My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for October 2013

Crochet Love

I have in my possession a review copy of Crochet Love by Jenny Doh.



The subtitle of this book is 27 Sweet & Simple Zakka-Inspired Projects, so my first thought was that I needed to Google “zakka.” But then I opened the book to the intro page and read the first paragraph:

Zakka is a Japanese term for a design sensibility that is cute yet sophisticated, playful yet profound, contemporary yet nostalgic. Zakka’s multifaceted definition elevates the ordinary and mundane to imaginative levels that make people smile.

Okay! After looking through this book I came to the conclusion that the projects contained within are indeed zakka-inspired. So many cute and clever things!

The first one that caught my eye was this:



A project called “Birthday Cake Bunting.” Seriously, it doesn’t get much cuter than that. And it looks like something that even the crochet-impaired (meaning me) could make. Each project has detailed step-by-step instructions, with nice clear photos:



While a birthday cake bunting is completely adorable, it’s not what you would call functional. The book has useful functional projects as well, like this camera strap with attached lens pouch:



Again, so cute, and the instructions for making it are detailed and accompanied by how-to photos.

In addition to the how-tos that accompany each pattern, there is a very extensive “basics” section that shows you how to create the different crochet stitches, and has info on materials, tools, abbreviations, etc.

The 27 projects include embellishments you can add to ready-made clothing, small gift items like paperweights, coasters, mobiles, jewelry, a purse, a belt, and more. The projects all look pretty easy to work.

And most if not all of the projects in this book would make great quick holiday gifts!

Are you a crocheter? Would you like my review copy?

To be entered in the drawing to win my review copy of Crochet Love by Jenny Doh, leave a comment on this post by 11:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, November 3, 2013. At that time the Random Number Generator will select a winner to receive my book.

Current Knitting

I’m not sure this looks too different from the last photo I posted on Sunday, but I am making progress.



I do manage at least 4 rows a night. Not much, but the rows are still very long! It is a little over one-third the total length but I estimate that I am close to halfway done since the rows get shorter.

There have been some questions asked about whether I’ll write up the pattern for sale. The answer is yes, as long as the final product is not a disaster!

Loki Sez:




Sunday Update

The work in progress, it grows!


I have done one set of decreases, which reduces the total stitch count by 24, so the rows are not quite as long as before. I am coming up on the second set of decreases in a few rows, so I am looking forward to that!

Book Giveaway

The Random Number Generator chose Ruthie to receive my copy of Baby Washcloths & Afghan Squares. Thanks to everyone who left a comment! I have another great book to review and give away, probably on Wednesday.


There are questions about Loki in the comments from time to time. Time for some Loki info!

In the almost-three-months since he came to live with me, Loki has changed a lot. His coat has filled in quite a bit and has gotten longer and softer. He looks like a little cream puff.


Don’t be fooled. He is built like a little tank! Underneath all that floof he is one sturdy, solid little guy. He weighs more than twice what Lucy weighed.



There was a question in the comments about his temperament and personality and the differences between boy kitties and girl kitties. The general idea is that neutered male kitties are more sweet and affectionate than females, and I think that is often true. Lucy did not fit that mold, though. She was sweet and friendly to one and all. My female kitty I had before Lucy (Izzy) wasn’t — she had a bit of a snotty attitude and was more how I usually expected female cats to behave.

Loki is a sweet goofy little guy. He is extremely affectionate and loves to be held and cuddled. He is also rambunctious and has boundless energy. He does not jump up on the couch and curl up next to me — he hurls himself at me. He throws himself into play and loves interactive toys. I don’t think it is possible to wear him out — I never have. But at night when I turn out the lights he knows it is time to go to sleep and has learned not to try to wake me up with a toy. He’s a smart little guy.

Oh, and of course he is adorable.




A couple of days ago, I got this booklet in the mail for review:


This is Baby Washcloths & Afghan Squares by Lisa Carnahan. It is a collection of patterns for ten textured squares, and one slip-stitch colorwork square.


Each square in the book is knit using Tahki Cotton Classic, a DK weight 100% cotton yarn, but you could knit them using any smooth yarn, really. If you want to knit a washcloth, knit with a cotton or linen yarn. If you want to join the squares into a blanket of afghan, you could use wool, acrylic, cotton — any fiber that strikes your fancy. You don’t necessarily have to knit them at DK weight either — go up a needle size and use a worsted weight cotton or go down a needle size and use a sportweight. If you use the DK yarn called for, you will end up with an 8 by 8 inch square.

The pattern for each square is accompanied by a large clear photo. The instructions for each include a skill level needed and are clearly written.


The back of the book has the list of abbreviations and other general info, plus nicely illustrated step by step instructions for the techniques you need to know to knit the squares.


This is a very timely booklet — washcloths make for great quick holiday knitting. You could pair a washcloth with a nice bar of soap and make a lovely gift.

Who would like this handy booklet? To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post by 11:00 am Eastern time this Sunday, October 27. At that time I’ll choose a comment at random.

Current Knitting

My big pile o’ stitches is growing:


I ordered a 60″ cable from Signature Needle Arts. I had the stitches on a 47″ long needle and they were pretty smooshed. The 60″ needle is a big improvement! It’s much easier to knit and move the stitches now. Still, one row of 623 stitches takes approximately forever.


Loki Sez


“I still need a tummy rub!”

Here’s an early morning photo: he likes to sit on top of his large scratching post and gaze out at the world.


A Whole Lotta Stitches

Question: What is this?


Answer: A whole lotta stitches!

The yarn is Elsa Wool Cormo, worsted weight woolen-spun in medium grey, knit on a U.S. size 7 needle. The design is my own. It’s the start of a cape that features Celtic knotwork cabling.


It does not look like much at this point. I have over 600 stitches on the needles, so it takes a very long time to complete a row, particularly if it is a row with cable twists!

Book Giveaway

Congratulations to Elaine F. who has won my review copy of The Knit Parade. And thanks to everyone who left a comment.

Loki Sez:


“Would someone rub my tummy?”

Agata, Completed

I finished Agata yesterday.


I did the sleeves differently than the pattern directed — “regular” cuffs instead of long skinny ones.


Here’s a close-up of the buttons:


I bought the buttons from The Loopy Ewe specifically for this jacket shortly after the issue of Knitty came out. I think they are perfect for the yarn and the design. I used approximately 2400 yards of Noro Kureyon for a large sweater that is longer than the pattern directed — around 34″. For the body of the sweater I used a U.S. size 8 needle on the garter stitch portions, a size 9 on the stockinette portions, and a size 6 for the cuffs.

The Knit Parade

I received this book to review in the mail last week:


This is The Knit Parade by Rebecca Rymsza and its subtitle is “12 Statement Sweater Patterns, 12 Motifs to Meddle With.”


There are patterns for 12 sweaters in this book, and they are all the same basic sweater: a simple drop shoulder pullover knit in a DK weight yarn. Each pattern is available in two sizes: 37″ around and 42.5″ around. The difference is in the motifs used to dress the sweaters up. Most of them are knit using the intarsia technique, but there is one that is worked stranded, or fair isle.


In the back of the book there are 12 charts of other shapes that you can apply to a basic sweater to create your own motifs.


There is also information on using the charted motifs in the book for other projects, like a cushion or a bag.

The author of the book, Rebecca Rymsza, is the owner of Where’s Me Jumper — a company that knits bespoke sweaters and dresses following customers’ own ideas, so you can see where the idea for this came from.

This is not a book for someone who is interested in achieving a personalized fit or working with advanced knitting techniques. Rather, if you are interested in using a simple sweater design as a canvas for personalized ideas and colorful motifs, you might find this a fun and useful book. Also,  teen-ager might find it fun to work with.

Who’d like my review copy? To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post by 11:00 am Eastern time this Sunday, October 20. At that time I’ll choose a comment at random.

Speaking of Comments

I get a lot of emails sent to me via the “contact me” form on my website, most of which are from people asking for knitting help or advice. This morning I sent off a reply to someone and once again, had the email bounce back to me as undeliverable. This happens a lot. The contact me form has you manually enter your email address and that is the only email address I have to respond to. So if you make a typo entering your email address, you won’t get a response, unless it is an obvious error that I can figure out (like “gmail” spelled incorrectly).

So, if you’ve emailed me a question and have not gotten an answer, it is possibly because you typed your email address incorrectly.

Loki sez:


“It looks like Momma will be going back to work soon. Who will entertain me during the day?”