Thursday, August 31, 2006

MN State Fair

Today was our annual trip to the State Fair. Every year I say I'm not going to go, but once it is fair time, I'm usually there. It probably is in my blood-my dad loved the fair! Every year he took his vacation from his usual job and worked at the fair. He spent many years bussing in a food booth, then worked in his church food booth.
The place I spend most of my time is in the Creative Activities Building looking at the knitting entries and trying to figure out why the judges awarded the ribbons they did, which I can't. A couple of my favorite animals!A fun place to go is the butterfly exhibit. I had never been in it before we took 2 of our grandsons last year and they wanted to go in. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so had to go back this year-my husband even went in with me. I wanted a picture of some beautiful irridescent blue butterflies, but whenever they were not flying they held their wings closed. Another of my favorite places is Gem Mountain Studio, a jewelry shop in the grand stand. Boy, did I cause some excitement when I snapped a picture-no way did they want me to "publish" any pictures of their stand, so I'm abiding by their wishes. They have some of the most unusual cuts of gem stones, some mounted in unusual designs. A big disappointment this year as I did not find any that I liked enough to buy.
And of course, the food! I didn't eat much, but had deep fried jalepeno pepper cheese on a stick-very good-a brew brat which is a brat dipped in a beer batter and deep fried-also good-a dish of ice cream, a lemonade and brought home a favorite of mine, chocolate covered sunflower seeds!
Arrived home stuffed and tired!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why do you love to knit?

This quiz came in the mail in an advertisement from White Birches and I added a few of my own.
  • It relaxes you.
  • It lets you express your creativity.
  • It challenges you.
  • It gives you pride and a sense of accomplishment.
  • It earns praise from your friends and family.
  • It allows you to give unique and personal gifts.
  • It lets you create fabulous fashions.
  • For the sensuous feeling of the yarn as it flows thought your fingers.
  • For the excitement of seeing a new pattern develop.
  • For the camaraderie of other knitters.
  • For the pride in seeing the accomplishment of a new knitter.
  • For the friendly, inspiring atmosphere of a yarn shop.
  • For the satisfaction of making and giving things to people in need.
  • It gives me something to do with the "yarn" I spin. (Thanks, Qoe)
  • It gives me a break from studying. (Thanks, Dawn)
  • Its something my oldest daughter and I can do together. (Thanks, Dawn)
  • All of the above.


Monday, August 28, 2006

New Yarns

A couple days ago I was checking out the new yarns that are coming into the yarn shop. Some wonderful ones have already come in and I heard there are more coming. I'll never remember all of them-it's worth an excursion to your LYS to see what has arrived. Noro has several new yarns, all with the nice color gradations we know. The one pictured is Noro Yoroi which is a super bulky weight. The new yarn I have my eye on is a new Cascade yarn made out of merino and angora-just as soft as it sounds.
This start of a sweater is from "Knitting Pure & Simple Weekend Neck Down Jacket" pattern. It is knit on size 17 needles and should get a gauge of 8 sts/4 inches. I usually knit to gauge, but this one is a little smaller. When I teach this class, when the jacket is knit down to the point of dividing for the sleeves, I have them put it on 3 pieces of waste yarn-body, each sleeve-and actually try it on. I've discovered often the yoke is a little too short, so at this point we can add rows with more increases if extra width is needed and/or extra plain rows if extra length is needed. If no extra increases and/or rows are needed the sleeves are already on holders and the body is put back on the needles, stitches are cast on under the arms and the body is finished. Then the sleeves are taken off the holders and knit. Stitches are picked up down the front for a band for either a zipper or buttons. Stitches are picked up across the neck for the collar. This is an easy pattern and is a good one for beginner knitters who want to make their first sweater.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oh My! Baby Sweater Finished

Sweater completed!
It was almost done-the second button band was on, but I had left it for a couple days, ready to bind off. When I came to bind it off, the places I'd picked up the stitches from had stretched-the photo shows how big the spaces were and only on one side! What to do? Finally decided to stitch a row on the sewing machine in the middle of the next stitch over, then pick up the stitches again further in from there. I didn't like the fact that I now had two stitches on the wrong side, but that seemed the safest alternative. So far it worked. The yarn-Oh My! by Plymouth- was a joy to knit with; I would recommend it with reservations. It would be perfect for a baby blanket. I wouldn't use it again for any pattern that called for stitches to be picked up. The picture doesn't show but there are noticeable ladders on the sleeves at the points the double point needles met. This is not a problem I usually have when using DP needles. At first I had trouble sewing in my ends as I usually use the smallest needle I can, but when I changed to a larger needle, it worked much better.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Sky August 26

A beautiful, almost cloudless sky starting off what is supposed to be a beautiful day. Now that I've worked my sudoku and gone to Curves, I'm going to read for awhile, then knit for the rest of the afternoon and evening. A perfect day!


Friday, August 25, 2006

Vivian Hoxbro Rainbow Jacket redone!

Both sides match! If you remember, I had started one side of the neck opening back in the orange stripe and it just wasn't comfortable to wear. Because I had worn the sweater several times and didn't discover the error, I debated leaving it, but I was alway tugging at the neck and adjusting the sweater. I had it on today and it fits and feels so much better it was worth the extra work.

The sweater is made from a kit and is made with Harrisville yarn in a fingering weight, I think, on size 2 and 3 needles. The pattern is also available in Vivian Hoxbro's book, "Shadow Knitting." If I were making it again, I would make the sleeve cuffs a little wider and use a softer yarn.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Suspended Bind Off

Lately, I have been using the suspended bind off to avoid a too tight bind off. Another method would be to use a needle a size or two larger, but this is handier.
1:Knit two stitches.
*2:Slip first stitch knit off, over second stitch knit,BUT leave it on left needle. (As in bottom picture)
3:Knit next stitch on left needle. (As in top picture. Slip both stitches off left needle.
4: Knit one stitch.
5:Repeat from *


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Repetitive Motion Injuries Prevention

The violets are a plant which is a descendent of my grandmother's violets. She always had plants full of blossoms and everytime I visited her, she would try to send a plant home with me. I usually declined the offer because they always died for me. Eventually, I took one when I was able to put the plant in a bright south window and now I have blooms!
Reknitting the rainbow jacket reminds me of the "sermon" I give to my knitting students about the dangers of body injuries due to long term repetitive movement. I've had problems with shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand joints with the resulting treatment option of stopping knitting! That is pure torture for me, so prevention is the best key. Take frequent breaks and move your body joints in different positions. The link above has some exercises to do periodically to help prevent injury. Take my advice!

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Red Hatters Go To the Races

Our Red Hat outing this month was to the horse races. I must admit I was not looking forward to it, but what is typical, the RHS introduced me to an activity I really liked! I'm ready to go back. The last race of the day we were able to view from the "Winner's Circle" as one of our members won a door prize. "My horse" is the grey one in third place-my educated advice is, "bet on the grey horse."


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Sky August 19

10 AM Saturday morning turned to a beautiful sky!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Bountiful Harvest/Knitting Mystery Book

Our one tomato plant is producing lots of tomatoes this year. It is such fun to go out on the deck, grab a handful, and enjoy the wonderful flavor of fresh, vine ripened, home grown tomatoes.
A new mystery is just out written by Maggie Sefton. It is the 3rd book by this author about a girl who goes to Colorado after the death of her aunt. Her house is next door to a yarn shop-how wonderful is that? After helping settle the estate and helping solve her murder (book 1) she stays on and in each book helps solve another murder. Living so close to the yarn shop, she spends a little time there every day learning to knit and enjoying her new friends. Its an easy read with very likable characters. Oh! The book is "A Deadly Yarn" by Maggie Sefton.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rainbow Sweater to Frog Town

Well, I gave up trying to short cut the repairs on the sweater and decided to "rip-it, rip-it"! The repair was too tedious and even after the third try didn't look good. The sweater was made from one sleeve to the middle back, the second side made to the same point and Kitchener stitched together down the middle back. I ripped the front back to the old division for front and back and the back from the point where the new division should be, back to the old division. Hopefully I only have to knit the back the short distance and Kitchener it to the rest of the back, but I will reknit the entire front side. Luckily I have lots of yarn left. Vivian Hoxbro is visiting our shop in November, so I do have a dead line!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh My! Baby Sweater

I'm struggling with the Vivian Hoxbrow Rainbow Jacket and have no progress to report. What I had done, I took out today. It is taking so long and is so tedious and hard on my eyes I probably would be better taking the whole thing out. As relief, I'm working on the Ann Norling Kid's Basic-Bottom Up Raglan. It's a wonderful pattern as it is written for 4 gauges in sizes 6 months-4 years. You do a gauge swatch using a yarn that gets close to those gauges and use the pattern appropriate for the gauge you get. No need to repeat the swatch with different needles if the gauge isn't what the pattern calls for. The picture is of the sweater at the point of just adding the sleeves. The yoke is made on all the stitches with raglan decreases and no seams. Knit the neckband, pick up stitches for the front bands and rib the bands. When that is done, sew the small seams at the underarms, sew in the ends and sew on the buttons. This yarn is such a delight to work with as it is so soft that's why it's "Oh My!" . It doesn't show stitch definition well, so a plain pattern works best. I did have trouble with "ladders" at the corners when using double point needles, something I usually don't have.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Cottage Creation's New Pattern

Today I received the new pattern from Cottage Creations called "Rialey's Sweater" A Four-Season Pullover plus cap. It is a pullover and matching cap sized for kids, sizes 2-10 with a choice of 4 designs for around the tummy. It is knit circularly from top down adding the sleeves after the yoke so only the little seams under the arms to finish. Gauge is 9 stitches/2 inches, so goes fast, too. The neck is large to prevent that struggle kids have to get their heads through a pullover sweater with a rolled edging at the neck and bottom. Fun to knit and from the pictures in the center fold, fun and easy for a child to knit. Her patterns all have easy to follow directions and illustrations-illustrated by her daughter who is a watercolor artist in Door County. Reading her patterns gives a little insight into the life of the creator, so you feel you know her. I do-I test knit her patterns, that's why I already have one knit. Some of patterns from Cottage Creations are The Wonderful Wallaby, Babies and Bears, Sven Scandinavian, and Rambling Rows. If your LYS doesn't carry Cottage Creations, you can write "Cottage Creations, At the Farm on Deer Creek, Carpenter, Iowa, 50426-0070. Send a LSASE for a free brochure.


Dragon Fly

A friend was over this morning to teach me how to customize this blog. She is the person who really got me into this and we also got our tattoos together and hers is a dragonfly. When she left, this dragon fly was sitting in the grass. Very appropriate and too pretty not to take a picture-to bad it doesn't show up the true beauty. Thanks, friend!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vivian Hoxbro Rainbow Jacket

Well, I found the yarn so am able to start the repairs. I was afraid to start in case I needed more yarn and wanted to know where it was. It was in my cedar yarn closet where it was supposed to be, but I had looked through that twice, checked the yarn shop, and cleaned out my bedroom closet (a job I've been putting off all summer), and checked the yarn closet again and there it was in plain site. Gremlins! I've taken out several bands of the neckband, now will use the extra yarn to knit up the 2 stitches that somehow got taken out when I took out the first color. Then the ends have to be worked in at the same time as joining the front and back. Now I'm waiting for my eyes to rest, better light, and will have to think about it before continuing. I'm still wondering how I'm going to deal with the neckline decreases.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Sky August 12

I waited all day to see if the sky would become more interesting, but it was hazy all day. A beautiful day though, warm, but with a nice breeze. Did not work on the Vivian Hoxbro sweater yesterday as I think I returned the left over yarn to the knitting shop-the sweater is a store sample.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Vivian Hoxbro Rainbow Jacket

This is the project I'm going to start on this afternoon. The sweater has been done for many months but when I wore it, the neckline just didn't feel right, and I was constantly readjusting it. One day I looked at myself in a mirror and discovered the reason. Note where the neck shaping starts on each side. I obviously didn't read the pattern right! So, I'm going to try cutting a thread on the neckband just after the neck shaping and take out the stitches back to the point I divided the front and back stitches and try to reknit just those stitches. Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shadow "Knitter" Scarf

Finally finished the Shadow "Knitter" Scarf. Mine is the green one, the other one was made by a friend to test the pattern and has been done for many months. This is an original pattern to be used as a teaching tool to teach the concept of shadow or illusion knitting and reading graphs. Shadow knitting is really easy to do. Two rows are worked with alternating colors. The first row is alway knit and the second is knit or purled depending on which part of the design the stitches are making. To make a particular color stand out the stitches are knit on the wrong side (garter stitch) and are purled when the color recedes. Using graphs makes it much easier to follow the directions. Vivian Hoxbro's book Shadow Knitting is an excellent resource.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I just discovered a wonderful web site! You select a location and a map pops up with markers for yarn and knitting shops in the area. Click on the marker and you can get description, information, and web site links of that shop or shops.


Global World Missions

Tuesday is my charity knitting day, and have been knitting on the bandages for tropicaal ulcer patients for Global Health Ministries. This is an organization that provides financial and material support to Lutheran health care mission programs in developing countries. The bandages are used for patients who suffer from slow healing open sores and ulcers caused by leprosy, HIV/AIDS, infected insect bites, injuries and burns. Patterns for knitted and crocheted bandages and baby hats can be found on their webside. along with instructions for delivery of any items made. Obviously, these are pretty boring knitting so today I deviated a little and started on the baby sweater I started knitting from Plymouth Yarn "Oh My!" which describes the wonderful softness of this yarn.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Body Worlds and The Human Body

Today, Travel Friend and I went to the Science Museum of Minnesota to see the Omnifilm, The Human Body, and the Body Worlds Exhibit. If you get the chance to see these, I recommend you do so. The movie showed actual movies of the different systems of the body working-hearing, muscular, skeletal, reproductive, and digestive in a tasteful and sometimes humorous manner. The exhibit was actual bodies disected to show muscles, tendons, bones, organs, heart and blood vessels, some healthy and some diseased. Yes, this sounds gory and distasteful, but it really wasn't. Actually the models looked like plastic, but the details were more graphic than the flat pictures we had in our nursing anatomy books. It was interesting to see the relationship of the organs to each other and the bone structure. Go and see it-I came away with a feeling of awe for the miraculous machine our body is. The red bean chili in the Elements Cafe was good, too.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday Sky August 5

It really wasn't as threatening as the picture off my deck at 9 AM looks like it is.


A Day at the Zoo

The last 2 days we were taking care of 2 of our grandsons as their daycare was on vacation. Therefore, not a lot of knitting done. As diversion we made a trip to Como, a small zoo in St Paul which I went to as a child. It is much improved since then-with larger more outdoor cages. A fun day was had by all.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Knit Wits

Tuesday is the day a knitting group I started 3 1/2 years ago meets at a local Culver's (fast food chain in the Midwest). This particular Culver's had a community representative who's job was to promote Culver's in the community. One night I was having my dinner alone enjoying my dinner while reading a book-something I enjoy doing. Since it happened to be their family night, the community representative came over and told me they were doing face painting for children of all ages and I could have my face done. Since I was on my way to teach a knitting class in the school district community ed program I told her I didn't think it was appropriate. She revealed she also was a knitter and why didn't the group I had elsewhere come to Culver's? Well, after some brain storming we decided to have a group meet weekly with the objectives of just getting together to knit and knit for charity. Surprise to me, when the publicity came out was added "learn to knit". Now more than 3 years later our group has grown from 4 people at the first gathering to an average attendance of about 25. Last week we made another distribution of items knit (and we added crocheters) to the local charities we keep well supplied with hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, lap robes, afghans, booties, premie clothes, and slipers. That distribution made a grand total of over 4000 items donated. Things go to Head Start,community assistance organization, hospitals, Crisis Nursery, the school system for social service and ESL programs, woman's shelter and the Red Cross. I never expected it to grow like it did, some lasting friendships have developed, and some people have learned to knit!