A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Posts tagged ‘FairIsle’

Passion for Learning


I want a life that sizzles, pops, and makes me laugh out loud.

I am a passionate and enthusiastic crafter. I appreciates both the journey and the destination and love delving into the amazing variety of handwork. Today focus is on knitting. I love lace, cables, color work, you name it! I strive for technical experience and flawless finishing as well as poring over every detail to get the best result.

Last week, I was fascinated by the back of a laddered jacquard vest (above.) Unlike traditional strand knitting techniques, yarn was carried across any number of stitches without catching the floats.   Nice and neat.  The fabric is light and relaxed–one reason I’m not a big fan of double-knit garments, but, I do LOVE the look.   Just when I thought I know everything about color stranding. Have you heard of the term (step-by-step guide here)? It’s new to me. How exciting! Though it’s generated by a knitting machine, I was determined to translate it to hand knitting.

I have been dabbling and experimenting on the concept for the last few days. Here’s demonstrating the old (sloppy due to modified intarsia patches) and new way. Last twelve rounds are done in the “laddered” style.

There is no pucker.  Other color does not show through.  And it’s jogless. Bonus? No untwisting strands/balls of yarn every so often. It is ideal for Norwegian sweaters and other stranded projects. What a game changer.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure, once again after a long hiatus, to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty (mostly wet-felting, hand appliqué, and quilting of late) adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, Instagram, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Chew On That, Monsanto!


How cool is this? I naturally like this.🐝 Three 15-year-old Mighty Girls from Cork, Ireland, have discovered a way to use bacteria to dramatically increase the yield of several basic food crops–a discovery which could have a major impact in addressing food scarcity while making agriculture more eco-friendly by reducing the need for fertilizer. Congratulations to these young scientists!

Using homemade equipment, they carried out germination and growth experiments over 11 months. They analyzed the performance of more than 9,500 seed samples, recording over 120,000 manual measurements in 125 experimental sets. Based on their extensive experimental results, the girls succeeded in showing statistically that two strains of Rhizobium bacteria can significantly accelerate the rate of crop germination.  These results have significant potential for increasing yields of food crops and reducing losses due to adverse weather conditions. They also offer opportunities for reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture by reducing fertilizer usage. Brilliant Irish girls, aren’t they? I just hope someone in the real world picks this up and actually applies what these amazing 15-year-old girls have discovered. Lets see some actual field trials to verify their findings in an uncontrolled environment.

We are reaching the beginning of autumn, the temperature is fluctuating a lot the past few days. So, be careful not to catch a cold like I did! Nonetheless, this is the best time of the year–to be wrapped around lace shawls like an overflowing scarf. Easy as Pie says right in its name how simple it is. It looks nice and beach-y in different gauges and fiber contents. A super satisfying knit with lovely zig-zag border.

I’m spinning some fine lace weight to do another one with beads and can’t wait to get it underway. So excited. Hand-dyed Romney locks from Iron Water Ranch is to die for. Be sure to check out the family-run booth at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival next weekend if you plan to be in Canby, Oregon. You won’t be disappointed.

Sweater weather is finally here. Though the trend (article here) for Fall sweaters is BIG, I much prefer a lightweight sweater with clean, architectural lines, and a simple drape. Fileuse is just the right piece to take me through those crazy transitional days of autumn. Besides, as a spinner, who wouldn’t geek over these adorable, little Saxonies?!

Musing here becomes the cyber equivalent of a sticky note! You know–when my sieve-of-a-brain can’t recall what project I wanted to start next? These soft-and-silky Baby Girl Mary Janes booties are as cute as the classic pairs I grew up in. Knit in the softest cashmere blend, they would make a perfect foot covering for a baby. I’m making a bunch for charities. (Look for the pink download arrow and click on it. Pattern download instructions are here. Make sure you do not have a pop-up blocker on.)

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE(Kicking off Octoberfest for the fun weekend, right here, right now.  Come join us.)

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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         ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ

  ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Power of Positivity


The Person that commits his or her creative energy toward being of service to humanity, knowing that every action now moves the world at rapid speed and makes a profound difference, has set a course for personal and global illumination.~~Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Defy Gravity

I can. I can get stuck in the transition out of the negativity into the positivity by waiting for others to collaborate with me.  I choose not let others slow me down, or detour me, from being centered in beauty and in love. If I am not receiving the collaboration I am seeking from others to heal a negative state, I need to remove myself from the need of their assistance. Instead, go do something nice for myself. Recharge, refuel, rejuvenate–give myself the capacity to resolve negativity.  Follow my heart and inner guidance. I will find what I’m looking for. Do I really want to look back on my life and see how wonderful it could have been had I not been afraid to live it? I am the person I am today ‘cuz I believe. I’m not here to be average. I’m here to be awesome. (Shown below was from last week’s Thrilla Cyclocoss–a blast.)

Have you ever asked yourself: WHAT is keeping you away from a life of affluence and contribution?

The colder days are here. It’s just about time to start a new project. This Mega Cable will ward off the harsh winter cold while keeping you safely disguised from the lurking dangers of the wild woods. I didn’t know they make Size 50 needles?! It looks like one stitch is two inches. Imagine it would be done in an hour–perfect for a snow brideLoopy Mango Big Loop Merino–$155 a “bump.”  Guess I am spinning my own for this one.

Esther Sandrof–a self-taught left-handed crocheter and oddly a right-handed knitter–is wonderfully imaginative! Isn’t Pop scarf reminiscent of a dancer’s veil with the jingling coins along the edge?  I used to call it op-art in the 70s.  Another perfect pattern for variegated wool in my stash for ages.

Are you ready for some football? Fast and fun fair-isle Hawks Hat! Not a Seahawks fan? Substitute image and colors for your favorite team. 3 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash–or any light worsted-weight yarn–are enough to make a couple of hats.

Have you seen the latest issue of Knitty Deep Fall 2014. It’s been out for a couple of days. I must say I am underwhelmed this time around. I do love the Krydda and Seattle sweaters, otherwise, eh. Maybe I just need to look again in a few days. Sometimes things that I overlooked or passed over look better on the second or third viewings. Do you have any faves?

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE. (Below Photo Credit: Jean Marie, who used a tripod and a roughly 30-second long exposure, trying to capture some Northern Light magic two nights ago–no show. But, those shooting stars reflected in the lake and the light reflected on the rocks from the bright moon are stunning, aren’t they?)

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

ღ¸.•*””*•.¸¸ ”
ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Day of Laughter


Only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.~~Tom Schulman/Dead Poet sSociety

It’s been a month now since his passing, but, he’s not forgotten. I remember. Lets honors ‪Robin Williams‬ by creating a DAY OF LAUGHTER (petition here) and raise awareness for depression and mental illness.

The video (below) doesn’t just prove that Robin Williams was great, it shows how he was GREAT. This is what making a difference looks like.  I got chills and tears at the same time.

Have you seen this drawing that has gone viral around the net? Maybe it’s ‘cuz I can’t draw to save my life that I am absolutely ASTOUNDED by this. The artist took views through just a few pencil marks to the jaw-dropped, amazing final product that is worth waiting for. It’s incredibly realistic. He’s so missed. Thank you, Heather Rooney, for your magical touch.

Up here in the high desert and nearby cities, tree leaves are starting to turn into red and yellow. I love the smell of those pumpkin pies and Autumn is coming soon. Here’s another great piece to knit for Fall. Sausalito Estonian Rib Headband warms the ears while looking stylish on these chilly days. The Estonian Rib design imitates entrelac knitting, but, is much easier to work. One ball of each Crystal Palace Sausalito and Mini Solid makes two headbands easily.

The picture doesn’t do its justice. TENDRES BOURGEONS are delicate and feminine socks that will make your feet look nice and lovely.  The many small details result in a refined and original look.

This delightful Fair Isle Swing cardigan and matching hat were designed in 4-ply Blacker Swan yarn by Tina Barrett. She was asked to make it in all sizes from newborns through to bigger children.

With raglan/top-down construction, the beautiful design may easily be adapted to suit an adult size. Would you wear one?

Do you crochet? Are you a fan of dragons? Fierce Little Dragonbut friendly–amigurumi is really good for any dragon character from books. They are universally loved. It’s on the wish list of every boy I know to protect ’em. Thank you, Lucy, for the fantastical creature pattern!

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

ღ¸.•*””*•.¸¸ ”
ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Being Real


A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect It’s about being real, being humble, being able to share myself and touch the lives of others. It is only then I could have a full, happy, and contented life. Let the big wild day begins.

Even though the calendar still says it summer, fall weather has been creeping up on us here in the high desert. With fall’s arrival, the holiday season isn’t far behind. Here’s some ideas for fall knitting and gifting. Fair Isle and Intarsia/Duplicate Stitch charts for a series of apples–full, half, quarter-missing & bitten. They would be very nice on a towel border and I could gift that along with a warm apple pie for a special friend. What would you make of it?

If you’re looking for smaller quick knits, I really like Baby Bootie Slippers. So adorable. It’s a good way to use up worsted yarn leftovers.

More garter stitch and stripes to love. Choose your favorite colors, yarn weight, and cast on for RestEndColor knitted shawl that will warm your shoulders and a bit more. Used this helpful tutorial to assist you work out what the double stitch thing is all about, very helpful. I love the German short row method, no wrapping, no holes, no drama! Very neat result–definitely my go-to method doing short rows.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE. (Back-side peek of a quick-knit finished in Manos del Uruguay Classica yarn below for a sweet friend.)

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

ღ¸.•*””*•.¸¸ ”
ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Life’s an Adventure


Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do children as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.~~Helen Keller

Is it good to risk than doing nothing at all? I am convinced that the true spirit in me chose a daring adventure over nothing. Nothing in nature is guaranteed or ever stays the same. Nature lives, thrives, changes and functions into a variable future.

I prefer to go forward into life–even the deep yet fascinating mysterious unknown aspect of it–than spend any time at all avoiding anything, danger included. Learning, growing and healing are adventures. The security I know arises from within me. Life’s an adventure. Dare it.

I woke up to a cool morning. It’s a great time to start making Fall projects, isn’t it? Get ready for more crisp fall days with these amazing mitts! Autumn in the Ozarks knitted pattern is FREE through September 20.

For all Whovians, how would you like to celebrate the new series of Doctor Who–with a brand new Doctor–with some Who-themed projects? Insulate! Hat and Insulate! Mittens are both very high up on my to-knit list right now–both are FREE.

Decorating for Halloween is always so much fun. Are you ready for some Ghost Coasters? The crocheted coaster pattern is FREE at Red Heart (North America) site.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects.   As always, they are FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

ღ¸.•*””*•.¸¸ ”
ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

You say Apple. I say Eple.


Secret no more.  After sharing a glimpse of my Blue Lagoon Amandine cardigan earlier in the month, I took on another test-knit pair of fair-isle socks–Eple (blogged here) from Andrea Rangel.

The top-down, heel-flap pattern is Eple (Rav Link.)  This is a wonderful training wheel project for first-time stranded color knitting and duplicating stitch work.  Stranding is when I carry the colors along, the entire time, with frequent changes.  Some folks experience their stitches tightening up with their work–stranded knitting versus one color–this is a terrific knit to improve your stranded, color work skills.

No modification as designer wished.  But, wait…I am sneaky (rather clever, I feel.)  I did play with needle sizes to get the tailor-fit result I desire and knit 2 rounds (instead of 1) between first 4 toe-shaping decrease rounds.

  • Estonian cast-on with 1.75mm
  • Switch to 2.0 mm for 4 rounds past ribbing.
  • Switch to 2.25 mm for 14 stockinette rounds
  • Switch to 2.50 mm for fairisle work
  • Switch back to 2.25 mm for 50 stockinette rounds before heel flap.
  • Knit 38 rounds for foot length before toe shaping.

I love this yarn–it’s really squishy, it’s incredibly bright.  Even though it’s a fingering weight and small needles, it knit up rather quickly, two-at-a-time with two circular needles.

A couple of tips on stranded color knitting…Once you get it down, evaluate your system of switching.  Which hand you employed to hold your yarns in depends on which color is used more frequently.  Too often, we hold each color at different tensions and, over a sweater project, switching may lead to uneven results.  It’s better  to continue holding the same color in the same hand throughout.  If colors change through the pattern, then adopt the pattern color in the left hand and background in the right as most often that results in the pattern color being the dominant color, i.e., shows a tad more than the background color due to the relative positions of those colors during the stranding process.

It isn’t always necessary to wrap, weave, trap the carried color frequently.  But I do…a personal choice.  Weaving on a frequent basis results in a denser fabric which may be an advantage in some cases, disadvantage in others.  Doing shorter floats takes more time; over an entire sweater, it does make the going slower.  (Click on image below–link to my flickr page–for yarn and dimension details.)

Another reason to think about its use is that the trapped yarn often shows through–sometimes no problem at all when the colors are close in value, but, other times really shows up to the point of distraction.  The pattern (and yarns) are wonderful.   Buy the pattern just for the golden tips on producing stranding work smooth and beautiful.

My ability doesn’t do them justice.  What is your favorite fair-isle knits?  Here’s a boy knitting in the round, in rib, but flat (which I don’t do.)  Children knit their bit as part of the wartime effort.  That’s some advanced knitting for such a little one…and a boy to boot!   Inspired??  I sure am.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Wool and the Gang


Yep…Another secret knit.  This time is for knitwear designer Andrea Rangel.

Cast on yesterday with Cascade Heritage Painted sock yarn (violet) and Ella Rae Lace Merino (Lime Green.)

It’s a simple knit.  It took me about 6 hours from start to finish–including comb through pattern/design/instruction details.

I love the rush and working under the gun.  I love the simple, elegant design, enhanced with a little bit of duplicate stitches.  (Above two pictures reflect true values/hues of the two yarn–my favorite  color combination.)  Once published or green-light received from Andrea, I will show you the full “program.”  For now, just use your wildest imagination, my friend 😀

Crazy, right?  Knitting with wooly yarn in extreme heat here.  Do you knit or crochet in the summer?  What would you make?  Summer tops, beach hats, little girly sundresses, market bags, purses, socks…in bamboo, linen, silk and blends, cotton/acrylic blend, etc.?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Dreaming Grand Cayman


with whales and the wild.  Water and  Ocean is so healing.

I worry about what my true nature really is. Who am I once those erroneous beliefs and false expectations are released?

It is only by the act of stripping away those layers of beliefs and expectations that I will discover my true nature

my own uniqueness and individuality.

In the act of releasing false thought processes, I experience the freedom and joy of being true to myself and comfortable in my own skin.♥

After all, this is still a knitting blog.   Knitting is what I do for fun and relaxation.   And I did have a couple finished knits to prove it.

Show above is Tuff Love, in my own hand-dyed yarns with Wilton Icing Gels.  I went with subtle color contrast and dyed my own not once, twice…but three times due to miscalculation of specific yardage for the Caribbean Blue (variegated teal.)  I LOVE the design and will definite knit another pair in better gauge and tension 😀 Faye Kennington has beautiful eyes for capturing the nature scenes.

Next is my first ever pair of boot toppers, finished over a week ago.  This pair is knitted in worsted weight and Sizes 6 and 8 needles so it knits up quickly.  Mine was done in just a few hours.

just in time for a winter storm. I love them…actually wearing them more often upside down as legwarmers. One of these days, I’ll show you a picture of that.

Both designs are by Faye aka UkeeKnits, who lives in beautiful Ucluelet, BC.   Both designs were really fun to knit and the instructions are well written. Do you love fair-isle knit? What’s your favorite pattern and stranding technique?

Cascade Winds was awesome this afternoon, again! Thanks, Dan Judd and all the fabulous band members. I can’t wait for the next one in June 😀

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Tool of the Trade


I use in order to produce multiple sizes when designing sweaters…

  • Marnie’s invaluable tutorials on using Excel to grade patterns, making schematics in Illustrator, and creating colorwork charts again in Illustrator.   I believe Excel (and maybe Word?) may be found on her website too.  If you start at the tutorial archives here, do a search on Excel, you should get all four parts on grading and pattern writing in Excel…and more.  My bare minimums for grading stage are square paper, white paper, pencil/pen, and eraser (that darn dog ate my eraser again!)   Using Excel and Word definitely makes life much easier when change is imminent.

In my schematic sketch for the cardigan I named Infinite Path, there is no waist shaping as 1) kids in that age aren’t yet shapely and 2) combination of cables and laces used in this design will naturally give me some shaping.

As you see from the schematic, the V-neck starts an inch above the sleeve openings.  For adult sizing, I will have it start an inch or two below though…unless I change my mind to have the neck somewhat a crew as shown below.

There are several things to say about my sweater prototype.  Firstly, I picked out a cable patterns for the back, fronts, and sleeves…then fillers. Next would be working up stitch and row gauges to determine cast-on number.   Initially, I concentrate only on stitch count.  With 5 stockinette stitches to an inch, I cast on 60 stitches for back piece.  To allow a child to move freely, I choose a 2×2 ribbed band for its elasticity.  Most kids I know do not like restriction.  The rest is to plug in my main-feature cable, pick out fillers–lace panels and extra purl stitches–in between.

Moving on to front pieces…this step took a bit longer as I had to see how the lace and cable work (mirrored for left and right fronts) at the shoulders pan out.

Finally, back neck shaping…short-row feature to build up a shawl collar came to mind naturally.  By doing so, I was able to add on the needed button-bands seamlessly and flawlessly.

As much as I prefer knitting in round, the prototype was worked in pieces to save time…just because I am not totally sure about the outcome.  For example, will the look and shape of the lace fillers complimentary to cable panels?  Do they flow fluidly?  Is it good idea to incorporate so many different patterns in one design?  Again, it is because I am dealing with cable and lace here.  If this were a stockinette design,  I would knit it in round, in a heart beat.

So far, it has been smooth and easy.  My projection of the knitting time is surprisingly short (~10 hours including math work.)  It is because of the child size and the needle size (US7, 4.5 mm) used.  It took only 1.5 repeat of the cable to fill up the back panel–very helpful.

Only after I picked up the stitches for sleeve opening did I start to spend time thinking about how to distribute the decreases and what I am going to do about the band and collar.  That’s it for now…I will be evaluating, improving, and re-mapping for prototype #2. A big Thank-you goes to my accommodating 36″ life-size model…never peep a word of complaint/disagreement throughout the whole shooting process. Hope you find this helpful and come back for next Design-Along post.

With the help of my friend Myria taking my 10-year-old with her most of the day–joining my home-school friends on the Leapers and Creepers tour at High Desert Museum, Hubby and I had a grand lunch this afternoon–in supporting of our teen’s high school music programs–at its annual fundraiser sponsored by Outback Steakhouse.   Awesome lunch.  The home-made bread was to die for.  Great raffle prizes too.  I’m truly happy for all those lucky winners 😀

It was a fantastic spring day in winter. A run to the dump–dropping off load of wine bottles–on a Friday afternoon was…actually delightful 😀  So, what is/are your tool(s) of the trade?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)