Category Archives: Knitting

As knitter for over 45 years of simple things like afghans, mittens and scarves I am slowly, slowly, ever so slowly evolving to socks, lace and much more challenging projects.

WIP Wednesday – Knitting Group

Happiest Wednesday!

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to a knitting group by a dear friend. We don’t see much of each other in person, but keep in touch with FB and Words With Friends. We’ve been chatting about forming an informal knitting night, and Judy graciously invited us to her home.

We chatted, catching up with old friends and met new friends. Our common bond of fiber gave us plenty to chat and laugh about. New knitters and seasoned knitters worked on on blankets, washcloths, scarves and shawls. I started the scarf for my cousin’s Christmas gift earlier this week, so that is what I took along to work on.

Judy has some great ideas for our new group. She collected email addresses and is compiling a resource list of yarn shops, websites and tips. I am very excited to hear she has the info to visit local farms that raise Alpacas . Who doesn’t love baby alpaca??

Judy shared a tip I can’t wait to use. When working a pattern where you repeat several rows for a pattern, she writes each row on a separate index card. No more counting, making marks, etc to see where you are in a pattern, you just flip the card to the back of the stack and go to the next card. When you stop for the evening, clip them together and you’ll know exactly where to start the next time you pick up your work. I love this useful tip!

To top off the night, Judy’s husband made each of us a beautiful hand turned Nostepinne. If you (like me) have never seen or used one, here is the description from The Woolery (http://www.woolery.com/Store/pc/Using-a-Nostepinne-d38.htm):

“Nostepinne” or “nostepinde” is a Scandinavian word that means “nest-stick.”; the original Ball Winder. It is a tool used to wind a center-pull yarn ball. A nostepinne is portable, easy to use, and creates a center-pull ball that can be used without changing the twist in the yarn.

I tried using mine tonight. It is going to take a bit of practice, but I am getting the hang of it 🙂

Nostepinne

When we meet again I am going to bring the pattern and yarn for the NICU unit baby bear hats. Meantime I’ve finished my sweater, but it needs the buttons and to be washed/blocked. I’ll have pictures next week.

I hope you all have a friend or a wonderful group to hang out with and knit. Or crochet. Or Quilt…you get the idea 🙂

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday 2 Weeks Late

Helloooo! I’m back after a 10 day vacation and a week of recovery of said vacation 🙂 The first few days were spent in North Carolina and Virginia, then we spent 4 wonderful days with our youngest son and daughter-in-law. I’ll do a post later highlighting all of the fun places we went and things we did, with the exception of the first little town we stayed in, Black Mountain, NC since it is linked to a future WIP.

We stayed at the Red Rocker Inn, and yes there are red rockers in all sizes on the fabulous front porch of the B & B. In the evenings, hubby and I sat out on the porch, chatting while I crocheted on the purple sweater I’ve been working on. I only have a few inches left, then the trim. I am pleased with the way it is turning out.

purple sweater pattern 7.15.15

This is a closeup of the pattern.

Black Mountain is a great little town with shop after shop of artisan crafts to admire and purchase. I was ecstatic to find a local yarn shop nestled between a Dulcimer shop and a great restaurant – The Trailhead check it out here: thetrailheadrestaurant.com ,

I know what you are saying, since I shared my stash closet pictures, what is this crazy woman thinking?? I’m thinking I need some local yarn. Hubby is the best, I was touching all of the yarn, looking for something local and he didn’t even sigh. Nope, not once. Yarn is the best souvenir in my opinion. I get to remember the trip the whole time I use it to make something.

I picked up a wonderful skein of wool hand dyed with lupine native to the area and some had made buttons for my sweater. Here is the yarn and I’ll share the buttons when I finish my sweater. Black Mountain yarn I think it will be enough to make a warm winter hat. I’ll probably save it until after the holidays as I am starting to think of all the things I want to make before them.

I have to confess I also ordered 2 skeins of yarn to make my cousin a scarf for Christmas. It is Abracadabra made by Hikoo yarn, and looks like a whitish cream color until you get it in the sun, then it turns purple. It was pricey and the skeins are only 50 grams of DK weight, so I am going to pair it this skein I picked up last year that is pink & purple with a bit of sparkle. I can’t wait to start it, but want to finish my sweater first.

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I feel pretty good about my progress this week. I just might finish my sweater before next Wednesday 🙂

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Filed under Abracadabra, Black Mountain, Crocheting, HiKoo yarn, Knitting, local yarn shop, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Lots of progress this week :)

bath poufThis week was very productive knit and crochet wise. I finished one bath pouf and am almost done with a second one. I am tired of those mesh ones from the store unraveling into a useless wad of nothing.  I used a pattern I found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-bath-pouf  Check out  The Stitching Mommy’s website. She posts all kinds of nifty patterns, hints and tips.

The purple one is made out of Ripples – a yarn by Willow (which is really Herrschner’s)  and I am not really that pleased with the yarn . It seems to be too stretchy for this project. There were also 2 separate joins in one of the balls of yarn. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I pay for a new skein or ball of yarn, I don’t want to find knots in the middle of a project. But that is just me.

Since I love this pattern so much, and it works up wonderfully, I am making another one out of the suggested yarn (what a concept LOL) Lily Sugar ,n Cream. I’ll report back after  finish it and use a few times. As a rule, I love this yarn, so I am hoping for good things.

6.23.15 bath pouf

AND I finished and blocked the Possum Yarn Shawl. I love it. SO I’ve included tons of pictures. It isn’t nearly as intricate or fancy as the one Leslie is making for me out of the mink yarn – but I like this plan Jane shawl too.

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Last but not least, I started crocheting a cardigan for myself. It is the Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan by yarnspirations.com. I got the pattern from allfreecrochet.com. The only problem with the pattern is the is no yardage for any size except XS/S. Honestly, I love the pattern and hope that I have enough of the Serendipity Tweed I found in my stash to use. Oh yeah – shopping from my stash now that the closet is clean. Here is my progress – the bodice and sleeves are all worked in one piece. I have 2 rows left before starting the shaping for the sleeves so I am rolling right along.

Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan 6.24.15

No WIP next week – I’m off on an adventure. Keep your fingers crossed that the dogs will behave for my sons. 🙂

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn, Ravelry, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Family Always Trumps WIP

This week I made a small bit of progress on my shawl. I only have 10 rows to go then it will be ready to block. I honestly could have used it at the movies last Saturday, it was freezing in there!

Instead of knitting this week in the evenings, I spent lots of time with family and friends. One of my cousins flew in to Illinois from Arizona to visit for a week. It has been so many years since I last saw her I can’t quite remember when it was. I believe it had to be sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s. She is about 15 years older than me, so I remember much more about her younger brother because we were the same age. Her mom and my grandma were sisters.

Anyway, after losing touch over the years, my aunt (another one of Gram’s sisters) found her again. The internet is a beautiful thing 🙂

So we enjoyed several dinners with my family whom I love to bits. Good food and good times.

Donna visit 6.14.15

As you can see, we were digging deep into a box of pictures that used to be my Gram’s. Thanks to modern technology, my cousin was able to scan and email copies of whichever ones she wanted to her email.

Last week I knit memories with laughter and love with my family. This week I’ll go back to yarn. 🙂

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Filed under Family fun, Knitting, memories, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – Time to Tidy Up

This week I finished the yellow and blue blanket, and tucked it into a Ziploc bag to keep it clean and dog hairless until someone needs a blanket for a baby boy. blue and yellow blanket completed 6.7.15

My possum shawl is coming along. Starting last week I went on summer hours at work, so instead of an hour for lunch, I only have a 1/2 hour. That is fine with me because I get off earlier. But that cuts my work knitting time in 1/2, so I’ve been doing 2 rows a day. It will be done soon, but probably not this week. No pics, it really hasn’t changed much since last week.

Now on to the big project related to yarn this week. I clean out my ridiculously messy yarn/sewing closet. For the last six months, instead of putting the yarn away that I’ve ordered, I have just been chucking the boxes in the closet. It was making me crazy, but apparently not crazy enough to tidy up.

sewing room 2 before sewing room 1 before

You can see it was out of control. I fully expected to open the door one day and have a yarn monster attack me with a shiny set of addi turbos. Since it was a rainy weekend, I decided it was time to find the floor in there again. I pulled everything out of it except the file cabinets and went to work. The cabinets have sewing and knitting patterns in them as well as my knitting magazines. Mea hung around until I loaded up the bed the rest of the way with bins of yarn.

sewing room 1 Mea

After emptying all of the yarn bins, I organized them by fiber or type such as baby yarn and cotton. The special yarns I’ve ordered I keep in Ziploc bags hung by pants hangers, sometimes with the project pattern with it as well. That way they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

sewing room 2 after sewing room 1 after sewing room 3 after

Now  I can see what I have and there is room for both dogs to follow me in to look for yarn for my next project. They think they should go wherever I go, so both were exceedingly happy that the floor was no longer cluttered with yarn. I am banning myself from yarn shops unless there is a specific color or type of yarn that I absolutely have to get that isn’t available in my stash.

The only job I have left is organizing the separate patterns I have downloaded or pulled from magazines. I purchased some plastic expandable folders and am sorting them by type. As soon as I am finished they will go into the files with the magazines. I also want to add all of my books and magazines to Ravelry, but that is a job that might not be done until fall.

As for this week’s projects, I am going to work in my shawl and maybe even finish it 🙂 and make a “no-sew” tutu for my cousin’s little girl.

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Filed under baby blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, possum yarn, Ravelry, shawl, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Finishing Up

This week I pulled out the blue and yellow baby blanket to finish. I decided it needed to be done before the weather gets warm since it is almost crib size and pretty warm when I am working on it. I only have one yellow row and four blue rows left, then the border. I might get it finished tonight during the hockey game (GO HAWKS!).

blue and yellow blanket 6.3.15

My shawl is coming along great. I’ve started the last section of lace, but of course each row takes quite a while to knit since every other row increases by four stitches. By the time I took the pictures tonight the sun was going down, so the first one of just the top few rows show more of the true colors than the other, but I like the look of the lace in the second pic so I added it. I am excited to finish it because it will be perfect to take with me to the movies and restaurants this summer when the AC is turned down to meat locker temperatures.

6.3.15 possum shawl good color6.3.15 possum shawl color right

The last thing I did this week was repair a sweater for a woman I work with. It was kind of tricky.I couldn’t crochet it because only a small section of stitches unraveled when a piece of the yarn broke. By using a sharp needle, I was able to “crochet” with it by basically doing a chain stitch where the single crochet needed to go, and weaving the thread through the open stitched at the bottom of the shells. The hardest part was weaving the ends as the yarn is fragile and didn’t want to go easily into the backs of the stitches so they would not be seen. I think it turned out pretty good. Hopefully Barb will agree and she’ll be able to wear her sweater again.

Barb's sweater before

You can see the edging off in this picture.

Barb's sweater after

This is the same edge after the repair.

I am thinking about my next project, since I might finish the shawl this week and will finish the baby blanket. The blanket will go in my stash closet to wait for the next baby boy to be born.

Which brings me to my MIP (Mess In Progress) that I call my stash closet. I absolutely need to clean that mess up. Somehow it got way out of control and it is making me crazy. If it rains this weekend, I just might tackle it. If you don’t hear from me next Wednesday, send in the Mounties or at least a St. Bernard with a flask of a nice red wine to rescue me.

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Filed under baby blanket, Crocheting, Knitting, shawl, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday Viva Las Vegas!

This week’s WIP is pretty light on the progress side of things. I spent the a long weekend in Las Vegas with my dad and hubby and left all my yarn at home so I could take a vacation from my projects also. We had a great time just being together, laughing and playing a few slot machines. After all, if I would have been a big winner (which I was not) I could have bought more yarn!

dad and jim

I did get a couple of hats knitted, just need to add the eyes, nose and sew them together. This week I am going to work on my shawl 🙂

half bears

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Filed under baby hats, family, Knitting, NICU, Vacation, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday Shawls and Bears

Here’s the thing. I started to use the beautiful yarn I told you about last week. First of all I was wrong, it isn’t silk, it is mink yarn. Because the band was all in Chinese, I couldn’t read it and I’d had it so long I’d forgotten that it was mink! Second of all I wasn’t wrong about not liking to do lace. As a matter of fact I hate lace with lace weight yarn, but I do like lace with sport, fingering or worsted yarn. So I gave Leslie the yarn to make a beautiful shawl for me (her idea and I should have taken her up on the offer immediately instead of waffling around).

But call me stubborn, I still had the itch to make a shawl myself. So I looked through my ample stash and came upon some possum yarn that is fabulously soft and much easier to work with than the mink I handed off to Leslie. In case you are wondering, it is possum, not opossum yarn, made from marsupial possums in New Zealand. I did a post about it when I ordered it, if you want more info check it out here. https://writeknit.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/new-zealand-possum-yarn/

 5.13.15 possum shawl

It is coming along nicely if I do say so myself 🙂

The other project I’ve worked on is NICU bear hats during my lunch hours at work. Because I need to count the increases and stitches on the shawl, I only work on it at home. Below is a work in progress pic of the hats and a completed pic.

5.13.15 bears in progress2           5.13.15 bears complete

This week projects will include the shawl at home, and NICU hats at work. I am not sure if I’ll make more bears. or work on another pattern. Hopefully I’ll have 4 or 5 complete to share next week.

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Filed under baby hats, Knitting, New Zealand, NICU, possum yarn, shawl, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – Nothing to Write Home About

This week I spent more time reading than knitting. I started a polar bear hat that is ready to bind off and stitch together. It won’t take long, but it will be at least tomorrow before I finish it. Next week you’ll see it completed.

Polar bear in progressI’m still obsessed with starting a shawl that in all likelihood will never be finished. I love the look of a lacy shawl, but in reality I’m not a lace knitter. I sometimes convince myself I’ll have the patience and find a quiet place to begin and actually complete a beautiful lace shawl, but honestly I am better off with something that doesn’t need to be counted. Carefully. Without distraction. Riiiight.

I have some beautiful yarn. I ordered this silk from China in 2012. I have other lace weight yarns in my stash, but this one just calls to me when I think of a soft, silky shawl to wrap around my shoulders on cool evenings. Maybe a nice glass of wine, sitting on my porch swing with my hubby…all of this sounds so romantic, but unrealistic.

silk yarn

I am more likely wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a Pike’s Peak logo on the front, sipping a Diet Coke from the can and listening to my sweet hubby complain about being cold. AND this scenario would not require completion of the shawl that I am already love/hating.

I have whined enough about it to my friend Leslie, that today she offered to take the yarn and knit it for me. She loves to knit lace and does a great job, without any whining at all.  It is really tempting. Maybe I’ll just start it, get sick of it and hand it off to Leslie.

We are oddly opposite. She loves order, I thrive on disorder. I’m loud, she’s quiet. I’m old enough to be her mother and that is ok because we both love to knit. You can tell who we are by our websites. Mine is kind of scrambled with reading, writing and yarn arts and hers is very tidy and organized. Check it out: http://singlestitchknit.com

So I don’t know what I’ll be starting this week. I will be finishing the white NICU hat for sure. I am seriously thinking short sleeves to finish the brown sweater I started way too long ago, maybe this week but probably not.

I also have lots of squares for a Lego blanket started. Maybe I’ll make a few of them. Not likely tho.

Perhaps I’ll make Leslie nuts and start a shawl. 🙂

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Filed under baby hats, blanket, Knitting, NICU, shawl, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – In the Pink!

This week’s projects just might tickle someone pink. The pink baby blanket is finished and hopefully keeping little Shannon warm these cold spring nights.

pink blanket 2015 #3_2

I really love the pattern, You can find it here: http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/cp4.html It is called Shell’s Baby Afghan by Beverly A. Qualheim. It is especially cute in pink. Maybe that is because I have three sons so there wasn’t any pink in our laundry basket. 🙂

pink blanket 2015 #3_3

The color in this picture is more true than the first picture.


After finishing the afghan, I made a couple of pink polar bear hats for the NICU unit at Central DuPage Hospital. I think they turned out really cute. This is a pattern that I’ve used before, it works up quickly and is really cute.

NICU spring challenge Pink Polar Bear 4.26.15

The only adjustment I made was on the second hat I didn’t knit the entire suggested length of 14 inches, because I didn’t want it to be as large as the pattern calls for. Here is the pattern link, and I highly suggest using the Bernat pipsqueak yarn that is as soft as a cloud and works up beautifully, http://www.yarnspirations.com/li-l-polar-bear-hat.html

NICU spring challenge Pink Polar Bear 4.29.15

Since it is late, I suspect I will take some white Bernat yarn to work tomorrow to work on another baby hat. This weekend I may start a new project. I am itching to make a lace shawl for cool summer nights, but just can’t find a pattern that is what I want. I could finish the second sock – but that can probably wait until our summer trip to see our son and daughter-in-law. The drive is about 10 hours, so it is a good time to work on socks.

I have the sweater started last year calling to be finished, but still am not happy with the sleeves the pattern calls for, and have torn them out twice already. It won’t take long to finish once I sit down and get busy figuring it out, but don’t know if this weekend will allow the time.

I guess the WIP next week will be a surprise for all of us – me included! 🙂

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Filed under baby hats, blanket, Charity, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, WIP Wednesday