Friday, May 28, 2010


Welcome to my stitching blog.
I decided to start this because of all the time I spend knitting and sewing, or thinking about knitting and sewing. Some of my knitting escapades are really beautiful. For these I have Bragging Rights. Some are the kind of thing you put a paper bag over your head and hope nobody recognizes you. These--rather more projects than I would like to admit--will be Paper Bag Projects. Some projects came out well, but something went wrong along the way, usually Operator Error. These are my Problem Children. Then there are those projects that I have been thinking about, planning, dwelling on, and possibly ordering yarn, but haven't actually started. These are In The Wings projects, waiting to take center stage.

Just a quick background.
My dear mother taught me to sew at age 7 when I was over 5 feet tall. She could tell I was going to continue in the same vein, so over the summer between first and second grades we made a ragalan-sleeved dress in a green print with orange trim. I was very proud of that dress. I made it to 6' when I was in 6th grade. The clothing stores in our town did not cater to really tall girls, so I had to make all my own clothes. Lucky I knew how! Thanks, Mom!

As for knitting, I remember somebody teaching me to knit when I was 10. I saw my Mom and Grama knitting and chatting and expressed a desire to do the same. My sweet aunt Bethe took me to the store and we picked out blue needles and blue yarn (probably not related to each other at all) and I learned to knit from Mom or Grama or both. I made a (very short) blue scarf with some tassles that probably had bullet-deflecting qualities due to the tightness of the stitches. It was very difficult to fold around my neck, so I didn't wear it much, and didn't knit anything again until my late 20s when I knit a sweater for my new husband. In my late 40s, a friend challenged me to knit some hats for Our Boys in Iraq and Afganistan. Um. OK, great cause, but . . . how? Another friend recommended The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd and I knit some Gorilla Hats that probably could be worn over their helmets. (These would definitely be categorized as Paper Bag Projects.) I learned about guage and changing needle size, made some corrections and turned out some pretty decent hats for Our Boys. I also got hooked on knitting.

Using Ann Budd's patterns, I knit some wool mittens (Bragging Rights) and some merino wool gloves (Problem Children) that have some fingers too short (sigh) and some fingerless gloves (Bragging Rights). I tried one of her sweaters with a V-neck in navy bamboo yarn. It took me a year to finish. That one was a Paper Bag Project because I got the V-neck in twisted. Also some of the yarn connections were done with too short of ends that are now coming undone, leaving large holes. I'm currently frogging that (rip-it) to knit into a summer lace t-shirt (In The Wings).

Bragging Rights
Before RoseE left for her mission to South Korea in January 2009, she expressed a wistful desire to have a certain sweater knit for her, with elaborate cables up the back of a peplum. I'll put pics in later. After my failure with the Paper Bag sweater, I had doubts as to whether I could pull such an elaborate sweater off. This January I decided to try it. It's a Debbie Bliss pattern, which means it is well written, and in case you don't know what she means by something in the pattern, you can email the pattern people and ask. Somebody named Rosie will email you back and tell you, kindly. I emailed several times. After about 2 months, I had all the pieces done. I started to sew them together but for some reason one of the front pieces was too long. I tried to rip off 5" from the bottom, but then it was too short. Ugh! So I frogged that whole front side and reknit it to match the other front and the back. I finally got all the pieces to fit together, found some cute buttons, knit the neckband . . . In short, it's definitely a Bragging Rights sweater. It's also a surprise for her, so Mum's the Word until she comes home in July (providing the North Koreans don't get her).

Another project that came out well was a Celtic Tote for that same sweet Aunt Bethe who bought me my first needles. It's even felted! I made it as a birthday present, finished it about 2 days before, but then had to mail it to her, so I sent the thought on time, but the actual present is late.

And what about all those pairs of socks? Those were originally from Ann Budd's book. Everybody in the family now has at least one pair, but they started with a pair for Teancum for Christmas two years ago in a Harry Potter self-patterning yarn called Hedwig. Which is why I am currently knitting like crazy on a pair of Cold Feet socks for my future son-in-law, Jeff. They were going to be a surprise, too, but I am unsure that this first sock will fit, so I'm going to have to reveal the project to him, get him to try it on, and knit the 2nd sock based on the results of the first trying. And perhaps reknit the first sock (I hope not!). I am trying to get them done in time for him to do a Handcart Trek 12 June. That may not happen. I have 1/2" left to go on the first sock before I do the toe. I could possibly finish today if I stop blogging. That would give me about 2 weeks to do the 2nd. Um . . . .

In the Wings is a sweater for Todd. I knit him a sweater a long time ago, when we were first married. It was maroon and had beautiful cables all over it. I got it all knit for his Christmas present, except for one sleeve, which was quickly finished before that New Year's. But lo! The body was too short to cover his tummy, and the sleeves were waaaay too long. Definitely a Gorilla Sweater. Bless him, he wore it anyway. Back to present day: after seeing the Peplum Sweater for RoseE, Todd asked for a new sweater that perhaps fits him better. He requested an overall cable design, V-neck (my nemesis), longer in back than in front so it would protect his bum during bicycle rides, and a dark colored wool. Once again Ann Budd came to my rescue with her Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. I found the all-over diamond cable design in Interweave Knits Spring 2010, the Lattice and Hollow Cardigan. His yarn of choice is Knitpicks' Telemark Chestnut (23936) or Rosemary (23945).

Also In the Wings are a bridesmaid dress for Bethe for Cat's wedding 14 August. This will be made out of the requisite navy crepe-backed satin, pattern of Bethe's choice, that being a Burda pattern #8351. And a Mother of the Bride dress
for me out of a hand-wash brocade in a dark blue (but not navy) with golden Chinese-type designs all over it. Mine is a Simplicity pattern, 2917, short-sleeved square-neck tea-length dress. RoseE said she would sew her own bridesmaid dress when she comes home. She did already pick a pattern, but we'll see if she still wants that one.