular needles, size 1. DPN’s or one long circular (magic loop method) could be substituted if desired.
Construction: Top down.


The ruffle is worked in groups of 10, for every 10 stitches cast on, you will have 4 remaining after the decreases in the first round.

CO 150 (150, 170).

Carefully join work in the round, so as not to twist (this is a little tricky with so many stitches, but it gets much better once the ruffle gets started) Mark the beginning of the round.

Work ruffle as follows:

K10, then pass the 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th and 4th stitches over the 10th stitch. This creates little mock crochet shells. Do this 15 times. You will end with 60 (60, 68)stitches.

Next 2 rounds: Knit

Next round: Knit, decreasing evenly by 6 (0, 2) stitches. End with 54 (60, 66) stitches.

Eyelet Rounds

You may use the chart on page 3, or the written directions below.

Round 1: *K2, P1, K2, P1; repeat from * to end of round
Round 2: Repeat round 1
Round 3: *K2, P1, K2Tog, YO, P1; repeat from * to end of round
Round 4: Repeat round 1

There will be a total of 9 (10, 11) eyelets in the round. Repeat rounds 1-4, 2 times more, then knit round 1 one additional time. You will have 3 vertical “stacks” of eyelets. See photo above.

Next 2 rounds: Knit.

Bobble Rounds

Round 1: *Knit 2; MB, repeat from * to end, 18 (20, 22) bobbles made.
Round 2: Knit.
Round 3: Knit.

MB: Make Bobble Knit into the front, the back, and again into the front of the next stitch. Turn work to wrong side, K3, turn work to right side, P3. Holding the yarn to the back of the work, and using the stitches on the right needle, pass the second and third purl stitches over the first purl stitch. Bobble made.

Right now, your ruffle will seem a little loose compared to the rest of the stitches.  This is to be expected: that’s what keeps it ruffly!

Much more to come!

thanks for your patience!!

August 4, 2012

Dances with Wools

We spun a bunch of yarn. We thought it looked pretty cool. We took photos.
What do you do when your knitterly adult daughter comes to stay for two weeks while she is working in Portland? You squeeze in all the fiber your diet can hold. (In spite of all the eating out you may plan to do...after all, we do live in the land of food carts and coffee)

Jo, my grown daughter, stays with us periodically for various events, life stuff, etc. Whenever she comes to Portland, we have a great time eeking out ways to spend time knitting together, pouring over knitting book and patterns, shopping at knitting stores, or otherwise enjoying a wooly good time.

Sometimes it gets tough when we are all working, and this last visit from Jo was no exception. She was here working at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts as a dance teacher for a kids' arts camp. Regardless of the sparsity of our time while Jo was teaching modern dance during the day, we made time for a few dances with wools, no matter how few they were.

Pattern from The Joy of Sox book
This visit, we spent a bit of time in Portland and a few nights and mornings knitting on my little front porch on some cushy chairs. Jo brought a few projects and some tiny bits of yarn. The projects included a cabled scarf from Lily Chin's Power Cables, and one from The Joy of Sox.

The bits of yarn were things she did not know what to do with and included 3 colors of yarn she had used for various projects including some socks. She gave them to me. I thought I could save them with other sock yarn to eventually make socks or gloves in whatever stripes strike my fancy as I knit. But then I thought it might be cool to see if we could come up with something that would completely use up just one of the tiny balls.
Bits of magic

I thought a headband just the ticket.

So we took out the Walker stitch dictionaries, among several others and layed them all over the floor. We decided on one that is called Sea Foam in Vogue's stitchionary, but has other names depending on the writer.

It has a 2 pattern repeat over 10 stitches, but I wanted a triangle sort of shape with the pattern. So, I did a row with only one pattern and one with 2. In between those rows are 3 knit rows. The result is pretty promising, really stretchy. Good, since my head is huge. (No, huge. Like the kid in Mike Meyer's movie, So I Married an Ax Murderer.)

Stretchy is goooooooood
Jo and I fiddled with the headband a bit, but honestly, the time was too short. It is still not done, though it has been weeks. If I finish it, I will share the recipe.

As it is, the fun was over too soon. She is returning this week, however, for her 24th birthday and my dad's 81st birthday picnic. We may have to sneak away to some nearby trees and see if we can secretly spin some moss into gold. Or at least into yarn.