Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bag with Shoulder Strap

Dear Cynthia,

WOW -- I LOVE the blanket, and am anxious to see it completely put together!! Yeah, the whole intarsia thing with the hanging bobbins and the guesstimations of yarn amounts is sort of a thorn in my side, too, though I really like the way it looks. I guess that's why we have the "big picture" in mind when we're doing that sort of thing. As Allison said in one of her comments in recent weeks, "...nothing says "I love you" quite like intarsia....." I read a hint in the Spring 2006 Interweave Knits which suggested to estimate the number of stitches you'll be knitting in a particular color, and wind your yarn around the needle that many times to get the amount of yarn to put in your bobbin. I've been doing that, though I usually put in a little extra because of allowing the wraps around my needle to overlap, and its been working out as well as can be expected, for an estimation anyway..... I hesitate to put this in print, but I haven't run out of yarn doing it this way, yet.....

I've been working on my bag pattern. I finished the bottom using garter stitch with miters. Then, I went back up to the top and carefully removed my waste yarn as I knit each of the top stitches. I added a top band, and have now completed one of the strap gussets and am well on my way to knitting the strap. This would be a good time for me to learn how to knit backwards, though I'd have to figure out how to purl each edge stitch backwards, too..... I'm sure there must be some way. I'll let you know....but it's about time I learned how to knit backwards, anyway.....

I might be repeating myself here....but, after staying home with small children for the past six years, and providing day care for a third child this week, if all that's wrong with my brain is repeating things, then I'm feeling pretty good. In any case.....the pattern, which I'm hoping to have available in mid-September as a joint project with YarnBotanika, and also sold separately on our blog, will include directions for two versions of a felted bag. One version will use a purchased wood handle. The other version will have a shoulder strap. Both will have similar bottom constructions done with mitered garter stitch and ZERO seaming. The pattern will also have some options for needle felting a design onto the felted bag using assorted bits of fiber. I'm still toying with the idea of including instructions for lining it, too, though I might just put that as a sidebar item in the blog. There are a number of details remaining to be worked out regarding this, but at least the pattern itself is coming together after several iterations on how to make the top of the bag and the strap. But, so far I'm pleased with this version and hope to be felting it by the end of the week.

Well, I should get some more chores done before all of the kids get up from quiet time today, so I'll close. Again, congrats on your blanket!! That was a tremendous undertaking, and your results, even not sewn together, already look stunning!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

After three years....off the needles!

Dear Laura:

Whew!! That's all I can say. Whew!! (Well, that plus the nasal rinse thing sounds really bad!)

I finished the knitting on the blanket with intarsia flowers. It's not fair to say that it took three years to knit. There was a huge gap in there. I started the blanket during my niece's senior year in high-school, intending it as a graduation present. I had 3 of the 5 strips done by graduation, and sewed them together so she could get an idea of how it would look. My second goal was to finish it by time she moved into her dorm at college. I think I might have had the 4th strip done by then. That left the final strip with 4 intarsia squares. That was 2 years ago.

I had never done intarsia, so I didn't know what I was getting into. You know how they tell you to wind bobbins of yarn for the colors you'll use? That seemed like a waste to me. How would you know how much to wind? What if you had lots of little bits left over? What if you didn't wind enough and had to join more yarn? Of course, I found out pretty quickly that I might need several chunks of the same color, but even then, I just wound a quick little ball and moved on. I cannot express the mess that was the back of those squares. My yarn was ALWAYS tangled, and I couldn't really even tell if I was getting things twisted correctly.

I told myself that it was lanquishing because with all the colors, it wasn't a portable project. The truth is I never touched it even when I was knitting at home. I didn't know which was worse, the thought of more twisted yarn or the guilt of not finishing it. And all those ends to weave in!

Well, the next niece is going to be a senior this year, and there is no way that I can shop for yarn for her blanket until this is done. When I finished the baptismal shawl, I vowed to not knit on anything else until the blanket is done. I set a goal of finished by September 1st. And I stopped being so stubborn. I wound bobbins of yarn, and was surprised by how much that helped. And knitting backwards instead of purling meant that I never had to "turn" the work and so the strands didn't wind around so bad. I can't believe how much better it went.

Getting it off the needles this afternoon was great. After supper, I visited with my sil and wove in the ends of the two strips that are not sewn together. I'll finish the ends in the sewn together strips before I add the last two. Then a crochet border, and blocking. Whew.

Then I have some socks in mind, and a scarf...perhaps another shawl. And I've already told my next niece - no flowers!! :)

Keep knitting! (And, um...rinsing....)

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Deadline knitting

Dear Cynthia,

This past week, my family and I had a really great trip to Chicago. We parked our van in Kenosha and took the Metra line into town. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, which we all loved, especially the dolphins, and the Field Museum, and the Children's Museum. Plus, lots of walking and some trips on the Elevated and a bus and a trolley. (We bought a three-day CTA pass, which allowed us unlimited rides on public transportation during our stay.) It could only have been better if I had been getting sleep. My incessant coughing kept me up for all but two hours just about every night of our trip, and on our way back home, my husband dropped me off at Urgent Care. My eyes had been pouring out a gross, opaque discharge, were all red, and very puffy. And, there was this coughing thing..... Anyway, some antibiotic eye drops seem to have helped with my eyes, and now I'm using this "neti pot" (see photo) a few times a day. It's not a very fun process, but the results are worth it. In case you aren't familiar with it, it is basically used to mix up a solution of salt, baking soda, and water, and then to pour that solution into one nostril and let it come out the other nostril. Irrigation, they say. A half of a cup seems like a lot when you are pouring it into your nostril and watching it come out the other side. Rinse and repeat with the other nostril.....

Okay, knitting, right?!! That's what this blog is about?? I have several deadline knitting projects.

First is this felted bag. It is being knit from the middle down to the bottom. Then, it will be finished by knitting from the middle up. More on this as it progresses. I'm really going to try to have the knitting completed on it by the end of this week.

Second is this mystery project. I'm about halfway through the first ball of yarn (220 yards per ball), and I'm going to use all of both of these balls, so I have a little ways to go yet, with slow but sure progress.

Finally, my Foulard, which must be done by mid-month for a gift, and which looks just as it did the last time I showed it to you.

Also, I want to put a lining in one of my felted bags, and will show you that when I get to it, hopefully this week.

In a moment of insanity, but mostly because I wanted to help somebody out, I agreed to care for a two-year-old this week, five days, nine hours per day. She is a really sweet little girl, and her parents fired their current day-care-provider, and so desperately needed somebody to help out. I thought of all of the times other moms helped me out over the years, and decided that it's nice that we moms can all be flexible for each other and try to help each other out. Plus, it is a little bit of money for me to spend however I want (yarn?? Master Knitter 2nd level course??). And so, that means getting my meals planned and grocery shopping all done today for the week, so that I don't have to take three kids with me to the grocery store -- because I still haven't mastered taking only two of them there while remaining completely sane.....

Stay tuned for knitting progress as it happens (hopefully!!). And as you always say, "Keep knitting"!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm going backwards....and proud of it!

Dear Laura:

Well, it was quite a weekend!

I've been working on "the blanket that will not die" pretty steadily. It's complex intarsia, with beads. After finishing the baptismal shawl, I dug it out and untangled all the yarn and "located" the directions and charts. I determined that I had 3 striped squares (easy-peasy) and 3 crazy intarsia squares left to knit.

I've finished one of each and am on the 2nd-to-the-last intarsia squares. Here's a picture of the process.

Is it any wonder that I don't love intarsia!?!?!

On Saturday, Not Worthy and The Rebellious Pastor's Wife came over to knit and watch a ball game. The big event was that Not Worthy finished her very first project!! She made a hat from Cascade 220, a basic hat pattern knitted in the round with a picot-edge hem. She did a great job! (Stop by her blog to see a picture!) She is now hard at work on her second project, a pair of Fuzzy Feet slippers. I think it's a great intro to socks - it goes quickly because it's going to be felted. She has already finished the cuff and the heel flap - she off and running now!

(I also had a report back from The Rebellious Pastor's Wife. While here (working on her lace scarf) she even mentioned that she can't work on lace in a group setting where she will be talking. She reported the next day that she is going to have to redo everything she did while telling us that!)

I worked on a stripe block of the blanket, so that was pretty mindless stockinette stitch. I also paged through The Knitters Handbook by XRX to see if there was information that might be helpful to a beginner. Then I noticed that in the knitting intstructions, they included a great demonstration of knitting backwards, which I have been curious about and unable to imagine.

That evening, when I started the next instarsia square, I gave it a try. I knitted the first row, then instead of turning and purling back, I "knitted backwards" across the row. It worked so well that I continued to do that, even when I got to the place where I was changing colors. In fact, I can see using that instead of purling fairly often. It seems particularily well suited to the Continental or left-handed knitter.

The baptism on Sunday was wonderful. I got all choked up, seeing my very first Godchild bringing her first child to the font. And wrapped in the lace shawl that I made as well! ;) They really loved the shawl, and that was great. We had a dinner at their house after the service and I got to hold that pretty little girl for quite a while.

Click on the picture for a summary of the project in pictures.....


Keep knitting!!
Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Loose Ends

Dear Cynthia,

It's time for me to catch up on a little knitting business.....

First of all, regarding your comment about my kids having my analytical abilities, I must assure you that things in life seem to balance out sometimes, and both kids have also received some less attractive genes, such as those related to being anally retentive, and also a large serving of independence. The latter is really a good trait, too, I suppose, though within limits, which the boys have not yet learned, as it looks a little bit more like defiance to me on most days.

To answer Marie's question, yes, I am knitting the sleeve in the round. (Also, don't ever worry about "ignorance" around here! One of the great things about knitting is that no matter what a person knows about it, there are always soooo many more things to learn and experiment with.) My least favorite part of knitting is weaving in the ends, and next to that is sewing seams, so whenever I think it will work okay, I typically try to use techniques which minimize the number of seams I must sew. Since this sweater is a simple "dropped sleeve" construction, it works great to just knit the sleeve in the round. If it wasn't for the striping on the cuff, I would have picked up my stitches at the armhole and worked in the round down to the cuff (but because of the stripes, and being anally retentive, I didn't want the little "vee's" of the stitches for the stripes to be "upside down" as compared to the stripes on the body of the sweater).....

And finally, Allison, thank you for your kind comments!!

No snapshots today, as I am under the weather. I've had a sore throat the past few days, and yesterday we had a party to celebrate both kids' birthdays with relatives (that way everybody only has to make the trip once), so today I'm trying to take it easy for a little while this morning. The sore throat is much better, though not gone, and other cold symptoms have appeared to take its place. Tonight, the quartet I'm in (Madison Marimba Quartet) has a concert in Milwaukee, so I'll be relying on Day-Quil in order to function. However, it does not diminish the fact that I'll have two hours of knitting time in the car!!!!! (Nice, because yesterady I had a complete day without knitting **gasp**). Since we've got a full week planned (more on that later), I won't be able to post again until Saturday, so I hope everybody has a great week!

Also, just wondering how things went with the baptism! I'm sure that everybody was very impressed with your baptismal shawl!! I want to see it in person some time!!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Showing my literary ignorance.....

Dear Cynthia,

As you know, I've been tagged.....from here.....

I'm sure there must be an easier way to do this, but I can't figure out how to paste something into Blogger (unless it is a jpg file), so I'll use the cave-man method and type the whole thing in. (If anybody knows of a better way to do this, I'm all ears!)

1. One book that changed your life:
Hmmm...."changed" is a pretty strong word, but I often think about To Kill a Mockingbird, because I've encountered a few people similar to Boo Radley in my life, and so I think about that sometimes. And, I read it in high school during a year when I had an awesome English teacher.
2. One book you've read more than once:
Hmmm... It is probably non-fiction, and probably knitting, something like certain sections of Vogue Knitting, and certain sections of The Opinionated Knitter. Does the Bible count? I've read that more than once.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: (Note: not the ONLY book)
Hmmm.... I am clearly a literary idiot. I've never read Harry Potter, though my dad has the whole series, so I might ask to borrow it at some point -- May I take the Harry Potter series
with me to the desert island?
4. One book that made you laugh:
When I was pregnant, I read The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" (or something like that) and I recall a part that mentioned how a husband is not supposed to mention anything about cows, or something like that, and another part about giant underwear, which made me laugh hysterically, though it doesn't seem as funny right now. Also, a couple of the Yarn Harlot's books.
5. One book that made you cry:
Where the Red Fern Grows, when I was a kid. I was at an orchestra rehearsal, and didn't have to play on one of the pieces, and so I was reading this book and sobbing.
6. One book that you wish had been written:
How to Effortlessly Raise a Child Who Becomes a God-Fearing Contributing Member of Society and Who Doesn't Talk Back to Mommy
7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Well....in general.....I think that college text books are updated too frequently, and it is a waste of paper, and poor students' money, etc., to have to purchase the "current" edition even though it is 99% the same as the prior edition which the same poor students' room-mate already has and no longer needs and would give it up for cheap....so, new editions to perfectly good text books are the ones I wish had never been written. (Okay, so I'm carrying some baggage about this, because I just purchased my course materials for my Developmental Psych class which I start in another couple of weeks, and it was $128.!!!! When I was in college the first time, I could get four text books for that price!!
8. One book you're currently reading:
Ummmm.... yes, literary idiot right now... I have some mysteries waiting to be read, and am skimming through the Yarn Harlot's latest....but only after I've pored through the latest issue of Interweave Knits again.....
9. One book you've been meaning to read:
The Notebook
10. Now tag eight people....

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot. When I was in college, I only had one English class, and it was a literature class, and I hated it. I could never figure out all of the symbolism in the books, and it was a big effort for me to read some of the material with comprehension. I think I've got some mental blocks in that area. Anyway.....

Well, it's been a dreary, rainy day here today, and the boys and I are feeling a little bit cooped up. I should get going on making some dinner, and then maybe some, ummm, knitting tonight?

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

My knitting lately has been a little bit scattered. I'm continuing to work on the "I Love You" sweater, though I can't haul it out during the day, because the boys would notice the design and it is intended to be one of their Christmas surprises. Here is the first sleeve. I'm working paired M1 increases, which is my current favorite way of "invisibly" increasing, though, of course, it is obvious that there is a "seam" forming between the lines of increase.....

Then, I'm also working on a pattern for Yarn Botanika. It is going to be a felted bag, having a needle felting design on it, and it will be sold as part of a needle felting kit. I was pretty happy with the prototype bag, so I only made a couple of changes as I knit this "production" version which has not been felted yet. This one will have wooden handles, like the prototype. However, the pattern will also include another version which will have a sturdy shoulder strap instead of the handles. I have the yarn for that, and will be starting on that in the next few days.

YAY -- I *finally* received my Cast On magazine today! It is for "August - October", so I have been anxiously checking my mailbox every day since mid-July, wondering when it would get here. It contains an article highlighting changes to the Master Knitter program, done mostly for clarification of the requirements, but a hat is now also required for level 1. I think the Master Knitter program is a great thing. Even as an experienced knitter, I learned a lot when I completed level 1, mostly about creating a final product which is more "hand-made" than "home-made". I chuckled at a comment in the Cast On magazine about the"proliferation of knitting books churned out to meet the growing market of knitters. The photographs of knitting patterns in some of these books would not be accepted as a swatch in this program." I think that is very true, though a difficult message to convey without creating a sense of eliteness. Anyway, one of these days, I'm going to order the level two materials, but I have a lot of knitting to do for Christmas before that.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"I love you" sweater

Dear Cynthia,

Regarding your shawl, the only word which comes to mind and which accurately captures my admiration for it is a word I've heard my six year old say for only the most extraordinary: Whoa! (Sidenote: Very relieved here that the math held up and you didn't run out of yarn!) Seriously, it is beautiful, and that isn't a word which I use liberally.

I'm working on the first (of two) "I love you" sweaters. A couple of years ago, on the PBS (which is the only channel I let my kids watch, except for the occasional Wheel of Fortune) show "Mr. Rogers", he was talking about how a person might say "1 4 3" as another way to say "I love you" (substituting a letter count for each word in the phrase). So the boys and I started saying that to each other in place of "I love you" sometimes. My kids have a little picnic table in our play room, and they have spent countless hours drawing pictures there on scrap paper which my dh brings home from work. One day, they were chatting and drawing and ended up figuring out that a circle may be made with one stroke of a crayon, a square with four strokes, and a triangle with three strokes, so they started saying "circle square triangle" as another way to say "I love you". So, last year for Christmas, my dh had an artist friend work up some necklace designs using "circle square triangle" as the central motif, the boys selected one of those designs, and then the artist made a beautiful necklace for me, which was my Christmas gift from my kids, and which I LOVE! And so this year, I wanted to do something special for my boys using that theme.

And so, here is the almost completed front of the sweater for my three year old (who has big, deep, brown eyes). He'll notice the design on the front for sure. What he doesn't know is that using five "butterflies", plus another ball of yarn on each side for the background (total of seven working yarns), is what really says "I love you" on this sweater. It was a tangled mess, but for only 16 rows, it worked out fine, I could deal with it. Looking at it now in the picture, I wonder if I placed the design a little bit high on the front.....hmm.... Maybe it's just the camera angle.....

Here's the back without the ends woven in.

I got up early to make muffins this morning. The Inn we stayed in last week had a packet of recipes which guests could take home with them, and I had three rotting bananas greet me on the return from our trip, so the Inn's muffins are baking now and will be done in about five minutes.

It has been a long time since you and I took some time to just sit and knit someplace. I'll put this little bug in your ear: Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival..... It's not Lake Michigan, but, well, you know.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, August 14, 2006


Dear Laura:

Well, I guess my cut finger did kind of rattle me Friday evening. Somehow, my blog post ended up being published three times! Got that fixed the next morning. I knew it wasn't in any way a serious injury - I've had worse cuts - but I needed a couple of extra hands to get it properly bandaged to stop the bleeding. I went through the same thing a couple of months ago with a deeper cut, and that kept breaking open for days. I've lived alone for so long that I rarely even notice it, but then every-so-often something like this kinda freaks me out a bit!

Anyway, Saturday morning was better, I could get a good bandage going, and so I sat down and FINISHED the shawl! I knitted the final two rows and then the crochet edging/cast-off. This pattern called for crocheting through the live stitches as part of the edging, so it also functioned as binding off. Of course, I pictured a "quick-crochet edging" and it took several hours, but then it was off the needles!!! And looked like this......

At this point I...hmm, I think I forgot to measure the diameter at this point or else I've forgotten the result. I know that I was hoping to get 42" blocked. I soaked it and laid it out to block.

That sounds so casual, doesn't it? "Laid it out to block." Man, that took an hour right there! There were probably somewhere around 180 little "points" to pin!! And the good news is that it blocked out to the full 48" that I originally was shooting for, so I'm very happy.

I'm sorry I didn't have anything dark to put under the blocking, so the picture doesn't show well, but here it is, in all its pinned glory.

I'm going to try to get some better pictures, and also some pictures on the big day, and then I'll pull together the "Shawl Story" and publish a link to that next week.

Whew. I may need to sit down here for a minute....

Sounds like Door County was just the right choice. Think it might be a good location for a knitting retreat? We haven't really done anything like that for a while, so we'll have to keep that in mind!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

God's Country, INDEED!

Dear Cynthia,

I was sorry to read about your accident, but am glad that it sounds like you will be okay. By now, I hope that things are better with your finger, and that you are able to knit a little bit.... And don't forget -- you could always "throw" your yarn (**gasp**). Make sure your tetanus is up-to-date! On a side note, it is awesome that you are so close to finishing! I'm looking forward to seeing it blocking, or blocked, though even as a round little pile of lace, it has a presence!

Our trip was fabulous! Door County has been largely un-developed, and they are working hard to keep it that way. It is beautiful to behold, indeed. Plus, lots of cherry orchards and some grapes and wineries, so a steady supply of wine, too! And, here's a snap of the walls adjacent to the jetted tub in our room at the Inn:The blockers on the far right were close to my foot size, but my husband thought the innkeepers would notice their absence if I took them.

This is a building which has grass growing on the top of it:The locals indicate that this would be normal if the building was actually in Sweden (it is a Swedish restaurant -- Al Johnson's). As a practical joke one day, a guy put a goat on top of it, and the owner liked it so much that he left the goat there (and added some more). Very fun to see three or four goats walking around on the roof, though I'm not sure how much the goats like it!.And, of course, there was Lake Michigan. We hiked next to it, biked next to it, walked on the beach, drove by it, went sailing on it, and kayaked on it (if you are ever wondering if your butt will get wet while kayaking, the answer is "yes", so definitely, if you are thinking about what to wear, a swim suit would be an excellent choice). Also, our Inn was adjacent to it, so we spent a lot of time overlooking it from our balcony (a PERFECT location to KNIT!!) The weather was magnificent, and now that we are home, back in our normal house in our city neighborhood, we more fully recognize what a "gift" we had in taking a trip like that. Today it is "reality" again, with the laundry aftermath and figuring out what to make for dinner.

In the meantime, maybe I'll knit a little bit to help ease the transition.....

Warm regards,
Laura (aka YarnThrower)
P.S. My next post will have knitting content -- I promise!

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's my own fault.....

Dear Laura:

You would think I would know better. I'm certainly old enough and experienced enough to know better.

I've been faithfully working on the shawl. Yesterday, when I had a mere 4 rows to go, I started boldly announcing to everyone in sight that I would stay up Friday night as long as it takes to get it off the needles, block it on Saturday and it would be displayed at work and the shop next week.

The Baptism is set for Sunday, August 20, so it would be done a full week early.

I knit the first of the 4 rows at lunch, and then sat down this evening to finish the last 3 rows. I finished the first in about 25 minutes. I took a break to put my dogs to bed in their kennels. As I shut off the light, my finger grazed a sharp edge on something and sliced open.

It's a bleeder. I've spent 1/2 an hour trying to get a clean bandage on it without....well, let's just say it isn't pretty. And it isn't just any old finger, it's the index finger of my left hand - the one I pull the yarn over. There's no way I'm dragging that lovely white silk/merino blend over that finger-that-seeps-blood until there has been some healing over.

I'm on the DL.

I shouldn't have gone around announcing that the thing was all but done.

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So close....

Dear Laura:

Four rows to go!! 3200 stitches, then a crocheted edging. So very close! These last four rows of knitting have no pattern - it's four rows of plain stockinette. *k1* repeat 3200 times! ;)

As I knit the final row with pattern repeats, I did a final count of each repeat and removed the stitch markers all the way around, so now it looks like this, all plain and white and frothy!

I also have forgotten to note a very important tip. When knitting lace, put away those fun little "charm" stitch markers. I was using one to mark the beginning/end of a round. One day it caught on a stitch a few rows back, and by time I could rescue the thing, I had a good size pull of yarn to work back in.

I like to use small pieces of scrap yarn tied into a small loop for stitch markers. On most projects, the plastic rings leave an "uneven" place between stitches where I knitted around them. I don't have that problem with yarn markers. Plus I always have little bits of yarn in my bag somewhere for those emergency marking needs!

As soon as this is blocking, I'm going to focus entirely on my intarsia blanket that I have been knitting for my niece. Yes, the one that was her graduation present. Just over 2 years ago. (Shame)

I need to get that done and out of the way....because I have another niece who is a senior this year and it's time to get going on her blanket already. (I already told her no flowers. NO intarsia!)

Hope you're having a great trip - we're about to get a bodacious storm!!

Keep knitting,

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Monday, August 07, 2006


Dear Laura:

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! I hope you have a wonderful trip. I've heard that Door County is a wonderful place.

Well, I don't have pictures either. Frankly, my shawl doesn't look like much other than a pile of yarn. You know the stage, you've been there...... I did make good progress over the weekend, I think around 8 rows. Let's see, that works out to 800 stitches per row times 8 rows = 6400 stitches! I did a pattern row at lunch today and 2 plain rows tonight and discovered that a row is about 45 minutes of knitting.

Also to report is that I finished the first ball of yarn - 600 yards!! I definitely needed the 2nd ball, but there is no way that I would have needed the third, so it looks like your math is holding up!

I've done more math - it's difficult to really measure the current diameter while it's all bunched up on the circular needle. I've used the numbers from the pattern, and I've determined that if I do 9 more rows, I should be at 46" blocked. The next ending place would be about 18 rows hence, and I don't think I reasonably have time for that. So, 9 more rows, then a crochet edging - my goal is to be blocking by the weekend. That's doable, I think. YAY!!

I'm anxious to move on to something else, but I have to say that if I didn't need to have it done in the next week or two, I'd be doing other things to break the monotony and I'd happily finish the full 68" that the pattern calls for. In fact, I've thought about pulling a lifeline of the thread through and working on it again after the baptism. I could go as far as the yarn would take me, and then it would be large enough to be a shawl to be worn in 20 years or so for a wedding...;)

Besides the knitting, I spent the weekend at home and got things done. I have to say, I love getting to Sunday night and knowing that I have lunches for the week done, the kitchen clean, and laundry done (which includes folded and put away - I know, I know, I never do that...but I like it!) Yesterday was a beautiful day, so I bleached all the sheets, towels and washcloths and hung them on the line. (My inner city girl and inner country girl are often conflicted, but I do love my clothesline!!) There is nothing as wonderful as climbing into a bed newly made with sheets from the line!

Also, I've "joined" Sandy in an effort to "kick the can" and give up diet coke. I've been needing a final push for that...so, I had my last one this morning. I'm officially "off the juice!"

Have a great trip....and keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

In a hurry -- Gotta run.....

Dear Cynthia,

There has been plenty-o-knitting around here lately, and I have photos to prove it, but Blogger is not allowing them today, and to be honest, they weren't all that exciting, anyway......

The design I submitted to Knitty made its way into the "maybe" pile, requiring a few revisions for reconsideration, so I've been working away on that. I want to add, also, that Elizabeth (Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy (SABLE) -- isn't that a great knitter's acronym?) came to my rescue by offering to take some MUCH better photos of the existing piece which I submitted. If you haven't checked out the patterns she has for sale on The Garter Belt, it's definitely worth a peek over there. They have four designers, and some wonderful and practical patterns!

In addition to that, I started my Christmas knitting. I've almost completed the back of an "I love you" sweater for my three-year-old. It is NOT going to say "I love you" on it, but I'll explain more about the design, which will appear on the front of it, when time permits. Right now it looks a lot like the back of the Big "A" sweater which I made for my nephew, a pattern which I promised to post, and will, though I am test-knitting it right now as I make this new sweater.

And, the Foulard is still moving along, and each row is SHORTER than the previous row, something I never experienced on the Summer in Kansas, but something which I have to say I like! Here I am at about 120 stitches per row.

I'm trying to get this posted in a hurry, because I still have a lot to get done today before we leave for our vacation tomorrow morning. DH and I are celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary this week, so our boys are going to Grandma's and Grandpa's house for a few days (and they are so excited about the fun they will have that they don't even seem to have figured out that this is a nice arrangement for DH and me, too). We're going to Door County (on Wisconsin's peninsula, and just beautiful from what I'm told -- the Cape Cod of the Midwest, with rocky cliffs, etc -- truly GOD'S COUNTRY!!) until Friday, so I won't have computer access for a few days.

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

Friday, August 04, 2006

WHERE'S WALDO? (Amazing Lace, Challenge #5)

For this challenge of The Amazing Lace, each contestant is supposed to "hide" his/her lace in plain sight.

Can you find Summer in Kansas in this photo?(Thank you in advance for ignoring our 1970's kitchen cabinets. Also, please note that we have two microwaves only because one of them does not really work, and it happens to be the one which is built in and we are waiting to get rid of it for the someday when we will remodel the kitchen.)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

Your shawl sounds beautiful, and you have a great game plan for finishing it on time for the baptism. You probably already know this....I've read in a few places that blocking will increase the size of your shawl by about 33%, so blocking your shawl today would yield close to a 36 inch diameter!

If I was going to give my prototype bag (which I just finished today) a name, I'd have to call it "Lucky", because that's how I feel about the outcome of the whole thing. It began as a hap-hazard color adventure, and I was relying on math alone for estimating the finished size. Really, the whole project was a leap of faith, because so much depended on what would happen during the process of felting it in the washer. Plus, I had only minimal design criteria:
  1. It had to fit the handles which I already purchased
  2. It had to be sized to carry a knitting magazine and a bunch of other crap
Anyway, here is what it looked like with the knitting completed and looking very huge, ready to be put into the washer (side view):There seems to be a lot of knitting discussion about mitered corners lately, so I thought I'd try some to close up the bottom (view of bag bottom before felting):
After a trip through the washing machine, the new view of the bag bottom and sides:
The "tan" yarn didn't felt very well. It was a "Kool-Aid dying project gone bad", and it was originally a very light color, which I probably shouldn't have expected to felt well. The red yarn which I carried with it shrunk enough, however, to pull it all together, so it just adds a little texture....

But, does it meet my design criteria? Let's see:It holds the latest issue of Vogue Knitting, with room for a lot of crap. Lucky!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Knitting in circles....

Dear Laura:

That's what I'm doing. I just keep knitting around and around. It doesn't look much different from day to day or week to week. Right now each row takes about 20 minutes. The pattern repeats have gotten easier to memorize, so that helps. Every 4-row repeat adds about an inch in diameter.

The baby that I'm knitting this for has been born! GN3 (great-niece #3) was born on July 27th and she is an absolute darling! I got a chance to see her and hold her on Sunday.

I read somewhere of an old tradition that if a master knitter places knitting needles in the hands of a baby, they will grow up to be a master knitter (I'm technically in the master knitter program.....) This is my new "thing." I give all the new babies knitting needles! Ok, before all the screaming about safety, I obviously don't just hand them the needles and see what happens! I keep ahold of them too! And since it looks less scary ( and IS less scary!), I hand them the cable of a pair of circulars with the points down! No sense letting them flail away with long pointy sticks!

So it looks like her Baptism will be in the next couple of weeks, so I really have to keep at this. Once I know the date, I have to subtract 2 days for blocking and a day for the crochet trim. (Thank heavens there isn't a knitted on border!) So, I'll knit like mad until 3 days before the Baptism. If I had to stop right now, it would be about 28" diameter before blocking, so it would be the bare minimum size for a baby blanket. I can't wait to see how much it grows when I block it! Every additional inch now is making it look better....

Around and around she goes...where she stops, nobody knows!!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)