Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

I am so far behind in blogging it is hard to know where to start.  Part of it is laziness, part of it is lack of picture-taking.  I don’t know!  Anyway, since we last met in early December, we have been to Seattle for a week for the holidays, and then settled back in over here in early January.

I have a new spinning wheel!  It is a Jensen Tina II and belonged to a friend of mine in Seattle, who bought it in 2002 but hardly used it.  The finish was rather dry, so Rick put 2 coats of Profin on it and now it looks wonderful.  It spins like a dream.



On January 7th, my friend Sara organized a “Roc Day” spinning day at Twispworks.  About 20 people came and we had a fabulous potluck lunch, in addition to the general cameraderie.  From Wikipedia:

Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff’s Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations.  Many St. Distaff’s Day gatherings are held, large and small, throughout local fiber communities. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women’s work.

In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth.




We have lots of snow this year.  It is going to be the best ski season, maybe ever!  The folks at Methow Trails are keeping it well-groomed as always.  We have one of the top Nordic ski trail systems (120 miles or 200+ kilometers) in the country right here in our little valley.  It is divided into four areas, all connected by the Methow Community Trail.

We had more fresh snow yesterday and last night, and here was the scene this morning from our back deck:

P1000590Piling up on the deck:

P1000595Curling off the roof of the shop building:


I have been knitting more Mosaic Mojo hats.  Still haven’t gotten tired of these yet, as long as I have nice yarn to work with.




And I finished a sequence knitting project, another cowl:



A week or so ago I put a scarf warp on my 32″ Macomber loom, using some Missoni “Bombay” novelty yarn that I picked up at a stash reduction sale, and some rayon rik-rak on cones.  I put 21 yds on the sectional beam, enough for 10 scarves about 70″ long plus fringe.  Finished the last one yesterday, washed them and cut them apart, and they are hanging to dry.  Pictures to follow!

This past Saturday, we had our annual community association progressive dinner, which is always held on the ML King holiday weekend.  I was the organizer, and we hosted the main course at our house this year (appetizers at one house, main course at a second house, desserts at a third).  There were 41 of us and it was a challenge to fit it into our dining and living room!  We moved most of the living room furniture out to the shop or upstairs, set up 5 tables, and borrowed a bunch of folding chairs from the Winthrop Gallery.  Lots of fun!



This seems to be a social time of year – we have had many get-togethers with friends and neighbors since returning home at the end of December.


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Weaving Rugs Again

I was running low on rugs after the guild sale, and after placing some at the 2 galleries down in Twisp, had only one at the Winthrop Gallery (a member-run coop gallery).  Then they sold that one last Saturday (which is a good thing, but yikes!).  So this past week I finally got the 50-yd rug warp on the sectional beam of my 48″ Macomber and am back in the rug weaving business.  I have all those bags of Pendleton blanket selvages we brought back from Portland, OR as inspiration!

R236 - 32" x 52"

R236 – 32″ x 52″

R237 - 32" x 29"

R237 – 32″ x 29″

R238 - 32" x 64"

R238 – 32″ x 64″

R239 - 32" x 60"

R239 – 32″ x 60″

This will be it until the end of the week, as I am headed over the pass today to the Skagit Valley for 3 nights with my Dad.

Also got some more Mosaic Mojo hats done since the last post:

9 - 1519

10 - 1520

I really like the one shown below.  I have used Noro Silk Garden in the past – it is just the right weight and I love the feel of it with the silk and kid mohair in it, plus the way it changes color along the length of the ball of yarn is always a surprise and very effective in these hats.  But I can’t afford to buy Noro Silk Garden at full retail for hats I am selling in a gallery!  I have only used odd balls I picked up at stash reduction sales or sale bins in stores/online.  But I found some Noro “Silk Garden Lite” in my stash and although it is thinner, I found if I strand it with some Rowan Kidsilk Haze (or similar very thin kid mohair/silk yarn) it is just perfect!  So that is what I used for this hat:

11a - 1525

11b - 1525

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Got My Mojo Back On

Just a quick post to show photos of the Mosaic Mojo Hats I have been knitting the last month or so from my own pattern that is on Ravelry.  I don’t think I knitted up any of these for sale last winter, as I had kind of burned out on doing that.  But this year I was in the mood, and after rummaging around in the yarn stash, came up with a number of suitable left-overs and stash reduction sale acquisitions that would work.  Also, the yarn shop down in Chelan, Twisted Fine Wool & Yarn, was closing out Cascade 220 at 60% off.  That is often my go-to yarn for the solid color in these hats, so I picked up some good colors there last week.

Here are pictures of ones done so far:

3 - 1514

4 - 1515

5 - 1516

7 - 1517

6 - 1516 also

2 - 1513

8 - 1518It is snowing here today and the Winthrop forecast is for 6-10 inches during the day, tapering off tonight, and then turning to rain/snow mix and getting drier over the weekend.  So we will see how well it lasts, but this should be good for the ski trails, especially farther up-valley.



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Sequence Cowl

Last spring some friends turned me on to the new book “Sequence Knitting” (subtitled “Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics”) by Cecilia Campochiaro.  This is more of a methods and ideas book than a pattern book, although there are directions for some of the sample projects.  It is also self-published and beautifully done – she created all the charts and I believe did all the photography herself.  The section at the end on working with variegated yarns, dyeing methods to get successful variegated yarns, and understanding color mixing and contrast, is excellent.

I started two projects back in June.  The first was a 2-color parallelogram similar to her Robson scarf but using a different sequence.  I have been stalled at about the halfway point for months and finally decided I just wasn’t happy with the edge where the colors are carried up, and that I probably wouldn’t wear it much.  So I ripped it out yesterday – so freeing!

The other project was a cowl using the Spiral method (knit in the round).  I chose the sequence (K4,P4,K2,P2) on a multiple of 12 plus 2.  This means the sequence pattern shifts by 2 stitches on every round, thus forming the spiral.  This particular sequence and stitch count yields a row repeat of 6.  Since I wanted to use 2 colors, I did knit an in-the-round test swatch to see how often I wanted to change colors within the 6-row repeat.  I wound up changing colors every 3 rounds.


Here it is laid out flat:


and as worn:


I used 80% merino/20% silk fingering weight yarn dyed by Heidi Dascher at The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble, WA (she calls this yarn “Clackamas”).  302 sts CO on a US 5 needle.

I am so happy with this I am starting another one.  I also find cowls more easily wearable than knitted scarves that need to be draped or tied somehow to stay on.  There are variations of the same sequence with a shift of 1,2,3 or 4 stitches and it is AMAZING how different the fabrics look.  This time I am going to do the same sequence on a multiple of 12 + 1.  Stay tuned!

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We finally found a great guy who is an experienced carpenter, but only looking for small jobs when he is in the valley.  We have a couple of projects to do around here, and first up will be exterior stairs to parts of the deck.  The house wasn’t quite finished when we bought it 4 years ago, and the “steps” were very temporary.

These are designed to match the stairs for our main entry under the breezeway, that Rick did last fall.  Those have wooden treads, as they are under cover.   The rest of them will get snow and ice, which we don’t want to pile up all winter on wooden treads.  The stringers are done and awaiting metal stair treads which we are getting from Alpine Welding in Twisp.

Off the front corner leading to guest and trailer parking

Off the front corner leading to guest and trailer parking

Two stairs off the back porch, one from the French doors and one leading to the woodpile

Two stairs off the back porch, one from the French doors and one leading to the woodpile

Weaving rugs again now, to get some inventory out to the galleries for the summer, and use up my stash of Pendleton wool selvage material.














And I finished knitting this lovely shawlette, using my silk/wool handspun yarn: “Magrathea” by Martina Behm.  I had very little yarn left over!

Magrathea 1

Magrathea 2




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Four Shawls & A Cowl

This week I finished the four shawls for my guild’s challenge project.  As previously noted, these were all done on the same warp of 20/2 mercerized cotton, and the same threading (extended manifold twill) and tie-up.  But I used different treadlings for each one, and different materials and colors as well.  They seemed rather stiff right off the loom, but after washing and pressing they have a lovely hand and drape.

Pattern weft:  brown 8/2 rayon used doubled, Tabby weft: 20/2 mercerized cotton, changing color every pattern repeat

1 brown rayon a

Pattern weft: variegated 8/2 tencel used doubled, Tabby weft:  10/2 tencel

2 gold meadow a

2 gold meadow b

Pattern weft: solid teal 8/2 tencel used doubled, Tabby weft:  10/2 tencel

3 teal tussah a

Pattern weft: variegated 8/2 tencel used doubled, Tabby weft:  10/2 tencel

KS spring meadow shawl

I had enough warp left to weave this cloth (table mat?) in black 5/2 pearl cotton with a 20/2 gray pearl cotton tabby weft.  Used the same treadling as the 4th shawl above.

black&white mat a

front side


black&white mat b

back side


On the knitting front, I just finished a cowl using some of my handspun yarn.  It was a 2-ply and approx. laceweight.  One of the singles was spun from a merino/tencel dyed top from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks.  The other was merino/cashmere in the same colorway.  These are dyed in a regular repeating color sequence, which I was careful to preserve in the spinning.  When plied together, the same colors lined up pretty well so I got this nice soft striping when knitting with it.

Zuzu Petals Cowl

The pattern is “Zuzu’s Petals” by Carina Spencer (available on Ravelry or her website).  I was pretty much getting gauge on the recommended needle size, even with the handspun.  But I tried it on when partway done and decided it was fitting a little too close around my neck, so I took it back to the point where you quit knitting back and forth and join in the round to begin the lace chart.  Then continued the stockinette part with the same increases until I had added 24 more stitches (two 12-st repeats of the lace) then went on and joined in the round and finished it up.  I think it works much better for me, or at least in this yarn.

I just love this little cowl – it may be my favorite thing I have knit this year!

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Done & Delivered

Yesterday we delivered one of the dining tables that Rick has been working on.  It is for our friends’ cabin up in Mazama.  The style is a “Dutch drawleaf” and the method came from a 1977 Fine Woodworking magazine.  He has done 3 tables before using this method, including our own Oregon walnut table.  This table was done with afromosia.   The leaves store under the ends of the main top, and when pulled out the center section drops into place between them.

Higgins table 2

Higgins table 4

I finished a sweater last week.  It is based on the pattern Lightweight Pullover from Knitbot (Hannah Fettig).  This is a plain stockinette stitch sweater worked all in one piece from the top down, starting with the cowl neck and then into raglan shaping.  I used 7 balls of Rowan DK Soft from my stash, which is no longer available.  It’s a brushed wool (no mohair).  I decided the plain stockinette would be a little boring so modified it with a twisted stitch pattern after doing some swatching.  It required a bit of tweaking of the stitch counts especially for the raglan shaping, but I am happy with the result!

Knitbot Pullover Feb 2105

Our weaving guild always has a gift exchange at the February meeting.  This is a chance to pass on some materials, books, tools, or whatever that you have in your stash.  Chocolate is always welcome, too!  We do it “white elephant” style, so a package can be taken away from someone else 2 times before it stays with the recipient.  Much hilarity ensues.



I also got the new rug warp on the loom and wove a black & white rug for someone who wanted an 8 ft runner (she bought another B&W rug of mine at the Confluence Gallery late last year).  I thought I had enough material left to pull it off, but I was wrong – it came out 16″ too short.  I even called down to the Woolen Mill Store in Portland to see if they had any more, which was a really long shot since I bought this particular blanket selvage several years ago.  Oh well, someone will want it some day.

R215 - black & white - 32" x 80"

R215 – black & white – 32″ x 80″

Off to spinning camp on Orcas Island tomorrow!

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Two Stockings

A few months back, one of my neighbors asked me if I could knit two Christmas stockings for her new daughter-in-law and her youngest grandchild.  It seems this is a family tradition that was started by her husband’s mother, and there are 18 of these stockings out there, all the same pattern.  But she didn’t have the pattern – it had been lost after the two family members who had knitted the previous ones had passed away.

All she could do was give me her son’s stocking as an example:

Newman stocking original

Well, I have to tell you that intarsia knitting (knit-in separate motifs) is one of my least favorite things to do.  But she is a good friend and I couldn’t see how she was going to find anyone else who could not only knit it, but also deconstruct the original stocking to come up with a pattern.

So I did a bunch of examining and stitch counting and charting (using Excel) and went to work.  It turns out they were knit flat and seamed up the back, down as far as the heel shaping – because of the intarsia motifs.   There are ways you can knit intarsia in the round and I considered that, but decided it was more hassle than it was worth.  The foot can’t be knit in the round until you are done with the wreath motif on the instep (top of foot) so the part of the foot after the heel shaping, and the rest of the instep, are both knit flat and then seamed together.  So only the last red and green parts of the foot were knit in the round.

I didn’t knit the names in as intarsia either – just knit the white section at the top, then used duplicate stitch with the green to add the names.  Much easier!

I definitely had “second sock syndrome” by the time I was done with them.  As in, sick and tired of knitting that second sock.  But they turned out well, here they are with one in profile and one with the top facing so you can see the wreath:

Newman stockings 2And the two of them with the original (my neighbor is going to sew the jingle bells on):

Newman stockings 3Now she has a pattern and charts, just in case they ever need another one.  I won’t be knitting it.

I have also been a little scarf-weaving factory the last couple of weeks.  Put on three 21-yard warps using some handpaint mohair boucle and brushed mohair yarns from New Zealand that I picked up when a business changed hands several years ago.  This is actually much easier than it may sound, using my AVL warping wheel and winding directly on to the sectional warp beam.   A 21-yard warp is just enough for me weave 10 scarves on the same warp colorway, each about 65″ plus fringe after washing.  The scarves themselves are just plain weave with a hemstitched edge and fringe.  I used mostly rayon chenille for the wefts, but also some Jaggerspun “Green Line” wools on some of them, and natural black alpaca on a couple of them.  They are all out at the Winthrop Gallery, Confluence Gallery, and the holiday gift show at Local 98856 in Twisp.

Didn’t get pictures of all of them, but here is the last set of 10 drying on a rack:

Parrot warp Dec 2014 1 Parrot warp Dec 2014 2

We had a decent snow 2 weeks ago, then it stayed very cold for a while.  Then, it rained a lot this week and stayed just above freezing during the day – so now the snow is a mess and it is really icy and dangerous to walk on.  Yuck.  I do hope we go back to normal snow soon, for the sake of the ski trail system!

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Airiel at the Beach

Here we are just north of Bandon, OR at Bullards Beach State Park. What a lovely park! We had a somewhat sketchy site at Rogue River (it’s hard to pick these online from a map), but we weren’t there a lot and it was fine, really. We brought our folding bikes and there is a great bike path up to the town of Rogue River, about 5-6 miles round trip, so we rode every day for 4 days. We also rode around all the other camping loops and made notes as to which sites to try to reserve for the next visit.

Here at Bullards Beach SP, all the sites are much more private with hedges and trees between you and your neighbors. It was still a sunny day yesterday and we rode our bikes out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Coquille River, about 6 miles round trip from the campground. By evening a heavy mist was blowing in, but we were able to cook and eat outside and sit by the campfire.

This morning we awoke to rain on the roof, and it has been raining all day. Apparently this is the first real rain they have had in a month. We ditched plans to walk the beach, and headed out in the truck to explore Coos Bay and towns to the north.

In Coos Bay we stopped at the first big antique mall where Rick found a lot of very cool and collectible, but definitely not affordable, old woodworking tools. Next door was a yarn shop. What do you know.

So I go into the yarn shop and start poking around, turn the corner, and there is an old friend of mine from the early days of the Seattle Knitters’ Guild in the mid-80’s! She used to work at Weaving Works in Seattle, but has been a yarn rep for the last 14 years – her territory is Washington and Oregon, and she represents about a half dozen yarn companies. So she is on the road a lot, visiting yarn stores and taking wholesale orders. I haven’t seen her in years, so it was really amazing to just run into her in Coos Bay, OR!

And then there is the yarn shop – called “My Yarn Shop”. My friend told me it may be the biggest yarn shop on the west coast, and she had an amazing inventory, all in rather a jumble, but what a selection! My credit card did not escape without some damage.



We met up with my friend down in Bandon for a very nice dinner at Alorro Wine Bar – highly recommended.

Tomorrow we are off north to the Willamette Valley, with a fridge well stocked with shucked oysters, Kumamoto oysters in the shell. fresh king salmon that had just come off the boat 2 hours before we bought it, and some perch. We are having guests for dinner tomorrow night (longtime friends from Vancouver WA/Portland OR) and we will be having our own little seafood fest for a couple of days.

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Nymphalidea shawl by Melinda VerMeer (first published in Knitty Fall 2013, but also a free pattern on Ravelry).  I used about 2/3 of a ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock – she recommends a sock/fingering weight yarn with long slow color changes for the colored yarn – plus a slightly heathered blue/purplish sock yarn I had hanging around, for the welts.  I did more repeats of the pattern (32 instead of 28 I think) to follow the color progression to where I wanted it at the end.

Nymphalidea pinned out with blocking wires

Nymphalidea pinned out with blocking wires

detail:  short row lace sections at outer edge

detail: short row lace sections at outer edge

Nymphalidea 4


I put a second warp on Kingston for more of the doubleweave check towels.  The first batch is washed and ready to hem and finish, but not ready for photography yet.  They did turn out nice and soft and cushy, though.

For this time around, I used a silver marl (soft gray and white) in the 8/2 cotton doubleweave areas, and a black/olive green marl in the 16/2 cotton for the plain weave areas.  I am quite happy with how these are turning out!

dblwv check #2a

dblwv check #2b

Airstream Upgrades

Back in 1973 when our trailer was built, they put in double-pane windows.  From reading the Airstream Forums and other sources on the internet, we find it is a well-known problem to have the seals on these break down.  There is a UV film between the panes of glass that crackles and shrivels up, basically.  So most of the windows on the sides of the trailer look pretty bad – the ones in front and back are still mostly OK.

window over the galley

window over the galley

galley and bedroom windows from outside

galley and bedroom windows from outside

There is debate (on the internet, can you imagine?) about how to best deal with this problem.  Some people advocate removing the entire window, carefully taking them apart, cleaning it up, re-sealing and putting them back in.  Well, for one thing they are riveted in.  Even if you manage to get the window out, I then found via a YouTube video that “taking them apart” is a process fraught with peril of breakage, and using lots of solvents etc.  And then the folks at Airstream of Spokane said there is a good chance they will just have the same problem again (breakdown of seals) because double-pane windows were just not a good idea for a trailer that will be jiggling and bouncing down the road.

Replacement windows cost a fortune (to buy and to have installed) and are probably Plexiglass these days.  So, they convinced us that we should just break out the inner pane of glass (using a punch to get started), clean up the film and outer glass pane, and go with single-pane windows from here on out.

Rick made a start yesterday with the windows beside the door.  First thing he ran into is that these particular windows have Plexiglass on the inside, we assume for safety reasons given their location.  He did manage to get them out though, using a special cutter/saw thing he has to get started.  They cleaned up beautifully, with some razor blade scraping etc.  The upper window is one of the “Vista Views” (kind of a skylight with a shade that pulls over it when you don’t want that much light) and these are the curved ones – it was actual glass on the inside and he broke it out with the punch.

3 cleaned windows next to the door

3 cleaned windows next to the door

cleaned windows from outside, looking towards the next victim

cleaned windows from outside, looking towards the next victim

We still need to refine our cleaning technique and find some gasket material to fill in the channels on the inside.  But overall, this is encouraging and we feel we can do this ourselves.  Since the screens are removed to do this,  I will also clean those up and replace the “fuzzy bug seal” where the arms to open the windows go through the screen frames.


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