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

    Knitting Memories Into Yarn 

    Afghan

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    • 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.

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    Vegetables in the back yard are:

    • Tomatoes
    • Peppers
    • Tomatillos
    • Japanese Eggplant
    • Pattypans
    • Another squash I can’t remember
    • Swiss chard
    • Kale
    • Zucchini
    • Cucumbers
    • Leeks
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    In the corner is the Compost bin

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    Surrounded by wonderful mint

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    And flowers at the back to make it pretty:

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

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

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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    And cannot forget food for the Monarchs:

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

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    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!

  • knitting1105 1:45 pm on June 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Estonian Knitting, , Nancy Bush   

    Epic? 

    This lovely yarn from Juniper Moon Farm that I purchased last week at the Knot Just Knits closeout sale was begging to be knit up.

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    It was purchased with the intent of knitting something for the Women’s Heart Association annual fundraiser that my SnB group has been knitting for the past couple of years.  Last year I did not contribute, so thought that I should start early this year.  I chose to reknit the Greta Garbo shawl by Nancy Bush.  A couple of years ago I knit this and gave it to my sister Diane.

    DSCN6668Since the Juniper yarn is a much finer gauge than I knit this with, I chose to add an additional repeat and use a smaller needle.  At first I just cast on an extra set of stitches to repeat the large motif on each side.  This shawl is started at the bottom right and left edges, so this meant casting on 475 stitches.  After knitting the first row, I realized that there was a problem with my methodology. The border repeat is a multiple of 14, and the large center motif is a multiple of 48.  Didn’t work out, so I kinked back 475 stitches, as I really did not want to cast on all over.  Then I had to redraft how the bottom portion would knit up at the beginning and the center.

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    This yarn is so soft and lovely, 50% merino & 50% silk.  However, it is also a bit tedious to work with given this pattern, and I am nervous about the yarn slipping off the needles.  I am also hoping that the nupps will show prominently enough.  Currently they are a 5 stitch nupp, but I am considering switching to a 7 stitch nupp for the main part of the shawl.

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    And, then again, I may knit something much simpler for the main part, I will see how the border goes, and how it looks.  This shawl will not be traveling with me, nor going to knitting group until it is finished.  I have it setting next to my comfy rocker in the living room, and there it will stay while I work on it slowly.  Currently it takes about 20 minutes to do a row, but 4 stitches are decreased every other row, so it incrementally gets faster.  I have been tearing my knitting stuff apart looking for the point protectors so that I can make sure that nothing slips off when I am not working on it.  May have to buy some new ones.

    So, will this be an epic feat, or an epic failure?  I know that I will use life lines on this one!

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    • Diane 10:59 pm on June 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love my shawl! Thank you so much!

  • knitting1105 1:28 pm on June 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Google Sheep View 

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    This is just too good not to share.  Google camera catches sheep all around the world.

     
  • knitting1105 9:24 am on June 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cocoknits, english tailoring, julie wisenberger   

    English Tailoring 

    In October of 2012 I took a class from Julie Weisenberger, aka Cocoknits, on English Tailoring.  We worked on a baby sweater, starting at the mid point and doing the shoulder shaping.

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    I loved this class, and the cute little sweater that we knit up.  And then it sat, for over 2 years until I finished it earlier this winter. I thought that it was the perfect gift for my friend’s new grandson.

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    Buttons on, and it was finally off to the little recipient.  And here he is, room to grow:

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    Even though this took me so long to finish, I would definitely make it again.  Love this whole process.  Take a class from Julie whenever you have the opportunity.  I have taken 2, and would gladly take another.

     
    • Diane 5:23 pm on June 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Those are the best kind of sweaters, ones you have to grown into. That way the recipient gets to enjoy your work of art longer. Nice job!

  • knitting1105 10:08 am on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Knitting books,   

    Closeout Sale 

    A local yarn shop, Knot Just Knits will be closing their doors in a couple of weeks.  there is nothing I really need, so did not go the first week, when things were 30% off.  I did stop by this week, and at 40% off, got the following items:

    A book by Lucinda Guy, I have 3 of her other books and really love the whimsical nature of some of the kids projects.

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    This cute dress intrigued me:

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    As did these moose mittens:

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    A Piecework magazine is always in order.  This seems to be the only magazine that I am purchasing as of late.  I need to add my magazine collection to the Ravelry database, and then perhaps I would use them more.

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    I also purchased this pack of sock yarn, I am thinking that it will make some lovely Fair Isle mittens.

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    Lace yarn to be used to make a shawl for the Go Red auction next winter.  I think that I will make the Gretta Garbo Shawl by Nancy Bush again for this .  This yarn is a bit finer, so might need to do additional repeats.  It is Findley by Juniper Moon Farm; 50% merino, 50% silk, color Serendipity.  Very soft, and I really liked another wool by Juniper Moon that I knit last Fall.

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    And lastly, there was some dishcloth yarn, that at 40% off seemed to be a good deal.  Might go back at 50% next week and see if any is left.

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    Oh, and Eucalan…

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    • elaine 3:16 pm on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good finds! Sorry to hear of a shop closing though :-/

    • Diane 5:27 pm on June 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love my Greta Garbo shawl you made me…the pink will be beautiful. Looks like you found some much needed items afterall!

    • Erin 11:07 am on June 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This comment is a little off-topic but on the subject of books… I’m trying to organize a tour of knitting blogs for my novella about magical knitting (Blood Stitches, Kensington, May 2015). I couldn’t find an email address for you, so if you’re interested please send me an email: mail@erinfanning.com. In the meantime, you can find for more information about my writing at: erinfanning.com. Thanks for the consideration!

  • knitting1105 4:05 pm on June 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , rigid heddle,   

    My new Hobby requires a few things… 

    Taking on a new hobby is not without some equipment and supplies.  I found these at Architectural Artifacts (led there by Kim and Jane), and got a great deal on the cones for warping my loom.

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    Luckily they fit nicely in my yarn closet, at the front of the baskets holding yarn and projects.

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    For my second project I tried direct warping, and although I had to do it twice, it seems to have worked really well. I did not have a clamp to hook to, so brought one of my dining room chairs down.  Essentially you have a large cone of yarn sitting under the wheel and keep wrapping it over or under the back bar and then to “peg” that you have set the distance away to get the length that you want.  Because you are not tying down individual strings, except when you want to change colors, it seems to go much better.  My new weaving hook helps a lot too, tried the first time with a crochet hook, and that was really cumbersome.

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    This is the video that shows how to do it, much better than I could describe.

    And here is my 2nd project, over 1/2 way done.  Not sure what it will look like…  It is quick and fun though, and I have found a good location in the basement that was an unused area, and I can watch TV while working on this.

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  • knitting1105 2:08 pm on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Baby Ull, , , Norwegian Sweater   

    The Magical Sweater 

    When young Franklin was not quite 2, I made this sweater for him, and posted about it here.

    Franlklin sweater

    Legend has it that it became a favorite one, and was worn for many years on visits to Santa Clause.  One time when his dad took him on the train to visit Mom downtown, he arrived with the sweater on inside out; when questioned about it, the father replied that it looked just as good inside out.  A gift that loved, and worn that much, could not be better.

    Well, I could not believe that he wore the sweater all those years.  I intentionally made it big so that it would last a long time, they started with the sleeves rolled up.

    Then last week, this photo was in my inbox.  Franklin had just returned from a camping trip on a cold weekend, and this was what he wore, 7 1/2 years later!

    Franklin's Sweater

    How much longer can it go?

     
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