Thursday, June 29, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

Look at this photo! To my eye, this project is NOT screaming "Hey, pick me up already and get going on the knitted on lace edging again."

In spite of that, I did pick it up today and worked ten rows of the border on Summer in Kansas. This means that I have 220 rows of the border completed. This also means that I have 670 rows of the border remaining (according to my little spreadsheet there, which is discouraging just to look at). I haven't decided, yet, if the glass is half empty or half full on this project.

My new "deadline" is August 4th. It means knitting roughly 20 rows per day. Plus, there is a little border that is worked along the top edge, but I don't think it is quite 890 rows worth. I could find out right now by looking at the pattern, but I'm afraid to. Ignorance sometimes is, indeed, bliss.

Anyway, enough with the shawl math for now. How is your lace baptismal shawl coming along? Hopefully you are more motivated than I am right now??

Well, time to get going on the invitations for my five-year-old's birthday party. It is the first party to which he's ever been allowed to invite friends, so it is really a big deal for him and he is very excited about it.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

First, thank you for your vote. I was honored and humbled in being nominated in the Amazing Lace contest (link on side bar), and though I think my chances at finishing in the top three this time around are slim, I'm just thrilled to be one of the six finalists in Challenge #2. (I went against the advice of my dad years ago in high school when I was involved in a similar type of "election", and didn't even vote for myself.) It has been a LOT of fun!

It turns out that dish rags are a great companion to take to soccer class. I can hold a conversation with other moms as I knit, and watch the kids in their class. Perfect. I even overherd some women sitting a few yards away from me talking about signing up for some crochet class years, I'm not sure if they know that I was not, indeed, crocheting (not that there's anything wrong with that), or if they were just commenting on their own experiences with yarn?? In any case, in the spirit of "each one reach one", I'll be watching to see if anybody else picks up yarn and needles in the next couple of weeks during soccer.

Dish rags, particularly "Grandma's Favorite", have some meaning for me. About 15 years ago, while living in Fort Wayne, my grandma stayed with me in my apartment there for one night. I taught her how to make the "standard" dishrag pattern, because she thought they were "just beautiful." It was the first time I ever saw her knit, though she had considerable knitting experience. It was a fun time for us, sitting there, and both knitting simple dish rags. In any case, now she is suffering from Alzheimers in a nursing home and for a couple of years has not known who I am. It is so ironic, because "memories", and saving "memories" were always so important to her. She gave me no less than two big scrapbooks while I was growing up, to make sure that I would "capture" events from my childhood, and she often talked about when she was a young girl. And now, she has been stripped of most of her memories. She still knows her own (grown) children (on most days, anyway), but it's hard for me to visit her when many of the things I remember about her and associate with her are no longer known even to her. I'm not sure where her mind is right now, but I can only hope that she is happy.

But I digress..... It's the dish rag.... Running total updated in the side bar in my finished objects section.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Off the needles!

Dear Laura:

Ok, I confess, I've been a spaced out co-blogger! So much so that when you emailed to tell me that you were one of the 6 finalists for the Amazing Lace Challenge #2, that was the first that I actually looked at the Amazing Lace site and realized that it is a CONTEST! And that I can vote for you! Doh!

I'm glad that the blue came out of your sweater. It's too bad that it is no longer bright white, but at least it's all the same color again.

Life has been crazy these days. I had gotten to the point that the only time I could count on for knitting during the week was my lunch hour. The last two weeks I've been working through lunches to accrue enough time to have 1/2 a day off for fun events. Even at that, I didn't have enough time to take off and go to the lake cottage that my brother and his family had rented. So, not much knitting progress last week.

But the weekend was another story! I worked at the store Saturday morning, and other than helping with a couple of "troubled projects," I had time to work on the baby sweater. And then 4 hours in the car Saturday going to a birthday party in Ohio....and my dad drove to church, so I got the baby sweater "off the needles" by noon on Sunday! I set it to soak for blocking, and laid it out in the afternoon. I must not have done a good job getting the excess water out tho - I turned it over last night, and am hoping that it will be actually dry when I get home tonight.

The "oops" that I didn't rip out for was noticing half-way through that I had not been working button holes. I think I will try sewn-in-snaps like you used for the felted bag, just a little smaller. Then I think I'll embroider a flower over the spot the snaps are at. Then it will be finished!!

Oh, and I wanted to post this picture of my God-son Richard all wrapped up in his red blankie! They were visiting at my house, and my basement apartment is pretty chilly, so he got all wrapped up for his nap!

Anyway, good luck on your challenge!!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Not All Whites are White

Dear Cynthia,

Remember the blue spot on the bright white sweater? I received some suggestions on how to approach this problem, and I tried all of them.

First, I soaked the blue area in hydrogen peroxide. This might have faded the stain slightly, though I'm not sure.

Second, I soaked the blue area in diluted bleach. This took the blue stuff right out. As it turns out, it also changed the "color" of the white in the elbow area, so I had a new problem.

Third, I stuck the whole sweater in a bucket with diluted bleach, stirred for a couple of minutes, and then washed the sweater in the washing machine on a delicate cycle with a slow agitation speed. To my eye, the sweater isn't as "bright" as it used to be (of course, just wearing it makes it dirty -- I remind myself -- IT'S WHITE). However, the blue is COMPLETELY gone, and I may now wear the sweater again on days other than my "stay at home cleaning" days (in which I never actually clean very much, but papers in the house are moved around a little bit).

Also, I finished my secret project and started working on the dishclothes again. The new tally is in the sidebar in my finished objects section. I only was able to knit for three hours in the van on the way **to** Wausau, because I drove all the way **home** from our weekend excursion and I haven't yet figured out how to safely knit while driving on the interstate. (I was distracted enough trying to console my three-year-old who had dropped his teddy bear in a place in the car in which nobody could reach it.) Now we're all home safe and sound, pleasantly tired, and happy to be back.

I hope that you have a great week!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Just Checking In

Dear Cynthia,

Hmmm.... Crocheting fuzzy yarn on flip-flops, eh? Pictures, please!!!! Perhaps you could make the post incognito to protect the innocent... It sounds like your weekend was relaxing, and I'm sure it was nice to visit with friends for a while! Have you been practicing doing twisted rib in the dark? I don't even know what twisted rib is, so if it makes you feel better, I can't work twisted rib in the light...

The speed of life has really picked up around here, running from this to that, but I am thankful for the activity, and my five-year-old is loving every minute of it. My three-year-old is a bit hesitant for new things, and so on the first day of soccer, I participated in class with him -- at least one of us was going to get the money's worth out of the thing..... My dh said that it gives a new meaning to the phrase "soccer mom". In any case, things are improving, but I still think the teacher is going to charge me an adult participation fee...

We're going out of town this weekend, a quick trip involving at least six hours in the van, so I have my travel knitting packed. I expect to finish my work with the teal yarn, and will then move onto the great dishcloth project of the summer in pursuit of the answer to the question: How many dishcloths out of one pound of Kitchen Cotton? I've started a tally in my finished projects listing on the sidebar. Hopefully next week I'll be knitting more interesting things...

Have a great weekend!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I Am a Slacker...

Dear Laura:

I just love that "A" sweater. It looks so great blocked out - so...perfect! You are way out-producing me these days, and not just knitting wise. I have no idea how you get it all done!

I have not made such progress.

I spent the weekend camping with friends at a nearby campground. I arrived about 40 minutes before they did on Friday night, so I set up my chair and grabbed my knitting basket. It was SO relaxing to sit in the quiet evening, smelling the smoke of campfires all around, enjoying the breeze and knitting. I got most of the way through the first row of twisted garter stitch on the baby sweater and realized that I hadn't looked down at my knitting at all. Straight knitting-into-the-back-loop? I can do that with my eyes closed!! Ha!
Over the next few days, I knitted at the beach and the campsite while still participating in the whole thing. I got 12-14 rows done, and well into the final ball of yarn. Then on Monday evening, while working on it at home....with my eyes open....I discovered a dropped stitch. I can pick up a drop stitch, even on garter stitch, but after working on it for a while, I had to admit that the "twist" was kickin' my behind. So I ripped back...and ended up at right about the place I was when I discovered that I was good enough to knit with my eyes closed.

The imaginary knitting gods will not be mocked, nor will they tolerate arrogance.

Tuesday night was a "knitting break" since I needed to take my car to my brother's house to have new rear brakes installed. While he worked on the car, I worked on a project for his wife. I don't like admitting this on my knitting blog....but I crocheted trim on some flip-flops for her. I don't mind admitting that I crochet - in fact, it was my first yarn craft, and I still enjoy picking up a hook....but I used "fuzzy yarn." You know, the kind I mock other people for using??? Yeah, that kind. And I have another pair to do...

Last night I worked on the baby sweater again, (and I've made up most of the "negative progress" from the weekend)....until the storm rolled through which took down a steeple in our little town and left us without power until 5 o'clock this morning. I went to bed - what else can you do?? When I pulled out of my garage this morning tho, I discovered that the storm had also taken out a large chunk of a dead tree which was now blocking my driveway. Much to big a chunk for me to drag away, so I did a little "off-roading" through the yard to get to work. I was running too late for a picture, but if it hasn't been cleaned up by time I get home, I'll add a picture later.

So, that's all the news from here.

Keep knitting! (and keep your eyes open!)

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Am Not A Slacker

Dear Cynthia,

Well, not totally, anyway....though here is all I have to show you today. Because we have this blog and it causes just enough pressure (nothing unhealthy, mind you) to share some knitting progress, I actually got my butt in gear this morning regarding the Big A sweater, wove in all of the ends that can't be put into a seam (in other words, the zillion intarsia ends are taken care of now - well, not exactly a zillion, but for one big letter made of only one color, there were surprisingly MANY ends), washed it, and now it is blocking.

The teal yarn is what remains of the three hanks of Cascade 220 I bought for the little project I can't reveal at this time. I've gone through approximately 400 yards of it so far, and I expect the completed project will consume a total of roughly 550 yards, so I'm well on my way to finishing it and resuming work on the **ahem** several other projects which have been sidelined.

I've also started to consider what large project I might like to work on this fall. Front-runners are this in colorway 2, this in the green, or this for my dh in the colorway which has wine trim. I'm also reminding myself that I have two shawls which I (repeat after me) ABSOLUTELY WILL FINISH BEFORE STARTING ANOTHER PROJECT. Also, my three-year-old also wants a "sweater to match his big brother's except with no buttons or zippers", and just the thought of making another two Fana sleeves has diminished my already fleeting sanity. In any case, I'm pondering.....

And now, back to it!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, June 19, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

The title of this post is pronounced in such a way that it rhymes with "moo guard", with the accent on the second syllable. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "a lightweight twill or plain-woven fabric of silk or silk and cotton, usually having a small printed design", or, "an article of clothing, esp. a necktie or scarf, made of foulard". It is the name of the shawl I'm making out of the Morehouse Farm Merino Knits book. I am making it with my first ever Knit Picks purchase -- "Shimmer", a Baby Alpaca/Silk blend, lace weight, in the Stained Glass colorway. It is a simple pattern of a square, knit from corner to corner. The most difficult thing about it so far has been getting started, because the needles called for are so large compared to the skinny yarn. My circular needle wasn't working well, because it has tips which are too blunt to knit into both the front and back of a stitch. So, I went searching for the most light-weight and pointiest of all size 11 straight needles. Then, I got going on it and progress has been fast and fun. I have two 440 yard hanks of the Shimmer, and when I get to the end of the first hank, I'll have a big triangle and it will be time to start decreasing as it works itself into a square. It is perfect summer knitting, to take along on trips, or otherwise.

Speaking of summer, all of the park & rec programming starts this week, so we'll be busy with swimming lessons, tee ball, soccer, and lots of stuff going on at the library. I'm not sure when I'll have time for cooking dinner, so this could be an interesting four weeks...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

EXTREME (Amazing Lace Challenge #2)

I think this photo speaks for itself...

Warm regards (and I DO mean "warm"),

Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's a shrug....

Dear Laura:

I love the tie-dye shirts! Your guys will all be quite stylin'. And they are right up my colorway alley!

Wow, I'm anxious to hear how your spot removal went on the white sweater. This is SO something I would have done. I hope it came out all right.

I just thought I'd do a quick post to update you on the infamous baby sweater project. I am cautiously optimistic. I have completed both sleeves (you thought since I hadn't said anything lately that I was slacking off on it, didn't you?? Go ahead, admit it...) It has been my "lunch-hour" project, and has made steady progress.

Now all that is left is to knit twisted garter stitch around the body until I run out of yarn. Don't let the picture panic you - that is not all of the remaining yarn. I have another ball in the basket. Right's a shrug. But I'm pretty sure I can get that body down to the waist at least. ;)

I'm going to be going on a camping trip this weekend - actually, it isn't far, just to Chain of Lakes in Albion, which is only about 1/2 hour drive. My friends from Kenosha are coming to camp there, so I'll be joining them. Of course, if it's too muggy, or buggy, or anything too's only 1/2 hour drive back to my apartment and a/c!!

I've packed the knitting bag with the baby sweater, a sock project, and more yarn for those little baby hats. I know I'll be lucky to finish the sweater, but I always have to take way more projects that I think I can possibly finish "just in case." What if I had time but nothing to work on!! Tragedy!!


Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's not about the knitting...

Dear Cynthia,

I have some "deadline" projects due, and after suffering some lack of sleep to sew, I'm happy to report that all deadlines will be met.

First: Tie-dye shirts for Fathers' Day. This is a great project for kids! After the boys and I "tied" them using rubber bands and I soaked them in soda ash, we dyed them together out in the front yard using the squeeze bottles in the kit. My five-year-old wanted a double swirl, which proved to be a challenge a little bit beyond our abilities, but it's hard to go wrong with tie-dye. My three-year-old wanted "stripes".In this next photo, the shirt on the left is for my dad. The boys thought his should be a "swirl". The one on the right is for DH. The boys wanted his to be a "sunburst". These were all done using the "Ultimate Tie-Dye Kit" by Rainbow Rock, for approximately $12.00 after using the 40% off coupon at Michaels. It is very important to use shirts made from 100% natural fiber for best color saturation. We used Hanes shirts, 100% cotton, which come in packs of three. I'm not sure my dad will actually wear his, though he can always use it to wash the car. I know DH will wear his, to match the boys, who love to dress like their daddy.

And two more skirts....the short one for me, and the long one for a taller young lady I know who will be going to Europe in a couple of weeks -- a skirt that is SUPPOSED to be wrinkled. I'm a little bit tired of "gathering" for the time being -- the lowest tier on the blue skirt is 176" around. I'm loving the whole crinkled thing, though, and I want a longer one for myself....

And so, off to the post office to get these items in the mail. And next time, we'll return to our normally scheduled blog about knitting.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What was I thinking?

Dear Cynthia,

First, I want to say, "Thank you", to Tenizmom, Lauren, and Sarah for their kind comments, and for guessing the number of dishcloths which a one-pound cone of Kitchen Cotton will yield. Also, I beg you to be patient with me..... Anybody who has read a post or two from this blog will quickly realize that there is no apparent logic regarding what I decide to knit on any given day, and though I am working on the dishcloths in the background, given the amount of yarn in a pound of Kitchen Cotton, we might not have our answer until the end of summer (hopefully 2006). (Not sure what I was thinking about possibly working exclusively on dishcloths until the one pounder is all used up....) So again, please hang in there. I haven't forgotten, and I'm quite curious about the answer myself! Also, if anybody else would care to venture a guess, entries are not closed. I think I can still manage the tabulations even if the number of entries doubles.

Second, you may remember this 100% cotton bright **white** sweater (what was I thinking) which I knit last summer, my own pattern, having cables along the front and for the ribbing of the lower edges. Bright white. I am not the best one for laundry tips, though I have one today. Here I have zoomed in on the right sleeve, so that you may see the cable ribbing detail and the large blue spot on the elbow (which I'm guessing you noticed long before the cable ribbing detail grabbed your attention). I wash all of my sweaters in the washing machine, on the delicate cycle, cold water, minimum agitation. It works great, and the water is sufficiently flung out of them so they don't take too long to dry. However, if one might be drying sweaters bunk bed style, having one laying on the floor, and then another on a little sweater dryer having mesh which holds the sweater about five inches off of the floor, and if the sleeve of that sweater on the "top bunk" might be bright white and come into contact with the blue sweater on the "lower bunk", and some sort of capillary wicking thing happens, it is quite possible that there might be a transfer of some blue dye. AAUGH!!!! I'm not sure what to do. I think I'll try washing the white sweater in a weak bleach solution, all by itself, but if anybody in blog land might have any thoughts on this....please share!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. I didn't even know about world wide knit-in-public day! I'm with you, though. I don't need a special day to do that.
P.P.S. I'm very excited about your lace, and will enjoy watching it unfold!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This and that...

Dear Cynthia,

Shawl math: 211 rows of the 890 row border have been completed (almost 1/4). Being a little bit behind on my 60 row per day goal, I am facing the fact that I am not going to have this done in time for my nephew's confirmation on June 25th, which is probably fine, because if I do have it done by then, the weather will be 90 degrees and I'll be sweating just carrying it around, let alone wearing it. And so since this isn't done, my nephew will have me to blame for the crummy 50 degree windy weather we're probably going to have on that day, instead.....and me without my new shawl..... New target completion is the first week in August.

How about this picture? Has it occurred to anybody yet that my degree has nothing to do with art? Better planning of my photo compositions is something that often escapes me me until after I've uploaded the photos to the server and I'm hurriedly trying to post before "quiet time" for the boys is over. In any case, the dark yarn is going to be used to finish the scarf for my dad (shown here in all one inches of its glory -- so there is a bit more to knit in order to "finish" it). I threw in the teal colored yarn just to shock you, since it's soooo not a color I would normally purchase. It is for a special project which I will reveal in its time.....

Last night, as I was knitting away, wondering if I might have possibly spent too much time knitting during the day and not enough time with the laundry, I realized that this coming Sunday is Fathers' Day. Since my dad is out of town, today is the day I have to mobilize to make his gift "happen" on time. And so, this afternoon the boys and I are going to tie dye some T-shirts --one for dh, one for my dad, and one for each of the boys (because they like to dress like their daddy). I'll share the results of that in my next post..... I'd better go read the directions in the tie dye kit now.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Did you knit in public??

Dear Laura:

I love your sweater!! I'm glad you're happy with it too - that makes a world of difference...And thanks for all the work you're doing posting free patterns!

Yes, Saturday was WWKIP day! (World Wide Knit in Public) I have a hard time seeing the need for a special day, since I've always been one to knit wherever and whenever I find myself. (The only 2 exceptions are church, and business meetings where they have said, "No, you can't knit during the meeting!") Otherwise "in public" is my knitting ground!

I've knitted in resturants, doctor's offices, hotel lobbies, Major League Ballparks, convention floors, on planes, trains, busses, and subways, at family reunions....ok, and once...well, once in the fellowship hall of the church while waiting for a funeral to begin....

So I don't know how much credit I'll get for my WWKIP activity. The only "public" knitting I did was at a graduation party for my cousin's daughter. However, I can report that at my table, everyone commented that I had been knitting the last time they saw me, and some could even remember the project. "You finished that baby hat at my house that day, didn't you?" "Did you finish the scarf you were working on at the reunion??"

I worked on this hat from the book One Skein. It seemed like a quick project to do for Lydia while she waits for her sweater (it did only take about 4 hours.) I also heard from her mother that her head is too little for the hats that she buys, so I'm hoping this (in a "newborn" size) will fit. I'm still waiting on a report. I used Cottonade yard...I'll have to look up the manufacturer. It is hard for me to knit with cotton, but this yarn is so cute! I'm going to make several more hats, and the baby kimono to have for shower gifts. I just have to space out the cotton knitting!

Once I finished the hat, it was back to the lace Baptismal shawl. I'm up to row 40, and I'm really due for a lifeline, but I would really like to finish this portion of the chart. I know, I know, I will probably regret trying to stretch this out..... It was really nice to switch back to that lovely, wispy yarn after the chunkier cotton. My hands gave a sigh of relief!

Which reminds me - I had quite a teaching adventure last Thursday. I had scheduled a student during "Knit-In" who wanted help with a chunky hat, and while we were working, a student came in with questions about a heel of a fingering weight sock. So, to my left I had size 1 needles and decreases and to my right, size 10 needles and increases! (I'm told there was another student with a question that I handled, but I honestly have no recollection of that!)

So, there's the news for now...

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Finally Finished

Dear Cynthia,I finally finished the collared zip cardigan, shown here with my most recently completed dish rag. I've posted the pattern for the cardi in the "free patterns" section, including a snapshot of what it actually looks like with a person wearing it.
The other project which is taking me forever to finish is the "big A" sweater (shown here in its current state). I'm going to try to finish it this next week and post the pattern shortly after...

I've also found a new challenge: to determine how many 7-inch-square dish rags may be knit out of one pound of Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton. Any guesses? Anybody? I'll send a dish rag to the person who comes the closest to the right answer!!

(Hint: Here is what one pound looks like after making three of them...)(....and here is what it looks like before any has been used...)
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Collared Zip Cardigan

A pattern by YarnThrower

This is a basic bulky cardigan. It has ribbing under the arms for subtle shaping, modified drop shoulders, and a collar. Feel free to explore your own creative genious by using this pattern as a "blank sheet" to embellish with stitch patterns or color work, or just make it plain, as I did, using a nice yarn. It is perfect for a fall jacket, and the bulky yarn makes it very warm.

It is knit with the front bands, fronts, and back as one piece from the lower edge to the underarms. Then some stitches are cast off for sleeve insets, and the fronts and back are knit separately up to the shoulders, then attached at the shoulders with three needle bind-offs. Sleeves are picked up from the armhole edges and knit down from the shoulders, first back and forth for a couple of inches in the inset area, and then joined to knit in the round down to the cuff. The collar is picked up and knit from the neckline. The only finishing on this sweater is weaving in the ends, sewing a four inch seam in the underarm area of each sleeve, and installing a zipper. Directions for sewing a zipper into a cardigan may be found here.

(This pattern is the property of YarnThrower and may not be reproduced except for one copy for individual use. If you otherwise print or distribute this pattern without YarnThrower's written permission, you are stealing.)

Finished Size: This sweater, as shown, has a 40 inch chest measurement. Since this is a free pattern, and since I don't know what the interest in it will be, I have not worked out the math for other sizes. However, if you are interested in a particular size, send me an e-mail with your wishes, and I'll see what I can do.
Updated 10/29/2006: To include directions for a 54 inch circumference (2x).

  • Blackberry Ridge Nubby Wool (bulky weight, approximately 185 yards per 4 oz), 6 hanks. (Not sure how much would be required for the 54 inch (2x) size.)
  • 20" separating zipper to coordinate with yarn (24" zipper for larger size)
  • Circular, 16 inches for upper sleeves, size 8
  • Circular, long enough to hold 166 (226) stitches for body (worked back & forth), size 8
  • Circular to hold 150 (204) stitches for lower body ribbing (worked back & forth), size 6
  • Double pointed needles for lower sleeves cuffs, size 6
  • Double pointed needles for lower sleeves above cuffs, size 8
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
15.5 stitches and 25 rows to 4 inches in stockinette


Body of sweater:

  • Using size 6 circular needle, cast on 150 (204) stitches.
  • Row 1: K1, P1, K1, P1, *K2, P2*, repeat area between ** until last six stitches, then K2, P1, K1, P1, K1.
  • Row 2: K1, P1, K1, K1, *P2, K2*, repeat area between ** until last six stitches, then P2, K1, K1, P1, K1. (Note that this sets up a seed stitch border along the front edges that spans three stitches on each side, and a one-stitch "channel" next to each border, and 2x2 ribbing along the rest of the lower edge of the cardigan.)
  • Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 16 rows have been completed, increasing 16 (22 -- space 12 of these within the back section, and place the remaining 10 within the front sections (5 within each front)) stitches evenly spaced in row 16 (making sure that these increases aren't made within the 14 (18) stitches under each arm -- the ribbing in this area will continue up to the armhole). Now there will be 166 (226) stitches on the needles.
  • Change to size 8 circular needle.
  • Next row (right side): K1, P1, K1, P1, K30 (43), place marker, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, (add K2, P2 for larger size) place marker, K70 (96), place marker, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, (add K2, P2 for larger size) place marker, K30 (43), P1, K1, P1, K1. (The two P2 K2 sections, which are between markers, set up the ribbing under the arms, which is continued all the way to the armholes.) (Note that at this point, there are two fewer "front" stitches than there are back stitches. This is to allow for the space the sewn in zipper will take up.)
  • Next row (wrong side): K1, P1, K1, K1, P30 (43), slip marker, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, (add K2, P2 for larger size) slip marker, P70 (96), slip marker, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, (add K2, P2 for larger size) slip marker, P30 (43), K1, K1, P1, K1.
  • Repeat these two rows until work measures 13 inches (14 inches, or desired length to armholes) from cast on edge, ending with a wrong side row.
  • Next row, divide for fronts and back: Work across 34 (47) stitches as established, place these 34 (47) stitches on holder (scrap yarn), bind off 14 (18) ribbing stitches (for bottom of armhole), work across 70 (96) stitches, place remaining 48 (65) stitches in row on another holder.
  • Back: Knit stockinette (knitting on right side rows, purling on wrong side rows) on 70 (96) stitches for back for 9.5 (13) inches ending with a wrong side row. On next row, K22 (30) shoulder stitches and place these stitches on a holder, bind off 26 (36) back neck stitches, K22 (30) shoulder stitches on other side and place on holder.
  • Right Front: Joining yarn at right front edge, and starting with a right side row, P1, K1, P1, P1, work to end of row for right front. (Notice that the order of stitches for the front band sequence is different than how it was worked prior to the dividing round. This change is required in order to maintain the continuity of the seed stitch pattern on the front band.) Turn work, and now on wrong side row, knit to last four stitches, K1, P1, K1, P1. Repeat these last two rows until 46 (# of rows to get length specified) rows have been worked since dividing row, or until front measures 7 (10)inches from dividing row, ending with a wrong side row.
  • Right Front neckline shaping: On next row (right side), bind off 6 (8) stitches and work across. Purl next row. On next row (right side), bind off 4 (5) stitches and work across. Purl next row. On next row (right side), bind off 2 (2) stitches and work across.
  • Finish Right Front: Continue working in stockinette until right front measures 9.5 (13) inches from dividing row and is the same length as the back.
  • With "public" (right) sides together, join right front to right shoulder of back using three-needle-bind-off.
  • Left front: Joining yarn at back of left armhole (where stitches have been saved on holder immediately next to back, right side row next, bind off 14 (18) ribbing stitches, knit to last four stitches, then P1, K1, P1, K1. There will be 34 (47) stitches on the needle, and "dividing row" has just been completed. Next row (wrong side row), K1, P1, K1, K1, purl across. Next row (right side row), knit to last four stitches, P1, K1, P1, K1. Continue repeating these last two rows until 46 (# of rows to get length specified -- should be same as right front) rows from dividing row, ending with right side row.
  • Left front neckline shaping: On next row (wrong side), bind off 6 (8) stitches and work across. Knit next row. On next row (wrong side), bind off 4 (5) stitches and work across. Purl next row. On next row (wrong side), bind off 2 (2) stitches and work across.
  • Finish Left Front: Continue working in stockinette until left front measure 9.5 (13) inches from dividing row and is the same length as the back.
  • With "public" (right) sides together, join left front to left shoulder of back using three-needle-bind-off.
  • Using 16 inch size 8 circular needle, pick up and knit 80 stitches along the armhole edge of one sleeve. (Do not pick up any stitches in the area which was bound off for the sleeve inset. In other words, pick up and knit these 80 stitches only on the front and back edges of the armhole, and not in the underarm.)
  • Work back and forth in stockinette stitch for 12 rows (which should be about 2 inches).
  • Join to work in the round placing marker for end of round.
  • Knit 5 rounds.
  • Decrease round: K1, K2tog, Knit to last three stitches of round, SSK, K1.
  • Continue as established, decreasing every 6th round until 48 stitches remain.
  • Knit 5 more rounds.
  • On next round, *K4, K2tog*, repeat between ** until end of round. 40 stitches remain.
  • Change to smaller needles and work K2, P2 ribbing for 20 rounds.
  • Bind off in ribbing.
  • Stitch underarm sleeve seam.
  • Make second sleeve the same as the first.
  • Using size 6 circular needle, and starting at right front edge, pick up and knit 21 stitches along the right band and front, 31 stitches along the back, and 21 stitches alond the left front and band.
  • Turn work and *K1, P1*, repeat between ** until one stitch remains, K1. Repeat this row until collar measures 2 inches. (This should be creating a seed stitch collar.)
  • Change to size 8 circular needle and continue working in seed stitch for 2 more inches.
  • Bind off in pattern.
  • Sew underarms closed.
  • Weave in ends.
  • Block.
  • Install zipper.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Calling All Reinforcements

Dear Cynthia,
First, I just want to mention how much I have appreciated the comments which people have left on our blog! In response to the question about the skirts, I was using an existing booklet called "Sassy Skirts", by Cindy Taylor Oates. I followed the basic instructions for skirt construction, and used the pattern for the top tier, but the remaining tiers are just long rectangular strips which I sized based on how much fabric I had in my stash. My goal was "no new fabric". It sounds a lot like my knitting mantra for the summer: "no new yarn". And to "anonymous", I just want to say, "Thank you for your kind comment!"

Regarding the more angst-causing thing in my life right now: Summer in Kansas, I actually made positive progress (which I have not had to frog yet a fourth far) in the knit-on-border arena. I credit invoking all forms of "reinforcements". Notice the following in this photo:
  • Stitch markers on the needle between every ten stitches so that I can more easily make sure that I'm using up the "live stitches" at the rate the pattern calls for
  • An Excel chart having 36 rows and 10 columns, for me to put an "x" in each box after knitting one row. The most insane part of this is that once I fill up this chart, I am only just approaching the center point, and after the center point, I get to fill up this entire 360 square chart AGAIN
  • It might be difficult to spot, but I put lifelines in a few border rows, just to insure that I never in this lifetime have to go back and re-start the #%&)*ing border again.
  • I switched from my circular needle to a straight needle, which is just easier for me to maneuver
My original goal was to have this done by June 25th. Since the border has 890 rows in it, I must knit 50 rows per day, which is very workable as long as I stop doing laundry and keep the de-cluttering in the house to a minimum. We'll see.....

I'm glad to see you are starting your lace so that we may comiserate, I mean share in each other's victories. Your post made me feel less like a moron.... Or, perhaps it just means we are both morons? I've been called worse....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. I've got to try that Russian join you mentioned. It looks quicker and easier than unraveling plies and using spit to try to attach ends together.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lace Begun......

Dear Laura:
Hey, your dishcloths look great! I agree that I don't like them to be too large. I like the pattern from the ball band - I may have to dig out some of my kitchen cotton and give it a try.
Well, there has been knitting progress here. I believe that I have finally got the baby sweater worked out. I was about to say it is for sure because I'm about 1/2 done...but then I remembered that I ripped out 3/4 of the body a mere week and a half ago, so I decided to be "optimistic" rather than "sure."
I cast on at the top and worked to the divide of sleeves and body. I finished that ball of yarn on the body, switching to twisted garter stitch (which I am now a big fan of!) I ripped out the swatch and used it to make the collar. I ran out of yarn about 7 rows from the end, so I attached a new ball using the Russian Join (another thing I've become a big fan of!)
I'm almost done with the first sleeve, and hoping I can get both sleeves from this ball of yarn. Then I'll use all remaining yarn on the body, doing twisted garter until the yarn runs out. Hope it comes to the waist...
I would also note my conviction that I have enough yarn for a "baby sweater". I do believe that with all my heart. However, I should mention that yesterday I discovered I had not been paying attention, and I'm making the 12 mos size instead of the 6 mos size. So, if this ends up being a will be because I'm making a sweater that is really larger than a "baby sweater." Just sayin'.
At this point I decided that I'm far enough along on the sweater that I can start the baptismal blanket.
So, lace begun. I sat down Monday evening with my yarn, needles, pattern, a bright light, and laptop pointed to Eunny's lace primer. I first tried the 'circular provisional-type' cast on. That really didn't work for me.
Next I tried (successfully) the 'circular crochet-type' cast on, and began the blanket. (Here's a picture.) But I made it to row 5!
Finally, a picture of my current attempt. (Once again, note the lack of temptation to the knitting gods.* I did NOT say the 'final' cast-on.) I finished row 16 last night, and I think I will put in a life line before I go any further. I've had a couple of near misses..... ***(NOTE: Since it took me 2 days to post this to blogger, I need to add that when I went to add the lifeline, I discovered that it was too late, and I was already 4 stitches "short" on the round. I tinked a couple of rows, but it did not, after starting over from scratch, I'm back on row 12!!)
That's the news from here!
Keep knitting!
Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)
*FTR, I do not believe in the knitting gods!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hanging by a Thread

Dear Cynthia,

Today, my tale is one of woe and disappointment. (Knitting, apparently, isn't **always** about the therapeutic value.) Last night, I ripped out the knitted-on-lower-edging of my Summer in Kansas Shawl for the third time... I had been happily approaching row 38 on my nice little edging pattern when I counted the stitches on my needle holding the main body of the shawl in all of its 405 stitch glory. (Why did I do this? Am I anal? Was I looking for trouble?) It was then I discovered that someplace in the midst of the 405 live stitches, I had misplaced one of them..... I considered moving on anyway, except given the other two prior froggings, I decided that I'd better go back and make sure I had not inadvertently dropped any live stitches.... And so, I took it back to the lifeline, a point at which I'm fully, or maybe just somewhat, confident that I was at a place in which everything was on track, and I felt really good about this project, and I was sleeping well at night.

In all of this, I had a chance to examine the shawl "off the needles" (being kept in tact only by that mere skinny thread of a lifeline), and I confess I felt a hint of disappointment by its small and crumpled appearance. (Shown here on our kitchen table, which is only three feet wide, I'm a little nervous that it will not offer the arm coverage I was hoping for on cool summer nights.) I'm keeping the faith right now that blocking will transform this mutant product of knitting into something looking more like this...but really, right now it truly is only faith - that which I believe without seeing...

If there is anybody who might offer reassurance regarding the whole shawl-blocking thing, I would love to hear that my doomful thinking is errant and that this will have a happy ending.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Not exactly extraordinary...but functional !

Dear Cynthia,

The first week after my class was done, I knit like a fiend. This week, I decided that it's time to make the house a functional entity again. (I once had dreams that my home would be "house beautiful", but the reality of four people coming and going, and all the paperwork which goes along with that, has made me realize that "house functional" might be more of an achieveable goal for me...especially having a knitting addiction, too.)

And so, though knitting progress continues, sort of being just one of those things I do every day, like brushing my teeth, and cleaning up the kitchen, and breathing, there is nothing extraordinary about what I'm sharing today, except for the fact that having this hobby continues to keep me sane and is part of the reason I don't see a therapist (so far, anyway).

Two dish rags! Combined with a couple other items I'll pick up at the grocery store today, here is a housewarming gift for some friends from Fort Wayne who will be moving here in the next week or two. This is the "standard" Grandma's Fav pattern, and I took the optional suggestion and did a row of single crochet around the edges, which I like.

Then I switched to the pattern which was printed on the inside of the Kitchen Cotton label, except casting on 34 instead of 46 stitches. (I like my dishrags to be about 7 inches square - any bigger than that, and I find them cumbersome.) I like the way the pattern looks, and it is a simple four-row repeat. Thank you for overlooking the whole "Kitchen Cotton thing"! As a small consolation, I thought you should know that I feel a bit conflicted knitting it using Addi TURBOs...

A final note: The sweater underneath this dishrag in the photo is done except for installing the zipper, and the pattern is halfway written. I'm going to try to get that all finished this week, and I'm thinking of putting a tutorial together for how to install zippers. It continues to be my favorite method for closure on a cardigan. More on these developments as they happen.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Busy weekend

Dear Cynthia,

We've had a busy but fun weekend. My dad took the boys fishing in a boat yesterday, and I went along. For the first time ever in my fishing career (which admittedly isn't very extensive), I had an opportunity to use the "big net". It was very exciting. You see, all through my childhood, whenever my dad took me fishing, the "big net" always went with us, though I never had an opportunity to use it. But, yesterday was different, because my three year old accidently dropped his little toy tackle box into the lake... Now I totally understand the need for bringing the "big net"...

Anyway, I posted another pattern for our blog's sidebar -- sort of an "extension" to the Satchel Bag pattern which is already there..... It is just a little something to do with the felted sleeves once the Satchel Bag is made... It goes together very quickly, and is fun to "wear".

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Oopsy Daisy Envelope Bag (Felted)

A pattern by YarnThrower Made from a felted sleeve (discarded while making the Oopsy Daisy Satchel Bag), the Envelope Bag has become my favorite summertime purse. With my cell phone and a few other essentials tucked inside and hanging securely around my neck, I am ready to go to the park with both hands free for helping young athletes make their way across the "monkey bars". Cording is threaded through eyelets on the sides of the bag, and there is a sewn in snap closure at the top.

(This pattern is the property of YarnThrower and may not be reproduced except for one copy for individual use. If you otherwise print or distribute this pattern without YarnThrower's written permission, you are stealing.)

Finished Measurements:
Bags shown measure 6 x 5 inches and 7 x 7 inches

  • A felted sleeve from a sweater gone bad (see directions for Oopsy Daisy Satchel Bag)
  • Sewing shears
  • A few yards yarn for hemming edges, to match or contrast with sweater
  • Sharp tapestry needle
  • Felting needle
  • Foam
  • Assorted scrap bits of yarn of any material (novelty okay)
  • Chalk pencil (optional)
  • Serger or sewing machine (optional)
  • Two 0.25 inch eyelets
  • One 0.75 inch sew-on snap
  • 2 yards of cording, either purchased OR made by felting knitted I-cord

  • Use one of the sleeves from the sweater. The bag may be made from a part closer to the top of the sleeve (for the larger bag) or from a part closer to the cuff of the sleeve (for the smaller bag). Leaving a 0.5 inch hem allowance for the bag top, make a cut straight across the sleeve for the bag top. Leaving a 0.5 inch seam allowance for the bottom seam, make a cut straight across the sleeve for the bag bottom.
  • Fold top edge of bag 0.5 inches to the inside, and overcast stitch it in place using a sharp tapestry needle and matching or contrasting yarn.
  • Needle felt per directions included in Oopsy Daisy Satchel Bag pattern. If foam is too large to fit inside the bag, just place the whole bag on top of the foam, needle-felt the design onto the front of the bag, and then carefully open the bag to separate the bag front from the bag back (which may have gotten a little bit "caught" in the needle felting, but which should easily pull apart).
  • Turn inside-out (so right sides are together). Stitch lower edges together using a serger, a sewing machine, or by hand. Turn right-side-out.
  • Attach sew-on snap to top centers of bag on inside.

  • Following package directions for eyelets, attach one to each side of bag, just below hemmed edge.
  • Thread cording into eyelets, one end on each side of bag, going from outside toward inside of bag. Adjust length and tie each end into a knot to hold it securely just inside the eyelet. Trim off excess.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Shawl Math: 160 rows = 100%

Dear Cynthia,

First, here is a snapshot of one of the finished skirts, after a trip through the washer and dryer. Thank you so much for humoring me regarding this diversion into a non-knitting universe. Can you spot the five-year-old in the photo?

The really big news is that I completed all of the 160 rows for the main body of my Summer in Kansas Shawl! Then the directions said to "break yarn, leaving an end for weaving in later"....and so I did! Feeling victorious, and invincible, I started the "knit-on-border".

In this "knit-on-border", there are stitch sequences such as K1, (YO, P2tog)twice, YO, K1b..... I **thought** I knew how to do the yarn overs for all of these cases (between a knit and a purl stitch, between two purl stitches, and between a purl & a knit stitch.

Not **exactly**. I'm no longer feeling invincible.

However, after concentrating on page 63 in my Vogue Knitting book, and with the help of some scrap yarn, I think I figured it out...

One other thing..... I thought 160 rows and 405 live stitches on the main part of this project was ominous. Now, for the border, I'm facing more than 720 rows of 17-21 stitches each. As I mentioned before, if it doesn't kill me, it will make me stronger! .....Right?? Isn't math great?

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Baby Sweater....

Dear Laura:

Every so often I run into a project that thwarts me at every turn. I simply had no idea that this was going to be one of them!

I have been so excited about this yarn - I got it at the Fiber Festival in Allegan MI last year. I loved this yarn, but being on a VERY tight budget, I circled it the entire day. "I really love that yarn, but it's $28..." "Great colors and it would make a beautiful baby sweater.." "It's so soft and yummy..." I'd fondle it for a while and then move on, always coming back. Finally, I took a deep breath and bought it.

And waited for a girl-child. I dangled it in front of all my pregnant friends/family...."Look, the next girl gets this! Think girl thoughts!!" And my niece Amanda won the yarn lottery when presented us with Lydia Marie on May 3.

As you may recall from my blog entry that day, I sat down and swatched the yarn, paged through pattern books, and chose a pattern. I cast on for the back of the sweater, and knitted a couple of inches.

Then I had second thoughts. While my swatch gave me the correct gauge, the fabric seem too tight and stiff. Besides, it had occurred to me that the varigation would look different on the narrower fronts.

I talked to you about it on the way home from my vacation, and decided to start again. I did another gauge swatch on larger needles, and then cast on to do the body in one piece, using steeks for the sleeves and adding a zipper instead of buttons. Ok, while I was still using a 4x1 garter rib, I could no longer say I was really following a pattern. Which is always fine with me.

I fussed around with the math, finally decided how many to cast on....and started knitting. I would like to mention parenthetically that I cast on the same number of stitches as I had on the needles for the red baby blanket!

I knit away for a couple of inches......and on May 22nd, I posted the question: If the garter stitch bottom rolls now, will it always roll or will it block out? This bothered me, and since I got no feedback to reassure me.........

Another frogging session.

I went in search of a whole new pattern. And ended up with this pattern from Knitty. It's a cute sweater, and being knit sideways, I thought it would showcase this yarn in an interesting way! Plus, it offered the ever appealing option of doubling the yarn and knitting with a bigger needle and less stitches. (Yes, it did haunt me that the sweater was using as many stitches per row as the baby blanket that took so long!)

So! I did another gauge swatch!! I cast on Friday evening with a long weekend ahead of me. Boy, did this fly on bigger needles!! The fabric was heavy and a bit stiff, but that makes it a great jacket for fall. I did narrow the center sections a bit, so that it wouldn't leave so much open on the shoulders.

By Sunday morning, I was over 3/4 of the way done, and the niggling at the back of my head had become a full grown TRUTH. There was no way I had enough yarn to knit this sweater with the yarn doubled. I had noticed that it required more yarn than the finer gauge, but I assured myself that I had "quite a bit" of yarn. (Lost the ball band, so I don't know exactly how much.....)

Sunday afternoon was spent at a barbeque, where one of my nieces helped with the frogging and rewinding.

Still determined that this yarn is a baby sweater.....I have cast on a pattern from the Summer 2006 "Easy Knitting." This incarnation of the yarn is a top-down raglan style. The pattern calls for knitting down to the sleeves, then knitting the body, coming back to the sleeves and finishing with a collar.

Since I have had quantity issues with this yarn, but I firmly believe that it is enough for a baby sweater, I am going to knit to the sleeves, then do the collar, both sleeves, and then the body...until I run out of yarn! The sweater in the picture is pretty long, so if it is more like waist-length, that will be fine with me.

Here's hoping it isn't a shrug. Hmm, maybe I'll rip the first swatch and use it for the collar....

And I know that I have a reputation for being...well...a yarn snob, and I wear the label with pride, but hey, if you're gonna knit dishcloths...what else would you use but kitchen cotton?? I have at least a pound of it, just not on one big cone!!

The skirts look great!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)