Archive for February, 2010

Heard at the knitting table

Some of the things heard at Saturday morning workshop.

The Sea of Garter Stitches

The Sea of Garter Stitches

Susanne as she talks about her Moderne Baby Blanket – a garter stitch pattern from Mason-Dixon. “I am stuck in a sea of garter stitches!” 

Margo is working on a sweater for her sister…and we hear her say as she is frogging this sweater, “I come with a garment and leave with skeins.

From Margot again. She is casting on again for the second sweater for her sister and she says, “OMG – I have to take it out!”  She had cast on and forgot that her design called for ribbing at the beginning and she “knit” right by that.

Soon we will have to audio to these posts. The delivery from the folks in extraordinarily funny.

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Cathy was inspired by a Rowan pattern designed by Kim Hargreaves. It’s a lovely design …and she chose a different yarn, Silky Wool (65% wool and 35% silk) by Elsbeth Lavold. Cathy did all her prep work…knit her swatch…liked the knitted fabric that she produced…adapted the pattern and her size to this information. What she didn’t do was wash the swatch (or clean it in the way in which it would be cleaned throughout the life of the garment). Many of us don’t do that (including myself) even though we should.

For several reasons Cathy was not having a love affair with her finished sweater jacket… she didn’t like the way it fit; she didn’t think it was flattering and the color turned out to be not as flattering for her as she thought it would be. I tried it on….I liked the style, the fit, and the color. We worked out a trade…I now own this sweater jacket. I chose my buttons…and thought I would block/wash the garment first. I block my knitted garments/items with the wash method – wash on the gentle cycle in cold/tepid water. I let the water spin out and then take the garment from the washer to a towel. The garment is rolled in the towel to remove any excess moisture. The next and final step on the way to drying is to lay the garment on a towel that is laid out on the table (could be a bed if you don’t have a large enough table). Then I pat the garment into shape. For this one I made sure that the bust measurement of the sweater was right….I had a momentary thought that the neck looked a little large…oh well, it was late…my brain was tired…and what did I know at that point.

What I learned a few days later when I tried the sweater jacket on for our Saturday morning workshop was a major surprise….the sweater grew! And I don’t mean slightly. The above-the-wrist arm length had changed to the middle of my hand. It grew at least 4-5 inches. In all my years of knitting I had not encountered this. I shared this dilemna with each of the Skein Lane Knitting Workshop Groups…a few days later I got a call from Dee…she pointed me to the book “Big Book of Knitting” by Katharina Buss. And the magic answer on page 14 is: “Silk keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. It is also very comfortable. But it is not easy to knit. Silk has to be knit very tightly because finished pieces stretch the first time they are washed. Don’t check the gauge until after you have washed your sample piece.”

Who knew that silk grows? Clearly I didn’t. What probably compounded this growing situation was the Silk Wool was knit only moderately tight.

Oh, what to do!? I washed the sweater again in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in warm water and let the water spin out. The next step…the sweater jacket went to the dryer on the ultra care cycle for 10 minutes or so. I checked it and let it dry another 10 minutes. Then it was back to the “drying” table for 24 hours. It was still slightly damp after the 24 hours, so back to the dryer for a few minutes more. The result – SUCCESS! The sweater sleeves came back to original length. I am going to “tighten” up the neckline and shoulders by crocheting a stablizing chain in each of those areas. Now back to the buttons and then a new garment to wear. Stay tuned for the photo of the finished garment.

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Thoughts from PJ


A shot of PJ holding Elliot before leaving for NZ

PJ is part of our Saturday kntting workshop group…she knits and she shares wonderful thoughts.

Before she and her husband left for New Zealand she sent the following email which was much enjoyed.

Hi Carolyn and the Saturday morning knitters,

I am so sorry to have missed the get together for the new year. Marty needed to make another trip to New Jersey so I was on airport shuttle duty.

In knitting solidarity, I finished the world’s largest socks and reknit a cowl that has been sitting in my frog basket for several years. I am pleased with both and it is nice to have a few small things accomplished in light of the fact that I have recently frogged two full sweaters. Here are the Ravelry links if anyone wants to see.



When will we meet again? Hard to say. We return from  New Zealand to house guests. I am hoping it will be the 13th. Before any of you start to feel envious, keep in mind that Air New Zealand doesn’t allow knitting needles of any kind so I will have 26 hours of potential knitting time down the drain. I will, however, take along a small project of some sort. Perhaps Wisp.

Until then, stay well, be happy and keep on knitting.



And now that she is in New Zealand she sends this message.

Hi Carolyn,

As you know there are many little towns in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand and yesterday we took a rest stop at one of them called Reefton (which is rightly proud of the fact that it was the first town in the southern hemisphere to be electrified). Anyway, displayed in the window of one little gift store was an article that had just been awarded “Best of Show” in the local fair. It was a neon blue “fun fur” shawl. So… the yarn we love to hate is now making waves on this island. Couldn’t help but think of you.

All goes well – beautiful weather, great hiking, sore knees.

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Marlie de Swart of Black Mountain Weavers always shows interesting and creative designs at our Skein Lane Retreat One of those this past retreat was the simple but elegant ribbed shrug…the design simple…the results elegant. Susanne was inspired by the garment and here is her verson.

Marlie shared her pattern….Susanne used two yarns – Black Mountain double strand mohair and acrylic for the 2×2 rib, and Art Fibers Pachino 85% extrafine mernino and 15% nylon for the 1×1 rib. These yarns are light worsted weight yarns.

Gauge….be sure to swatch (30 stitches) with your yarn choice in 1 x 1 rib pattern. Then the goal is to take the desired bust measurement, divide by 2 to get back measurement. You will be knitting a rectangle and folding it over to join seams and create armholes, thus the rectangle is the width of the back of the shrug. Determine your gauge – divide 30 sts by inches measured in your swatch. Multipy that number by desired width of back. Then cast on those stitches and follow the directions below. In Susanne’s case she cast on 126 stitches. You can use one color throughout or follow Susanne’s creation of two colors – one color for the  2×2 rib and the other color for the 1×1 rib.The shrug back

The pattern….

  • With size 7 needle, CO 126 sts.
  • Work 2 x 2 rib for 7″.
  • With 2nd color, work 1 x 1 rib for 12″.
  • With 1st color, work 2 x 2 rib for 7″.
  • Cast off.
  • Fold over and sew the 2 x 2 rib sections together.
The finished shrug

The finished shrug

You now have a shrug. I can’t wait to start mine…which yarn should I use? My choices are endless here at the Studio!

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The Beret

The Beret

Maurie was quite creative recently. She loves to crochet berets…she made another one this year…and she added a great embellishment. She has shared her design by writing a complimentary pattern for those of us who love berets…or know someone in our circles who would love to receive one as a gift.

Make a Crochet Beret  Be sure to click through to the pattern where you will see more photos of this charming hat!

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As I was google searching for the link to Mason-Dixon knitting for the prior post, I saw the latest post on the Mason-Dixon blog…it’s hysterical!


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Photos from our Saturday knitting work shop….you can also check out this slide show!

Some highlights of their projects. Susanne is knitting her Moderne Blanket from Mason Dixon in Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece and she is knitting the adult version. After she started she learned that her son purchased a Queen-size bed. Her decision – continue knitting the original adult size and let this afthan be a throw for the Queen-size bed.

Diane had two projects to share. The first was the crochet blanket for her son Aaron which had been in process for 3 years. Her plan was to give this gift to her son on Saturday evening. I am remembering that I started a crochet blanket/afghan for my nephew when he was born and I presented it to him when he was 26. I am not quite sure what my hold-up was.

Diane’s second project is a blanket knit with Lion Brand yarn. I know it’s a gift…but I’ve forgotten who gets this lovely afghan.

And we have another baby blanket. Shari is knitting with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. She loves the yarn…and is not excited about seed stitch. Now that she is nearing completion of this project, she thinks it’s wonderful…but a couple of weeks ago she described the project….”If I believed in heaven and hell, I would say that I am in knitting hell!” This brought rounds of laughter.

In addition to the above projects there were many process – Cathy is using her yarn remmants to knit the most beautiful socks; Eleanor is working on socks for her husband Nick; Carol is knitting a scarf; Maggie is reworking her sweater – gauge was off (I’ll talk more about this in a future post).

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