Saturday, March 31, 2007


I had the privilege today to hear a talk by Becky Pippert during a women's retreat at my church. She is an engaging speaker with incredible insight into God's promise for our lives. Her message is that we are special to God. He adores us and wants to have a personal relationship with us.

He reaches out to us at our most vulnerable moments. When we think we are all out of patience or the ability to cope with the troubles of our lives, that's where we find Him.

Seeing her was especially thrilling to me because I heard tapes of one of her talks years ago when I was in high school, and she had a profound affect on my understanding of God and His plan for my life. I won't ramble on here since this is a knitting blog, but if you want to hear more about what she said, send me an email at

And since this is a knitting blog, I will admit that, I managed to sneak away with my mom during the lunch break to pick up some yarn for a beret for her. We splurged on some cream colored Debbie Bliss baby alpaca, which was by far the softest yarn in the shop. I hope this will be a better alternative to wool, which makes her itchy.

This beret is to replace the last one I made her, which she lost the last time she was in Boston. I told her I'm going to put a big label with her name and phone number in this one!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Introducing the Lucy

I saw the Lucy while on vacation last summer in Wisconsin. I hadn't yet knitted a felted bag but I was thinking about it. I bought the pattern and tucked it away for some day. I made a clutch from the One Skein book and then a rainbow purse for the International Exchange II. I tried the RunAbout bag and a tote from the One Skein for the International III. I even made a ball band bag. Through out it all, the Lucy bag sat there waiting so patiently for its turn. And finally, it was. I had this Noro begging for a pattern and a pattern begging to be knitted.

Casting on eight stitches in the round to get started was ever so difficult but it was quite simple once I got it going. A lot of increases and then straight stockingnette.

It's not the most practical of purses given how it closes. But it is a fun little purse to carry anyway.

Monday, March 26, 2007


In my early years of skiing, I would look at the steep, bumped up double black diamonds and think anyone who would dare to jump off the side of the mountain like that was certainly daft. It didn't take long before I had become daft and was tackling the steeps with glee.

When I first started to knit, I was thrilled just to have mastered a knit and purl stitch. I'd look at complicated patterns and just shake my head. Far more challenging than I'd ever be interested in, I thought. But as with skiing, one things leads to another and now I'm hankering to try cables. It's not that I particularly like the look of them so much as I want to figure out how to do them.

I'm planning to make one of those cute little cabled purses. I have some beautiful speckled purple yarn and I've picked up a free pattern from knit picks. So, to anyone who has cable experience - any hints/tips/advice?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Friendship yarn

There is yarn that is special because of how much it cost or it's color or it's texture. There is yarn that stands out that was bought for a special project or a special person. And then there is yarn that is significant because of the circumstances underwhich it was bought. This yarn was bought while shopping with a very special friend who came all the way to Boston from the left coast. I "met" Allison through the International Tote Exchange and we've had a great time e-mailing ever since. It's like the pen pal you had when you were a kid -- only I got to actually meet her. Of course I "had" to take her on a yarn shop tour. Of course yarn "had" to be bought. It's nice to spend time with someone who really "gets it" when it comes to knitting.

This is Cascade for felted bowls and Debbie Bliss Cotton for a baby hat.

All of this just to do dishes?

This is quite possibly one of the most complicated dish cloths ever - at least the way I made it, which included recasting 150 stitches, not one, not twice, but three times! Was it worth it in the end? Perhaps not according to those who haven't been taken over by the knitting addiction. But to those of us in the know, what the heck? I learned a lot from knitting this and I have a cute present for my mom when she comes to visit next week. The next one shouldn't take nearly as long.

For those interested, the pattern is great - it's from the Mason Dixon book. It's a little challenging (not too much if you actually read the pattern right) but it's still easy enough to do while watching television.

Monday, March 19, 2007

True Love?

There’s an old saying, “If you love something, let it go. If it returns to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be.”

I’m not sure that is supposed to apply to knitting, but here’s my story. It’s something only true fanatics will appreciate.

I had to pick up my dh for a meeting. I threw my latest project in the bag – a felted tote in Noro Kureyon – just in case. I didn’t expect to have much knitting time, but you never know.

I hooked a couple of stitches while waiting for DH outside of his office building and set the project along side of me when he got in the car. We got to the meeting and I noticed that the project wasn’t in my bag, but thought little of it.

We finished the meeting and I drove 20 minutes back to his office. At a red light, for some odd reason, it occurred to me to hook a couple more stitches. This is not something I’ve done before, but knitting has a strange effect on the truly committed. I reached down and found that the project had gone missing!

Could it have rolled to the back of our ridiculously long van? Not likely. Had dh packed it up with his things? Even less likely. Could I have knocked it on to the ground when I got out of the car? Of course not, I’d put the project BESIDE me when DH got in the car. And if it had fallen out, wouldn’t I have seen it when getting in the car?

But the project was undeniably missing. I weighed the value of the project against the time and effort needed to return to the parking spot. I was, after all, on the other side of town. I wasn’t 100 percent sure it wasn’t in the van, but there was no place to pull over to check.

I didn’t realize until that moment how much this project meant to me! 20 minutes to get it started on dpns. Two hours of carefully counting increases. Three hours of knitting dull straight stockinette. To say nothing of the cost of the yarn to begin with. Suddenly, retrieving that project became the most important thing in the world to me. I was sure I would be devastated if I couldn’t locate it.

I thought seriously about calling the people at the place where we had the meeting and asking if they would go look for it – but I was sure I’d be laughed off the phone.

By the time I decided I had to go back, just in case it really had fallen out of the car, school was out, kids were flooding the streets, busses were stopping frequently and rush hour had begun. But I that didn’t stop me.

I finally made it back to the parking spot. There on a pile of snow was my poor project looking forlornly abandoned. I was overjoyed. No one had taken it. It hadn’t been run over. Not one stitch had been dropped!

I have a whole new appreciation for this silly tote. I’m sure I will have a strong attachment to the bag when it’s done. After all, it seems we’re meant to be together. This is very good, since I’m knitting it to replace a purse that has gone missing with my wallet and keys inside of it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring will come

The weatherman says it is supposed to snow. But daylight is being saved and the crocuses are poking their heads above ground, so spring must be coming, right?

I hope so -- the kids are already begging to wear their flip flops and they seem to have lost their winter coats.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Learn from my mistakes

I have for some time been wanting to knit a bobbled dish rag from the Mason Dixon book. I had the perfect yarn from Lisa (, my spoiler for the Secret Pal 9. I thought it would be a nice challenge. A little too challenging for my addled brain as it turned out. I cast on 150 stitches, purled and then made the bobbles. There were supposed to be 6. I had more than 10. I read the pattern again. And then again. And then again.

Here is what it said: *k12, mb (make a bobble),k12* Repeat to end. Can you guess what I did wrong? I'll put it in the comment section.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Knit World Gossip

For those who want to be "in the know": I have it on good authority that Interweave Knits is getting a new editor. It seems the current chief, PamAllen, is leaving to pursue other interests. She will be replaced by designer and blogger Eunny Jang.

Jang writes at, which she launched in 2005. She has a background in marketing and sales.

Allen, who has been with the magazine since 2003, will still design for the magazine.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just in time for spring

We're trying to rush in spring by knitting felted mittens - that's based on the idea of bringing an umbrella to ward off the rain. It may have worked, we hit 50 degrees today.

But, we did have three days of near-0 degree weather after the mittens were finished, so Zara got at least a little bit of use out of them in this season.

When they were done, before they were felted, I was sure they would end up being too big so I didn't pay close attention while felting. Thankfully, we checked them when we did because they felted wicked fast and were just the right size.

Thankfully, also, felting is forgiving. I discovered on this project that I was twisting stiches on the purl. As a result, I had lines of strangled stitches where I'd put in short rows. Never mind that it took two gloves and three sets of short rows to figure out that I was doing something wrong! I also started the thumb opening in the wrong spot. But to look at them, you'ld never know it.

The pockets came out okay. The top flaps should have been a little closer to the bottoms, but they'll do.

Best of all, the one who requested them is happy and actually kept them on her hands.

DD picked out the yarn - Cascade 220 and the buttons - that took almost as long the knitting!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Tote Exchange III

I have avoided posting one of my most recent major knitting projects because I was hoping to remain anonymous to my partner for the International Tote Exchange. But the tote has arrived and I've been revealed so here it is.

The brief was this: Business casual, medium size - roomy enough for lunch, wallet and a knitting project, handles long enough to hang off the shoulder and bright colors or pastel.

After much, much deliberation, I settled on a pattern from the One Skein book that I've been wanting to try. Only I altered the handles to fit the brief. I ran out of the grey yarn with just two inches on the second handle, but that was really the only glitch of the project. It turned out exactly as I pictured it.
In the pictures, you can see the yarn - Lamb's Pride, the swatches, the pre-felted purse (big enough for a skirt!) and the finished product.

It's for a new friend, Danielle, who works in the accounting department of a children's hospital on the west coast and has been drafted into teaching others to knit. She is also a fabulous knitter - check out her incredible shawl:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happy Aunt

I got a surprise phone call late last night. It was my Aunt Jane, for whom I made the pink fulled purse. She said she was so thrilled, she said, she had to call. Isn't that the response for which we knit? I quickly forgot the pains of the birth - the hours of knitting, the uneven felting, the lopsided straps, the misshapen was all worth it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Vacation memories

If you look closely at these yarns, you can smell the salty air of the beach, hear the sounds of children laughing and feel the freedom of having no place to go and nothing to do. These are the yarns I bought while on various vacations last year.

I started the collection with a multi colored yarn bought on Newbury Street. I brougt the collection with me to every yarn store I visited and asked the owner for a recommendation of a yarn to add to the mix with the intention of making a scarf. Some were a little perplexed, most were extremely helpful. I love going into shops anyway and it was nice to have an excuse to buy something.

I'm knitting the scarf the long way using the "leave it to chance" method - rolling the die to determine which color is next and heads or tails to determine if it will be a knit or purl. I've cast on 150 stitches and I'm anticipating it to be about 5 feet long not counting the fringe.

Those who are astute might note that there are actually seven colors but only six numbers on a die- I'm pairing the yellow with one of the multi colors.
This is a swatch, just big enough to be a scarf for Barbi.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

SP10 questions answered

Here are the answers for the Secret Pal 10:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I prefer natural fibers. I like yarns that are soft. I felt a lot so I lean toward wools that aren’t superwash. But really, I like most natural yarns and I like to try different kinds. I generally don’t like fun fur and similar novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a couple of different cases and a few vases. They’re also in drawers and pencil holders. (They seem to end up scattered about)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I taught myself to knit about four years ago. I understand enough to be an intermediate to advanced knitter. But in practice, I am an advanced novice to solid intermediate. I have so much more to learn.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes. It’s under

5. What's your favorite scent? Lavender followed by rose6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I like chocolate but I’m not a big sweets eater. I adore coffee.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I was a sewer before I became a knitter. I can crochet, although I tend to prefer knitting. I take lots of pictures. I also make beaded jewelry from time to time. I have been given a drop spindle so I’m planning to learn how to use it.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like Blues and jazz. We listen to the “World Zone” satellite channel a lot – which is a mix of music from all over.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I tend toward earth tones, browns, pinks and blues. I lean more toward pastels than brights.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I have one husband and five children, age 1-14. We have one English Springer Spaniel and 3 goldfish.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes on scarves, hats and mittens. No ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I tend toward small projects so I don’t lose interest. I’ve tried just about everything – scarves, hats, sweaters, dish cloths, even teddy bears. I like to knit felted totes because I find them to be so useful. I’m going to try socks any day now.

13. What are you knitting right now? I’m working on a tote for an exchange and felted mittens for my 4yo (by request). I’m contemplating making a baby gift of some sort and a sweater for myself.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I use a mix – primarily my Denise interchangeables. I like bamboo for some things and metal for others.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes to both.17. How old is your oldest UFO?It’s 1.7 years old – a doll I started for my now 4yo when her baby sister was on the way. We both lost interest in it.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas because of the emphasis on family and world peace. Easter because it’s the celebration of a risen savior.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Aside from yarn and books about knitting? I collect pens – I’m a writer and I’m always looking for good ones or interesting ones. I have an odd penchant for the novelty pens one finds at tourist stops with things that float from one end to the other.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I don’t have any subscriptions, but I do love to read knitting magazines.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I’m planning on learning how to knit socks and I’m toying with the idea of knitting something lacy. I love some of the shawls I’ve seen, but I’m not sure I’d actually use one. I may try a lacy sweater instead.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Not yet. My foot is a 7.
When is your birthday? June 24

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Three Little lost mittens (please)

My 4 yo requested mittens - not just any old mittens, but felted mittens!

Apparently, what I've been doing has rubbed off on her!

She chose the yarn - Cascade 220 in lovely pink (of course). The pattern is from Felted Knits -- I think it's probably the most complicated one I could have found -- it has short rows. I'm also adding little pockets, just for the fun of it.

Meanwhile, I looked up from my window and saw "Big John" pulling into Boston Harbor. This is the last time the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier will be in town. It moves pretty fast for a big ship, if I'd looked up just five minutes later, I would have missed it.