Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tour de Fleece, 2008!

I joined the Tour de Fleece group in Ravelry, where we are to spin each day the Tour de France is running... here is the roving I'm currently spinning:

This is my first dyeing project - I took a class at The Weaving Works on June 28, the hottest day of the year, but I didn't mind. I'd been waiting for this class for 2 months, and was so excited. My two goals this year was to learn stranded knitting, and to learn to dye (and not be afraid to do so). This is 4 oz of Superwash Merino (meaning the wool is quite fine, and is washable).

So my goal for TdF is to spin sock yarn with my own hand painted rovings... this is what I have as of day 2 (on my new Ron Antoine bobbin!):

I'm pleased with my progress, but I'm such a beginner!! Maybe by the end of the Tour I'll feel more confident.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My first swap

I know I haven't posted for a looonnnggg time, but I just HAD to show this - the box I picked up from my mailbox today was from my wonderful swap partner "NadKnitBlog" in Germany.

For those of you who are not familiar with swaps (and up until recently, that included me), think of a pen pal.. only bigger! This swap was organized by a forum I am a member of in Ravelry (a fibre addicted persons website). The forum is called "Caffeine Addicted", and we sent our names into the organizer with a completed questionnaire of our likes and dislikes, and that organizer matches you with someone else. I got to send a box to my buddy in Italy, and my buddy from Germany sent this! All that is said is to send yarn, a mug (or cup) and the caffeine of choice, but we are free to add what else we want and she went OVERBOARD!! Whee!!! My sister and I plan to have a tea and chocolate party tomorrow! (the coffee is all MINE!!!!!) The yarn is from her LYS (local yarn shop) and the coffee is Fair trade and only sold in her state of Saarland.

Thank you NadKnitBlog!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm back....

I apologize profusely - I've been very bad with my blog. sigh.. no excuses.

I've been cheering on my daughter in her push to make the 2008 Olympics - what a ride! She's an archer, and totally blows me away when it comes to her ability to concentrate for days at a time. She wasn't even planning to try for this Olympics, but a coach insisted she go to the first tryout (to pick the top 16 women in the country) and to our shock she came in 11th! so the race was on.... that was September. Jump to April, and forms/passports/ack!! and off to Chula Vista for 3 days of competition. She didn't make the top 8, but did a great showing and now we can relax and concentrate on normal competitions (like nationals, worlds, etc ACK!!)

She definitely didn't get this from ME!

Ok, back to knitting :)

I'm now up to 4 little norwegian sweaters and took a little break from them to make some socks... here's the sweaters:

I made my first "pullover", and was pleased with it.. I find for some reason it is a bit more difficult for me, maybe because I didn't have the guide of the middle of the sweater (the front) and I wasn't too sure about putting in the collar. But, it's my first and I feel good about that.

I'm also working on my second pair of socks ever, "Baudelaire
, by my very favorite sock designer, Cookie A. I also joined a few sock forums on Ravelry, and even a sock "Pentathlon", where we will make 5 different socks over the year, with 5 different techniques.. I'm looking forward to it, and have purchased my yarn for the next 3 :). I'll put up a picture of my Baudelaire when they are done. Got one done... working on the next!

I also joined my first "swap" - kind of like a secret pen pal, for those who are not familiar with that phrase in knitting. You list a few of your favorite things in an email to a moderator (colors, what's on your needles, etc) and the moderator matches you up with someone else anywhere in the world. This particular swap is for the Caffeine Addicted group, so we are exchanging yarn, a mug or cup, and either tea or coffee... I'm having a lot of fun shopping for my "swappee" :) :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Lifelong Quest

Ok, I keep searching the web and everywhere I go for my ultimate prize... miniature notions. So I decided to try here.

Remember when Barbie dolls first came out? My family couldn't afford the clothing, and my mother made beautiful dresses for my doll, but oh how I wanted just one of those pink frothy dresses - not for the doll, but because of the teeny tiny zipper. Even Ken's slacks had a tiny little zipper!

So where did they come from? and where did they go? They have to be someplace.

Every web site I check says it has tiny zippers, but what I find are SHORT zippers. The coils they show continue to be regular size. As for buttons, I need little tiny "pewter" buttons to do true miniature Norwegian sweaters .. I could make them from Fimo, or similar clay, but zippers! sigh...

So if anyone has a supplier, or knows maybe where these things could be found please let me know!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mr. Rogers Sweater Day

I've been busy.

In honor of Mr. Rogers Sweater Day (March 20), I made a tiny cardigan based on the one in the Smithsonian. I even did my first pattern for it, which you can now find to the right. Be patient with me! It's my very first! :)

It also has an outline of how I did the steeking in case anyone wants to see that. I created this blog partially to help me and any others who want to learn the joy of cutting into our wonderful knitting slog our way through the learning curve, so although I'm far from an expert, maybe my trials will help others. Feel free to give any helpful comments and hints!

I've also have a little norwegian cardigan waiting for buttons, and my first norwegian pullover. On the pullover I have to figure out how to do the neckline (I'm thinking like a zippered neckline? only not zippered...) and I'll have pictures up of them soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Ok, I know it' been too long since I blogged... I'll be better soon, I promise!

I've been busily working on Christmas gifts (yes, Christmas. As in Christmas 2008. I know - sick sick sick) that because my DS (that's dear sister) looks at this blog I can't put pictures of... but you on Ravelry know what it/she/they are. :) Things I CAN put pictures up about are my continuing saga of learning to do stranded knitting.

My semi-miniature sweaters are coming along. I recently purchased Dale of Norway's 125th Anniversary pattern mag - I love the sweaters in there, but mostly I bought it to learn how they do buttonhole plackets. I'll do a blog soon on that story.

Other than that, I thought I'd try true miniature Norwegian sweaters (hey! why goof around with just a LITTLE blindness?) and experimented on Frog Tree fingering yarn and size 00 needle... not too bad for a start. But I'll need to find teeny tiny pewter buttons (or make them with fimo?)

Anyhoo... more soon. With pictures.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I've been doing in my "spare time"...

I'm back! Well, I really haven't gone anywhere, just was finishing some knitting and doing family stuff.. Here's what I was doing yesterday!

Although my family is not Ukrainian, my sister and I have been doing pysanky for years. A few years ago, we introduced it to my daughters and now it's a family thing. At least once a year we gather and create these little jewels. It takes 6-8 hours to do one, and yes, those are real, raw eggs. It's done like batik, where you cover with wax the color you want to show, put the egg in the next color, and repeat the process up to black. The result is the egg above.. you then melt the wax off and a beautiful surprise comes out! I'm not too good with close-up pictures, so I'll have my DD take some pictures of the results and post them later.

Meanwhile, I also finished my second miniature Norwegian sweater, and it ended up being a better experience for me:

(Note the dirty thumbnail above... that's actually black dye from the pysanky!!)

Again, this is basically my own pattern, though fashioned off of a picture I had saved. The sleeve went in well - I do have questions as to whether I'm doing them correctly and have posted to questions to Ravelry. What I'm doing doesn't look like the pictures in the Dale of Norway pamphlets - I tend to sew them in like sewing in sleeves of dresses, then turn the sleeve facing over the raw steeks to cover them.

The steeks on the front went much better. I knitted 6 steek stitches down the center, sewed them down so they would NEVER move (straight stitch, and several zig-zag stitches) then created the button placket over that. THEN I realized that to make the placket I was copying was one with a zipper, thus no buttonholes. In order to cover the steek and have buttonholes, I realized I had to make them matching on both sides of the placket... sigh. I need to get a pattern for cardigans so I know what I'm supposed to be doing. Still, I'm pleased with this attempt. I'm going to do one more cardigan, this time the way they are really done, hopefully with the armholes correct and the neckline a little bigger...

me, still learning.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Miniature Norwegian cardigan and Steeking - bleah!

First, the good picture (of the back):
I'm really quite pleased with this... The pattern is my own (designed on Excel) and I steeked the sewed in the sleeves and it worked well. Well, almost. I discovered one item a knitter needs to carry in their bag - super glue.

I learned how to steek from various web pages, thank you so much! However, when I cut the shoulder steeks, I suddenly remembered that somewhere I read to be sure to stitch all the way up to the shoulder. I understand what they meant now. sigh. So my shoulders started to unravel. Luckily, my archer daughter had her kit open and tossed me her super glue... it's pretty ugly, but it worked, and since this was a sample, I'm decided not to fret too much. The sleeves went in.

Then the front steek. Ok, time to admit, I've never made a cardigan, much less a complete sweater before (except for a teeny tiny pullover I made during Christmas for an ornament, but that's another story) so I had really no idea how to put one together. I'd have liked to find a pattern for a Norwegian cardigan, but couldn't, So I decided to go ahead and look everything up on the web.

Mary Ann Stephens at has a wonderful treatise on steeking here, and helped me tremendously, especially when I emailed her in panic (thank you!), and I decided I would try her "covered steek" system... thinking that THAT was the buttonhole part - WRONG. AND, may I add, don't try this on a miniature sweater.

The beautiful covered steeks cannot be knit in proportion to the miniature size and retain the stabilization. I now understand that covered steeks are a lovely addition to the sweater, not the button section. I tried in vain to steek the right side, and everything fell apart. After the above picture, I put everything away and sulked for the rest of the evening.

The next day I was blessed with snow, and my office being closed due to icy road conditions (when it snows in Seattle, you have to realize that it's wet, icy snow, and hills we are dealing with) so I pulled the sweater back out and thought. Then it sewed the crap out of the steeks, back and forth about 4 times, AND zig-zagging. Murph.

One side came out great with the covered steeks... then I got cocky on the other side and tried to trim it down to size. Bad. But I'm learning.

A few things that I learned:

2) If doing light colored covered steeks, don't do your steeking stitches in black.
3) Don't trim too closely no matter how tight your machine stitches
4) zig-zags are good.
5) It's good to have a real Dale of Norway sweater beside you to look at (thank you Karen!)

Techniques tried with this project:

1) 3 needle bind off
2) steeking (natch)
3) reverse knitting (again, thank you Mary Ann)

It's a learning experience, and I think, as soon as I find a cardigan pattern somewhere, that I will do a miniature one more time.

Steeking Links I used:
Wendy Johnson, courtesy of
Eunny Jang, at See Eunny Knit

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dale of Norway Osteralen Hat Completed!

Ta Da!!

I finished blocking it this morning, and was allowed by my neighborhood LYS Village Yarn and Tea to take it's inaugural photo in their wonderful shop on one of their obliging models. :)

I really like this hat design - it's a bit different from the normal close fitting cap. My Dear Daughter Erin has taken a liking to the DON St Moritz, and I may make her the same design with the St Moritz pattern in the blue colorway (I'm getting downright cocky!)

I found that once I got the hang of stranded knitting, it went quickly - you kind of get addicted to seeing what comes next. I'm in the doldrums of doing the long "nothing but white" on the scarf right now, but I'm determined to finish it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's working....

Well, I think I've discovered the secret..

I switched from dpn to 2 circulars as explained here at and it works! I completed the first pattern part of my scarf last night, and started the hat again until I could get the additional #3 needle I needed to continue.

The other thing I learned is the idea of "loose while firm" knitting - keeping the fabric on the active needle spaced out in order to carry the threads, but keeping the stitches ON the needles the correct tension...

Anyway, I'm now moving forward!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not giving up

Well, I started my scarf for the 6th time, found some errors, tried to fix them, realized that fixing them in stranded knitting is more difficult than other types of knitting, and ended up tearing it out again. I will NOT give up, but have WAY more respect for fair-isle knitting than ever before, and I had a lot of respect for it then!

What I am learning:

1) patience (natch)
2) you can't (or I can't) knit fair isle quickly... enjoy the process
3) while I like dpn for socks, I'm not so excited about them on a scarf

What has gotten better:

1) my continental knitting

What has gotten worse:

1) my tension (knitting tension) throughout.

I'm not giving up - I don't expect this scarf to look fabulous, though I do tend to be a perfectionist, but I do expect it to be a learning piece and therefore will continue to take it out if I am not happy with bits.

On the third Sunday of every month there is a "Nordic Knitting Cafe" at the Norwegian Heritage Museum... I think I'll go sit in and watch the experts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Attempt #4


Ok, I knew something was wrong.

I actually had this started, and thought the the reason the little bit of white in the middle of the green crosses was not showing was because I was knitting too loose, so I ripped it out and reknit the part above.. still the little white didn't show so I slumped my way back to my LYS for help. Now, this is knitted too tightly. So I wanted to show how far I got this time before frogging.

It's a learning experience, right?

Monday, January 7, 2008

She Begins!

ACK! I just joined Ravelry and they asked for my Blog site so I decided here is where I start! Please be patient with me while I get my bearings...

Although I'm a programmer, and should know my way around things like this, I'm totally overwhelmed. I think what this blog will be about is my handcrafts and passions. Currently they are spinning and knitting, but ever since I was a little girl I've been enamored over antique/ancient women's arts. Sometimes with my family (sometimes at their bemusement) I have canned fruit, made bread, tried weaving, grown wheat, crocheted, spun, knit... and hope to do more. This blog will be a diary of my attempts to learn anew the arts generally associated with women and home.

Wish me luck!