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Stitch Marker Drawing Giveaway

December 2

Aren’t these stitch markers perfect for the upcoming holidays? I adore anything resembling cloisonné. I hope you do too! My friend Christy made these; they fit up to a US size 10 needle. I’ll be giving them away in a drawing, right here, on December 10th!

stich markers, free, giveaway, drawing

 To win, enter a comment on here on this post. Please include your contact information in your comment so I can let you know if you’re the lucky winner!

(One comment per person, please.)

The Cozy Corner

May 26

I haven’t been knitting a whole lot, as we’ve been settling into our new part-time place. I don’t want to bore you with details; let’s just say that when life gets a bit rocky, having a wonderful husband and a new place to nest makes all the difference.

  A good cozy corner can transform stress into calm in an instant. A pretty chair next to a view filled with trees… fluffy pink mohair on the needles… Ah, it reminds me things are pretty darn good.


Holey Procrastination

January 28

I’ve learned a lot from my first big lace project. It all started a couple of years ago. (Yep – this is my longest-running UFO ever.) For my birthday, my friend gave me the fabulous book “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby. I took a lace class at my LYS, made about a dozen swatches (and you wonder where I get the nickname Swatch Queen), and settled on a yarn I liked. I commenced to knit the Leaf and Trellis design… some would say obsessively. I was really getting the hang of this lace knitting thing! I completed the center and got a good start on the border.

Then I put it down for about a year, as I allowed Life and other projects to divert my attention. Big mistake.

When I picked the project up again, it was as if I’d never laid eyes on it, let alone contributed countless hours to its existence already. I studied the diagrams. I looked at my previous work. Still, the squiggles on the charts meant nothing to me. I previously thought that after knitting about 16,000 of the same stitch, I would never have to look it up again. But no. And I kept forgetting the silliest things, like doing the “pass over” part of “psso”.

I discovered some nifty techniques along the way that I thought I’d share with you. Maybe you’ll find them handy too!

One thing that helped me get back on track was my own chart I had created (and even saved – yay!) right in the beginning. I used Stitch & Motif Maker to replicate the chart from the book. As you can see in the photo below, I put little numbers in the stitch squares before a long-ish series of knit stitches. I did this because I found that when I’m following a chart and run into a series of blank squares representing knit stitches, I get hung up having to think about how many stitches are coming up. I can glance at any chart and my brain immediately registers seeing one, two, or three stitches in a row. But any more than that and I have to mentally pause, especially when it gets to be six or seven. Which is it? Six? Seven? Four?  The little numbers I put in the squares tell me “knit four” or “knit seven” – whatever the case may be. One glance and I can chug along without pause.

Another thing that made it well worth the charting effort is that Stitch & Motif Maker puts the stitch numbers along the bottom of the chart. Unfortunately, the charts in Victorian Lace Today do not include the stitch numbers. To me, it makes it cumbersome to keep track of how many stitches I should have on the needles at any given point. Making my own charts allows me to quickly see the stitches I should have; considering how frequently I make mistakes, this is a very good thing!

By making my own chart I could also make it plenty big enough to see easily. I print it on cardstock paper so it doesn’t slide around in my lap. The post-its I use to mark my place stick better, too.

To keep track of which stitches are to receive double and triple joins, I put two different colors of  removeable stitch markers in the stitches. I used turquoise to indicate a double join, and orange to indicate a triple join.

I’m determined to get this shawl completed before my next birthday, which is right around the corner. (Honestly, without deadlines I’d atrophy altogether.) With luck, I’ll be wearing this to my birthday dinner!

Another Favorite Thing

December 29

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad…

I started feeling kind of bad the other day when trying to finish up my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I got stuck at the point of knitting the buttonband.

I don’t know about you, but when I find a pattern I like in a magazine, I tear it out and put it in an overflowing, stuffed-to-the-gills binder full of similar aspirations. Then I toss the rest of the magazine away.

I got to where the pattern called for making the buttonband, using the Glossary to make the button holes. Uh-oh. The Glossary had long ago been pitched along with the rest of that issue. Normal knitters don’t feel panicked at the idea of figuring out how to make button holes from any of a slew of reference books sitting right on their shelf. Or they could even ask for help. I know this.

Me, I panicked. I wanted to know exactly what that missing Glossary would have instructed me to do. Evidence to the contrary, I seem to think that the path to eternal bliss is to do Everything Just Right. So I had to make THE buttonholes as called for in the elusive Glossary.

Interweave Knits to the rescue! Did you know they offer CD’s containing their magazines? I happened to have the 2007 volume on hand. The Tangled Yoke Cardigan appeared in the Winter issue that year, so I was able to print the missing glossary page. Ahhh. The buttonholes are all done – just the way the instructions call for. Which makes me very happy, and qualifies the CD as one of my Favorite Things.


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