The spiral blankie is finished, yay!

I finished the blanket for Emily’s shop! Check out how blocking improves things! Oh, it’s like a magic trick! When I was a new knitter, I thought that blocking was a useless step, but now that I’m more experienced, I know better. I look forward to blocking from the very first cast-on stitch.

Before –

After –
…no… blocking didn’t change the color of the yarn. The conditions and lighting were different on the different days in which I took the photos. The color stayed the same. This “after” photo seems to have a more realistic color, but all pix of this spiral blankie are a bit off, color-wise.

OK, so I took a better look at these photos, and aside from the color, you can't tell a bit of difference, can you? LOL. OK, here are the differences - the blocked one lies much flatter, the stitches look more even, and the edge lies flat and isn't threatening to fold over. It is also MUCH larger - it grew more than 5 inches in diameter. The drape is much improved, too.

All in all - blocking works wonders and your work will look SO much better blocked. So, if you are a new knitter, trust me - block it! Also, if you are a new knitter, know this - you should block your swatches. Keep in mind that this small blanket grew 5+ inches in diameter - imagine how your project will look if you are taking your gauge measurements from an unwashed/unblocked swatch? Oh, it makes me shudder to contemplate such horrors!

Edging –

Chart for edging – (Yes, I’m still all charged up about this chart maker! It’s wonderful!)

This is a very simple garter stitch lace edging. So simple, yet so effective.

I finished this blankie with about 3 feet of yarn left over. This is how I performed such miracles – first of all, I didn’t ball up the yarn, but I left it in a skein. I don’t know why I did this, as I generally ball yarn, but these skeins are rather small, and why not. I have a floor lamp next to my Knitting Throne, and I just looped the yarn over one of the lamps and knitted away.

When I felt that it was time to put on the edging, I stopped and counted the number of loops left in the skein. I took this number, and divided it by 8 to calculate the number of loops per segment. Then, I divided the number of stitches per segment by this number to calculate the number of stitches per loop. Get it?

After all of my figuring, and allowing myself some room, I allowed myself 6 stitches per loop. So, I unlooped 2 loops, and practiced different bind-off edgings over 12 stitches, and experimented until I came up with an edging which took up this much yarn.. My calculations proved pretty accurate, but I was kinda worried, there towards the end. Gulp. But, it all worked out and I’m very happy.

It’s pretty easy to make up these edgings as you go along, and you can make the edging as wide or as narrow as you like. This blankie would look very nice with a plain garter stitch edging, but I decided to throw in a yarn over for fun.

Ahhhh – I just love this pattern! So simple and so… ahhhh…..

This is the perfect beginner project. It’s really easy, and just look at how wonderful it comes out! My teenaged son proclaims it, “Mesmerizing…” LOL.

In March, I’ll teach a class on how to knit this blanket. Sign up now! Contact me at for more information. In this class, we’ll discuss the math of the start-from-the-center-and-knit-outwards-flat-item, and we’ll learn different increases and decreases. We’ll also learn how to make a lace cast off, and we’ll take a look at different ways of casting on for the center. This is a very easy project, but there are so many different things to learn!

There’s still room in my Baby Surprise Class! Contact me for details.

Better Chart

It's amazing what reading the directions will do! Voila - a better chart. Enjoy!

This chart program is really fun! You'll find the link in the post below.

Simple minds....

Spiral (only) Shawl

Yes, what you see is the beginnings of a shawl, taped to the floor. Hey! It works!

I'm busily knitting away on this spiral shawl, aka Red Tent Blanket, for the class that I'm going to teach in March at Emily's shop. I decided that I really didn't like those star-shaped points in the original Red Tent Blanket, and I'm going to teach this class as a Spiral (only) Shawl. Right now, I'm scouring the 'net for a lace edging pattern. I'm just like Goldilocks, "That one is too big! This one is too small! This one is too narrow! That one is too wide!" I have to find one really fast, because I want to knit the edge tomorrow, and wash/block it in time to turn in to Emily on Saturday. Any suggestions?

Ooooohhhh, this yarn is soooo soft! Artful Yarn's Serenade- a cotton, angora blend. Ooooohhhh.... Aaaaaahhhhhh......

Oh My Goodness! Check this out! Go to this web page, Chart Creator, and you can make nice, professional charts of your knitting! Quick! Catch me! I'm going to swoon! I can hardly contain myself.

Here is an example of how knitting books always chart this particular swirl pattern,

... and here is the *right* way to chart it.
I mean, really... does the first chart look anything like the knitted item? No! But, take a look at the second chart, and compare it to the shawl. Now, what do YOU think?

My only complaint with this chart is that the row numbers are on either side. This would make sense, if I were knitting back and forth, but it’s a bit confusing for knitting ‘round and ‘round. Pretend that the numerals are all on the right side of the chart, OK? This might actually be a setting on the chart maker, but since it is 2am, and I’m considering falling face first into the keyboard for a long nap, maybe I’m just overlooking it. I’ll check again, tomorrow. lol.

This shawl is really easy, and a perfect beginner project. The circle cast on might be a stumbling block, but just get yourself a good knitting book, practice it a few times, and you’ll be just fine. You can always leave a long tail, and then use the tail to repair any problems later.

Preparation - Cast on 8 in a ring,
Round 1 - knit around. You might want to place a marker between each stitch.
2nd round, yo, k, pass marker (pm) all around.
3rd round, knit 2, pm, all around.
4th round, yo, k, yo, k, pm all around,
5th row, knit 4, pm all around
You are knitting 8 segments, and each segment is identical, and each segment is ended with the marker.

Now, you get to the repetitive - every row is just about the same - part.
There is a marker after each k2tog, to separate the 8 segments.
6th row, yo, k, yo, k, yo, k2tog, pm, repeat all around.
7th row, knit 4, k2tog…
8th row, (yo, k)3x, k2tog…
9th row, knit 5 k2tog…
10th row, (yo, k)3x, k1 k2tog…
11th row, knit 6, k2tog…
12th row, (yo, k)3x, k2 k2tog…
13th row, knit 7, k2tog…
14th row, (yo, k)3x, k3, k2tog…
15th row, knit 8, k2tog…
and etc and etc and etc, until the shawl is as large as you want.

As you knit around, you notice a pattern - once you pass the marker, notice what comes ahead. If it is a yo, then this is a knit round. If it is a knit stitch, then it's time to do the (yo, k) 3x business. There is a k2tog at the end of each segment, no matter what. As you are knitting, you can see this line of k2tog’s coming along, and you can remember to k2tog at the end of every segment. I think that you could even do without the markers, after you are used to what’s going on.

Next post - correcting common knitting errors with this pattern, without having to rip out!

Emma Dyes Snow and another Baby Surprise

My Emma isn’t the crafter that her sister, Grace, is, but… she can dye snow! This started out as a project so as to prolong her snow fort – but why douse it with just plain water when we have cake icing dye, just waiting to be flung onto a snow fort! (Simply mix a tiny bit of icing dye with a giant jug of water, shake and fling.) For some reason, the camera didn’t pick up all of the colors – it was really quite colorful! But, it’s just about gone now, in preparation for the next snowstorm, which I heard is due on Thursday? Oh my gosh! Again! More sitting and knitting! *Gasp!* Gotta run to the library for more books on tape!

Here is the completed picture of the Baby Surprise for Emily’s shop. Come! Take my class! This little darling thing is knitted out of Collinette's Cadenza “Dusk” and it was such a dream to knit with, that I sent my dh to Emily’s shop to buy more so that I can knit some socks for myself! Emily said that he did real well, too. lol.

This Cadenza is soooooo soft, and sooooo pretty and soooooo colorful. It was really nice to work with. I can’t wait to get started on my socks. But – other shop knitting, first. Right now, I’m knitting a Red Tent Blanket out of yet another yummy yarn, Artful Yarn's Serenade, a cotton angora blend, aaaaahhhhh sooooooo soft. This shawl will go on display in Emily’s shop to advertise the class I’m going to teach in March. Pix in a few days!

Happy Holidays!

I hope that all of you had a wonderful and peaceful Holiday Season! I sure did! I spent most of it knitting, and what could be more wonderful and peaceful than KNITTING?

Maybe you’ve heard that Colorado has had two blizzards, recently? Blizzards are *most* conducive to knitting, and they are most wonderful and peaceful, too, if you are a blizzard kinda gal, and I am. After our First Christmas Blizzard, we traveled to visit my friend, Annette, and Grace’s boyfriend, Howard. Take a look at Howard’s reaction, upon seeing Grace. I’m telling y’all, this boy has it bad.

Here we all are, after our Second Christmas Blizzard. Yes, night-time temperatures are down to the single digits (F) and yes, we are standing there, in our snow boots, and yes, it is, indeed, warm enough for my darling Grace to be out-of-doors in her shirt sleeves. I so adore this wonderful Colorado Weather!!! By the way, I’m not a little, short, delicate person, I just happen to live in a house full of giants. I’ll soon be the shortest member of the family, and I’m 5’8” (172.7cm) tall!

Emma, and the neighbor kids, were busy, too. The first blizzard left only a trace amount of snow, but the second one left enough snow to actually *build* something! (The cardboard is the roof of the fort, which they kindly moved aside for the photo.)

But – as I said, blizzards are quite conducive to knitting. Here is an action photo of Grace and Domino. Grace had to put her knitting aside in order to pin Domino to her lap – he takes one look at the camera and flees! He hates the flash? I don’t know, but the two of them were happily knitting away until I came along and ruined the whole thing. Notice the fine wires leading to Grace’s ears? She is listening to The Thirteenth Tale, a wonderful book! The Recorded Books Presentation was very well performed – a thoroughly enjoyable presentation, all around. She and I knitted and listened, in our jammies, with cats on laps, and cups of tea nearby, for three whole days. Ahhh….. bliss…..

Grace is knitting a Mitered Square Blanket out of yarn which my friend, Katie, left on the front porch, after a major cleaning-out fit. Take a look at what she left for us! We’ll be knitting for a long time! Thanks, Katie!!!

Christmas Knitting finished – two pairs of slippers, photos below. 6 pairs of mitts, given away without remembering to take their pictures, but trust me, they all came out really nice! lol. Two scarves – photos below. Not bad, considering that I promised myself that there would be NO Christmas knitting. Yeah, right. Maybe I should start now on the Christmas Knitting that I’m not going to do for next year, eh? It would be much easier on my hands than knitting it all in two weeks… Oh, I also knitted – while listening to The Thirteenth Tale – another Baby Surprise for Emily’s shop. Photos soon. Oh my gosh, it came out so cute! Stay tuned!