Sunday, March 29, 2009


In a few short months, my precious Daughter #2 will flap her wings and head off for college. This fledging has been a wonderful chick in our nest. She was an inquisitive and excited little sprite who danced and pranced her way into life. She's been a devoted child, who still loves to spend time with her older parents, charming them with her tender heart, hard work and good spirit. Although normally I love the transition of winter to spring, with the lengthening daylight , this year it is bitter sweet. I know that her time with us is shorter and shorter.

Daughter #2 has delighted us with her love of choral music. She began singing in a choir at age 4 and now participates in four choirs! She loathes solos, but finds that choral participation is the only time she truly relaxes--and buries herself in the intertwining melodies. This month, as last year, she scored a "#1" in the regional competition of solo and ensemble vocal music. This means she will go to the state level competition again--something that makes her very proud.

My precious girl is on the right, one of her good friends (a superb soprano) is on the left. They sing in three choirs together.

My daughter selected her college of choice based on their fabulous choral music program. She does not want to major in music, but she wants to continue to take voice lessons and to participate in a hard-working and excellent choir. Unfortunately, although this college accepted her, it did not offer her a scholarship. Two other colleges accepted her and offered her scholarships. We have some tough decisions to make. I would love to stop time and to keep this precious daughter at home for years to come. But, her time has come to flutter her wings and we all have to let go. Sigh.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front, I've also been experiencing some frustrations. Last year I started a Dale of Norway sweater for myself. It's in my favorite color--red! But, it took back seat to items for other people. I started with the sleeves and only finished the sleeves. After completing the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl, I dug out the red sweater. (after I located it, that is. For a few panic-ed weeks I was sure that I had lost it. Found it in the back of a closet.)

When I pulled on the sleeves I realized the truth about why I stuffed the project into the back of a closet! The cuffs were too tight! I couldn't hide from facts--I needed to re-knit the cuffs. There was no way around it. I got out the scissors.

I cut off the cuffs and then picked up the stitches and re-knit the cuffs going down, rather than up. That means that the cuff's edge was bound off rather than cast on. See---

Trust me, it looks better in person.
My cut-and-pick-up-stitches solution worked for only sleeve #1. For some reason, the textured stitches of sleeve #2 refused to cooperate. I finally gave into my fate. Here's sleeve #2.

That is what Tiur yarn looks like after being knit into a textured sleeve, sitting one year in the back of a dark closet, and being ripped out. Kind of like spiral pasta soaked in tomato sauce. The solution?
A good long soak in wool wash, hanging to dry, winding and re-knitting.

Here's sleeve #2--version #2. What's wrong with this picture?

Notice the pink chain where the cuff should be? Because cuff #2 on sleeve#1 was knit DOWN rather than UP, I didn't want to knit cuff #3 on sleeve #2 UP rather than DOWN. I didn't want two different looking and different feeling cuffs. So, I cast on provisionally, using pink yarn for a crochet chain. After taking this photo, I picked up the live stitches as I undid the chain, took out my smaller needles and knit the cuff for sleeve #2 for the second time. Then, I finished sleeve #2 for the second time and I have two complete sleeves back in the knitting bag. Back to where I started two weeks ago. Definitely a knitting time warp!

Now, on to the body!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


!Hola, guapas!

My apologies to my Spanish knitting blogger friends! I have neglected my duty to blog about my Swapetines efforts! Let me explain.

Pilar, from Tejiendo en la Isla (Knitting on the Island), lives in the Canary Islands. Despite living on gorgeous islands where the snow never falls, Pilar is an enthusiastic and talented knitter. Following the success of Sockapalooza, Pilar started a Spanish sock knitting exchange. The name, Swapetines, is a play on the English word "swap" and the Spanish word for socks "calcetines". I love the fact that knitting has put me into contact with people around the world. I also love practicing my terrible Spanish. I will try to put some of this post into Spanish.

Lo siento, mis amigas de Swapetines, de no haber descrito el proyecto de calcetines. !Estoy enamorada de participar en Swapetines! Puedo leer castellano mejor que puedo escribirlo y hablarlo. Por favor, !corregid mis errores!

My swap friend is from Spain, a country where the sun shines hot and bright in blue skies. The landscape is frequently arid, in comparison with my verdant Wisconsin. She said that she would probably wear the socks indoors--the weather being too hot for wool socks and the Spanish women being much too stylish to wear socks with sandals! My yarn choice reflected these considerations.

La receptora de mis calcetines es de España, donde el sol brilla fuertamenta en un cielo azul. La tierra es árida; al contrario mi Wisconsin es muy verde. La receptora me dijo que va a poner los calcetines en casa, por que hace demasiado calor para llevar calcetines de lana. También las espanolas van de moda cuando salen de casa. No llevan calcetines con sandalias! He escogido una lana de acuerdo con esto.

The yarn was hand dyed by a woman I know named Sandy. I selected her "Pair of Sox" yarn, a single ply of wool and nylon, in the color of the hot sun, arid landscape, blue skies and the sea and ocean! The yarn seemed as if it would be long-wearing when worn without shoes.

Una mujer de mi región ha teñida la lana a mano. He eligido la lana que se llama "Pair of Sox", una lana de un solo hebra de una mezcla de lana y polyamid. Las colores son del sol brillante, la tierra árida, el cielo azul y el mar. Me parece que la lana durara bien, especialmente cuando los calcetines se llevan sin zapatos.

For a pattern, I selected "Rock and Weave" from Blue Moon Fibers, whose sock yarn is known as "Socks That Rock." The cuff is made separately, using the linen stitch. I love the picot edging and the fact that buttons are used to close the cuff!! I reinforced the sole of the sock using wooly nylon and I purchased hand made ceramic buttons from Jennie the Potter. I would love to send the recipient one of Jennie's coffee mugs, but the air postage would be prohibitive. To see her buttons, click here.

Como patrón, elegí "Rock and Weave" de Blue Moon Fibers, la suya lana para calcetines se conoce como "Socks that Rock." Hice el puño por separado usando el punto de lino. Me encantan el ribete de "picot" y el hecho que el puno se cierra con botones. Reforcé la planta con un hilo que se llama "wooly nylon" y compré botones de cerámico hechos para Jennie la alfarera. Me gustaría enviar una taza para café hecha para Jennie, pero el franqueo para enviar tal cosa es muy caro. Para ver sus botones, clique aquí.

Here is a close-up of the cuff. Tomorrow, I'll try to sew in the ends and attach the buttons.

Aquí está una foto de primer plano. Mañana, voy a coser los cabos de lana y los botones.

Finally, here is a sock I just finished for myself. I absolutely love wearing hand made socks. Fortunately, here in Wisconsin the winter is long and I can wear wool socks every day from November through mid-April. These socks were made with Trekking XXL yarn and my standard flap-heel sock pattern. I made a fake cable on the sides, using four twisted stitches. Very warm and cozy.

!Vengo de acabar calcetines nuevos para mí! Estoy enamorada de llevar calcetines que hice para mis proprios pies. Afortunadamente el invierno en Wisconsin dura de noviembre hasta abril. Hice los calcetines de la lana "Trekking XXL". Anadi una trenza falsa, usando puntos de vueltas (??). De abriga.

I love all colors and styles of socks. Most people in Wisconsin are very informal. Wearing wool socks with every-day shoes is very acceptable. All of my winter shoes are wide enough to accommodate my wool socks. My 83 year old mother, however, dresses very carefully. She wears primarily dress shoes that accommodate only thin socks. She had to buy new shoes when I started making wool socks for her to wear in the winter! Her feet aren't quite as formal, but she is warm!

Me gustan todos colores y todos estilos de calcetines. La gente en Wisconsin es informal. Es aceptable llevar calcetines de lana con zapatos de cada día. Todos mis zapatos para invierno son tan anchos que puedo llevar calcetines hechos de mano. Sin embargo me madre se viste muy cuidosamente. Lleva zapatos de moda que aceptan calcetines finos. !Cuando empecé a hacerle calcetines se compró zapatos más anchos! Por eso ahora tiene calor en el invierno.

!Besos y abrazos a todas!

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I am a proud woman. For some reason, finishing a lace project makes me feel like a superior human being. I understand that many sweaters and other projects are more challenging, warmer and infinitely beautiful. But, I happen to find great satisfaction in knitting lace.

For many years I have wanted to make a piece de resistance and I have worked my way ever upwards in complexity and ever downwards in thickness of yarn. I'm almost there.

I finally finished Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl out of Cashwool. And I added a knit on lace edging rather than the garter stitch and cast off that she called for. If I must say so, I think my ultimate product is outstanding! Beautiful! A work of supreme diligence and patience! And the mistakes are hard to find!!! (Many, many thanks to Jo of Celtic Memory Yarns who encouraged me to leave two of the mistakes in the shawl. They would have been cumbersome and unsatisfactory to fix. And, I dare you to find them!!)

Best of all, the shawl is a true wedding ring shawl: I can pull it all through my wedding ring!! For some reason, I have always wanted a shawl so fine that I can pull it through a wedding ring!!
This photo and the one above capture the true color, called "ocean."

This and the following photos are terrible on color, but show the lace. This is a field of leaves, outlined by fan ferns.
This is the rose trellis and the leaf border I added.

A little demonstration of the drapiness of the shawl.
And a view of one side.

Here is the shaping of the faroese styling. After a bit of the blocking.

And, the horrifying mess before getting it all pinned out.

This is the point where I do a lot of praying. Such a blob of twisted and interlaced thread. Who would imagine that this blob would be a thing of beauty?? This is why knitting lace makes me a superior human being. ;) Who else would have faith that the thousands of hours knitting have not been in vain? Who else would have faith that the thing will not fall apart when taken out of the sink? Who else would dare to wear the shawl, fearing that it would be caught on an errant nail, or a twig, or a sliver of wood?

Only a knitter would have faith and daring to make, block and wear a lace shawl--and not put it away in a drawer wrapped perpetually in tissue paper. Which is why I did not give the shawl to my mother. I couldn't part with it. I thought she would save it "for good", fearing to wear it lest it get caught, tangled or harmed. I plan to wear this shawl as soon as the Wisconsin weather gets a bit warmer--when I can throw it casually over my shoulders and have it billow behind me as I walk outside. With a carefree toss of my head, I will reply to compliments with, "Oh, this? I made it!"