Sunday, January 29, 2006


FLAK progress

OK - progress on the back so far...many more inches to go, but this is very relaxing. There's only one row with cable twists in every motif so the other rows go pretty fast.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


House is LISTED!

Well - FINALLY!! The house is in prime condition and is listed for sale!! Jones has worked really hard to make this happen.

This is one of the smallest, oldest and least expensive homes in El Dorado Hills. Many of the newer homes are giant mansions costing over $1 Million dollars!!!! So, a buyer can have the snob appeal of the exclusive address without the high price tag. Shopping in the local grocery store here is a real trip sometimes - all the trophy wives in their workout clothes, make-up and puffy collegen-injected lips. Time for us regular folks to get the heck outta here.

We even had our first "lookers" come by the house today. So let's keep our fingers crossed that someone will fall in love with the pool/backyard/new kitchen...whatever turns them on in a house and buys it!

I had another great day at Frog Pond Knits teaching an Introduction to Fair Isle class. We focused on the technique of holding the yarn in 2 hands (one for each color) and reading from a chart. I always enjoy teaching these types of knitting classes - I just want to share the fact that all of knitting is really simple once you've learned the basics. It's just a series of building blocks or different pathways that you can take to create new fabrics or patterns.

So here's the swatch that we all knit. This is still all fugly because it hasn't been blocked - but you get the idea. I had made up kits of 8 colors of Karisma superwash wool for the 10 students. The chart was simple black & white because I wanted them to each choose their own placement of the colors. No Follow the Leader here...

We knit back and forth to 1) teach stranding on the purl side (which we all hate to do), and 2) to keep the swatch small for a 2 1/2 hour class.

Knit on...

Monday, January 23, 2006


Road Trip & New Knitting Book

A few of us knitting freaks took a road trip down the central valley of California to scenic Fresno to see a unique display of knitting. There was an exhibit of world renown lace knitter and author Mary Walker-Phillips' marvelous wall hangings - both knit and macrame - at the Fresno Art Museum. Most of us were already familiar with her books of delicate lace knitting patterns. But, this was a tremendous opportunity for knitters to see some of the larger pieces of her work.

The wall hangings were knit from a wide variety of materials - paper - linen - wool - cotton and had added embellishments such as rocks. Check out the photos for a quick peak of the exhibit. I never knew until the trip that Mary Walker-Phillips designed for a Frank Lloyd Wright house - a wall hanging I believe. Plus, I was really blown away by the materials - somehow I figured that she would use traditional cottons and wools. The experience was so inspiring!!! I feel challenged to create something unique & large!!
Here is our group - can you believe that we all fit into my Plymouth Voyager mini-van??? It was one fully-loaded van that day.

And....drum-roll please....ta-da...our local knitting celebrity, Lorna Miser, has just completed her new booklet which will be available soon at craft & yarn stores. It is titled "Knit & Fused Purses".

I have been creating these purses for about a year now after taking an all-day class from Lorna offered by our guild. Then, the 2nd purse I ever made this way won 2nd prize at the California State Fair!!! (See June 2005 blog entry Funky Chicken Tote) The fusing technique helps to stablize the knit fabric, and prevents pens, needles, etc. from escaping the knit purse. This new booklet has great photos showing the complete layout of the lining & fusing materials. Even if you are able to get into one of Lorna's classes at Stitches some day - this booklet would still make a great addition to any knitting library.

Lorna and her new book (note the pink tote!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006


FLAK KAL Saddles

Shoulder Saddles DONE!

These were a lot of fun to knit. I'm biting at the bit to get going on the rest of the sweater. It's not like I don't have anything else to knit so I'll dig out the Charlotte's Web Shawl I'm knitting with Koigu and finish that up while I wait for the next chapter of our Knit along to be posted.


Knitting Olympics

Synchronized sock-knitting complete with Miss America smiles?
Cross-country yarn stash toting?
"You Knit What?" Fashion show on ice to perky music?
Frogging races?

NO! It's the challenge yourself to start & finish a knitting project in the 16 days of the winter olympics!!! I've merrily [over]committed myself to knit the Victorian Lace Shawl from as part of this mad adventure. Check out the link - button on my sidebar for more information. See you at the finish line fellow knitting athletes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Knitting Camp Video

Check out this link

to a short video about Meg Swansen's knitting camp last summer!!! A fellow camper (Hi Nancy!) sent me the link. This was aired on local Wisconsin television. It really gives a feel for what camp is like - and gets me so excited to return this coming summer. This year I would like to move up to Camp 2. I hope I can get in - it is so popular. I'll be somewhere in Southern California by then (July 20 thru 24th), not Mexico yet, so flying out should be painless.
Also check out for info about the camp.
Knit on,

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Cable Swatch

This is a swatch from a class that I've taught on how to knit cables & bobbles. I wanted knitters to realize that most of the cables they will see are made up of only 2 slightly different actions - right twists & left twists.

While we were at it, it was fun to also demonstrate different borders.

See how the stocking stitch border (2nd from the bottom) curls? Not a good choice - curling is inherent in this pattern stitch.

See how the garter stitch border wants to pull up the bottom (bottom and top areas)? This is because the row gauge in garter stitch is different - more rows to the inch - than stocking stitch. To remedy this I will add a "short row" every now and then to add extra garter stitch rows so that the border lies flat and relaxed with the rest of the item (scarf/armhole and cardigan edging/afghan squares/etc.)

The seed stitch (k1,p1) border is a good choice usually. Nice and flat.
End of lesson...back to our regular scheduled knitting...
Working on the saddle shoulders for the FLAK KAL on Yahoo! Simple braided cable work. I am using a new (to me) technique for the 2 stitch cable twist of this piece. Instead of using a cable needle, I knit into 2nd stitch on the needle first, don't slip off, then knit into the first stitch, then slip both off. The effect is very very very close to using a cable needle with only a slight difference in the tension of the two stitches. I like it - it's easier to do - so there.
Knit on,

Monday, January 16, 2006


Update: The Cat is Still Alive

Yes, our dear cat is still alive and kicking at age 18 1/2!!! Everyone is afraid to ask me how he's doing because they assume he's dead by now - but, no, he's still breathing and eating which is all we expect from him. Of course, he's getting slower, and you can feel the bones of his back when you pet him, but he still is aware of where he is and who feeds him. For an outside/inside kitty, 18 1/2 is a long life. He's had his share of infections that we fought off with surgery and antibiotics, but now he sticks to the second floor balcony or the rear deck for "outside" time where the mean neighborhood cats won't pick on him. Mean cats suck.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


"Sherbet" Fair Isle Beanie

Now, this little number is another sample hat from the class that I taught. I had it "on the needles" to demonstrate the 2-color knitting technique. Well, silly me didn't keep any of the bright pink ("Petal"-KnitPicks Palette) yarn - I gave it all away to the students. So...I had to improvise with other colors. I think it kinda resembles rainbow sherbet mixed with raspberry & ???? It's not blocked yet. I think I'll keep it that way to show the next class (January 28th at Frog Pond Knits) the benefits of blocking. Things sure look better after wetting so that the stitches all even out.

I experimented with a 6-pointed star design on the top using vertical double decreases and simple striping. Not sure that I like it that much - kinda squarish, but it looks better on the head.

The ends haven't been woven in yet - I'm leaving those for now so that I can demonstrate weaving in at the next class. No, I won't have the students do the work for me. Believe me, I've done that, thinking I was oh-so smart getting them to do the dirty work. But, then I had to rip it all out because it looked terrible!!! After the class I'll settle in to watch an episode of "Law & Order" and weave in the ends.

Inside view - and all those yarn tails!!!

So, for the upcoming class, I've decided to use Karisma superwash wool yarn in a worsted weight. This class is only 2 1/2 hours so I'd like them all to be able to make some progress on their knitting. I selected some colors of the wool, and will be winding it down into smaller butterflies so that everyone can have a little bit of each color. Colorwork is so much more fun with many colors (duh).

Knit on,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Got Knitting...

Well, I finally blocked the fair isle hat I knit as the sample for my last class that I taught at Sierra College. This is my own design, knit with KnitPicks "Palette" fingering weight wool.

These are so much fun to knit!!! I created a spreadsheet in Excel to calculate the decrease rate for the "wheel" top of the tam. Also, I charted out some basic designs that I can print out and color with pencils to create colorways.

Who can ever get bored knitting???? Not me!!!

Below is another view showing the corregated ribbing with the gradual changes in hue of the background colors.

to the right is my next sock project - this time for dear husband. It is Opal brand sock yarn in one of their "Dream Catcher" colorways. Gray, of course.

Keep Knitting!!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Cabled Baby hat

This is a quick little cable/rib baby hat I knit up for a baby shower tomorrow. The edge around the face is a simple shell crochet stitch.

We finished the faux finish painting to look like burlap in the upstairs hall bathroom. Actually, it was really fun to do it - because it's supposed to look like a rough fabric, we didn't have to worry about straight lines. There have been so many layers of wallpaper applied, and then peeled off of the walls, and other injuries, so that we would have had to do a lot of prep work just to get a smooth surface for painting. I looked into real grass cloth wall coverings and, YIKES!, they are expensive. So we tried this faux finish. First we painted the walls paper-bag brown. Then we mixed 4 parts "glaze" and 1 part off-white paint. We rollered this onto the wall in sections. We cut 1/8' knotches in a rubber shower squeegee and dragged this down the wall. This made stripes - but not really strippy - because the white paint/glaze mixture filled into the rough finish of the wall. A few days later, we applied another coat of the lighter paint/glaze mixture, then dragged a different squeegee - this time 1/16" knotches, across the wall to mimic a weaving.

Unlike other home improvement ventures, this time we really had fun doing the work!! What the heck! We don't have to live here!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Finished Socks "Whoppers"

Okay - here's another pair of socks - this time for my oldest son (modeled by him in his Oh-la-la model feet pose). These reminded me of those "Whoppers" candy - you know, the chocolate covered malt balls. I got so hungry for those that I actually had to buy a couple of boxes to munch as I knit these!!! The yarn is by OnLine and is one of those self-patterning sock yarns.
Casted on for my husband's next pair of socks - a gray on gray self-patterning "Dream Catcher" yarn by OPAL of Germany. Actually I spent more time talking than knitting at the 2 knitting get-togethers I hung out at today. It was so good to see all of the other knitters and see & hear about their sucesses. But now I'm exhausted. I was planning to set up the design & wind yarn for an upcoming fair isle class that I'm teaching, but I'm just too pooped. Going upstairs now to slip into my PJs and knit....

Monday, January 02, 2006


Craft Room Show & Tell

Wooo Hoo! I have spent DAYS sorting thru all of my yarn, projects, crap I brought home from the office when I got laid off last summer, and misc. stuff. Finally, I can see the FLOOR of my craft room. It's been storming with wind and rain, day after day, so it was a good time to work inside. Just don't look in the closet!! Yikes! Scary! I still have lots of stuff to sell on eBay, but I'm waiting now until the house is sold so that I can spread it all out again to package in "Lots" by fiber type.

Rain, rain, rain - didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday. I sorted thru boxes of misc. knitting patterns, magazines, stuff pulled from the internet, and dreamed of the days ahead that I will be able to make some of these projects. Tripped across my copy of Barbara Walker's "Charted Knitting Designs" and drooled over the unique patterns - doesn't your head just spin with the possibilities when you look at some of these excellent knitting resources? Mine does - shawls, sweaters, hats, socks - colors, textures, drape - sensory overload. So many opportunities - so little time (until later!!!).

I've joined another online knit-along - FLAK - Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong. This time it will be a sweater for me! Check out and the leader's site (Janet Szabo)

So far, all we've done is swatch for gauge in the filler stitch, and practice for cables. So there's pleanty of time to join the fun!

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