Friday, March 30, 2007

How I Shortened Sleeves....Without Fray-Check!


It's probably been about 6 weeks since I shortened sleeves on a sweater for a co-worker. I remember that I told you about it, and you replied, "Step one - get out the
Fray-Check!" I said, "Oh yeah, I never thought of that!" You were curious as to how I did it without - I'm not sure that I would have used it if it had been available. (I was using the contents of my knitting bag and desk!)

So, here's a quick tutorial on how I did this. The pictures do most of the explaining.

The sweater was knit with a fairly bulky cotton yarn, which made a huge difference. I was also asked to shorten sleeves on a sweater knit with VERY FINE gauge yarn - almost thread. This type of fix was out of the question on such small yarn, even with my bifocals and the smallest needle I have!

I needed to remove about 6" from each sleeve. The sleeves were knit in fair-isle stockinette stitch, with a rolled edge. Here we are, tools assembled, ready to begin. I had measured to determine how long I wanted the sleeve to be, and marked that spot near the seam.

Next, I clipped the yarn used to seam the sleeve, and unpicked it a little further than the marked spot. I was careful to pull the yarn out instead of clipping it along the way, so that I had plenty left to re-sew the seam when I was finished.

Next, I threaded a needle with waste yarn and pulled it through the stitches to act as a lifeline. (Note: I thought of this on the SECOND sleeve, so I'm using waste yarn from the first sleeve!) Any similar weight yarn would work.

Since my goal spot was just after a fair-isle pattern, I clipped and pulled the pink yarn from the area that was going to go. My goal was to have several rows of my main color yarn that I could unravel, so that I could reknit a row or two if needed, and then cast off.

Then I just clipped the tan yarn near the seam, and separated the waste fabric. All I needed to do was unravel the yarn back to my life line and I was ready to bind off. This sounds easier than it was in practice. Since I was working basically from a cast-on edge, I couldn't seem to just frog - I had to pull the yarn through most of the time. I don't know for sure if this is because of the fair-isle, or because I was doing something wrong, or if it is the nature of ripping back from the beginning of the work instead of the end. This was the first time I've shortened from a cast-on edge. Maybe someone else has experience here??

Now all that remained was to bind off. I had just read about binding off with a crochet hook, and so that's the method I used. (I had one of those in my bag!) It is in effect the same effect as the regular two-needle bind off.

And presto, two finished sleeves of equal length, neatly finished! I just re-sewed the last bit of the seam, and wove in the ends.

This picture illustrates just how long these sleeves were. What were they thinking!?!

So....where would I have used the Fray Check????


Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The "after" picture

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,Yippee! My work is done on this project. Now I just have to let nature (evaporation) do its thing, and the shawl will be done! Here it is blocking. Dimensions as pinned are 96 inches across the top, and 48 inches from the back neck edge to the bottom point. This means that it "grew" roughly 50% in the blocking process! Considering how much the unblocked fabric puckered, I guess I can see why.And, though it will recoil slightly when I take the pins out, it is almost exactly the size I was going for! Very exciting for me. On a gloomy day like we have (again!) today, this is definitely a bright spot!

In other knitting news, I've made progress on both the sock and the Sapporo sleeve. If things go as I hope, I'll finish the Sapporo sleeve tonight and get that blocking, too. It will be a once in a lifetime event for me to have both a huge shawl and a Dale of Norway sweater blocking at the same time. Imagine my sense of relief at getting these things done. Perhaps this will help alleviate my nightmares about signing up for a class and forgetting to attend it until the last week before finals...

If there is sun tomorrow, I'll try to get some photos of the shawl in use, as well as get some snapshots of my daffodils and hyacinths. My favorite season is definitely Fall, though the color of the spring bulbs really helps to chase away the winter blahs.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The "before" picture

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Well, we went to the water park (Jellystone Park, in Warrens Wisconsin, the cranberry capitol of Wisconsin and possibly the world.....) The kids **loved** it, and it was just fun to watch them having such a grand time. My six year old has a few scrapes to show for it, but nobody broke any toes this time, always a good thing.

I really wish I could have attended your destashing party! I thought about explaining to dh that I had to go yarn shopping, and though he is always very supportive, I know he'd be thinking, "why?", and then it would have been even more difficult for me to mention that, oh, by the way, it's a six hour drive to get there..... However, if you have any sock yarn left, I might have an interest in it...just sayin'.

I think that ultimately, I took everybody's advice regarding the beads for the shawl. Thank you so much for your inputs! I started with the medium colored beads and was knitting them in, though after only three of them were in place, I took a look at it and decided that they just weren't fitting with the shawl. For one thing, I think they are too casual for the yarn. For another, I thought they wouldn't be that noticeable if I was to be sitting on them while wearing the shawl, but really, they are. I'm no princess, but beads aren't peas, either, so I decided to back up and take them out. Here is the completed shawl, **not yet blocked**, measuring 63 inches across the top and 31 inches from neck edge to bottom point. Generally, shawls grow about 30% during blocking, so this will probably be a little bit smaller than I had hoped, though still very adequate.

I'm going to wear it on a date with my dh on May 11th. My dh and I go on so few dates since we had kids that I think I've made an entire shawl for each of our (two) big dates during the past year.....

Well, Spring Break continues, and today it is gloomy and cold out. I take the boys to the gym with me first thing in the morning, though, on the days when they're both home, and that makes a huge difference in the way the rest of the day goes. And, my daffodils started blooming! My favorite flower -- the flower of hope!

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

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why doesn't it look like my stash got smaller????

Hello all!

Despite the fact that it was WAY too pretty a day to be inside, I did have a good turn out for "Stash Control" Round 1.

I spent Saturday pulling out boxes and bags of yarn and putting them out. At one point, I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to sit down and cry. By the end, when I would reach into the closet for a bag, I would chant: "Please don't be yarn, please don't be yarn!"

Once I started emptying containers and spreading it around the room, it didn't look so massive anymore. That felt better! While I was at it, I drug out all my back issues of magazines and several notebooks of patterns that I've purchased. I also got out most of my books.

I didn't pre-plan the layout, but in the end, the stuff that I cared most about was in the area around my knitting chair, and the further from my chair it was, the less I cared if I kept it. All of the sock yarn was together along one wall. I could just tell shoppers that the closer they got to my chair, the higher the price! Same with the books - if I liked it and wanted to keep it, I priced it higher than if I didn't care much about it anymore. I was asked about a few books that I liked more, and I priced them closer to 1/2 price, and I still have them!

I was almost as amazed by my magazine collection as I was by my yarn. I subscribed to
Interweave Knits and Knitter's since 1999. I also had several years of Vogue Knitting and Cast-On, plus some other misc magazines. I pulled 2006 copies of the ones I subscribe to, but someone bought all of my Interweave, Knitters, and Vogue! I didn't really price them very high, because I hadn't had many of them out of the box in years - so why hang on to them?

This was a real effort for a pack-rat like me. I sold most of my
Dale of Norway baby patterns, even a Debbie Bliss book! I love her books, but this one didn't have much I was interested in. I sold a couple of full bags of Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille, which is discontinued (but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it!) and a bag and a half of a yellow wool that I bought from Elann about 5 years ago. I'd used up most of the blue on a hat/scarf/mitten set for my niece about 5 years ago when she was in college. Now someone is going to turn the yellow into a baby blanket. I would have never thought of that.....

brought these FUN cupcakes!

I loved seeing the knitting phrases and yarn brands - I myself had "Koigu." AND, when I was distracted with customers, she took a picture!! FLAGRANT violation of
the rules. If I had known, I would have CHARGED HER MORE!! Fortunately, the picture doesn't show clear detail of just how much there is.

At the end of the day, I'm happy to have a little more space, a little less load, and more cash than I expected. What I don't understand is when I sit in my chair and survey the stash, why can't I see the difference??

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Recuring nightmare

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I've been having some trouble sleeping lately, because I think my inner brain is feeling conflicted about the many things I've started and not yet finished. I awoke from a nightmare the other night in which I had signed up for a class, not done anything for it until one week before the end of the semester, and then scurried around trying to figure out how to get an "incomplete" for the semester so that I wasn't carrying around that burden of trying to cram a semester's worth of material into one week of study..... So, I decided that it's time for me to get a project or two completed. I started focussing on my Leaf Lace Shawl. Here it is so far, completely unstretched, with some beads lying on it:I am currently working in the 13th pattern repeat. I want this shawl to be very large and warm, so I decided I'm either going to work 14 or 15 pattern repeats before I start the bottom edging. After blocking, I'm hoping for a back length of about 45 inches and a distance across the top of about 90 inches. Now, a question: The pattern has an option for some beads - one on each point along the bottom edge. I sort of like that idea, so I was trying to find the right beads this morning. The bead store had gobs of beads, though only a few which had holes large enough to put a crochet hook and yarn through (which is what it will take to "install" each bead), so I went to a general craft store, instead. The photo on the pattern has some beads that appear to be metallic?...though, I thought for this casual shawl, wood might be nice. I ended up getting a pack of beads having three shades of wood, all shown in the picture. So, what do you think? Dark, medium, light, something completely different, or none?

Today is the last day before Spring Break. We're going to a waterpark for a couple of days next week, which the kids love. Wish us luck! The last time we were there, my dh broke his toe and ended up spending hours in the emergency room. I'm bringing my shawl knitting so that I'm prepared for the drive, for sitting in an emergency room, or whatever other waiting the trip may bring.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

If my six year old saw the title of this post, he would likely comment about it being a "compound word". I am learning so much now that he is in school...

It is the **ONLY** word which describes the reason that I didn't cast on for a new pair of socks from my new Favorite Socks book. I have some Lorna's Laces Sport weight sock yarn which I was fortunate to receive as one of my mom's good friends was "de-stashing", and it is all wound and ready to knit, and I'm thinking about "Priscilla's Dream Socks" from the book, and I remembered that I MUST FINISH SOME OTHER PROJECTS FIRST. Though, since I was getting all lonesome for having a "sock in progress", and since I just happened to have one of those in my stash, I dug it out and started carrying on where I left off many months ago. This is Blackberry Ridge yarn, Mer-Made superwash, fingering weight, in the variegated pink, and their pattern Traveling Companion Socks. It's not the fastest sock to knit, but I love the way it is knitting up! It looks a bit jumbled to my eye in this photo, but in person I'm very happy with it.

My four year old gave me a note as I was getting myself presentable this morning:Even though there isn't much competition in the category of being his Mommy (since there's just the one of me), this is one of those things that goes a long way toward blocking out any frustrations I've had in my Mommy-hood. The financial rewards aren't that great, but this is the best "job" I've ever had, which is good, because if all goes as planned, I'll be in this job for a lot longer than any others I've had.....

Rainy day here, so I'll throw a load of laundry into the washer and then work on my sock or my shawl or my Sapporo...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

It was a small fire, really.

Howdy all....

Well, I had some excitement last night while I was cooking supper. I had heated a pan and added some olive oil. When I added the garlic, I discovered that the pan was too hot, so I pushed it back off the burner. I must have sloshed some of the oil into the flame of the burner, because all of the sudden there was a dramatic column of flame rising out of my pan.

My reaction, of course, was panic. (Less than helpful, I know.) All I could think of was a cousin who had a grease fire and turned on his vent fan, then smothered the flames. However, his vent fan opened into the attic instead of outside, and it took a while for them to discover that the attic was on fire, so the house was destroyed. All I could think was "No vent fan, no vent fan...."

For some reason, I leaned in a bit and blew, like it was a birthday cake, and the fire went out. I do not recommend this method, but I'm thankful that it worked! I'll have a bowl with baking soda on the counter before I light up the stove again.

The bottom and front of my microwave and a corner of my cabinet (all of these things are white) had black on them that a regular cleaner didn't remove. Then I thought of my
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which did a fabulous job. I think my microwave is cleaner than it was before!

In other news.....

The first round of "Stash Control!" is going to be a "Make Me An Offer" sale! I'm gathering all of my yarn (yes, all of it!) from the four corners of the house. It will be on display this Sunday afternoon. There are some yarns that I know I want to keep, some that I know I don't want, and as for the rest - make me an offer, then I'll know whether I'd rather have the yarn or the money! I will also be thinning my collection of books and back issues of some magazines.

Once I've gone through this initial process, I'd like to catalog and organize the remainder. So any yarn fans who are going to be in the Fort Wayne area this weekend are welcome to come to my house on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 until whenever and see if there's something you like. Email me for directions!

There are a couple of provisions:

1. No photographs of the stash. Cell phones and cameras must be checked at the door! (Good heavens, my family would croak if they ever saw ALL the stash in one place....)

2. Cash, checks and PayPal are accepted.

3. Other times for enhancement to your stash may be arranged. Contact me.

Here is another picture of the yarn that started the whole "stash issue."

I got my hands on the camera with flash over the weekend, so the colors in this are better. Someone had asked if I had a Halloween project in mind, but as this picture shows ( a little better,) the variegated yarn is orange and purple, not orange and black. And I'm simply unable to get good color reproduction on red, orange and pink. The baby alpaca is really a burnt orange color, and not nearly as bright as it appears in the photo.

I'm leaning toward keeping this batch.....

And finally, the pattern that has kicked my butt the hardest is now the
"Mason-Dixon Washcloth" from the Mason-Dixon book. Not the ballband washcloth - that I could do. Here's a quote from the pattern:

"This charming washcloth is knit in the round from the oustide in. The most
challenging bits are in the first few rows, when you will experience the thrill
of making bobbles and eyelets while keeping your decreases even. If you can do
this bit and watch TV at the same time, be sure to shout out, "Day-um, I'm


I cast this puppy on about 8 times before I gave up knitting the pattern as written. Not happening. I decided to try to conquer it from the inside out....another 4-6 times and I gave that up. I switched to different pattern and tried 5 times for a circular from the inside out with a swirl.....nope. I never have the right number of stitches on the needle! (I also could have quit earlier, but I tend to dig in my heels a bit...)

This yarn is practically worn out, and it's still (again) wound into a ball! So, I'm saying "uncle" and casting on to make a
Flower Power washcloth. I've made several of those - I know I can do that! Mason-Dixon, you can keep your charming washcloth!

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Knitted (and crocheted) items don't live forever. There's just some abuse which won't be weathered. For instance, the garbage disposal:Perhaps it was something subconscious, because I've been knitting gobs of dishrags lately? I was washing the dishes last week, and I couldn't find my dishrag. Where is my dishrag? These things don't just DISAPPEAR! Finally, I looked into the drain, and discovered, after I had been running the disposal until it no longer sounded like there was "stuff" in there, that my dishrag was "down there". Ahem. I'm a great fan of using things over again, and fixing/mending, but this is going to be tossed into the "big garbage disposal" out in the garage.....

In another instance, the hot pan on the acrylic crocheted trivet/hotpad (note the "burn" marks in the middle):Half of the pre-damaged hotpad became mine on the day dh and I got married more than ten years ago... A few weeks ago, I picked up a pan from the table and this hotpad was hanging underneath it, and I literally had a tug of war with the pan in order to get the hotpad off of it, then I scraped the bottom of the outside of the pan to get rid of the acrylic residue. I'm sure there is a lesson in there someplace about acrylic, or crochet, or putting pans on yarn items, though I don't know exactly what it is except from now on, my pans will rest on my nice ceramic tile trivet. real life, dh is on his way driving to North Dakota for a relative's funeral. It was an unexpected death, and somebody very close to his mom, so it will be difficult for everybody there I'm sure. The boys and I stayed home, because we thought that driving 20 hours in the span of a 40 hour trip would be too much for them (and us). So, I'll take tonight as an opportunity to do some organizing around the house. (I'm putting that in print here, as though somehow it will make me more accountable and motivated to actually get something de-cluttered around here.)

In other news, I bought two new knitting books, and they arrived today, so as soon as I send this post off to cyberspace, I'm going to kick my shoes off and eat some bon bons (do any stay at home moms really ever do that??), and page through these books for a few minutes this afternoon.....

More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sapporo and Dishrags - more of the same

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Well, it sounds like you've **inherited** your stash aquisition tendencies. I imagine that "fighting" these tendencies is very similar to fighting high cholesterol -- there are some things you can change, but a large part of it is programmed into your genes. Well, I guess you have to make the best of what you've been given :-)

Thanks to those of you who kindly commented that you weren't able to pinpoint on which row I reversed the way I was carrying the yarn on my Sapporo.

The arrow marks the row in which I started carrying the black yarn in my right hand, and the light yarn in my left (dominant) hand. Since nobody said anything about it jumping out at her/him, I decided I'm not going to worry about it. ("Perfect" is the enemy of "good enough".)

I finished the first sleeve for the Sapporo. The pattern says to work a purl stitch at the end of each row, with increases periodically on each side of that purl stitch. So, though this sleeve was knit entirely in the round, it appears to have a "seam" along the length of it. I wasn't sure I'd like it at first, but now I really do. Also, note the reverse stockinette at the very top of the sleeve which will be the inside facing to cover the seam after the sleeve is sewn into the body of the sweater.The second sleeve is well under way, though not very exciting knitting...

...and so, the Dishrag O Rama continues...Hey, the Badgers made it to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament! That means about two hours of solid knitting time during the game tomorrow!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Grandmother's Stash....


First, I have some "housekeeping" to do!

Marie....Thanks for your comment! My digital scale is the kitchen scale I got when I was doing Weight Watchers. In my head, I'm a "cool gadgets" kind of gal, and there were some really sweet digital scales that were all chrome and glass and sleek looking....but the scale that Weight Watchers sells does the job, and was the least expensive I found. SO, the reality of my budget dictated the Weight Watchers brand, and it does the job just fine. While I'm no longer doing WW, I do still use the scale in the kitchen for various things, and it's handy for wool and dyeing as well.

Also, local yarn stores are a wonderful mixed blessing. I love to visit and revel in the wooly wonder of it, take classes, get advice......but trips to my various LYS's are a contributing factor to above budget issues....

Lauren....Yeah, Sprinkles!! I'm knitting with Sprinkles. Be alert for other signs of the end times.

RPW.... I did NOT knit in church!! Bible class, yes..... ;)

Now. Onto my Grandmother's Stash.

My dad's mom taught me to crochet. I was very young - we were still living in Columbus Indiana, and we moved away from there when I was 8. I remember having some yellow yarn and a crochet hook, and making chains. It's all I could do at first - chain. I remember sitting there making a chain that just grew longer and longer, and picturing a chain long enough to go ALL THE WAY around my room! (I believe that this is the root of my belief that any room looks better if there is some form of yarn in it.) She also brought me some lily-of-the-valley to plant near the house, and they remain my favorite flower.

When I was a little older, I was ready to make more than chains. I remember that for my first project, I wanted to make a handkerchief for my father's birthday present. Because everyone wants something scratchy with holes to blow their nose with...hey, I was 8, remember?? This project is the root of many things....weird project ideas; having a vision but not a pattern; and a project that dies before it is finished.

I believe that it also is the root of my stash lust. When I proposed this project to my grandmother and asked for help (bless her sainted soul!) she did not dissuade me, or bother me with pesky details about reality, she took me upstairs to one of the spare rooms and opened her big 3-door wardrobe.

Like the wardrobe in the spare room of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," these doors opened to a magical world. It was her Stash. There were glimpses of yarns jumbled together in baskets, bags from craft stores piled on top of each other, works-in-progress all in a glorious riot of color and texture and craft. Not just yarn, but also fabric. She crocheted, she knitted, she tatted, she sewed, she quilted - really, I'm just a slacker. She never met a craft she didn't like. She did hairpin lace on some contraption with two parallel sticks, she did an afghan stitch with a really LONG crochet hook, she did a daisy afghan with some little circle thing.....she could do anything.

When she was a young mother, she sewed all of the clothes for her family,
including blue jeans, and when things wore out, she cut them up and made quilts from the fabric. I remember a quilt made from what was left after all of her son's blue jeans wore out too much to patch. She also had a surplus military parachute - bright orange and white. She had various visions for that fabric over the years. I remember several times she experimented with different pieced patterns for quilting it. Whenever they moved, I looked for the orange-and-white, and I knew that's where the Stash had ended up.

I was, however, restricted from visiting the Stash unless she was with me (which made it even more mystical.) I didn't understand that at the time - I just wanted to SEE everything, and touch it! I wouldn't hurt anything, or take anything, really! However, now that I have a Stash of my own (one that I think would make her proud!) I understand a few things.

1. I don't profess to know where everything in my Stash actually is, but if someone moved something, I'd have even less of a chance of finding it.


2. That jumble of bags and projects and sheer volume, which to a stasher is a beautiful and comforting sight, can be a little.....embarrassing when shown to others.

But I think this story may help us to see how I got to the place that I am in now.

Does anyone know why I bought this yarn? When? Where?? What I was thinking?? I love it, of course, but I've really been freaked out by the fact that I have no recollection of how it got into my closet! (Otherwise known as Stash Auxilliary Location Number Three. or Four. I get them confused.)

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dishrag update

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I now have the Mason Dixon dishrag pattern memorized, which says less about my intellect and more about the easy to memorize, great pattern, which I'm loving!

I give you exhibit A:
This dishrag is nine inches square (81 square inches of knitting). I followed the directions in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book.

I give you exhibit B:This dishrag is seven inches square (49 square inches of knitting). I like my dishrags a little bit smaller, and as an added bonus, this one can be made in only 60% of the time required to make the first one. I followed the directions in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, EXCEPT I only cast on 33 stitches and I worked fewer repeats of the pattern..... My four year old picked out the yellow. He's been on a "yellow kick" for months. Next time, I'm going to pick my own colors, though.....because I made an executive decision -- When he does the dishes, then he can pick out the dishrag colors.....

Finally, THIS... what is left of the one pound of Kitchen Cotton I purchased about a year ago, also known to me now as "the cone of yarn which doesn't get any smaller no matter how many dishrags I make with it". I have a running tally going in the sidebar in my "favorite finished objects" section, and to date, I have used this cone for 11 dishrags. it turns out, this purchase was quite a bargain, though I'm losing interest in variegated green. However, there's just something fun about a handmade dishrag...

Thank you for the comments! It's so fun for me to feel "connected" to others out in the cyberworld.

Lauren -- You're right! I think I am joining the rest of you with my new BallBand addiction. And I'm not ashamed to say it!

Elizabeth -- I'm going to return the book to the library today, just in case you want to check it out again... :-) You are sooo right about the housework!

Barb outside of Boston -- I like how you look at things. Next time I'm feeling squeezed for time, I'm *not* going to think about how many things I'm sacrificing by not getting them done; I'm going to think of all of the things I've completed, based on a priority system similar to yours. I laughed out loud when you said that if you want your son to go to school, yet he has no clean pants, then laundry will be one of your top three priorities that day!

Mollybeees -- Thank you for your kind comments!

Jennifer -- I don't sleep much, either, though I'm trying to make it more of a priority. It sounds like you have a lot going on this week! I am enjoying watching your progress on Sapporo! Visiting your blog is sort of an unofficial "knit along" for me. Thanks for letting me know about it!

Well, speaking of dishrags, I told myself I'd get my dishes all cleaned up and put away today (one of my three primary tasks for today, now that everybody has clean underwear again...), so time to get going on that.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fingerless Mitts with XO Cable

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

Finished Dimensions:
7 inches around (3.5 inches wide) by 7 inches long .
(For my hand, the fit is snug, but not tight.)

Set of four US size 4 double pointed needles (dpn).
124 yards/50 Grams Classic Elite Yarns "Lush", 50% Angora, 50% Wool (worsted weight). [mitts shown were made using "Pink Icing" color.]
[I was within a yard or two of using ALL of the yarn, so if you are a loose knitter, or will be using larger needles to achieve a looser fit or bigger mitts, I would recommend purchasing an additional hank of yarn for insurance.]

NOTE: The directions for these mitts assume a familiarity in working with dpn's.

Stitch patterns:

Kfb: Knit into the front and back of the next stitch.

M1b: "Make one" by inserting left needle into the little strand which runs between the stitch just worked (on the right needle) and the next stitch on the left needle, from back to front. Then knit this newly picked up stitch.

M1f: "Make one" by inserting left needle into the little strand which runs between the stitch just worked (on the right needle) and the next stitch on the left needle, from front to back. Then knit this newly picked up stitch.

K2tog: Knit the next two stitches together, as if they were one stitch.

C4B: Put next two stitches on cable needle and hold in back of work. Knit two stitches, then knit two from cable needle.

C4F: Put next two stitches on cable needle and hold in front of work. Knit two stitches, then knit two from cable needle.

Cable pattern:
Rows 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14,16: K8
Rows 3 and 15: C4B, C4F
Rows 7 and 11: C4F, C4B

Note that Cable pattern will be worked for a total of four times on each mitt. The pattern will simply say "Cable", which means that you should work the next row in the cable pattern. For example, on the first row of the mitt, when you get to the word "cable", then simply K8, per row 1 of cable pattern. On the second row of the mitt, when it says "cable", again, K8 per row 2 of cable pattern. When you are working the third row of the mitt, when you get to the word "cable", work C4B, C4F, per the directions for row 3 of the cable pattern. After all 16 rows of the cable pattern have been completed, then begin with row 1 again, etc.

Pattern for Left Mitt:
Cast On 42 stitches.
Joining to work in the round, work 16 rows of ribbing pattern as follows:
  • K1, P2, K2, P2, Cable, (P2, K2) 6 times, P2, K1.
Work Increase row:
  • K1, P2, Kfb, K1, P2, Cable, P2, Kfb, K1, P2, K2, P2, Kfb, K1, (P2, K2) 2 times, P2, Kfb, K1, P2, K1. (46 stitches)
Work 6 rows as follows:
  • K6, P2, Cable, P2, K to end of row.
Thumb Gusset:
  • Row 1: K6, P2, Cable, P2, K25, M1b, K1, M1f, K2.
  • Row 2 and all even gusset rows: K6, P2, Cable, P2, K to end of row.
  • Row 3: K6, P2, Cable, P2, K25, M1b, K3, M1f, K2.
  • Row 5: K6, P2, Cable, P2, K25, M1b, K5, M1f, K2.
Continue in the pattern established, knitting two more stitches between the Make Ones on each successive odd numbered row. (Note that the number of stitches worked between the Make Ones always equals the row number.) Do this until 16 rows have been worked. (62 stitches)

Next round (dividing round):
  • K6, P2, Cable, P2, K25, place next 17 stitches on waste yarn for thumb, cast on one stitch, K2. (46 stitches on needles, 17 stitches on waste yarn)
Continue to work hand as follows until complete cable pattern has been worked three complete times:
  • K6, P2, Cable, P2, K to end of row.
Work 10 additional rows as set.

Then, work decrease row:
  • K1, P2, K2tog, K1, P2, Cable, P2, K2tog, K1, P2, K2, P2, K2tog, K1, (P2, K2) 2 times, P2, K2tog, K1, P2, K1. (42 stitches)
Work Ribbing Pattern for five rows as follows:
  • K1, P2, K2, P2, Cable, (P2, K2) 6 times, P2, K1.
At this point, Cable pattern will have been worked completely four times.

Bind off loosely.

Put thumb stitches on DPN's. Pick up 2 stitches under thumb. (19 stitches)

Knit one round, decreasing two stitches under the thumb by working K2tog twice, closing some holes which might be present in that area. (17 stitches)

Work one round K2P2 ribbing, and at end of round, work the last two stitches together. (16 stitches)

Work five more rounds K2 P2 ribbing. Bind off loosely.

Weave in all ends.

Pattern for Right Mitt:
Same as Pattern for Left Mitt EXCEPT change thumb gusset section as follows:
  • On odd numbered rows, and also on dividing round, instead of "K25", work "K8".
  • At the end of the odd numbered rows, and also on dividing round, instead of "K2", work "Knit to end of row".
Please feel free to e-mail me (YarnThrower) with any questions you may have regarding this pattern. Also, please let me know if you run across any errors. Thank you!

Monday, March 12, 2007



Well, as usual, I underestimated the time required to knit things, but it's all fine. I had hoped to have the shower knitting done by Saturday night, but it took until Sunday evening. However, I have finished the knitting that HAS to be done for the baby shower on Sunday.

Behold, a cotton hat (Cascade Fixation, using the magic loop method) and 2 pair of wool socks, (1) Koigu and (1) Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino, knit on size 0 dpns.

I used a
Feather and Fan baby sock pattern from the web for the bluish pair. Then I found the leftovers from a scarf made with Koigu and thought I had enough for a second pair. I weighed the first feather and fan sock, and it was .35 oz. Then I weighed the ball of Koigu - .65 oz. Well, that's .05 short, so I branched out on my own and chose a double-eyelet rib stitch and made the cuff a little smaller. I ended with just about a yard of Koigu left. Whew!

I also started a pillow with this fun
Sprinkles yarn. Not usually a fan of the funky yarns, but this one pulled me into its little polyester goofyness. And it's just the right colors for the nursery.

My apologies for the picture quality - my cell phone does ok if I have GREAT light, but otherwise not so much. Oh well, digital cameras cost yarn money, so we will soldier on with bad pictures...

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka DesignatedKnitter)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sleeves.....We're remarkable sleeves....

Dear Cynthia and other friends,Truly, this sleeve is **not** remarkable, but I've been listening to the "Philadelphia Chickens" CD a lot lately (my four year old is hooked on it, and I'm hooked on watching him laugh, sing, and dance along with it), and if I substitute the word "Sleeves" for "Cows" in the very first song, it sort of works.....but I don't think we should think about that too much.....

Anyway, this is the first sleeve of Sapporo, and **yawn** it's definitely knitting which requires another activity at the same time. Perhaps it is good that the NCAA basketball tournament begins at the end of this week, so I'll have lots of tv time to knit this sleeve.... boring is the sleeve that I started a dishrag.... This is from Mason Dixon Knitting, which I recently checked out of the library, and I know I'm maybe the last knitter on the planet to make one of these, but I had to try it for myself. It is my first project involving slipped stitches. It's a fun project, and I'm so glad it is a dishrag so that I don't have to concern myself with the fact that the color in the variegated green yarn is obviously pooling. This is going to be over nine inches square, per pattern, but for the next one, I'll cast on fewer stitches so that it is more like seven inches square or so.

Finally, I finished the fingerless mitts, and actually started writing out the free pattern. I'll try to post it soon, though I've actually been doing a lot of *ahem* housework lately (which explains why I haven't posted in days). It seems as though there is never enough time for everything I want to/must do, so something always is sacrificed. I know I'm not unique in this..... What's the first thing you choose to sacrifice? I'm guessing that for most it is housework? After all, it will still always be there, waiting, if I let it go for a day or a week..... Well, now I'm rambling, so I'll close. Have a great week!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Update on Sapporo

Dear Cynthia and other friends,

I am anxiously waiting to hear what you will decide regarding your Dale of Norway sweater -- whether you will set it aside **or** forgo sleep this month. I do think you are a little bit crazy, but only in the best sense of that word, and in no way different from a lot of knitters who have projects which exceed their available time. (The Yarn Harlot comes immediately to mind.....)

Anyway, I've been a bit preoccupied lately, with little things like income tax returns (and I mean that in the extreme plural sense of the word -- we have to file seven different returns due to some weird anomalies this year, and I just completed the third one.....). Also, there were other knitting projects which might have been diverting my attention, as well as reading a chemistry book from when I was in college in 1982 (more later on that).In any case, I'm still plugging away on Sapporo. The Origami fan shown in the photo is in the buttonhole which forms the base of the zipper opening. I've divided for the front neckline and so am very close to finishing up the body of this sweater. Then it's just the sleeves, which should be easy, because the color pattern on them is much simpler. Then, of course, is the huge amount of finishing, and nobody knows how long that will take...

Color dominance: Is it real or imagined? I knit most of the colorwork in this sweater carrying the black yarn with my left hand (dominant color) and the light yarn with my right hand. Can you tell from the photo at which point I switched to carrying the light color in my left hand, and the dark in my right? (I thought about ripping back and re-doing it, because I think it is a bit noticeable, but then I decided that sometimes "perfect is the enemy of good enough". What do you think?)

As usual, time to go put a load of laundry in... I hope you have a great rest of the day!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, March 05, 2007

All about everything

Dear Laura:

That origami looks like SO much fun! And I'm glad to know where a ski band goes when it dies. Those fingerless mitts look great!

Wow. I have so much to post that I don't where to begin. Let's see....

February Goals:

In February, I did finish the hats for my brothers. The orange hat for my niece is off the list - instead she wanted a girth-strap for her horse, which is complete!

The ladybug sweater - I have not finished the body, but both sleeves are done, and I'm past the ladybug sections.
I'm kind of digging my heels in on this one. I'm making a 12-month size for a baby who will be born in May, so that it can be worn next fall/winter. I have SO many baby things that I would like to knit, and so realistically, I could put this down for awhile. In fact, reality may dictate that I do that. But I'm afraid that if I do may languish. I know me, it's certainly possible. Let's continue with the goals and come back to this....

The blanket - I did make some progress on the blanket this month - I think it is close to 20".

Drop-in projects for February were a pair of mittens for my mother, who temporarily lost hers, and the girth strap for Kelly's horse. I also spent a few hours shortening sleeves on a sweater for another co-worker - I'm going to do a whole post on that later this week.

March goals:

Hang on to your hats, March is where I lose all touch with reality. Ok, first of all, I agreed to knit a hat for a 2-year-old living in Florida for a co-worker. Knit for hire. Something cute, not wool, not too heavy. I found a skein of Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in a creamy yellow color in my stash.
From Knitting Pict...
I did a ruffled brim with an eyelet rib - kind of an adaptation of a free pattern that I found online. I need to knit a little flower and leaf for embellishment, and try it on a toddler, and then it's done.
So, I'm already almost done with a project for March!

There is a baby shower coming up in mid-March, and I'm to knit 2 little hats and one pair of booties as prizes.
I took a magic loop class over the weekend, and started a hat.

Then I found this really fun cushy yarn and picked up a pattern to make either a teddy-bear or a pillow. It's just the right colors for the nursery, and I couldn't resist. I'm thinking the pillow would be quick, we'll see when I cast on which it is.....

AND I have a bridal shower in mid-April, and I've gotten some crazed "
Mason-Dixon" fever and think I need to knit 2-3 washcloths, 2 hand towels and a bath rug!!!!! Hey, washcloths are small, and the bath rug is on big's not unreasonable....OH! And some cute felted boxes - you know, a whole bath set of complimentary colors! AND I have the yarn for the cloths and towels already in my stash.....

Oh. Plus finish the baby sweater and make some actual progress on the blanket.

Now, I know what you're thinking..."Wow, she HAS lost touch with reality, but there are some pretty small projects in there....." Do not fear. There is more.

I was at
Cass Street on Thursday, and there was this yarn that really called to me. It's a long-repeat variegationa long stripe of cream then a long stripe of blue/green/burgundy variegation. I wanted to see how that would knit up. So I volunteered to knit a toddler pullover as a store sample.While there is no set deadline, it seems reasonable for them to expect it sometime in March......

So, reader poll.

March goals - should I put the baby sweater aside until these projects are done? Is that enough or is it still too insane? Do I need to back away from the needles on something else??

Choose as many answers as you like!

March Madness
Life is short, who needs sleep, go for all of it!
Get a grip. Put down the sweater for March.
You've completely lost it - put down the sweater and at least one other project.
Knit that sweater no matter what. Medicate for Mason-Dixon fever. Buy a shower gift.
Don't you dare stop that sweater. Take the yarn for the toddler sweater back and tell them you overestimated how much a human being can knit.
Stop knitting and take more naps!
You are crazed and you scare me. Stop asking me questions.
Free polls from

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Origami out of control

Dear Cynthia (and other friends),

Our house has become a sea of Origami papers, folded into cranes, boxes, fish, birds, and flowers. The boys love trying to decipher the instructions in the Origami books from the library, and I have to admit that I'm intrigued, too...

On a somewhat related note (stay with me here...), one of my friends is moving to Philadelphia, and so a bunch of us are all going out for a farewell dinner tonight. I want to mark the occasion with a **little** gift, something she doesn't have to really worry about packing, something which is useful, etc., so I selected a multi-colored dish rag I knit using oddments of leftover cotton yarn from my stash (because, that is what I had, and I'll just say that I don't know what color her new kitchen will be). (Okay -- that was the extent of the knitting content in this post :-)Anyway, thanks to Origami, I have a nice little gift box for it, too! Very fun, and CHEAP! (This box was made with a sheet of scrapbooking paper and two sheets of plain white paper which I had on hand.) I've scanned the web for the directions to create this, but have only located instructions for making the box bottom, also referred to as the "Masu Box". [I used this book from my local library to learn how to make the box top (also referred to as a "shuttle box") and the lotus flower topper.]

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a nice dinner out (NO COOKING FOR ME TONIGHT), cutting my own food (AND NOBODY ELSE'S), and catching up with some friends I don't get to spend much time with these days. Should be nice...

I hope you (all) have a great weekend!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What does a ski band become when it dies?

Dear Cynthia and other friends,

I finished the xo ski band!

It was a bit flimsy, didn't really cover my ears well, moved around a lot while it was on my head, and just didn't look very good while I was wearing it...


I think it was the wrong yarn for this project, maybe just not stiff enough...

And so, it is going to be ripped out, because I decided I might like a nice pair of fingerless mitts. I think I'm the only knitter "out there" who hasn't made a pair yet. I liked the xo cable so much that I'm using that along the length of the mitts. Here's the left mitt in progress. (The right mitt will be the ski band's afterlife.) Please ignore the red mark on my hand which shows where I bumped the inside of the 350 degree F oven last Sunday. Now I have something to **show** the boys when I'm explaining to them that we "don't mess around in the kitchen when Mommy has the oven door open". They respond, "We know that already", though I have no tangible **proof** of that... Anyway, since I'm creating the pattern on the fly, I'll post it on the blog when the mitts are finished, hopefully within the next week. Have I mentioned how soft this yarn is? LOVE LOVE LOVE the angora wool blend!

Other than that, the boys have been checking out Origami books from the library, so we've been spending a considerable amount of time on that. Very fun! Wouldn't the purple flower make a cute gift topper?

The weather here is very gloomy, rainy, sleety, so to complement that, maybe I'll do our taxes tonight...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)