Updates from April, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 8:38 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Shawls to Excess? 


    Can one person own too many shawls?  Especially when they are handspun and hand knit with a beautiful Fiber Optic gradient.  I do believe I am testing this hypothesis firsthand.  My Reef Shawl is finished and off the blocking boards, fiber was spun using the Reef gradient that happened to be the first Fiber Optic gradient one that I purchased.

    I know that this post will generate lots of offers to take these shawls off my hands.  Not happening people, too much time involved.


    I was reluctant to spin this for 2 reasons, at first I thought the colors to bright for me, and second, I didn’t want to ruin the fiber.  It seems I should have had no worries. The colors are gorgeous, and the fiber is wonderful.


    I chose the pattern, Poppy Shawl from Brooke Nico’s new book Lovely Knitted Lace, as I wanted to maximize the use of the yarn, and I often find that triangular shawls do not sit well on my shoulders.  The unique shape of this shawl is intriguing, 3 triangles separated by a thin rectangle that sits on the shoulders.  Sort of a simplified Faroese styling.


    The shawl rests naturally on the shoulders.  Love the Nupps in the long, thin rectangular panels.


    Using this mannequin helps me to see what the shawl looks like on the backside while being worn.  I changed the bottom edging, the pattern called for simply finishing a repeat and binding off.  Preferring a more detailed bottom edge, and wanting to maximize the use of all my yarn, I improvised a variation of the pattern for the end of the shawl, and bound off with the stretchy bind-off.

    I will wear it today, although it will have to be as a shawl scarf, as it is rather cool outside.


    Pattern: Poppy
    Pattern Source: Lovely Knitted Lace
    Yarn: Handspun gradient Reef from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 5
    Date Started: 3/28/14
    Date Finished: 4/27/14
    Finished Dimensions: 48″ wide x 20″ deep from back neck

    • Diane 7:43 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, this turned out beautiful just as all of your shawls do. I think shawls and socks go in the same category — “too much is just barely enough”, Enjoy!


      • knitting1105 10:25 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I thank Steve all the time for that outlook on life!


    • chikwithyarn 5:47 am on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is beautiful. Bi love the yarn. Each of your creations you make with it makes me want to buy some. I think I am just going to bite the bullet and order some.


      • knitting1105 10:24 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much! The colors of her fiber are so amazing that anything you knit with them looks great.


    • floofymoose 10:46 pm on June 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      These are amazing. I’ve got a couple braids of the Midnight gradient but am almost terrified to try spinning them because I’m not sure they will match up. Any tips? Thanks!


      • knitting1105 3:31 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        As long as you are somewhat consistent in your spinning, you should have no worries. I find it easier to ply 2 braids together than split one evenly down the middle. Having a bit of the braid not match up is actually an advantage, as it gives some transition to the final braid. If you are plying and not happy with how they are matching up, you can break the one that is ahead in color and pull out some of the singles. I have only had to do that once. Kimber’s colors are so amazing, you need not worry. Warning however, they are also very addictive!


    • Erica 8:54 am on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m having trouble understanding the pattern, I hope you can help!! After you do the first round of charts 3 and 4, there’s 131 sts. For the chart 3 section there are 27 sts, but when you start row 1 again the stitch numbers don’t add up. Did you do k4, to, k1, then repeat the red section twice, ssk, yo?


      • knitting1105 3:12 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I have been swamped and have not had the opportunity to respond properly. Did you look at my notes on Ravelry, that is the best that I can do, as it has been awhile since I made this. Sorry.


  • knitting1105 12:20 pm on April 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Shetland Textiles 


    Shetland Textiles is my newest book, I found this at the Greencastle Fiber Event.  My library already contains many how-to books and knitting pattern books, in fact I purged several earlier this year and gave them to a friend who is a new knitter.  So, now I am delighting in finding books that relate to the history of fiber arts.  Two years ago I purchased Designs and Patterns from Muhu Islands, books like these do not stay in print long, and are great inspiration.

    When I saw this book, I knew that it was for me.  If you love history, a good coffee table book, or understanding fully the heritage that was given to us in the form of knitting and textiles, then this book is a must own.  For a more in-depth review check out Kate Davies synopsis of the book.

    The Shetland Textiles book is chock full of information about the history and current trends in the Shetland fiber industry.  It starts by showing us all the colors and patterns of Shetland sheep:




    And some amazing inspiration photos, I would really love to visit this island one day.




    Fair Isle knitting became popular when Prince Edward was spotted wearing this sweater.



    Some historic tags from yarn and knitwear.  I remember purchasing my first machine-made Shetland Fair Isle sweater in the 1980’s, it was not as soft as the ones that I knit now!



    The book is bursting with profiles of both contemporary and historic figures and the role that they played in the Shetland sheep and/or fiber industry, and poignant stories of sweaters and fiber arts.  Also covered are the tools of spinning, dying and the production and distribution.



    And the traditions continue with new designers, exploring history and pushing boundaries.  I have yet to read all of this book, but it makes a great evening perusal in the rocking chair when a break from knitting or spinning is needed.

  • knitting1105 11:37 am on April 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    I Believe 


    Lynette gave me this great bag that she picked up at Greencastle as a thank you for driving.  She needn’t have, but I love it!

    Great size too, for a shawl, sweater parts, etc.



  • knitting1105 5:41 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    3rd Fiber Weekend 

    First there was YarnCon, then Lorna’s Laces sale, and this past weekend was The Fiber Event at Greencastle, the kick-off to the county fiber fairs in the area.  Located just west of Indianapolis, it is an easy drive down and back in a day.

    2012 was my first trip to Greencastle, and I loved it.  Andi went with me, we had a great drive, talked, and shopped, and found GeeGee.  My impetus at that time was to find the Fiber Optic booth and see all of her wares firsthand for the first time.

    A torrential rain the night before we were to leave last year made getting out-of-town nearly impossible.  So, this year I was even more determined to go, and really wanted a knitting buddy.  My husband would have gladly loved the trip, but he does better when there is also a livestock display involved.  Lynette agreed to go with me, and we got a rental car early and drove off to get there in the morning for best selection.

    First on the list was to make a beeline to GeeGee and score some of her aprons while the selection was still good.  I could have left with many more… I chose this lovely apron, from the early 1950’s for me.



    I really love the pocket that goes all the way through both sides.  I think it will be great to toodle around the house in and have things (think knitting) close at hand.


    Here is Lynette purchasing from GeeGee, we made quite the dent in her booth.  I absolutely love her aprons, and she has such a great sense of color.  75 years old, and full of life and optimism, a great inspiration.

    Blog Photos34


    Then it was off to take a first pass at all of the vendors and see what caught our eye. There were a lot of Alpaca vendors this year, many more than I remember 2 years ago.  We saw someone from the Champaign-Urbana fiber guild demonstrating a Chakra, that was really interesting.

    Blog Photos33

    I knew that I would be returning to Fiber Optic, just what to buy this year? A gradient of course!  My 2 favorite colors together, green and purple.  This is a definite Frances shawl! Lynette is trying the paintbox gradients, it will be fun to see how they knit up.


    I have always wanted to knit the Sheep heid tam, so found the pattern and knew that I needed to get that.



    Then, it just so happens that we passed by a Shepherd who had many colors of Shetland sheep, perfect symbiosis.  I scored these 7 colors, couldn’t be better than handspun for this project!



    And keeping with the Shetland theme, I purchased a beautiful book, that deserves its own post tomorrow.




    • Helen 2:19 am on April 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m jealous, you look to have had too much fun! 🙂


    • Mimi 11:52 pm on May 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like so much fun! One of these years…Interesting that you’ve wanted to do the tam because I want to do that blanket.


  • knitting1105 11:13 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Spring at last! 




    I hope that everyone had a great weekend. It was our first Easter in 28 years without the kids around.  No Easter baskets for the first time also.  We had a quiet day enjoying the gorgeous day, and a BBQ dinner with great lamb chops.

    Sofia is visiting Ethan in Japan.   I love this photo of them.


    Last weekend was the Lorna’s Laces warehouse sale just for the Windy City Knitting Guild.  Lynette and I got there early enough (in spite of overshooting our exit while chatting away) to get the last tickets for the early admission to the sale and got first dibs.  I picked up this Helen’s Lace yarn, color Glen Elen, to make a large lace sweater.


    I also could not pass by this beautiful sock yarn.  quite a lot of color, it will have to be for socks with pattern that will not fight it.



    If you like Lorna’s yarn and colors, they introduced us to their newest products.  Watch their website for an unveiling this week!


    • Diane 8:12 pm on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It is so great that Sofia and Ethan got to spend some time together…I bet they both missed those awesome Easter baskets. Love the mint green yarn, anxious to see your sweater when it is done.


  • knitting1105 2:49 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    House Guests 

    House guests that will not wear out their welcome.


    These guys came home from Sofia’s for an extended stay.  Apparently her cats are more than fascinated by them.  She thought that they would live in my knitting room, but I think a guest bedroom is better.

    The big guy was a Christmas present while in college.


    And Carmen a more recent Christmas present. She comes with extra outfits.  This was a kit from KnitPicks, fun to knit up.


    • Debbie Jarmusik 6:23 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love those monkeys!


  • knitting1105 9:53 pm on April 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Easter Sheep 

    This photo has been flying around Facebook, stating that a farmer near Bathgate, Scotland has been dying his sheep with nontoxic dye since 2007 to entertain passing motorists.


    While this photo is a clever use of photoshop techniques, I was surprised to hear that it actually does happen, in Scotland for amusement, and in New Zealand to thwart any thieves.  Also has been reported to being used to keep track of flocks.  Obviously not fiber sheep, but it would be fun to get some of this wool.

    To Easter dyed sheep.  Would love to see a flock of these one day:




    • tricotreat 7:36 am on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This made my morning. Man do I want to own sheep…


  • knitting1105 1:14 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: lacto-fermenting, preserving vegetables   


    I know that this is supposed to be a knitting blog, but occasionally I just have to post about other cool things.   Recently we have started lacto-fermenting vegetables, and we are hooked.  Love the spicy crunchy taste, it is so easy to do and almost fool-proof.  This is how we are going to keep many of our vegetables from this summer’s harvest.  The technique has been around for centuries, think Kimchi and Sauerkraut.

    The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.


    I called Cass to ask if he had ever done this, and he said that he and Mom used to do pickles this way all the time.  I wish Mom were still here so that I could talk to her more about this.  So many things I still want to know about/find out from her…

    Basically, you just get a clean sterilized jar, add whatever vegetables and spices you would like, top off with some slightly salted filtered water, herbs and spices of your choice, and set on the counter for a few days to start the fermentation process. (The 2 small jars here are carrots and Daikon radishes in a slightly sweet vinegar bath to gently pickle and those went straight to the refrigerator).  These took about 20 minutes to prepare.


    After about 3 days, the jar will become a bit cloudy.  When you open it you will see all of the veggies fermenting and bubbling away.



    Let them fizz until you like the crunchiness and taste, then move to cool storage or the refrigerator to drastically slow down the  fermentation process.


    In theory, they will keep for months in the fridge, we have trouble keeping them for days.   Any combination that you can think of works.  Our first test was just carrots, this is cauliflower, carrots, daikon radishes and red peppers along with some spices.  So yummy.

    This is a good blog post  if you are interested in learning more.


    • MrsPeterson 4:48 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yay! I have been making sauerkraut in a Harsch crock for a couple years now and it’s definitely one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my health. Sandor Katz has links to beautiful handmade crocks you would probably appreciate here: http://www.wildfermentation.com/fermentation-links/#info_box_9

      p.s. the link in your last sentence doesn’t work.


      • knitting1105 5:11 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks MrsPeterson, will have to check out that crock. And fixed the last link, thanks again!


      • knitting1105 5:16 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Oh, beautiful crocks, will have to get one definitely…


  • knitting1105 6:16 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Yarn Con 2014 

    This morning I went to YarnCon, held in the Journeymen’s Plumber’s Hall in Chicago, a nice space indeed.  There were more vendors than last year, lots to choose from.  Last year I went with Lynette on Sunday and we were one of the first 50 people, so got a great goody bag.  This year I arrived 10 minutes before the door opened, and there were over a 100 people already in line.  A couple of friends got there early and received the goody bag (to the first 50 people only), but it was not as impressive as last years.

    There was knitting performance art, not really sure that I “got” it, Mimi shared it on Instagram, as she felt the world needed to see this.  My photos are not the best, as they were done with my phone.




    I met Martha at the event, new to Chicago, she has been following my blog!  It was fun to meet her and introduce her to some of my knitting and spinning friends.  My first “selfie”, don’t seem to ever like photos of myself.  I had a photo of her great boot toppers, but it did not turn out well.  Great to meet you Martha!


    I went with the intention of buying enough fingering weight yarn for a very large project, and was able to restrain myself as I found nothing that was perfect.  I need 2,600 yards, so it needs to be the right choice.  My amazing restraint involved only getting 2 small bags for my knitting bag (from the same vendor I got my beautiful bag last year!),

    And, some sock yarn for Dan.  This is from Anne Hanson’s new line, all American sourced, Bare Naked Wools.  The natural colors were so beautiful, this one is called Breakfast Blend.  It is wool, nylon and alpaca.  He loved the yarn, and I can’t wait to try it.



    There is still time to check out the vendors and amazing selections tomorrow, don’t let my restraint stop you from attending, there is some really beautiful yarn to score!

    • Diane 7:35 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love the little bags. I think the group was knitting and meditating at the same time, reflecting on their lives.


      • knitting1105 5:13 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I hope they were reflecting. Performance knitting just doesn’t do it for me…


    • tricotreat 5:01 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Fun seeing you at YC and meeting Martha! I totally went back and got the yarn buddy. I’m so weak.


      • Martha 9:21 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        It was great meeting you and your knitting and spinning friends 🙂 I am so glad I found your blog a while ago and can put a friendly face to it. See ya one of these Sundays…


        • knitting1105 5:14 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink

          Good to meet you also. We had a nice spinning group yesterday, hope you can join us soon.


    • Manning 10:33 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Cute picture! I can’t wait to get my cast off so i can knit again.


      • knitting1105 5:12 pm on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Cast?!!! I told Dan and he said that he had seen you at church, he thought I already knew. Not being able to knit would be pure torture. Hope you recover soon.


  • knitting1105 1:48 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Socks, Socks, Socks 

    There are always socks in my future, here are my next 3 sock projects I think, providing I find the appropriate patterns.

    First, my great buddy JoBeth went to Iceland for Vacation recently and brought me back some beautiful Icelandic sock yarn.  They love their socks thick, these will make great house socks.


    And then, at one of the local winter Farmer’s  Markets, my husband chose this color for his next pair of socks.  It is 10% Bison, 90% Superwash, should make for some very comfortable socks.  I think that I will look for a great cabled pattern for these.


    And lastly, this was in the personal destash of the local yarn shop owner.  I love these colors, apparently this dyer is not in business any more. The great variety of colors will cry for a specific design that does not fight with them. Purple and green are 2 of my favorites…


    • Diane 11:35 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quilts in purple and green are my favorite colors too!


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