Mother’s Tree

A few weeks ago I went back to my optometrist because my right eye felt filmy all the time.  When she told me my cataract had grown and I needed to play the ‘waiting’ game before having it taken care of a bee got in my bonnet and I decided there were a few things in my cupboard that needed finishing.  After all, vision will only get blurrier and the decline could take from six months to six years (sigh) before corrected surgically.

There are just some crafts more taxing to the eyes than others, right?  I am on the young side for cataracts but apparently all the rounds of steroids I took for pneumonia earlier this year has accelerated their growth.


This Mother’s Tree crosstitch sampler will soon have seven generations of mothers listed below the tree with the year in which they were born.  This is stitched on 32 count linen over two stitches so I have pulled out a magnifying lamp to help me see the linen.  One thing I learned about cataracts is that you need bright light to illuminate whatever you are working on so now I have an excuse for keeping all those lights on in my house.

If you are familiar with genealogy you will know that tracing the mother’s line is most difficult.  Women were not property owners in older generations and their names rarely appeared in anything other than census records.  I can go much further back in all my other lines but this one only goes to the early nineteenth century but now I can add my granddaughter’s name to the very bottom because my daughter is her mother!

I have notebooks and notebooks of genealogical records and the computer I once stored them on is no longer serviceable.  With the fires in our recent future I really need to take time to recorded this history digitally.  Never once did I think to grab those boxes when we packed for evacuation however, I did grab some pictures I had stitched.  If it ever happens again then this Mother’s Tree will go in the car with us.  (provided.there.are.seven.generations.on.it.smile)


With the recent revision of the Master Knitting Program Level 2,  I have decided to start afresh.  It seems like a primary focus in this level is seaming. With nineteen swatches to knit the first nine swatches all have to do with seams.  Although I cringe right now when it comes to finishing a project involving seaming I know that the purpose of this part of the program is designed to give me the confidence to tackle properly any project I take on.


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Right now the quality of my knitting most definitely does not match the quality of my finishing techniques.  I look forward to the day that, instead of dreading the finishing, I will instead enjoy it.  So without further ado, I will get going on the program and share my progress in mind.  Please keep in mind that all the swatches I share in the next months may very well need to be resubmitted to the Review Committee because they may have been done incorrectly.

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Whenever you seam a knitted garment you encounter three different type edges that must be sewn together.  Side seams, shoulder seams and the way the arm is sewn to the garment may all employ different techniques depending on the type of pattern knit in the garment.  Knowing these techniques and knowing when to use what kind of seam can greatly alter the appearance of the finished garment.  Case in point – for years I have been slipping the selvedge stitches thinking that gave a smooth edge to aid the seaming not knowing, bad idea. Instead, you need a nice sturdy edge so instead just work the stitch just as the pattern indicates.


Stockinette Seam

Reverse Stockinette Seam

Reverse Stockinette Seam

Seed Stitch Seam

Seed Stitch Seam

I have critiqued these three swatches to death and have decided, for my sanity, that it is time to move on.  I am really bogged down in this section.  These three seams have been worked and re-worked.  I have changed the color of the yarn from lavender, to beige, back to lavender and then on to soft sage.  They need to be DONE!

I know this isn’t the most exciting of posts but I wish I had known more about seams in my early knitting years.  If I had I might actually be wearing those sloppy looking garments.  If you are currently about to seam any project using the above stitch patterns just take a few moments to research and that time will be a great investment for you.

Next up……seaming ribs!

A New Shawl

I sometimes wonder what my dogs think about my fiber activities.  They never get in the way of the spinning wheel as my feet pedal away.  They sit patiently beside me as my hands are busy knitting never once nudging the needles aside.  As the drop spindles spin closer and closer to the floor they never  make lunges for it although, if I were a dog, it would be pretty dog-gone tempting.

The only time they really have boundary issues is when I put my blocking mats on the floor and then they feel free to walk all over whatever is being blocked.  They probably think I put it out for them as some sort of mat.  Today Kenzie stood next to me as I pinned my new shawl to the deck rails.  Does she wonder why I do such odd things?  Probably not in this instance as she was more curious about watching for little critters off the deck, believe me – nothing moving escapes her keen eye.


I just finished my Romi Hill shawl called KNITWitch.  The pattern is from Romi’s 7 Small Shawls , Year 4 Friends.  All the patterns in this series are dedicated to knitting friends she has met in recent years so this shawl is named after a friend she knows on Ravelry who calls herself Knitwitch.


This was undoubtedly the most interesting pattern I have knit in a while.  My respect for the designer has sky-rocketed ten fold and I am looking forward to knitting more of her patterns.  Knitwitch was a ‘true lace’ pattern, meaning that the design was knit on both sides of the fabric – there were no ‘resting’ rows so to speak.


A technique new to me was shaping the scallops along the edge using short rows.  Brilliant idea which added softness to the shawl.

IMG_2238Another technique new to me that I really liked was casting off with an i-cord.  This formed a little tube along the top edge of the shawl with eyelets underneath it.  I failed to take a picture of that but the really cool thing about it was that a blocking wire could be inserted through the tube to aid in blocking.

Although the shawl looks simple there is a lot of action going on in almost every row.  The only way I could truly handle that was by using the KnitCompanion program on my iPad so I could enlarge the pattern and use markers to keep me in place.  It wasn’t really a pattern I could work on with people around me and I had to do a few ‘movie-tink-backs’ when working on it through a really good movies.

This pattern used one skein of sock yarn.  Mine was knit with String Theory Blue Stocking.  I rarely say I would like to knit a pattern a second time but, with this one, I would!

IMG_9982In fact, I would cast on a second Knitwitch today if it were not for a little giraffe who is calling out to be finished.  I’m going to see my grandchild next weekend and said giraffe needs a lot of attention!




As the bikers in the Tour de France started their race thousands of spinners around the world simultaneously began the Tour de Fleece.  I spent the better part of an evening readying the Raven Ridge Targhee Top for my little Jenkins Turkish Delight to spin for the race.  She is such a dream to spin and just keeps spinning on and on all the way until she reaches the floor.  My husband has named her THE TURTLE because he thinks she looks like a turtle as the fiber wraps across the crossbars making a ‘turtle’ hump.

20140706-004859-2939697.jpgThis will be the first time I have tried Fractal spinning and I hope Little Turtle can keep up to the end of the race and finish these 4 oz.   This technique will supposedly help the colors pop better than the method I have thus far used of just splitting in long strips and spinning.  My plan of action to help Little Turtle is to take her with me wherever I go –  have turtle will travel.  I will take photos here and there of her adventures.  Yesterday she went to Summit county to be introduced to some relatives.


She didn’t much enjoy the winding mountain roads we went on to get there because she kept bumping agains my leg which, of course, makes her stop spinning dead in her tracks.  As we climbed through mountain passes she wanted to sit on my lap.


Little Turtle was more than relieved when we started up the driveway and she knew that my feet would be planted on solid ground giving her the ability to spin to her heart’s content.  The wildflowers were spectacular as we drove through the meadow and the Blue Columbines in particular were especially prolific.




Little Turtle enjoyed the beauty from the deck as she twirled around and around although……….the dogs were a little scary and one almost chomped on her.  The big one is used to hunting and I think he thought Little Turtle was an unusual bird and the little one, well….let’s just say he is a ball of energy and wants to taste everything.  It was lots of fun visiting and meeting new family (but when is that baby going to pop out again?)




The best of the whole day for Little Turtle was when she got to rest in the Turtle box and sleep the whole way home.  I let her do that because she worked hard the first day of the Tour de Fleece. Her Bossie friend wanted to spin while she slept.


Little Turtle slept through the stop in Breckenridge to visit old friends here from St. Louis.  And,


What’s this?  Little Turtle was sooooooooooooo sad she missed the most incredible rainbow the old folks had ever seen.








Stumbled Upon 1

Inspiring, motivational, fun and crafty links to round out your week and put coat hangers in your brain.



101 Household Tips for Every Room in Your Home and I think I want to try at least 67 of them.

Fancy winding on a Turkish spindle will show you how to make the beautiful God’s Eye pattern and maximize the amount of fiber on your spindle.

And let’s not neglect our top whorl spindles they need to be packed full, too!

Ever wanted to know how to join a new ball of yarn without a know?

Take a peak into a 1950’s sewing cabinet.

The Psychology of Color is actually pretty fascinating and makes me want to paint a few rooms.

Have you ever had a very special skein of yarn or braid of fiber that your eyes feast upon?  It is so beautiful that you are almost afraid to knit or spin with it because it such a delight to the eyes.  Sometimes it is all about color and letting it take the forefront instead of whatever it is you knit from that fiber.  I have a beautiful braid of fiber from Fiber Optics and it is a feast of color.  The colors are so deep and brilliant that they remind me of some of the great paintings by Titian or Raphael, not so much in the colors these famous painters used but in the sense that no photograph can do the painting true justice.  If you have been fortunate to have seen one of their painting in person then you know exactly what I mean.


This fantastic fiber gradient blend from Fiber Optics is splendid and, being such, I really don’t want to muddle the colors together when I spin the braid.  I want the color to shine!  I want the colors to stay consistent with how they are represented in the fiber.  I’ve conducted a bit of research and found a way that this can easily be accomplished.  It is all theory to me right now but the Tour de Fleece offers an opportunity to put theory into practice, right?


I believe I can keep the colors consistent in this Honey to Fig gradient if I separate the fiber into color breaks.  I’m documenting this sequence here in pictures so I can remember the order in which to spin them in.


My next step was to divide each color breaks into four equal strips.  Doing this will also help me keep this spinning project more manageable.  The strips have been put into ziplock bags to keep everything orderly and now they are ready for the start of the race.


After spinning all of the fiber onto one bobbin I will use the technique of Navajo plying.  This will allow the colors to stay consistent.  Navajo plying produces a 3ply through the process of pulling the fiber through loops and let it ply back on itself.  My one attempt doing this ended in disaster so my Bosworth Mini spindle twins are spinning Greenwood Fiber pigtails so that I can practice before I even touch the Fiber Optic very special fiber.


I will be spinning this luscious fiber on my Schacht Matchless spinning wheel for TEAM SCHACHT.  Next step…….finish plying the bobbin on my Matchless so she can start this next project.  I have a perfect pattern in mind to knit with the finished yarn that will allow the color to speak volumes but will keep it tucked away for now.  And, it will be fun to knit!


It has been a while since I have joined Ginny and her peeps for a Wednesday Yarn Along.  My reading has been all about spinning these last weeks in preparation for the worldwide Tour de Fleece which starts Saturday and runs through the end of the month.  The knitting books are all reference books and I am scouring the pages researching ‘seaming’.


The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin initially spoke a foreign tongue to me but now that spinning has settled into my life and I am more routine about it, the instruction within the pages is making more sense.  I went to her book to find out what kind of fiber she recommended for hand-knit socks.  I blogged about what I learned a few posts ago so will not belabor your reading with more details.  I know, if you are on a Yarn Along, you are quickly reading through the posts and compiling a new reading list for yourselves.  Alas, I have no fiction to share with you today but if you are a spinner be sure to jot down this book.  The author is a guru in the world of spinning.  Her books and videos are fabulous and a DVD comes with this book.



The first half of the book speaks of the nature of fibers.  The author says fibers can be divided into three main groups and the following chapters explore the properties of those fibers.  In case you are wondering, the three main groups are cellulose-based, protein-based and manufactured.  Cellulose fibers are plant based flax, hemp, nettle, ramie, etc.  The protein fibers are my favorite because they come from goats, camels, alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, angora rabbits, bison, yaks, quiviuts, and silk worms.  I probably left one out…..oh yeah…..SHEEP.

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The second half of Intentional Spinner speaks of all kinds of spinning techniques. This is the nitty gritty and the pages are full of information on different drafting techniques, plying techniques and designing yarns.  I believe this book can be used by beginners and advanced spinners alike and there will always be a new bit of information every time you read it.


I won’t show my knitting today because I am psyching myself up for the Tour de Fleece!  My feet are ready to start this wheel moving!





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