Archive for June, 2015

My latest baby sweater will be ready for the test knitters as soon as I finish typing up the pattern. For now here are some fast pictures I snapped.

new rugby sweater knit front

Watching the fashions on the runways, I loved the non-stripe stripe. Breaking out of a stripe being a long, thin or wide, line that went across an entire garment, I decided to play with the idea a bit. For that I turned to the ultimate in stripe sweaters the Rugby sweater as my template. The only other overly striped garment that comes close is vintage prison garb.

new rugby sweater knit sdwys cu

I decided to learn how to play with the width of the stripes while maintaining an even length across the bottom of the garment at all times. That took some math and a whole lot of knitting, ripping, and knitting again. I was working in a heavier weight yarn than I am used to, but the heavier weight gave me more options when it came to breaking off the striping. Since this is a sporting sweater, I went with slim rolled hem, neck and cuff lines. Deepening the neck depth offered me the opportunity to eliminate the usual buttons one sees on baby clothes around the neckline. The way the neck is worked provides more than enough stretch for it to easily slide over the child’s head.

The weight of the yarn makes it appropriate for the autumn and winter months.

On the back side of the sweater I gave myself and the knitter a break and made it plain.

new rugby sweater knit back

I can’t tell you how many times the front of the sweater was knit, ripped, and knit again. I lost count after week three. But giving birth to an idea is never easy, it seems.

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Sunday Knitting and Crochet Images and a Little Humor is now located here. This is one of my Pinterest pages. I have commented on the trends being shown in some of the pictures. I really think knitting is heading in an exciting direction with combining short row and color work.

Also start thinking about knitting garments in undyed yarn and then when complete apply the dye. See the Gucci tie-dyed sweater.

My hope in changing the pictures to Pinterest is that I can show you more of what is inspiring to me and the trends I am seeing. In doing so, I hope this inspires the knitter and crocheter to create their own works of art.

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I plan on hibernating (locking myself in the yarn vault and meditating) at least part of this weekend. The Skipper’s family and grand kids are arriving Sunday and after the week I’ve had, well…let’s say I need to get my mind around it.

My computer was not able to be fixed. When the technician told me it was kaput I went into shock and then grief as if someone, not something, had died. Because we believe it was a virus that murdered it, I lost everything I had on it. Even the things I backed up I can’t use because I could have also backed up the virus. So much for setting restore points and carefully backing up files.

I was not ready to get a new computer, but there I was needing to do just that. While shopping for the new computer I moved through three of the four stages of grief: denial, anger (oh was I mad), and depression. I hate having to learn a new operating system. I hate having lost a number of programs that I depend on to help me with my work and now will have to replace. A pox on those who write malicious codes.

I believe I know when the virus (thanks Norton for not doing your job) occurred and so I am going to do things a little differently from now on. The first new thing you will notice is that the Sunday Images will now be shown only on my Pinterest site. You will have to click on the “here” button I will provide each Sunday to see them. This week’s Sunday Image theme is Resort wear for 2016. We’re not even halfway through the summer and the industry is already into next year.

Stripes are a big deal again, only this time they aren’t static, they move and don’t always go straight across in a clean line. Texture within stripes is also happening. Sequential knitting designs are giving way and becoming stripes in their own right and not necessarily repeated within the garment. Breaking up sequential knitting like this adds texture and interest to a classically shaped garment giving it a fresh look.

So I hope y’all will click through to my Pinterest page this Sunday and enjoy the fashion show.

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Sometimes life gives you a heads up when a rough patch is coming. Little signals warning that perhaps staying in bed with the covers over your head might be a good idea. Such was the case yesterday.

I received my warning while sipping my morning tea and watching the birds play in the bird bath in our Serenity Garden. A young bluebird dropped dead in the birdbath. Right then and there I should have gone upstairs, rearranged the yarn vault and made a space for myself, sat down in said space and closed the door.   Instead I buried the poor thing and called the local Audubon Society to see if anything unusual was happening with the birds these days. They had not received reports of masses of birds blue or otherwise dying in the area.

Not heeding the warning of the powers-that-be that I was the bug and the rest of the world the windshield for a day I turned on my computer to find I didn’t have a computer. I had a black screen, but not a computer. Of course my whole life is on that computer. I started hyperventilating. So I searched and found a plain brown paper bag that I could breathe into just before I passed out. What good is backing up all your info when what goes wrong with the computer prevents you from ever accessing the info or the restore point? These were just some of the thoughts that ran through my head as a breathed in and out, the paper bag soothingly crinkling which each breath.

Once my breathing was under control, I got in the car (mistake) and went to the pharmacy to pick up the heartburn medication the doctor prescribed. He seems to think my acid reflux is coming from the hit the esophagus took from the radiation treatments for my breast cancer and the routine stress in my life. Stress? What stress?

The pharmacy was open but not working. It had some strange power failure 10 minutes before I arrived and no medications were being dispensed because all their systems were down. I could feel my esophagus release more acid in delight.

I went back to the car and began to drive to the place where my computer will hopefully be repaired. No soon had I gotten on the highway then the “check engine” light came on and a strange metal on metal sound came from somewhere under the hood. What I know about cars is when something goes wrong I need someone other than me to fix it. Hence I turned around and the car squealed all the way home.

By now my entire esophagus was bathing itself in acid, like a diva in a bubble bath. The Skipper said the car wasn’t terminal. If I didn’t want it to squeal I needed to shut of the air conditioner. It was 87 F / 30.5 C with close to the same dense, suffocating humidity one finds in an Amazon Rain Forest. Driving without air conditioning was not an option. He made an appointment with the mechanic for next week.

Today I am getting into that forsaken car again. I will try to get my medicine then I will try to drop off the computer to be fixed. Oh yes, and I will return my now over due books to the library. But before all that, I will call the vet because Yarn Rascal just chewed up an ant bait trap. I hate being the bug.

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The Monet Sock

Monet sock

Monet sock

The yarn that was whispering “knit me” while I was trying to complete the first sock of a totally different pair of socks (have I confused you yet?) is now on the dpns. It’s a fingering weight yarn, merino and nylon mix, from Two Grey Dogs Designs. The minute I saw it on What I’m Up To Today’s blog I knew I had to have it. There is a specific painting by Monet that I love and fantasize turning into a sweater if I can find the right yarn colors. The work would be mostly intarsia with limited stranding work. But I have yet to match yarn colors with the picture and so it remains a fantasy, which is probably the best thing for my nerves.

But this yarn comes very close to Monet’s colors in a specific painting and I am very happy working with it. Instead of knitting the sock in stockinette stitch, I decided to try and replicate the texture of Monet’s paint. I’m pretty happy with the result. It fractures the colors enough so they aren’t separate from each other as in straight stockinette stitch, but emerge from and into each other.

Monet Sock CU

Art restoration and verification of an work by a specific artist is very interesting. Every artist, Monet included, had his or her own brush strokes that are a signature. In fact, brush strokes and how they were made, the pressure applied, the make-up of the paint and bristles of a brush are ways museums and professionals use to analyze a painting for restoration or authentication. Other ways of authenticating is how the canvas was treated, worn, handled and used even on the folded over edges. Painters have distinct ways they handle a canvas and what may only be seen on the private side of the painting is as important as what is seen on the public side when authenticating.

Like painting, I find knitters have their own signatures in their knitting stitches. I have never seen two knitters work the same pattern and have it come out the exact same way. There are always “tells”: in the way stitches are purled, the working of an ssk, the working of edge stitches. The knitter’s personality and rhythm come through in the knitting and though the pattern may be the same, you can tell it was done by two different sets of hands. I especially notice this when looking at older knits to place them in a specific time period. The way a knit is finished off or started can alter from hand to hand. Like handwriting our knitting stitches, the way we approach, work with and handle the yarn, how we do what we do is unique to us. I don’t know if knitters realize just how much of themselves they put into their knits. But reading an old knitted piece is much like reading a painting. The maker’s hand is always visible.

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julia ramsey Venetian Collection

julia ramsey Venetian Collection

dinosaur pullover on ravelry

dinosaur pullover on ravelry

crocheted daisy afghan by kraftling on Ravelry

crocheted daisy afghan by kraftling on Ravelry

dolce and gabbana

dolce and gabbana



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The Unending Sock

knitted sock

Above is a picture of the unblocked sock I just whipped off the needles. The name of the yarn escapes me—the yarn band eaten long ago by Yarn Rascal—but I do know I got it on sale and that it is machine washable. It annoys me when other bloggers can’t or fail to supply complete yarn information, especially when I think I like the color and want to try the yarn. So I am irked beyond reason with myself at not being able to provide full yarn details. This is my life with a yarn loving dog.

While it is the first sock of a pair, I experienced second sock syndrome the whole time I knit it. Not a good thing, friends, not a good thing. The more I knit the more the sock stayed the same. I spent what felt like an inordinate, totally unreasonable time period knitting the never ending leg. I’d knit for awhile, measure, and surprise, surprise, the length was the same as if I had knitted nothing. The sock became an albatross hung around my neck each knitting evening. The truth is what I really wanted to do was play with the new yarn that arrived. There it sat, pristine, unmolested by Yarn Rascal, whispering “knit me”.

So on the third night of knitting the leg (yes, three whole nights for one 7″ (18) cm length leg! I tell you it was torture.) I decided that this was the last night of leg knitting. Whatever the length was at the end of the evening so it would remain. If you have a moment, go back up and look at the picture of the sock again. Notice anything…missing? different? unusual? I bound off the thing without knitting a cuff. That’s right, in my haste to finish I forgot to knit the cuff. If anyone notices I plan to lie and say it is a design feature I’m trying.

Tonight I must cast on the companion to the sock above and complete the toe cap while I still remember how I altered the short-rows. Then I will be free to cast on the first sock in the new yarn, which of course won’t be new for long once Yarn Rascal sinks his face into it.

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It’s Monday. Yarn Rascal had a blow out of a weekend. I don’t think he slept 15 minutes in the last 48 hours. The big finale came at 4 am when the heavy thunder storm moved through along with buckets of rain. He was totally out of his little mind.

I can forget about photographing the sweater. The light is as grey as grey can get without becoming night. Instead, I will write-up the pattern and wait for better light.

The sock I am knitting is coming along. At the risk of alerting the knitting gods, I must say it has been an uneventful knit. But never worry, there’s always the second sock that needs to be done, so the knitting gods haven’t yet lost an opportunity to torment me.

The edging for the Rock Island Shawl hit a horrendous small snag when I discovered that the lifeline I was inserting every eighth row wasn’t really inserted every eighth row. I somehow miscounted rows and a good 3″ (8) cm of lace work was no longer following the nice lace pattern. Lifelines are great as long as they are inserted on the right rows and correct row count is maintained.

I made the announcement to the house and all in it that nobody breath, move, or talk until I gave the all clear. I was removing the lifeline (gasp!). Of course Yarn Rascal was the first to bounce joyously into my lap the minute the last bit of lifeline left the naked, quivering stitches unprotected and open to chaos. Then The Skippers small grandchildren decided to surprise us and stop by, during which all becomes mayhem because everyone wants to play with Yarn Rascal, who is only too obliging. Everybody is running from room to room squealing and nothing stands a chance of not being run over or torn apart.

The edging took a hit when Yarn Rascal, in his over enthusiastic glee, tackled the youngest child who in turn grabbed onto the edging in my hand as he fell to the ground. (How terrible is it that my first thought was to save the edging and not the child?) I lost a number of rows, but it wasn’t too bad. I feared never finding out where I was in the knitting, but it forced me to get a slim handle on reading the lace. With lots of effort and the bright beginnings of a migraine I can identify row four of the eight lace rows. The other seven are still a mystery to me. Recognition must be done in a silent room where there is only me, the knitting, and a bright light. The dark royal purple yarn that looks so beautiful when knitted up is hell on the old eyes at night.

So all my quiet but fruitful plans for the weekend went unrealized. Why am I not surprised?

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ermanno scervino

ermanno scervino

found on ravelry vinterblommen 2

found on ravelry vinterblommen 2

Elizabeth Lovick from her book Exploring Shawl Shapes

Elizabeth Lovick from her book Exploring Shawl Shapes

hendesverden denmark

hendesverden denmark

17th century hand knit silk italian jacket Victoria and Albert Museum, Note the basketwork pattern on the hem of the jacket.

17th century hand knit silk italian jacket Victoria and Albert Museum. Note the basketwork pattern on the hem of the jacket.

Diana natters blogspot

Diana natters blogspot

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I haven’t written much about the personal stuff going on. Suffice it to say, it includes my mother, emergency rooms and hospital stays and still nothing is resolved. If not for my knitting, I would have long ago embarrassed myself in hospital halls and emergency rooms by yelling because they don’t seem to understand what is said in normal conversational tones. I have met more doctors with Tin God attitudes than I thought could ever exist within such close geographic proximity to each other without internecine warfare breaking out.

Last night, after I left the hospital, I finished the “little sweater from hell” I’ve been knitting during all this. In all fairness, it’s not a complicated knit it’s all garter stitch. But whatever I could do wrong I did. I ran out of yarn in the middle of a row and ripped back to join another ball, inexplicably I changed to stockinette stitch for an inch (2.5) cm or so and ripped back, I dropped stitches and ripped back. But it’s done, set-in sleeves and all. Today it gets a bath and blocking. Tomorrow I take pictures of it, write up the pattern and by Tuesday I’ll be searching for test knitters. Ah, the plans of mice and men.

With all this upset in routine Yarn Rascal has once again put forth his best effort and received The Golden Paw Award.


I ordered some yarn. Sublime’s cashmere, silk, and merino blend for a second baby sweater I have in mind. I’ve had issues regarding the delivery of yarn that range from it never getting here to it arriving months after I’ve stop looking for it. The time lag between order and delivery is usually long. So I wasn’t expecting my recent order to arrive during the summer.

The yarn arrived in 3 days. Proof miracles do happen just not when I want them. The Skipper placed the package on the table. When I came home from the hospital that night, I failed to see it and secure it from Yarn Rascal. Instead, we went to bed and the nocturnal Yarn Rascal was, as usual, MIA doing his nocturnal things.

When the first bird sang at dawn, Yarn Rascal jumped into bed and burrowed down into the covers wrapped in and trailing yarn. Yes, he spent a wonderful evening with the Sublime yarn. He retrieved the package, which took climbing skills, tore it open and removed the yarn. Much to his delight he shredded the paper yarn wrappers. The way he was deeply entangled in the yarn I dare say that next to his most favorite Shetland Yarn, this blend of Sublime might come in a close second. The paper wrappers are toast, as is the invoice, but the yarn was none the worse for the wear. As he’s getting older, he’s learning how to handle yarn without tearing it up. I’m just filled with miracles.

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