No Photos Please

A blog post without photos?  How can that be? Well because …… is secret knitting time. That’s right, we all are knitting secret things right now.  We start with great intentions of knitting special gifts for our special people. Hats, mittens, scarfs, socks, slippers and maybe even a sweater We pick out patterns and yarn with each person in mind and truly believe that this year “we can complete everything in time for the holidays”.

I made that list. I selected yarn and patterns and lined them up on my desk so I could stay on track.  I calculated it all out and thought, no problem, I can even slide in a sweater or two for me in this mix.  Full of confidence we all start down our list. First set of slippers, check done. Second set of slippers, check done …..but Himself “needed them NOW”. Second set of slippers delivered to Himself, must rethink list.  First hat finished. Love it when it only takes a day.

Second hat…… what was I thinking. Black yarn, fingering yarn, size 3 needle, casting on 150 stitches. Having a bit of a downer moment, need a little encouragement here.

I still have five more items to finish and I really wanted to make a sweater for me. I know it doesn’t sound that bad. Except we are pushing into November and somehow I volunteered to sew 30 scarfs for our choral group and they need to be done by Thanksgiving.

And those of you that know me, know that soon the cookie baking must begin. I am already being reminded by some, who shall remain nameless, that they of course will be on the cookie delivery list again this year.

Oh just one or two more items. I have a couple of new patterns in the works for you. Just a little photography, final pattern write up, test knit and they will be yours.

Coffee, coffee, coffee…….  Knit, knit, knit ……… I can do this!

Oh Squirrel!

I had a plan. I was knitting to the plan. There is a new pattern to be finished. There are slippers for company that must be finished. And all the knitted Christmas gifts. Plus, I had planned to sneak in a couple of sweaters for me. Then this arrived.


My head was spinning. How cool is this yarn! It is a Miss Bab’s yarn called Pumpkin Apocalypse.  How could you not want to do something with this yarn. But….. I had a plan and this wasn’t on the plan.

So after touching it for several days I thought I would wind it into a cake just to see what would happen with the colors.


O My!  Even more beautiful! My heart was pounding. I must stay on plan I must stay on plan.  Maybe I will look at a few patterns on Ravelry to see if something would be deserving of this yarn.

And magically the stars aligned and there it was, Reyna . A free pattern no less. I will add it to my library. I will print it out. OK maybe cast on and knit a few rows just to see what it looks like.

Then this happen


Yup, already named it “Trick or Treat”. It is beautiful, well worth throwing my plan off a little.  I promised myself I will knit later into the night to get back on plan. No problem.

Wait a whole new series of patterns were just released on Ravelry……….. I feel a squirrel moment coming on.  Somebody save me…….

Saved From the Fire-pit

I believe that I average at least one EPIC knitting failure a year. It’s ugly, the yarn is junk, the fit is horrible and it is soooooo bad that I can’t even pass it off to Goodwill. I have been known to have a martini or two and burn that failure in the fire-pit.


This year we have a burn ban in effect so the EPIC knitting failure has been staring at me for months. And because it has been staring at me I have been fiddling with it. So how can something so wonderful go so bad. Well let me begin……

It was a Churchmouse knit nite and there was a trunk show of finished sweaters ready for you to try on. A bunch of women that knit, yarn, and sweaters, let’s just say crazy happens. I tried on this sweater and immediately “fell in love”. I wanted to wear the sweater out of the store. But my only choice was to buy the pattern, the yarn, and knit the sweater. And so the downward cycle began.

I chose the size of the sample as it fit me to perfection. Did I say this is normally not my size. I bought the yarn in the exact amount listed on the label of the sweater. I went home and immediately did a large swatch, washed and blocked the swatch. This was going to be a perfect sweater. Nothing was going to go wrong.

I was off and running on knitting a beautiful sweater. It was not a simple pattern and there was really no easy way to try this one on as you went. But no problem as the sample fit me to perfection and my gauge swatch was spot on.

And then I ran out of one of the colors of yarn. Thank heavens there was still some of the dye lot at Churchmouse.  I had to pickup and knit miles of ribbing that went on and on forever.  Finally finished. I tried it on and it looked OK, but it wasn’t block and really needed that finishing or so I thought.

Into the water to soak and ready to carefully lift out and block. This sweater grew in the water so much so that it would have fit two of me. I desperately tried to get it to squish back into the size the pattern defined. I thought I had it. I matched the size on the pattern. I waited and waited as it dried.


Finally time to try it on. It was big on me. Sometimes that is not a problem in sweaters. Sometimes I like them if they are a little big. This one had a large V pattern on the back the V was supposed to be at your waist. The V on me was pointing, yup you got on, on my behind. Failure….failure…..failure.


OK so I am thinking I will soak this puppy one more time and then do a little felting and hope that works. Back into the water the ugly sweater goes. Towel roll and then to air dry a minute at a time in the dryer. Carefully I watched as it shrank to size. Or so I thought. Back to the blocking board to dry. And oops this time it was a little small. As I was pulling on it to see what I needed to adjust the yarn broke at the bottom bind off edge. That’s it I am done…..burn baby burn.

So it sat on my desk, staring at me for months as I waited for the burn ban to be lifted. It glared at me. Told me it deserved better. It reminded me that I really loved the pattern. No I was not going to knit it again. No the yarn was not able to be frogged. Really I love you little sweater….I HATE you little sweater.

And then I figured what have I got to lose I will take one more shot at this. Back into the water you go. I take the time to shape you into the smaller size on the pattern. The one I should have knit. And it dries. I try it on….better. The point is in a more appropriate location. The fit is better, but still needs a few more adjustments.  I take and crochet a row inside along the pickup edge of the ribbing to pull the fit in a little closer to my body. Much better. I pull out some matching thread and carefully stitch the broken yarn. One more time back on my body. Not bad.


Not bad at all! I think this is wearable!  So I have my first sweater ready to go for fall. Lessons learned……trust your pattern size not the size that is written on a sample. And never ever have fear to rip, shrink, re-block and if all else fails burn that ugly thing in the fire-pit.

My Nana’s Handkerchief

I was cleaning out and organizing a few boxes the other day and found some of my Nana’s handkerchiefs. Yes, the real ones, the ones that had to be laundered. And if you were of a certain era, the first thing you learned to iron.


For me, the memories of so many things came to mind. The smell of my mother’s cologne on her hanky. It was Chanel No. 5. Then the famous nana spitting on the hanky to wipe your face so you were presentable for church.

With that said, I knew I wanted to do something special to remember those moments, and a sweater design was born. It is a simple top down, A-line that is light and airy. A slit instead of a pocket to hold that special hanky. The hanky is fixed to the slit so it will not be ruined. It can be removed or changed out if you have a few to show off. Or simply omitted if you do not want to use a hanky.


For me it is a precious memory that I can now carry with me and share my delightful moments with others. So pull out your Nana’s handkerchief, show it off a little, and share those special stories of laughter and joy ……..of times gone by.


Some details: It is intended to have a positive ease of 1 – 2 inches. Model is shown with a 1in positive ease. Actual chest sizes are 30 1/2 (33, 36, 38 1/2) inches.

Yarn is Berroco Weekend Aran 4 (4, 5, 6) skeins 205 yards each in Tea Rose.

Gauge is 16 sts and 20 rows over 4inches in Stockinette stitch on a US 10 1/2 needles

For more details and to purchase go to Ravelry.



The Stripe Addiction

Just somebody please stop me…… I could blame Churchmouse and say it started with a new group of Spring Stripes Knitalong 2015. However, if I look back at my projects I believe the stripes were already beginning to gain control of my knitting long before I would admit my addiction.

It began slowly with the Stripe Study Shawl. I loved the contemporary look of the stripes and the black and grey is so me.


Then there was a bit of a breather before the stripes called to me again. A striped Bias Before & After Scarf in Rowen Fine Art for himself.


But is was the Color Affection that really grabbed me. Merino wool, silk, and yak. And the colors were just yummy. I now jumped beyond the greys and blacks.


I left the grey zone only for a moment as I did the Mix No 20 in grey and white with a hint of purple. Soft light as a feather. Very warm.


Spring was coming and this is where the stripes started gaining control of my knitting. Stripes were showing up everywhere in the stores. For first time in a long time I found myself buying striped tee shirts. And then……the Churchmouse posting happened and the group choice was the pattern Drafechenfels. This time I jumped into spring with full color. Peach, green, and cream.


Frankly it scared some of my knit nite buddy’s as it was such a big color leap out of my normal black and grey. As I explained to all at the table, I looked at all my summer shirts, squinted my eyes, and the colors I selected would coordinate with everything I had. You can see how well the scarf goes with my shirt.

A little road trip to a spring knitting retreat was the next stripe moment. Shifted Shades done in some very bold colors. Again small, light perfect for summer.


I next did a little clean up in my stash zone and was reminded of the beautiful brown yarn from a recent road trip that himself helped me select. That is correct another stripe shawl is in the works. Noctillo…… another stunner…. and yes more stripes.



And then….. just when I thought I had it under control……. Squirrel…….. This pattern shows up Dubro. Yup, it is striped and yes I have the perfect yarn Plucky in green and brown.


I am now officially addicted to stripes………… Perhaps a glass of wine will help.



The Artful Ewe

Let’s just say it was himself’s turn to pick the road trip and I would go along for the ride. So what did he choose …the Old Mill Day’s in Port Gamble, Washington. Yup, that would be chainsaw wood-carver’s. Well OK then. The drive was beautiful and the town is charming. It is a company owned mill town founded in 1853. The homes and buildings are all historic with many open to the public.The town was busy and streets were crowded. There was a Tea Room and a General Store, a Book Store …….But then…..the crowd parted and behold there was a YARN Store!

I ran to the entrance opened the door to the most beautiful jewel box of yarn your eyes could ever imagine. The walls are covered with skeins of yarn, there is fiber in trunks, and on tables. The colors were just stunning. Then I discovered the magic. All the yarn and all the fiber is hand dyed by the owner, Heidi Dascher. Her eye for color is amazing. Tucked in between all the dyed yarn and fiber there is an all natural collection of yarn and fiber, often with the photo of the source, including the sheep, its name and farm location. How cool is that!

The store is dark and as your eyes adjust you see the building still has the historic charm. A wood stove to keep you warm. A corner to tuck in and sit and knit or spin. Heidi spins as well. Little bits of fiber and needles with yarn on them are tucked here and there so you can play with the bits as you touch and select. Heidi encourages you to take a few skeins outside to see the colors in daylight. The sun hits the wool/silk I selected and wow……you know that one is going home with me. Even himself gave me the thumbs up.

Himself and I have gone back many times since that first visit.  It is one of our let’s take a little drive places that allows himself to wander around the town and me to touch yarn. A perfect day for both of us.

And I almost forgot the most important part. Be sure to look for Grace. She sits or sleeps very regally in a vintage chair covered with a sheepskin. And Grace always wears pearls.

The store, the owner, and Grace just Enchanting!

The Artful Ewe
32180 Rainier Ave NE
Port Gamble, WA





Road Trip

It was one of those Saturday mornings. Himself and I were drinking coffee and reading our on-line papers…with a little Facebook and Ravelry tossed in the mix. The sun was out it was just another normal summer day in the Pacific Northwest. But wait… it is winter and the SUN is out. Himself comments that we should “get out and do a little something”.  And magically this appears on my Facebook.


Yup, a yarn trunk show, yarn with a black cat on the label, and it is a fun drive from our house. I show himself the Facebook post, “We could do that” he replies. And there you have it …..ROAD TRIP.

It is amazing how a slow Saturday became a fast shower, pack it up, and go! Sunshine and YARN get out of my way people.

Apparently I ran himself out of the door so fast he lacked the coffee necessary to make the one hour drive. So about 30 minutes into our trip a stop was required. No complaints from me as it was at one of my favorite little towns, Port Gamble, WA. Did I mention they have an incredible yarn shop, The Artful Ewe. While himself headed to the General Store, I headed to the yarn shop. A full review will be posted shortly, but lets just say “charming”. Himself found me outside holding two skeins of yarn, trying to decide which one I like better….”I thought you were going to put them together…they look good that way”

I left with this


I am seeing a beautiful scarf in my future.

And we are back on the road….O wait, I guess I did not tell you our final destination. That would be Port Townsend, WA. A Victorian seacoast village. The downtown is one of our favorite walking destinations. Fun interesting shops and of course a yarn shop,  Bazaar Girls. This is where the trunk show is today. Himself takes off for a walk and I get to touch yarn and talk to the designer, Kerry Graber of Jorstad Creek.  She is most interesting as she sources fiber from local farmers and blends them to create yarn that is soft and springy. Her dye work is beautiful. A little more yarn is purchased. I have a sweater in mind for this.


Himself has impeccable timing. He shows up just as I am completing the purchase and gives me a thumbs up on the color.

A little more walking, a late lunch, and it is time to head home. We arrive home in time for a glass of wine out on the patio. What a perfect day!


FYI – Himself got homemade Meatloaf for dinner. “He earned it” , so he said. I agree.


Kettle Corn

Is it salty or sweet, a sweater or a poncho? Kettle Corn is a little of both.

kc7 (5)

A pullover sweater with high side slits and a big cozy cowl. Perfect for a cold evening at home with your favorite sweats and even better on a sunny day when it is still cool and you need an extra layer.


It is a fast knit, top down, a great first sweater. I did it in a bright color because I needed a little sunshine after this long winter. And just as I finished, the sun came out for the photo shoot. Cold but sunny, salty and sweet, just like Kettle Corn!


Some details: It is intended to have a positive ease of 4 – 6 inches. Model is shown with 6″ positive ease in size 38.  Actual chest sizes are 36 (38, 40, 42, 44, 46)

Yarn is Knit Picks City Tweed HW in Lemon Curd. This is an Aran Weight yarn. Yardage needed is 924 (984,1054, 1119, 1184, 1249)

Gauge is 14 stitches and 22 rows in stockinette on a US 10 needle.

For more details and to purchase go to Ravelry.


Leap of Faith with a “Yes Dear”

It all started so perfect. I swatched to perfection. I cast on and started knitting and then …….. Himself says to me “What are you knitting?”  A skirt, I reply. He looks at my knitting then looks at me “For who?”  Me, I reply.  He looks again at my knitting looks at me, raises and eyebrow and says “Yes Dear”.  O ye of little faith…how dare you cast doubt on my perfect plan. But now the doubt sets in.

Mind you, he was looking at this..


It does look like it would barely fit my leg let alone around my hips. So I measure my gauge one more time, spot on. I knit a little more, hoping it would magically look more like a skirt than a leg warmer. But I finally give in and put this wee little bit of skirt on waste yarn and proceed to try it on. As I step into the now four inches of skirt I keep thinking I must be crazy, but not…….it pulls on over my knees, over my behind, and magic of magic a perfect fit over my hips.  PHEW!!!!!

I tell himself that it fits, but he gives me the whatever look. Then says “I just don’t see it”  Now mind you we have gone down this road before. Until ends are woven in and knitted objects are blocked they sometimes can look a little rough around the edges. And this one looked rough.

But I kept going, I loved all the cabling, I loved that it was a flippy skirt, not a straight skirt. It was fun, and cute, and dang it, I was going to finish it and wear it for my birthday. Game On!

Rows and rows of cables later it looked like this


Still ugly, not the skirt of my dreams, but then into the water it was dropped…..the yarn relaxed, and the skirt was blocked. Oh YEAH, she is a beauty.


So today is my birthday and tonight I am wearing this skirt for dinner out with himself.

Himself will be dining on crow. .


My girlfriend uses the word “squirrel” all the time. It is that ADD moment when you totally lose focus and jump to something else. This often is known to happen in a shopping mall when you see the word “Sale”.

So let’s just say the “squirrel” jumped out in me the other day …….All the Christmas knitting was finished, the parties are over, cookies are baked and eaten. I looked down and to my horror of horror I did not have ANYTHING on my needles. Which is scary and freeing at the same time!

The good news …..the next knitted item could be for ME. The bad news I had to figure out what that was going to be. The excitement is building in me as I stand in front of my stash and try to match yarn to patterns. Then find patterns that I love but have no yarn or have yarn that I love but no pattern. So I go online and purchase patterns….I go to the yarn store and purchase yarn….Wait, I need to wind some yarn…..out comes the swift and the yarn winder. I am jumping from one idea to the next…SQUIRREL…..

After two days of touching yarn and reading patterns and winding yarn and touching yarn again, I am down to four choices. Precious knitting time is being lost on this indecision. Crazy SQUIRREL….focus, focus, focus.

So here is where I am as I must step away and breath for a moment.

A cowl…with Plucky Yarn…YUM


A top down sweater with yarn I bought at Knitty City on my last trip to NYC, new yarn discovery and fond NYC memories.


A skirt with yarn I bought on yesterdays trip to Churchmouse, beautiful cable detail.


A lap blanket for me and the cats to stay warm while I knit in the evenings.


Some are swatched some are not…..maybe just one more little trip to the yarn store to see what else might be of interest….I know SQUIRREL………