Updates from March, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 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, 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deborah Hamilton 10:35 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that the Japanese are talented designers. Maybe if you use sock weight yarn, you would be happier with your mitts. The stitches are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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!

      Liked by 1 person

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

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

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 11:29 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I really recommend getting the red knitting book. And if you ever see Donna Druchunas teaching a class on how to read Japanese Patterns, take it!

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 7:58 pm on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    People Knitting 


    People have been sending vintage photos of knitting to me on FB, so I was curious where they all came from all of a sudden, and I found this book.  Of course I bought it!  One does not even need to ask.

    The author, Barbara Levine, has been collecting Vintage knitting photos for over 25 years, even though she herself is not a knitter, and many of the photos come from her personal collection. She calls herself a knitting watcher, and her mother was a knitter, though she does not have a single photo of her mother knitting.


    The photos range from the past 100+ years once photography was more popular. They show both genders, and all ages.



    This book would make a great little gift or stocking stuffer for any knitter.  It will be kept out in the Living Room for perusing at my house.


    I found this photo to be especially funny, as I have a hair appointment tomorrow, and I am known for always knitting while sitting in the chair!


    It was really enjoyable looking through this book, but it also made me sad.  I have been knitting since I was 7.  I do not know of a single photo of me knitting.  Too late to get that back.  Have someone take pictures of you while you do your craft.



    • Diane Hamilton 11:06 pm on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That looks like a fun book! I am sorry there is no known picture of you knitting but we all have a picture of you knitting in our memories, like the trip to Mesa Verde and Traver asking you what you were knitting and he thought it was good colors for a little boy. Even though there isn’t a physical picture it is one I will always treasure and I picture us all in the SUV and you sitting up in the front seat while Traver was asking you questions about your knitting. Memories I will always hold close to my heart. Sometimes those are the best pictures!


      • knitting1105 12:14 pm on November 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Diane. Memories are good, but hard to pass on. Amazing that I never thought of the fact that there was not a photo of me knitting until now. I have always been camera shy, but knitting is the thing that would have made me happy to have a photo taken. Maybe I will do a photo session soon.


  • knitting1105 9:06 am on October 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Vogue Knitting Live 2015 

    Last weekend was Chicago Vogue Knitting Live.  I have taken classes each of the 4 years that it has been here, had some really good, and some so-so classes over the years.  After the first year where I was taking classes all 3 days, I learned my lesson and scaled back the number that i took.

    On Friday, I took the class Challenging Stitches from Japanese Designs with Gayle Roehm.  We learned 4 new stitch patterns that are not in stitch books, but came from garment designs.  It was interesting, and a good 1/2 day class.  I have misplaced my swatch, or I would show that to you.  A couple of years ago, I took an all day workshop through the Windy City Knitting Guild with Donna Druchunas.  That was really more comprehensive class in how to read Japanese patterns, and one that I would like to repeat again some day.  If you ever have a chance to take these classes from Donna, I highly recommend them.  In the meantime, if you want to learn how to read Japanese pattern books, this Knitty Article by Donna is very helpful, or a great refresher.  Many years ago, the Japanese government standardized knitting and crochet patterns and symbols, so it is very easy to figure them out once you have the general guidelines.  This book also will help to understand the different stitches, as there are very clear illustrations:




    The second day was an all-day class with Deborah Jarchow in Lace Weaving with Pick Up Sticks on the Rigid Heddle loom.  I really really enjoyed this class, my friend Jane was with me, and it gave me new insight and challenges to the Rigid Heddle loom.  My loom is bigger, and will pose some of it’s own challenges, but I am anxious to try out these techniques.  Here is the sampler that I made.  My only regret is that I used crappy acrylic yarn, which shows the stitch patterns very well, but if I had used good yarn I would have ended up with a nice ascot for Dan.







    I did go to the Market, but was very selective on what I purchased.  A woman had a booth with Vintage buttons, I wish that I had known that she would be there and I would had taken stock of projects that needed buttons.  I got a few from her, and then a cool new book and some Rauma yarn to make some mittens (have been wanting to try this yarn for quite some time.



    No Vogue Knitting in Chicago next year, they will be in Minneapolis.  Might just have to take a road trip and visit some friends.

    • Jane 1:20 pm on October 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I like your crappy bright colors on your sampler. I did mine in “good” yarn and Joe does have a nice muffler.. but it is much harder for me to see the patterns so I can pick and choose which to use on other projects. And I too wish I had ideas for the button lady.. I have never seen such a great collection of buttons.


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

    Knitting Fiction 

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


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


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


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


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

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

    Tudor Roses Comparison 

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


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


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

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


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

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

  • 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.



    This cute dress intrigued me:



    As did these moose mittens:



    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.



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



    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.



    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.



    Oh, and Eucalan…



    • 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 8:55 am on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    For Mom 

    My mother was  great crafter, sewer, quilter and crocheter.  In addition to making all of us beautiful quilts, scrubbies to use in the kitchen, and painting objects, she loved to make crocheted snowflakes for the Christmas tree.  I have many of her  snowflakes, so when I saw this book at the Japanese grocery store the other day, I knew that I had to have it.


    Lovely colors and shapes.


    This idea of putting a snowflake on a pair of felted mittens really appeals to me.



    Hopefully the class that I took from Donna Druchanus on knitting with Japanese pattern books will help me to decipher these patterns also.

    • Manning 1:31 pm on October 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Those are great! And I love that they all seem to actually have 6 sides! Most knitted “snowflakes” have four or eight sides/points, which always drives me nuts because I’m kind of a snowflake nerd and of course snowflakes always have six sides because of the triangular nature of the h20 bonds. https://www.google.com/search?q=knitting+snowflake+pattern&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=nYI1VJO0PIixogSX3IDYBQ&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=1338&bih=762


      • knitting1105 11:39 am on October 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        The first snowflakes that my mom made had 8 sides, as she read the pattern wrong. She wanted them all thrown out, luckily I kept some. Thanks for the knitting link. And I don’t know what an h20 bond is exactly, but I appreciate that all of nature makes sense. Check out the book The Power of Limits


    • Helen 5:21 am on October 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I bought a copy of this also. And I also like that these are ‘anatomically correct’ snowflakes! 🙂


  • knitting1105 10:58 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Yup, another shawl 

    Currently I am knitting yet another shawl, but this one is with a twist, the shawl becomes a sweater.  It is from my new favorite book Lovely Knitted Lace by Brooke Nico.


    Slowly I am knitting my way through this book, there are some great twists on lace and how to use it for wearable items.  The sweater shown here on the front, Camellia Dolman, is my newest project, it is basically a circular shawl that is knit back and forth to achieve edges that becomes the button band.





    The Helen’s Lace yarn that I purchased at the Lorna’s Laces warehouse sale is being used.



    This shawl had to be restarted as I did not read carefully and got almost through the first 1/2 of the chart when I realized that I was supposed to just purl back on the even # rows.  UGH!, but I ripped it all back and started over.  It took a long time for my brain to realize why this did not seem to be large enough for the shawl.  The yellow showed how far I was when I ripped back, the green highlighted area is my progress to date.



    Not quite sure about this color for me, although I think that it will look great with white pants and jeans as a summer sweater.


    Progress has been moving along nicely and I realized that the pattern was incorrect in a major way, it asked for 3,000 yards of 2 separate yarns (6,000 in total)…. in reality if you look at the breakdown, it is 1,500 yards of 2 different lace weight yarns, or 3,000 yards total.  This would have made a huge difference in my purchasing as 1,500 yards is a lot cheaper than 3,000 yards!  Now I even think that I could make this again with a handspun gradient, after I see if I like the fit of course.  The other errors in the pattern are that the increases are every 12th row, not every 6th row as stated.  The charts are correct, I am not sure about the written pattern as I do not use them.  Also, she neglects to tell you to bind off, I was wondering if the sweater was made by sewing live edges together, but could not figure out how to block the shawl prior to sewing if that were the case.

    In spite of the lack of proper editing or pattern testing in this book, I love these patterns.  It just would be hard for a new lace knitter to figure out what is wrong without the corrections.

    • peggyandpierre 11:05 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful shawl! I wish I didn’t have so many projects going right now or else I would run out and get everything to make this right now!!
      Definitely love your color choice! That color is so popular right now and will look great during the summer. Even at the beach!


      • knitting1105 11:14 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! I had not thought of this as a beach sweater, but that would be really fun.


    • Diane 12:25 am on May 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is so pretty, shawls are like shoes….you can’t have too many! Ask Sofia!


  • knitting1105 5:41 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    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 12:23 pm on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VKL Chicago 2013 


    Last weekend I attended the second Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago at the Palmer House.  Last year I was overly enthusiastic and chose 2 1/2 days of classes, lesson learned.  I attended the Skacel fashion show, where they were showing the entrants designs from The Fiber Factor, which I had never even known about, sort of like Project Runway for knitters.  From my vantage point it was very difficult to get good photographs.  Fun and inspiring nonetheless.


    Saturday afternoon my class was designing PI shawls with Brooke Nico.  I was not aware of Brooke, nor her designs prior to this class, but I am truly a fan now.  She is an amazing lace knitter and designer, in fact this shawl is on my queue to knit as soon as I can figure out the yarn I can use.  These are the swatches for starting a PI shawl, the one with the appendage is called the belly button cast-on. both make casting on a tiny number of stitches over several double points a thing of the past, you switch to DPN’s when you have enough stitches to easily manage, then close up the loop at the center.  Ingenious.



    Sunday morning was a class with Julie Weisenberger on converting sweaters to seamless construction.  She is an amazing teacher, and I wanted this class to cement the process for English tailoring that I took last year, in that class we made a small baby sweater which I recently found and need to finish knitting up. When I first arrived at the class, the utility doors nearby were open and a strong smell of diesel fuel permeated the hall.  It was worse in the classroom, and joined by jack hammering from above.  I went to the lobby where I found 2 managers from the hotel standing and lodged my complaint.  Their response was that they would spray Fabreze to cover the odor.  I told them that was not acceptable, and Julie returned to demand a new room.  After some shuffling around, we got a nice space and resumed the class.  Vogue Knitting coordinators were great, and they brought us all a free book at the end of class, I chose this one.  It has some great patterns that I think my daughter will like.


    Prior to the class on Saturday I walked the entire market, it was on 2 floors, but really not that big.  This allowed me to preview the booths, and come home and think about what I really want (we all know that I NEED nothing).  Then, during lunch on Sunday I was able to go back and purchase the following items.  First, Nikki Epsteins adorable new book on knitting sweaters for 18″ dolls, purchased to knit for my cute niece Rebecca.


    Berenger was giving out pamphlets with yarn samples, and selling the accompanying magazine.  I looked at it on Saturday night and felt that there were several patterns that I would knit, and having a sample of the yarns that they used really allows for easier substitution.  $15 seemed a bargain, even though the quality of the paper is very thin and cheap feeling.


    Not that I need sock yarn, but I do love a gradient, and these were very well done, and caked appropriately.  The yellow on the outside is a bit washed out on my photo.  They will be used for toe-up socks to maximize the use of the whole skeins.  From Knit Circus out of Madison, WI. I can see these in a fair isle sock…


    Lastly, these beautiful hand-made buttons.  Amazing self-restraint was shown overall, and no real guilt.


    At the market, Vogue also had an editor who would measure you (behind a curtain), and give a card with all of the pertinent measurements needed for knitting a custom sweater.  Very helpful, and there could be no better inspiration for diet and exercise!!!


    And I ended the day with Japanese lace patterns, again with Brooke Nico (I had not realized that I signed up for 2 classes both with her, it was just the title that intrigued me).  We worked on 3 lace designs, and have the instructions for 2 more.  Class notes said to bring a worsted weight yarn, and I really wish that I had used a sock yarn, those that did had much better stitch definition than I.


    A very good weekend indeed!


    • Diane 11:08 pm on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like a pretty full weekend with lots of great inspirations.


Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc