Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for January, 2010

Snowed In . . . with Yarn

Posted by mtmom on January 29, 2010

And what did I and my 2 DDs do while we were snowed in for almost a week?  Crochet!

I had 2 library books at home, and we worked from those and from Lion Brand online amigurumi patterns.  The books are Creative Crochet Lace by Myra Wood, and The Crochet Workbook by Sylvia Cosh and James Walters.

Cherry's chain

Cherry learned to “finger crochet”, and produced this L O N G chain (which the cat finds irresistible!)

Kathy's amigurumi toys

Kathy and I did exercises from The Crochet Workbook.

Kathy's swatches

< – – She used her new crochet skills to produce a Fortune Cookie-shaped cat toy and blue “Love Bird”, both from Lion Brand free patterns.

Here are her practice swatches. – – >



And here are mine.

Turning chains: count as stitches vs don't count as stitches

Single-crochet and double-crochet as CO chains, instead of slip stitches

Step increases at the ends of rows


2-color Spiral -- finally figured this one out myself

Bumps, bobbles, loops, and knots

Uneven rows that compensate for one another

2-color partial rows

Built up the ripples to get a level row, then added spikes and round-the-post and crab stitches

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Snow on Snow on Snow

Posted by mtmom on January 21, 2010

Three storms in one week!  10.5″ + 9″ + 2 or more feet of snow; currently chest-high in our yard.  And now the snow has turned to rain — ugh!  Gonna compact the snow, making it too heavy to shovel, gonna freeze on the roads and walks, and gonna flood down at lower elevations (like Sedona, Oak Creek, even down to Phoenix). Thought I’d try to give you a bit of the flavor of it through images.  Witness the gradual burying of our gas grill!  (“Before” shots are above the “after” shots from similar vantage points.)

sun after storm #1 - back yard

sun after storm #2 - driveway and front yard (north)

Storm 2 - front yard (south)

Storm 3 - back yard

Storm 3 - Jim shoveling driveway

Storm 3 - front yard (south)

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Old Norwegain / Twisted German Cast-On videos

Posted by mtmom on January 20, 2010

edited to add the multiple versions of this demonstration

This is a classic example of the non-uniformity of knitting terminology.  Techniques spread from knitter to knitter, but names may change.  It may make you nuts when researching something, but it’s not a bad thing in itself.  Here we have 3 videos, each knitter gets the same cast-on result, but each manipulates her thumb in a slightly different way.  One movement may be easier for you than another, but all will get you the same stretchy cast-on with the extra twist (and little bump) in the bottom strand.

(1) Knitting Daily and the “Old Norwegian” cast-on.     (originally posted here:

(2) Knitwitch and the “Twisted German” cast-on.  (This is what I usually call it, but not exactly how I usually do it.) 

(3) Lucy Neatby and the “German Twisted” cast-on.  Her thumb technique is closest to the way I learned it. 

Plus a little pic of kitty, for fun.


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Christmas Cactus blooms!

Posted by mtmom on January 19, 2010

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Milk Cap is in the Mail — Hurray!

Posted by mtmom on January 15, 2010

I am so glad to be done with this — not that the knitting or writing was arduous, but the Monday deadline was really wearing on me.  I actually *like* the cap.

(Um, yes, that's me.)

And it’s a pretty good match to one of my favorite jackets.

But I don’t know if they’ll let me have it back. . . .

I plan to ask!  🙂

Top view, blocking on dinner plate.

Side view of blocking arrangement, moved from bathroom into sunlight for photo.

Yarn is “1/2 N 1/2”

by Kollage Yarns.

50% milk (!)

50% wool

l would categorize it as sportweight.

Needles US 6 (4 mm)

168 sts

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Back to Fair Isle Sampler Scarf, plus Kollage Kap

Posted by mtmom on January 10, 2010

3 sets of "Korean stripes" in Sampler Scarf

Here’s where we stand with the Sampler Scarf!

Stripe Set 1:  neutral is KnitPicks “Bare” handdyed with (decaf) black tea, then colors are KnitPicks Palette C843 “Garnet Heather”, Jamieson & Smith shade 1283 “Pink Mist”, Reynolds Gleneagles fingering shade 3412 orange, J&S 58 “Dark Green”, J&S 26 lt. green.

Set 2:  neutral is J&S shade FC43 (“Fawn”), then 3 shades of KP Palette:  C821 “Blue Note Heather”, 6886 “Petal”, C843 “Garnet Heather”, and J&S 73 “Orange”.

Set 3:  neutral is J&S 202, then KP “Bare” home-dyed with sumac blossoms (yellow), J&S 93 “red”, J&S 131 “violet”, J&S 21 “navy”, J&S FC11.

Set 4:  My current plan is to use J&S FC17 for the next neutral.

Then perhaps on to some non-stripe 2-color patterning.

This is all meanwhile the Kollage “1/2 N 1/2” Kap proceeds toward 18 Jan. deadline.  The pattern is mostly written up — I’ll probably change some details of notation — and the model is progressing nicely (faster now that holidays are done and family are back at their respective schools).

Cap with smocking-stitch brim in Kollage Yarns "1/2 N 1/2"

I’ve also cast on another charity cap. This is my first experience with Lion Brand “Vanna’s Choice” yarn.  It feels pretty good while knitting, spongy, but a bit firm knit on #8’s (5 mm needles).

And the hat/scarf set in Noro “Silver Thaw” inches along.  It isn’t needed until *next* November.

The other recreational fiber-medium I’ve been dabbling in is Freeform Crochet.

one side

other side

Either side could end up being the “front”. . . .

Sometimes I have an idea to add onto it, sometimes I don’t.

In her book, Creative Crochet Lace, which I recently borrowed via interlibrary loan, author Myra Wood calls this “Doodle Lace”.  (BTW, interlibray loan is a great free service!  If your library offers this, take advantage!)

Posted in Cap/Hat, Crochet, Design, scarf | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Berroco Embellishment Videos

Posted by mtmom on January 3, 2010

2 nice videos on adding sewn-on fabric or crochet “ribbons” and beads to finished knit garments.


Here are the original Berroco pages:  (1) fabric ribbons; (2) crochet “ribbons” and beads

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Kollage Milk Yarn

Posted by mtmom on January 1, 2010

But first, some homey weather pix.

The icicles and the bits of “ice dam” connected to them have been sliding down from the roof.  The one in front of that window looks to be almost as thick as my arm and reaches down past waist-high.

And it looks like my Christmas Cactus (which my botanist neighbor says is actually a Thanksgiving Cactus, because of its pointy leaf-tips) will bloom soon!

Maybe we should dub it a “New Year’s Cactus”!

Knitting-wise, I’ve finished a cap.




Most of the yarn came from a collection of multi-stranded mystery-yarns I received as a gift a few years back.  This one started as a ball of black, white, and red (2 shades) yarns combined into one.  When the first ball ran out, I took a ball of just the red and black, and added a strand of off-white from my stash.  When that too ran out, leaving only the 2 red shades, I added some of the charcoal I’ve been using lately and another, thinner, off-white.  That made the lower portion blacker than the earlier-worked upper portion.  But I think it works!

On to the new yarn from Kollage.

Stockinette Gauge Swatch

This is the yarn that Cast On asked me to use to make up a cap for their summer 2010 issue; called “1/2 N 1/2” (say “half & half”).  It’s 50% milk and 50% wool.  The yarn looks like a thick fingering-weight, but the label suggest a DK-weight gauge of 22 stitches in 4 inches.   Here’s my first swatch, searching for the gauge to suit the project best (holes indicate needle size: 4, 5, and 6).

The size 4 needles yielded a nice, even, firm-but-not-stiff fabric, at almost 7 stitches/inch.

Size 5 was a bit uneven.

Size 6 (4 mm), though, gave a nice texture that was looser and more drapey than that on the 4’s.  About 6 stitches/inch, and fewer rows/inch than the 5’s.  I decided to go with this fabric, and not go on to try 7’s.

Smocking Stitch and Stockinette on 4 mm needles

Here’s a swatch with both smocking and stockinette stitches.

I tried out 2 different methods of bundling the stitches and chose the 2nd.

Also tried out different transitions from the smocking to the plain knitting; chose 2nd from left.

From these 2 swatches I calculated gauges, and ideal stretch-factors, and calculated my cast on.

I made an error the first time, but the second one will, I think, be the one to go with.

More as developments warrant!  Stay tuned!

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