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

Posts tagged ‘short-row’

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!

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

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Musical Waves…Magic Mesh


My regular readers who knits know I use short-row technique quite often in my fiber journey EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES beyond the traditional methods of yarn used in Knit and Crochet.

I didn’t invent short row knitting! I find them in prints from the 19th century already mentioning ways of using short rows to give a specific shape to clothing. Short rows allows me to change the direction of knitting, creating soft curves and darts, mitered corners, vertical gathers, customize and tailor knitted garments. It’s used for toe-up socks (toe bits,) horizontal yoke, and a lot of other three-dimensional knitting! I use them typically to lengthen back of a sweater often, add darts for bust-line or hip, turn heel of a sock or shape a sweater’s neckline. They are rows that are only partially worked before turning.

A few years back, I discovered freeform fiber arts and fiber enthusiasts such as Jenny Dowde, Jane Thornley, Prudence Mapstone, Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer of Woolly Thoughts, Myra Wood…to name a few.  I was blown away.   What do you mean I don’t have to follow a pattern, I use any old bit of yarn I please all together, and I can play, play, play?  My kind of handcraft, exactly.  Since then, fiber-related freeform books, instructions, online forums, support groups are widely available.  Most of the instructions still focuses on crochet.  Crochet is a medium that lends itself well to freeforming.  I only have one live loop at a time (give or take,) so I may change direction pretty easily.  Crocheting makes squares, triangles, shells, loops–all shapes.

Knitting tends towards the rectilinear.  That’s okay.  There are ways to both work with that pattern and break it, but, its natural tendency is to have the last row be much in the shape as the first row. It has to be a little more of a conscious choice to get going in new directions.

In recently months, you have heard me referencing Swing and Jazz knitting that have gained a steady popularity.  It is a wonderfully liberating way to knit beautiful natural forms by following the colors in hand-painted yarn and changing direction when the colors change. By responding to dyer’s choices–and by making the most of curling–striping and pooling, all kinds of delightful surprises happen as I knit. I may start somewhere with a specific idea in mind, yet, find myself on another exciting path entirely.  The art of utilizing short-row technique artfully and musically.

I have yet taken a class from Ilisha Helfman, author of Jazzknitting, or an online workshop by Heidrun Liegmann, creator of Swing Knitting (at least first one I know of that presented the movement in a series of workshops.)  From the amazing work of art their pupils have created, I imagine the classes are both educational and invaluable.  There are a lot of ideas behind the structures and shapes in both Swing Knitting and Jazzknitting, but, there’s also a lot of freedom and plenty of opportunity for your own inventiveness to shine.  All you have to do is follow a few simple techniques and bring a sense of adventure to your work.

I can’t tell where exactly or when I have developed the skill set for my short-row interpretation.  It just happens…by observing people’s creations…learning from the visuals available on the web, mimicking and/or re-engineering eye-catching design elements…experimenting and playing without expectation or judgement.  Short-row technique is used in most of my mittens, scarves/shawls, dish/spa cloth, sweaters, socks, bags, hats…

A few early-on projects that came to mind instantly that may have provided me the foundation are: Laura Aylor’s famous afghan aka Lizard Ridge,

Picot Swirl Cloth by Foothills Of the Great Smoky Mountains,

and Rebecca Hudson’s Vortex Dish clothes.

I am quite a visual learner and very mathematically motivated…and find inspiring ideas through fiber artists’ stress-free creative art wear.  From simple shaping to short-row intarsia, this technique revolutionizes my knitting!

There are several ways to do short rows which I’ve probably tried most of them–wrap-and-turn, plain, yarn-over, double-stitch, Japanese, German, make 1—and the one that I prefer has changed over the years. For the last year, I’ve been a shadow wrap-and-turn girl. Why? It just seems to be the simplest method for me, never leaves a hole but a clean fabric. For toe-up socks, I prefer to do No-Wrap heels.

If you have a different preferred method by all means continue using it.    Wrapping is a bit hit and miss–it all depends on my yarn…how visible the wrap ends up being when I finally work those stitches.

Most folks find German method easier.  I will have just turned my knitting, so if I’ve been making knit stitches, my yarn is still in front. Leave it there and slip the first stitch purlwise. Now pull the yarn to the back directly over that slipped stitch. It will pull up another stitch and look like two attached stitches. When I knit that stitch, I will knit it as one stitch, going underneath the X.   Links to different short-row methods are available under my tutorials/utilities resource page.  Check them out if you are looking to try something different.  What new technique have you acquired lately…and are happy with?

In each no-rule magical play–as I try to apply to life’s path–I hold on to the seat. The only limit is how far I’ll let my imagination take me! Toss all inhibition out the window, make it up as I go. How much or how little I do is not important here–having fun and following the needles is!  Using the Japanese method, which produces a virtually invisible finish, explore ways of introducing color, shape and movement.  Discover the potential of short rows, both practically and creatively.  Try letting go and kick start your creativity; you’ll be amazed by the results.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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

If I Had My Life To Live Over


85-year-old Nadine Stair’s writing makes me wonder how differently I would live my life

if I had a chance to live it over again.

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

How about you? What would you do differently?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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

Press On


History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed?  They won ‘cuz they refused to become discouraged by their defeat. After finishing my last project, I got a little ambitious and started Trickle-Down Tank immediately (previously mentioned here.)

Imperial Stock Ranch Erin–a 3-ply worsted wooly yarn–gives it a light, airy, pleasing, pebbly texture feel. I typically prefer DK or lighter-weight yarn. But Erin is actually cool to wear…maybe ‘cuz the gauge allows the breeze through? I love this yarn!  Anna Cohen, of Imperial Stock Ranch design team, used Erin to advantage in her swingy summer top that features a diagonal stitch pattern, deep V-neck, and shaping detail.

Anna designed the lacy, seamless garment for maximum versatility: A large-scale lace pattern, first knitted flat from bottom–center back–using short-row technique, then in the round, covers the tunic-length tank that may be layered loosely over tanks, tees, or dresses.

Simple diagonal lace pattern goes quickly with larger needles. Fashionably asymmetric from front to back, this medium-size tank–in my case a tunic as I normally wear adult-small in clothing–is a very loosely fitted garment, great for summer, yet perfect for layering in any season! It can easily be adapted to fit.

It literally took me nine tink (knit spelled backward) to finally make the connection. From center back to center front, one side of the bias lace leans one way while other side leans opposite way. Once Eureka’s arrived, the project was a breeze. It worked up quick, yet, is interesting. I finished the knitting in an evening sitting.

I am very happy with the transitional tunic and Imperial Stock Ranch Erin! Nice drape and it doesn’t cling…a fun casual!  Great for days outside. I love wearing summery knits.

Highly recommend marking–color codeeach segment as follows: Right Front Side seam to Center Front, Center Front to Left Front Side seam, Left Back Side seam to Center Back, Center Back to Right Back Side seam. Place markers on both side seams. Mark off the rows if you need to take a break. Once the flow is understood–with suggested steps implemented, the charted pattern is actually quite easy to follow. I feel with a better visual, even a fearless beginner knitter may tackle this lovely tank.

The shop sample consumed 2.16 skeins (244 grams or 530 yards) of Imperial Stock Ranch Erin. In my humbly opinion, the length may be shortened to conserve yarn to keep it a two-skein wonder…or continue in pattern as long as you like for an A-line sundress.

Like many knitters, I love showing off my hand-knit items, but, cozy cardigans and slouchy hats do not make for sexy weekend wear! Now you may flaunt your knitting chops and some skin with this lace top. Wear it with skinny jeans and a leather jacket (your pick) to go out on the town. Or layer it over a solid or printed (as shown) tank to dress it down.

So grab your needles, ladies–-it’s time for knitters to take back the nightlife! Both pattern and yarn are available online or in store here. ♥ ♥ ♥

The Tickle-Down tank is my lesson in Persistence and Perseverance. Life is a funny thing. It’s always testing me, challenging my resolve, while pushing me to the edge of what seems impossible. Some folks look at setbacks and see them as insurmountable obstacles. Me? When faced, I often ask Why not me? Why not now? I believe that no matter what life throws my way, I will persist and persevere–eventually attaining my goals and objectives. How do you face your challenges?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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

Your Mind Will Answer


“…most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”~~William S. Burroughs

Meditation is one way to get those answers.

Relaxation can also make me wise in answering the questions.

It’s true.  After ripping out my Trickle-Down Tank the ninth time (previously mentioned here,) it’s finally registered.

It’s no longer a puzzle, a mystery.   Once figured out the design element, it was a breeze to knit up.  I got it completed in an evening.  Only things left to do is to wash, block the lace tank, take finished photos, package it up, and ship it back to Twisted.

Through this particular trial of mine, it got me thinking of an unique, refreshing, and inspiring story I read recently of a new dad of an adopted infant son.  A real man who isn’t afraid of wearing his heart on his sleeve, cries, and hugs his mom on the green after his win.  Bubba Watson, winner of the Masters Tournament (story linked.)  A humble golfer–who gave thanks to God–after coming from behind and winning in sudden death…after driving into the woods.  What a game, what a tremendous golfer who had never a golf lesson in his life!  Gotta love his pink driver!  What’s your inspiration and/or role model today? ♥ ♥ ♥

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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

Ooh, Look at the Litt’l Flutterby!


After shaping the latest creation with my steam iron (over a quilter’s press cloth) and taking photographs…I just discover a glorious butterfly. Don’t you? (The colors are more muted jewel tones, not as light and bright as pictured here.)

I haven’t gotten a chance to set up a model shoot session on the soaring wing(span)…just ‘cuz my private photographer has been super busy and is on the road!

I must confess…it’s my new favorite and I am totally mesmerized by its randomly placed colors,

organic, free-flow structure

the comfort and warmth it brings me each time I wrapped myself in it. (Hey…my boy shot this head pose–his second time using my DSR.  Not bad, huh!)

It’s my kinda of quickie, knit up in an evening. Third time the charm. Just as fun–more intuitive swinging and jazz-knitting–and as swiftly as the first (linked) and second (linked) times.  You can’t go wrong with using Size-10 needles and aran-weight Lion Brand Amazing yarn–a ball of each Strawberry Fields and Joshua Tree, some Cobblestones for a wing tip and finishing border/i-cord bind-off, plus small leftover of Regetta towards the end of the wing. This time, I cast on 68 stitches initially and 24, 20, 18, and 18 stitches for subsequent triangles. The i-cord 4-stitch bind off is the same as I’ve done in most of my projects: Back-loop Cast on 4 stitches, **KTB K2 K2togTBL with 1 stitch off the shawl. Slide knitted stitches back to left needles** and repeat from ** to **.

It’s been fun watching how everyone is taking this design and making it their own with modifications. If nothing else, online resources such as Ravelry helps give us, fiber-artists, the freedom to do so, knowing others are venturing out too.  As I continue in my cleaning/de-cluttering path, I have been itchin’ for some low water-immersion dyeing play to replicate some of MadelineTosh kettle-dye effect.

What are some of the things you are craving for? Fresh air and/or May showers?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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

Three Times the Charm


or a lady.   Here is another fun canvas to paint freely with short-strokes (aka short-row), hot off the needles:

Wingspan (first and second versions here) is quite addictive…so much that I use it as a relief from another crazy day of spring cleaning. (I will show you the whole piece another day once it’s dried and shaped.)

One of the universal laws is that I may choose what feelings I want to experience. When I choose negative feelings, my life become infinitely more stressful and complex ‘cuz I loose the inner connection with the Infinite. When I choose to be optimistic, cooperative and enthusiastic rather than being a victim of my negative emotions, I remain in control of myself and maintain inner happiness. ♥

How do I make the choice to be positive if I have no experience with it?  It is hard to choose to feel a way I have no experience feeling. How do I know when I am succeeding? It’s even more challenging after feeling/being negative…but is worth constantly reminding myself every second. Practice makes perfect. I can tell you it’s worth every bit of trying.

What do you do to help make the positive choice?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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