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  • knitting1105 2:23 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: color   



    This recent article on the origins of the color purple got me to thinking about colors, and how they are precieved.


    I have always been fascinated with color, how some people see or don’t see it, why it is important to some and not others, and how it affects people.  Since I was a child I have loved colors, starting with the new box of Crayola Crayons that we got at the start of every school year.  The big huge box was never in our school bag, as there wasn’t enough money for it, but I lusted after them.  The packaging is so iconic, and I remember the built-in sharpener when it came out!


    So, of course, my own children received all the crayons, and lots of other ways to express themselves with color.  I am not sure that it has held the allure for them that it dos for me, although Sofia is always well coordinated!


    Fast forward to Architecture School, and I fell in love with Prismacolors.  The intense beautiful colors that you can get with these colored pencils is unlike any others.


    My wish list for the past few Christmases has been this amazing set of all the Prismas in a beautiful wooden box.  Maybe this year?…


    In my work, I get to use color a lot, although not normally the really bright versions.  But, I love my paint color fans.

    Close-up view of a color chart used for paint selection

    Close-up view of a color chart used for paint selection

    And naturally, knitting allows me to use color in a very free and creative way,  I love collecting the color cards from yarn companies, Jamieson’s being one of the best.

    IMG_1584IMG_1586 IMG_1585

    And, while it is a smaller selection than Jameison’s, the Dale of Norway Baby Ull provides some great colors, and I get to use these the most creatively in the baby sweaters that I knit.

    Dale of Norway Color Card

    Recently, I came across these couple of quizzes for how you see color.  I tend to differentiate colors very well.

    To see if you have the “eye of an eagle”, try this quiz.  I got a perfect score!

    And this one where about 15% of the people have a 4th cone, of which I am a select member.


    I am fortunate to have both a hobby and profession that are creative and allow me to continually experiment and utilize color in so many different ways.

    • KrisD 3:28 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
      have you done this test? it is pretty interesting. I made my husband do it and the struggle of picking paint colors for our bedroom makes so much more sense now. lol.

      • knitting1105 3:39 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting. I did not score as well on that as I had thought that I should. Will have to try it again later. Blame it on my computer monitor!

        • KrisD 3:54 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink

          what did you score? I had 15. I’ve done better, allergy season with itchy eyes and contacts probably isn’t the best time to try to do that sort of thing.

    • soknitsome 10:14 pm on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great! I’ve also got eagle eyes with a perfect score – but I got 35 in the second one so I see like a bee!

    • natas75 4:47 am on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely post. I’m also very fond of colours. Whether it’s crayons, yarn or colourful clothing. I shared your post on my page, if you don’t mind..

    • natas75 4:53 am on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      And also perfect score on the quiz! Still don’t need my glasses :-)

  • knitting1105 10:22 am on August 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Knitting Fiction 

    First off, I would like to thank Erin Fanning for a great series of guest posts on this blog.   I encourage everyone to read her new Novella, Blood Stitches.  If you missed the posts, you can catch them here, here, here and here!  And Erin has started a new Facebook page for everyone interested in Fiction with a knitting component.  I just joined!

    How timely, as our SnB has decided to become a book club as well, reading books with a knitting component, have knitting in them, or written by a knitter.  We are starting by reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.  Barbara Kingsolver is a knitter herself.


    I have not gotten very far into the book yet, and knitting is apparently a small part of this book.  But we do have Barbara Kingsolver to thank for our group name Stitch ‘n Bitch, from the book Animal Dreams, which will be coming up soon as a part of our SnB literary component.  We need to understand the origin of our name, it was one of my favorite books, and I look forward to reading it again.


    And of course, Blood Stitches will be coming up as well as a knitting good read.


    How fun to combine literature and knitting!  What is your favorite book that incorporates knitting into it?

  • Erin 8:00 am on August 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Knitting history, Mayan weaving   

    A Yarn Weaver’s Legacy 

    4th and final guest post by Erin Fanning, writer and knitter.  Thank you Erin, this has been really fun and I enjoyed reading your posts!


    clip-art-knitting-057714“I knit a story about light and fresh air, yes? Warmth and survival.”

    These words guide Gabby, the nineteen-year-old protagonist in my novella, Blood Stitches, through the labyrinthine Mayan underworld in which she finds herself trapped. The refrain becomes Gabby’s light, illuminating her escape and filling her with hope.

    Originally spoken by her abuela, grandmother in Spanish, the phrase alludes to the magical DNA weaving in and out of their genes. They form an intricate history, a gift from the Mayan moon goddess, Ix Chel, that allows Gabby’s family to knit complex patterns, a story of sorts, complete with plot twists and turns.

    “Yarn weaving,” Abuela calls it.

    It’s a history not unique to Gabby’s family. Mayan women for centuries have told stories through their weaving, a tradition that continues today. Hundreds of symbols represent different aspects of their mythology and everyday world. Diamonds indicate the union of the earth and sky, while toads symbolize the rain god.

    Across the ocean in Ireland, a rich history has also evolved surrounding the stitches used in the famous Aran sweaters. A mixture of fable—the sweaters never represented specific families—and elaborate needlework, the stitches possess a whimsical poetry: blackberry, moss, basket, honeycomb, and tree of life. Their meanings reflect their names with the basket stitch, for example, supposed to represent a fisherman’s daily catch.

    But the art of storytelling through needle and yarn is not something relegated to previous generations. Artists, like Deborah Dick of Tempting Tangles, continue to find new ways to express themselves. Using cross stitch and embroidery, Deborah chronicles elaborate narratives with rich details, such as the Watermeadows Series, where skaters glide under a moonlit sky and a couple serenades each other below flowering trees.

    Although the fantasy of Abuela’s “yarn weaving” may be fiction, the magic found in needlework and weaving across the world tells a rich legacy of endless imagination and creativity.

  • knitting1105 4:57 pm on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    How to give Flowers to a Knitter 

    Made by my Stitch and Bitch group for a fellow knitter who has been under the weather.  Not sure where I first saw this, but knew I wanted to make one.





    • Pam Moriarty 8:42 pm on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This was such fun. I hope it brought a smile to her face.

      • knitting1105 10:53 am on August 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it did!

    • Anecia Price 5:09 am on August 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very clever idea… I’m sure she just loved it! I know I would appreciate receiving SO many wonderful yarns all at once! Kuddos to you and your group for being such a wonderful friends!

      Stichin’ & Bitchin’! Haha! I love it!!!

  • knitting1105 1:46 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Tudor Roses Comparison 

    About 18 months ago I wrote a review of the new Tudor Roses vs the original Tudor Roses, both by Alice Starmore.  In that review, I commented that I was happy to have both versions, for the color changes, and new shaping of the newest version (2013),


    and the patterns for men in the original version (1998).


    A question was recently posed on that blog entry by Christina, of whether I would say that only the new version was needed.  This prompted me to do a comparison of patterns, and to note which ones were in each book, and any changes.

    Looking through and comparing these books has piqued my interest in knitting up one of the patterns, and I must say that it will  probably be from the newer book, as the shaping is more contemporary there, and more to my liking.  There are a couple of sweaters that appear in both books that really appeal to me also.  I enjoy seeing the ones that were reknit being done in a new colorway.  My comparison of the 2 books follows, a simple chart:


    So my answer to Christina who posed the question, would be that I am happy that I own both books.  If your desire is to have a complete knitting library, and you love color work and more complicated patterns, then Yes to owning both books.  And starting at $20 for the older version on Amazon, I do think that it is worth the investment.

    As a side note, thanks in large part to Ravelry, many knitting books that are out of print have become very pricey, although that changes as books are reissued.  I have a wonderful library that I have amassed over the years, and keep telling my family that if something happens to me, my knitting books are worth more than my Architecture books!  And that statement says a lot, as that is also a wonderful collection.

  • Erin 8:00 am on August 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Therapeutic knitting   

    Surviving Stitch By Stitch 


    The third guest post from author and knitter Erin Fanning.

    The earthquake hit L’Aquila, Italy on April 6, 2009. Maria D’Antuono, a resourceful 98-year-old, grabbed her knitting supplies and crawled under her bed. The stone house crumbled around her, yet, when firefighters found Maria 30 hours later, she was not only unhurt but continued to knit.

    “At least let me comb my hair,” she said to her rescuers as they helped her to safety.

    I read about Maria’s ordeal soon after I learned how to knit, and the events tumbled around in my brain, eventually blending into a history of magic and needlework. What if you could not only knit your way to safety but also create a disaster through knitting? It wasn’t long afterward that my novella, Blood Stitches, pushed its way through my fingertips.

    A deeper message, however, waited to be found underneath the rubble of Maria’s cottage. Even though I was a beginner knitter, I already understood how someone could find solace in handiwork: the colorful yarn, soothing rhythm of needles clicking together, and the satisfaction of a finished project.

    Research reinforced my personal experience. A study of women with anorexia nervosa found that knitting helped about 70 percent of them cope with their eating disorder, and the majority of 3,500 knitters surveyed in Great Britain said they felt relaxed and content while knitting.

    “I knit at night when I wake up and am worried, and I feel better after a while,” Tracy, mother of a pediatric cancer patient, told Project Knitwell, a group that helps people find relief from stress through knitting.

    And Stitchlinks—whose mission is to promote therapeutic knitting—has received dozens of emails about the benefits of knitting, such as, “Knitting has always been a source of meditation for me and in times of stress, pain and anxiety it has helped me to focus my attention away from anything that might be stressing me out.”

    So next time disaster hits, grab your knitting and start stitching your way to a solution. At the very least, you’ll feel calmer, and, like Maria D’Antuono, able to face life’s earthquakes until the tremors pass.

    • knitting1105 1:14 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love this story! I know that knitting has always helped to calm me, and it is a good reason to have a project always close at hand!

    • Erin 4:31 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! And you are so right: always have a project close at hand!

  • Erin 8:00 am on July 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Knitting Memories Into Yarn 


    Afghan for my niece… almost finished!

    The second guest post from author and knitter Erin Fanning.


    “Did you finish it?” my nephew Jonah asked me.

    No further explanation was necessary. I knew what he wanted; he’d been asking the same question for months.

    This time, though, instead of saying, “No, not yet,” I nodded and beckoned for him to follow me outside to my truck, where I dipped into the backseat and pulled out a red-white-and-blue knitted afghan.

    Jonah, excitement flitting across his face, wrapped it around his shoulders and swooped back inside, as quick as Superman, to show the afghan to the rest of his family.

    My nephew Max, standing nearby, asked, “Will you make me one too?”

    I hesitated. It had taken me more than a year to knit Jonah’s afghan, and I was ready to move on to smaller projects. But how could I say no to Max’s request, his expression so serious and voice tentative?

    “Of course,” I said, “What colors would you like?”

    Soon another red-white-and blue afghan clung to my circular needles. The choice of colors reflected Max and Jonah’s shared love for American history, as well as Jonah’s interest in super heroes. Next came a blue afghan for my niece Kadance, the yarn perfect for an outdoorsy girl with energy as expansive and boundless as the sky.

    In a sense, the blankets act as mirrors, a slice of my nieces’ and nephews’ personalities, perhaps even a form of storytelling, an approach to knitting I borrowed from my novella, Blood Stitches. In an early version of the book, the main character, Gabby, snuggles next to Abuela, grandmother in Spanish, as she knits. Together they interpret the yarn: green reflects the color of Gabby’s eyes, and specks of pink become tulips dotting a field. Gabby eventually learns that Abuela’s knitting has a deeper meaning with magical results.

    On a smaller scale, it’s an idea that can add a touch of magic to anyone’s knitting, from beginners to experts, making each project unique and memorable and, particularly for children, a way to engage the imagination.

    I hope one day my nieces and nephews will understand that the afghans I knit are reflections of them, our shared experiences woven together, memories, I pray, they’ll keep forever.

  • Erin 10:13 am on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Lyrical Press,   

    Interview with Erin Fanning 

    I am pleased to welcome Erin Fanning as my first guest blogger on this site!  Erin is the author of a new novel, Blood Stitches.  Erin will be posting once a week for the next few weeks talking about her work.

    Blood Stitches-highres

    When did you start knitting?

    I began knitting about eight years ago, after wanting to for years but thinking I wasn’t crafty enough to learn.

    What drew you to knit and what is your favorite thing to knit?

    My grandmother was an expert at needlework, and I always admired her ability. One of my greatest regrets is not taking her up on her offer to teach me how to knit and crochet, but school, activities, and insecurity about my lack of artistic ability got in the way. However, I finally forged ahead, and now my main knitting projects are blankets for my many, many nieces and nephews.

    When did you start writing?

    I’ve been writing forever: poetry when I was in elementary school and journalism in high school and college. From there, I branched out into magazines, primarily outdoor writing, including a mountain biking guidebook, then moved on to short stories and nature essays.

    What genre do you prefer to write in?

    My story ideas seem to gravitate toward young adult fantasy.

    AuthorPhotoFanningErinWhat is your favorite type of book?  Your favorite book?

    I love a literary mystery, but, as I get older, I find myself reading more and more nonfiction. Although, my favorite book of all time is Persuasion by Jane Austen, so I guess I would say that I just love to read.

    What made you decide to combine knitting and writing?

    Around the time I was learning how to knit, I read about an elderly woman, caught in an earthquake, who kept herself calm by knitting until she was rescued. From there, my imagination took over, and I envisioned someone with the magical ability to create a natural disaster through their knitting.

    Give a brief synopsis of your new book:  Blood Stitches.

    Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

    “It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

    Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.”

    • Erin 3:39 pm on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for hosting me!

      • knitting1105 8:58 am on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome!

    • Erin 3:41 pm on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Erin Fanning and commented:

      I’m moonlighting for the next few weeks over at “Knitting before Knitting was Cool”–a wonderful blog for all things knitting.

    • musingrunner 6:48 pm on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to read, thanks for putting this on my radar.

  • knitting1105 12:23 pm on July 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Slugging Along 

    July has been a trying month so far.  Started with some not so good personal news, followed up on July 4th by my twisting my left ankle and injuring it badly (kid ran out in the street right in front of my bike). My injury has definitely prevented me from spinning, and until recently it has hurt to sit at my loom also.  Thank goodness I did not sprain my wrist, life would not be pretty without being able to use my hands in some way. During this time I have been working on my Greta Garbo shawl, almost exclusively.



    The knitting has been very slow going, it started with 475 stitches cast on, and then required me to rework the border as the stitch count did not line up with the pattern anymore.  While that took awhile, it was well worth the effort.





    Then on to the knitting.  Every other row decreases by 4 stitches, so it incrementally speeds up.  I am really happy that I cast on for the extra width, as the yarn that I am using is finer than the pattern called for.  As you can see, I am getting close to the end. This time around, I have been much better at picking up all of the yarn in the nupps, or getting them on the following row.  Only a few to correct prior to blocking.



    When I pulled out the shawl from my travel bag today, I was in for a surprise, as I had neglected to put the skein of yarn in a bag to protect it.  Hopefully this will not be a problem!



    • elaine 1:33 am on July 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That is a beautiful shawl! Hope you’re ankle heals fast, and you are up and enjoying all very soon :-)

      • knitting1105 9:20 am on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! The ankle is healing slower than I would like, but it did allow me to finish this! Just need to block it.

    • Linda 6:37 am on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful shawl!! Love how you did the border. Sorry to hear about your ankle….hope you’re better real soon.

      • knitting1105 9:21 am on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! I am really happy with the border also. Ankle thing has been a bummer for the summer. Last healing part is long, even with massage and accupuncture. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • knitting1105 7:20 am on June 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    My Edible Garden 

    We are really proud of how our garden is taking shape this year.  This has been keeping my hands busy and away from knitting and spinning as much, but hopefully it will reward us with lots of fresh produce, and enough to can and ferment.

    A few years ago when Dan gave up his car and started taking the train to work, we started the conversion of his parking space into a raised bed garden.  This year, our wonderful new neighbor Aaron brought us a truckload of wood chips so that we could spread them between the planters.  In spite of the planters being placed on the old gravel parking pad, the weeds had found their way. Hopefully this will keep them at bay.



    Vegetables in the back yard are:

    • Tomatoes
    • Peppers
    • Tomatillos
    • Japanese Eggplant
    • Pattypans
    • Another squash I can’t remember
    • Swiss chard
    • Kale
    • Zucchini
    • Cucumbers
    • Leeks


    In the corner is the Compost bin



    Surrounded by wonderful mint



    And flowers at the back to make it pretty:



    Lavender, this is where knitting comes in.  Will be harvested to put in my yarn stash.



    Sunflowers coming up also, these we try to leave for the birds, if the squirrels don’t get there first.



    And on the side of the house we are trying 3 shitake mushroom logs, although someone has been nibbling at them…



    And the back yard has more vegetables, more kale & swiss chard again (not sure what Dan was thinking):



    Lots of beautiful lettuce at the moment, and tons of dill in the background next to the herb planter.  I have let the dill take over space wherever they want, as the Monarchs love them in late summer.  And in the mid summer I see Black Swallowtail butterflies. In fact, we saw a couple of them as caterpillars this week, unfortunately so did the cardinals.  Momma dove down to snatch one up, while dad stayed high as the lookout.  We witnessed this twice.



    Kohlrabi and beets (love to roast both of them!)



    This is one of our old Christmas trees, we will try to get the tomato to trellis up the branches.  Have had moderate success with this in the past.



    And cannot forget food for the Monarchs:



    And some pretty hostas and ferns from what used to be our shade garden.  This may change next year.



    All this from our little urban plot of land!

    Chickens next year hopefully.  We have been chicken sitting, and it has convinced us that it is not all that hard.

    • tina Milena 2:00 pm on July 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, I live in Norway and though I knit, I have never seen the polar bear sweater-pattern. Could you pleas send me the pattern or at least how many stitches (masker) there are around? Send me mail!

      • knitting1105 10:25 am on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        This pattern was published by Dale of Norway. It is out of print, but if you purchase the yarn from a DoN retailer, and they have the pattern, they are authorized to copy it for you. Unfortunately, I am not due to copyright issues. I know someone in the US who does this, but you would probably be better with somebody from Europe to avoid the expensive shipping. Hope that helps!

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