October 2007 Archives

Happy Halloween





It is probably obvious that over the last year I have worked on some rather time consuming projects. I have several as yet unveiled ones as well as the Poet Coat and Giselle.

Something hit me this weekend and I just needed to knit a sock. As a general rule, I'm not much for knitting socks, though there are obviously some exceptions, but this weekend, it just felt like the right project and it is more portable than my larger secret project has become.



Yarn: Socks that Rock Medium Weight Superwash Merino
Color: Rose Quarts
Yardage: About 130 yards per sock so a 380 yard skein is more than ample for a pair
Constructions: Toe up, short row toe, gusset, decorative heel flap, tubular bind off
Needles: Toe worked on 2.75MM, remainder of sock worked on 3.25 MM


I did a few things that might not be totally standard. I worked the toe in a smaller needle than the rest of the sock because the gauge of the stockinette toe is so much wider than the twisted stitch pattern. The smaller needles weren't to match the gauge, just to make it a little more even.

And I decided to forgo the reinforced heel flap that most people like. I realize it's more functional to do a standard slipped stitch heel flap, but I just never liked how it interrupted the flow of the stitch pattern on a sock.


Both motifs, on the sock, can be found in Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries but I made some modifications to both. The main motif required a substantial overhaul while the side motif was just changed so that it would have the same number of rows in each repeat as the main motif.


I think my only concern with this design is that anyone with even slightly shapelier legs than my own, will need some shaping at the calf. Luckily, I've thought about how to handle that and will be putting shaping instructions in the pattern.

Oh, did I not mention that I plan to write a pattern for this? Yah, I do.

Various and sundry topics


Lots more pictures of Giselle, including the cropped version, over here.

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See some beautifully retouched photos here.

Leo has been making jack-o-lanterns and I have been toasting the seeds.

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The pirate is getting a little long in the tooth, after a week outside. The orange one is new. It weighed almost 40lbs before being gutted. That's how much each of the pups weigh.

If the weather stays relatively mild, we'll be getting a lot more cosmos.

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The bees like em

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Is there anything sweeter?

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Interview with Donna Druchunas


ethnic knitting discovery.jpgI'm Donna's 23rd stop on her tireless blog tour. Here's hoping she's collected a good number miles in the process, and didn't get stuck in a middle seat.

Donna has tech edited both of my Stitch Diva Studios patterns and has impressed me with her abilities to distill my aimless ramblings into a concise and friendly format, while still having a keen eye for detail. All of these qualities shine through in her new book, Ethnic Knitting: Discovery: The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and The Andes, which offers a technically sound and yet beautifully user friendly approach to designing ethnically inspired and custom fit garments. Her writing style is friendly and accessible, and she peppers the book with suggestions and tips that should benefit even seasoned knitters.



Thank you all for your very kind words, sympathies, stories and thoughts. I've read every comment twice and they make me remember how lucky I am to have family that loves me and whom I love in return.

It's the wet season, here in Portland and the weekend was mostly rainy and overcast, interspersed with beautiful sunny moments. It suited my contemplative mood.

On Saturday, we took the girls for a walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed the fall foliage. I think the cost of having dogs should be covered by medical insurance. Panda and Thea never cease to make me laugh, no matter the circumstances.

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On Sunday, we headed to Cannon Beach, for a breakfast of Crabcakes Benedict and a long run on the beach. It was a bit cold and rainy, which didn't make for great photos, but the girls couldn't have been happier and the evening of quiet and calm snuggling on the couch meant that everyone was feeling peaceful.



I guess for me, losing someone ultimately makes me more resolved to value those who are still with me and I think this weekend suited that goal.

I have lots of less depressing stuff to blog soon, including a new knit in progress, and interview with Donna Druchunas, and some more photos of Giselle.



I had originally planned to post about Thea's most recent obedience class. If you want some lighthearted doggy happiness, go check out the pictures here.

Grandma, Grandpa, and me - 1993
My grandparents and me in 1993, at my high school graduation.

But today has turned out to be a sad one for me. This morning, my grandmother called to let me know that my grandfather had passed in the night. Unlike many people, I have been fortunate enough to know all of my grandparents, and three of them through to my adulthood.

My grandfather was 91 years old and remained relatively active and mentally sharp, throughout his life. He passed in his sleep, in his own home, my grandmother holding him in his last moments. I think we should all be so lucky to live such a full life and be with the person we love in our last moments.

As someone who isn't religious and does not believe in an afterlife, I take a great deal of solace in knowing that his last moments were where he wanted to be with the woman he loved, and that I've told him I loved him, every time we've spoken.

Losing my grandfather means saying goodbye to someone who helped care for me as a newborn when both my parents were seriously ill.

As a child, I would spend a couple of weeks each summer running in his impeccably kept yard or playing in the perfectly maintained little house. His sharp wit and quiet perfectionism stays with me still. Even in his weakest moments he could always find humor in the situation.

As a young adult, I knew that he would help me in any way he could. He would have given me the shirt off his back if I would have let him and he would have smiled, to just know that I was happy. Even though I managed to be independent, it brought me comfort to know he was there.

I miss you grandpa. Thank you for all the years of love.



I am so pleased to present my newest pattern, Giselle, which will be available exclusively through Stitch Diva Studios.

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The pattern is currently in the tech editing stage, in Donna Druchunas' capable hands. After that, it goes to layout and then the pattern will be available for order.

Jennifer asked me to model the garment so I met with her, near her home and we shot over two days. I have the first day's shoot up at my Flickr account. I'll have the second day's shoot, shortly in the same location. Check out a couple of the outtakes at the end of the set.

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The garment is modeled in three variations; an all knit version (orange), a knit and crochet version (red and silver-mo betta pictures to come) and a cropped version in knit and crochet (to come, in brown and teal.) However, the knitter can work any of the styles in a single color or in two colors and may work knit or crochet trim in any combination.

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This design is based on a piece I've called, The Wedding Cardi, which I knit for myself back in 2005, for a friend's wedding.


It was knit in a discontinued yarn, and well before I had a firm grasp of pattern writing. I had it as set dressing for one of my episodes of Knitty Gritty and have continued to receive requests for a pattern, since. I hope that this ends up being a popular pattern. I'll let you know when it's available for purchase.

Weekend antics



Mary-Kay hooked me UP. I won a contest she held on her blog, and this is what came in the mail on Friday.


This is a huge skein of Merino/Tencel in a colorway called, Marnie's Wine. I'm swooning just thinking about it. She asked me what my perfect colorway would be and made this just for me. It's more lovely than I could have imagined. But she didn't stop there.

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Two skeins of her colorway, Boo, and nearly half a pound of a merino/silk blend roving. I'm so spoiled.

Cosmos blooming


The garden is blooming like crazy, though we have admitted that our choice of flower is a bit tall for the window. After a few more blooms, we'll cut the top tier down a bit. We've also reseeded the area on the right to get more even coverage.

Thea finds religion

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This statue of Buddha caught Thea's eye on our walk and she took some time to show it her tummy and kiss his face. She has also attempted this maneuver with some outdoor cats. They were not amused.

Early Halloween Party


Someone at Leo's work held an early Halloween party and invited us. She had her barn decked out like a haunted house and almost everyone came in costume. We did a dry run of our get up for this year. I'm the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Leo is dressed as a pirate because, as is stated in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all humans evolved from pirates.

I definitely need more spaghetti, but I'm really happy with my eyes and meatballs.


Shoes that hurt with a brand new skirt


It was rainy most of this morning so I thought I'd only have crappy indoor shots to show you.


Or pictures of the piece being blocked


A closeup of the waistband facing might be interesting


But we got a bit of sun and I was able to take some better shots.


With a little help from my friends


Boho Baby Knits


I am so excited to be able to post about this book. Kat Coyle approached me a little over a year ago to see if I'd like to contribute to her upcoming book. I received my copy last week and wanted to wait until she posted before I did so.


The cover alone will probably sell you. The patterns in this book run the gamut from simple to complex, but each is original, fun, and worked in gorgeous yarns. I think I speak for everyone who contributed when I say that Kat is absolutely fantastic to work with. She has great vision, an impeccable eye for color, and her years of designing makes her keenly aware of what a designer needs to do their job successfully. I'm so proud to be a part of this book.

This is my pattern, The Poet Coat. It's worked in two shades of Blue Sky Alpaca and adorned with gold star buttons and a zipper pull.

Poet Coat.jpg

The main pattern is a linen stitch which produces a really dense fabric without much bulk.

The model is simply too cute for words.

My friends, Mary-Heather Coger, Julia Trice and Edna Hart, also contributed patterns, as well as Beth Abaravich, whom I never got to know but whose work is absolutely brilliant.

Getting there


Boy do I love life lines. I've used this one a couple times, but by Jove, I think I've got it. Some of the mishaps may have been caused by watching an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Man, that show is funny, and distracting.

Here's a closeup of the lifeline, subsequent filler stitches and Thea's paw.


The vertical row of locking stitch markers indicated decrease rows. I really don't want a huge amount of cinching required to hold this skirt up. When you have a 10 inch difference between hips and waist, that can be a substantial amount of extra fabric.

Here's a view of the whole skirt so far. There's only one spot in the house that gets much natural light and it's where Thea and Panda's bed resides. They seem to find it curious that the spot also becomes my photo studio, some days.


It's really easy to tell how far I've knit since I blocked the piece.

Tomorrow, I fly down to the greater San Fransisco area for a quick meet up with the owner of Stitch Diva Studios. We're finishing up another project together. That's all I can tell you for now, but I hope there'll be a sneak preview up in the near future.

Fine tuning


A little while back, I posted this picture and lamented that my WooLee Winder wasn't filling evenly.


Well, June came through with a most excellent suggestion. If I twist the traveling loop so that it is angled towards the smaller end, it will shift everything in that direction, resulting in a more even feed.

It's going to take some fine tuning, but I'm definitely seeing improvement.


The skirt is progressing. After taking this photo, I threw in a lifeline and am now deciding how I want to work the chevrons into flat stitches. The key is not only making smooth transition from the zigzag to flat, but also adjusting the gauge which changes from 8 stitches per inch in chevron to 6 stitches per inch flat.

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And look, my garden gave me another bloom. I am pleased.

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Quite a few more buds have popped up and several look ready to burst open in the next day or two.

I don't know how obvious it is to you, but I think we have two different varieties of Cosmos here. The smaller flower actually has slightly different shaped petals than the bigger one. I may be totally wrong but since we dumped several different mixes of seeds here, I think it's possible.

And finally, I'll be posting an interview with Donna Druchanus at the end of the month. I'm day 23 of her blog tour. I'm about halfway through the book now and gathering my questions.

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I've worked with Donna before and am really looking forward to the interview. Expect lots of questions about the book and her travels and maybe some little tangents into her other interests. I just hope that I'm able to come up with questions she hasn't already answered a million times.

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