Posts Tagged 'patterns'

Revisiting Old Books

I’ve been slowly going through my old PieceWork magazines. Today I’m back visiting January/February 2005, reading “Frocks, Cloaks, and Pumpkin Hoods: Dressing for Winter in Nineteenth-Century New England”. It’s a great article. However, I’m amazed women survived going out wearing thin stockings, silk shoes that look like ballet flats, and low-necked coats. Most of the article’s clothing examples are from the early-19th century. And yes, there is an illustration of a pumpkin hood made of quilted black silk.

I’m inspired to re-read some of my Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, or Dickens novels. Will I feel like I can “see” the pictures created by the authors if I know what a pelisse looks like? Maybe not, but that time period may feel a bit more solid to me.

There are some great knitting patterns: an Old Shale shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark, Danish wristlets designed by Nancy Bush, a bead-knit tank top designed by Lily M. Chin (daunting), and Selbu mittens that you knit and embroider, adapted from a design by Heidi Fossnes (not listed in Ravelry). I’ve been working on a red version of the Danish wristlets. Now that I’m on the second wristlet, the pattern seems easier. I may end up making a bunch of these for holiday gifting. If you do cross-stitch, the site has a free pattern of a heart with Quaker motifs for the month of February. Maybe a little late for Valentine’s Day planning, but something to consider for next year.

This edition of the magazine is still available for digital download, according to the Long Threads website.

Knitting on the Edge

Woodcut1Whenever I work on a lace shawl (or some other project where the design isn’t apparent until one blocks the knitting) I feel like I’m knitting on the edge. Give me a Fair Isle mitten any day for intuitively understanding if you’re knitting to the correct pattern (although possibly not if your gauge will fit the intended wearer).

Did I miss a yarn over? Are my stitches slanting the right way for the pattern? Did I mess up the first stitches that set up the pattern (the ones closest to my shoulders in this case, where they will be really hard to ignore)? I’ll move forward, like I always do, confident that even if I don’t get the pattern just so, I will still use it and learn from the experience. Call it knitter’s faith.

The design is beautiful: a sweet shawl called Woodcut designed by Karie Westermann. The current view of my project is not beautiful. If you’ve dealt with rice noodles in a packet…. that’s what it looks like (only super colorful). A jumble of strands with a small bit of patterning to clue you that I mean it to look that way.

No idea if the whole thing will break when I block it. It’s very fine yarn…. and I know it’s too thin technically for the pattern specs, but I was so curious to see how it would look knit up.


  • Yarn: Schaeffer Yarn Company, Trenna
  • Colorway: Rosa Parks
  • Pattern can be found in This Thing of Paper

So, if you knit, do pottery, paint, or otherwise craft: what is on the edge of your comfort level? Do you find yourself re-doing steps, in an attempt to follow your idea, or do you step out blindly?


Living vicariously

The posts I’ve seen about others’ trips to see the eclipse let me live vicariously. I would have loved to have planned something to go view it (we were in an area of partial eclipse, and were struggling to find an area of the yard free of clouds). Friends of mine went to the Jersey shore to view from the beach. Other friends drove to South Carolina.

I watched the NASA feed, and then enjoyed reading about trips to view the dance of the moon in front of the sun.  Check out Blonde Coyote’s post here. Lovely write up of a trip to Wyoming, and camping. You can see videos on the NASA website, if you were out of the viewing area, or fighting with clouds to view the shadows through a colander.

I’m also contemplating new patterns to knit, using lovely gift yarn. This pattern is really tempting: Woolly Woolhead’s Toph. And it reminds me a little bit of the patterns I could see through tree shadows during the eclipse. Tamara Adams posted a lovely pattern of coasters for the eclipse (link goes to Ravelry), which might be fun to create for tree decorations this year.

Keep looking up (unless there’s an eclipse and you don’t have special glasses…. then look down for shadows).



Getting back to normal-ish

Between this being the year of personal life challenges (loss of a beloved cat, loss of a dearly loved aunt) and struggling to fight against the negative energy in the air these days…. I’ve found that after I finish knit projects, I just *don’t* pick up the needles again. The world has been a bit too distracting and poisonous for me to trust my gauge. This lack of knitting mojo is not normal.

Reading has also been a bit “meh”. I’ll get started on a book, and then the characters feel flimsy, or the book doesn’t work with my mood (think I found a good one though… if it sticks to darkly farcical instead of veering into horror writing, I will be relieved).

I’ve been sketching. Nothing for the press yet, but I’m getting close. I’m contemplating something written with my next print piece, so we’ll see how far I get on it.

Today, I’m reading with a great deal of interest.

  • Ancyra by Susan Schira combines mosaic design with colors like antique smalti (visit Ancyra pattern here).
  • Wolkig by Martina Behm looks like a cowl in an upscale window on the Konigstrasse. I love how it looks, but would want to use a light, misty blue or copper for this design. Very inspiring.
  • And if you have scrap yarn that you want to show off, Longwing looks like a project that you could do while watching t.v. or reading. Am I right, or is it more complicated?
  • The cool tools section provides a lot of ideas for knitter gifts (hint, hint). Currently in love with this book.

Amy and co. have upped their game. Tusen tak!

And while things are getting back to normal-ish, the WordTapstry blog is likely to continue to be sporadic. Although I might manage to get pics up of the garden. It’s been glorious.


Test driving knitting books

Now that I have discovered where [Fine Arts department, near the sheet music] the main branch of the library has stashed the knitting books, I am test driving The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. I’m currently struggling with the same emotions I experienced when first reading Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

How do you pick just one recipe to see if you like the book? Which sock is the one that will salvage my pink Lorna’s Laces yarn (it’s been tried on 2 sock patterns from other books already, and now I’m dithering between Stepping Stones, Isabella d’Este, or Darjeeling). The recipe that sold Classic to me was the chicken stuffed with 2 lemons, and I’m hoping to find something unexpectedly simple and fun in this test drive.

Little 2 square baby hat

Today’s amateur* pattern is for a little 2-square baby hat (pattern section on the hat). Head diameter is for around 18″, so you may wish to size up in needles to adjust if the baby you’re knitting for is larger. I was knitting this for donation to a local hospital. *Note the word amateur. This pattern hasn’t been proofread or test knit. It’s just a recipe for what I did to make this hat.

Needles: US size 2 for the ribbing, followed by US size 1 for plain knitting rows. My gauge in the plain knitting section is:

Other tools: 7 stitch markers (one in a contrasting color for row starts).

Yarn: Baby Ull Dalegarn. Main color (mc): aqua blue (Farge: 7502, Parti: 6632). Contrast color (cc): lime green (Farge: 9013)

CO: 140 stitches in the round. Join.

Knit ribbing with cc: K4, P4 for 19 rows. (You might wish to knit longer for more of a cuff)

Join in mc and knit plain in mc for 18 rows.

Join in cc color and knit with cc color for 1 to 2 rows.

Start pattern:

Rows 1 & 2: mc K2, cc K2.

Rows 3 & 4: cc K2, mc K2.

Repeat pattern 3 times.

Pattern rows 13 & 14: mc K2, cc K2.

Knit 1 row in cc, adding stitch markers every 20 stitches. (It is helpful to have a contrasting color stitch marker for the beginning of the row.) 7 markers total.

Switch to mc: Decreases begin.

Decrease row 1: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 126 stitches left).

Knit 10 rows. Decrease row 2: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 112 stitches left).

Knit 3 rows. Decrease row 3: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 98 stitches left).

Knit 3 rows. Decrease row 4: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 84 stitches left). Add cc.

Knit 3 rows. Decrease row 5: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 70 stitches left).

Add/switch to mc: Knit 3 rows. Decrease row 6: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases in total; 56 stitches left).

Just weave in the ends, then put it in for a soak and lay flat to dry.

Knit 2 rows. Decrease row 7: decrease stitches before and after each marker (14 decreases; 42 stitches left).

Knit 1 row. Decrease row 8: decrease by combining 2 stitches each time, removing markers (21 stitches left). Then either bind off by pulling yarn through remaining loops or:

Decrease row optional: decrease by combining 2 stitches each time (11 stitches left) and pull yarn through remaining loops. Then you get to weave in the ends. (C) rjn, April 9, 2011

Sweet Norwegian baby cap

Was sighted on a friends’ FB page, so I guess it’s safe to reveal the picture now. Sadly, not with a newborn in it (the hat is too big right now, and baby doesn’t need to be in a blog — the kid’s Mom should decide when the kid gets a closeup on the internet). The gracious Miss Banister has offered to substitute for the baby in this instance, to give you an idea. The pattern is adorable, although I got distracted and ended up futzing some of the bind offs once I started the decreases (here’s a sample by someone else, who did a better job of interpreting the pattern). You’ll probably be able to see it pretty clearly either here, or on the version on flickr.

So, I have seldom ever knit anything without altering it or cobbling together some “fix” that seems good enough at the time but when I see it, the “fix” blazes with the white heat of a thousand, mortifying suns. (There’s at least one pair of baby booties that will never see the light of day. I just don’t think anything human could wear them. A goat, perhaps.) However, I think I might want to revisit the Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap, because it is a fun knit.

More gift knitting underway as we speak.

Christmas knitter confessions

OK, I’m curious. What are you looking forward to doing once the Christmas preparations are all done, people have unwrapped presents, and you no longer have deadline knitting?

Me, I have a pattern for mittens with birds on them. I have periwinkle and off-white yarn. And I have sticks. And I have very, very cold hands. Although I’ve recently heard enthusiasm from someone about what a pair of legwarmers could do in weather with snow above the bottom of the back door. So, after the tiny things created for tiny creatures are done… I will either have a case of finishitis and finish some of my other older projects. Or I’ll cast on for mittens. How ’bout you?

Knitting items that look like ISBN bars

You know those scanner bars that are found on packaging in the shops? You know, the ones with thick and thin lines that look like they’re some sort of code from caterpillars?

Back in the 80s, decade of skinny ties, Michael J. Fox, and Sheena Easton (whose style seems to have come back in the costuming of Rhianna, but nevermind), I had a dark blue shirt with dark black pinstripes (or perhaps it was a dark shirt that was pinstriped black and navy blue). It shimmered and flickered, possibly giving everyone a headache. And now that pinstripe look is back again, but changed a bit by the designers. So there’s the mermaid sweater from Hanne Falkenberg. This beauty as well (yummy rippled stripes). And this design for the wee set (Ravelry link right now).

I’m starting out small, to see if I like doing side to side designs. If I do, someday I may splurge on a Mermaid kit (purple/lilac/aubergine or black slate/cyclamen — it’s sort of delicious trying to decide without spending any money). But for now, between starting small projects and daydreaming about the time to complete my big projects, I’m back to knitting again. And it looks like pinstripes are in. Hurrah!

Noodling about, thinking about a dreamswatch shawl

Koigu KPPPM dye code P820I have some Koigu that I’m swatching today. I will see how the swatch(es) knit up (size 0 needles, but they’re square needles so the gauge is really small), and then think about what I want to do next. It may all depend on what the yarn feels like when it’s washed. Options include:

  • Dreamswatch (7 to 15 repeats of the pattern) for a kind of shawl or stole if the yarn does not wash up to be as soft as I hope
  • Socks (that’s a ravelry link — it’s for the Interweave Knits Windowpane socks, and would need a background color)
  • A baby hat (no pattern in mind, but it needs to be soft!)

I kind of wish there was more olive in the yarn, because that would have made it visually fight less. It’s always interesting the difference between the nicely coiled hank and the yarn balled up or knit up. Of course, it’s always interesting to knit up items that have marinated for a long time in the stash drawer. I can’t remember which pattern I originally thought I’d do. So, think the dream swatch shawl would be a good idea?