My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for November 2008

And That’s the Weekend That Was

On Friday afternoon I headed out for a fun weekend at Graves Mountain Lodge with L-B, Alice, Julie, Laura, and Lucy (not my kitty Lucy, a human Lucy!). Here’s my co-pilot, ready to go:

She was a great navigator, keeping me on the right road.

After a two-hour drive, the mountains came into view:

Immediately after checking in to our cabin, I unpacked the necessities.

Dinner Friday night included the infamous rainbow trout.

Laura obligingly held up one bony little trout for its photo op:

Saturday morning, I stopped to appreciate the view from the lodge:

Saturday afternoon, we went on a trip out to Kid Hollow Farm. Pat greeted us and we descended upon her shop on the farm with glad cries. (I’ll show you some of the yummy things I got tomorrow.)

Pat also introduced us to some of her animals.

The goats were wondering who these crazy women were.

This handsome boy is Otto:

Otto is a Karakachan, a Bulgarian Shepherd dog and he was simply the sweetest dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. L-B was trying to figure out how to dognap him, I think, but he was a little too big to hide under one’s coat.

We also met two sweet, gentle alpacas. One chocolate:

And one vanilla:

They were very friendly and ate from our hands.

Because it was getting late, we regretfully said goodbye to all the animals and headed back to Graves Mountain. The foliage in the late afternoon sun was amazing:

Saturday night we went on a hayride and had a bonfire.

I believe L-B did her fire-dance but I did not photograph it. Probably just as well.

And today, I came home to this:

Bohus in America

Is anyone else channeling Supertramp and humming Breakfast in America now? Or is it just me?

This is a public service announcement for all lovers of Bohus knitting. The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN recently announced an exhibit that will run from January 23, 2009 through March 29, 2009: Radiant Knits: The Bohus Tradition. Here is the description, shamelessly lifted from their website:

* * *

The exhibit Radiant Knits: The Bohus Tradition will be on display at the American Swedish Institute from Friday, Jan. 23– Sunday, March 29, 2009. The exhibit focuses on the history of the Swedish Bohus knitting style and the Bohus Stickning industry (1939–1969), and will feature original garments knitted in the Bohus style. This will be the first time that Bohus couture garments have been on exclusive exhibit in the U.S. since the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The Bohus Stickning organization came into existence in the province of Bohuslän, Sweden, during the Depression era of the 1930s. During this time of financial hardship, a group of women—most married to unemployed quarry workers—sought out Emma Jacobsson, the wife of the governor of Bohuslän, hoping to find a means of supporting their struggling families.

Bohus Sticking was thus born out of need and produced beautiful hand-knitted garments while helping the women support their families financially. From Sweden, the fine knitwear designs spread internationally, including to the U.S., before the operation ended in 1969. Bohus Stickning had grown from the home-based industry of its origin to become a successful business of international reputation.

During the opening weekend, a variety of opportunities to learn about Bohus knitting and its history will be offered at the ASI, including workshops, lectures, guided tours, and a film premiere. A number of special guests from Sweden and the U.S. will be present to share their expertise. For more information about the exhibit and related events click on Bohus_flyer.pdf or visit the Events page.  The registration form can be found at Bohus_registration.pdf

The Minnesota Knitters’ Guild is a proud sponsor of this exhibit.

* * *

If you follow the links above, you will see exciting things are planned for the opening weekend, and some amazing people will be in attendance:

  • Solveig Gustafsson, the wonderful woman who has recreated many of the Bohus creations
  • Kerstin Olsson, the designer of many Bohus designs including my favorite, the Wild Apple
  • Susanna Hansson, knitting teacher extraordinaire ( she will be offering a couple of workshops on Bohus knitting!)
  • Kjell Andersson, Swedish film producer will be there to show his documentary film “Bohus Knitting – From Relief Work to World Success.”

Will I be there? You bet your sweet bippy, I will. Would I turn down the chance to actually meet some of my Bohus heroes? Never! Unfortunately, it will be a very quick trip for me, but I will be at the Institute on the opening night, Friday, January 23, 2009. I hope to see a lot of knitters there. And hey, if you are in or close to Minneapolis, you have no excuse not to attend. Right?

The Knit at Hand

I’ve almost completed the center panel of Midnight Lace.

The picking up of stitches along one side will commence later tonight.

Aimee commented:

I made a clapotis with Woodland color seasilk – I love the colors in that colorway, especially the deep brown.

I ended up doing clapotis because the striping was so distinct that I couldn’t make anything with an actual pattern.  Yours looks like the color changes are subtler…or is it just the light?

The color changes in my “Woodland” are very subtle, fortunately. I did take a bit of a risk using a multi-colored hand-dyed for this project, but overall, the lace pattern is not too complex, so some variegation works.

I am loving this so far — I do love knitting with Sea Silk. It’s soft without being mushy, and knits up beautifully. It’s non-splitty, and all the Sea Silk I’ve used thus far is of consistently good quality — no imperfections or knots.


I am off to the mountains for the weekend, returning Sunday afternoon/evening. Depending on the hour of my return, I may not blog on Sunday. So I’ll see you guys Sunday or Monday. Have a good weekend.

Lucy is excited to have a weekend with her Daddy. She is celebrating here with a spot of catnip.

Midnight Lace

Do you remember a 1960 movie called Midnight Lace? It was a thriller that starred Doris Day and Rex Harrison. It’s one of the few Doris Day movies I liked.

This entry is not about that movie.

Rather, it is about the Midnight Lace Stole, a shawl designed by Sivia Harding that appears in the book Alt Fiber.

I started knitting mine yesterday, out of Handmaiden Sea Silk in the “Woodland” colorway, with size 8/0 Japanese beads.

Truthfully, I started knitting it Monday night, but ripped out all my progress and started again yesterday, due to some errors in the book. So I’m counting my start date as yesterday.

I spoke (well, emailed) to Sivia Harding about the errors yesterday, and after checking the published pattern against her pattern, she confirmed my findings. She tells me that the corrections have been sent to the publisher and the errata will appear on their website soon.

The design starts with a wedge-shaped piece that goes in the center of the stole. You start at the small end of the wedge and gradually increase stitches as you work towards the wide end. Then you pick up stitches along each long side and knit out from the center for the long ends of the shawl.

The instructions in the book for the center panel are all written out, and refer to some small charts. This gave me fits, as I am a visual kind of gal when it comes to lace. So I charted out the set-up for the center panel.

I emailed the chart to Sivia when I was asking her about what I thought might be typos in the book. In the course of our correspondence, she generously gave me permission to post the chart on my blog, so any of you other visual people who are planning to knit the Midnight Lace Stole can use it. Note that you do need the pattern to be able to knit the shawl — this chart simply covers the set-up of the center panel. Note also that it may differ slightly from the original pattern, but the results will be pretty much the same and it does work with the pattern.

The pdf of the Center Panel Set-up is here. It is also linked to from my “Free Patterns and Help” page (click on the appropriate tab at the top of this page).

Anyhow, here is my progress.

This pattern is really quite easy, and it is a lot of fun to knit. As I said, I’m using Sea Silk (which is the yarn the pattern calls for) on a size 3.25mm needle. The pattern calls for three skeins, in case you are keeping score at home. you could totally use a different laceweight yarn for this — it would be lovely in wool or alpaca. Or cashmere.

Rib and Lace Cardigan

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the Rib and Lace Cardigan. 🙂

Roseann asked in the comments how the setting in of the sleeves went. I did mattress-stitch them into the armholes with no problems. The top of the sleeve cap is shaped by a series of bind-offs so it does have the “stair-step” effect, but I just moved in a stitch from the edge when sewing and had no problems.

Lucy Sez

“What? You are opening the window again?”

You Might Want to Grab a Beverage

Because I’ve got rather a lot to talk about today.

First of all, the sweater is done. I apologize for the photo, but it has been dark and rainy since I finished it. The color is way off, and the photo is blurry. Those taken with a flash were worse. Ta-da!

To recap, this is the Rib and Lace Cardigan, from Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2008 issue, knit from Rowan All Seasons Cotton in the “Seaspray” colorway, on 4mm needles. I made the largest size and used just an ootch over 17 skeins of All Seasons Cotton.

I am very pleased with how this turned out. As I mentioned a while back, I’ve got another 20 skeins of All Seasons Cotton in another color, and I am thinking about knitting it up into a hybrid of this design. Watch this space . . .

Second . . . can you guess what fiber this adorable little bag is knit from?

Here’s a view of it with the flap up.

Well, you don’t have to guess, because I’m gonna tell you. Remember last month I gave away a little bag of Lucy’s fur? The winner, Cindy, blended the fur with some blue-ish-grey merino, spun it into yarn, and knit a wee cellphone purse from it. The ornament on the flap is a piece of sea shell she picked up on the beach. If you scroll through the entries on Cindy’s blog, you can see that she has documented the spinning there. I’m kind of glad that I did not do so before the bag came in the mail yesterday, because it was such a deligthful surprise. Thank you Cindy, from the bottom of my heart, for such a wonderful little treasure.

I showed it to Lucy, who was intensely interested in it, albeit a little confused.

“Huh? What the heck was that?”

Third, a mini book review.

(Don’t you love the cover?)

Today is the publication date for Casting Spells, by Barbara Bretton, a wonderful writer (and knitter!) who I am proud to call a friend. You may already know her from the blog Romancing the Yarn.

Barbara was kind enough to send me an advance read copy of this a while back. There’s a reason for my being singled out for such a treat, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is. 😉

I posted a review of the book over on this morning — here it is:

Up-front disclaimer: I know the author of “Casting Spells,” but no one asked me to write this review. I can tell you honestly that I would never recommend a book I did not enjoy.

This is a delightful book about a small town that has a magical secret. At the center of the story is our heroine, Chloe, who runs a wildly successful yarn shop.

(The previous reviewer has created a nice little plot synopsis so I won’t repeat it here.)

This book was such an enjoyable read! I am a knitter and loved all the knitting and yarn content throughout the story, but you absolutely don’t need to be a knitter to enjoy this book. I read quickly and eagerly, and then was sorry when I got to the end, as I am with all good stories.

You can click over to the book’s Amazon page if you’d like to read the synopsis posted by the previous reviewer.

Congratulations, Barbara! I know Casting Spells will be a big success!

Fourth, and last . . .

I started the Midnight Lace Stole.

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Power Knitting

Yesterday evening I signed off early from Plurk, telling my Plurk-buds that I was going to go power-knit. And power-knit I did. While watching a couple of re-runs of House on USA, I got a huge chunk o’ sleeve knit. So much so that I was able to complete the cap of the second sleeve of the Rib and Lace Cardigan on the train today.

The sewing in of the sleeve will occur tonight and I will share photos of the completed cardi tomorrow.

This has been a very fun project to knit, and a fairly easy one as well. I’ve got some ideas for altering the pattern a bit and knitting another one.

Books and Reading

Thanks for all the comments about reading and knitting. Several of you recommended that I get a Kindle as a “solution” for my reading and knitting.

First off, I don’t have a problem with how I read and knit. I’m perfectly happy, thanks, with anchoring my book down on each side and stopping to turn pages. I know in that post I linked to about knitting while reading I joked about hiring a page turner when I won the lottery, but really, stopping to turn pages does not bother me. I take lots of breaks in my knitting and think they are necessary for me, whether I’m reading a book or not.

Second, I love “real” books and can imagine limiting myself to electronic ones. I buy a lot of my books secondhand. In fact, I went to a church bazaar this past weekend and bought four books: three paperbacks and one recent hardcover that was on my Amazon wishlist (and retails for $25) for a grand total of $1.25. Most of the time, when I’ve finished reading a book, I pass it on to someone else to read, or donate it somewhere else to sell. Now and then, I’ll keep a novel instead of passing it on.

So as you can see, a Kindle and electronic books just don’t appeal to me. I also am not a fan of audio books — I like reading but I do not like listening to books.

If it works for you, great! It’s not for me.

Just So You Know . . .

The temperature in my condo is at this moment 76 degrees. That’s with opening the windows and not turning on the heat. So don’t let Lucy fool you into thinking she is freezing. 😉

Lucy sez:

“OMG! I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe you told them!”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some sleeve-sewing . . .