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  • knitting1105 9:58 am on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: knitcroblo7   

    Blog week, Post #7 

    What a Yarn

    There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.

    There are so many amazing yarns out there.  I tend to favor wool, and fingering or lace weight yarns, as I prefer working on small needles.  When I was thinking of this prompt, the question that popped into my head was “What yarn would be the one type that I could take with me on a deserted island?”, a twist on the book question.  I have to go back to my favorite yarn to buy, knit with and keep in my stash—Baby Ull by Dale of Norway.  Dale of Norway has been in business for 130 years.  I could not find any information on when they started producing Baby Ull.  I used Red Heart Baby yarn growing up for my Barbie Doll clothing business, and baby sweaters for friends.  I know that my first experience with Baby Ull was to make a beautiful blue-green sweater with Intarsia rabbits on it for my daughter when I was pregnant (1986).  I was smitten with the softness, brilliant colors, washability, and the wonderful way it knit up.  I have used this yarn for shawls, socks, mittens, baby items, hats, and sweaters for babies and myself.  It is extremely versatile, and makes wonderful Fair Isle patterning.  The colors are beautifully saturated, and vary from year to year.  So consequently, when I find a color I particularly like, I stock up.  Current favorite is a Tangerine color.  This is the only yarn that I refer to so often that I have purchased the color chart so that I am not dependent on the internet color renditions.  I only wish that more retailers would carry this.  I have tried other baby yarns, but the colors are not  as good, and the gauge of the yarn is usually thicker.  I also tend to use this yarn for baby Fair Isle projects, and consequently love to have lots of varied colors on hand, and do not care if there are some single skeins.

    Here is a quick tour of past and present projects using this wonderful yarn.

    All this posting is reminding me to order more of that Tangerine Baby Ull…

    Happy Knitting!

    TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo7

    • Vera 10:15 am on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful projects!


    • stephcuddles 11:45 am on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, you sure do love that yarn. Lovely projects 🙂


    • Rae 1:07 pm on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wow such beautiful projects.


    • Vivianne 3:03 pm on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love the colors of that yarn – and what you have done with it 🙂


    • Bets 4:42 pm on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful projects, will have to try the Baby Ull some day 🙂


    • MrsPeterson 8:10 pm on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Today I was explaining to my four year old son (the beneficiary of the gorgeous green fair isle yoked sweater pictured above) the difference between “good” bugs and “bad” bugs. Spiders are good, mosquitos are bad, etc. When it came to the evil m*** I explained that this bug was worse than all other bugs and I will kill any in the house with immediate vengence because it EATS WOOL and he looked at me in horror– moths eat YARN? Would moths eat MY SWEATER FROM FRANCES?!?!? He was so alarmed I said of course not honey, I will kill them first.

      Which is to say, my boy loves his wool sweater, and Baby Ull is a fine fine yarn.


      • knitting1105 2:32 pm on May 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Your son does my work proud. He reminds me of my nephew who would only have his photos taken if wearing the sweater I made him for 2 years. These are the best compliments anyone could give!


    • AC 2:18 pm on May 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Aww…I love the sweater with the penguin.


  • knitting1105 11:14 am on October 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m a small needle & wool snob 

    I admit it.  I really think that items knit with a small needle have more definition, greater drape to the fabric, and usually (not always) better detail.   I also prefer wool above all else, and wood needles.  So there!

    I am just finishing the third of my doily lap blankets.  Using a size 10 1/2 needle was like knitting with baseball bats for me.  Not my preferred option.  I will have to adjust that thinking when I start the Sylvie coat next year though (waiting until January to order the yarn for that, I can’t wait).  The 2nd and 3rd doily lap blankets were made with a lighter weight yarn and size 7 needles.  That seemed so much more civilized to me.  At my  recent visit to stitches in September with my sister, there was a woman demonstrating size 50 (yes 50!) needles, and the merits of them.  Now those really were like baseball bats.  Jill tried them out, but I took a pass.  Size 1 and 2 are more my cup of tea.  I guess that is why I like socks and Fair Isle so much.  Even with mittens, they just seem to need to be knit with the smaller needles to get the proper density to make them wearable in the cold Chicago winters.  And, speaking of mittens, here is my latest pair of Fair Isle mittens, using the Postwar Mittens pattern by MaryAnn Stephens (www.kidsknits.com), and featured on Twist Collective.


    Notice the date on the inside part of the thumb.  I love it….


    The right hand mitten is tight at the hand.  I was working on it while at my SnB group; the lighting was not good, the conversation was lively, and my floats and stitches are tighter than I would like.  Good lesson, keep the knitting simple during those 2 hours.  The length on the cuff is good, will cover my wrists during the cold months.  I had to add one additional repeat on the hand to get the proper length for my big long hands.  I can’t say, however, that I am anxious to wear them.  It has been a beautiful past 3 days with sunshine and 60-70 degree weather, and gorgeous fall color.  My favorite season.

    • the Lady 12:25 pm on October 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      They are beautiful! I love your color combo.
      What I love about larger needles is how much more quickly a project will go. I think some very good effects can be had with large needles, though I deplre the idea of size 35s, and have never gone above a 13 myself. I don’t think anything good comes out of size 35 and up needles.


  • knitting1105 12:08 pm on February 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Practical knitting 

    I have not been working on anything new lately.  Just trying to finish up the Cables Sweater (just one sleeve left!!!).  After I sent out the packages of socks, I got beautiful notes back in thanks.  That was as much fun as sending out the packages.  However, no good deed goes unpunished so they say, and the sock mailing led to 2 requests for socks that I could not say no to.  They are both for men, and so I am knitting up a couple pair of very functional, yet boring (let me say Zen) socks.  My husband also asked for a hat, and I made him a pair of fingerless mittens to wear when he works from home.  This is a new concept for him, and he is used to a heated office, not the 66 degrees that we have in our house.


    I did use Baby Cashmerino though, and they are so soft to the touch, which is exactly what you want while typing away.  The hat that I made for him was with Lornas Laces worsted weight sock yarn.  Not that exciting.  I decided to make the top decreases in a swirl pattern just for something different.  Well, my husband loves to pull his hat up off his head, not wear it down snug, and it looks like a nipple on the top of his head.  Whenever I see him with the hat I have to yell “nipple” and he pulls it down.  I think that I want to make him a stranded Dale of Norway hat.  The other was a quick and easy project to get him through this cold spell.   

    My husband is out of town taking care of his mother, and I am here alone, bored, and unmotivated.  There is a sale at the yarn shop Knitting Workshop in Chicago that I am going to head over to.  I need a daytime knitting buddy, as I have nobody to go out with on a regular basis.  I am going to stop at another shop that I have never been to along the way, Nina.  That shop looks so beautiful in the photos, with a very Zen like, modern aesthetic.  I should not be purchasing any yarn, but if I could find a great pattern for a stranded Alice Starmore, I would purchase Jamesion yarn at the Knitting Workshop for that.

  • knitting1105 3:05 pm on February 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Elvis Mittens 

    I finished my Dale of Norway mittens last night.  I named them Elvis mittens as I did most of the work while watching the closing arguments, statements and votes to impeach former Governor Rod Blago.  Rod is a great fan of Elvis, and since I did not want to name these after Rod, thought that might be a good second choice.  Rod’s hair style also evokes some bad Elvis.  Thank goodness he is out of office.


    These mittens are too small for my hands.  The pattern called for sizes 2 and 4.  I used 1 and 2 1/2.  I was getting gauge, and the width is not really an issue, but the length most certainly is.  I kind of knew that they would not fit me from the get-go, as the size was a medium women’s.  I always have to ask for the largest women’s gloves that they make at the department stores.  I did do 1/2″ of plain stockinette stitch prior to starting the pattern.  I originally tried the cuff with size 2 needles, and was not happy with how wide it was.  Normally, I knit Dale of Norway sweaters with sizes 2 and 3, so I wanted the fabric to be more dense for the mittens.  I like the pattern, but probably wouldn’t make them again, as they don’t work for my hands.

    Now, what to make next…  I have some variegated sock yarn that I am thinking might work well for stranded mittens, along with a skein of plain.


    • Pinneguri 3:18 am on February 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Too bad you didn’t like the pattern for your hands, and too bad Elvis became too short. An experience richer, yes? Do you have family or co-workers who can take them off your hands (!)?


  • knitting1105 3:52 pm on January 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Smitten with Mittens 

    Smitten with mittens.  

    When I thought of that title I was so impressed with myself, that is until I realized that it was the title of the Vogue Knitting Fall 2008 magazine, where I have gotten my past few mitten projects from.  I already blogged about the Yellow Harvest and the Snowbird (Let it Snow) mittens that I have made from that particular magazine issue.  When I originally started looking at this magazine I questioned my decision to stop the subscription.  Let’s just say, that the next issue firmed my resolve.  

    I am currently working on 2 different pair of mittens, the Green Autumn from the above magazine and the Chrysanthemum pattern available as a free download on Ravelry from Mary Ann Stephans of kidsknits.com.

    I have not gotten very far on the Green Autumn mittens.  I am using Softie from Kimmet Croft Fibres.  I bought this a few years back, thinking that I was short on the natural for the Bohus mittens I was making for my daughter.  Never mind that they sent me an angora/Merino blend instead of the Shetland.  But it was a good mistake, as I knit up these mittens with this yarn.  I haven’t gotten to the main body, I need to take the pattern to the library and enlarge the chart.  My eyes are not what they used to be.  These I am definitely going to keep for myself.  I like the pattern repeat also, it will easily allow me to make these mittens large enough for my big paws.


    The other mittens which I have been working on the past couple of days, are the Chrysanthemum mittens.  I was looking at other patterns by Mary Ann for mittens, as that is my obsession of the month (could it have anything to do with the bitter cold winter that we have had this year?).  This pattern was a free download from her website http://www.kidsknits.com, and she used Dale of Norway Heilo or Falk yarn for the project.  I had originally ordered all of my Heilo for the Polar Bear sweater from MaryAnn, and not wanting to run out while on vacation, got a couple of extra balls.  So, I had just enough of 3 colors to make these mittens, and they will coordinate perfectly with my Polar bear sweater.  Incidentally, I wore that sweater inside twice in the past 2 weeks thanks to the bitter cold, but it is one heavy pullover, and most likely will be an outside moderate winter temp sweater—so these mittens with it would be so cute to wear with it.  I am not sure however if they will fit my big hands.


    I used a size 1 for the cuff (pattern calls for a size 2 for the whole mitten), and a size 2 1/2 needle for the main body of the mitten.  Anything larger than a 1 for the cuff made them huge.  On the second mitten I learned to make a bobbin for one of the colors in the braid (in this case I used blue since it was being broken off after the braid anyway).  That made it so much easier to do the braid, and not have this tangled mess of yarn.  I seem to remember doing this with a class on Estonian knitting with Nancy Bush years ago.  Like their sister sweater, these are very heavy mittens.  

    I have gotten a lot done on these as I watch the historic proceedings on TV to impeach our ass of a Governor.  It will be good to have him gone, especially to not have to see his Elvis hairdo any more.  I cannot figure out who voted for this idiot one time let alone 2.  I should name these mittens Elvis in his honor…


  • knitting1105 7:25 pm on January 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Pink mittens 

    These mittens were made using the pattern Yellow Harvest from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008.  I was not initially drawn to these mittens, but went to them after finishing 2 other pair from the same magazine, and working on a third other.  I made them with Manos del Urguay, the yarn used for the sample in the magazine.  I had to use size 8 double points, and I am the girl who just loves 1’s and 0’s.  A size 3 seems big to me lately.  I had my doubts about how warm these would be given the large guage and bulky yarn.  But, they seem to be nice, and are sitting waiting to give to a dear friend for her birthday.


    I took the yarn, nicely wound up, 2 needle sizes to check guage, and the magazine with me when we took my son back to college, and thought that I would get these completely finished in that trip.  Well, I checked guage, cast on, did the first part, and then went to look for the chart.   There was a very small note that said to see page 116, where they instructed you to either look online for the chart, or send a stamped addressed envelope envelope to the magazine.  When I did go online, there are several patterns from each issue that require charts not included in the magazine proper.  Very disappointing, and what is one to do in a few years when those charts are no longer available.  The stated  rational is to keep the pages in the magazine down.  I don’t buy it… if you purchase a magazine of patterns, everything that you need for those patterns should be included.  I had been reconsidering not letting my Vogue subscription expire, then this happened.  And 2 days later I recieved the winter issue, which was very disappointing.  I think that I am going to go back to purchasing magazines only when something really interests me, and just using books and purchased patterns.  I love the website Twist Collective, and that will be a new source of ideas for me.  That way, I purchase only what I am really interested in.

    Oh, and I used up another skein of stash with this project!  It also got me interested in going back to work on a Manos sweater that has yarn sitting waiting for it.  It would be a very quick knit up.

  • knitting1105 7:47 pm on January 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Potpourri hat and mittens 

    I just sent off the Potpourri mittens and a matching hat using the same motifs, to my mother.  She normally spends her winters in Florida, but is stuck in cold Michigan right now.  I hope that these keep her warm.  My daughter is the model, she is much more photogenic than I.  I used the Koigu KKPM which is one of my favorite sock yarns, and it naturally transfers nicely to mittens and hats.  I think that I might try some of the Selvobutter mittens with the Koigu solid.  That would give a nice twist to the pattern.  

    I would not knit up this pattern again.  It has some inherent problems, and there are way too many really cool patterns out there to waste time and yarn unless it is stunning.  The mittens are warm though, and the yarn is so soft.  Now on to new mittens, started the Green Autumn and the Yellow Harvest both from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008.  I was a bit upset by the chart for the Yellow Harvest not actually being in the magazine itself,  you have to go online to get it.  This became apparent as I was trying to work the mitten in the car on the way to take my son to college.  I have it on my computer now, so hopefully I can work it up a bit during this trip.





  • knitting1105 2:16 pm on January 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Stranded mittens 

    I just finished, and blocked out the Potpourri mittens, from the Fall 2008 Vogue magazine.  I plan on giving these to my mother, along with a hat if I can finish that in short order.  I was less than enthralled with these mittens.  If I am going to take the time to do another pair of stranded mittens I am either going to go to my Selbuvotter book, or the Magnificent Mittens by Anna Zillbourg.  Those patterns are much more thought out in my opinion.  I had looked online to see comments on Ravelry about these mittens priior to starting, and should have taken heed about the thumb being a bit wider than I would like.  I made them out of Koigu, part of my knitting from stash 2009 mantra.  (Can I really keep this?).  The look is very different from the photo in the magazine, as that was baby blue/white and orange.  Using the Koigu, however, gave me the same solid variegation that is so appealing.  I think that I want to try some of this yarn with other mitten patters.  It just adds another layer of interest.

    I am including 3 different photos of these mittens.  It is amazing how much the background changes the color of the mittens.  The main body is really green with dark purple (as shown on the cherry table).  I was not able to get a close-up of the mittens, my camera skills seem to be lacking for this thing.  The thumb pattern does transition nicely from the main body, and in the photos you can hardly notice that one thumb is up and one is down.  




    Speaking of knitting from stash, when I mentioned to my sister (who has just rediscovered knitting after many years) that I was going to not purchase yarn for this entire year, her question was why?  When I said that I had enough yarn to do me just fine, she was a bit surprised.  She obviously hasn’t heard about stash.  She also is a much more pragmatic person than I, moves more frequently, and is more frugal.  I suspect that she will be one of those persons who only buys for the next project.  I used to be like that, not sure how exactly I fell off the wagon.  I think that Stitches did a lot for that, having friends at yarn stores that are like drug dealers, and the internet and the exposure to so much more out there that I want to make.  I think that keeping sock yarn, baby yarn, and mitten type yarn in abundance is a fine thing, but sweater kits and yarn packets is too much.

    Let’s see how long I can hold out…

  • knitting1105 6:03 pm on January 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    The pitfalls of stash knitting 

    I finally finished my “Let it Snow mittens”, actually called Snowbirds in the Vogue Fall 2008 issue.  They are very pretty and warm.  I spoke earlier about using white Baby Ull instead of the natural that I should have, and had to rip back the top of one mitten.  I have now discovered that I also used Baby Cashmerino for the main body of the first mitten.  I was so anxious to start these, that I just gathered what I thought were partial skeins of the same yarn (both color and type).  The Cashmerino I should have caught, as it is a tubular yarn instead of the plied yarn that Baby Dale is.  Well, the mittens are staying as is, if you look closely you could see a difference in the yarn on the left mitt.  The real difference came when I just washed them in preparation for blocking.  The Mitten with the Cashmerino was much heavier and more stable in the wash water.  It will be interesting to see how they block out and wear.  I am not taking them out again, that is an exercise that I repeated too many times for this little pair of mittens.  The other noticeable thing was the slight change in dye lots on the Natural Baby Ull.  Just lessons to heed as I prepare for my year of stash knitting.

    dscn1037    dscn1043


















    The mittens are beautiful on the inside also…


    Now, I want to make a second pair from the same magazine:  Potpourri by Tanis Gray.  I am going to try and use some of the many colors of Koigu that I have in reserve.  I am not able to find a natural color in the Koigu, so I think that I will use a grey-purple as my base.  This will give the mittens a very different feel.  I think that this merits a swatch test.

    dscn1049    dscn1051

  • knitting1105 9:05 pm on January 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Vengeful knitting 

    I have been working on a pair of Fair Isle mittens since 5:30 on Monday.  I showed them at about 7:00 at SnB and got the “snarky” (word courtesy of my daughter’s friend) comment about how I should have that finished by that night.  Well, I am so tired of nasty comments related to my knitting speed (revolving around jealousy I am sure) that I stayed up late trying to finish the first mitten that evening.  I did not finish it until 7 p.m. the next night (take out a 2 hour nap as I was under the weather) the first mitten.  I still consider that knitting one mitten in a day.  In my haste to knit in a vengeful manner, I neglected to look at the yarn colors, and realize that I had been using an off-white not pure white.  So, the last inch is not correct, and I will have to take that back out.  I am well on my way on the second mitten, and really enjoying the pattern in spite of the need to prove myself (I plan on wearing them next Monday!!!!!).  This pattern is from the recent Vogue knitting magazine, a mitten pattern aptly called “Let it Snow”.   I decided to use Baby Ull by Dale of Norway.  They are incredibly soft, and will be machine washable.  These mittens are for me.  I have not knitted myself a pair of mittens in ages.




    This is our Christmas tree.  We did not put the usual ornaments on, as we were afraid that Louie (one of the new kittens) would destroy them.  Instead, I bought 80 unbreakable stars, and Sofia and Ethan made 90 paper origami cranes to place with them.  Ethan is our oragami expert, but he taught Sofia, and she made 80 in 2 days!  I think that the tree really looks special, and I am so pleased with the outcome.



    An annual xmas tradition is our cookie making extravaganza.  Sofia and I make several types each year, and the new favorite Chocolate buttermilk cookie with peppermint frosting, and candy canes crushed on top.  We always give several plates a year away to friends and family.





    This is my first post using my brand new Macbook computer.  Ethan has been a godsend in setting it up, and so far, so good, even my AutoCad program is working fine.  Just have to get used to it, only took me 8 years to figure out everything on my old computer!  Thank goodness for having a young techno-geek son.

    • Diane 9:16 pm on January 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, I love the tree. I still can’t believe how much Ethan and Traver are alike because Traver loves to make orgami birds also. Never thought to put them on the tree. It was very pretty.

      I, unlike Jill, understand your stash problem having quite the quilting stash myself. I need to move more often.

      I love reading your blog and especially love the new red sweater you want (must) make even if you have to buy yarn. Would it count if I bought the yarn for you????

      Love, Diane


    • the Lady 12:21 pm on January 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t imagine people being mean about how fast a person knits. I’ve asked a couple of people how fast they knit, but only out of awe. Life is too short to care what some people think.


    • madonnaearth 8:54 am on March 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      About the snarky comments: in my head I say, “Screw them.” To their face I say, “whatever.” 2 hours later after I get home, I finally remember, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

      Don’t let them get you down, because at the end of everything, you will have a gorgeous finished item. And yes, I think that’s a lot of their problem. That, and trying to be entertaining for the crowd at somebody else’s expense.

      And the cookies – lady, the cookies look good!


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