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  • knitting1105 9:38 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

    Japanese Knitting 

    Sometime in the past 3 months, I purchased this book, and had it sitting around. So, when I saw Japanese knitting being offered at Vogue Knitting Live  this year, I was interested in taking the class. It wasn’t until I had signed up, that I realized that the woman who translated this book was the instructor.  This is a gorgeous book, with beautiful patterns in it.


    A1A87ZJ5PQLJapanese knitting is easy to learn and follow, as unlike any other country, they have standardized the knitting symbols, so once you know what they mean you are good to go with any book.  Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols is a great book which will teach you the knitting symbols, find it here.


    My Saturday morning class was “Tips and Tricks from Japanese Knitting”.    The class moved at a quick pace, and I never lacked for a task to knit.  There was a bit of background, but not as much as I would have liked.  The instructor had lived in Japan, and I felt that there could have been more cultural information shared.  Nevertheless, I knit some swatches, and learned some new techniques.


    This little swatch above shows 2 versions of tubular cast on (one I liked, the other I have little use for), button holes in the ribbing (this was a good trick and could come in handy), 3 sizes of bobbles (the little ones are hardly worth doing), and in the center of the swatch are two versions of 3 needle bind-off that lay flatter than the traditional way that we are used to.

    Next we learned a decorative 3-needle bind off that reminded me of the Estonian braids.


    This class, while not the most engaging teacher, was worth the time and effort for techniques that she had gleaned from Japanese pattern books.

    In the afternoon, the class was making the fingerless mitts that are featured in the book.


    First off, the instructor asked that people bring 200 grams of DK weight yarn.  Okay with that, but the yardage was too much.  Then she asked for needle sizes 6 and 8 dpns.  I opted to bring along more, the smallest I had being size 3.  There was really little new material taught in this class, I could have easily just read the book.   It was mainly knitting on our own, with a lot of quiet time (uncomfortable and boring).  I would have appreciated that knitting time having some background on knitting in Japan and a slideshow of shops, knitted items, etc.  Several people left early, as they had not brought along the correct needle sizes (they followed the class instructions), and their mitts were way too big.  I continued to knit mine, all the time feeling that they too were too big.


    Finally, I too left early, there was really nothing to get from the class, and I knew at that point that I was going to rip them out and start over.

    The color of the yarn is very pretty, and I like the motifs.  I will rip these back, and knit with a size 2 or 2 1/2.  I think that I will scrutinize class descriptions more carefully in the future.

    Good information from the class was that there are a few more Japanese books being translated this year.  I have some pattern books, but they are all in Japanese.

    To come in 2018:

    And, if you really like Japanese knit designers, here is a list that was shared to look up on Ravelry.  The Japanese have such a talent for putting detail and thought into everything that they do form knitting to quilting to cuisine to architecture.  I am always inspired.




    • salpal1 10:11 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry the classes weren’t the best that they could be, but it does seem you learned a lot that is useful and that will help you going forward.

      the Japanese patterns I have looked at but never bought always seem to be very nicely detailed garments. Maybe I need the books you mention, 🙂


    • polwygle 1:30 pm on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I just received a copy of the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible the other day, and my friend is encouraging me to cast on for the mittens. Thank you for your suggestion to check for appropriate needle size! I am sorry your experience with the translator/instructor wasn’t more fruitful, but how exciting that new translations are coming out this year!


    • tonymarkp 7:48 pm on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      This is my next excursion into knitting I haven’t tried yet.


  • knitting1105 3:42 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

    Vogue Knitting is Back! 


    After a hiatus of 3 years, Vogue Knitting decided to return to Chicago, at least for this year.  I had taken some really great classes there in the past, and finally decided about a week ago to take the plunge and try a couple of the classes.  It is much smaller than it had been in previous years, was put together on a short notice.  Nonetheless, we were happy to have this event back in town.  It was at the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue, so not as convenient as the Palmer House for transit.

    This event occurred at a particularly busy time of year for me; school is busy, taking classes, One Earth Film Festival, and preparing for a trip over Spring Break.  Nonetheless I finally broke down about a week ago and opted to take 2 classes on Saturday (more about that tomorrow).

    Friends Barb and Pam from Stitch ’n Bitch went with me for the morning, they just had morning classes, and we went shopping together at lunchtime.  I was very restrained.  The first thing that I purchased was discounted books from Vogue Knitting.


    The tuck knitting is a new technique to me, and I thought it was worth a try.


    And, with a little Granddaughter to knit for, of course I had to get the Doll clothes patterns.  I have 2 of her earlier books, and had knit things for my niece from them.  I love the fantasy aspect of these, and strong girls.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    A knitting coloring book on sale also seemed like a great option. Good thing to put my Prismacolors to use with.

    For the rest of the market, I was not overwhelmed.  We circled around once, and I purchased this neat cloth box holder.  I think that I would like more of these.  I envision this sitting on my organized counter in my knitting room.  Hopefully the organized thing will happen soon!

    The first pass around, all 3 of us were impressed with a fair trade booth that had fair trade yarn, Merino grown from their own sheep and natural dyes from the area were used.  The yarn is made in Rwanda, and is a women’s collective that helps those who suffered under the genocide, and pays a living wage.  On display was a cool double knit cowl that so impressed us, that we all bought the kit with the pattern, yarn, and a fun bag.  The yarn is all organic, and so incredibly soft to the touch.  This will make a beautiful cowl.



    And, as I was checking out, a person was looking at this beautiful lambskin leather bag.  When they opted to not get it, I snagged it up.  This will become my good purse when I want to take along my knitting.  It is so soft.


    The interior has hand stamped fabric.  Made in Ethiopia.


    I am hoping that Vogue decides to make this an annual event in Chicago again.  It gives opportunity to take classes that would otherwise not be easily available.  Plus another knitting time to hang out with friends.

    YarnCon is next month!

    • Gracey 3:46 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      You seemed to have gotten some good things. I went to Vogue NY this January. I hadn’t been in a couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 3:51 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I did, and felt good about myself and being restrained. Helped that there were not a lot of booths!


      • Gracey 3:52 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah our Stitches United coming up at the end of the month doesn’t have a ton of booths, but there are some good ones.


    • Pam 7:24 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t wait until Easter basket season to give Joey his romper/sunsuit. He loved it and so did his parents. You never know what you will find at a knitting market.

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 8:48 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, knitting ever surprises! I am glad that they liked it, it was too cute.


  • knitting1105 3:10 pm on March 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Yarn Genius 


  • knitting1105 11:17 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Baby Gift 

    The daughter of a good friend is expecting her first baby.  I knew that I had to make a sweater, and wanted something special.  It also had to be gender neutral – I love when the baby sex is a surprise, there are so few surprises in life.  Of course, it was to be a Fair Isle, with Dale of Norway yarn.

    I chose this pattern, but in the cardigan version, that I knit the green one for Franklin so many years ago, and the blue as a gift.

    I struggled to find the correct gender neutral yarn, and looked at these combinations, with the blue-grey being the main body.  This was a little different with the light color being the base.

    I opted for the combination with the green color on the left.

    And it knit up nicely, I did knit the top color work a couple of times to get it right:


    Luckily I too this photo at knitting a couple of weeks ago.

    Blog Photos754

    I was finishing up the sweater, and weaving in ends, sewing on buttons the morning of the baby shower.  It was only after I had wrapped the sweater up that I realized that I had not taken a final photo of the sweater, and I needed ot leave.  I snapped this one of the wrapped package with my cell phone at the baby shower.

    Blog Photos755

    Hopefully I will see the baby in it in the future.  It was knit for 12-18 month size, so it may be awhile.

    Moral of the story:  Make sure to take the photos.  And do not wait until the last moment to finish up projects (that one might be harder for me)


  • knitting1105 10:43 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I hate repairing knitted items, but there comes a time when the pile becomes so big, and I look at all of that effort sitting unloved, and I delve into it.  A bit at a time.


    This is one of the items that I repaired, one of my sheep hats had holes in the bottom band, it was too much to simply darn, so I opted to rip it back and knit the bottom with a color that closely matched the dark sheep.  I think that my repair came out well, and I have had this hat for the cold weather.


    This hat was made with handspan, it is a Brioche.  I loved it, so it also had the band cut off and a new one knit up.  Luckily I still had some of the yarn.


    Unfortunately, there are some issues at the top now, perhaps a function of my handspan not being stable enough.  I am putting the rest of this away to think about how to fix it.

    And lastly, I had a couple of holes in this beautiful shawl, Volt, by Grace Anna Farrow. Fortunately this was a simple darning, as it is one of my favorite shawls.


    There is more to repair, I am trying ot tackle them one at a time.  I think that if I do 1 =or 2 a week I will slowly chip away at the pile.

    • M-R 2:05 pm on March 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Gobsmacking stuff ! – I’m full of admiration. 🙂


      • knitting1105 1:38 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you!!! You are so sweet.


  • knitting1105 11:43 am on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baby knitting, baby raglan sleeve sweaters, Brunswick Babies 696, classic baby patterns   

    Best Baby knitting book 

    Recently I was asked by my friend Michelle where the pattern came from for this sweater that I knit for Izumi.


    She also received the bonnet to go with the sweater:


    I have knit almost every pattern out of this baby book.  It is the one that I go back to time and again, as I love the raglan sleeves for little ones.  The front cover shows a carriage blanket that I knit for Ethan when he was a baby, and gave to them for Izumi.  That one was a beautiful coral color, with a sparkly sheen, unfortunately, I do not have a photo of it.

    Blog Photos743

    In fact, this was not the only sweater from this book that I knit for Izumi before the was born, I also gave her this one at the baby shower, along with the matching hat:


    You can see that the book is a bit worse for wear, so I decided that it was time to order a replacement.  It was pretty easy to find on Amazon, and not at all expensive.

    Blog Photos744

    One would think that I could then give away the scrappy copy, but I opted to keep both.

    Blog Photos745

    You might be wondering why.  I want to keep knitting these patterns, and my original book was not going to last long.  However, sentimentality kept me from giving away the first.

    This book was published in 1973, I was the big knitter in the house at the time.  Even though my mother had taught me to knit, she was not knitting at that time.  In fact, she never took up knitting again, but delved into crocheting lace doilies, and extensive quilting.  So, when I saw her name at the front of the book, I was not sure why, since this was most likely purchased (at Meijer Thrifty Acres, next to the Red Heart yarn) for me to knit gifts for family and friends.

    Blog Photos749

    I know that i knit this green sweater for a neighbor’s new baby:

    Blog Photos751

    And here are my favorites, I love the raglan sleeves and how they fit so well on babies.

    Blog Photos750

    This coat is on my “bucket list” to make for Izumi.  I never had time to knit something like this when Sofia was little.  I think that this would be a cute coat to have.

    Blog Photos752

    If you are interested in this book, it is available on Amazon here.  And, it is only slightly more expensive than the $1.50 we paid IN 1973!


    • Yvonne Creanga 12:20 pm on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      What a great post! It is so much fun to read about the family history and in the same time see what inspires you. I do remember my own mother knitting and I have great vivid memories of her fitting me with a great skirt with crochet applications of multi color flowers. I wish I had a picture of it, you’d love it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • polwygle 6:02 pm on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Such a neat book of patterns. Thank you for the recommendation… These look neutral and classic. I have a bit of planning to do. My next little one will be here before I know it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane 8:04 pm on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, I can’t wait to see the coat in person. I know it will be beautiful because everything else you have made is beautiful. I had a cookbook that Mom and Dad gave me for Christmas the first year I moved out of the house. It was well used and falling apart and I wouldn’t get rid of it because they (mom) had inscribed something on the front page. We had the exact cookbook at the beach house so I brought it to Colorado and tore out the page from my ratty cookbook and inserted it in the front of the good one. I understand not wanting to get rid of the old book. I don’t think our children will be as sentimental.

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 11:58 am on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    My Favorite Model 

    Izumi has been sporting some of the sweaters that I knit for her.  Recently she was spied wearing this lovely green variegated sweater out on the town.  There is definately room for growth in this.


    I couldn’t ask for a better model.  These rabbit booties were given to Sofia by my mother when she was a baby.  They were my favorite booties for the kids, kick as they might, they never were able to kick them off.  I should try to reverse engineer these.


    And just in case you need a bit more of this cuteness, here goes.  My husband gets to go visit her next week, and me next month.

    • salpal1 12:12 pm on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      She’s a beauty! Definitely worth knitting for!

      Liked by 1 person

    • polwygle 12:58 pm on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      So precious and beautiful… 🙂


    • Jennifer 2:05 pm on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      She is beautiful!


    • Elaine 5:18 pm on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my goodness but she is absolutely gorgeous x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara Mayer 8:29 am on February 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      HI Frances,

      Your granddaughter is ADORABLE! As are your knitted items on her!

      I hope you do reverse engineer those rabbit booties!

      Have a great day, Barb


      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane 11:18 pm on February 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Izumi is adorable and now you have plenty of opportunity to have her model may more of your beautiful pieces of art. She had the rabbit booties on the other day, I didn’t know the story behind them. Sayaka is very good about dressing her in your gifts. I agree the sweater will last for several more months.

      Liked by 1 person

    • M-R 2:08 pm on March 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I suppose she is in Japan ? – what guesswork, eh ? 😉
      She is indeed cute; and your contributions to her wardrobe must be met with great joy !

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 1:38 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Nope! she lives in Denver, and I get ot go soon and stay for a week! Looking forward to it, and I will be posting photos. Thanks!


  • knitting1105 10:04 am on January 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Idle Moments 

    Knitting keeps me sane, whether at a meeting, standing in a line, or riding in a car.  I listen better when I knit, and for those times I normally choose very simple patterns that do not require a lot of thought or planning.

    While on vacation, my son-in-law was surprised that on a relatively short drive to my son’s house (10-15 minutes), that I pulled out my knitting and started away.  I explained that much knitting was accomplished in those few, otherwise idle moments, when you add them all up together.  That got me to wondering how many socks, mittens, and dishcloths I had knit by capturing time whenever I can.  I will never know, but I do know that these items were knit catching snippets of time, Idle Moments.IMG_2624IMG_2625

    I think that most knitters do this, that is what makes this craft more advantageous than others, the portability.

    • salpal1 6:12 pm on January 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I agree! I listen better when knitting, and a row here and there really adds up!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Connie 3:30 am on January 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, when I was at school we defended our “knitting in class” by claiming that we can listen better when knitting and our teachers surrendered (it was the anti-authoritarian time …)

      Now, today, as a trained teacher I doubt that you can concentrate better when knitting IN ALL SITUATIONS. Watching TV – series or sitting in a train, it’s clear because there is no intellectual challenge around you which asks for attention

      When there is a lecture with compex content I would not want to have any knitters in the audience, I also would ask to switch off mobiles etc.

      “I think that most knitters do this,” … you are not absolutely right. To knit dishclothes is not a habit everywhere, I don’t know any knitter (or at least knitter around me) who uses knitted dishclothes or who knits them. Here in Europe, most knitters which I know are wondering about knitted dishclothes, most see them as “unhygienic”

      Cheers, Connie


      • knitting1105 12:03 pm on January 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Connie, thanks for your long comment and for reading my blog.

        First, when I said “I think that most knitters do this…” I was referring to having small knitting projects at hand to make use of those idle moments. I have knit many items during this time, including those dishcloths. I never made dishcloths until a few years ago, and have gifted most of them. People seem to like them and ask for more, some use them as washcloths. Interesting that this is a US thing. Socks are another favorite of mine to always have at hand for those short moments.

        I also teach, at the local Community College, and while I have cell phones turned off, I knit during meetings and some classes that I am taking or observing. It is at those times that I knit the easy, no need to think about projects, most of which I can knit without looking. Knitting does help me to focus and listen to a lecture or discussion at a meeting. I know a lot of other knitters and crocheters who say the same, but not everyone. I dread the thought of being on a jury without my knitting!

        Home time is for those complicated projects.

        Happy Knitting!



    • evilandrea 9:35 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      It’s really interesting to hear other people find they listen better when they knit. I have recently started taking knitting to work because when I have to listen to recordings for quality or dispute I find I can do it better and am more focused with a needle in each hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 10:19 pm on January 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    On December 19th, my beautiful Granddaughter, Izumi was born.  We were fortunate to arrive the next day and to stay near her for 2 weeks.  Ours will be a long distance relationship, coupled with sharing photos and videos, Skype and visits as often as feasible.

    Last Fall I had made 3 sweaters for her to give at the baby shower.  One of them was this Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise sweater.  This was knit with my handspun yarn from a few years ago.  I love how the thick and thin yarn worked out on this.  And the square buttons were the perfect touch.

    So, on New Years day, my daughter-in-law and son brought Izumi to visit at our Air BnB, and she was sporting this sweater.  I think that the colors look beautiful on her.


    It has plenty of room to grow into, but worked perfectly on a 2 week old.  It makes me happy to see her in it.


    I know that every parent/grandparent thinks that their baby is beautiful, but she is just gorgeous, and has been since birth.


    And here is the proud Papa.


    • Pam 10:30 pm on January 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations.I know you will enjoy every precious moment as a grandparent.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane F Hamilton 10:46 pm on January 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations! The sweater is almost as beautiful as your granddaughter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joan D Winstein 11:19 pm on January 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I love the look on Ethan’s face. He’s clearly already a wonderful Dad !

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elaine 3:16 am on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations. What a beautiful baby girl. Have to say, judging by the gorgeous little pout she’s showing in the last photo, proud papa is going to be hard pressed to stand firm against her pleading as she gets older. I’m predicting he’ll be wrapped around her tiny, little finger before long ……. if he isn’t already that is 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 1:12 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        He is definitely smitten, and very protective.


    • nothingbutknit2 7:11 am on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations!! She is just lovely:) The sweater you knit is beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • salpal1 9:26 am on January 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations! She is beautiful and her sweater suits her. She is lucky to start life in handspun handknit garments!

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 3:28 pm on December 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fair isle cutting, steeking   


    Seeking never ceases to make me nervous, I always have a glass of wine to get my courage up to sew and cut something that I have put so much time and effort in to.  No matter how many times I do it, I still need to muster up the courage.  To date, everything has been just fine, and I have not ruined anything.

    This sweater and set is being made for my granddaughter to be.  I love the butterflies, and they hold special meaning to my family.  My sister Anita, and my mother both loved butterflies.  Whenever I see butterflies in the spring, it always brings both of them to mind.  I knew when I saw this pattern that I had to make it.



    The colors are so lovely and fun to work with.  Makes any grey day brighter.  And the steeking, after a nice glass of red wine, proved not to be so bad.  Just have to make sure to pull the strings to the opposite side when sewing.

    Blog Photos737

    And once this is done, the cutting is actually fun, and you open up the tube, now it starts to look more like a sweater to be.

    Blog Photos741

    This is progressing nicely, now for the details and edging.  I still have to set in the sleeves, which is not my favorite part I must say.  It involves 2 more steaks, and another glass of wine.

    • Yvonne Creanga 10:10 pm on December 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait he the next step and details you’ll show us about his project.
      You light years ahead of all that I would attempt to make but it sure is nice to see your adventures in knitting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yvonne Creanga 10:16 pm on December 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry for my incoherent English. I am typing on my phone and I don’t know how to get back in the text above and correct it.
      “Can’t wait to see” and “you are light years”
      Better now

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elaine 3:32 pm on December 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh how lovely! Your grand-daughter to be is a very lucky little baby. That is by far the prettiest knitted baby garment I’ve ever seen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • jill 11:36 pm on December 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      This is so darling! I can imagine how you feel cutting your work. Remember how I cut that sweater that took me months/years to make???? I was so traumatized that I never returned to fully sew it up. Still hoping you’ll finish it for me next time you visit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • evilandrea 3:51 am on December 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      That colour work is lovely. And steeking is the one knitting technique I’ve yet to be brave enough to try

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 1:15 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I really recommend taking a class for the first time, accompanied by a glass of wine, and a big breath. I still have a glass of wine ot calm my nerves. I think that the sleeve cutting makes me more nervous than the front steek.


    • knitterjules 12:07 am on January 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I love your butterflies! Great choice of colours- perfect for knitting on during all the grey winter weather!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:58 am on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        thank you! It is the perfect colors for the short winter days. I have been sidetracked, and need ot get back to it.

        Liked by 1 person

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