Wednesday, May 27, 2020


I was going to show you some pictures of my lilacs, but Google doesn't want me to load them here?  Option B - share a link from Flickr.  Nope.  I guess it is time to find my own ... place to blog, instead of relying on Blogger.  I'm sad.  Like many things in life, it seems my options are down to two - tow the party line, or find my own way.  

Edited to add:  Perhaps I'm not done, things have synced up. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

knitting : Reclamation Blanket

Reclaiming some remnants of my former life at a yarn shop.
Reclaiming the original meaning of a rainbow - a divine Promise, not human pride.
Reclaiming the joy I found once in knitting.

When my local yarn shop closed, one of the things I inherited was a plethora of small-yardage color samples.  I didn't know what I would possibly do with them.  Fair isle came up several times; that would have been lovely but I didn't want the planning, especially when the yardage was inconsistent.  So I put it in a bag. 

Skip to 2017, I was working on this Koigu Oriental Jacket (below) and the construction struck me as something that would work well with the bits of yarn.

For this blanket, every square starts with a new color and when that runs out, I finish it with black.  For the black, I started with half a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk in solid black.  I wish I had sought out more of it to do the whole blanket.  I found some blackish sock yarns, which turned out not to be quite as solid.  However, this blanket has errors and late-made decisions, colors "out of order," and so on.  Some of the yarns are joined in the middle of the row!  It's a low-stress, loose-rule project, and my family will enjoy using it.  It's considerably less planned than most of my other projects.  Sometimes I need that.  It traveled well to knitting get-togethers in a big bag that zips.

Reclamation Blanket instructions
Yardage: unknown quantities of sock / fingering weight.  I’d guess about 1200 yds black (control color) and 1200 - 1400 yds of color "scraps". 
Needles:  US 3; straights work just fine, there will never be more than 43 sts on the needle
Guage: no idea! 
Finished size: about 52" x 55"

BLOCK Instruction
With color A yarn, CO 43 sts.  Work in garter stitch as follows: 
Row 1 WS: sl 1, k19, cdd, k20.
R2 RS:  sl 1, k to end.
R3: k one less than previous WS row to middle, cdd, k to end.
Repeat the last two rows until yarn A is gone. 

Join black yarn (or whatever your control color is) and begin working in Stockinette stitch as follows:
WS:  sl 1, p to center three sts, cdd, p to end.
RS:  knit.
Continue until 5 sts remain.
Next RS: sl 1, cdd, k1.
WS:  cdd.
Break yarn and pull through last stitch.

BLANKET Construction:
Row 1: Make 1 block per BLOCK instructions.
For 2nd and following blocks: to join next square with left CO edge of new block attached to work, CO 22 sts and with RS facing, pick up 21 along edge of last block.  Work Block.  Repeat until desired there are the desired number of blocks for width of blanket. Example is 14.    

Row 2, 1st block:  to join next square with left edge of new block attached to work, CO 22 sts and pick up 21 along edge of last block. Work Block.
For interior blocks (2nd and following in the row): for left facing blocks, pick up 21 sts from edge of block just worked.  Pick up 1 st from block diagonal from the block being cast on.  Pick up 21 sts from row below block being cast on.

Row 3:  1st block:  to join next square with right edge of new block attached to work, pick up 21 sts along edge of last block, then CO 22 sts using knitted cast on or backward loop method.  Work Block. 
For interior blocks:  for right facing blocks, pick up sts from row below, then corner st, then from last block worked.

I started with 14 blocks in the first row, and worked an additional 12 rows of 14, for a total of 182 blocks.  When I finished the second row, I wove in the ends for the first row, and so on.  I always recommend blocking, and it will make a difference in the size and texture of this blanket!  To block, lay on bed or other flat surface and give a little tug along the edges; allow to dry.  I did not block this severely, or use any pins to make it square; low stress.  I may add a black crochet edge. 

Variations:  a few blocks are striped where my yarn broke; a few blocks are completely garter stitch, a few blocks have much more yardage of the color, a few blocks have no black at all!  One block is backward.  Why does that pink and blue block stand out so much?  Who cares!  You could make one and decide it's not for you, that you love it, or make some tweaks.  Whatever; knitting is good therapy and should be fun!  Enjoy.  

CDD - center double decrease
CO - cast on
k - knit
p - purl
RS - right side
sts - stitches
WS - wrong side

Saturday, May 2, 2020

small answers

a walk around the block

a prayer

a real hug

a Proverb

a short nap

a good stretch

a glass of water

a deep breath

maybe a little chocolate

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

sewing : hand-mended flag

This gets tallied under things I am not expert at, but it hangs so much nicer now, and that is what's important.  Someone asked what stitch I'm using.  I don't know the name of it if there is a name; I'm just weaving over/under, trying to provide the fabric with a little more support so that it can last another generation or so.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

what happened in the knitting community

I was looking for a photo of an old knitting project, in my files, and sorting through the pictures, I was over-washed by a flood of memories.  Woven into all of those sweaters, hats and mittens are the memories of what was happening at the time: why and where I bought the yarn, who I was with, if I was in a class or teaching a friend, things happening in my personal life that made me laugh or cry through the stitching.  I miss the knitting world that was in 2008 - 2018.  

When I came into knitting, I was a mother of three little ones, and needed a place where I was something other than a jungle gym or food service.  I took a knitting class, made friends, found I was great at knitting, and teaching, improved my photography a lot!  I needed that place.   

In the last few years, my local yarn shop closed down, which caused my knitting group to splinter a bit; several of my knitting friends either stopped knitting or moved away. Just as I stepped down from my position at a boutique yarn company, the online community simultaneously blew up and mangled itself.  As far as a knitting community goes, I have a few close friends left.  There's not so much left online, although there are still a few blogs I enjoy, but they are few and far between.  

I know; I'm fortunate that to me, knitting is "leisure."  The thing is, it wasn't.  It was a community of women, some of whom I tolerated, and probably they tolerated me, some that I absolutely love and admire.  There was joy, laughter, disagreements, grief sharing, baby sharing, show and tell, scissor lending.  In the past twelve years, I have walked through a couple of friends dying of cancer, a friend dealing with major abuse, my dad almost dying twice, and many moments of parental doubt.  I needed that world.  I needed adult conversation, and a place to be Karen, friend; Karen, student; Karen, artist; Karen, teacher; instead of always Mom, mom.  Even just for two hours in a week.  It made me a better mom, to be able to reset, and raising new people is an extremely important job.  I need knitting to be a release.  Everyone needs that place.  Not everyone needs it in knitting, but some of us do.  I DO NOT need knitting to be a battle ground.  

There are other places now, cautious places, guarded places.  Pretty pictures, but lots of codes and filters and never enough filters where now every filter needs filtering.   Tearing down some of the beautiful parts of people was never needed.  I don't know when I will ever stop mourning.  I cherish my few real knitting friends all the more.

I just needed to say that.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

good things in spring

I'm feeling like I should contribute the sort of beautiful, interesting, positive, crafty things that I'm craving right now.  There was a time that I found regular craft-soul sustenance from the internet, lots of beautiful crafting blogs of gardening, quilting, fiber, and all manner of positivity.  Today, I have to hunt, and I do.  I still have a few blogs I'm hanging on to!  For now, my current projects are about finishing and growing.  

I'm on the last row of my Reclamation Blanket, and considering writing a post about this project.  Are you interested?  

Mending a vintage flag has taken me longer than I anticipated but I'm about two-thirds done with the big gash that was here when I bought it.  I started working on this last year, didn't get far, and hung it back up.  I didn't feel like I did a good job, but the mending I did manage looked better hanging up than I first gave myself credit for, (you can see it to the right of the tear) so I decided to finish.  It's a 48-star flag, and I love that the stars are in rows instead of staggered, as on the 50-star flags.  (Nothing against the last two states, they are all a significant part of our wonderful country!)

Lots of things are growing in the yard, and I hope my lilac blooms survive the cold snap we're currently experiencing.  Super happy I got some onions, snap peas and golden beets in the ground before we got some snow.  

I'm looking forward to more good things over the next several weeks.  What about you?  And what are your favorite blogs to read or find crafty eye-candy??  

Saturday, March 21, 2020

end-of-winter knitting

The other day, I found half a sock that I'd begun in a meeting.  Busy hands slow down my words, I find, and sometimes that is a good thing.  I finished the sock and made a mate in about two days.  Greenish socks, not quite in time for St. Patrick's Day; still, new socks.  I love the bind-off row of multi-colored knitting.  Those stitches are not shy, they don't blend; they make sure they get noticed!  

Unless something specific is called for, I usually do my binding off with a needle a few sizes larger than the one I was knitting with, and I just mind those stitches to keep them loose.  I haven't found a "stretchy" bind-off that was truly stretchy unless it comes with a whole lot of effort, and sometimes ending up too stretchy.

I have another several projects I'd really like to do but they take thinking, so I find that I keep coming back to my Reclamation Blanket.  I'm almost done, one more row, maybe two.  I am counting on it to block out a little bigger than its current size.