Thursday, August 31, 2006

Soothing Razor Shell

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? But seriously, as I was working on the borders for the Simple Lace Scarf, I found that Razor Shell (6 stitch version) is an extremely soothing stitch to work. It has a relaxing, rhythmic quality, like rocking away in a rocking chair. It's so basic that your thoughts can wander a bit, but has enough going on that it doesn't get totally boring. Only two pattern rows, and one of them is mostly purl, so you can't go very far astray.

So, one thing leading to another, I decided to use up a bit of that sock yarn I mentioned. How about a nice little scarf to drape around my neck in the evenings once the weather really gets cool?

I started with some Kroy in a self patterning random stripe. Now, I am ambivalent at best about working lace in variegated yarn. The color patterning is so prone to overpower the stitch structure. Why go to all that work, yarn-overing and decreasing, only to have it disappear in pools, streaks and swirls of color? But 1) this stitch is not all that much work, and 2) the strong verticals of the stitch pattern might be able to hold their own against the horizontals of the color variation. We'll see how it goes...

Victory is Sweet (lace heart pattern accomplished)

I now have an extremely rudimentary web page BaxterKnits (aka CindyKnits) with a link to the Lace Heart pattern abbreviations and all. Computers are harder than knitting, much, much harder.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

The sun is slanting low but bright these days, unmistakable Autumn in the atmosphere even though only a few maples yet have leaves ever so slightly edged with color.

Today is perfect. The sky is reflecting the morning glories, well named "Heavenly Blue." The Goldenrod is coming into bloom, the Queen Ann's Lace still festoons the roadsides. It's 70 degrees and dry, cool enough for a turtleneck in the shade (though after 1/2 hour of pulling weeds in the sun it's warm enough).

I would be content with heaven if it were nothing more than a perfect day just before the world tilts into winter.

And once again, as every year, I think of John Keats, too soon dead, may he live forever.

627. To Autumn. John Keats. The Oxford Book of English Verse

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lace Heart Knitting Pattern

Ok, I have just spent half a day trying to figure out how to set up a web page in Geocities. Maybe more than half a day. Me and the internets don't always get along. I did this thinking I would have a little more scope for laying it out than on the blog. Well yes and no. I still haven't figured out how to get the chart on, a picture and line by line directions are below

Oh yeah, and I forgot to paste in the abbreviations. CDD mean Centered Double Decrease (slip two sts together knitwise, knit one, pass the two slipped stitches together over the one just knit). Everything else is standard. I'll try to fix it tomorrow. (now fixed).

I will prevail over my computer, I will prevail over my computer, I.... oh you know the rest.

I'm going to bed now.


Before you begin you may wonder "What am I going to do with it when I'm done? You can hang your heart in a window, or on your Christmas tree, or attach it to a Valentine, or applique it to the bib of a baby's overalls…. Worked in #10 crochet cotton on #2 needles it should come out to about 4 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches tall after blocking.

Skill Level

Some lace knitting experience helpful


Small amount #10 crochet cotton
Size 2 or 3 knitting needles
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
Spray starch, or fabric stiffener


Exact gauge not important.


CDD: centered double decrease Slip two stitches together knitwise, knit the next stitch,
pass the two slipped stitches over the knit stitch.
K: knit
Kfb: increase one st by knitting one st into the front and one st into the back of the first
st on the left needle.
K2tog knit two stitches together
P: purl
Ssk slip, slip, knit
St/sts stitch/stitches
Yo: yarn over


Cast On 3 sts

Prep row: K3

(From this point you can work rows 1-30 from the line by line directions or from the chart on page 3. If usiing the chart, bind off loosely after working Row 30, weave in loose ends and proceed to blocking directions.)

Row 1: Kfb, K1, Kfb. (5 sts)

Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit.

Row 3: K2, yo, K1, yo, K2. (7 sts)

Row 5: K2, yo, K3, yo, K2. (9 sts)

Row 7: K2, yo, K1, yo, CDD, yo, K1, yo, K2. (11 sts)

Row 9: K3, yo, K1, yo, CDD, yo, Kl, yo, K3. (13 sts)

Row 11: K1, k2tog, (yo, K1) 2 times, yo, CDD, yo, (K1, yo) 2 times, ssk, K1. (15 sts)

Row 13: K1, k2tog, (yo, K1) 3 times, CDD, (K1, yo) 3 times, ssk, K1. (17 sts)

Row 15: K3, (yo, K1) 2 times, yo, ssk, CDD, k2tog, (yo, K1) 2 times, yo, K3. (19 sts)

Row 17: K1, K2tog, (yo, K1) 3 times, yo, ssk, CDD, K2tog, yo, (K1, yo) 3 times,
ssk, K1. (21 sts)

Row 19: K1, K2tog, (K1, yo) 4 times, ssk, CDD, K2tog, (yo, K1) 4 times,
ssk, K1. (23 sts)

Rows 21, 23, 25, 27 & 29: K1, K2tog twice, (yo, K1) 3 times, yo, ssk, CDD, K2tog, yo,
(K1, yo) 3 times, ssk twice, Kl. (23 sts)

Next row: Knit

Bind off loosely and weave in loose ends.


Cover a small piece of corrugated cardboard with plastic wrap. Wet the piece throroughly, and squeeze in a towel to remove excess moisture. Using rustproof pins, stretch and pin it into shape.
When it is almost dry, brush with fabric stiffener (or white glue diluted with water), or spray with starch, and let dry completely. If you want to hang your heart, make a loop of thin ribbon, yarn or crochet cotton, and attach to the top of the heart.

Soap Sack Sachet Sashay (updated with pattern)

The Soap Sack is worked in two pieces to avoid using double pointed needles on a "first lace" project, but it could easily be converted to working in the round by eliminating the selvedge stitches and working Rows 1 & 3 in knit instead of purl.

It's worked from the top down to put the more elastic Cast On edge at the opening.

The directions specify whipstiching the bound off bottom edges together, but they could also be joined with a three needle bind off or grafting.


Small amount of baby/sport weight cotton
1 set US #5 straight needles or size needed to obtain gauge
tapestry needle for sewing seams
1/2 yd narrow ribbon or fancy yarn for tie, a bar of scented soap

19 sts = 4" in stockinette stitch for bath soap, tighter for a smaller bar

k - knit
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together (right leaning decrease)
sk2p - slip 1 stitch knitwise, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over (a double decrease)
ssk - slip one stitch knitwise, slip the next stitch knitwise, place these stitches back on the left needle and knit them together through the back (left leaning decrease)
yo - yarn over

Little Leaf Stripe Pattern Stitch
Rows 1 & 3 (Wrong Side): Purl.
Row 2: k4, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k4.
Row 4: k6, yo, sk2p, yo, k6.

Cast on 15 sts.
Rows 1, 3, and 5: Purl
Rows 2 and 4: Knit
Row 6: K2, (yo, k2tog) 6 times, k1.
Rows 7 and 9: Purl
Rows 8 and 10: Knit.
Work Rows 1 - 4 of Little Leaf Stripe
Pattern 4 times.
Work Rows 1 and two only of Little Leaf Stripe Pattern.
Next Row: Purl
Next Row: Knit
Next Row: Purl
Next Row: Knit
Bind off in Purl.
Make a second piece identical to the one just finished.

With right sides together, whipstitch the two bound off edges together.
Turn right side outward and sew side seams with mattress stitch (invisible seam).
Weave in loose ends.
Thread ribbon through eyelets, insert soap, pull ribbon snug and tie.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Population 800

The town bookie died last week.

When you move to a village of 800, where almost everyone is related somehow to almost everyone else, there are some things nobody bothers to point out to you, just because they are taken for granted.

So we had been here at least five years before I happened to ask, "By the way, what does ____'s husband do for a living?" "Oh, he's a bookie." Very matter of fact. It would be inaccurate to call it an open secret, because it wasn't really a secret at all. That's just how he made his living.

We didn't go to the funeral, but it wasn't for lack of respect; we just didn't hear about it in time, which is really my own fault for not paying attention to the lamppost in front of the the funeral home. If it's lit up, someone has passed away, then you call and listen to the message to find out who died and when the services are scheduled.

We didn't make it to the bookie's funeral, but it was well attended, and we've sent a card. I'm pretty sure he did less harm in his life than the former bank president, who kept two sets of books and loaned out more money than the bank ever had. That was big excitement, the weekend the F.D.I.C. closed the bank with an armed guard outside from Friday to Monday and all kinds of rumors flying. But it's excitement we pretty much could have lived without. Some folks lost savings. Some investors lost everything. Some businesses that had been barely hanging on, in a downtown that is barely hanging on, went out of business.

So if I had to bet on who's the respectable citizen, the bookie or the banker, my money's on the bookie.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Next assignment

I need to design a little lace soap sack for a workshop that may or may not take place in November.

Design considerations:
I'll use sport weight cotton
Will have to be quite simple, because class members may not know any more than how to cast on, knit and purl, and the workshop will only be 3 hours long.
- knit flat and seam
- short row repeat for pattern stitch
- patterning on Right Side rows only

Want to incorporate right leaning, left leaning and double decreases for teaching purposes.

So it's off to figure out how big a soap sack should be, haul out good old Barbara Walker and start swatching.

Baxter surveys the back yard, unconcerned by design considerations of any kind

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Yes, But is it Art?

I dunno, but this one really made me smile Redshirt Knitting - Erika�s Knitting Blog � Tree Sweater

I really love the way someone very carefully pruned the tree (you'll have to scroll down).

Friday, August 25, 2006

While I was waiting

for the worsted SLS to dry, I figured I would start in on the Caps to the Capitol project, using some left over Caron "Simply Soft".

Decided to throw in a little knit/purl texture on the blue stripe just to keep things interesting.

This would make a great "carry along" project. The whole thing took less than 2 hours. It would have been even faster if I had worked in the round - maybe it's time to haul out the instructions that have been buried under a stack of books and master the "Magic Loop" technique.

Oh yeah, the finished Simple Lace Scarf in worsted...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Look Ma, no pins!

The worsted version of the SLS is drying. The pattern didn't need a lot of stretching out, so I just pulled and patted it into shape. Note less than perfectly straight side edges. Hey, this is a scarf. It's going to be wrapped around my neck. I guarantee no one less than a State Fair judge is even going to notice.

In the meantime, one thing always leads to another. I occured to me to wonder if it might not be nice to have a bit more openwork in the center. Which led to the addition of two eyelets, which led to the addition of a few more, which may or may not lead to.... another scarf?... a panel for a sweater...? What if I widened it enough to put a little shetland bead stitch where the extra eyelets are now? Or what if I left it as is, but knit on a pointy edging along each side? Of course, at this point it no longer exactly qualifies as "simple".

I wish I could remember which comedian said this (Bill Maher?), "Women have internet porn. It's called eBay."

That may go some way toward explaining why I have 50-75 balls of eyelash yarn (I haven't taken an exact count lately). What was I thinking?

Of course it isn't just eBay. The sock yarn came from Elann and Smileys and Double Diamond Knits and another online yarn shop somewhere on the west coast of Canada (the exchange rate was good in those days.)

Here's one I bet Martha Stewart hasn't thought of yet: Buy a three drawer plastic bin. Fill it with sock yarn. Voila! You have a fantasic/unique stand for your computer printer.

The really sad part is, there is more in the closet.

It may be that the biggest benefit of selling on eBay is that it diverts my attention from buying.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

“Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.” GustaveFlaubert

No, I haven't actually read Madame Bovary. I saw that line in the steam tunnels of a small Midwestern college about 30 years ago, and it struck home and stuck.

I Coulda Used a Spit Splice

After using one skein of the Cascade 220, the SLS (aka Simple Lace Scarf) is about 44 inches long. I want about 60 inches, so it's on to the second skein. Since the yarn is 100% wool I could spit splice, but I decided to try the russianjoin instead. Pretty nifty little maneuver. You can see my results at the top left of the photo.

Somewhat out of focus view of the worked splice

Added bonus: no ends to work in!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Knitting for the Greater Good

Here's a project worth looking at: Save the Children: Advocacy: Caps to the Capital Go ahead, click on the link, their page explains the project better than I could. Plus there's a free pattern.

"I have diminishing interest in posterity," Spano said. "I no longer feel that the test of the value of something is time. What's much more important is the power of a musical experience in a given moment. And that can happen with a Paganini violin piece that most of us agree shouldn't be called a masterpiece. I think of composers as setting up possibilities, not creating objects....Pieces of music are wormholes, which we can enter to escape our normal experience of time."

from Measure for Measure: Exploring the Mysteries of Conducting
Justin Davidson, The New Yorker, August 21, 2006

sock weather

I love, love love my handknit socks. The aren't too tight. They aren't too short. They let my feet breathe. Yesterday was the first morning cool enough to want to pull on a pair. Some people measure the seasons in other ways. I ask, "Is it sock weather yet? Is it sweater weather yet?"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Baxter & Moose-Lace-In-Progress

Did I mention that the pattern is such that it is easy to "read" your knitting? It's working up quickly in the worsted.

The Simple Lace Scarf and Moose Lace

The pink scarf was designed as a beginner project in lace knitting, so:

  • There had to be no shaping involved (stitch count the same on every row)
  • The patterns used had to have a relatively short row repeat and be fairly logical in their progression
  • No patterning on the wrong side rows
  • No picking up or knitting on for borders
  • No grafting
  • Worked in fingering rather than lace weight yarn because it's a bit easier to handle

As it turned out, the center panel is more of an eyelet pattern than a lace one, but that's OK.

The basic version is a shortish scarf, a good length to wear under a coat, and it used up almost every last inch of the ball of Pallette I was using. It would be easy enough to make it longer, I just didn't have any more of that particular yarn.

Halfway through, it occurred to me that this arrangement might be quite handsome as a longer scarf in heavier yarn (Moose lace can have it's uses), so I've started again in Cascade 220 (worsted weight). Maybe when that's done I'll try it in for-real lace weight.

Ellen's Fichu

In case you were wondering, "fichu" is an old fashioned term for an item that wraps across the shoulders and meets or crosses at the front.

Lace knitter extrodinaire Ellen test knit my version/interpretation, provided helpful feedback, acted as cheerleader and now, bless her, mailed her knitting so I can see and feel it for myself.
It's done in Jaggerspun Zephyr, and is wonderfully soft and light, softer and with a smoother drape than the Alpaca Cloud that I used for the original. She used a yummy soft purple color.

My skill with a camera doesn't do her skill with yarn and needles justice. She's a real lace knitting guru. Many thanks, Ellen, for your generosity with your time, enthusiasm and knowledge! (and the fichu will be on it's way back to you soon, I just have to pet it a few more times before I pack it up).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Actually Baxter doesn't knit, Cindy does.

Baxter bats at the ends of the needles when I'm using straights (good reason for switching to circs). Occasionally tries to chew on yarn (I've actually had to pull a couple inches out of him - and yes, I have learned to be really careful about keeping yarn away from unsupervised cats). Nonetheless, he's good company.