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Showing posts from 2019

Merry Christmas

Silent night, holy night

Jovi Mittens : knitting with qiviut

In February, I published a mitten pattern with  Windy Valley Muskox .  It takes about 1 1/2 skeins of this fabulous yarn so you'll have to buy two.  Of course, you could make the cuffs longer!  I'm thinking I need a version with fingers (aka gloves).  It's on the back burner, for the moment.   In the meantime, let me tell you how lovely it is to work with qiviut!  It is one of the softest fibers, definitely the lightest, and so warm for the weight; it's best as a light layer under others, and luxurious close to the skin.  Sometimes, people misunderstand and think that qiviut comes from the inside coat (I'm not sure how to imagine that), or the underbelly of the muskox; that's because it is often described as the "under coat."  What this actually means is that it's the down layer, and grows during the cold months, closer to the skin, all over the animal; it's like down feathers on a duck.  I worked for WVM for several years, designin

handspun swoncho

When I started working for Windy Valley Muskox , I had the pleasure of traveling with and getting to know the owner, Dianne.  She is a fantastic spinner!  Originally, we were introduced through some of my knitting friends who are part of her family.  I started out with WVM designing a pattern .  Once Dianne saw my finished pattern with modeled shots, she hired me to reshoot several patterns, and eventually I shot all of her product photos, provided pattern support, and went to several trade shows.  Traveling together to yarn shows, we became friends.   At one of the yarn shows, we discovered the Glenfiddich Wool Swoncho in the booth across from ours, and thought it was really cute.  One size, easily modified, it looked great on everyone who tried it on.  Later that summer, I was visiting Dianne's ranch, and she gave me a bag of her handspun yarns to knit with.  She can knit, but doesn't spend as much time on it as I do; I will never be able to spin like

today's snow

Snows, like snowflakes: there are never two alike, and not all snows yield good snowflakes for photographing.   a January snow a November snow Any snow day is a good day for knitting.  Or reading.  Or looking at old photographs.  I was tempted to stay inside but I was in and out all day so I thought I might as well head down to the park and see what I could find.  No good snowflakes, but some lovely little ice globes on pine needles.  I'm knitting a Christmas present, and enjoying Lark Rise to Candleford .  It's time to break out the seasonal favorites .  If it is snowy tomorrow, I might get around to making some pizzelles.  Who knows!  What's your favorite snow-day craft??  


Grief, for a life that was lost, in a culmination of senseless turns.  But thankfulness for all the life around, SO many things, and knowing that God is worthy of praise, even on the bad days.  

books and knits

Knitting, he thought, was a comfort to the soul.  It was regular.  It was repetitious.  And in the end, it amounted to something. -At Home in Mitford On the needles, I have a "swoncho" - a sweater-poncho hybrid, with some handspun yarns from a friend.  More on this later, assuming it turns out alright, or even maybe if it doesn't.  I finished the red sweater that I blogged about here and here .  It fits perfectly!  Next time, long sleeves.   In October, I finished reading Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac .  The casual, journaling voice, wise without being pushy, made for a great late summer / early autumn read.  I thoroughly enjoyed EZ's commentary on life, on her companion, the Old Man, and their car trips; she ties in new projects to the season beautifully, and then gives you the information to make your own, and make it your own.  I was sad when I finished it but I suppose I may read it again sometime.   I'm currently re-rea

Blocking Basics for Knitters

I taught beginning knitting classes for more than five years, and advanced classes at least three.  One of the comments I hear most often from students is that they're afraid to block their project because they don't want to ruin it.   I decided to post about that so I can have a handy place to point people to when I'm asked.  And maybe you'll learn something new, too! First, yes, you can get your wool wet.  Think about it, the sheep stand outside all day, dunk their heads in troughs for a cool drink, and occasionally hit a puddle.  The same goes for qiviut (muskox), cashmere, camel, bison, alpaca, etc.  What you don't want to do is agitate your wool, and this is one of the reasons why we don't throw hand knit sweaters in a washing machine.  Another reason is because it's handmade .  Not all fibers and fabrics act the same in water - some shrink, some grow.  This is why swatching, and blocking your swatch, is so important.  In general, plant fi

good, not perfect : red sweater details

Some background for the red yarn: in 2011, I used this yarn, Shibui sock yarn, to knit myself a Radian Yoke sweater, pictured below.  Although it fit well, the yoke didn't look as open and lacy as the sample in the magazine, and I never wore it, except for a few pictures.  Also, I'm not sure it would fit as nicely, now.  It does have lovely bust darts.   It sat on a table for years; time for a new purpose.  With about a skein and a half still in a bag, I'd have to take the sweater apart for enough yarn for a new project.  (Literally never seeing the light of day for eight years, there should be no problem with color fade.)  The yoke was the first part knit, so I started unraveling at the bottom.  As this sort of pattern (top down) requires one to put stitches on hold and add sleeves later, and venting on the bottom meant separating into front and back, there were some smaller yarn pieces.  Eventually, it was all apart, wound around my arm for a small skein-type s

some autumn knits

I have spent all morning on my blog - changing colors, updating tags, deleting a few posts that no longer make sense.  I went through my Inspirations links to make sure they are still active; many bloggers I used to follow are gone; many more no longer have this feature, but I always like a good recommendation.  I hope you'll find something new to check out!   ------------------------------------------------------------------ For remaining knitting friends, a long-overdue update on my Autumn 2019 knitting follows. In August, most knitting hours were spent on a lovely blue-green sweater for a client.  She sent pictures and links for several cardigans; I liked this one for the cables.  However, none of the yarn options would be the right gauge; a dk weight yarn was the closest, so I ended up re-gauging the whole pattern for this piece.  I charted each piece (back, fronts, sleeves) on Xcel - back to basics for me.  I don't have all the details of this sweate

late September knitting, books, and podcasts

Sit and sip a nice cup of tea with me, while we chat!  After refreshing my memory about the things I've posted this year (not much!) what I see is that I really need to get down to something interesting and uplifting for you to read. The past month and a half, I have been working on a turquoise sweater for a friend and knitting patron who lives in Illinois.  I'll write up a little more about that later this week - maybe, if I remember!  I've got a couple of other projects just off the needles - but no pictures!  I guess I'll have to round them all up and tell you about them.   In the meantime, I have been so busy, and this summer included so many things where I was either the hostess, or primarily responsible for the planning, or photographing it!  In the past fourteen weeks, I believe we have had two weekends at home together.  I know many people would think that's a lot, but I don't run well on busy .  You know, I'm not going to say more abou

September Yarn-Along

Keeping it simple today so that I can get back on track!  I'm reading The Ministry of Ordinary Places, by Shannan Martin, The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin, and here and there, I'm doing some genealogy research.  And I'm knitting a blue hoodie sweater - I'm down to the seaming, which I love!   Find more beautiful knitting and books with Ginny's Yarnalong! 

yarn-along with Ginnie, July 2019

I usually miss it, but not this time!  Ginnie Sheller's yarn-along is one of the ways I've discovered new knitting blogs to read in recent years. The two books I'm primarily reading these days are: ~  The Ministry of Ordinary Places , by Shannan Martin - which is lovely prose about hard things like connecting to people where they are, ministering to people in the everyday.  I am enjoying the read, and it's hitting me where I'm at this year.  (It's no longer on pre-order, my sister got it for me in December.)  ~ The River , by Peter Heller.  I have been enjoying Anne Bogel's podcast, What Should I Read Next?   When I heard her describing this book, I thought it sounded like the perfect summer read for my husband.  He enjoyed it a lot, and I had also thought of reading it, so when he was done he handed it off to me.  The "voice" took me a few pages to get into, but now I'm really enjoying it. As for the knitting, I'm callin

June irises

A year or two ago, I joined a local photography group.  I was really hoping to make friends, and have a group to learn with, as I've had with my knitting group.  Photography is not quite the social setting, though.  What I have gotten out of it is a never-ending list of local places for photo-ops!   Recently, one of the members shared a local iris farm, and several members spent a morning taking pictures there.  Unfortunately, the excessive rain we've had this spring meant that the irises were not in full bloom as expected, but it was still an interesting find.  The owners live on sight and also have a beautiful little spot of "red" poppies.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day...   Maybe you can spot one of the challenges of this type of group?   And lastly, a shot from their vehicle graveyard, in case flowers aren't your thing: It's always nice to find new places in one's neck of the woods.  What ab

Happy Mother's Day

I'm blessed to be surrounded by many wonderful women, mothers, including my own, my grandmothers, aunts and mother-in-law, sisters, and friends!

garden planning journal, 2019

January is the best time to buy seeds because they're on sale and nothing's sold out. However, I'm usually recovering from holidays, especially now that school holidays drag on a week into the next year. February is spent recovering from January. March, on the other hand, brings promise of green things, like the first day of Spring!  It's the perfect time to get things going in the garden, if I haven't already.  A few weeks ago, my friend Patty off-handedly mentioned planting potatoes and sweet peas on St. Patrick's Day.  This year, I'm trying sweet peas after seeing the love for them on Floret . My youngest kid helped me start indoor seeds for four kinds of peppers, lavender plants, and cucumbers, pictured.  (I don't know what made me think I should start cucumbers inside.)  After finding the Grow as I Grow video series by Gary Pilarchik , it seems practically fail proof - ha ha - to start seeds indoors!  Here's what I've

before February ends

the latest chapter in a long love story.