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  • knitting1105 10:15 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Great Northern Knits, Twin Peaks   

    My Prize 

    A  couple of years ago I entered a few items in the knitting contest at YarnCon, Chicago’s Indy Yarn fair that has been going on for several years now.  My Polar Bear Sweater was the winner of the best knitted sweater, and won the Best in Show also.


    I was so excited, and received several nice prizes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    This sweater was knit during the 2008 Ravelympics.  I knit most of it while sitting at the beach at Lake Michigan, and then knit like a fiend when I got home to the neglect of everything else to finish during the summer Olympics – 2 weeks.  I was really proud of the results, and so happy to win something for my knitting efforts.


    One of the prizes that I was to win, and receive later was the knitting book Great Northern Knits.

    Image result for great northern knits

    I must admit, I don’t even know what Twin Peaks is, but was happy to win a new book.  Then I mostly forgot about it.  I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when a package came in the mail, and I knew that I had not ordered anything.  So to my surprise, this book was inside.  They hadn’t forgot about me after all this time!

    There are some fun patterns in the book, and I will have to delve into it further at some point:




    But, what caught my attention was this  sweater, knit at a very fine gauge.  Just my type of project.  This is on the to-do list.


    Thanks Great Northern Knits!


    • Deborah 9:20 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That sweater is fabulous. You deserve all the prizes!


    • canaryknits 11:39 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thank YOU!! 🙂


    • Diane Hamilton 12:38 pm on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I will be anxious to see your finished project. I’m glad they remember to send the book after 2 years. Wonder what took so long.


    • salpal1 4:58 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice prize for an incredible sweater!


  • knitting1105 7:47 pm on September 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hand knit socks, simple sock patterns,   

    Socks again 

    After a summer of not posting (where did all the free time go to?), I am back again and determined to make this a more regular occurrence.

    In all of my travels this summer, I was making socks and a shawl (details on the shawl to come later).  I accomplished 3 pairs of socks, in addition to the travel shawl and finishing some projects over the summer.  Alas, no spinning or weaving though.  All of these socks were orphans most of the summer, as I started something new for each trip, not wanting to get caught without a project in hand.  Both of these socks were knit with yarn that I purchased from a fellow knitter’s destash.  The price was definitely right.

    The first pair of socks was knit with JaWoll (my favorite sock yarn), this time in a cotton blend.  this is a simple 1×1 ribbed cuff, with a K3, P1 for the body.  I love how this sock hugs your foot.


    I used an army green superwash wool for the heels, and mixed the red and green for the toes. These socks make me happy.


    My next pair of socks was a simple 1×1 twisted rib.   This yarn was not fun to knit with and I persevered with the second sock, determined to finish them.  The yarn was very splitty and difficult to knit with.  It does have a nice hand to it, but I will not be purchasing this in the future.




    Heels and toes were done with a dark green yarn to accent the colors, I was nervous about having enough yarn, and I was correct in adding the contrasting yarn.  Not to mention that it looks much better.  I do like the variegation, and how the socks match, but not really.

    I have never seen this sock yarn in a local store, but will make a note to myself not to purchase it.



    • Deborah 5:14 am on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your socks are very pretty. I like the contrasting heels and toes. I am also knitting a pair with k3p1 ribbing all the way to the toes. It does make the socks fit better than just knitting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 10:33 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, I do think that the 1×3 ribbing for socks is my new go-to for just plain sock knitting.


    • Diane Hamilton 10:07 pm on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Even though I don’t knit socks, I appreciate your persistence and thoughtful comments?


  • knitting1105 1:12 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beth Brown-Reinsel, Gansey, Knitting Ganseys   

    Knitting Ganseys 

    If you read my last post, you know that Gansey sweaters originated in Guernsey, and the name was modified.  Years ago, I took the Gansey sweater class from Beth Brown-Reinsel.  We made a small sampler Gansey, that I still have.


    This was at Stitches Midwest in 2002.  At the time I purchased her wonderful book, and she signed it for me.  It was a great class, and I have always wanted to make an adult sized Gansey, but haven’t gotten to it yet.


    Photos from the original book:

    The book has great History, instructions on how to make the sampler Gansey, and some Gansey sweaters that you can follow the pattern for.  In the intervening years, I have taken at least one more class from Beth on twined knitting.  She is a great teacher. So, when I saw that an updated version of this book was coming out, I was all for it.  This is not the first time that I have purchased a newer version of a book that I already own.  I was not disappointed.


    This book is hardcover, the first was a paperback.  This is full color versus B&W.  The photography is beautiful, stunning scenery, and gorgeous knits.  I read this like a novel, something that seems to be more and more common with knitting books.  The history that I have garnered from knitting books is amazing.  This has reignited my interest in making a Gansey sweater.  Of course, I found out that there is still a factory on Guernsey Island that makes sweaters after I got back!  I would highly recommend this book.

    I am still keeping my original copy.  Plus it has a note and signature from Beth!



    • tonymarkp 7:07 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I have the Knitting Ganseys book but never took the class. I made the adult sized sampler gansey for myself waaaay back when the book came out. I’ve knit a lot of ganseys since then. I hope you make some. The sweaters in that book are timeless, and even encourage you to try out steeking with a cardigan. If you can find the yarn, Wendy makes a sport-weight gansey yarn that is totally perfect for the patterns in that book. I have some in the stash waiting to be turned into an Alice Starmore gansey. 🙂 Alice Starmore also published a few gansey patterns knit in the round. It’s been so much fun to read about your trip to Guernsey and your plans to knit a gansey. It’s actually my favorite type of sweater construction!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:34 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You are inspiring me to start one, just as soon as I finish up a few other things.

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 10:29 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: guernsey Island, Guernsey sweaters   

    Ganseys in Guernsey 

    This past summer we had a wonderful 2 week trip to Europe which started with 3 nights in Guernsey.  Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, technically a part of England, but situated much closer to the Normandy coast of France.  We flew into London, and took the ferry the next day from Portsmouth to Guernsey, an 8 hour ride.

    Arriving in the beautiful port at Guernsey, we were already smitten.


    Why Guernsey?  This question was asked of me more times than I can count.  Originally, our big trip this year was going to be to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  We quickly realized when we started planning, that due to difficulties getting from one country to the next, we would need more planning time.  Our next choice was Guernsey, Aix-en-Provence and Paris.  I had lived my junior year in Aix, and had been wanting to go back for some time.  And who doesn’t love Paris?  But Guernsey?  Well, it all started with a book that I read, that lead to a fascination with the island.

    8110V2WqqLL During WWII, Guernsey  and the other Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazi’s for 5 years. This is a fictional account of that time period, and how the residents suffered under the Nazi occupation.  After reading it several years ago, and having little knowledge of the island, and none of it’s history, I started trolling the internet to find out more.  What I discovered was beautiful scenery and an island that fascinated me.  That motivated me to have the island high on the “travel to” list.  And, I knew that Guernsey sweaters (later referred to as Ganseys) originated on the island.  As well as Guernsey cows.  Jersey island is right next door with it’s Jersey cows.


    We loved our stay at Guernsey, definitely the highlight of our trip.  We stayed at the Ziggurat, and this is the view of the harbor outside of our window.


    And the view at Breakfast


    My husband is the best at indulging my interests, especially when it comes to knitting.  He found  The Folk and Costume Museum, and thought they might have some of the Guernsey sweaters there.  It was in a beautiful old converted farm.


    Dan got his history of the island, and I found Guernsey sweaters.  My photos are not the best, the museum was very quaint, but poorly lit.  What I found really interesting is that they are known for these sweaters, but had no sheep on the island.  All of the wool was imported from England.

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    The guernsey is the mainstay of Guernsey’s knitting industry which can be dated back to the late 15th century when a royal grant was obtained to import wool from England and re-export knitted goods to Normandy and Spain. Peter Heylin described the manufacture and export of “waste-cotes” during the reign of Charles I. The first use of the name “guernsey” outside of the island [2] is in the 1851 Oxford Dictionary, but the garment was in use in the bailiwick before that.[3]

    The guernsey came into being as a garment for fishermen who required a warm, hard wearing, yet comfortable item of clothing that would resist the sea spray. The hard twist given to the tightly packed wool fibres in the spinning process and the tightly knitted stitches, produced a finish that would “turn water” and is capable of repelling rain and spray.[4]

    The guernsey was traditionally knitted by the fishermen’s wives and the pattern passed down from mother to daughter through the generations. While commercially available sweaters are machine knit, the final finishing of these machine-knit parts is completed by hand.[4]

    Through trade links established in the 17th century, the guernsey found favour with seafarers around the British Isles, and many coastal communities developed their own “ganseys” based on the original pattern. Whilst the classic guernsey pattern remained plain, the stitch patterns used became more complex the further north the garment spread, with the most complex evolving in the Scottish fishing villages.[5]

    Mary Wright argues that the use and wearing of guernseys throughout the British Isles for over a century and a half almost justifies the guernsey for qualification as a national costume.[6] A guernsey from the Folk Museum Guernsey was included in the 2010 BBC project A History of the World in 100 Objects.[7]

    The term can also refer to a similarly-shaped garment made of woven cloth, also called a Guernsey shirt or smock. There are a number of different names for the same garments, for instance Guernsey frock, Guernsey shirt, smock-frock, or fisherman’s frock. Essentially these are all the same garment, with the materials varying based on the purpose for which it is worn.[8]

    There is still a factory on Guernsey making the traditional style sweaters.  I am regretting not visiting that.  We were, however, so smitten with the island that we really want to go back and visit Guernsey again, and Jersey, Salk and St. Malo.

    Here are a few more photos from Guernsey:

    The walk up to our hotel:


    View from lunch one day:


    The German Occupation Museum.  This was really fascinating.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


    • salpal1 5:30 am on August 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful! My grandparents had a vacation on the channel islands back in the 60’s or early 70’s. I got a red Guernsey sweater that I loved. As I loved that book! Adding it to the bucket list! I wonder how life will change on the islands with Brexit? I imagine they have liked having the open borders, being so close to Brittany and Normandy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 12:29 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        How cool that you had a sweater from Guernsey! My husband and I cannot recommend the island enough. We are waiting to go back after all the Brexit stuff has settled out. right now, the island feels more French than English, and the boats from St. Malo come regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

        • salpal1 7:38 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink

          I expect that life will be quite different if they can’t come and go to France at will. I will definitely add it to my list. I spent a lovely week in Brittany, and several days in Normandy, I am sure I would love the channel islands.


  • knitting1105 2:32 pm on July 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: archiving history, navajo rug weaving, silent film   

    Navajo Rug Weaving 

    An historic silent film

  • knitting1105 9:30 am on June 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Japanese Knitting – A Review 

    A couple of weeks before we traveled to Japan, which was 5 years ago now, I took a course with Donna Druchunas on understanding Japanese knitting patterns.  While taking a class years ago with CookieA (remember her?, I think that she has gone undercover), she told me that the Japanese pattern books were a great inspiration for her sock designs.  So, when we were going to Japan I wanted to purchase some Japanese knitting books of course, and needed to know how to read/use them.  I would highly recommend the class by Donna if she is still teaching it.  That started my love of and collecting Japanese knitting books.  I could go into many reasons why I love them, but this post by SkeinYarn says it all.

    I recently acquired the book Japanese Knitting – Patterns for Sweaters, Scarves and More. This was shipped to me right at publication time.  Although, I just saw it cheaper at Target.  Who knew that Target carried knitting books?!  After taking the class in the spring on Japanese knitting techniques, I was anxious to get this new book. 


    So, when the book came, I was excited ot open it.  This is one of the top Japanese designers, and I do love the attention to detail and aesthetics that they have.  When I opened the front cover, I loved the hand drawn designs for each project:


    And I do like and appreciate how all of the stitches used are standardized, which makes going from one designer to another very easy.


    But, my disappointment came with the patterns.  They are very boxy, and the majority of them are Crochet patterns.  While I do know how to crochet, quite proficiently, I prefer knitting for many reasons.  This book should have really been titled Japanese Knitting and Crochet.  Having looked at Japanese knitting books I do know that they call crochet books knitting books.  I expect that when seeing them in their own language, but not with a translation.  I know, I know, there is a byline at the top that states Knitting and Crochet, I just did not expect 1/2 of it to be crochet.  And, the irony is that my favorite pattern is crochet!

    That said, here are a couple of pages from the book.

    51E+qj1bGyLJapanese 2

    Word of advise to myself, pursue the book in person before purchasing it if at all possible.  I will keep this book, but it is just not what I was hoping for.  The few patterns in the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible book were more what I thought I would be getting, a rich attention to detail and complicated stitch patterns.

    That said, my favorite project at the moment is this crocheted stole.  Just might have to pick up a hook again.


  • knitting1105 4:26 pm on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

    End of an Era 

    My beloved Dale of Norway has decided to close their North American operations.


    This makes me so sad, I learned how to knit Fair Isle with DoN, and it has been my go-to yarn for baby sweaters for years and years.  The Baby Ull is the softest, best wearing baby yarn, and the colors were always amazing and vivid.  When DoN decided last year to only sell to one distributor in the US, Heart of the Mitten, that was a big red flag.  Little did I know that the relationship with them would last less than a year.  So sad.  Luckily, as access to these yarns have become more and more difficult over the years, and I love to knit baby sweaters, I have been purchasing them whenever I see them available, particularly when they are on sale.  My stash of Baby Ull is quite extensive, almost yarn shop quantities I sheepishly admit.  But that did not stop me from purchasing a few more while they were still available.

    And, if any of you like the DoN books, which I must say are amazing, you can purchase them while they last for $1/each at the Heart of the Mitten.  I took advantage of that to add to my already extensive library.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    I do have a couple of DoN ski sweaters that I knit, and for the Olympic sweaters, they came with a patch.  I will miss looking for what is available for the next winter Olympics.  A friend is visiting Norway right now and was going to stop at the DoN store, I will be curious to see what she finds there.


    HA DET…

    • salpal1 4:02 am on June 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I wondered what would happen there. A shame, it is lovely yarn. But a great reason to go to Norway! And I presume we can pay shipping fees and still get it from overseas? And I have a nephew in Copenhagen… I presume it is still available in Denmark? He’s going to get some strange requests now!

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 10:27 am on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Socks again 

    At Yarn Con recently I purchased this yarn from Lorna’s Laces:


    Lorna’s Laces has traditionally been a solid go-to yarn.  It is soft and squishy, and wears well.  In past years, I have purchased yarns that were seconds at their loft studio.  The colors in this yarn really spoke to me.  When I knit it up, the colors pooled, but did not muddy out.


    I do wish that the repeats were a bit shorter to have the colors more like ended up on the heel portion.


    In spite of the pooling, the socks came out really well and were so soft and wonderful to the touch.  These were gifted to my DIL for her birthday.  She loved the yarn when I brought it home from YarnCon.  Hopefully she likes the socks equally well.


    And, she had asked for some fingerless mitts, so these were knit with some variegated Koigu, and remnant sock yarn.


  • knitting1105 10:55 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bumblebee acres, variegated sock yarn,   

    Variegated Yarns and Socks 

    I love the look of variegated sock yarns.  So much so that I am constantly attracted to them when at sales, such as the recent YarnCon.  This yarn was purchased at YarnCon from Bumblebee Acres, I loved the colors.


    It was described as having red stripes, with the rainbows between the stripes, and periods black dots (which are not overly prominent on the skein).  Unfortunately, the vendor had nothing knit up with any of these yarns.  The yarn wound up beautifully into the cake.


    Then, I started knitting it up…


    I knew that there were black spots interspersed, although I was not sure why.  The dots were very prominent on the first sock, and then got less as the sock was knit up.  I opted to make a short pair of socks with this, both because I was less than pleased with the color repeat, and because I think that these may make nicer fingerless mitts.  I did love how the heel knit up, and this fell in line with the description given to me by the vendor.


    You can clearly see a distinction between sock #1 and sock #2.  Not my favorite, but they are cute short socks.  We will see how the yarn knits up into fingerless mitts.


    • Deborah 11:01 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think the socks are pretty, but this yarn should make beautiful mitts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • salpal1 11:28 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like them very much, but I have always struggled with yarns like this – I think my feet are wider than they plan for when they make the stripes – so I get socks like yours, when I want them striped like the heels. I figure if my socks were 58 or 60 stitches around, it would work right. So maybe in the mitts, it will work just fine!

      Liked by 1 person

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

        I consider these an average size, using size 1 needles and 64 sts/round. I just wish that I had seen a knitted version. Perhaps that is why they didn’t have one!

        Liked by 1 person

        • salpal1 2:13 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink

          I use 64 stitches also, and don’t get the pretty stripes everyone else seems to.

          Maybe it is why they didn’t; have a samples, who knows? I usually like their yarns and colors, though.

          On Loose Threads group in ravelry, there is a thread about clown barf. You might want to go there and check it out. You will find your socks aren’t so bad at all. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 2:37 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        It took me a bit ot find the thread about clown barf – Loose Ends. Man that made me feel better, there are some seriously ugly variegated projects. But the dyers keep reeling us in with those beautiful color combinations. Thanks for the good laugh of the day.

        Liked by 1 person

        • salpal1 5:57 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink

          Glad I could help! There are some really ugly ones there, but there also were some great ideas and options. I liked the entrelac pattern, kept the colors from mixing too much. 😉


    • Elaine 2:05 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      What a shame that the finished result isn’t what you were expecting or hoped for. The heels are far nicer looking than the body of the socks and much more what I would expect from a variegated yarn. The stripes on the body aren’t wide enough for me and make the finished socks look far too busy for my liking but they are bright and colourful. I hope the colourway of the remaining yarn works better in your mitts and leaves you feeling less disgruntled 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 2:38 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I think lesson learned, trust the dyers that I really love and know… Perhaps the mitts will come out better. Not wanting to try them right now though.


        • Elaine 2:45 pm on June 1, 2018 Permalink

          I can understand you not wanting to try the mitts right now – hopefully some of your other yarns will yield happier results for you. It’s a shame that giving a new dyer a chance has had such a negative outcome 😦

          Liked by 1 person

    • Gracey 1:43 pm on June 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Was it marketed as self-stripe or variegated? I like both of the fabrics, heel and sock….and my Hubs loves “clown barf” yarn, so I have lots of it! I have the opposite…I have very skinny feet, but also very prominent bunions…ugly feet….

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 12:16 pm on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        It was marketed as self striping. How they described it is how the heel looked. I am hoping that the fingerless mitts work better.


  • knitting1105 2:35 pm on May 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

    Coming up for Air! 

    Wow, over 2 months since I last posted.  This past semester has been tough, I way over committed myself.  Teaching almost a full load, taking 2 classes myself (Architectural History and Japanese), and doing some private design work left me way over my head.  And in the midst of this, I got a really bad cold that wiped me out for about 10 days.  I could barely keep up with the pace, and I am so glad that it is summer.  It will take me awhile to gather my senses, catch up, and deal with some of the house chaos.   Thank goodness my husband takes care of a lot around here, and I have a cleaning lady, otherwise we would be in serious trouble here.  This summer I am looking forward to finishing some abandoned projects around the house and having lots of knitting and spinning time.

    In spite of my schedule, I have been knitting this entire time, so will have some catchup to do on the posts.  First, I want to talk about Yarn Con this year.  My son, DIL and beautiful grand baby were here that weekend, so I literally rushed down for 1/2 hour to see what was available, and snatched up a few items.


    Vibrant rainbow type colors attracted me this year. Lorna’s Laces has a new owner, and I have always loved their yarns, this one spoke to me:


    While it will not self stripe, I love the color combo, kind of like a vibrant spring feel.  I really think that I bought this color combo years ago.


    And the next 2 were new to me dyers.  The first is Bumblebee Acres, and I came back twice to look a this.  They did not have a sample knit up, so I went with their description of how it would look.  More on that soon.


    Lastly was this sock yarn from Mode Knit Yarn.   Not quite as vibrant, but still has that rainbow vibe.


    And how could I resist this cool bag from Bunny Badger for Izumi, looked like it would be a good toy bag.


    The fabric is so fun.  Kind of wish that I had snagged an extra one for myself!


    The same vendor had some fun buttons:


    And I leave you with Izumi modeling one of the baby shower sweaters!  This is the last time that we saw her, she has changed a lot in a few weeks.

    I promise myself to not be away this long again.



    • Diane Hamilton 6:52 pm on May 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry it has been so hectic. Hopefully you can rejuvenate this summer and not take on so much next semester. Izumi is an adorable model!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 11:24 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes Izumi is so fun to knit for. Many things here to sew up that are waiting for her.


    • Elaine 12:44 pm on May 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      She is adorable, your little grandbaby 🙂

      Oh what a sumptuous collection of yarns you treated yourself to. I need to think about finding some yarn for my next project ….. need to find the pattern first. It’s somewhere upstairs 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yvonne Creanga 11:00 pm on May 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I love your passionate fawning over your first grandchild. I hope to be like you when my time comes to be a grandma.
      Izumi is so precious.

      Liked by 1 person

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