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October 19, 2005

Getting Gauge

I've been slow to wrap my mind around the concept of getting gauge, but I think I am finally GETTING IT.

1. Spend some extra time knitting a gauge swatch!
2. The bigger the swatch, the more accurate the gauge results - at least 4 inches but more is better.
3. Buy extra yarn in the same dyelot in order to get an accurate gauge swatch without running out of yarn for your project
4. Knit your swatch the same way the finished piece will be knit - i.e. in the round or back and forth
5. Plan to wash and block your swatch and measure before and after

Here are some excellent articles regarding gauge:

Swatch Out! by Marilyn Roberts (Knitty)
What is a Swatch? (Stitchguide)
The Importance of Gauge (Suite 101)
Knitting Purls of Wisdom (Yarnmarket e-newsletter)
Knitting Purls of Wisdom Part Two (Yarnmarket e-newsletter - scroll down to see the notes about swatches and gauge)

And my final word about it is that for anything you intend to wear, it is absolutely critical that you do a gauge swatch! It's NOT so critical with scarves, felted bags or afghans, but it is essential that you swatch if you want the finished product to fit you. Educate yourself about how yarns behave after they are washed and blocked. Swatching can be fun because it gives you the opportunity to play with your yarn before you tackle the project.

October 16, 2005

I'm a Knitter

I am a knitter who loves:

• Knitting lace patterns, socks, dishcloths
• Owning nifty notions and tools that make knitting more fun
• Knitting for relaxation and stress relief
• Listening to music while I knit
• Visiting my favorite knitting blogs and getting to know the bloggers behind the blogs
• Being a perpetual “beginner” and not an expert in anything except trying new things
• Having found knitting in my late 30’s . . . it’s never too late
• Discovering I’m better at math and conceptual/spatial tasks than I thought
• Being part of a community of knitters who love to share
• Feeling confident that I can do things the way that makes the most sense to me.

Live With Passion.jpg

October 15, 2005

Claudia's Blog

I have no knitting with which to distract you today, so I am pointing you to a knitting blog and Claudia's Top Ten Tips.

Proof that nearly everything I've learned as a knitter can also be applied to life.

October 13, 2005

Diversions - High Tech and Low Tech

Two indispensable tools in my knitting bag - a pencil and paper (preferably Post-it® Note Pads because they serve many purposes - not only as paper, but as bookmarks and place keepers in patterns and charts).

However, I can also appreciate having and using another nifty tool that I dug out of a drawer and have appropriated for use in my knitting:


I don't use it every day, but it is quite handy for carrying along patterns and notes. It's also synchronized with my Outlook Tasks (where I keep all my knitting project notes and information). Here's an article and resource with a broad view of how knitters can use portable applications. In the article, she also references a knitting font that I have installed and use on my laptop now. Although it's certainly not a "need," these nifty little tweaky things are fun and helpful.

For those who are interested, there are more Palm OS knitting programs for your PDA than there are Pocket PC applications. I currently do not own any knitting programs for my own PDA, but was excited to find that Nancy's Knit Knacks has a Pocket PC version of her Knit Kards: eKnitKards for Pocket PC 2003.

And because I am all over the place today (mentally), I also want to share something my friend Stacey (a crocheter, but I don't hold that against her) sent me:


It's adorable and looks like a 20's Flapper Hat. I know that crocheters don't get enough love from knitters, but I respect anybody who can take yarn and a hook and create something this wonderful! And, yes, there are crochet blogs and an online crochet magazine -- go give a crocheter some love today.

October 12, 2005

It's a Sock Thing*

Tuesday nights are my knitting night and I was so anxious to go last night; one of my friends had found out the sex of her first grandbaby and revealed it last night (it's a boy!) and another friend went to Cheryl Oberle's workshop in Taos and had a lot to share (including a shawl pattern). Tuesday nights are a huge part of what makes knitting so satisfying and fulfilling for me.

Travelling Knitting

I asked one of my co-workers about Nancy Bush's newest book and whether there were still some copies at the store. It led to an interesting and animated conversation about Nancy Bush (and those who have met her or attended a class) and socks. The consensus is we have to get Nancy to Texas. (Here's the blog entry that led to my curiosity and our conversation; be sure to read today's entry over there too).

I also asked whether anybody's ever done an afterthought heel and even with about 60 years' (or more) knitting experience represented, nobody has. The gauntlet was thrown and I was told to just go for it! So here's everything I am able to find online about socks and afterthought heels:

1. Jill Schaefer's Method
2. Keyboard Biologist's Notes & Experience with Afterthought Heels
3. Dawn Brocco's Afterthought Heel (halfway down the page)
4. A comprehensive heels resource
5. For fun -- some images
6. And something I'm saving to look through later: Toe Up Sock with Sherman Heel
7. Why Knit Socks? on Knitty
8. Wendy's Toe Up Sock Pattern and her Tip Top Toes article at Knitty (I adore reading Wendy, but the fingernails are distracting!)
9. Another excellent starting point and resource that I use a lot: Elizabeth Bennett's Perl Sock Program
10. Socks 101 - Great photos and instructions
11. The Sock Knitter's Companion - Step by Step Help

For my reference:
Nancy Bush books on Amazon.com:
Folk Knitting in Estonia
Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns
Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear

*It's a sock thing . . . you wouldn't understand

October 10, 2005

Rain + Socks

It's raining (finally) - perfect sock-knitting weather:


(photo taken with cell phone camera - colors are deeper and richer than this)

Yarn: Knit Picks "Simple Stripes" - Snapdragon

Knit Picks Sock Yarns are SO affordable; and I am not the only one who thinks so. Here's the Knitter's Review article regarding all of Knit Picks yarn. I'm really enjoying these socks so far; I cast on last night and have been knitting for about an hour this morning.

October 06, 2005

Chic Knits Knitting Blog


I've been relying on Bonne Marie's website and blog from the very first days of my initial knitting experiments. However, the best resources on her site can be found at her TEKtalk link. (Don't forget to check out her free patterns as well).

I love her writing style and her non-knitting content (see the sidebar on her blog) always leads me to something interesting. Last year, she featured Club Monaco in one of her blog entries, so I checked them out when I was in L.A. and fell in love with their clothes.

Chic Knits also has some of the web's best knitting patterns for sale. These include the highly-publicized Ribby Cardi, the Gigi, and the ever-popular Chickami.

For now, I'm off to knit one of her hats . . . the plain vanilla beanie . . . with two skeins of Manos del Uruguay. Wish me luck!

October 05, 2005

Felted Bags (Sophies)

Sophie - Brown Sheep Nature Spun
Sophie, a Black Sheep Bags Pattern

This is such an economical beginner's knitting project that I recommend it to everybody who is tired of knitting scarves and wants to move on to something else. However, felting isn't for everybody! If, for instance, you're able to knit without making mistakes and you gasp when you're told to take perfectly knitted wool and give it a hot water bath and agitation . . . felting might not be for you. This particular pattern is a one-skein project and you can knit it in a weekend (or two).

Nearly everything I know about felting, I learned online and specifically on Knitty.com:Felting for Absolute Beginners

For the Sophie, you'll get an opportunity to graft your stitches and this is one of my favorite tutorials: Techniques with Theresa: Grafting Live Stitches

And, finally, here is my link to a mini-gallery of Sophies: Gallery of Sophies at Flickr

Here's an excellent guide to the different yarns available for felting (Brown Sheep Yarns): Knitter's Review: Yarns for Felting: Brown Sheep Beauties

October 04, 2005

Inspiration is everywhere . . .

But for me, it's especially at Anthropologie

Anthropologie Still Life