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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Sometimes you just have to stop
and let your soul catch up with your body.
[Frances Foster]

Pelee Island, Ontario

Pelee_CompositeI boarded the Pelee Islander in Sandusky, Ohio and sailed half way across Lake Erie to Pelee Island, Ontario last week. The voyage took less than two hours, but it took me a world away from my spring encounter with ill health. A friend of mine has a home on the island, and she invited me to come for a knitting vacation. Here is a collection of word snapshots of my impressions:

  • The Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky must be one of the better duty stations for the Customs and Border Patrol officers. The inspections went smoothly and I got to use my new wallet-size passport card. I also added another item to my list of reasons I like being over seventy. Everyone stood back and let me go first. They didn’t see me get in my two-seated roadster to drive on home.
  • Lake Erie has come a long way back from the brink in the past fifty years. When I saw it on my way through Cleveland in 1965, it was dead. Last week, the water was clear, and free of debris and odor. Since there has been so much rain this year, the water level was unusually high so many beaches were covered.
  • Starting a trip with a boat ride adds to the excitement, and is a fun way to separate one from everyday life—unless, of course, one works on a boat in ones everyday life. I didn’t even feel sea sick.
  • Knitting is an essential skill for those of us who aren’t adapted to aimless idleness. It makes us patient waiters. I knit as I waited for the boat, I knit while we traveled. I knit while my friend and I visited. Some folks don’t realize that most knitting doesn’t require constant thought so one can converse and pay attention to other things while the fingers are moving.
  • Halfway into our voyage, the Ohio rain gave way to the first sunshine I’d seen in days. It lasted for several days. I even brought it home with me.
  • As my friend said, Pelee Island looks like a chunk was cut out of the Ohio farm land and set down in the middle of the lake. The center of the island is planted in crops like soy beans.
  • A morning stroll down a shaded country lane adds even more to an already excellent breakfast at the local Bakery. The baker is also a painter and jewelry maker. I invested in earrings and a tea pot as well as croissants.
  • A trip to the local winery was educational as well as fun. Did you know that rose bushes are planted at the end of each row of grape vines for their “canary in the mine” effect? The same diseases infest the roses as the grapes so, if the roses show disease, the whole row is likely to be involved.
  • The history museum, the local craft co-op, a food and hardware co-op, and a small dress shop also grabbed my attention. I didn’t put too big a dent in my budget, but I did bring home good-memory triggers. Some folks call these souvenirs.

As I drove west toward home on U.S. 6, and U.S. 27, I felt whole. I think that is what vacations are for.

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You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  
[Erma Bombeck]

2015-July4

Last evening, there was a spontaneous gathering of my neighbors. We were trimming our yards for the holiday, each helping the other. We represented a variety of age groups, nationalities, races, occupations, income levels. We were the poster group for the old-fashioned term, melting pot. I felt enriched. I’ve often thought that the best part of being an American was being heir to all countries, languages, cultures, and religions. I label myself with a new hyphenated term. I am an enriched-American.

P.S. My neighbors also liked the holiday socks that I hand knit last weekend.

the-wright-brothers-9781476728742_lgP.P.S. I listen to audiobooks while I knit and found this one stunning. David McCullough is one of my favorites, both as a writer and a narrator. This book captures the brilliance of Orville and Wilbur, and the world-changing nature of their achievements. When I was in Dayton to teach a knitting workshop, a friend took me on a tour of the city. We saw the Wright homes, the sites of the Wright printing company and bike shop, Paul Dunbar’s home, and the place where the brothers tested their planes. McCullough captures it all in this book. Reading it is time well spent.

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Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.
A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
[Walter Benjamin]

DREAMBIRD-2-sm

This is Dreambird, designed by Nadita and sold as a downloadable PDF on Revelry.com at this LINK. I used sock weight yarn—marino for the black and silk for the variegated. I used only one page of the 22-page pattern—the chart for the short row turns. If you knit this, place markers where they make sense to you to keep track of your place in the pattern. Also, use the wrap-and-turn that you like best for short rows. Now, I’m trying one using shetland jumper weight yarn.

DREAMBIRD-1-sm

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Don’t you stay at home of evenings?
Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside,
with your slippers on your feet?
[Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.]

New Harmony Slippers

Last weekend was the annual knitting retreat at the Barn Abby in historic New Harmony, Indiana. I love that little town, its shops, cafes, historic sites, botanical displays…

The New Harmony Slippers is the project I developed for part of this year’s program. The knitters who attend have been to countless classes so I had trouble thinking of something that wouldn’t be a repeat. I finally designed these slippers merely for their interesting construction. They have no sewn seams, but are not knit in the round in a way that socks are customarily knit. They are also a fairly brief project so those who were interested could finish at least one in the time we had together.

These slippers can also be worn in shoes like commercial footies or socks. The size is easily adjustable and the slipper toe can be knit in a decorative pattern. Plasti Dip or another synthetic laytex can be used to treat the soles if you intend these to be used as slippers instead of footies.

Pattern Features

  • Knit back and forth on two needles
  • No sewn seams—3-needle bindoff at heel
  • k2tog and ssk decreases
  • lifted stitch increase
  • slipped edge stitch
  • k2tog join at toe
  • 3-stitch attached icord

Yarn

Sock-weight yarn

Tools

Two US #2 (2.75 mm) needles (or size that gives gauge), yarn needle with eye, scissors

Gauge & Measurement

19 rows/2″ (5 cm) and 14 sts/2″ (5 cm)

The pattern is offered for $2.50 on ravelry.com at this link

New Harmony: Barn Abby

New Harmony: Barn Abby

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The story of women’s struggle for equality
belongs to no single feminist
nor to any one organization
but to the collective efforts of
all who care about human rights

[Gloria Steinem]

Shepherd's Moon

This Saturday is International Women’s Day. The photo is Ellen Robert’s display piece at the International Women’s Art Exhibition in the UPMarket Galleries (The Provision Market, Newport, Gwent) in Wales. Ellen spins, dyes, weaves and knits fiber, and she designed this lace poncho. The logo is her business identity, Shepherd’s Moon. The loom was built by her grandfather and used for many years by her grandmother—Ellen uses it now. The spinning is lace weight yarn the thickness of an eye lash. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and skill. I have to add that she is also my oldest daughter.

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The whole difference between construction and
creation is exactly this:
that a thing constructed can only be loved
after it is constructed;
but a thing created is loved before it exists.
[Charles Dickens]

Dacapo_JacketHanne Falkenberg’s Dacapo jacket

Hanne Falkenberg’s designs are sold as kits (yarn and pattern). A friend gave me this kit last spring and I finished it this week. What a delightful project. I rarely knit other people’s patterns but I’m glad I had a chance to knit this one. The construction of the jacket was finely engineered and fascinating.

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
[C. C. Moore]

Argyle Christmas Stocking

If I could put a subtitle on this post, it would be, The Last of the Argyle. Thirty years ago, I knit an argyle vest for my husband. I found the technique so tedious and frustrating that, when I finished it, I swore I’d never knit another. I’ve known knitters, including my mother, who enjoy the technique immensely and who would be frustrated with the techniques I enjoy most. Such is the way with human beings.

Less than a decade ago, a group asked me to teach the intarsia knitting technique (as used in making argyle) so I designed another argyle vest. The request keeps cropping up so I keep knitting more argyle. I tell myself, it builds character.

Then came the ultimate request, a sock pattern that is argyle without a sewn seam. Here it is. Since I knew that I didn’t have the self discipline to knit a second sock, I made it into a Christmas stocking so I could say I was finished after only one. The accent lines are worked in duplicate stitch using metallic gold yarn. Although the pattern is worked to and fro, a wrap and turn avoids the need for a sewn seam.

Here is a Christmas gift for those of you who knit —  a free printable PDF pattern for knitting the sock. NOTE: This version of the pattern is a revision of the original. The heel instructions are altered. 

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