Thursday, October 28, 2010

Question For You

I'm hand washing a couple of blouses this morning.  It's not one of my favorite things to do, but they are nice blouses - one, a Jones New York which cost me major bucks, and the other, a Liz Claibourne I got for a song at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  As I say, I'm not crazy about hand laundry. My wool knitted socks go into the washer in a lingerie bag, though not in the dryer.  Anyway, if I want these two shirts to look their best, I'll do what it takes.

I have a frustrating situation with one of the women in the Tuesday Nite Knitters group.  She categorically refuses to swatch, or to block, anything!  She states emphatically for all to hear that she doesn't need to do either and her garments always fit perfectly and look great.  It's so hard for me when I am all eager to share with the group the things I'm learning in my research and projects for the Master Knitter Course, and she continues to not only refuse to learn anything new, but puts down everything I say, and tells the others they don't need to do what I suggest.  (She also has her own ideas about casting on and seaming, etc. etc. etc.)

Now, going back to paragraph one, I'm not crazy about swatching and blocking either, but I do it, and try to do it well, because I know how much it improves my knitting, so I'll do what it takes.  I'm reminded of a sign in my dentist's office which states "You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep."  So I'll keep learning and swatching and blocking because I want my projects to look their best.  I just need to learn how to sit for an hour and a half every Tuesday evening without grinding my teeth and elevating my blood pressure.  Any ideas?

Monday, October 25, 2010


OK, After nearly an hour of trying to figure out how to post a picture here, I finally got these three imported. (The hats are still on their blocking bucket.)
OSU hatBagBelted hat

Post Rhinebeck Projects

A few photos of the past week's projects.  OK, they aren't actually post-Rhinebeck; I started Mrs. Crumpet's Knitting Bag as my in-the-car project for the NY, New England trip, and finished her when we returned.  You'll notice I gave her big bamboo knitting needles, since she's an old woman and her eyesight isn't good.  Actually, my eyesight wasn't so good either by the time I finished all that intarsia and duplicate stitch.  (She still doesn't have handles, not sure quite what to do about that).  Love the pattern, though.  It's by Kathy Sasser of Tehachapi Sock Company.

Hats are the first Christmas gifts - I think everyone is getting hats this year, and they are mostly from yarn purchased at Webs last week.  Well, I did get the scarlet and grey yarn at Rhinebeck, but it's just Cascade 220, not the beautiful hand dyed stuff to dye for at Rhinebeck.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sheep and Wool and Webs

We're back in Ohio now,  having spent a great few days in the Northeast.  First stop was Webs Yarn Shop in North Hampton, MA, a wonderful place to spend a few hours and a lot of money!  But, OH, the rows and rows and rows of color and texture and possibilities.  I left there after about four hours, with (literally) three bags full of wool.  I bought a lot of basic things - Cascade 220 for the Master Knitter Coursework, Berroco Vintage in lavender heather for a bulky sweater for me, lots of washable wools and wool blends for hats and kid sweaters and mittens, etc.  Also picked up a book I'd been wanting for a long time "Vogue Knitting."  Books and yarns which are not closeouts are discounted 25% if you buy $120.00 or more.  It doesn't take long to reach that mark.

Then on to Keene, NH, for a couple days with friends from high school.  Lots of fun visiting and reminiscing with them.

Saturday we were at the gate of the Rhinebeck, NY Sheep and Wool Festival before opening time, along with several thousand other folks.  What an experience that was!  So much yarn, roving, fleece, every imaginable tool and trinket for knitting, spinning, hooking, and lots of sheep, alpaca, and rabbits as well.  The fairgrounds has a museum of antique farm equipment, so Clint was happy.  Having bought all the basic stuff at Webs, I cruised the vendors at Rhinebeck just looking for a few luxury items.  One booth which took my breath away, as well as a chunk of my money, was Decadent Fibers.  They have the most gorgeous yarns I've ever seen.  Check them out at

By Saturday evening I was so tired that every time I closed my eyes all I could see was crowds of people coming toward me.  One day at the Festival was enough for me.

New projects are on the horizon - photos coming soon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hard Week

It's been a hard week around here.  Wednesday we had to have our dear bichon, Bridget, put to sleep.  She was 15 years old and I'd had her since she was 7 weeks.  Then, Thursday a long-time friend and neighbor passed away, fairly suddenly.  Going to her calling hours today took me way back in time to when her four children and my five were small, bringing up all sorts of feelings and memories.  So tonite I'm tired.  Too tired, even, to knit.  That doesn't happen often to me, for knitting is what I do, to rest, to comfort myself, and to enjoy myself.  But not tonite.  I only want to sleep tonite.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Horse

I have a horse.  I don't have to feed him or clean out his stall, but I do ride him once in a while.  His name is High.  I've been on my horse recently.

One of the requirements for part 1 of the Master Knitter course is a 2-4 page, single-spaced report on Blocking Knitted Items.  Feeling like I'm back in college, I pulled out all my knitting books and began the research.  Quickly I realized that while some books had lots to say about blocking, others had none or very little.  I was appalled by one in particular,  "Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters," by Sharon Brant, which devotes a three sentence paragraph to the topic.  Surely a book titled, Finishing Techniques....... should be expected to cover blocking fairly thoroughly, since blocking is the finishing technique which makes all the difference in whether a garment or item looks "home made" or "expertly hand crafted."  (There are other problems with this book, which I won't go into here).

So I've been on my high horse, ranting to anyone who will listen.  Finally, I posted a review of the book on (where I'd purchased it), and sent an e-mail to Rowan Yarns, who employ Ms. Brant as a teacher and designer.

Bottom Line:  If you want a really good book on Finishing Knits,  get Nancie Wiseman's "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques."  Don't waste your money on Sharon Brant's book.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Challenge

Recently I enrolled in the first section of The Knitting Guild of America Master Knitter course.  (read more about it at  Even though I've been knitting for many years I think this will be a real challenge for me. I am thoroughly enjoying the research I've done so far in preparation for knitting the required sixteen swatches, and writing a report on blocking.  I'm learning a lot already.

Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on my progress.