Beautiful Knitting

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

Archive for the ‘Biblical/Spiritual’ Category

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and Dishcloths

Posted by mtmom on March 9, 2011

I always love going to our church’s pancake supper on the last night before the Lenten season begins.  Always a cheery evening with good food and good friends.

One of the students even provides some musical accompaniment.

The college students and their chaplain do the cooking: pancakes & bacon, plus fruit, syrup, OJ, milk, coffee.

Younger and older eat and chat together.

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Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying some low-key knitting.

Dishcloths!  — Doesn’t matter that they turn out Just So, and one can easily try out a new stitch pattern.  (The Chinese Waves pattern, by Margaret K. K. Radcliffe, is free and available as a 224K PDF from Maggie’s Rags by clicking here.)

3 variations on heel stitch make a dense, sturdy dishcloth

"Chinese Waves" stitch pattern -- like Eye of Partridge on a garter st base

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Kid-time, peach vest, and SockMadness 2008!

Posted by mtmom on February 10, 2008

Well, Lent is turning out to be more “intrusive” than I had expected.  Conscience has pricked me in a couple of areas, and one of them may well impact my blogging.  I’ve decided to attend more to some maternal responsibilities that I had been delegating.  (That means, spending more time with my kids and less on the computer!)  I think my posts will end up being shorter.

Some knitting progress to report:

The peach vest I’m making for dd and for my Master Knitter certification now has a back about 6 1/2″ long.  back piece of peach vest

I have also worked about an inch of the front — just gotta see how the lace panel is going to look and how many rows of it will fit before the undearm.  More photos as this progresses.

Eventhough I feel I’ve got enough projects going, my soul is in great need of some beauty to feed it.  I want color!  So, I’m thinking it’s time to pick back up the Fair Isle — a favorite in these pages.

Start thinking about itButton from Round 2 of Sock Madness 2007
Sock Madness sign-ups will begin on 15 Feb! 
The excitement, the drama, the commraderie, the sore hands. . . .  It’s really wonderful.  Go to their site and check it out.  You’ll need a Flickr account and a way to upload photos of in-process and completed socks. 

Update on the book giveaway:  I have not heard back from Jane/jolenna1.   [Hey, gal:  where are you?]  I’ll wait a few more days, but once it’s been a full week I plan to draw another name.  Wanna move out one of these books I’ve set aside and get that “hot spot” off my floor!   stack of giveaway book-choices, et al

Posted in Biblical/Spiritual, Knitting, Master Knitter, Sock Madness | Leave a Comment »

Lenten Cogitations, More Snow, and Giveaway Winner

Posted by mtmom on February 5, 2008

First off, congratulations to Jane, whose name Chloe chose at random.  random drawing

I’ll be contacting her by e-mail.

Sunday night/Monday morning, we received some more snow.  Here is today’s view out my garage’s back door.  big first step

That’s a big first step!   But the birds need birdseed, so off I go.

Chloe is here standing upright in one of the footprints I left behind.Cat in snow footprint 

And here she checks out the path from our patio door to the grill — yes, we do grill in the snow!  snow-packed grill 

Today has been “Super Tuesday” in the US, and also Shrove Tuesday.  That’s the day when, traditionally, Christians feast to clean all the “indulgent” foods from their larders before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Our family usually attends our church’s Pancake Supper.  This year, some of us wore Mardi Gras beads and masks as well.  dd in Mardi Gras mask

I have been considering what lenten discipline to take on.  The observing folks I know tend to follow one of two paths when it comes to Lent:  some “give up something” for Lent, some add something on.  Both are seeking to become more sensitive to the spiritual aspects of the issues in their lives (and in the world) during this time, and to add to the personal impact of the upcoming feast of Easter.  My current plan is to listen to a daily podcast that I find edifying, and attend a workshop in contemplative prayer led by a church-friend of mine.

On the Sock Madness front, my pattern is being test-knit right now!  The tester says she can see the work I put into writing the pattern [gratifying] and also has suggestions about clarifying notes to add.  This feedback is great — an exciting development-process for me as a designer.

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Priorities, priorities. . .

Posted by mtmom on September 7, 2007

I’ve been pondering.

Our preacher this past weekend spoke about pride and humility.  What’s relevant here is his point about limitations and fraility being part of being human.  I cannot do everything — not even everything I want to do.  Not even all the knitting I would like to do. . . .

And David Reidy, in the essay portion of his delightful podcast last week (Aug. 26, Episode 33:  “Carpe Lanam”), encourages us to stretch ourselves and attempt a knitting challenge that interests us, saying things like, “Life is too short to/not to. . . .”

And I’m also beginning to feel the first twinges of possible-arthritis in my hands.  I remember my grandmother’s struggles. . . .

All this has me thinking.

Of the many the knitting projects I’d like to get around to, and all the skills I’d like to develop and hone, which would I put at the top of the heap?  Which would I really consider a shame not to get around to?  Which of my most heartfelt knitting goals remain unrealized? 

I REALLY want to make myself a cardigan that fits well (and looks great).  What concrete actions am I taking towards that goal?

[Better get back to the Ice Cream sweater and Fair Isle swatching! ;)]

And then I’d also like to make Lord Scott and Major Bruce some nice-fitting kilt hose.  That area is progressing nicely, what with the knee socks I’m working on for shaping-practice.  Though at times it does seem to be going more slowly than I’d like — can’t do it all at once, but one step, one stitch at a time.  I’m human, remember?

Still, if it’s worth doing [and that’s what we’re examining here], then it’s worth the time.

But, what about some of those other things on my needles and in my queue. . . ?  Re-evaluation time!

—————-

Sorry that I have no new photos for you today, dear readers.  Just ruminations on Knitting and Life and Time.

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Beginnings, beginnings. . . And Connections.

Posted by mtmom on August 13, 2007

Boy, have I missed blogging this week.  But now I’m back in the saddle again!

I’d been feeling a bit overwhelmed, but am starting to come out from under it.  Not much of a mystery, actually.  Seems I’ve recently started 3 new projects, without having finished any others to make room for them.  So priorities have had to be reconfigured.

Ice Cream sweater still gets bedtimes, and the entrelac still gets sabbath-time, but I’ve laid aside the Mystery Stole altogether and moved the Fair Isle swatch further down in the WIP basket {sigh}.  What have I begun, you ask?  (1) A double-knit cap, to write up into a formal pattern for some of my knitting-circle-friends, and perhaps someday submit for publication.  (2) A pair of worsted-weight knee-high socks for myself, to practice calf-shaping to measurements.  (3) A pair of “I love Gansey” socks for the Six Sox Knitalong.

The cap I’ve begun at least twice, and am about to rip back and begin again, having repeatedly changed my mind about cast-ons and color-patterning.  (When I know that other knitters will be following me in these steps, I feel anxious both to “make it good” and to “keep it simple and clear.”)  The Gansey socks (designed by an actual Guernsey resident — I think that’s extra cool) I have only just cast on.  The knee socks, however, have seen some good progress.beginnings of knee sock  Mostly because of the 5.333 spi gauge.

Yarn is Canadian Regal from Schoolhouse Press, in Quoddy Blue and Meadow Green.  Needles are US size 5 dpns, some aluminum and one birch.  No formal pattern.

One interesting thing I’ve learned, as I consider all these current projects and how to prioritize them:  Each is connected to a person or group of people.  And I feel my connection to them, in varying degrees of intimacy, while I’m knitting on the item.  My Ice Cream sweater connects me to Elizabeth Zimmermann and her daughter Meg Swansen, whose techniques I (through book-author Jacqueline Fee) am using, and also to my own children whose bedtime I spend knitting on it.  The double-knitting cap, as much trouble as it has been giving me lately, connects me to the group at Wednesday evening Knitting Night, who want to be able to make one like it.  The “Mad to Dance” socks are part of Sock Madness, and “I love Gansey” is the current project of the Six Sox Knitalong — both very pleasant and fun online groups.  The knee socks remind me of the various people I hope to bless with custom-fitted kilt hose, as well as the 2 other knitters I have recently “met” who share my interest in stockings, Debbie G. and Brenda J.  And each of these projects I also discuss here, with you, gentle reader.  My seemingly solitary knitting time turns out actually to be relationship-building time, rich with conversation-fodder.  With whom do I wish to “converse” today. . . ?

Posted in Biblical/Spiritual, Celtic, Knitting, Sock Madness, Socks | 1 Comment »

Archive from May, 2007

Posted by mtmom on May 31, 2007

May 28, 2007 “And the Winner Is. . .”

I have 2 “winners” in mind here.  One is Kristi R, known in the Sock Madness universe as the indomitable knitter473.  She bested Joy in the final round of a great race.  Congratulations to Kristi — and to all the contestants and designers and coordinators who made this so much fun!Here are her winning “Mashup Madness” socks.

       

The other “winner” is the knitting charity whom I have chosen to receive my yarn-swap-leftovers.  Julie MacDonald, who originally taught me to knit (!), knits voraciously every year for her church’s annual Craft Sale.  Proceeds benefit a selected outreach program; one year it was a halfway house for women in Russia.

Beauty and Peace

I have continued to think about the connection between our emotions and the perception of beauty in our lives.

This all began with the Lord’s Prayer.  A few years back, I read the Kay Arthur book Lord, Teach Me to Pray . . . in 48 Days.  Her basic premise was that Jesus meant the Lord’s Prayer (or “Disciple’s Prayer”, as some prefer to call it) as an outline for our daily prayers at least as much as He meant it to be something memorized and recited.  “Hallowed be Thy name,” was a cue for praise; “Give us this day. . . ,” ushers us into a time of petition and intercession; and so on.  When I pray for “our daily bread”, I began to ask for “bread” or sustenance for me (and my family) in both a physical and spiritual sense — that He would provide for our tangible and our intangible needs.  I recalled the (modern?) idea of the human soul being made up of mind, will, and emotions.  I prayed for support, care, and growth in each of these three areas.  And then came to my mind another great three, tracing its roots back to the Reformation (I’m not sure of historical details beyond this):  the trio of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.  Connections started to shimmer for me.  Truth for the Mind.  Goodness for the Will.  These were, perhaps, obvious, but Beauty for the Emotions. . . ?

Beauty for the Emotions.  Not such a strange idea, really.  What stresses my emotions?  A relationship being out of balance, lacking harmony.  Discord.  Mess and disorder in the house. [Thank you for codifying this connection between mess, and stress, and peace, FlyLady.]   Work, rest and play being out of proportion.  Energy sinks outstripping energy sources. A lack of “sparkle” in my days.   And aren’t order, proportion, harmony (and “sparkle”) basic components of beauty?  When beauty seems to be lacking in my life, my emotions suffer.  And distressed emotions can inhibit our perception of beauty.  Can looking at visible beauty (like in my knitting) provide emotional sustenance, strengthening me for life’s demands?  Probably!  Listening to beautiful music?  Yes!  What about other types of beauty, as I’ve begun to see it:  unsolicited hugs from a child, a smile, a breakthrough in a difficult situation.  Most definitely!  This is an empowering insight.  Beauty has more forms than I had seen before, and it matters very much that I/we see it!

To Beauty!  “Bread” for the emotions.

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May 20, 2007 “Yarn Swap”

Today my knitting group met at my house for a yarn swap.  (The photo is fuzzy, I know.  But it conveys a bit of the flavor of the event.) 

Everything that was left over, I said I’d donate somewhere.  The question now is:  Where?

I recall hearing about at least 2 donation-seeking programs, but now I can’t recall names.  I need an address.  Anybody out there know some “deserving” program(s) needing yarns?  I have cotton, wool, acrylic, and blends; some plain, some fancy.

Any leads?

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May 8,2007 “In Other News. . .”

I’ve been thinking lately about peace and about beauty, and in particular how the latter relates to the emotions.  But that’s going to take some working on to get my words to say what I want, so I plan to work on it “on the side” (i.e. just within my own word processor file) for a while yet.Meanwhile,

some photo updates!

A scarf from tripled yarn, gifted by Julie MacDonald.

Ice Cream Sweater.

In 3 pieces.  Tonight I finished the increases on the second sleeve, and am heading into the straight section.  I hope soon to join all 3 pieces on one long circular needle and begin raglan yoke shaping.  Directions from Jacqueline Fee’s book The Sweater Workshop.  Yarn is Botanica from Halcyon Yarn, one of their “house” yarns; here in 4 colors.

Sock Madness Round 5 sock, “Mad to Dance”, in Knit Picks “Bare” yarn (70% merino, 30% silk) on size 1 Magic Loop circular needles.

And a toe (really, really!) for Cookie A’s sock “Baudelaire”, in Apple Pie yarn, colorway “Earthly Delights” on size 1 Magic Loop circular.  Doing this in a KAL with Angeluna and her Sisters of the Wool knitting group in Fort Worth.  Very rich colors in this yarn.

My Master Handknitter work is languishing in a nice bag behind my Blue Chair.

But socks for my mother are nearing completion — hopefully, in time for Mother’s Day!

The second sock needs about 5″ of leg-ribbing.  Go, me, go!

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May 6, 2007 “Semi-finals done. Finals next.”

Poster by our own Vikkie.

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Archive from March, 2007

Posted by mtmom on May 31, 2007

March 28, 2007 “Rabbit Wisdom”

A word to the wise . . . and the compassionate.  Bunnies are living things, best given only to those fully prepared to take care of them for all their long, furry life. _____________________________________________________________March 23, 2007 “Sock Madness Update”

Round 1 — I made the first cut!

I snagged the 9th spot out of 16.  Thirty-four knitters competed in my bracket.  These are my finished socks:

Pattern:  “Mad Cow Socks” by Jennifer Booker Young [jenniferteacher AT gmail DOT com]
Yarns:  Opal and NuLamb 
Needles:  size 1.5, 47″ steel-tipped circular by HiyaHiya. [The Knitting Zone]  Magic Loop method.

Round 2 began today.

I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the “Flames” colorway, on size 2 HiyaHiya circular needles, both from The Knitting Zone. [Thanks, Mary — you are fast!]

Here is the cuff of my “Mad-tini” sock.  Isn’t it cute?

And here’s my progress as of about 11 p.m.  I’ve just finished the patterned leg.

I’m wondering if I should add a few rounds of plain stockinette for transition into the ankle or whether I should just follow the pattern as written.

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March 10, 2007 “Socks and Spring, Round and Flat”

  

Sock Madness begins tomorrow.

This may cut into my blogging time.

Not having seen the pattern yet, these are the yarn-pairs I’m considering using for the first elimination round.

 

 

Spring is springing.

Spring has not officially arrived, but our ground is thawing.  I saw prairie dogs for the first time again this week!  This is how our yard’s soil looks where the grass (the spiky stuff) is thin.  Odd texture, isn’t it?  I wonder why it bunches up like that?

We still have snow in shady areas.

But beside the house’s warm concrete foundation, the tulips are coming up – even through the loops of the garden hose.

 

More Knitting

 

For my charitable/Sabbath knitting, I’m working on a cap for a local elementary school.  The yarn is a variegated acrylic (has to be machineable through and through):  “Surf and Turf” in TLC Essentials.  I began at the top with Emily Ocher’s circular beginning, as per Elizabeth Zimmermann. 

 

Thence I increased at 8 points: every round 3 times, every other round until size seemed about right, and then every third round until the color-spiral got so slow that it threatened to pool.  I increased one round more, to make the spiral reverse.  See?

 

When it gets “long enough”, I’ll increase maybe 8-10%, switch to smaller needles (6 or 7, vs 8 on the top), and finish with 2” or so of ribbing.  Bind off is undecided as of yet.

Here is a shot of the reversible 2-color potholder I made for my brother — before felting and edging [‘nother story].  It did arrive on time (hurray, USPS!).  I’m considering writing it up in more detail, but the main thing I learned on this, my second project using this technique, was how to move both yarns forward and back more quickly and easily.  This made the project much more enjoyable, and made the prospect of doing a larger project seem feasible and attractive.  [Go Meg and M’lou!]

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March 3, 2007 “How many, many feet you meet.”

“There [at Henny’s Yarn Shop], chatty women congregated, eager to make something wonderful out of nothing.”

— Marisa Labozzetta’s essay, “The Eisenhower Jacket”, page 119 in KnitLit:  Sweaters and their Stories . . . and Other Writing about Knitting, edited by Linda Roghaar & Molly Wolf

Bringing beauty into reality is a high and noble calling indeed.  And we can do it, my fellow fiber artists; we can! And regularly (or, at least periodically 😉 ) we do!

. . . I want to do that more and more.  How about you?

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Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet!

And speaking of bringing beauty into the world . . .

here are the feet of my two lovely daughters, wearing “the socks Mama made me”.  The striped ones were my first socks ever.  I made them about a year and a half ago with guidance from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears.  Yarn is “Strapaz” Ringel Color by Steinback Wolle (Austria).  The ones with contrasting heel and toe derive from Simple Socks:  Plain and Fancy by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.  Yarn is “Silja” Strompegarn Superwash by Asa Gjestal Spinneri (Norway), 6.5 sts/inch. [I think this comes via Plymouth Yarns.] 

And here are their feet again, along with my own daughterly feet modeling a partial sock intended for my mother.  More “Silja” on size 3 needles; my first time using 2 circulars and working toe-up.  Technique help from Wendy.  I’ve had socks on my mind a lot since signing up for SockMadness.  But it’s also been wonderful corresponding with new acquaintances, like Jeri and Jo. [Hey, I found the Insert Link button!]

Leaving socks for the moment, here is the completed swatch of the “Happiness sign”/“St. John’s cross” motif from Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting.  I can hardly imagine all the sketching and swatching she must have done in order to develop the clever technique presented in that book.  [Way to go, Elsebeth!]  Yarn is BartlettYarn 100% wool, also sold under the name “Sheepswool, 2-ply” by Schoolhouse Press.  Needles size 8.

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I hope to devote another post soon to 2-color double-knitting.  This is a remarkable [IMO]but accessible technique that produces a reversible color-patterned fabric.  I’ve done two small projects using this method.  I enjoy it and my skill is improving, but there’s definitely “more east to go”.  [Meg and M’lou, keep at the new book, OK?]  I’ll have to see how the photos turn out. . . .

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Archive from Feb. 2007

Posted by mtmom on May 29, 2007

Feb. 27, 2007 “All Socks Considered. . .”

 

Excepting the green socks in progress, these are all the socks I’ve made up until now, in more or less chronological order.  From L to R:  the striped pair from Knitting Without Tears (one of my absolute favorite-of-all-times knitting books, by Elizabeth Zimmermann), a white heel-only (Homespun Handknits) and a brown heel-only (Simple Socks:  Plain and Fancy), 2 calf-only portions with color patterns and shaped heels from Homespun Handknits and Socks, Socks, Socks, a tennis-sock with separate heel and instep (from one of those last 2 books), a plain blue sock with short-row heel and toe  and a pair with contrasting-heel-&-toe (Simple Socks), and a toe-heel-cuff sampler of double-knit shaping techniques from Beverly Royce’s book Notes on Double Knitting.  I recall another tennis sock, which I’m unable to find today, but which included a rolled cuff and color-work on the heel flap.

I have socks on my mind because I’ve entered the Sock Madness 2007 tournament and received my official welcome message last night.  To enter, I had to bring to mind how many total pairs of socks I’d made.  Only the 2 pair were made to fit actual (children’s) feet, so I labeled myself a “novice”, but I *have* tried out several techniques on an experimental basis. . . .

And here is a swatch-in-progress.  Called “Cross” or “Happiness Sign”, this motif is described by Elsebeth Lavold in her (exciting) book, Viking Patterns for Knitting.  The technique she developed – I’d call it an “unvention”, a la EZ – for bringing cables out of nowhere and into nowhere, with minimal fabric-distortion, is . . . well . . . amazing!  I am thoroughly enjoying this one.

 

 

I think this is my last library book for a while.  [Note to myself:  it’s definitely been nicer having just one book home at a time.]  And that’s good for several reasons.  For one thing, I can give more attention to already-pending projects, and for another, I’ll want to clear the decks a bit if I’m going to do some serious sock-knitting for SockMadness.  I’m hoping it’ll be fun and a bit (but not TOO much) of a challenge.

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Feb. 26, 2007  “Ribbing Back Backwards”

Ribbing Back Backwards – a brief Tutorial.

While working a narrow strip of ribbing for one of Nicky Epstein’s collar embellishments (Knitting Beyond the Edge, pages 9 – 10), I could see the benefit of knitting back backwards rather than turning the whole project after every 7 stitches.  I’ve never seen instructions for doing this in ribbing, only for knit stitches like in entrelac, so I’m going to try to show how I did it, gentle reader.

When knitting backwards, the right needle holds the “old” stitches, and the left is the active needle, making the “new” stitches.  I usually carry my yarn in my left hand, so likewise here.

For a knit stitch, hold the yarn behind the work . . .

 

and insert the left needle from front to back through the back of the old stitch.  (Sorry, combination-knitters; I’m not so sure of the details for your situation.  Just put the needle in from whichever angle makes the stitch “open up” vs twist.)

 

Grab a loop with the needle tip, or else wrap the yarn around the tip.  For wrapping, the yarn should go back then up then forward then down between the needle and the fabric.  This makes the new loop lie on the needle in the same orientation as usual:  the right leg of the stitch on the front of the needle, and the left leg behind the needle as you look at it from the front/top.  (I think you can see the diagonal-ness of the new stitch in the photo.)

 

Pull the new loop through to the front and let the old stitch fall off the right needle to the back of the fabric.

 

Bring the yarn to the front, ready for the next stitch – because in 1×1 ribbing the next stitch is a purl.

 

Insert the left needle through the “leading” (here, the back) leg of the stitch on the right needle from back to front, reaching toward the waiting yarn.

 

The direction for the wrap was tricky to figure out, to execute, and to photograph.  To get the yarn to lie on the needle in the correct orientation, vs reversed,  take it down and back toward the fabric, then up between the fabric and left needle tip, then toward you forward and down.

Hold it down while you pull/push the loop through to the back and the yarn slides around the needle tip a bit to settle into position. [Amazing!]

The old stitch comes off the right needle.  Move the yarn back to the back side of the fabric, ready for the next (knit) stitch.

And on we go!

As Meg Swansen says, “Isn’t knitting amazing?!”

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Feb. 22, 2007 “Seasons”

Welcome to Lent! . . . and to more swatches.

For those who observe the “Church Year”, we are entering a new liturgical season:  Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday inaugurate the season of Lent, the time leading up to Easter.  The idea of a cycle of seasons is intended to regularly bring different facets of the Christian life and belief into focus, avoiding any neglect of those less to our “taste”.  I find it very enriching.  For a part of each year, we turn our gaze, in turn, onto the future, in anticipation and hope, and onto the past, celebrating what God has already done in history.  Onto the majesty and deity of Christ, and then onto the events of his earthly life, his humanity, his teachings.  Inward, in self-examination and repentance, and outward in acts of kindness, love, patience, and mercy.  I might tend toward one extreme or the other, but the cycle of seasons encourages me to expand my perspective, to stretch and to grow in my understanding and in my practice.

Knitting has seasons too; don’t you think?
Although not so formalized. . . .

Some knitters are “on again, off again”, and some of us never seem to lose steam.  A designer may experience a “dry” spell.  I have lately been in an experimental phase, challenging myself with new books and swatching, trying textures, colors, shapings, embellishments.  I have moved through times of process-focused knitting where I concentrate on technique (TKGA Master Knitter program is very much like this, deep with detail but broad-ranging too) or on enjoyment (yummy yarns and visually pleasing patterns). But I also have experienced times of product-focused knitting where I have, say, 2 hats and 1 more scarf to go before some deadline, and I just-keep-going.  Some of these phases are imposed from without – the calendar – but most come from within – I just feel like bright colors, or like undyed natural fibers.  I don’t have a broader Plan, except to finish my Master Knitter requirements, and “get around to” a variety of projects from my running list of want-to’s and queue of yarns.

One allowance I’ve made for changing knitting-seasons and -moods is:  I usually have several different types of project on the needles at any given time. That way, whatever my knitting mood I’ll have something to pick up when I get some time:  something mindless, something challenging, something charitable, something of my own still-in-process design, something large, something quick, projects at several different gauges.  Then again, I’ve also been discovering the value of the discipline of sticking with one major project most of the time (currently the Ice Cream sweater).  It’s definitely fun to get to work on lots of different things, but it’s also deeply encouraging to see a large project  progressing toward actual completion!

On to current projects.

Inspired by Eva Wiechmann (Pursenalities and Pursenality Plus —nice selection of shapes and handle-treatments) and Bev Galeskas (Fiber Trends patterns and book Felted Knits – *great* basics about felting with various yarns and combinations IM”H”O), I combined some yarns I can get locally (we have no

but Michael’s and JoAnn) to experiment with colors and felting. 

Here I used Lion Brand “Wool” in variegated Majestic Mountain doubled with Cocoa, then with Purple, and finally with Cadet Blue, using garter stitch (smaller swatch) and stockinette with different needle sizes and in reverse color-order (larger swatch, on 15’s and 13’s).  I wish I’d taken a photo *before* felting, but here they are afterwards.  I put them in my front-loading washing machine with a pair of jeans and some Eucalan for about 30 minutes, in 10- and then 5-minute segments.  Note to myself:  I must remember to put them into the pillow-protector at the start of the process, not halfway through – sigh.  I’m considering making a purse.

And here are the swatches inspired by Ginger Luters’ Module Magic, also in Lion Brand Wool.  Colors are Autumn Sunset and Cadet Blue.  Needles size 7.  That book has had to go back before I really felt ready to give it up.  Sigh.  All will be well.

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Feb. 17, 2007 “More books, more swatches!”

 

“Knitting is a complex and joyful act of creation in my everyday life.”

–Stephanie Pearl-McFee, in her introduction to Yarn Harlot.

_______________________________

This week, the books I’m reading or working through have included Yarn Harlot and Nicky Epstein’s Knitting Beyond the Edge.  Here are more photos of the swatches I’ve made while under the Epstein-influence.

To the swatch with textured stitch patterns (see last week’s post), I’ve added a braid, some mohair ruching, two flower embellishments, and a button-band.  If I sometime did the braid again, I would knit fewer rows on the 3 separate strands in order to make the final braid more snug.  This was my first time to use this particular mohair-blend; it’s Naturally “Kid et Soie” and I *liked* the feel of it.  I wonder if I have enough to make a headband?

This one is hard to see, probably because of the Simply Brite acrylic yarn’s shininess.  I like the twists a few rows after the CO.  Above that, I used different paired-increases at each of 4 peplum-spokes.  First (right to left) is kfb in one st and then the next also.  Second is a pair of raised increases – knitting into the side of a stitch in the row below, to the right of/before the first and the left of/after the second spoke stitch in this column.  Third, I used lifted incs – knitting into the running st between the spoke sts and their neighbors, right-leaning, k2, and then left-leaning.  The fourth spoke you can’t see (and I didn’t like it), but there I used k&p into the same st for each of the 2 spoke sts.  The fast rate of increase the author prescribes produced quite a flare. This swatch was fun to make.  I didn’t especially like the corkscrew beginning, but the following dimple stitch made up for that.  I repeated this one twice in the swatch, the second time adding beads at the intersections, — not by sewing as Nicky Epstein suggests, but with a crochet hook, as I’d learned from Syvia Harding’s delightful beading-tutorial/drawstring-pouch project [EarthFaire.com].

I hope to put together a little instructional-photo sequence on a technique I used to do one of the collar treatments in Beyond the Edge :  knitting back backwards in ribbing.  I’ll leave that to another post, Lord willing.

The next books in my stack are KnitLit (short stories), Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas (a personable gal), and Module Magic by Ginger Luters.  Further down the road I hope to do a few motifs from Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting.  [Am I gonna be busy, or what?!  What treats!]

The Ice Cream Sweater is progressing.  <Sorry, no photo today.>  I’ve passed the 14”-mark and have just begun another color-stripe.  I won’t know for a few rounds how well it’ll go with the rest.  Sometimes things look different on a full-sized project than they do in a swatch. . . .

My take on self-control this week has been an effort to “Do First Things First” — priorities.  I think it’s helping me feel more “finished” when bedtime rolls around.  Hopefully, the things still remaining undone are of the type that can wait until the next day.

Until next time, happy swatching!

 ______________________________________________________________Feb. 14, 2007 “So many ideas. . .”

But first. . .

Did you know that “Bob and Larry Sing the 70’s”?

The Veggie Tales folks (Big Idea Productions) have put out a series of Musical Genre discs; ds found this one on iTunes.  Hearing Mr. Lunt sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is just a hoot!

______________________________

Lots of Books, Lots of Ideas 

I’ve been looking at so many knitting books lately, that the ideas are beginning to swim in my imagination.  I can’t pursue all of them, and the boundary between stimulation and overwhelm is getting fuzzy:  a felted purse?, a garter-stitch cap?, a sweater done in strips of variegateds?, Viking knots?,  Fair Isle color-patterns?,  lace?,  stitch samplers?, collars and cuffs and edgings? . . .  I’ve got a lot on my mind!

Ideally, as I do a few swatches, take some notes, make a few judiciously-chosen photocopies [all the while keeping intellectual property rights in mind – thanks for the education, Janeen, JD, PhD], and continue working on current projects, the new input will settle into little mental cubbyholes and pop up later, when I can use the data, as manageable design ideas.  Also, I find that the impulse to take up lots of new projects will fade and the chaff will blow away, leaving some gems, if I give myself some time to mull and digest.  Self-control! 

Aha!  A biblical principle intrudes upon my consciousness.  [Pardon me, while I wax theological.  You know, you don’t HAVE to read this part.]

________________________________

Proverbs 25:28  A [knitter] without self-control

is like a city broken into and left without walls.

“Walls” = defenses.  I can see how this applies here:  if I don’t exercise self-control, any project-idea that comes along can just waltz in and whisk me away, consuming my time and attention (and money).  I have to defend myself, guard my time.  Other passages (2 Tim. 1:7; Gal. 5:23) tell me that God is supplying this resource, and that my life can and should show it.  That’s good.  Self-control.

______________________________________

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled knitting. . . .

Here are two of the book-swatches from this week.

 

A bias-knit swatch in the “Stripes and Dots” pattern from Ginger Luters’ Module Magic.

My first choice of colors proved to be more of a blend, the stripes rather indistinct even with a carry-along thread added; the second yielded a stronger contrast.  Combining variegated yarns is interesting, definitely a challenge.  I would like to do a bit more experimenting with it.  Nothing serious immediately, though.

This Patons “SWS” yarn is interesting:  70% wool, 30% soy.  Has a silky sheen; is composed of a loosely-spun single; the yarn flattens out around the needle; is easy to split; displays nice slow-change/long-interval colors; nice drape; not sure how sturdy it’ll prove in a final project that gets used.

 

 

A sampler of several stitch patterns used in Nicky Epstein’s Knitting Beyond the Edge, in DK weight “Quebeqoise” from Schoolhouse Press.  I hope to try some Epstein embellishments and edgings too. 

 

I (mostly) keep track of what I swatch on an index card attached to the piece.  This can be very helpful later, when I want to use a technique again.

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Feb. ??, 2007 “Intarsia Swatching”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that . . . you may abound in hope.”  – Romans 15:13.

 

This week I’ve had Sally Melville’s book The Knitting Experience – Book 3:  Color from the library.  While it’s in my hot little hands, I’ll be working on a swatch, trying out various techniques.

 

 

Plaid swatch.

Source:  Sally Melville’s The Knitting Experience – Book 3:  Color

Yarns:  scraps of sportweight

Needles:  size 5 bamboo circulars.

I frequently do little experimental swatches like this when I’ve borrowed a knitting book, especially when I’ve requested it as an Interlibrary Loan.  I have a limited time to explore the book, and if I’ve decided it’s not a title I want to purchase, I often pick a few techniques to try out.

This swatch utilizes tweed stitch and intarsia to make a basic “plaid”.  (I particularly wanted to practice intarsia, with an eye to the Argyle sock requirement of TKGA’s Master Knitter program, Level 2.  I’m at the very beginning stages of the work for this level.)  Further on in this swatch, I’ll intentionally miss a wrap <gasp> and then repair it, as in Color, page 225.

And here it is.  See something amiss between the light-aqua and the pink?  

I’ll find the border-loop that isn’t caught by its neighbor, and catch it up with some rescue-yarn . . .

– it and 3 color-change-loops above and below it.  

After weaving in the ends of the rescue yarn, all is well.

Thank you, Sally Melville!

Some of the intarsia tips I’ve appreciated most from this book include:

–         If you don’t mind weaving ends, you can work all your color-areas in short lengths that can’t tangle too badly and don’t require butterfly-ing or bobbins.  (page 217) – [I’m not sure the trade-off of ends vs tangles is worth it.  Depends on which you are more eager to avoid.]

–         When crossing colors, to minimize stitch-distortion, do NOT insert needle tip into next stitch first.  (p. 213) – [We all want to “minimize stitch-distortion”, don’t we?  I know I do.]

I have also learned about my personal color preferences.  I already knew I favored warm colors, but I found that the addition of a bit of the complementary color made a combination more much visually exciting and attractive to me.  [Where is my color wheel when I need it?!]

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Archive from Jan. 2007

Posted by mtmom on May 29, 2007

Jan. 28, 2007 “Initial Entry”

Let the favor [or beauty] of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and establish the work of our hands upon us;
   yes, establish the work of our hands!
–Psalm 90:17

Let’s begin with some Works in Progress.

Red Glove (singular)
pattern/source:  Beverly Royce, Notes on Double Knitting, with adaptations.
yarn:  Jamieson Shetland jumper-weight, color #129, from Schoolhouse Press.
needles:  Clover bamboo dpns, size 2
I hope to do a second glove by Meg Swansen’s pattern in her book Handknitting with Meg Swansen.

I changed the shaping at the thumb-join by working k2tog vs ssk, and slowing down the rate of decreasing to 2/4 rds.  After finishing, I shortened 2 of the fingers by snipping, unravelling and then grafting.  Pretty easy since the tips involved no shaping.

Swatch, experiment with short-row wedges.
source:  Sally Melville, Colors, p. 126.
yarns:  MC is “Botanica” by Halcyon Yarn, color #8
           CC is 2 strands:  “Color Baby” merino by Stampato, color #805(lot137), and “Linie 176 – Lunetta” acrylic/nylon by ONline, color #20 cantaloupe (lot3865)
needles:  Boye circular size 7

“Ice Cream Sweater”, bottom-up seamless raglan, plus front pocket
pattern/source:  Jacqueline Fee, Sweater Workshop.
yarn:  “Botanica” worsted-spun wool by Halcyon Yarn, colors #51(chocolate fudge), 8(Italian raspberry ice), 49(jamoca) . . . so far.  I hope to add daiquiri ice before underarm and grand ma’s vanilla afterwards.
needles:  Plymouth bamboo circular, size 7(leading tip, 6 on trailing tip)

Green socks for my mother.  Two simultaneously (so they’ll match) on 2 circulars (to get up to speed before switching ndls).
pattern/source:  Wendy’s short-row toe/heel, 3×1 ribs on instep and calf, to 1×1 cuff.
yarn:  “Silja” superwash wool w/ 20% nylon, by Asa Gjestal Spinneri in Norway, color #312(lot18651).
needles:  Brittany birch dpns size 3, 29″ Inox Express circular size 2.5/3mm, 26″ and 40″ Crystal Palace bamboo circ size 3.

Gee, I got some photos in.  Took basically all day, and still can’t fly solo. . . .  I can see there’s going to be a learning curve to go through on this!  But the info is now captured.

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And the winner is. . .

Posted by mtmom on May 28, 2007

I have 2 “winners” in mind here.  One is Kristi R, known in the Sock Madness universe as the indomitable knitter473.  She bested Joy in the final round of a great race.  Congratulations to Kristi — and to all the contestants and designers and coordinators who made this so much fun!Here are her winning “Mashup Madness” socks.       

The other “winner” is the knitting charity whom I have chosen to receive my yarn-swap-leftovers.  Julie MacDonald, who originally taught me to knit (!), knits voraciously every year for her church’s annual Craft Sale.  Proceeds benefit a selected outreach program; one year it was a halfway house for women in Russia.

Beauty and Peace

I have continued to think about the connection between our emotions and the perception of beauty in our lives.

This all began with the Lord’s Prayer.  A few years back, I read the Kay Arthur book Lord, Teach Me to Pray . . . in 48 Days.  Her basic premise was that Jesus meant the Lord’s Prayer (or “Disciple’s Prayer”, as some prefer to call it) as an outline for our daily prayers at least as much as He meant it to be something memorized and recited.  “Hallowed be Thy name,” was a cue for praise; “Give us this day. . . ,” ushers us into a time of petition and intercession; and so on.  When I pray for “our daily bread”, I began to ask for “bread” or sustenance for me (and my family) in both a physical and spiritual sense — that He would provide for our tangible and our intangible needs.  I recalled the (modern?) idea of the human soul being made up of mind, will, and emotions.  I prayed for support, care, and growth in each of these three areas.  And then came to my mind another great three, tracing its roots back to the Reformation (I’m not sure of historical details beyond this):  the trio of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.  Connections started to shimmer for me.  Truth for the Mind.  Goodness for the Will.  These were, perhaps, obvious, but Beauty for the Emotions. . . ?

Beauty for the Emotions.  Not such a strange idea, really.  What stresses my emotions?  A relationship being out of balance, lacking harmony.  Discord.  Mess and disorder in the house. [Thank you for codifying this connection between mess, and stress, and peace, FlyLady.]   Work, rest and play being out of proportion.  Energy sinks outstripping energy sources. A lack of “sparkle” in my days.   And aren’t order, proportion, harmony (and “sparkle”) basic components of beauty?  When beauty seems to be lacking in my life, my emotions suffer.  And distressed emotions can inhibit our perception of beauty.  Can looking at visible beauty (like in my knitting) provide emotional sustenance, strengthening me for life’s demands?  Probably!  Listening to beautiful music?  Yes!  What about other types of beauty, as I’ve begun to see it:  unsolicited hugs from a child, a smile, a breakthrough in a difficult situation.  Most definitely!  This is an empowering insight.  Beauty has more forms than I had seen before, and it matters very much that I/we see it!

To Beauty!  “Bread” for the emotions.

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