Thursday, September 27

New lace book

Here's my newest acquisition care of Ebay--Burda Praxis Strickspitze---a lace knitting book. There are some really cool lace stitch patterns in the doilies in this book. It's all in German but it does have charts. Only problem is, I don't have English translations for the lace symbols.

Does anyone out there know where I can find English translations for Burda's lace charting symbols?

I finished the Pelts scarf pattern last night. I found one error in the pattern. It's a minor one. I worked around it. I've sent a message to the designer asking for clarification. It appears that a decrease instruction is missing after you knit the ear row. You may not be able to see the ears in the picture. They are like puffy lumps on the "head" of the scarf. This was such a fun knit. The only problem was keeping track of my stitches with this furry yarn. I had to "feel" for the individual stitches I knit as opposed to being able to see them. Cost: less than $2. I used Hobby Lobby's Yarn Bee Elf Eyelash yarn. It's not really an eyelash yarn, more of a fur type yarn. The skeins have 59 yards. I used one skein and some from the second one.

Wednesday, September 26


Just like Alice in Wonderland, I've fallen down the Ravelry rabbit hole. I got my invite yesterday. It's wonderful, terrifying, and everything in between. I love it already! I'm wading in a little at a time. I can see it will be a very addictive place.

If you're already on Ravelry, look me up as SimpleKnits.

One, two, three a scarf...

Fall has arrived and the leaves are beginning to show hints of color. Just a leaf or a branch painted with oranges and red. Our temperatures have been much too warm for this time of year. We hit a record high of 92 earlier this week. Temps should be a little more seasonable soon. A cold front went through last night dropping some much needed rain on our area and washing a lot of the allergens out of the air.

After not having any luck pairing scarf patterns to the yarn I had on hand, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby. This week they have a number of yarns on sale at 40-50% off and others for only 99 cents a skein. I know I said I wasn't going to buy any more yarn, but I ended up bringing some of it home. Who in their right mind can resist 99 cent yarn? Evidently not me. LOL! I got enough for a sweater for me. The yarn even has 35% wool in it. I also bought some novelty yarns for scarves.

I must have been crazy when I bought 2 skeins of Angel Fleece, it's too much like Lion Brand Homespun. (Not one of my favorite yarns.) I loved the colors so much that I was tricked into buying it. I tried to knit something out of it and didn't like it. I ended up using a big crochet hook and crocheting a mesh scarf with loopy crocheted fringe on the ends. It turned out pretty well. I gave the other skein away. It wasn't worth the gas to return it.

I also picked up a couple of skeins of Hobby Lobby's Highland Thistle yarn. It's a bulky weight yarn with a bit of eyelash wrapped around it. I knit it up into a scarf using one size 15 needle and one size 17 needle. Cast on 12 stitches and knit it up in no time. One skein makes a scarf. Nice!

After finishing this scarf in record time, I browsed through the patterns in my 2007 Pattern-a-Day Calendar. What do I find but a pattern for a funky scarf pattern using fur yarn. Just so happens I got 2 skeins of Elf Eyelash yarn for 99 cents each. I cast on and started knitting it before I went to bed. I finished the tail and the back legs. Oh, is this pattern ever cool with this yarn! Find the November 12, 2007 pattern called "Pelts" (like a furry animal skin). Brenda Franklin is the designer. I hope to finish knitting this tonight. This has been such a fun knit so far that I'm trying to restrain myself from going back to Hobby Lobby for more fur yarn. :-)

Sunday, September 23

Wheel answers and project progress

I've gotten a lot of replies to my request for information about the spinning wheel. I'm copying everything down to give to Mary. I've been told it:
  • may be a child's wheel
  • or a traveling or visiting wheel
  • possibly European or German
  • a spinning wheel for flax
  • and Therese Forsch is the name on the plaque
Knitter's block is thankfully receding. I have yet to decide on a scarf pattern to knit for Scarves from the Heart. I have to get it finished this week so I can mail it in time for the Oct. 6 deadline.

For some time, I been looking for a boy baby cardigan pattern I like without success. I'm not in the mood to knit a Baby Surprise, I'm tired of top down raglan sweaters, and I don't want to knit a sweater in pieces and sew it together. The latter is too much work! I did see something that sparked an idea and am working on a simple design of my own. It will be knit from the bottom up in one piece, grafted at the shoulders, with the sleeve stitches picked up from the armholes and knit in the round down to the cuff. No seams to sew! I'm using Bernat Satin Sport in Seashore that was on sale last week at Michael's. (Acryl-ick, but you gotta love it for babies.) I'm shooting for a 9 months size. My design notes are scribbled all over a single sheet of paper complete with a diagram and measurements. I should type them up while I can still read them. LOL! I'll scribble more notes on the pattern sheet as I knit the sweater. Though I cast on for this on Thursday, I've only had time to knit an inch of so.

I've been playing with lace stitch patterns for a new design. I like what I've come up with but haven't decided if it will be a shawl, a stole, or a scarf. Right now, it's all on paper.

Post knitting block, I am so torn between which project to work on first! It seems to be either feast or famine.

Many thanks go out to Doe Firth for the scrap yarn that just arrived. This box has lots of sock yarn scraps for me to knit into cat toys. I'm going to have fun knitting small fish from these. :-)

And, last but not least, happy birthday to my dear friend, Chris. :-) The little Noro felted bag was knit for her. She liked it! Happy dance!

Happy birthday to ewe,
Happy birthday to ewe,
Happy birthday dear Chris,
And fibery goodness too!

Friday, September 21

Knitting in the Round reopens & a mystery wheel

Today, Elizabeth, Liz, and I took a short road trip to check out the newly reopened Knitting in the Round. This shop used to be in a round house off U.S. 31 in Lakeville, Indiana. It recently moved to a new location out in the country near Rolling Prairie, Saugany Lake, and the Indiana Toll Road. The shop is in the lower level of Lisa & Mary Shafer's home. It has a lot more space than the old shop and includes a big room that will be used as a classroom. It even has a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and a sink. All in all, it's very nice! And take it from me, their prices are reasonable.

The shop is up and running and they are getting in more stocks of yarn and knitting supplies every day. Though you can see from these pictures that they still have some work to do on the grounds. :-) Double click on the pictures to take a closer look. Owner Mary is on the left and my friend, Liz is on the right.

I took my sunrise leaf shawl along to share. Mary loved it so much she asked if she could borrow it for awhile to display in the shop. And (you won't be surprised to find out), she asked for a few copies of my shawl pattern to sell. Happy dance! Mary has expressed interested in our hand dyed and hand spun yarns as possible stock for the shop too.

Knitting in the Round is located at 8353 N 600 E in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. Their hours are Thursday thru Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm EST or by appointment.

If you're a spinner, you'll enjoy checking out this tiny spinning wheel and a huge Walking Wheel that are on display in the shop. If anyone has any information about this tiny spinning wheel, let me know. Mary thinks it is a child's spinning wheel but doesn't know it's age or anything else about it. The wheel has a small ceramic plaque set into it that have several words written on it. Is it German or something else, and what does it mean?

On a totally different topic, I finally caught up with my friend, Chris, to return her reblocked scarf. I gifted her with the felted bag I just finished (pictured in a previous post) for her birthday. Happy birthday, Chris! I hope you like it. When I saw the colors, I thought of you.

Thursday, September 20

Swap goodies, a new book, and Ravelry

I've been sorting out and destashing some things I won't use. I've posted several lists of items in the last couple of weeks on some of the Yahoo sale and trade lists. What you see here in the picture is what I got in trade from Karen for some yarn and a bunch of books and knitting patterns---one skein of Fleece Artist sock yarn in my all-time favorite colors, 4 ounces of white Zephyr wool/silk, and an 8 ounce cone of Brown Sheep Cotton Fine in Teddy Bear tan. Thanks, Karen! The tan yarn is not one of my favs so I will probably trade it for something else I can use. I am very satisfied with the trade and have enjoyed my email conversations with Karen.

I knocked one item off my wish list recently. I purchased a copy of Wrapped in Comfort by Alison Jeppson Hyde. Knit Picks had a book sale and I couldn't resist the price. I couldn't find a copy of it in any bookstore in my area, yarn shop, or even at the Michigan Fiber Fest last month. Oh course, when I ordered I also got a few skeins of yarn and a couple of circular needles too to get the free shipping. :-)

There are 16 patterns in the book for top down circular lace shawls and a few scarves. Alison has a clever way of shaping the top of the shawl to keep it in place on your shoulders. And since they are all knitted with larger size needles, they are a quick knit. It will be hard to choose just one to knit. :-)

I took the book to a recent meeting of my fiber arts group and it was passed around. No one else had seen it before. They were all oohing and aahing over the patterns. I heard more than one say they would be purchasing a copy too.

I'm getting closer to an invite from Ravelry. I didn't sign up when I first heard about it. Have you taken the video tour on their blog? It shows some of the features that are available. Click here to find it. Their blog says they got their new servers and are now inviting about 500 people a day. Hopefully, that means I should get an invite sometime next week. I'm so excited!
  • You signed up on July 16, 2007
  • You are #17371 on the list.
  • 2353 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 16770 people are behind you in line.
  • 43% of the list has been invited so far
A friend of mine who is already on Ravelry tells me that my Cascading Leaves shawl pattern has been talked about. I know I'm getting a lot of hits on my blog from Ravelry. Can't wait to find out what it's all about.

I'm awfully afraid once I join Ravelry it will be hard to get anything else done. But woo-hoo, a site just for all us fiberholics!

Wednesday, September 19

Noro Felted Bag

Last week (before knitter's block), I quickly knitted up a felted bag with 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon. I wish I'd had 3 skeins but 2 was all I had in this colorway. I love knitting felted bags since they knit up so fast on big needles.

Kureyon is pretty rough to knit with plus it has little bits of dried fiber in it. But don't despair, after it's put through my front loading washing machine a couple of times, it becomes very soft and felted. The colors really pop! I took the completed bag to my fiber arts meeting last week. Sandy was surprised it was so soft. She said she'd been put off from using Kureyon because it's so rough. After seeing this bag, she may give it a try.

My friend Chris asked me to reblock her lace scarf. I blocked it harder so you could see the lace pattern. It's now about 3" wider than it was when she gave the scarf to me. Here's how it turned out. Isn't it gorgeous?

Tuesday, September 18

Knitter's block

Ack! It's happened again. I have knitter's block and I don't like it. I'm stranded in a knitting desert. Help!

Just when I need the comfort of knitting, doing it is beyond me. It happened after my MIL passed away and now again with the loss of White Kitty. I'm looking at patterns and trying to get myself focused on spinning or knitting anything. I've tried and tried for the past several days to cast on for various projects with different yarns and patterns. Nothing has worked and everything has been frogged. I am so frustrated!

I'd like to knit a scarf or two for the Scarves From the Heart organization. Something that will be given to someone who has survived cancer. A symbol of courage and caring for them to proudly wear. I'd like to do this not only to honor my MIL, but for my best friend, Cathy, who passed away from this terrible disease in September 10 years ago. Even after all this time, I still miss her. I feel a real need to do something special for someone else---to give of myself and my talents. It may sound weird but I think doing so will comfort me too.

I sorted through my yarn stash for oddballs that might work for scarves. I found a couple of balls of Brooks Farm Fourplay (270 yards of worsted weight wool/silk) and a leftover ball of handpainted yarn (180 yards of fingering weight wool/silk) from the Butterfly shawl I made. I have a ball of shaded golds and one of shaded reds in the Fourplay. You can see the colors of the Butterfly shawl yarn if you click HERE. Both of these should make wonderful scarves. Trouble is, I can't make any of the dozen patterns I've tried work with these yarns.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a scarf pattern I could knit with these yarns? I have to start knitting soon, the deadline is October 8, less than 3 weeks away.

Friday, September 14

White Kitty 1987-2007

White Kitty crossed over to kitty heaven this morning. He had not been doing well lately. We took him to the vet this morning and had to leave him for some tests. Not long after we got home, our vet called to say that he had collapsed, stopped breathing, and turned blue. They started him on oxygen and took an x-ray of his lungs. One lung was totally full of a mass and it was beginning to invade the other lung. He was suffocating. We had to make the difficult decision to put him down. White Kitty was not alone at the end and he passed peacefully. We are sad to see him go. :-(

He lived a long and happy life at our house. My husband was single at that time. He had just bought a house where he, his brother, and a friend were living. His brother, Peter, picked out White Kitty. He brought him home because he was yelling louder than another other cat at the adopt-a-pet event. He thought he had been there a long time. It turned out that he had just been dropped off by his former owners. They had to get rid of him because of an allergic child. White Kitty was 1-year-old and not a happy camper about losing his former home.

Here are some pictures from happier days. Three of them are from 8 years ago when Boo was a kitten. His arrival rejuvenated White Kitty. They were best buddies and White Kitty taught him all he knew. Some of which we wish he hadn't. :-)

Monday, September 10

Sunrise leaf shawl finished

Here's the shawl as it came off my needles. It looks like a tiny crumpled mess.

And below is the finished shawl. What a difference blocking makes!

I used my Cascading Leaves shawl pattern and one 440 yard skein of Knit Picks Bare (silk/wool) yarn. I solar dyed the yarn with Easter Egg colors for a fall leaves look. Even though this yarn is listed as a fingering weight, it looks a little thicker. My blocked shawl turned out 57" wide by 27.5" long at the tip.

My energy is beginning to come back. I had a busy weekend.

I blocked this shawl, reblocked a friend's scarf, and finished the 4 baby bibs. The ends are now tucked in and a button sewn on for the strap. My Knitting Zone sale booty arrived in Saturday afternoon's mail. I immediately cast on for a felted bag with a couple of skeins of Noro Kureyon. I felted it yesterday. :-) Felted bags knit up so quickly on large needles!

On Sunday, Hubby and I went to the Cat Show in South Bend. They had some new breeds on display, one of which is a cat with short legs. In my opinion, that's taking things a little too far. I did enjoy seeing all the different cats there for the judging. Pet Refuge and Pets Connect both had booths with kitties who were up for adoption. With four kitties at home, I don't need any more. Though it's always hard to walk away from kitties who need a home. I did purchase a few cat toys for my spoiled kitties.

Saturday, September 8

A gift from the heart

Wednesday night, my friend, Jessica, surprised me with an incredibly generous and thoughtful gift from the heart. She gifted me with this--a new Cascading Leaves shawl!

She stressed it was not a replacement for the one I gave up, but she hoped it would make up for its loss in some small way. I am especially touched that she did this for me given that she has so little free time for knitting and that she's also recovering from a recent death in her family. I highly value the caring and good thoughts she knit into every stitch. Thank you, Jessica, I love it!

All of my knitting friends truly understand how difficult it was for me to part with the shawl I had designed and knit for myself. Non-knitters would not understand how much of myself was part of that shawl or even appreciate the time and effort it took to bring it into being. It was no machine knit, off-the-rack, shawl identical to thousands of others that you might buy at Walmart for $10. That said, I do not begrudge giving the shawl to my MIL, though I would much rather have seen her wear it in life rather than in death.

Friday, September 7

A Line of Baby Bibs

Sorry I haven't had time to post this week.

I finished the Cascading Leaves shawl in sunrise colors. I'll post pictures once I have a few minutes to block it.

A friend surprised me with an incredibly generous gift on Wednesday night. I'll blog about it tomorrow.

I met up with some knitting friends on Wednesday night. Knowing that there are 2 babies due next year for members of our group, I grabbed some cotton dishcloth yarn and a simple baby bib pattern as I headed out the door. I knit one at the coffee shop, two more after I got home, and another one last night. :-) I love simple knits! Once I tuck in the ends and sew on a button they'll be finished. I highly recommend this as a fast and easy project.

The Simple Baby Bib pattern is by Colleen Kadleck. In 2003, she donated the pattern to the Knitlist free patterns. Thanks Colleen, for a great pattern!

Grab a ball of dishcloth cotton and a pair of US size 9 needles and cast on. In less than 1 hour I had a bib finished. It's a good scrap project. I only used about 40 yards of yarn for each bib. On the next one, I'd like to add the button to the stitch while I'm knitting. This will make it more secure than sewing it on later.