Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tax Time

The Forest Path is up to Tier 16. No time for a larger blog entry this Sunday; must finish the taxes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Forest Path Progress

Just a quick post today showing the progress of my Forest Path shawl. I'd hoped for a little knitting tutorial but my pics turned out too fuzzy. Must have been all those chocolate Easter eggs that made my hands shaky. ;) Tomorrow it's back to the all alkaline foods diet.

Up to Tier 7 now. Tried a little test block to make sure the short row ratio for the edging was working. Luckily it is! The Suri alpaca is so nice to knit--very silky and soft. And, nothing's better than when I get to use my size 3 Ebony needles. Even the entrelac isn't getting to me too much. It's the general untidiness of all those unfinished sts waiting to get used up that I hate. Only about 2/3 more to knit.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Today at 2:38p CDT, robins were spotted in Northeast WI. With my very own eyes! May not seem like a big deal to many, but after this incredibly l-o-n-g, cold, snow filled winter, it's huge.

Six inches of snow expected tomorrow. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


This week I've spent alot of time looking back to early knitting projects; analyzing them and posting them in my Ravelry Notebook. This sweater was my very first knitting (circa 1983). No one was there to tell me that a mohair traveling stitch aran with bobbles, wasn't the usual beginner project. No one to suggest that maybe a scarf or a hat out of a smooth yarn would be preferable. Thank God!

It's always been a bit of a mystery, just how I learned to knit. Growing up, I'd done lots of needlecrafts--embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, hardanger, those felt/sequin Christmas stockings but the whole yarn section of the craft store felt out of bounds for me. Until I saw the pattern leaflet for the grey mohair sweater. I wanted to wear that sweater. And, when it comes right down to it, there were only so many cushions or framed stitchery pictures one could do--a wardrobe of sweaters, now that was something different.

Somehow, somewhere, I'd learned the basic knit and purl stitches. I've never been able to track it down, though. Maybe as a Blue Bird or Camp Fire girl, but none of my childhood school friends have memories of it. Only one Aunt was a knitter and she said she never taught me. Anyway, despite not knowing anything more of knitting (like how to inc or dec or even cast off), I barged ahead with my sweater. The library only had three knitting books and thank goodness one of them was Knitting Without Tears! What a blessing to have EZ's wit and wisdom on this adventure. And, y'know, I think she would have approved.

It's so fun looking back at this piece. The cast on and bind off are incredibly tight--I can barely fit my hand through the sleeve cuff. That front border is aching for some of EZ's Applied I-cord. I remember being mystified about how to determine where to begin the set in sleeve--the pattern just said 10" or desired length to underarm but I had no idea how to accurately judge it. Oh, did I mention that this was knit back and forth--yes, BTS worked flat so that you had to keep track of the pattern from the wrong side of the work. And, oh my, how the sleeve is sewn in! Absolutely no give, whatsoever.

Anyway, I do remember wearing this garment, even bought my first Bandolino's to go with it. :) The yarn was Thistledown (alpaca/mohair/nylon) from Brunswick and the pattern designer is listed as Jennifer Peacock Harper. Actually, I still really like it. Especially those very 80's puffy sleeves. Shoot! if I'd gotten into Oft-timers I might have remade it out of handspun and done a before/after for the contest.

On to current projects, here's a shot of my in progress Forest Path Shawl.
The pic was taken earlier this week so it's a little farther along now. But this shows how I'm putting a lacier edging on it than the plain seed stitch in the pattern. Also changed the seed stitch starter triangles to moss stitch--so much more fitting to the Forest Path theme. Since the garter based edging has a different gauge than the moss and St st based lace, I'm working some short rows into it. Sorta guessing on how many as I didn't do a whole lot of swatching but at some point soon, I'll do a little pre-block to make sure things are on track.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Opening Up the Mitten Drawer

The last couple of weeks, I've been exploring Ravelry. At first, it was to just get my designer classification so I could take charge of my pattern pages; get all the designs posted with accurate information and photos. But the more I visited the project pages of various knitter's, the more advantages I could see in filling out my own. Looking through the project pages of a knitter is almost like seeing their knitting history come to life. Before the days my designs were published, I was a knitter. All these years later, it is still my passion. And, it seems like the projects displayed, or lack thereof, can speak volumes as to what style of knitter (or designer) you really are. So, in case anyone else saw things in the same light, I decided to start filling in my notebook--slow and steady--as I'm budgeting how much time I spend on the site. Pretty much all the lace projects are up and this week I'll be starting on the mittens/gloves, which is why I dragged open a couple of the mitten drawers and snapped a pic of them all laying on the dining room table. Of course, unpublished designs will not be posted--you'll just have to catch me wearing them at a knitting/spinning event to see them. ;)

Speaking of lace....I started a new project this week.
The Forest Path stole from IK Summer 2003. Or rather, I'm restarting it. I was up to about tier 4 a couple of years ago when the magazine first came out. Tired of it, so ripped the whole thing out. The thing that bothered me about the design was the plain seed stitch border so this time I'm going to work a dogtooth edge, instead.

And, in spinning news, we're in the pink! :)
This is another skein spun from a cloud preparation purchased at Shepherd's Harvest last spring. The booth was from somewhere in SD and I hope they vend there again this May as this fiber was even more fun to spin than the blue stuff from a couple of weeks ago. The fiber content is Icelandic X/Suri Alpaca/Mohair/Silk Noil/Mylar. It's a heavy worsted size (this is getting to be a habit); about 5 oz. and 168 yds. Love it! and not just the color.

Maybe I'll use it for Debbie New's Klein Bottle Hat KAL over on the Schoolhouse Press site here.

And, I finally finished plying the first three bobbins of Perendale.
Ended up with 5 skeins and they look as though they match up to each other. Now wish me luck so I get back into the groove and spin the next batch of singles up the same as these.

Off to give it a try...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Knitting Blue

The blues that I've been feeling the last couple of months shows in my knitted finished objects. All blue!

First up is a Diamond Fantasy Shawl designed by Sivia Harding. It felt like I was the last knitter on earth who hadn't knit one of these and I definitely understand the appeal now. Wonderfully written pattern and very soothing, rhythmic stitch pattern. The yarn is Claudia's Fingering Handpaint in Sea Dreams. I added silver lined crystal beads to the middle of each diamond and sawtooth point. Made a size somewhere between the scarf and shawl which took slightly less than 4 skeins.

I omitted the I-cord cast off because I wanted the sawtooth edge to go around the perimeter of the whole shawl. At that point I made a long length of the edging and then did a modified Russian graft to attach it. The trick is to make sure you leave the slipped stitch edge very loose on the border so there is plenty of s-t-r-e-t-c-h in it.

When I started blocking it...uh oh...
Either I missed a Sk2p in the last row or a stitch while doing the Russian graft because a hole developed right smack in the middle of the top edge. I isolated all the sts I could find with safety pins so I could continue blocking it and when it was dry, I carefully reformed the lace pattern and tied off the st that didn't get attached to the border. Tried to get a close up so you could see but it's a little blurry and off center.
The cold weather hit just after getting home from Hawaii in the beginning of Dec, and since my mom has been used to spending winters in warm places I decided to make her a hat. The only one she had was a Packer hat back from when they had season tickets and when I *made* her wear it the day after we returned, she kept muttering that she felt like a freak (hey, the Packers were even playing really well this year, too!).

I've always loved the lace tam from Gathering of Lace designed by Lois Mueller and even had a skein in the stash of Kimmet Fairy Hare I'd bought my first year at Knitting Camp.
Was a nice quick little project and I discovered something I used to do but somehow forgot along the way. When you're closing up the hole in the top of a hat/thumb/glove finger by threading the remaining yarn through all the sts that are left, continue running it through the first one again. The hole will close up much nicer and tighter.

Also knit another camp shawl.
This one was out of another long marinating skein of handpainted yarn from Joslyn's Fiber Farm in my all time favorite colorway--DewDrops. It's what she calls Mohair Myst and is a dk/worsted weight Wool/Mohair blend.
Because the yardage was just under what I needed, I opted to do one less point so as not to run out. Because the vertical garter stitch is stretchy, it still fits nicely.

Next, my toes needed a little warmth.

Right after camp, I'd started a pair of felted slippers from Dale Long's great pattern. I used Briggs & Little Regal in a lavender/blue color called Fundy Fog. This yarn didn't felt for me very well but produced a nice soft slightly fuzzy fabric. They ended up a little wide for me but I'm using them for spinning slippers so it didn't really matter.
This in not the best representation of the pattern-- Dale's slippers out of Lamb's Pride were so much nicer!

My knitting project for the Hawaii trip was my spindled Blue Hawaii yarn using my basic sock recipe--toe up, short row soles, afterthought heels, and graduated ribbing.
It was fun to watch the colors come and go. This was the yarn I spun in the fractal stripes technique as illustrated in Spin Off last summer. It'll be interesting to see how the second sock turns out during the return Hawaii trip in April.

Finally, we have the Cherry Blossom shawl from IK Spring 2002. The yarn had been in my stash since that time and I wanted a lightweight cover to use on the plane to Hawaii. Let me say that these photos do not accurately represent the color at all. It is a very soft lt. blue, not aqua at all. I needed it to be finished quickly so went with a ready made pattern instead of spending time swatching and choosing lace patterns myself.
This is basically a Pi shawl with a swirl used in the middle. Going from one method of making a circle (swirl) to another (Pi) seems to create a problem.
I blocked this very hard--had to, to get it to lay flat. But, it seems to have developed a big poof in the middle as it has relaxed a bit again. Doesn't show so much when worn as I usually turn back one edge to form a shawl collar in the front and the weight of the bottom edge tends to straighten it out.
So, enough of the blues for awhile.