"Learning to knit was a snap. It was learning how to stop that nearly destroyed me."
Erma Bombeck

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall 2009
It is so wonderful to finally be able to open the windows and let in some fresh air। I think we had a brief hint of fall for a couple of days in late September, but it was just that, a hint, a tease। Today really feels like fall. And sometime soon, I may be able to wear this......

I’ve been knitting rather diligently on my Hanne Falkenburg Pagode jacket. I purchased the kit several years ago from Unique One, a lovely yarn shop in Camden, Maine. I was able to rationalize the splurge because they had a shop sample already knit up, and I was able to try it on. I loved it, bought it, cast on immediately, and made great progress until Katrina chaos turned my house upside down. Thereafter I’ve knit on it sporadically and now lo and behold… I’m nearly finished. If the knitting trolls don’t play some horrid trick on me, and we have some semblance of cold weather, I may actually get to wear it this winter. I must confess that I'm a bit weary of navy garter stitch, but I've set a goal of sixteen rows (about an inch) per day, and at that rate I should be finished in three weeks. I know an inch doesn't seem like much, but it is garter stitch on size 3 needles. I have discovered that I can even enjoy a movie with subtitles while I knit it.

My thought process for knitting choices works somewhat like the Magic 8 Ball (invented in 1946, it was wildly popular during my childhood)...one turns the ball over, then asks a question, turns the ball right side up, and the answer floats to a window at the top. Life frequently turns my brain upside down, hence the analogy.

The 20 standard answers on a Magic 8-Ball are here on the left.....
My 20 not so standard answers are on the right.

As I see it, yes.........................A new project, yes.
It is certain .......................You'd rather be knitting.
It is decidedly so ......................................A tee.
Most likely ........................................For Sharen.
Outlook good.......................If you knit it, it will fit.
Signs point to yes ......................................Socks.
Without a doubt.....................................Cardigan.
Yes ........................................................Scarf.
Yes - definitely....Time for Stash Enhancement eXpedition).
You may rely on it .....................Ask Bette (Bornside).
Reply hazy, try again .................It's the #@%! pattern.
Ask again later ..................Better re-check your gauge.
Better not tell you now.....You may not have enough yarn.
Cannot predict now................Think about it tomorrow.
Concentrate and ask again ...............What would EZ do?
Don't count on it ...................Maybe no one will notice.
My reply is no.............................................Tink it.
My sources say no .........................Frog (rip-it, rip-it).
Outlook not so good..........................Let it hibernate.
Very doubtful...Destined to be a UFO (UnFinished Object).

Knitty Magazine is celeabrating a seventh year anniversary this fall. In addition to checking out their patterns, I also read Techniques With Theresa, CoolStuff, and most of the other featured articles. If I worked for Consumer Reports I would rank it a Best Buy, a terrific magazine that is free. Even the advertisers are good (they pay for the magazine), and it is a mini shop crawl to follow their links. Kudos to the The Knitty Level of Difficulty Index - it is more helpful (and it makes me smile) than the typical "Beginner - Easy - Intemediate - Experienced" ratings.

- Suitable for beginners.
- Relaxing, not mentally taxing.
- Fun things with zing. A twist, even.
- Friendly and unintimidating: very knittable by most knitters.
- A little something for the seasoned knitter. Daring but not exhausting.
- Probably not tv knitting.
- Suitable for those with a lot of experience. Or patience. Or both.
- These babies have teeth. Hoo boy.

During a recent foray into Books-A-Million, I counted nine knitting magazines, in my book (or magazine) that's terrific. Naturally I had to show my support for BAM and the national economy by buying a couple of them. On a another day I was in Barnes & Noble, and i enjoyed flipping through Fairy Tale Knits: 32 projects to Knit Happily Ever After. Two timeless traditions - fairy tales and knitting - come together magically in the season's most enchanting knitting book. This is a truly beautiful book, and if you knit for children, it may be a must have. The suggested yarns are easy-care too. Amazon.com is offering two free patterns from Fairy Tale Knits at this link:


Click on the pictures for a closer look at the Princess Crown Hat (perfect for Mardi Gras), and the Snow Queen Coat. I think the crown would be great for a young prince too. And new free patterns for Petite Purls are out too ---- another talented designer.

Another web site (non- knitting) that is fun and useful is http://www.paperbackswap.com/. I've used it quite a few times with no problems. You don't have to swap, 1 credit (for one book) costs about $3.00, and the selection of titles is amazing. The books I've received have all been in pristine condition, and have arrived about a week after being requested.

Let me know how you like my new format for my newsletter. I thought the blog format would be easier to access - no download necessary. I enjoy the writing and I hope you enjoy reading what I write.

Since the holidays are fast approaching, I shall try to add a link to a "quick and easy" gift pattern each week. So check back reguarly, and don't forget to leave feed back at the bottom of the blog page. I also have a couple of new classes planned for January. And finally here is a a pattern I use often.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Summer 2009

Topics: Solstice Trivia, Summer Knitting, On the Web, Great Deals On Yarn, Holiday Head Start

Summer has officially arrived, although for those of us who live in south Louisiana, hot weather arrives well before the longest day of the year. When the temps get up to the mid-eighties the exuberant calypso rhythms of “Hot! Hot! Hot!” come to mind. Here’s a link:

And some Summer Solstice trivia: Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, also Midsummer (see
Shakespeare), St. John's Day. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June. Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice।

I auditioned/swatched several summer knitting projects, and the winner was…Girasole by Jerod Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed. Since girasole means sunflower in Italian, I decided to knit it in a golden semisolid. Knit Picks Kettle Dyed sock yarn fit the bill and my budget constraints; at $8.99/462yds/ball I needed just 3 balls, and the yarn is lovely to work with. Girasole can be knit in worsted/aran weight too, as it is in the photo. There is web KAL going on, and local knitter Debbie A. is knitting it too. The pattern, which is well written, is available on Ravelry. What are you knitting this summer?

The summer issues of Knitty and The Twist Collective are now available online, and I am pleased to see yet another web magazine; you'll want to check out
Petite Purls, which is devoted to knitting for little ones. The first issue contains six patterns, from a cute dress to a knit lobster, plus an article on knitting for kids and a few product reviews. If Jacques Crusteau was knit in orange yarn, he could be a crawfish! The adorable patterns are free.
Fiber Gypsy has a useful Size/Measurement Chart for Children:

Elann continues to feature the best deals around on yarn, usually discounted 40% and more. Yes, they are closeouts, discontinued colors, etc., but from the best companies in the business. And often, the more expensive and exclusive the yarn the better the discount. Listings are added nearly every day at 11:00am CT, and sometimes sell out in an hour or two. Recent listings included Noro, Vittadini, Filatura Di Crosa, and Debbie Bliss!

HOLIDAY HEAD START: I started this newsletter in early summer, and although school has begun, it’s still summer with plenty of hot weather yet to come. However, for knitters, some holiday head start classes seem like a good idea. Starting next Wednesday, August 26, I will teach a Christmas Stocking Class. I have a book of great stocking patterns which features a large variety of patterns, incorporating various techniques such as Fair Isle, intarsia, textured stitches, lace, duplicate stitch and more. This is a class for intermediate knitters who can choose to knit a pattern as written, modify one, or create a unique design. The first class, in which we will plan our stocking, will take place at Debbie 's home Aug.26; the dates for the following classes are Sept. 8 and 23, and Oct. 7. Classes will begin at 1:00, but there will be a pot luck lunch at 12:00 on Aug. 26. The cost for the four classes is $40. Class enrollment will be strictly limited to six. Reply to this email or phone me to save your spot.

Patternfish is an online store where you can buy or sell your knitting or crochet patterns as customized PDF downloads. That is all we do, and we want to be the best in the world at it. You won't find free patterns here. Nothing in Patternfish is available for less than $2.00 US. You won't find advertising, either.

3,548 patterns! I copied the above paragraph from the Patternfish website. I’ve really enjoyed browsing the patterns, and the search engine works well, especially if you clear the previous search before starting a new search. I’ve found some wonderful patterns, purchased a few, and saved the rest in my “wish list”, a site feature you can access after you register. I love downloading patterns, because I can save them on the computer or a CD and print them later. Patternfish also saves them in your “account”, should your computer crash or you lose the CD. You can also access them on another computer, out of town or otherwise. Many of the patterns are “oldies”, but there is gold to be mined and I love being able to search by favorite designer, yarn company, item name, and more.

Check out the new Drift cardigan, a free pattern on the Berroco website. It is knit in worsted weight Vintage yarn, and I love the textured stitches and flattering vertical lines. It would be easy to convert it to a pullover too, and it comes in sizes 32 thru 52. I think I’ve talked myself into making it…anyone interested in a KAL (knitalong).

Hugs and thanks for all the positive feedback. I love my knitting friends!



There is still time to knit some peeps and colored eggs. The website addresses to cut & paste on your browser are: kat-knits.blogspot.com/2007/03/some-easter-peeps.html (other cute things too, love the grumpasaurus) littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk/free_knitting_patterns/ (color charts for striped, polka-dot, or Fair Isle egg covers to stuff, or cover a plastic or Styrofoam egg)

Ultimate Knitting Retreat - Spring 2010

Fairy Tale Cottage in the Cotswolds – divine settings, picturesque and beautifully updated with all the modern conveniences. Here is the website:

http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p412435 This is one fairy tale that could come true! Seven or eight of us could make this a memorable and affordable vacation to remember. Don’t miss the “Sheep in the meadow…” photo. So far four knitting/travel aficionados have expressed a strong interest in joining this group. Kay, who makes regular trips to a nearby area, can advise us regarding efficient, affordable travel. Please contact me if you are interested in this trip. (Congenial non-knitters are welcome also.)

The spring issues of Knitty and Twist Collective online magazines are available now. Both feature some beautiful patterns, and I love the Ladybug and Sunflower toys in Twist Collective.

Another blog I enjoy is theraineysisters.com. Scroll down to the Cashmina lace blouse, and the Bohus collar, both are gorgeous!

The Ultimate Tee class is going well, and Lisa and I are learning from our students too. Also coming up is the Socks from the Toe Up KAL.

Thanks for your support; I’ll be in touch soon regarding new classes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Newsletter 2 March 2009

Dear Knitting Friends,

Lisa and I have been discussing hosting knitting classes and workshops together, and the interest many of you have expressed in our upcoming "The Perfect Tee" class was very gratifying. The information for that class is part of this newsletter, and we are planning a free class, "Socks From the Toe Up On Two Circular Needles", date and time TBA later. Also in the works is a class on making Fimo buttons and a Yarn Exchange/Auction Party.

A Perfect Tee (definition: to a tee - perfectly, exactly.)
This little tee may become a favorite to wear and to knit; it features comfortable, flattering, set-in sleeves which are knit in, and there is no sewing or finishing. You'll take a few simple measurements at the beginning to achieve a custom fit. Because the sweater is knit from the top down, you'll be able to try on the sweater while you knit it. Our pattern borrows from several sources; we have simplified, adapted, and combined patterns and techniques. You will be able to further customize this pattern with lace or textured stitches.

The class will meet on four alternate Wednesdays at Lisa's home from 1:00 - 3:00, and students will be welcome to stay and knit until around 4:00. The class dates are March 11th and 25th, and April 8th and 22nd.

Because this class is still in the "beta" phase the tuition will be just $10 per session/$40 total, and of course Lisa and I will be available for help and advice between classes. The class size will be limited to 8 students, and we ask for payment in advance for the first class ($10) to reserve your place, and so we'll be able to prepare materials for you, and advise you regarding supplies.

Although the Perfect Tee can be knit in many yarns, for this class we are asking you to choose a worsted weight yarn that knits to a gauge of 19-21 stitches to four inches, such as Tahki Cotton Classic, Berroco Linen Jeans and Plymouth Jeanne, but there are many others that would work just as well.

A quote from the Yarn Harlot's calendar, Never Not Knitting:

"Monday, March 2, 2009
Today is Cat Bordhi's birthday....knitter, designer, and author...famous not just for thinking outside the box but for not even recognizing that there may be a box at all.... Cat's mission is make you a more creative, free thinking knitter who problem-solves and experiments with vigor and fearlessness."

Barbara Walker is another free-thinking knitter whose work inspired our class; her book Knitting From the Top, long out of print, is available once again from Schoolhouse Press.

Two blogs I've recently discovered and enjoyed are Brooklyn Tweed and Purl Bee. Check them out, and let me know what you think. Purl Bee is the blog for Purl Soho, a New York shop that sells fabric as well as yarn (I could easily get into double-trouble there.). Both sites have free patterns and lots of project ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Each time I check my email I hope to see a notice from Knitty or The Twist Collective announcing their spring issue is online---but not yet. New yarns and new colors of familiar ones are arriving in shops now....I think it might be patriotic to buy some ;)

Hope to see you soon,

I'm beginning this blog with copies of previous newsletters, my first being a simple email to my friends at the Knit 'n Sip which meets on Thursdays at the Abita Springs library. However I don't plan to focus on knitting alone; reading, watching movies, gardening are some other activities which I enjoy. Part of the pleasure of these pastimes is in sharing and discussing them with friends, and they have been a wonderful source of new friends. So I hope if you read my blog posts you'll find something interesting or useful.

Newsletter 1 August 2008

Hi Debbie,
I'm sending you the links to the knitting newsletters/magazines in which you were interested...plus a new one! Another morning gone, dreaming of "next" projects.

knitty.com (see the cute Cotton-Ease bag in current issue) all patterns are free

classiceliteyarns.com (click on web-letter at the top of the page), some free patterns plus you can browse all the patterns in their books & order them

twistcollective.com (Brand NEW & very sharp looking) $7.00/each downloadable pattern

Since I don't want to be the only one thus tempted, this email will go to all. To opt out of similar updates, just let me know. Since so many of you have inquired re McNeedles, I called Pam, she's in the Florida Keys, and the shop opening has been pushed back to
Sept.5. I've had a sneak peek at some really gorgeous yarn...worth the wait! As you all know, I not only love to knit, I really enjoy reading about knitting techniques and tips, new and old, and I love to teach and share; so I'd like some input from my knitting friends regarding potential classes and topics of interest.

See you on Thursdays,