Monday, December 29, 2008

We're back from Christmas with family and had a wonderful time. Mom was able to participate in a lot of events, meals and travelling a bit while we were there. She really enjoyed being out of the assisted living center and with all of us. Sure wish we lived closer.

The sweater for sister was way, way, way too big for her. It just seemed to keep growing in length as well as the sleeves being monsterous. I've reclaimed it for myself and started adjusting by taking 4" off the bottom and knitting tighter ribbing andthen taking about 3" off the sleeves and making tighter ribbing there. Last was to rip the rolled collar and put in a graduated ribbing to tighten up the neck.

Not sure what to do about the underarms near the body but am thinking of basting a curved line from the elbow to 2-3" down the body to see if that will get rid of some of the bulk. If it does, will machine sew and then cut out the excess. At least the cables look good.

I've started "Town & Country" from Lisa Lloyd's book "A Fine Fleece" in purple Cascade 220. That will be her very late Christmas present. And yes we remeasured her to be sure this one fits. The yellow one was in too heavy a yarn (Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride) and it dragged the sweater too much to hold it's shape. Oh well!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's done! Sister's sweater is drying on the wooly board. It turned out larger than I wanted as my gauge changed part way through the bottom. Oh well - if she doesn't wnat it, I'll take it home to cold, winter Maine. I doubt she will pass it up as it will make a great outdoor VA winter sweater.

Met up with friend Shirley and her DH today for lunch. She gifted me with a gorgeous pair of mittens and a bag of home made ginger snaps. The mittens will be well used.

The next project might be another stranded/fair isle sweater. I went stash shopping today and pulled every single of the 20 colors for Lismore, an Alice Starmore design from "The Celtic Collection". Here is a link to another knitter's photos in progress to see the basic colors - . The original pattern called for Rowan yarns, long out of production. An internet friend who is a master AS fair isle knitter sent me her yarn conversion list to Jamieson & Smith jumper weight yarns. I changed out a couple but mostly liked what she had done. I'll leave them laid out for a few days to see if they grow on me or not as this will be a very long knit and I've got to really like it.

Snowed again today but the temperature keeps going up and rain will follow. The roof ice dam electric cables worked well so maybe we can prevent ice dams this year

Friday, December 05, 2008

Racing to the end of the yellow sweater. Not a great photo but it shows the bottom down 10". Hope I'm not knitting on the drive to mom's for Christmas.

First good sized snow storm supposed to come in early next week. We've finished and wrapped holiday gifts. A few will go into the mail today. House is decorated in the minor manner we do so all we need is a bit of snow to get into the mood.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter keeps trying to come but, here near the coast, we keep getting inches of rain. Suppose that is a good thing rather than feet of snow. Not to worry - our turn will come and probably a lot sooner than we think.

What good friends we have from the Truck Camper travels. Mike and Cathie T from Peabody sent us a gorgeous LL Bean Christmas wreath as a thanks for their recent visit. Quite the extravagent gift and well appreciated. It's hanging with pride on our entry door and should last well into the cold season.

Sister Mepes sent me a fall arrangement of fresh flowers for my birthday and our Thanksgiving as she has done for many years. This year they were especially beautiful and are lasting well. I used to have to keep them high to keep Patter Cat from chewing on the flowers but sadly this year he's not with us any longer. I still miss him a lot. Miss Boots The Cat doesn't eat flowers, just my house plants!

Racing along on the yellow sweater gift for Christmas. Figure I have 60 more rows in pattern and then some way to end it. I don't think a rolled rib will go well on the bottom but not sure how regular rib would look since the neck and sleeves are rolled. I know what I'll do !!! I'll ask the Ravelry group. They can answer anything.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're all ready for Thanksgiving and have a lot to be thankful for even with the horrible economy. Still glad we retired earlier than we could have and that our hobbies keep us busy. We miss the camper and the friends/travels of a bit warmer weather.

The yellow gift sweater is progressing. Look what I found today? See the cable to the left of the safety pin. It's crossed incorrectly but no way am I ripping out 6" of knitting in the round. I'll try a couple of the online tricks for repairing a cable by sewing over it with yarn in the right direction. No one else but me would ever see this mistake but I want the sweater as perfect as I can get it for sister.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11/19 Second sleeve is done! Why are they so slow? Body stitches picked up and ready to race to the bottom. Sleeves will be adjusted when sister tries it on. Now the race is on to finish before Christmas. Desperately trying not to work on a Shedir cap in Alpaca Twist and a pair of socks in Rio de la Plata. Both yarns were bought during a recent trip to Halcyon Yarns with camper friends. Put it down Anne and walk but to the Christmas present.

History of the sweater to date.

9/10/08 Designing cable sweater using Annie Maloney’s “Knitter’s Guide to Stitch Design” and “The Cable Knitter’s Handbook” and Barbara Walker’s “Third Treasury”. I’m using Janet Szabo’s “Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong” (FLAK) method of top down knitting starting with saddles. First attempt was totally ripped. Last three photos show what was ripped. Center cable is #115, side is “Windblown Cable” from B. Walker #3.

9/24/08 Second attempt is much more flowing and am happily knitting along. Side cable is “Dancing Ribbon” from B. Walker #3, next is part of Annie’s #62, center is Annie’s #115. Second from bottom photo shows cable crossed incorrectly - right at the start of the back. Think I’ll be cutting this one as too complicated to rip back.

10/1/08 ripped the entire thing and started totally over again. using Annie’s #31 full size for the saddle. Sweater reads right to left - Dancing Ribbon, 4 stitch braid, half of Annie’s #62, all of #115 and then reversed. Flows much better. Actually done back to armhole and front of pullover to 3” depth. Hard to rip almost an entire skein but so glad I did.

10/4/08 Visiting my mom in her assisted living center is giving me lots of time to sit and knit. We talk, she sleeps, I knit. Top two photos show that the front is almost to the length of the back. I want to pick up one sleeve before starting that long drive back home. Pretty cable dense sweater but it is what I wanted.

10/10/08 After the drive home, I had completely knit a ribbed collar BUT didn’t try it on as I knit. Proved too tight, puffy and just didn’t flow well with the sweater. Ripped and did a simple rolled neck which is what Sister wanted to start with. First sleeve is down about 3 inches from the body add on.

10/31/08 First sleeve finished. Second sleeve started and down about 3”. Still like this project.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sweater is progressing well. I'd knit an entire neck ribbing, running the cables up into the rib. It looked okay but was a bit confusing with all the cable bulk below. Decided to go simpler and make just a rolled ribbing. MUCH better (or at least I think so). First sleeve is well under way after adding 2" width to the body.

Gorgeous fall weather here in Maine. Leaves are the prettiest they have been in years and we'll go out for a ride today. Fall garden cleanup is well underway with many of the day lilies and hostae cut back and mulched. Torn leg muscle is hindering long work sessions but a little at a time and it will get done - eventually.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Knitting is coming along on another FLAK style sweater. If any of you who read this blog do not have Janet Szabo’s directions for this way of knitting top down, you have to. Go to and look in the patterns section.

All the work from previous blog posts was ripped out. Saddles were too narrow and short and the cable layout just wasn't working. The layout is now double moss side, one K1B stitch, a simple 4 stitch braid, Barbara Walker's "Dancing Ribbon", half of Annie Maloney's cable #62, all of her cable #115, other half of #62 mirrored, mirror of Dancing Ribbon, mirror of braid, moss. The saddle is Annie's #31. I'm so much happier with it now and have worked a lot on it this past week. Twelve more rows to go to have front and back even and a start to the first sleeve. Hopefully I'll get the sleeve picked up before the drive back to Maine.

This is for my sister as a Christmas present. I wanted it to be a suprise but didn’t have her FLAK measurements. Since I’ve been spending time with her in Virginia this week, broke down, showed her the sweater and got her exact measurements. Fingers crossed it will be done to use as a gift but it is really flying along.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Design work in placing cables for sister's sweater is done. Knitting has started and it is working out well. The color is actually a sunny yellow in Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted. Double click on the second photo to see cable detail.

The right outside cable is "Short Swing Braid" from Barbara Walker's Third Treasury. Left outside cable was reversed to mirror. Second cable from right is a simple four stitch rope. Third cable from right is part of Annie Maloney's #62 from "The Cable Knitting Handbook". Center cable is used exactly as Annie designed it, #115 from "The Knitter's Guide To Stitch Design". I absolutely love these books!

Both sides mirror into the center. This is being knit top down starting with shoulder saddles per Janet Szabo's "FLAK - Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong" method. Hard work is done in deciding which cables to use and making the math work. Fun part is started - the knitting!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

We've had so much fun this summer camping that my knitting is getting WAY WAY behind. Holiday gifts that were once a breeze to finish are now looming much closer.

This is the swatch for a gift for my sister. It's in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, being knit top down FLAK style and using many of Annie Maloney's cables from her books "Cable Knitting Handbook" and "Knitters Guide to Stitch Design".

Of course I've changed a few things since the swatch but it is now underway. Someone on one of my knitting groups asked about how I handle large cable charts. I take the books to the photocopier and blow the charts up so these aging eyes can see them better. I used to tape the charts together and put them on a metal cookie sheet with magnets. However Miss Boots the Cat likes to lie down and sleep beside me and she was always in the middle of the cookie sheet. Can't see through a cat! I've now switched to a plastic standup cookbook holder with clamps to hold a piece of cardboard just above the row I'm knitting.

This works well since it is up out of her way and now I can knit in peace.

On a recent trip up to St. Andrews, New Brunswick, I stopped in at Cottage Crafts yarns. Picked up eight skeins on one ply, one each of the colors I liked. It is similar in weight to Jamieson & Smith jumper weight but not as hairy. Will be good for hats and gloves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The winter hat made with left over VY yarns from the Oregon sweater is done. This is a hat not a tam so the top of the hat is not made to lie flat. Seeing me in a tam is a hysterical sight. I made one once and promptly reverted to hats. Besides, tams don't stay on in snow storms!

The bottom of the hat is the corrugated ribbing and six of the leaves from the Oregon charts, knit in the original chart colors. The top is an adaptation of the trees. I lightened up the colors at the top using more of the golder yarns.

This was my Ravelympics project so the team has one hash mark on our score board. I've now gone back to knitting on Fulmar which will never be finished by end of Olympics but at least some work is getting done on it. My hands sure can tell when working on US#2 needles and gansey yarn. They ached this morning or is that just from the month of rain we have had - and are still having!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Need to take a photo of the winter cap made with the left over yarns from Oregon Autumn. It was my Ravelympics project and knit in about a third of the time I thought it would take. So to keep going with the Starmore theme of Team Starmore Junkies, I hauled out Fulmar. This is such a beautiful design. Don't regret changing it from a bottom up in pieces sweater to a top down knit as one piece via Janet Szabo's FLAK method. However it is a long, long knit as it is in Wendy Guernsey on US#2 needles.

Last night I picked up all the stitches across the front, back and under both arms, putting them all on a 40" circular needle. There are 488 stitches and it is slow going. Only knit three rows last night but at least it is underway again. headed for the goal line of the waist ribbing. No time limit on this one as it is for me - for a change!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oregon in the autumn colorway is done! It was a fun fair isle knit designed by Alice Starmore and recently re-published in Vogue Magazine.

In addition to this beautiful knit, there is a LOT of the Virtual Yarn left over. I bought the kit from Junie, a good online friend. It was for the large size but I made the medium sweater as a crew neck cardigan, not even as a V neck. There would have been ample yarn for the large size. Wonder what I'll do with the left overs?

So what to do when we aren't out seeing North America? Why work around the house and gardens of course. As we get older they both seem to get bigger and need more care. We had the man who built our house come back and insulate and sheetrock the garage to hopefully help with heating the room above the garage. Since it is a garage the sheetrock had to be fire rock which is quite heavy. Didn't think we would do well up on ladders hanging fire rock so just hired it out. We're doing the taping and painting and it is about half done. Using left over paint cause it is a garage right!

When we aren't working on the garage we spend some time weeding and just enjoying the gardens. This year they are just gorgeous due to the abundant rain and high temps. Veggies didn't do as well so they got ripped up but the perennials are great.

Getting really itchy to go truck camping again. Enough with the paint and weeds!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Home from our five week trip to the western states. What great memories the places visited will be through the years. Utah is spectacular, with the scenery changing around every bend in the road. Here's a link to our travel blog if anyone is interested:

Never stepped into a yarn shop, never bought an inch of yarn or a pattern, just too busy during the day sightseeing and too tired at night. Maybe next time?

Finished the Trinity vest for mom. It's all washed, blocked on the wooly board and ready to give to her for fall. Decided to use Encore washable since it will need to go into a washing machine and dryer. Also will not put any buttons on it since those are hard for her to handle. This is just to be worn over a blouse. It was hard to block on the wooly board as the chest measurement is so small and I had to sew it together with cotton thread to keep it flat.

Now back to working on Oregon second sleeve. It was all picked up, decreases done and 15 rows knit when I realized I'd forgotten to turn the chart upside down. Since upside down trees wouldn't quite cut it, ripped it and now started over. I'll have to sit down in the next day or two and try to line up the fall and winter projects.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First sleeve on Oregon is done. I cut the front steek after crocheting the edges in order to try on the sweater for sleeve length. Fits well. It will be set aside a while since we're going to be travelling in our RV truck camper some and handling all those color changes is a bit much. I packed St. Brigid in Country Craft "Fundy Fog" color. It's up about 8 inches and I may try to make it a slightly inset sleeve instead of the usual box shape. Also have startd "Trinity", a vest from Lisa Lloyd's new book "A Fine Fleece". It's being made out of Encore so that it will be easily washable for my mom in an assisted living center. Nice bright red cheerful color.

Hope on our trip out west we'll bump into great yarn shops and meet new knitting friends along the way.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Have I been knitting a lot lately? NO! and I miss it greatly. We've been busy with mother care, a camping trip and the start of yard cleanup after a heavy winter. Thankfully we did the major cleanup in the fall so this is just leaf pickup and mulching.

I did recently purchase the book "A Fine Fleece" by Lisa Lloyd and it is a must have book. Two chapters give information on the different breeds of sheep, their characteristics and how to use their fleece for hand spun yarn. I'm not a spinner but I learned a lot about how yarn works. The rest of the book is a superb collection of cable sweaters, hats and socks. There isn't one that I wouldn't make. I think this book is going to be a classic.

Several projects on the needles:

Test knitting a scarf for color pooling as Annie Maloney shows on the "Annie Maloney & Friends" Ravelry group. Interesting technique but glad I'm using an inexpensive Paton's variegated wool for a test since you have to cut each row so the colors will line up. I'd hesitate to use a really expensive yarn until the technique was down pat.

Oregon in the original kit from Virtual yarns is going well. I'm 2/3 done with the first sleeve, body is done of course. Still in love with the colors and the feel of the fabric.

"Airy Aran" is high on my list for continuing. I need to watch the chart for this one so cannot take it camping.

I've also started Starmore's "St. Brigid" in Cottage Craft 2 ply worsted weight in Fundy Fog color, a light lavender. This one is pretty easy so might make the transition to the RV.

There are other works in canvas bags stuck here and there all over my craft room. I fondle them occasionally. Got to get over my start-itis.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Knitting away on "Airy Aran" which is what I'm calling the cable sweater using Annie Maloney's cables #61 and #28 revised. Well actually both of them are revised a bit but they are definately sourced from her. I almost stopped as the Victorian sport from Halycon Yarns just felt to stiff. Then an online friend reminded me that I had a big swatch all washed. Dug it out and yes, it was a lot softer and bloomed a bit. Not a lot of bloom but enough to make me happy again. I'm on Row 45 of the 48/24 chart repeat though I started with row 13 on the #28 cable. I'll base the sweater design on a basic slightly inset sleeve using Sweater Wizard.

First photo shows the cables run down into the ribbing from the three nested #61s.

Second photo shows the #28 over on the right just after a rope cable and check rib on the sides.

Knitting away on "Airy Aran" which is what I'm calling the cable sweater using Annie Maloney's cables #61 and #28 revised. Well actually both of them are revised a bit but they are definately sourced from her. I almost stopped as the Victorian sport from Halycon Yarns just felt to stiff. Then an online friend reminded me that I had a big swatch all washed. Dug it out and yes, it was a lot softer and bloomed a bit. Not a lot of bloom but enough to make me happy again. I'm on Row 45 of the 48/24 chart repeat though I started with row 13 on the #28 cable. I'll base the sweater design on a basic slightly inset sleeve using Sweater Wizard.

Oregon Autumn fair isle's body is done with a regular round neck instead of a V. The first sleeve is down about 7" and going quickly.

Also previewing fiber for St. Brigid, a heavily cabled outdoor aran I've always admired. I'll probably end up with dark purple Cascade 220 as there is enough of it already in stash, the color is lovely, and gauge is spot on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I think/hope the swatching for the Aran cable sweater is finally done.
It turned out nothing like I thought it would. Most of my Arans are
made with fairly heavy cables such as the one centered on the blue
sweater below.

Ever since purchasing Annie Maloney's book on cable design "The Cable
Knitting Handbook" I've been more or less obsessed with putting some
of her cables into a sweater. I found myself drawn to the lighter,
airy type of cables. No 61 is a diamond shape with many tiny
crossings. I nested three of them so they offset each other and then
knit a test swatch in off white Briggs & Little Regal, a heavy DK
weight. Next I worked on adding side cables and kept coming back to
No 28 which is a more open diamond shape but with the same tiny
crossings. Not able to leave well enough alone, I added the center
portion of No 74 to both sides of the No 28 and put a two stitch rope
on each side. The line up was 1 purl, rope,1 purl, 74, 1 purl,28,1
purl, 74, 1 purl, rope, 1 purl. Of course this was starting to look
both pretty busy and pretty wide especially in the Regal DK. More
swatching with a rust colored Halcyon Victorian sport weight. I don't
really like swatching but having finally made a sweater than fit me
perfectly using Janet Szabo's FLAK method, I knew to swatch each
individual cable or cable group or pay the consequences. Janet teaches
how to make the sweater actually fit!

Finally decided to lay the cable swatches on top of the blue FLAK I
wear a lot. Out went the No 74s or there would have been no plainer
side stitches to give the eye a rest.

In the photo, the No 74 with rope cables is on the right with the
three No 61s in the center. Picture the No 74 on the left and
that takes up most of the fabric width. On the blue FLAK, I ran a
cable down from the underarm to waist and might end up doing this with
the partial No 74. The No 28 swatch isn't wasted since it will end up
as a saddle. Last piece of the puzzle will be graphing out on a
photocopy of the 61s exactly where the neck stitches will have to be
added to get to the start of the front body. Sounds complicated but it
really isn't. Janet's blog is at , the
pattern is under Downloads. The small cost of the FLAK pattern is
worth every penny.

More discussion on this sweater is on the Ravelry group Annie Maloney
& Friends -

Interesting exercise and one I've worked on quite a bit and really
want to get knitting on it. However there is still work already on the
needles. Oregon Autumn, the fair isle, is two inches down on the first
sleeve. Fulmar has the body joined onto a big circular. Poor Shirt
Tail Hemmed pullover still sits in her canvas bag.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oregon Autumn is up to the sholder join. I am not happy with it at all but am not going to rip it back to the underarms and start over. My friend Shirley is making the same size as I am and the shoulders look the same. We think it is where the division for the armhole steek starts that is not proportionate.

It is a beautiful sweater and will be worn a lot I'm sure. The colors are beautiful and the quality of the Virtual Yarns yarn is outstanding. I wish I'd taken the time to double check the chart layout to see if the shoulders would match but just never thought about doing so. The photo is the armhole steek crocheted, cut open and the shoulder join done using three needle bind off. I chose to just use the background color called for and do two rows of solid color.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This is the swatch I'm working on for my first self put together Aran. The cables are from Annie Maloney's "The Cable Knitting Handbook". This is the test knit for two of the cables. The far right cable will be repeated on the left of the next three cables which are hour glasses and not finished yet. Doing a wide swatch gives you the true stitches per inch in your cable so that you can plan the width of the sweater properly. I'm experimenting with different ways to fill in the arms of the right hand cable which looks like an X at the moment but is really a diamond. Lots of possibilities! The yarn is Briggs & Little "Regal" and is being knit on US#5.

We are discussing Annie's work on the Ravelry group "Annie Maloney & Friends".
Come join us if you are a Ravelry member. If not - join!!! It is an amazing wealth of information for knitters.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Oregon continues to be a fun knit. I'm one row past having put the underarm stitches on holders and started the sleeve steek.

Long, cold, rain/sleet/hail day with ice build up on the trees. So far we still have power and probably will be okay since it has finally stopped. We've kept the roofs shoveled best we could but the warmer weather next few days will help. I don't know where we are going to put any more snow. That little figure is Joe clearing outside the garage door. The room over the garage is my knitting/quilting room.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Since I didn't want to ruin this nice snowy day by doing something dumb like vacumning, decided to get out possible yarn choices for either St. Brigid or the sweater using Annie Maloney's cables.

I've decided to use the Irish Ewe wool from Ireland. Bought this at The Irish Ewe shop in Norway, Maine. Dagny and her mom Deb import some really luscious fiber and this is a very authentic weight and ply for cabling. That yarn is in the left front corner of the photo. The other wools are on the right Cascade 220 in Christmas red, gold and a deep purple. Center top is Galway aran in a yellowish green. Left top is Country Craft in Fundy Fog and Blackberry. The blue knitted fiber is Cleckheaton Country 8 ply.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm up to row 48 on Oregon and done with the second sleeve (except ribbing) on Fulmar. Oregon is such a pretty sweater and the colors just glow in a subdued fall feeling, not bright like either the original pattern leaflet from VY or the Vogue photo. I actually like it better.

More snow tomorrow - 10 to 14" but it is very cold so it will be light, not that heavy, water laden mess like the last storm. Tomorrow is available as a knitting day so I might even make it up the armholes for Oregon and start the shaping. Doubt I ever make another dropped shoulder fair isle as there is just too much fabric at the armholes for me.

Think we have snow? This is our camper off the truck waiting for spring. Come on spring!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Oregon Autumn sweater is coming along so well. The yarn is a joy to work with and the colors just glow. These are pretty difficult colors to photograph well. I like steeks that might be a cople of stitches wider than most but I do crocheted steeks and like them this way. Still haven't decided whether to keep it as a V neck as designed or go to a crew neck which I'm sure I'll wear more.

Yesterday we drove up to Halcyon Yarns and bought two 900 yard cones of Harrisville Shetland in off white. I have a great collection of Jamieson & Smith jumper wool in color but nothing in light. Today I skeined off the yardage and washed it to make it bloom. The coned wool is not pre-washed. The skeins are now on the wooly board drying. They bloomed and now look like J&S weight. My "Knit from Stash yarn diet" obviously didn't last long!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Somehow I felt that Saturday would be the delivery day for the box of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight yarn in the discontinued colors. However we had to go out before the mailman came. Of course, when we got home, there was the postal slip saying to come to the post office on Tuesday to pick it up since we weren’t home to sign for the box. Monday is an American federal government holiday so the postal workers were not delivering and I was really anxious for the box. I called the number on the slip and a clerk did answer as they were still working behind the closed counter windows. She took pity on me and called the carrier on his cell phone to see where he was on his route. I ended up driving about five miles to meet up with him but I got the box!!!

Forced myself to wait to open it until I’d gotten the notes out on who had ordered which colors and how many. A couple of us had ordered together to hold down the shipping costs.

Ripped open the box with assistance from Miss Boots, The Cat, and there was the PILE of beautifully packaged colors. Thanks go out to S. Johnson, the shipping room clerk, for a great job on packaging and carefully checking the yarn against the invoice.

I had a great time sitting out in my sunroom spreading out the colors and sorting them into piles. Every color we ordered was available and all the counts and colors were correct. Last photo shows the split up orders all ready to go to the happy knitters. The biggest box is mine