Monday, November 05, 2007

My First Knitted Sweater

This is the Sonnet sweater from For the garter stitch part, I used two yarns, and slipped stitches on alternate colors to create the mosaic look. The blue is a wool/acrylic blend I got from my friend Earin, and the multi is recycled sari silk yarn I got from ebay.

I made the extra large size. I did have gauge. And it looked like it was fitting. That is, until I put the sleeves on. The neckline is so wide in this sweater, that the weight of the sleeves pull it even wider, and it slips off the shoulders. (Notice how I have had to roll up the sleeves!)

This picture shows the sweater AFTER I washed AND dried it. It did shrink up quite a bit in the length, but that neckline is still just too wide for this sweater to be very wearable. I'm thinking of closing up the neckline a bit with a crochet border.

The other problem with this sweater is how WARM it is. Whew! I am sure I'll knit this pattern again, I love the way it goes together. But next time a lighter weight yarn and a smaller size.

I saw this pattern for a felted skull and I just had to make it for my friend Cher. She has a thing for skulls. Can't you see this fellow dangling from the rear view mirror, with a friend?

The Mermaid Scarf

I made one of these scarves from leftover sock yarn. That one is all blues and greys. I was going to give it to my hairdresser, but she's allergic to wool. So I said I'd make her one. I asked her what color she wanted, and she said, anything with black in it. The hair salon is right next door to Filati's but they were closed. So I went down to Beverly's and I found this very soft acrylic yarn from Lion Brand, called Micro Spun. It splits like the devil, but if you are careful with it, it makes up beautifully. I'm not quite finished with the scarf, but I'm loving the look of it.

Here's a closeup. The crochet hook is a size E, and this yarn calls for an H, but it's working fine.

That's all I have time for. More projects very soon!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Wooly Hat

At Shay Black's Irish Session at the Starry Plough, he passes around a wooly hat to collect contributions for the musicians. I thought , we need a wooly hat to pass around at our house concerts! So, I decided to knit one.

I sort of went by the pattern for a knitted bowl, in One Skein, but I added stitches and made it bigger. I also used two colors of wool together (this is odds and ends of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes I had left over from other projects).

Here is the hat before it came off the needles:

You can see how big it is.

This is what happened after it was felted. A little small for my head, but I wasn't intending to wear it!

Perfect for the purpose. I love the way the colors heathered after it was felted.

It's almost time for evening meditation. I'll blog more tomorrow. Lots more to show! I'm finally out of the production tunnel!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The October Push

Today I'm driving down to San Leandro. I'll meet Jaya there (he's been in Livermore for a black belt convention this weekend) and we'll do music with friends in the afternoon, and go to the Starry Plough for session in the evening (to see the video in this link, click 'Media' and then 'Video'). We'll stay over with our friends Joyce and Jim Newport. Then Monday, Jaya will go to work in Benicia, and go home after. I'll go to work in Berkeley, and stay over with Joyce... probably for the week.

We are down to the final stretch with book and magazine deadlines, and WE AREN'T DONE WRITING YET. It is very scary. I just have to believe we will get it all done, and I'll have time to put everything together.

I spent Saturday working on the magazine, which is only a reprint, but it still must be attended to. It feels like I have a good handle on it, now. A few more tweaks, then I can make the PDF files for the printer.

Jan is getting me the writups and rewrites as she finishes them, but there are still outstanding proofs. We're working on it, but.... whew.

So I'll probably be staying down in the bay area until all this is done. Hopefully I'll get to come home on weekends for conjugal visits. Hopefully. I'm not promising.

We are having our off season meetings the week of October 22. And we are scheduled for a spa day on the 24th. I'm supposed to get a 'red flowers massage' which I will REALLY deserve after all this!!! But I would so like to be finished before I get it, and I'm not sure that will happen at the rate we're going.

Look for me to resurface sometime in November.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007


We went to Sid and Susan Crane's home in Chico for an Irish session on August 18th. They raise Alpacas. I took some photos of these comical, beautiful animals.

Doesn't this one look just like it came out of a Dr. Seuss illustration?

Susan said their care is not very time consuming. She spends about 20 minutes each morning, composting their droppings, which look like deer droppings. And then she throws hay around for them in the evening. That's pretty much it. She has nine animals in all. Two of her females are pregnant.

They don't require brushing. In fact, it's bad for the coat. Susan says there are two ways to go. You can purchase breeding animals, which are more expensive, or you can purchase non-breeders, and simply harvest the fleece. Susan sends hers off to a mill to be processed into yarn. They hire people to shear them once a year. These animals were all shorn in April. Their coats will get much thicker by next spring.

Alpaca yarn is very, very soft. Wonderful fiber. I wanted to buy some from Susan, but it was all spoken for!

The stag pillow is finished. Blocked, stuffed, and all sewn up. The widdershins socks are finished, too, but I neglected to get a photo. I sent them to my son, Andrew. He actually wrote a lengthy email (3 paragraphs!) thanking me for them. Now THAT was worth the effort.

Here's the way our parlor used to look.

And here's the parlor with the addition of the beautiful new round rug from IKEA.

Saturday was session day. We had a nice turnout and made some great music. For more details, go to

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

New and old projects


I have completed two swatches for the Bonita Shirt. I washed the one on the top. It changed gauge. I decided to do another one in the lace pattern, and I'm getting gauge before I wash it. I think I will wash it by hand this time, and hang it to dry, to mimic what will happen to the garment. The first one was washed on delicate in the machine.

I'm using KnitPicks Shine Sport. I LOVE the feel of this yarn.

This is the Intricate Stag Bag pattern from Knitting Daily. Instead of a bag, I'm going to make a pillow. I don't need another bag. I'll have to modify the size just a bit. I'm using Wool of the Andes I had leftover from my Felted Entrelac Tote project. I didn't actually use those colors in that bag, I had purchased more colors than I used, just in case.

The Widdershins socks for Andrew are still coming along. I want to knit until I have no more yarn, so they will be rather long. He can always fold them down.


I went to the fabric store last weekend. They were having a fourth of July sale. I bought fabric for some drawstring pants in the Folkwear Sarouelles pattern. I think I am going to make the African version, but I guess I COULD make all three if I wanted. I think the fabric I got lends itself to the african version, though.

And the belly dancing costume is becoming more real. I bought fabric for the choli (kind of a short, open backed shirt) and pantaloons, and this wonderful veil stuff that is very UN-tribal, but so cool I couldn't resist it. It's sheer, and black, but shines purplish and teal on the edges.

I also bought coins to make a bra. Rather, to sew on a bra. I went to Cost Less Beads in Berkeley yesterday, and, while the store has changed, they still carry the materials I wanted. I got some antique copper coins, chain and a scarab piece.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


We have a shortage of chairs at our house. This is bad, because we want to have music sessions and parties here on a regular basis. But instead of going out and buying a bunch of folding chairs, we are taking our time, and putting our creative juices to work.

I found four directors chairs at a garage sale. Here's a photo of one (I'm sitting in it.) You can see it's a bit worse for wear.

We found some bright red cotton duck fabric, and I made new covers for them. To strengthen the seams, I put an embroidery stitch all around in yellow.

My friends Earin and Dick generously helped me paint them. Here's Dick setting them up for the final coat of paint.

I spent most of the day Saturday out at Earin and Dick's place in Penn Valley. Earin was griping over Claude, a sweater that she has been working on for some time. I think it may be finished very soon.

She showed me the grapes and fruit trees she's growing. If she can beat the racoons to them she'll have a nice crop of Thompson's seedless this year.

Eye candy from Earin's porch.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Knitting and Music

April 14 was the potluck in El Dorado Hills. We had a fun session after we ate.

Here's Bo, our host. He has a set of whistles to rival Tim Hart!

The next day we went to session at Joyce's. I forgot the camera, though. We stayed until 8:45, and were too pooped to go to the plough afterwards!

Knitting News
I was browsing around the web, on knitting sites, and I found a link to this call for knitters in response to the shooting at Virginia Tech. Mosaic Yarn Shop is asking knitters and crocheters to create squares measuring 8" x 8" (after blocking) in any composition and send to the shop. They will be sewing the squares together and giving them to the victim's families. They will be collecting the squares through the end of May. Please help create these beautiful blankets and heal in the process...

Color choices for squares: Maroon, Burnt Orange, White, Black (school colors)

Please knit or crochet squares out of the nicest, softest yarn you can afford.

Deadline for the squares...May 31st, 2007

Please mail squares to:
Mosaic Yarn Shop
880 University City Blvd.
Blacksburg, VA 24060

I decided I'd like to do this. I imagine a square I've knit to end up in a blanket that might give some small comfort to a person who has suffered great loss. So I went out and bought the colors in the softest yarn I could find. And I'm knitting in a little personal touch.. see the heart?

I frogged my vest. I did more than the red ribbing I showed earlier, but the colors just were not working together. So I decided I would make up a pattern. I can't find one that I think will work, so I just cast on enough stitches to go around me, and I'm working in the round. We'll see what happens. I'm pretty close to having to make some decisions about armholes and shaping.

And I have started my 2 socks on 2 circular needles, toe up! The next thing I wanted to try.

I am very cleverly using one ball of yarn for two socks. One sock is being knit from the inside of the ball, and the other from the outside. I cut holes in either side of a plastic bag for the yarn ball, to minimize tangling. It's working pretty well, but I still do have to straighten it out now and then.

This yarn was a christmas present from my sister-in-law, Marcia. It's Superwash Merino, from JuJuknits. The colorway is 'pumpkin'. I'm using size 0 circulars, and my only problem was, I made them a bit too big. So I've started a 1x1 rib in the foot of the sock, and I'm making them for Andrew, who's feet are bigger than mine.

Here's a closeup of the colorway.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Garden Tour

I opened the Auburn Journal this morning, and I found an article about a garden tour in this area coming up on May 12. 4 local gardens open to the public! The article is in the Auburn Garden Club column, by Sam Wiseman. At this writing it was not yet posted on their website, but probably will be soon.

For over ten years, the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program has unlocked the gates to hundreds of America’s very best private gardens by working with volunteers coast to coast to coordinate schedules, collect information, and get it to you. Many of these gardens are rarely, if ever, otherwise open to the public.

Jaya and I have lots to do in the way of landscaping our new home. Now, with income tax season nearly overwith, we will begin putting money aside to deal with the yard. But although we have some vague ideas of what we want, I think visiting existing gardens in the area is a great way to get ideas.

My friend Earin is an avid gardener. I think at some point she should open HER garden for viewing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Current Knits

Here's the latest. It's a Diamond Lace Cardigan, I got the pattern (now discontinued) on sale from This is the back, I am just about an inch away from where the armhole shaping begins. In the process of knitting this pattern, I have discovered the importance of reading through the pattern before you begin. My first couple inches had to be ripped out because I wasn't doing the repeats correctly. And now I have discovered that I've made the edges incorrectly. I'm NOT going to rip this out. I'm going to modify the fronts so that the side seams will match. Since this is my first lace knitting project, I'm not sure I would have discovered this even if I had read the pattern carefully first, but I do see the benefit.

This pink yarn is some I got on ebay, and I have 6 300meter skeins. It has pictures of goats on the label, but everything appears to be in Russian. I think they are angora goats. The yardage works out to be plenty, if my gauge is right. I did do a gauge swatch, but I'm a little concerned about what will happen to this when blocked. Since it will be a lightweight cardigan, it shouldn't matter if it's a little large.

And because I can't have just one project on my needles, I started another one. This is another stash-buster. Did I tell you? My latest quest is to find projects for all the yarn I currently HAVE. Which is considerable.

This project is a striped vest, from This project is DESIGNED to use up stash. I've decided to use my Wool of the Andes for the stripes portion, along with some cotton/linen/wool blend I picked up over a year ago at Stitches. The wool is leftover from the entrelac bag, so I have a bunch of colors.

I need a couple different sizes of needles to get on with this one, and I've ordered them. But they haven't arrived as yet. Maybe in the mail today....

And here's the waterfall shawl! All done! And guess what? It makes a perfect door hanging, covering the door-window out to the backyard from our bedroom. We have another of these doors in the great room... maybe I'll have to make another one.

Also, the boot socks are finished. I would show a picture, but I've been wearing them, and they are dirty. But they made my friend's blog last month. You can see them (and me) on the March 27 entry of EverythingEarin.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stitches West

Meredith and I just got back from Stitches West, a huge knitting convention held every year in Santa Clara. This is the floorplan for the marketplace this year. Can you imagine the size of this event? It's huge! We went for one day last year, just after Meredith and I began knitting. This time we stayed overnight. On Friday, we took a class in Norwegian Knitting by Beth Walker O'Brien. I learned how to hold the yarn in my right hand, so I could knit with two colors at once, and how to trap long strands. We learned about steeks, and I'm anxious to try this technique in a garment. We had time before class and again on Saturday to shop at the marketplace. There must have been 300 vendors there!
Meredith went over to the Dominknitrix booth while I was digging in the bargain bin for yarn. I had to wait in a long line, but I bought 60 skeins of wool for $1.66 each. I'm going to see about making the Arwen sweater with some of this wool, 20 skeins are in a pretty dark green.

Meredith got us both copies of the Dominknitrix book. Here I am with the author, Jennifer Stafford.

We went to the fashion show Friday night. Here we are, waiting for things to begin. I haven't mastered the technique of taking photos of myself, so here's the VERY flattering, up-the-nose shot.
This sweater is very appealing to me. I almost bought the pattern on Saturday, but decided I have too many projects to do first.

This fashion show featured a baby, who was a pretty good sport. There was a little unhappiness at the end, but all in all, this kid was a trooper.

Throughout the show, they were giving away materials and patterns for the items they were showing. At almost the end of the show, they called my number! I won! Here's a photo of the beautiful Victorian lace cape:

The pattern is in the book, Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. I also won a copy of the book!

And here I am with all my purchases and winnings. I'm holding the practice swatch that we did in the Norwegian Knitting class. I also got a space-age ironing board cover. It is made of fiberglass, and it reflects heat, so you can leave your iron at a lower temperature and get great results.