Monday, October 16, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 39

Let's switch things up this week.

Here's a make ahead for Christmas.  Do you hang stockings for gifts?  Do you hang them for ornaments?  For an ornament size, try fingering weight yarn (size 1 on the ball band) and a size 2mm needle or 1mm size hook (this dips down into the steel hooks).  Want it for gift giving?  See suggestions below.

Instead of color work, let's do knit and purl stitches for the knit swatch.  Instead of crochet Fair Isle, let's try bobbles.  What do these 2 changes do to your work?  What do you think of it?  Are you able to keep the front and back rows straight in your mind?  Did you use stitch markers?  Good for you if you did.  Tools are there for our benefit.  Didn't need to?  Great for you too.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Charts - Love them or hate them

Charts are here to stay.  For the advanced stitcher a simple chart is all that is needed to create a garment that is a work of art.  For publishers one picture is worth more than a thousand words, it can be worth extra advertising space on a page.  For a stitcher who speaks only one language,  charts are universally available.

Let's all agree that crochet charts come with a standardized set of symbols.  . Is a slip stitch,  x or + is a single crochet and so on.  However,  in following a wide variety of Pinterest boards and Picasa accounts from around the world, I have seen a wide variety of symbols in knit charts.  Most are reasonably self explanatory with knit and purl and in indicating if a left or right leaning decrease should be used. Yarn overs seem to be universal in their use of O.  Looks like a hole,  acts like a hole

Here's an easy crochet chart.  You'll see what I mean.

Now for the knitting charts.  These are the ones that can throw me for a loop if I'm not paying attention.  As I mentioned above, the yarnovers are a circle or o on charts.  Easy so far.  Knit and Purl are equally easy.  They are either a blank square or - for one and | for the other.  Depends on where and when the charting was done.  That is also fairly universal.

The ones that sometimes confuse me are the cables and the decreases or increases.  Cables are sometimes like the magenta swatch with a horizontal line and vertical line and another horizontal line.  By looking at the picture I can tell that the way it's drawn it needs to be a Back cross or a Left Cross.  However, there is also the green variant and the grey variant below which shows 2 other ways to diagram cables, with the cream colored cable at the bottom showing a 4th way.

The decreases also are different in each case.  Some draw a diagonal line in the box with a half diagonal going the other way (white lace just below).  This shows which direction the decrease needs to lean and you pick the one you know and like the best.  Another variation is a triangle following the 3/4 x just described, (the grey, blue and purple in the middle show this).  Again the goal is to show you which way the decrease needs to lean.  There is the odd symbol that looks like a bird foot in the magenta swatch that indicates a 3 to 1 decrease.  Some would k3tog or SSSK, but, to get the solid line of knit stitches, you need to work the decrease differently.  Here's one way thanks to TechKnitter.


  1. Inserting from left to right (knitwise), run right needle through TWO loops at tip of left needle and slip these two stitches onto the right needle. Note: You are to slip both stitches at the SAME TIME, therefore, insert the needle from L to R through the second stitch from the tip, then through the stitch at the tip, then slip both off the L needle, together, onto the R needle. 
  2. Knit the next stitch. 
  3. Next, insert the tip of the left needle under the 2 slipped stitches and lift them OVER the knitted stitch. (This is called "passing the slipped stitch(es) over" and is abbreviated "psso.")  
  4. If 3stdec looks like combination of k2tog and ssk, that's because it is. The stitch which originally lay two from the tip of the L needle comes to lay on top of the resulting stitch sandwich, and it is pointing straight up--the orange stitch in the above diagram, while the two stitches lower down in the sandwich (green and red) slant R and L, respectively, as shown.
  5. One stitch appears where 3 were before, so 3stdec is a two-stitch decrease.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 38

Charts dominate the Fair Isle world.  It's so easy to chart out the colors into a pleasing picture.  What isn't so easy is to write line by line directions for it.  The color changes alone can mess you up, in either writing or following the directions.  The color changes can add many pages to the directions for each picture. 

Have you noted that when patterns are changed, there are usually stripes to separate them?  I'm not sure but I think this is to balance the colors.  Sadly I haven't read anything about this.  There are also times when there is a border with a different background color or different accent color.  How about changing the center stitch of the flower with something else?  Maybe change not only the black center stitch but also the background color on this row.  Make sure to tie it into the swatch/garment by using that color elsewhere.

Here is a set of charts to get you through the next few days.  Yes, these are for Christmas.  We have to get a jumpstart on some of the knitting and crocheting for the holidays.   Can you see these as framed pictures?  Ornaments?  Afghan blocks?  Pillows?  Table runners?  Coasters?  Placemats?  Dish cloths and tea towels?  Hot pads?  If you choose to use any of these for hot items, use wool and cotton, never acrylic.  Acrylic can melt and cause terrible burns.

Colorwork - New Ways to Look at It

Previously I've discussed the basic colorwork technique of stripes. These are nice and easy. They can be any sized,  all the same or a specific pattern like Fibonacci, or completely random. Color blocking also falls in this level.  For beginners,  work each color section separately.  For more advanced people,  this is an Intarsia variation.

edit to add this important fact: Without having to purchase multitudes of colors, though who wouldn't, you can have a multiple color project by using variegated yarn, ombre yarn, tonal yarn.  These yarn are multi color either in a 1 color family or a many color family.  But this choice can add interest and variety.  The choices in this range are short color repeats to long color repeats.  This could be as short as an inch or many yards before subtle shifting into the next. 

Then I discussed the next level of colorwork techniques,  Fair Isle,  intarsia, mosaic, and In the case of crochet,  tapestry.  Intarsia can be styled like a coloring book for children with large sections.   Intarsia can be styled as a single Fair Isle pattern.  Fair isle is best done in only 2 colors per round or row.  Mosaic uses 1 color per 2 passes but can have 2 or more colors (usually 2).  Tapestry is essentially a variant of Fair Isle.

Now let's talk about the 3rd level of colorwork techniques.  Filet crochet is black and white.  Best part, the background can be any color you want as can the solid parts.  Entrelac in either crochet or knit can be a fantastic way to take a small stitch pattern or colorwork pattern and make it a much larger.  Each block in the chart equals one square of the entrelac but the entrelac square can be any size.  Finally there is the box stitch or c2c stitch pattern and mitered squares.  As with the entrelac each pattern block is equal to a blocked of c2c or mitered square.  

Let's see what you can do with a level 2 or 3 and the charts. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 37

I'm working to catch up on the weeks. To this end, here are more Fair Isle patterns.  Typical of the region where the winters are very dark, color work utilizes bright colors like blue, red, yellow and green.  Contrast of colors makes the designs pop.  If you choose colors too close to each other, you lose a lot of the design and therefore the work and care you put into the item you are making.

What colors do you choose?  I tend to go for high contrast colors.  Do you also find color work to be addicting?  When doing two stranded color work, especially if the colors are balanced, I tend to use one hand for both colors.  Other methods hold one color in each hand or drop a color and pick up the other.  Try each to see what works best for you.

What do you have if you choose to only use the chart 1 time instead of over and over in a row?  Did you answer Intarsia?

Make a note about this chart, you only see the right hand side.  It's mirror image.  You can also take this apart and use only a part of the design.  What colors did you choose?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Update on Christmas

I have changed my mind yet again. I know that's nothing new. 

For quite some time I had been planning to make 2 granny square jumpers (American not British) for my granddaughters.  They are 6.  Probably the ruffled skirts would not be appreciated by them.   I have chosen instead circle vests.  We've all probably seen them on ravelry.

My younger son is living with and talking about marrying a young woman. She has 2 children previously.  So I'm thinking of them and what might be appropriate for them.  One of the children is 4 and the other is less than a year.   They are boys.

Then there is my daughter in law.  I thought of a clapoti.  I thought of finishing one of the several things I started for her.  None of them are close to finished.

Finally there's the mystery young woman.   Because of the long hours she works, we don't get to see her and the kids to get to know them.  I know basic sizes and favorite colors for her.  I was wondering about a comodo possibility. 

I also considered something for each son.  A number of years ago, I knit a fair isle pattern raglan sweater for one son.   The other son has me completely baffled.  Maybe a knit tie?  Better still a knitted bowtie!  Now to find a kit from Franklin Habit for this.......

Pictures will come after Christmas for obvious reasons.  With a lot of luck, I will have pictures of all recipients wearing AND enjoying their creations.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 36

Last week, I offered a very colorful Fair Isle chart.  It had on some rows more than 2 colors.  This is not typical of true Fair Isle.  Typical Fair Isle, from that specific island north of Scotland, and perhaps that region, uses only 2 colors per row.  So here is a 2 color set of charts.  They are deceptively simple. 

Did you find the long floats on some of the motifs to be finger catchers?  I know I do.  The only garment where I can't catch a float and create a snag is usually a hat.  Floats are caught after 2 stitches.  Also don't carry a color for more than 5 stitches (catch the float in the middle).  It creates more headaches than it's worth.  This is where bobbins come in handy. 

What do you think of the crochet version vs. the knit version?  And now the charts.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A year of stitches week 35

For this week,  let's mix it up.

The knit sample is a fair isle pattern.

Fair isle is best done from a chart that is either color coded or, like some cross stitch charts, symbol based.  A few more complex charts are both color and symbols.  Depending on the quality of the printing,  the colors are too hard to tell apart and symbols can differentiate between them.  Fair isle is done in all stockinette stitch. It is easiest done in the round and then steeked.

The crochet sample is also a fair isle pattern.  Like the knit fair isle,  it is best done from a chart that is either color coded or symbol based.  Crochet fair isle charts follow the same color and symbol based rules of knit charts.  The yarn is always carried on the wrong side in either case.  Crochet fair isle is done in single crochet.  Again this looks best done in the round.
This chart is for both.  One repeat in knit and one repeat in crochet.

Try this pattern in both and see how they look the same or how different they look.  Choose one band and add it to a hat or mittens (around the hand).  Or go really crazy and add this whole panel to a sweater.  Choose different colors if you don't like these.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Free apps

No, not appetizers.  I'mchecking out applications for my phone. When I had a Windows phone,  there were few knit and crochet apps for that platform.   I guess I never thought about it in reference to how many different types of cell phones there are in the smart phone arena.   No I'm not going to try to list them all.

What I AM going to be working on is a review of as many free apps as I can find.  Things I will look at is how many ads there are, ease of use, how much space it takes, if a connection is needed for use and how many functions there are in it.  This will be ongoing since I can't fit them all on my phone.
The apps I am starting with are:  needletravel,  Knitmap, Knit companion,  knit ting, all free crochet,  aprendercrochet, bee count, circular knitting tutorial,  craftsy,  crochet 1200, crochet and knit,  crochet bag ideas, crochet flower, crochet lessons for beginners,  crochet patterns and tips, crochet stitches,  crochet videos,  you knits designer, easy crochet patterns,  free knitting patterns,  granny square crochet,  just knit: stitches free, Knit crochet,  Knit tools, knitting chart maker, knitting lessons,  knitting stitches,  learn crochet quickly,  love knitting for baby, row counter, vintage knits stitch sampler.

That's all but 36 apps.  I know,  not because I counted,  but because of the way I have things grouped together.  This is a lot of things to try out and will take some time.  Sadly some are inspiration rather than educational,  but if that's what you want, then that's what you'll get.  And let's dive right in.
Two easy apps are knitmap and needletravel.  I love these.  If you travel,  you will too.  Both are free. 

Knit map is a yarn store finder for the US, Mexico,  Canada and Europe.  It's not completely up to date in the app but if there's internet connection,  the website of the same name can be checked for details.  This uses 14.4mb. 

Needletravel is a yarn store finder for the US and so much more.  Needletravel a website, app, and book.  Each entry is checked each year before reprinting.  The book reminds me of a AAA travel book.  The book (cost $12-$15) is arranged by state, then by city.  The shops have a series of codes describing the type of needlework that shop caters too, Knit, crochet, embroidery,  cross stitch, spinning, weaving,  needlepoint.  This also lists guilds, location and meeting time.  I consult them anytime I travel.  After all, I wouldn't dream of denying myself souvenir yarn. This uses 7.7mb.
I'm not sure how to categorize these first in the list.  They are all ads for yarn shops but aren't ads.  They are very easy to use.  Plug in the state and city and see what comes up.  If there isn't a listing,  Knitmap can pull listings from up to 20 miles as the crow flies from the location you indicate.  Needletravel, on the other hand, can be searched by your current location or by plugging in the city and state or zip code.  These two apps are strictly one function, to find yarn shops.  They do this very well. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fleece, wool mills, and Mike Rowe

Today is Saturday. As I was eating my cereal,  I found dirty jobs with Mike Rowe. This episode was of particular interest to me. The Ohio Valley Natural Fibers was featured. OVNF is a woolen mill that is still cranking out yarn.  There was a bit of history,  some safety talks, and a lot of wooly goodness.

The machines they use (like many of the small woolen mills today, or so it seems) are turn-of-the-century.   Last century.  The point where I tuned in was when the fiber was coming out of a carding machine in that very thick fluffy roving that we have all seen in the ads for the very lush and cushy arm knit afghan.

I can imagine I probably missed seeing a sheep being sheared, the fleeces being washed after skirting.  There might have been more but maybe not. I found it just after the first commercial break. 

The machinery is huge, noisy and covered in fluff and oil or grease.  All machines need maintenance now and again.   I learned that from my husband long before we ever got married.   These are no different. Sadly though the wool fibers and the grease/oil don't work well together.  A surprisingly small clump (less than a gram from the looks of it) can stop  the machines quick,  faster than the stop button. 

It is also easy to see why there was so much child labor in the spinning mills. There are spaces that are very small for full grown adults but small children fit fine.  Thank God the machines have been redesigned. Thank God labor laws and safety regulations are in place to protect people.  While these machines are not retrofitted for safety, I don't think they are running as fast as they did when new.

But back to the yarn.  The fleeces are removed from the sheep, skirted (remove the parts that won't ever come clean and sweet smelling), possibly washed and dried possibly not.  The locks or maybe whole fleeces are placed by large armsful into the carding machine.  A very basic idea of a carding machine is the cat slicker brush we use on our pets minus the balls on the ends of the bristles. The fleeces are combed or brushed, depends on your point of view. This will align the fibers.  The fibers are then gathered into the fluffy rope of roving.  This roving was then fed into another machine that made the single plies we are familiar with.   This process was not explained well, but it appeared that the roving was divided into smaller sections of roving before being drawn out and twisted.  Each spool of singles was placed in yet another machine that spun the singles together.  Yarn is born.

How do we get the various yarns?  The amount of twist in the singles determines how fluid the final yarn will be in addition to how tight or loose the plying is.  So light twist plus very fine singles is a delicate yarn.  A high twist on more robust singles will give you a hard wearing and hard  to full yarn.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 34

A Year of Stitches

For the knit stitch this week, I choose something easy.  Elongated lace.

This is a used with any number of stitches.

Cast on 20 sts.

K 3 rows of garter stitch

*Insert needle in first st, wrap yarn 3 times around needle, complete stitch.  Rep this for each stitch.

Insert needle in the first loop on the needle, drop other two wraps, complete stitch.  Rep this for each stitch.

K 3 rows of garter stitch.

Rep all instructions from * until desired length is reached.

For the crochet stitch this week, I choose again something easy. Rippled Single Crochet

As with the knit sticht this has no multiple. 

Ch 21.

R1:  SC In the 2nd ch and each ch across.

R2:  Ch 1, sc In first sc, fpsc around all sc until the end, sc in last sc.

R3: Ch 1, sc in first sc, bpsc around all sc until the end, sc in last sc.

Rep R2 & R3 until desired length is reached.

To Knot or Not to Knot

Knots. We all use them.  Many have specific uses.  Let's start with knots that are officially allowed in knitting and crocheting.  A slip knot.   The fasten off.   Those are it. 

We all use the slip knot to start knitting and crocheting, mostly. It's a very useful thing.  I have also tried it when doing color work to add in the new color so the loose end doesn't pull through and cause a dropped stitch.   This wouldn't happen if I made sure to leave a tail 6-8 inches long for weaving in.   I'm human and sometimes don't do everything the way I should.  But really, did you ever consider 2 inches to be that important?  I use this for more than crochet and knit.   I have used it to hang my solar clothes dryer (read washline).  I have used it to tie my fruit trees and vining plants to stakes and

The fasten off is the ending of knitting and crocheting.   The last loop has a 6 - 8 inch tail pulled thru.  Is it a knot or not?  I'm not sure either way.

Ends,  whether it's a color change or adding a new ball of yarn, are to be woven in.  No exceptions. I understand some of the reasoning.  No one wants the princess and the pea syndrome going on in their clothes.  But more importantly, if you use a slippery yarn, think the abundance of acrylic soft yarns on the market,  silk yarn,  llama and alpaca yarns, you definitely need to be careful about not knotting and cutting. I've seen firsthand how those yarns loosen up through use and washing and then come apart.  For this situation I bend the rules a bit.I use a square knot and then weave in the ends after splitting the plies.

Now when I was learning,  I didn't know about the rules.  Very little was written in the old instruction book I was working from about finishing techniques.  Did I use knots? You bet.  I used a lot of granny knots (square knots done wrong).  I fastened off with not just a single pull through of the end but 5 or 6.  Since I didn't get to wear anything I made, it didn't matter. Barbie and company didn't care about comfort.  At least they didn't say anything.

When I finally learned about weaving in the ends, I was terrible at it.  Very thick seams at the ends because it was easy to run the end in thru there going only one direction.  Needless to say I had a lot of ends popping through.  I had bunches of unattractive seams that were uncomfortable.

Slowly over the years, I found more books I could read about technique and try to revise my ways of doing things that I found unsatisfactory.  Elizabeth Zimmerman both did and did not say a lot about finishing in very few words.  Her admonition was to have the inside of a garment as neat and tidy and beautiful as the outside.  I don't remember seeing any diagrams, drawings or photos of what to do.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Update to Masters Crochet Level 1

My gauge has changed quite a bit over the years.  Or maybe I never really tried to get gauge according to yarn labels....My stitches are definitely shorter than required.  To this end, I have purchased several hooks.  I have a G6, a G7 and a Bates H8 and a set of bamboo hooks that came with a crochet magazine, Simply Crochet Issue 58.  I also added from my tool stash E4, F5 in both Boye and Bates and an I9 in Boye. 

My crocheting was usually done to suit my choice for the hand in the fabric I was creating and I did some math to get the heights needed for garments.  Most of my crochet over the years, however, has been for blankets, toys and other things where gauge didn't really matter unless I really had to have the finished size required.

I have worked many times on certain swatches to get the gauge required.  Being at a community fair while working on some of this was not probably the smartest choice I made recently.  The distractions didn't help me to achieve my goals but did let me gain a potential new teaching spot and meet some wonderful new women. 

I also had to add 2 skeins of yarn in 2 different colors for the colorwork swatches.  I added a baby yellow from craftsmart.  Think baked yellow cake color when it's cut.  I also added a mint green from Red Heart.  Both of these keep within the color rules and  proper weight.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


I've been reading a publication called the fishwrapper.  This is a local to me publication that reminds me of the feel-good emails that we have all received ad nauseum at one time or another.  It's filled with anecdotes, stories and help wanted ads.  However, there are some genuine gems in there. Recently, the topic was success.

Several things in this are things that apply to our knitting and crocheting.

1.  Success is when you look back at your life, and more specifically your knitting and crocheting, and the memories make you smile.

2.  Top 3 tips to success: Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, do something no one else is doing.  Instead of being a trend follower, YOU could be starting the trends.

3.  You don't have to be a professional to be successful.  Google and Apple were started by amateurs.  Professionals build the Titanic.  Your skills are great for what you are currently doing.  Add to them as you want to do other things.

4.  Stop complaining about life and your projects and start celebrating it and them.  If you have done the best you can with the tools and skills at your disposal, celebrate!

5.  Other cultures can teach us many things.  There's various color work techniques named for their specific regions.  There are lace techniques also named for their regions.  There are even various animal and plant fibers that are unknown to us or that are in the realm of legend because they are hard to get for whatever reason.  We need to share with others our own skills and possibly tools and materials when we visit another region.  Just as the regions we visit will share with us. 
6.  Live the life you want to be seen in.  This follows the line of thinking of being a living sermon.  As an example, I want to be known as a knitter and crocheter.  I, therefore, take a knitting or crochet project with me many places.  I work on that thing when I wait for something to happen, long line in the grocery store? I knit on a simple something until it's my turn to unload the cart. Waiting for a train? I can get in a few stitches.  When I was younger and my sons were in school, I had my kids with me as I dropped them from one thing to another throughout the week and had my project with me and for sports seasons a huge batch of healthy cookies for whatever team they were in.

7.  Don't always listen accurately to people.  Yes, you saw that correctly.  There is a story of an old donkey.  One day the farmer decided the donkey was going to die soon and he would give the inevitable a hand.  The farmer pushed the tired old donkey into an unused dry well.  He had a neighbor helping him to fill in the well.  Shovelful by shovelful, the donkey was being covered.  Naturally the old donkey was confused by this dirt.  He's shake the dirt off and step up on the pile.  The farmer and neighbor yelled at the donkey to quit that and stay put.  But being old the donkey didn't quite catch the words and it made him mad about the dirt they kept tossing on him.  More and more the dirt filled the well.  More and more the donkey shook off the dirt and stepped up.    Now the donkey could see daylight filling the well and hear the yelling but still couldn't quite understand the words.  He thought to himself "I really have to get out of this hole, they need me.  Just listen to the yelling."  Suddenly he steps out of the well because there was enough dirt that the well was filled.  The farmer said to the donkey "Why aren't you dead?  You were on your last breath last night."  The donkey said in reply "Last night I felt that no one needed me anymore and I was heartbroken.  Today I fell in a hole and you and the neighbor were shouting encouragement to me and giving me more and more dirt to stand on to climb slowly to the top.

So the morals to this story are 1) Don't always listen to naysayers.  If you really want to do complicated lace or color-work as a beginner, go for it but follow #2.  2) Slow and steady will get you to your desired destination.  Go slow and keep trying.  3) Choose to hear encouragement even in the face of criticism.  If someone says terrible things, chalk it up to they're having a bad day and don't let it bring you down.  OR, find a message in it that can inspire improvement.  Your stitches are wonky.  Lesson learned that maybe blocking would help.  Your color choice is horrible.  Lesson here is that the observer doesn't like those colors but you do or the recipient does.  Tough cookies on them.

Monday, August 7, 2017


In the beginning of May, I wrote how I found more wips in the search for a camera.  Well, I have been clearing up my studio in an effort to get organized.  This is an ongoing job I think.  But in this effort, I have found still more WIPS.  I'm kind of amazed by this truthfully.  I really thought I had them all corralled or put away.

So I have added 2 purple shawls of my own design, one knit and one crochet.  I have added a crocodile stitch crochet shrug, also my own design.  As I finish these and have the patterns written and tech edited, I will be creating a designer page for these to be published.  There's also the coat I started before the church carnival.  I have another sweater that might get frogged and put back in stash.  There are also 4 afghans, 1 in pinks and creams that just needs the joining finished, 1 in light blues that needs joining, 1 in cotton that should be joined but might be better not joined and instead used as dishcloths and the 4th is one in the blue/purple family of colors that is in super bulky yarns and is one very large granny square.  I really want the afghans finished since when they are done, they can find homes with others.

I might cry if I find more wips.  This is getting ridiculous.  I wish I could catch the finishing bug rather than the starting bug.  Maybe I will have to put myself on a strict schedule and work to a deadline.  Are there any answers to this???  I don't have them, if there are.  Maybe I need to reinstitute Finishing Friday for myself. 

Pictures may or may not come.  I'm having trouble with my phone's camera.  There's something to be said for not letting your phone fall into water.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I've decided to go for my masters

I've thought long about this step.  I think it will help me be a better teacher.  I think it will help me be a better knitter and crocheter. 

Which master level 1 am I starting with??? 

Musical ching a ring as Danny Kaye would say in movies like White Christmas.

Dun du du du (imagine the musical notes since I can't figure that part out)


I have picked my yarn.  I have my hook selection made.  I have my stitch and written work packet downloaded and printed.  I have a basket to contain this.  I have the materials for creating the binder as directed almost complete.  I'll be using an acrylic worsted weight yarn per directives, Lion Brand, Vanna's Choice in ice blue.  This might not be the actual name, but that is the color as it appears to me.  Probably I should have lined my basket (a wicker picnic basket) but not happening at this point.  My hooks will be Boye in a variety of sizes that will be changed as needed to get the gauge requested.  I will also be using a metal yarn needle to weave ends where needed or directed to. 

Now that the church carnival is over I can fully concentrate on it.  I'll post my progress as I make any without giving away the program.  Always a tricky job for those who attempt it, I think.  I will also be resuming as I indicated the year of stitches.  I love charts, now if only there were a standard knit chart font or symbol set the way there is for crochet

Have you gone through the CGOA masters program?  Let me know your thoughts.  What did you learn?  What did you think you knew but learned a lot about? 

I'm also working ahead on my online classes.  Yes I did say that a year ago.  However, there was a serious illness and a death in the family of my camera man and things fell by the wayside.  In the parable of what fits in the jar, I was not one of his big rocks, I'm sand.  Find the story here for those who don't know it.  What are your rocks?  Mine would be my husband, sons, daughters in law, grandchildren, parents in law and siblings. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Year of Stitches will resume

Hi all,

Yes I'm going to be continuing with this project.  All my good intentions were derailed by a wedding, a vacation and a church carnival.  The bride was beautiful once she was through the ceremony.  The vacation was relaxing.  The carnival was exhausting.  Behind the scenes for these events has had me running in 20 directions at once.

Now I'm done with them.  I'm working on the posts and hopefully swatches for each.  I found the shopping bag I stored all the materials for this project in a recent clean up. 

A bunch of charted stitch patterns will be coming our way.  I love me a good chart.  In looking at the crochet charts from around the world, all the symbols are mostly the same.  But the same can't be said for the knitting charts.  A post will be following to help explain the symbols.

Enjoy your summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.  Enjoy your winter in the southern.  Seasonal changes are coming....maybe....

Monday, July 10, 2017

Knit Books & Crochet Books Or Not

This post started out being about books about knit and crochet.  But it changed its mind.  This is about what we listen to while we knit or crochet.  Or watch on TV, or perhaps read?

Do you prefer music?  What kind?  Do your hands keep time with the music as you stitch?  Mine used to.  If I listened to a fast paced music, my hands made the needles heat up,  Now not so much.  Issues with repetitive motion stresses have slowed me down.  If I listened to something swing-y, my work conducted.  What artists do you listen to?  In today's time, I like Glenn Miller and Brahms.  Yes they are very different.  But I don't really listen to much music while working.

I prefer audio books now and podcasts these days.  I like series of books so I can go from one to the next and so on.  I have a real love for the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, Harry Potter obviously, a historical/contemporary time romance mystery series by Lauren Willig and a few others.
Amazingly,  I  came across this question on a Facebook knitting group post.  I'll check out those suggestions.

I recently made a list of the podcasts I listen to since my phone went in the drink and I was afraid it wouldn't keep going.  So far so good, but it's only a matter of time.  But my podcast app of choice is podcast addict.  I put into the search bar knit, knitting, crochet, yarn.  I can specify if I  want audio, video or both.  Since I listen on the go as well, I try to keep it to audio only.  Here's a partial list.  Maybe you will find some new ones.  Post yours and maybe I will.

knitmore girls                 savvy girls                  2 knit lit chicks          90% knitting           a playful day
actually knitting              betty in the sky           bhooked                    capital yarns            cast on
close knit                         coffee knit repeat       cogknitive                 colors & cocktails   craftish
confessions of a pink haired maker                   crochet crash course   crochet cast            doubleknit
crocheter's connection    curious handmade      destined to knit         down cellar studios  f this knit electronic knitter            knit breathe relax        fiber hooligan           fiber knitche             free crochet
hand y machine knit       Hollywood knitter      house of knitting       in a sknit                  kino knits
jane and jen knit funny   keep calm and carry yarn                             kitchen stitches      knit 1 geek 2
knit actually                   knit dye read               knit picks                              knit circus
knit british                      knit together               knit pug                      knit one crochet two

You should find something interesting in this list.  Sadly there seems to be a lot fewer crochet podcasts than knit.  Some are older like knit picks and cast on.  But they have a lot of useful information and are fun.  These are all English.  I can't keep up with the very limited Spanish and German I know.  So I don't listen to other languages.  It might be a great way to eventually learn a new language though....

Monday, June 26, 2017

Everyday Things

Recently I had reason to travel by plane.  This is not going to be a rant about the airlines,  planes, or the TSA.  Instead this is a positive post about what can be done  with everyday objects in your knitting and crocheting.   I knew before going that there would be limitations.   Yes knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on the plane.  They are allowed through security for the most part, unless the security person who is checking you is having a bad day or determines that such implements are maybe weapons. Space to work is also at a premium.

Due to a misunderstanding of the rules about what I could bring on the plane,  I knew I had to pack lightly and the things I did take needed to do double duty.   I had a very large tote bag for clothes and my knitting and crocheting as well as the normal purse stuff and stuff for designing.  So what did I take?

I was working on something for loom knitting.  But I couldn't take a loom and the yarn for the project.  I did take a very large wide toothed comb and used that as a loom.  A knitting loom uses super bulky weight yarn and is bulky to use in and of itself, especially for on a plane.  So everyday object number 1 that can do double duty is a wide toothed comb.    

I took a bunch of different colored pens along with sheets of graph paper.  Those work for designing charts.  The pens did another duty to help me with the loom knitting on the comb by pulling the loops up and over using one of the new pens that still had the plastic tip on. This prevented the ink from staining the yarn. 

I had a small make up bag with office supplies.  Paper clips held together theknitting for your  sheets of graph paper.  But they do more by being stitch markers and by marking rows on both the pattern and the project. The clips also hold on to the end of the yarn in the ball.

So with a comb and some paper clips and pens, I can knit.......

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

a year of stitches

After a bit of a hiatus, here it is.......

So far I've had a wedding, a whirlwind fabulous vacation with son1 and daughter in law, a church carnival, home repairs and remodels on the medium scale, minor catastrophes for son2 and his newly acquired family.  The bride and groom are happily settling in and learning to live with each other.  We saw many interesting things, bought way too much yarn from some fabulous shops, ate too many good things (with my son or daughter in law cooking, it's a given that it's going to be good), saw lots of educational or interesting things, did fun stuff,  worked my posterior off for various events and finally had a well deserved rest.

And now for the stitches.....

For knitting I present the dandelion stitch.

Multiple of 6 + 3.

Repeat rows 1 - 8.

 Row1. k2*(knit the next stitch wrapping the yarn 3 times around the needle,) 5 times, k1*k1

2. k2*wyif slip the next 5 sts to a cable needle purlwise dropping the extra wraps, wrap the yarn around the 5 sts on the cable needle twice, then slip the 5 sts to the right-hand needle; k1*k1


4. *knit*

5. k5*(knit the next stitch wrapping the yarn 3 times around the needle) 5 times, k1*k4

6. k5 *wyif slip the next 5 sts to a cable needle purlwise dropping the extra wraps, wrap the yarn around the 5 sts on the cable needle twice, then slip the 5 sts to the right-hand needle;  k1*, k5

7. K

8. K

As a little aside, I really like dandelion greens with hot bacon dressing. I'm not sure what dandelion wine tastes like. But would love to try.

And for the crochet stitch.......

The butterfly stitch.

Multiple of 21 plus 3

Ch 24.

R1:  dc in 4th ch from hook and next 3 ch, ch 11, sk 11 ch, dc in last 5 sts.
R2: ch 3, turn, dc in 2nd st and each dc before the ch section,  ch 11, dc in last 4 dc and top of the turning ch.
R3&4: rep r2.
R5: ch 3, turn, dc in 2nd st and each dc before the ch section,  ch 5, sc around all the chains of the previous rows snugly,  ch 5, dc in last 4 dc and top of the turning ch.
R6-9: rep r2.
R10: rep r5.
Rep r6-10 for desired size.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Desserted Island

A very odd title for a post on a blog about knitting and crocheting. I freely admit that.  But I recently read an article about what motivates people.  Specifically the motivation behind Gilligan's Island,  what caused it to be, Sherwood Schwartz in college was intrigued by the politics of how people get along with each other and wondered what might happen in a confined space  or on a desserted island.  This sparked a thought of naked and afraid and what I could bring to the table in a situation something along those lines.  Then the thoughts turned to.....if I was on a dessered island what would I want with me?

I suppose it would be futile to want a boat to get off said island. So if I could have only a foot locker full of yarns and tools, what might it be?  I know right now that list would change over time.

I think if the island is tropical, I would appreciate linen, cotton, hemp in dk weight and finer. 

I would want a couple of Barbara G. Walker's stitch dictionaries. I think Ann Budd's book of patterns for any size yarn would be great.  I would want a complete set of circular needles and a complete set of crochet hooks.  I would have to have 2 crochet stitch dictionaries of comparable quality.  I would also want a comparable book of crochet patterns like Ann Budd's for knitting.  I don't know if these exist. But these are what I want.   With basic pattern templates and stitch dictionaries,  you can usually create anything.

In another time I might do this with a different climate.  I know I can come up with a boatload of ideas

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sock Yarn v. Fingering weight yarn:: What are the differences? What are the similarities?

Recently when I was in a yarn shop with students, I was corrected by the owner.  We had been discussing yarns to make a lace cowl.  I had been suggesting a sock yarn could be paired with a lace weight to make the finished look desired as well as give the lace weight some heft since some were not used to working with something so fine.  What I was corrected on was the fact that the yarn she saw me pointing to was in fact fingering weight and not sock yarn.  I carried on with the lesson on yarns and the shop owner gave input where needed.  She after all should know her stock.

But besides the fact that we were both right (angle of perception has a great deal to do with what you see and think you see), it gave me pause to consider.  Am I shortchanging students in knowledge?  Better still, does anyone care?  I figure yes we do care.  Possibly this discussion is suitable for intermediate students though,

Sock yarn is yarn that is used to knit or crochet socks.  That is the base answer and while true is also untrue.  Sock yarn should be slightly stretchy.  It has very definite crimp in the fiber allowing for a lot of twist in the spin, thus allowing a lot of twist in the plying.  Sock yarn, if they are to be worn in shoes, is almost always fingering weight or a light fingering weight.  Much more and shoes won't fit over the foot and sock.  But is the goal for boot socks?  Then heavier weight yarn can be used.  Is the goal for bed socks or house socks?  Still heavier yarn can be used.

Fingering weight yarn on the other hand is any yarn that has 19 - 22 wraps per inch (how many times the yarn wraps around a ruler or pencil or any even object in an inch)  and knits up at a gauge of 7 - 8 stitches per inch.  It is fairly fine but not thread like.  The fiber may or may not have a lot of crimp.  The yarn may or may not be highly twisted.  The plying will match the twist.

On the surface, they seem to be one in the same.  But consider this.  All the sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, you name it don't have near the friction  that a sock does inside a shoe, or even just being worn.  We don't walk on sweaters or shawls or hats.  This means that all that extra twist is more surface area for the yarn to wear evenly.   You won't get a wear hole in the sock nearly as fast as a yarn that doesn't have all that twist.  This is an important thing to consider. 

The shawl that is done in fingering weight yarn will usually have a lot of drape.  Fiber and gauge have a lot to do with this, but so does the amount of twist in the fiber as well as the amount of twist in the plying.  The shawl done in sock yarn but the same gauge and fiber won't drape as much.

So what is your preference?  Did you know there was a difference??

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy birthday Ravelry

May 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Ravelry.

I know it's hard to believe. It's grown steadily from tens of members in the beginning to millions today.

Their blog post about their birthday can be found here

Do you utilize ravelry? What are your favorite parts?

I utilize it, but definitely not to its fullest.  I hunt for patterns.  I might see how yarns are used by others.  I check other people's projects.

I don't use the project page to my benefit or its fullest. I have not even used the stash section.  I try to keep my library up to date and fail.

Stash Dash by TheKnitGirllls

Ever since I heard about this event,  I have thought it was a great idea.  The basic idea is not to run thru your stash of yarn. The basic idea IS to finish wips, ufos, and things that are hibernating.   Rules for the way they run it can be found here from last year. The main rules stay the same.  

Sadly I don't get a lot of time to participate. I have a huge commitment each July that takes many, many hours for my church.  So I make my own time frame rules. I don't declare how much distance I'm working towards.  If I do, life conspires against me.  If I don't,  I have a better chance of time being available all over.

Check my list of wips from earlier this year.  I already know I have no chance of whipping through these. I started crochet dolls for my granddaughters birthday at the end of the month.  The girls are Star Wars fans and I'm doing Chewbacca and Yoda. There are also "Little Golden" books  with Star Wars themes to accompany.   And now to get to work on them.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Where do you look for YOUR local yarn shop?  As a little girl,  there was one place.  The yellow pages of the phone book.  Sadly I no longer get a phone book.  I miss it but can see how it's been mafe obsolete.

Today there are a plethora of options.   A few years ago, we got a Garmin gps.  In the search parameters you can put in yarn shop or knit shop and will give a list of shops in an ever widening circle from your location. Side note: it made every road trip much more pleasant by eliminating arguments. I wholeheartedly suggest getting a Garmin,  rand McNally gps, Google maps or Apple's gps.

You can Google this information. A little less reliable but not by much. 
I found the knitmap app for Android devices.  It's backed up by a website for those who can't download the app.  This relies on shop owners and customers to keep it up to date.  This is just for yarn and possibly fiber.  It covers major international cities as well.

There's also needle travel.  Needle travel is almost exactly like knitmap.  The big differences?  Needle travel covers quilting,  needlepoint,  cross stitch,  weaving,  and spinning in addition to knit/crochet.  Another difference is that the people who put this together call each shop to be sure it's still operating.  It's also a book (reminding me of a AAA travel book) and a website.   There is no app, but you can

A quick look at any/all of these resources gives me this list of shops.  Within 2 hours of driving i have this rich abundance of yarn shops.  For those I've visited,  so far, everyone in those shops has been kind and knowledgeable.

Little owls knit shop               
2209 paxton church rd         

Knitter's dream
2340 mockingbird rd

Tucker yarn
950 Hamilton St.

Knitter's edge
1001 w. Broad street

Stormy hill criations
52 York Street
717-818-9691 or 717-225-0780

Lancaster yarn shop
3519 Old Philadelphia Pike,
Kitchen Kettle Village
Intercourse, PA 17534

String theory yarn shop
829 state st.
Suite 2003

39 e. Main street

Ball & skein
2 e. 28tg division hwy

Kraemer yarn shop
240  s. Main street

I know from research that most people don't have this abundance.  These people rely on big box craft stores or just plain big box stores or online ordering from a variety of websites. For them, I'm sorry. A big part of the experience is to touch and smell and see in a variety of lights the true colors.

Where is your local yarn shop?  What do you think of the things it offers?  How are the people?  Are they friendly and knowledgeable?  Where do you go for help if not there?

The closer it gets the further away it is

As I typed this title,  strains of the song "the closer you get" by the group Alabama  flickered through my mind.  It has very little to actually do with this post though.

With a wedding one week away and counting,  I've been hunting for the little things that are needed.  I lost a camera and have been hunting high and low.  There's a good camera for stills, but I thought it would be great to have video of the exchange of vows.  The only camera we have that can do it was missing. I have found it.

I  also found several wips that I really want done.  One is a design of my own for a crocodile stitch shawl. The yarn is patons lace in cream.

Another one is a flower sweater. The yarn is ella rae chunky acrylic/ alpaca blend.  Instead of the blue/beige ombre in the pattern, I'm choosing a golden yellow with dark brown  and gingerbread. I have an affinity for sunflowers. The yarn in the pattern is a fine weight but I zipped it up to a bulky weight.

The last one i found is Cancun Boxy Lace Top.  The yarn i chose is Tahki Stacy Charles mercerized cotton dk weight in shades of blues and greens.  I'm also making it longer than indicated. 
So as you can see,  I am closer to having no wips by virtue of frogging and dismantling the kits i made but have changed my mind about.   But I'm further away because I added 3 more.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Are my knit stitches crossed or twisted?

If someone were to ask you what is the difference between crossed and twisted stitches in knitting,  would you be able to help?  I ask because it came to me as I worked on a guild project called wingspan by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs.  This project is from several years ago and older than that from its designing. It's a really nice shawl and I look forward to finishing it sometime soon.  Because then, I can wear it.

But back to the question at hand. Let's explore this. 

Cables are crossed.  Anyone who has seen Aran sweaters, whether machine knit or hand knit, knows about cables.   The background is one stitch pattern.   There are ropes snaking around the surface that lay over each other at regular intervals.   The point where they lay over each other is the cross.  Cables are at least 2 stitches over at least 2 stitches.  They usually use a cable needle.   Some knitters are adept at crossing cables without a cable needle.    

Now for the slightly harder part. What if there's only one stitch over one stitch?   Is that a cable?   No.  But what is it? Those are called twisted stitches.  They don't use a cable needle. You would drop it if you tried to use one.  Twisted stitches are crossed when doing the actual knitting rather than before.

So that leaves crossed stitches.  What are those?   If you think of a knit stitch as a pair of pants, the top of the stitch that goes on the top of the needle is the part of the pants that goes around hips and waist.  Each leg is a leg of the stitch. Cross the pant legs at the ankle and that is what a crossed knit stitch looks like.  Crossed  stitches are formed by a combination of where in the stitch the needle is put and the direction of the wrapping of the yarn around the needle.

But there are also knit stitch patterns called cross stitch.   They are very lovely to see and fun to knit. Below is a favorite cross stitch of mine.  It's a variety slip stitch knitting.

Earth day

I'm late but happy earth day!

Locally,  earth day is about cleaning up the streams and abandoned areas and volunteering at non profit organizations and charities.   As most of us know,  it all started back in the early 70s when Americans were guzzling petroleum products and just starting to be concerned with the state of our land and waterways.   We've come far but there's still a lot we can do.

"How can we tie knitting and crocheting with earth day" you ask.   Let's start with the easy stuff of the mantra reduce, re-use, recyle, make do or do without.

1.  Use reusable shopping bags.   Then we don't have to have so many of those cheap grocery bags.  These are being made to disintegrate in the landfills.  If they don't get used quick enough from date of manufacturing they start falling apart in the boxes and that spells trouble for shoppers. Have you had a bag split in the parking lot dropping something breakable?  This  is annoying and expensive.   You can purchase reusable shopping bags or you can make them.

Some would have you use those plastic bags to make something more permanent and sturdier.   I encourage you not to do this.   Kitchen cotton such as sugar and creme peaches and cream are fabulous.  Acrylic yarns can do a great job, possibly better than the cottons.

However,  in the reduce, re-use and recycle vein, what about tarn?  Have you heard about this?  Recycle your old t-shirts.  I have a bunch that have seen better days. Over the years,  tiny holes open in the fabric.  These shirts then make it to my ok for cleaning or other dirty activity wardrobe. But eventually even that part of the closet becomes overflowing and something must be done. So I make tarn. 

Here is a quick run-through of my process.
     1. Lay shirt flat on a solid surface. Smooth wrinkles.
     2. With a scissor or rotary cutter (think pizza wheel for fabric) cut across shirt from under arm seam to under arm seam.  Remove the neck/sleeve portion.
     3.  Using a yardstick,  cut across the body in even and straight strips,  ending 2 inches from the fold.
     4.  Pick up the fabric.  Using scissors,  cut, angling up from one cut to the very next one.  Taper ends if desired.  This will give you a continuous strip. 
     5.  Stretch to cause curling as you wrap into a ball or wrap in a ball and stretch as you knit or crochet with it.

Patterns abound for shopping bag and market bags.  Choose from flat to those with a more boxlike shape to string bags.

Oh and don't toss those bits not used.  They are great for dirty jobs instead of buying paper towels.

2.  I've talked before about frogging sweaters to get a luxury fiber that is either out of my budget or just not available to me.  But, have you changed shape? Kids grown?   Usually our wardrobes are centered around a few colors that mix and match.   If you've shrunk, first congratulations on your weight loss.  Second consider donating the clothes outgrown so others can utilize.  Third, frog appropriate garments that work well together and rework into a garment that will fit your new body.

3.  Make due with what you have.  This is a harder one.   Are some of your clothes and soft home furnishings looking i bit faded?  Maybe you can't stand the dated colors but can't afford new.  Or perhaps you can't see spending  $$ when there's nothing wrong with the things except for the color.   Here's where dye can be a huge help.

Any natural fibers can be dyed.  Synthetic fibers are a mixed bag.   Some will take dye, some won't.   Rit dyes found in most grocery stores and craft stores are readily available. They work well with natural fibers.  They even say that synthetic fibers will work with their dye.  The few times I tried synthetics, i didn't have success.  Light colors can go darker. Dark colors can go darker. Plant fibers can be bleached out with rit color remover.  Animal fibers will be damaged by the color remover process. Synthetics have the color in the structure of the thread and is part of the processing. These can't have the color removed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Moebius for knit and crochet

Recently at a guild meeting,  I taught how to knit a moebius shawl or cowl. As Cat Bordhi taught, a moebius not only has no beginning or end but grows from the center up and down and has a twist.  The right side is always the side you see when knitting.  I use Cat's method to cast on.

It also reminded me of one of the hats I saw at another retreat.   The ribbing had a twist, making it look & to u.   But.... it grew up from the edge in one direction.   I suggested rather than the knitter ripping,  she should keep it.  Knitting around the twist can straighten out the rest of the project but leaves the twist in the ribbing.   Add an embellishment and it's fabulous.

These seemingly separate and random things have led me to think about moebius and crochet. As usual,  while washing dishes, the thoughts turned to how to combine crochet and moebius.  Each time I tried to work it through in my mind, I ran into one particular problem. The cross kept getting wider and thicker.  It goes to show,  having yarn and tools in hand can let you see things that the mind can't.
YouTube can be very helpful.   I found two different approaches to the same end.  One followed my idea (working in the chain on both sides)  but showed a different stitch pattern than the same old same old. Another showed a much nicer and easier to work option.  This is from Kristin Omdahl.  Her solution allows you to work around the chain on both sides. It's fast and easy.

The one thing I found was I could not do was crochet a twisted, one edge worked piece of fabric. Possibly there is a way, but since I wasn't looking in that direction I didn't find it, nor did I explore to hunt down a solution.  I did like the process so much I made a bunch of samples. I also thought of a couple of prayer shawl patterns for this technique.

Prayer shawl

16 oz worsted weight yarn, color of choice
J or K hook

Ch 4, dc in 4th ch from hook.  Rep this sequence 25 - 35 times.  Join with a sl st in the first ch of the first eyelet.

Ch 3 (counts as a dc now and throughout), 2 dc in same eyelet.  3 dc in each of the next eyelets until you reach the beginning.  Twist the eyelet chain 180* so the empty side of the eyelets is facing out.  3 dc in each of the eyelets around.  Join with a sl st in the top of the ch 3 at the beginning.

You now have a ring that is double sided and has one twist in it. 

Ch 3, 2 dc in same sp. work 3 dc in each sp around.  Join with a sl st in top of ch 3. 
**Ch 2, 2 dc cluster over next 2 sts, end with yarn around the hook and pull through 3, ch 2, * 3 dc cl over next 3 dc, ch 2.  Rep from * around.  Join with sl st in top of ch 3.

Rep from ** until the yarn is gone with a whole round finished, or you have 15" of depth. 

Give with joy or keep for yourself and gift the next one.  It's like giving a hug to the recipient even if you aren't there.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 15

I remember telling you all of the wedding happening in my family.  For this installment of  stitches, wedding bells are on my mind.  I'm just glad I don't have to add any of this to a gown or veil or anything else for that matter.  A swatch will do me just fine for now. 

Wedding Bells Knit Border and Crochet Wedding Bells Border

Crochet Wedding Bells: Materials
It is helpful to know that the shells of this pattern run along the top of the bells but you are crocheting one bell at a time.  So, you will begin by crocheting the shells above the first bell and then making the bell itself. At the end of that, you will work back along the side of the bell to get back to the top of it where you will crochet the next set of shells and the next bell.
Starting Chain: Ch 4.
Row 1: 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, ch 2, 3 dc in the same place as the last dc's were worked, ch 6, turn.
Row 2: 3 dc in ch-2 space, ch 2, 3 dc in same ch-2 space (shell made).
Row 3: ch 5, turn, shell (see directions above).
Row 4: ch 2, 1 dc in 3rd ch of ch-6 (this ch-6 is between the first shell made and the second shell made), ch 6, turn.
Row 5: Shell in next ch-2 sp (in center of last shell made).
Row 6: *ch 5, 9 dc in ch-5 sp (that's to the left), turn.
Row 7: ch 3 (counts as first dc), 1 dc in each of next 8 dc (9 dc). Turn.
Row 8: ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in same stitch as ch-3 just made, 1 dc in each of next 8 dc (10 dc), turn.
Row 9: ch 3 (counts as first dc), 1 dc in each dc (10 dc), turn.
Row 10: ch 3, dc in first dc, 1 dc in each of next 9 dc (11 dc).
Row 11: ch 3, sc between the first and second dc; ** ch 3, sc between the next two dc, repeat from ** 8 more times.
Row 12: ch 12, sc in ch-5 sp at top of bell.
Row 13: ch 5, shell (in center of last shell made).
Row 14: dc in third ch of ch-5 (the ch-5 is to the left, at top of edging), turn.
Row 15: ch 6, shell, turn.
Row 16: ch 5, shell, turn.
Row 17: ch 2, 1 dc in third ch of ch-5, turn.
Row 18: ch 6, shell
Repeat: Repeat from *
Additional Important Note: After making 11 dc of second bell, ch 1, slip stitch to first ch of ch-12; repeat as over first bell.
Wedding Bells Knit Border 
Bell Edging (↓) top down
Multiple of 4 sts plus 3.
Row 1 (RS): *p3, k1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row2 (WS): *k3, p1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 3 and 4: Repeat rows 1 and 2 once more.
Row 5: *p3, (k1, p1tbl, k1) into the next st. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 6: *k3, p3. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 7: *p3, yo, k3, yo. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 8: *k3, p5. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3. When you work the yo (i.e. yb and yf) made in the previous row, make sure to twist these sts to prevent holes being made. The same applies to the subsequent rows.
Row 9: *p3, yo, k5, yo. Repeat from * the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 10: *k3, p7. Repeat from * until end.
Row 11: *p3, yo, k7, yo. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 12: *k3, p9. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 13: BO.
And now I will be back to altering the wedding gown and shopping for my own dress. 
As I get to the swatches of the various stiches, I post pictures on my twitter feed.  follow me @Wendyteaches.  You can also see them on my Instagram feed.  follow me @Wendyteaches.  They are also on my Facebook page.  Like my group at
I realize not everyone is on all forms of social media.  I'm not.  But these are the forms I am utilizing.  I might utilize more in the future.  You never know.  Also never say never.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gauge and the measurement of

I'm going to offer some ideas about gauge and the measurement of.  Back before the turn of the last century gauge was not talked about nor was it really measured.  Children learned to knit and crochet at mom or grandma's knee.  These experienced Knitters and Crocheters could see at a glance if the kids were getting the proper number of stitches and take corrective steps.   Nowadays most don't have that kind of almost instant access.

In today's world,  we might have a friend or family member who has taught us the basics or maybe a little more.  But more and more,  we are learning from teachers at yarn shops and possibly big box craft stores, teachers at conventions like Stitches, or from classes purchased online or for free on YouTube.  Podcasts can offer help for questions,  if you know what the problem is.  The impersonalness of learning has brought up all kinds of problems that weren't a big deal in times gone by.  Gauge is one such thing.

The impetus for today's post about gauge is an episode on the verypink podcast. You can check out their website at  There was a bunch of gauge questions and one stood out.  The question was asked about why patterns are telling us to measure gauge mid project.

Let's go over the quick list of steps to measuring gauge.

1. Cast on and knit the swatch.  Note the brand, color and weight of yarn and size of needle or hook.

2. Measure in the center of the swatch the number of stitches and then of rows per 4 inches.  Note these on the same place as yarn and tool info.

3. Wash and block the swatch as you will be treating the finished product. Follow the washing instructions on the yarn label. 

4. Measure the same locations again for gauge.  This is the magic set of numbers for determining the size to make for the intended recipient. Note these and highlight.

5. Repeat as needed to get the stitch and row gauge in the pattern after washing and blocking.   Use new yarn for each swatch.  Knitting, washing/blocking  and ripping out can stretch the yarn after a few times.

Ok back to the question of mid project gauge measuring.  In a previous post about gauge,  I discussed how emotions can influence gauge, in addition to the way you hold the tool and yarn.   It's been shown time and again most people tighten up muscles when stressed.  Tight muscles usually means that your hands are going to hold tightly to the tools and yarn. 

Now, most of us will need to put down our project from time to time.   A quick drop to answer the door or grab a drink up to many days, months, years of not working on  something because life can intervene in a wide variety of ways.  Over time your personal gauge can change due to age or life circumstances.  

There is not much chance of gauge changing while you get a drink or eat something  (wash your hands to keep things clean).  But gauge can change especially for new knitters and crocheters  as you gain experience over a short time period. For those of us who are more experienced,  it takes more time or emotional upheaval to change our gauge.

There is a special class of people who use knitting or crocheting as a stress! reliever or as a way to keep occupied during crazy times such as waiting for the birth of a child or a teen to come home who's late.  Try measuring gauge after that type of event.  You'll find a difference.

Now you can see why mid project gauge measuring could need to be done. 

Look back at the list of steps to measuring gauge.   Remember when I said to measure gauge before washing?  This is the gauge the you need to match so when washing and blocking are done after finishing or wearing you get the proper gauge for the size desired. 

Make sense?  I hope so.  Questions can be asked in the comments section below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fit for a Prince or Princess

At long last, I have the directions and picture for a crown.  The crown can be embellished as you see fit.

A Wendyteaches Original

By Wendy Stumpf

Materials Needed:
Any yarn you choose

Hook 2 sizes smaller than you normally use for your yarn choice

Gauge: dependent on your choices

Finished Size: Newborn 15”, Infant 17”, 1 ½ years – 4 years 19”, 4 years – Adult small 20”, Adult M – L 22”

Notes:  Measure the head you want to fit.  Make the crown 1 – 1 ½ “ smaller than that size.  This is a multiple of 8 sts.

Stitches Used: Chain - ch, Single Crochet - sc, Half Double Crochet - hdc, Double Crochet - dc, Slip Stitch – sl st, Foundation Single Crochet - fsc, picot - p

R1:  FSC to the desired size, making sure to have a multiple of 8.  Join with a sl st to first fsc being careful to not twist.

R2: Ch 3, dc in next 2 fsc, *sk 2 fsc [(dc, ch 5, dc) shell] in next fsc, sk 2 fsc, 3 dc in next 3 fsc.  Rep from * around.  Join in top of ch 3.

R3: Ch 3, dc in next 2 dc, * ch 2, sc in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, dc in next 3 dc.  Rep from * around.  Join in top of ch 3.

R4: Ch 2, hdc in next 2 dc, hdc in ch 2 sp, ch 4, join in first ch (p made), hdc in same ch 2 sp, hdc in sc, 2 hdc in ch 2 sp,  ch 10, turn, sl st in top of ch 2, turn (ch 2, 6 hdc, 3 p, 7 hdc) in ch 10 loop, * hdc in 3 dc and once in ch 2 sp, p, hdc in same ch 2 sp, hdc in sc, 2 hdc in ch 2 sp, turn, ch 10, sl st in first dc of rep, turn, (ch 2, 6 hdc 3 p, 7 hdc) in ch 10 loop.  Rep from * around.  Sl st in top of ch 2 of first rep.