Knitting |Reviews by Judy @ 5:07 PM

winter visitors
The Portland area loves visitors — most of all visitors who will settle in and stay for awhile, enriching the community. And ones that can dig their toes into our mud and enjoy our rain are much appreciated.

I’m not sure if This little flock of geese is a hold-over from those who headed for sunnier climes last fall, or if they belong to a group who headed north a bit out of season, but they don’t appear to be bothered by our gray drizzle.

The topography around where I live features a couple of small mountains and some gently rolling hills divided by marshy streams and small, mostly man-made, lakes. Quite a few ducks and geese of different sorts find the area a fine place to hang out for the summer and raise their kids. I have seen busy, rush-hour traffic come to a halt while mom and dad goose herded their little goslings across a busy 5-lane avenue. And no one seemed at all annoyed. In how many cities would that be the case?

~Kristie asks:

I’ve been noticing that whenever you knit socks that have YO’s, you usually replace it with a M1. Is this because you live in a cooler climate & the lace look would let in cool air, or is it the “look” of lacy socks you don’t prefer? Just wondering.

I had to think about this question for awhile.

It’s not the climate. It’s really not that cold here, usually. And wool socks are warm – even when they feature holes.

I love the look of lace. One of my favorite pair of store-bought socks were cotton lace anklets that I wore year-round until they were totally beyond any further help and, with heavy heart, I was forced to retire them.

I love to knit lace. Two of my unfinished objects are lace projects. They are not unfinished because I don’t enjoy knitting them. It’s just that I got… distracted.

I do knit lace socks. I offer as proof the Mermaid socks I knit for #1 Son’s friend and the Tipsy Knitter socks from last year.

So why don’t I knit more of them?

Sometimes it is because of the look I’m going for. Would the Rooster Feathers look so feathery or the Snake River Socks have that lovely faux-cable look if I had used YOs instead of M1s?

I think the real reason, though, is because socks are for me the meat-and-potatoes of knitting. Not something I really need to think about. Mindless knitting in a small package that I can carry around and whip out whenever I have a few minutes and want to keep my hands busy. Lace, while beautiful, adds a certain amount of necessary thoughtfulness. When looking for a stitch pattern for the next pair of socks, I usually skip the lace patterns because those will be harder and require thinking. Which is a silly excuse, of course, as there are many lovely lace patterns that are easily memorized and have short repeats. And, while I wouldn’t want to knit lace in the dark as I could with a simple ribbed pattern, I’m not often knitting in the dark anyway.

I need to branch out more.
Victorian Lace Today
And this is the perfect book to dip into for a little inspiration.

Jane Sowerby’s extensive research into Victorian-era lace knitting patterns has culminated in this gorgeous book of modernized patterns and lace history. The samples are knit in bright modern colors – hot pink, acid green, periwinkle blue – that fairly glow on the page. Alexis Xenakis used locations in and around Cambridge for his photography. The artiness of some of the shots is in no way obtrusive.

The primarily-charted patterns are mostly rectangular shawls and scarves with knitted-on boarders. I would characterize them as being of easy to advanced intermediate level. There is plenty here that’s accessible to the beginning lace knitter. I don’t think the patterns are as complex as some of those in Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace.

My one quibble is that there is no general index of all of the patterns. It’s a small quibble, as I don’t mind leafing through the book again and again and again. But it’s annoying if I’m looking for something specific and can’t remember what section it was in.

If you are one of the few knitters who has not dipped into Victorian Lace Today, please do treat yourself to a viewing.

Confidential to #1 Son: I’m quite pleased and proud of you. Reading the review in the Wweek Local Cut was a treat. I do have a bone to pick with you about that last paragraph, though. The way I remember the conversation, it went more like this:

#1 Son: We’re going on tour.

Mom: I’m not too happy with you doing that. But I’m not sure you would listen if I said no.

#1 Son: I would go anyway.

Mom: That’s what I suspected. Please be very careful and stay safe. I love you and I want you to come home happy and healthy.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 12:40 AM
tags: , ,

Blog housekeeping, that is. I should probably be doing more of the less virtual kind of housekeeping, too… But, there you have it.

I’ve decided to release my Snake River Socks pattern out into the wild. You can find it by clicking on the link, by going to the Freebies page, or on the right-hand sidebar.

Although I’ve given a hardcopy of the pattern away, as far as I know nobody has knit it yet, so there may be errors in it. If you decide to try it out, gentle reader, please let me know the results. Definitely let me know if you find any errata.

The to Snap or not to Snap poll is now closed. There’s a large majority in favor of Snap, so I’ll leave it on. Those of you who don’t like Snap can make it go away this way:

  • Hover over a link so the Snap box pops up.
  • Click on the [Options] link in the upper right corner of the Snap box.
  • When the options appear, select either of the disable Snap options — disable for this site or disable everywhere.

All gone.

My apologies to visitors and gentle readers who use IE 6. In a fit of upgrade madness I decided to try to make the PI template — under the covers it’s a rather hacked-up and messy affair — a little more efficient. It looked great in Firefox and IE 7. I neglected to check it in IE 6, where it was seriously broken. Oops. It’s all better now. I’ll leave it alone now. It would truly be a miracle if all of the browsers would work the same.

Kathy asks if Abundant Yarn is collecting the felted cranes for the KnitNotWar 1,0o0 project. I don’t know for sure. Since it’s a local Portland project, I assume that there is more than one collection point. I suggest visiting the KnitNotWar 1,0o0 site and emailing Seann McKeel for the particulars.

There will be a new sock class starting probably in April. Until then, I am knitting away in a desultory fashion on Clapotis #2. It is more than half finished. If I could just get myself in gear, it could be actually completely finished. Wonders will never cease.

Knitting by Judy @ 5:00 PM
tags: , , ,

Finished Rooster Feather Socks
The Rooster Feather Socks are finished at last, and I love the way they’ve turned out. They fit perfectly. The combination of colorway and stitch pattern was a happy one. And, strangely enough, the socks are nearly identical.

The sort-of-chevron pattern I used really does look feathery when used with these colors. I think I’m going to dub this stitch mistake chevron. The double-decrease really should have been a [sl 2, k2, psso]. That would have produced a nice straight line up the decreases, just like there’s a nice straight line up the increases. Instead, I worked the decreases as [sl 1, k2tog, psso]. That produced an alternating left/right line, which really does look more like overlapping feathers. I increase 6 stitches around the ankle, and it was a good thing. I don’t think the socks would have fit had I not. Chevron stitches really do take up a lot of width.

The socks is worked in my standard no-pattern sock pattern. I decided to do the heel in Eye Of Partridge stitch to keep with the whole bird theme. I really do like EOP with handpainted yarns.
Happy Feet Wearing Rooster Feathers
The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock – light ( 100% Superwash Merino/ 360yds/4.5 oz per skein) in colorway Rooster Rock — most of one skeins.
  • Needles: Knitpicks Classic circulars, US#1 (2.5mm).
  • Pattern: my own standard sock pattern.
  • Techniques used:
    • Knit toe-up, two at a time, on double circulars.
    • I used the Magic Cast On.
    • The heel flap is worked in Eye Of Partridge.
    • M1 increases were used instead of YOs because I did not want the socks to be lacy.

Knitting by Judy @ 9:18 PM

That is the question…

I’ve added Snap previews to Persistent Illusion. To see one, just hover over any external link in a post or in the sidebars. Like this one: google.

What do you think, gentle reader? Are these a good thing? Do you like seeing where a link leads before you decide to click on it? Or is this just another annoying stupid web trick that should be banished from the internets forever?

Vote, and I will hear you! Comment, too!


Knitting by Judy @ 7:24 PM

a flock of felted cranes
Sadako Sasaki was 12 when she died from Leukemia, contracted as a result of living through the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Following an old legend that promised that anyone who folded 1,000 cranes would be granted a wish, Sadako started folding origami cranes when she was 11 and had completed over 1,000 when she died. Young people all over Japan helped to collect the money needed to build a monument to Sadako, and it was installed in Hiroshima Peace Park in 1958. Today, people from all over the world send folded cranes to Sadako’s monument.

Inspired by Sadako’s story, Portland artist Seann McKeel is coordinating knitters to knit and felt 1,000 origami-style cranes. Participating knitters are asked to pledge to contribute 10 cranes. Pledges are needed by March 1st and the cranes must be completed by the end of May. The finished flock will be displayed in Portland in late 2007 before being sent on to Japan.
KnitNotWar 1,0o0
The picture above is of my little mini-flock of cranes posing amongst my violet. I completed 10 cranes in a couple of night’s steady knitting.

Unfortunately when I felted them, I put them in a laundry bag and threw them in the wash on super-hot… and then forgot about them. 😕 I ended up with 10 little felted balls. I did manage to coax them into a vaguely crane shape, but were I to do over I would have felted these by hand. The smaller cranes are of Frog Tree Alpaca and were knit on US#3 needles. The larger are of a worsted-weight wool, and were knit on US#9’s. (Note the blue Frog Tree crane with the white tail. I ran out of blue. 😆 )

Portland knitters who complete their cranes can drop them off locally. I know that Tangle in Lake Oswego is collecting them, and I believe there are other places as well.

Visit KnitNotWar 1,0o0 for more information on this project and for a link to the crane pattern.

Let’s knit a little peace.

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 7:39 AM
tags: ,
not my Hoover

Last week #1 Son asked to borrow my vacuum, just for a couple of days. I consented.

He came over last week while I was not home because I was knitting away in sock class and picked up both my vacuum and my carpet steamer. Later in the evening we had a phone conversation in which I tried to explain how to actually use the vacuum:

#1 Son: How do you use the attachments thingies?

Me: You have to pull the long handle tube out of the flexible tube thingy and then you attach the flexible tube to the other side of the handle and then you can put the attachments on the end of the long handle tube.

#1 Son: Is the flexible part supposed to go in the vacuum somewhere?

Yeah… it was one of those conversations.

I have called #1 Son a couple of times since… OK, more than a couple of times… to inquire after the health of my vacuum and find out when it would be returning. Soon I was promised. Soon.

Come back, vacuum… I need you…

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      (John Muir)
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Follow The Leader shawl


entrelac wrap


Arabesque shawl


Jubjub Bird Socks


I Mog Di


Peacock Feather Shawl


Honeybee Stole


Irtfa'a Faroese Shawl




Fatigues henley sweater


Jade Sapphire Scarf


#1 Son's Blanket


Cotton Bag