Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

Here are my favorite machine knitting posts of 2012:

And, my favorite non-knitting post!
In 2012, my "baby" Steven graduated from A&M!

Gratitude and a Great Link

This morning (John and I are still on staycation), we took the Brother punchcard down, put it back in its case with all the parts in the right positions in the case, and then we dug out the Silver Reed 700 and set it up.  I'm going to see whether automatic lace edgings will work on that machine.  I couldn't find the manuals.  My girlfriend who sold me the machine included manuals, but oh well, I finally decided to see if I could download them. 

There are a tremendous number of manuals at this site:

I downloaded the manuals I need and am very, very grateful, once again, for that site owner's hard work.

Every time I go there, it's even more impressive than the time before!   So.  Much. Information!  If you haven't visited About Knitting Machines, treat yourself and go now. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Automatic Lace Edgings on Brother Punch Card Machines

Jan King in Australia very generously wrote and explained her own method for converting the Enchanted Edgings (automatic lace edgings) for Brother punch card knitting machines.  I had done it another way, adding two blank rows, one before and one after the knit carriage punches.  However, Jan's method knocks the socks off my method, since she reduces the number of carriage passes.  You do more passes than an electronic knitting machine requires, but only two more for each lace group.  My method took 4 extra passes.  I'm sold, of course, since it's always nice to do less carriage pushes and get more lace knitted in less time. 

I figured out the patterns and punched cards yesterday, and look, in the last two days I knitted all these Enchanted Edgings laces on a Brother 890 punch card machine:

They're spread out on a towel, drying after steaming.

The next job is to take down the Brother 890 and set up the Silver Reed, just to see what can be done about these edgings with that different knitting setup.

But you know what?  For once, I'm tired of knitting.  Time to goof off.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making Punchcards & Homemade Lightbox

I have just worked out a good solution so Enchanted Edgings can be knitted easily on the Brother punch card machines.  These are the self-shaping scalloped edgings that I published a couple of years ago for the Brother Electronic machines (one shown in photo, above). 

My next challenge will be to see if they can be done on the Silver Reed, which has a completely different issue to investigate.

For the Brother punch card machines, the individual patterns require a modification, which I've done to each of my DAK files.  I'm printing out templates and punching cards to test.  I did the first couple by taping the template and the blank plastic card to a window, but I got tired of reaching up to draw the dots.  After that, John made me a quick, free lightbox with items from around the house.

My fancy new light box consists of a cardboard box, a fluorescent shop light, which stays cool, inside the box, and a piece of glass.
Of course, not everybody has a piece of glass around the house, but if you look around, you might find a translucent cutting board, a piece of glass shelf, or some other piece of glass or acrylic you could use.  We taped the glass to the box on one end to prevent it slipping off an breaking.  You could also use a glass-topped table with a shop light underneath.  Make sure you don't create a fire hazard by using a light that gets hot near paper.  This little setup isn't that different from an Easy Bake oven, which uses an incandescent light for heat.
I taped the template to the glass, stuck the box in a chair to put it at about the right height for comfortable tracing, and I'm marking the blank punch cards with a washable marker.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your loved ones
A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
John and Diana Sullivan
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  --Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sewing on Christmas Eve

I had to hurry up and get this Entrelac yoked sweater sewn together so I can give it to my son tomorrow.  It's not a surprise at all.  Our Aggie likes tthe Texas A&M color scheme.  We haven't had any really cold weather yet, but it's coming.
If this project is familiar, it's because I worked it up for a sample in my "Wear Your Diamonds" book and photographed it as I worked on it.  When the book was finally finished and I had knitted piles of samples, this sweater was tossed into a knitting bag for sewing up later.  Much later, it turns out.
The back and front of the sweater are different - the neck is higher in the back, as it should be.  To make it easy for him to find the back of the neck and pull the sweater on correctly, I embroidered a little chain stitch inside the back neckline, in lieu of a label.
I hope you are having a beautiful, meaningful holiday, taking time to let your loved ones how much you treasure them, and especially, experiencing the love of our Savior.
Merry Christmas, dear friends!

Luke Chapter 24


Sunday, December 23, 2012

John and I are rehabbing sponge bars

All kinds of knitting machine problems are solved by replacing a worn-out sponge bar.  The bar holds the needles down against the needle bed, yet allows them to move and "play" a little bit.

I had reached the point where nearly every sponge bar I had was worn out.  This idea of recycling sponge bars makes both economic and environmental sense, and once in a while, you get a machine for which brand-new sponge bars can't be located. 

Wonderful information on redoing sponge bars is available here:

Over the years, we've acquired our own quirky ideas about redoing sponge bars.

First of all, Kathryn's advice to get rid of the awful petroleum-based gunk that was originally used to stick the foam to the bar is very good advice.  Attaching the new foam with white glue is SO much better!

Secondly, I really do like the interfacing idea on Kathryn's site for the covering for the foam.  I've tried some other things that worked, as well, in particular first aid tape, but the interfacing is very inexpensive and easily cut into strips using a rotary cutter. 

At first, I used the 1/2" craft foam from Jo Ann's that Kathryn recommends, and that worked okay but didn't last as long as weatherstripping that we had tried before we ready Kathryn's great instructions.  We now use 3/8" wide by 5/16" thick weatherstripping for our sponge bars.  We glue the non-sticky side down with the white glue and use the sticky side to attach the interfacing. 

We played around quite a lot with the different foams and thicknesses.  In the craft foam, 1/2" is the stuff to purchase, but in the weatherstripping, that would be too thick.  The weatherstripping is a more heavy-duty foam.

Luke Chapter 23


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Socks at Mary Anne Oger's Blog

Mary Anne is using up sock yarn she's collected on her travels.  I do the same thing - purchase a couple of balls of sock yarn when I visit a new LYS.  I can always use sock yarn, and some of it is delightful.

Honestly, socks make incredible gifts!  Everyone seems to love them and ask for more, especially when you use nice fibers.

Luke Chapter 18


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Inspiration at Vanda's Blog

Here's an elegant suit, not all that complicated.

It's a little tight on the dress form, which is distorting the pattern.  Everyone seems to wearing clothes a little tighter than I prefer...nothing new there.

Luke Chapter 16


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Inspiration at Marnie's

Here's a hat and cowl to hand knit at Speak, Marnie! 

We certainly could do something like this.  My friend Greta was wearing a beautiful cowl that she sewed and he me thinking about making some more knitted Mobius scarves...

Our Son Graduated from A&M Friday

Texas A&M University
December 14, 2012
Steven James Sullivan
Bachelor of Science
Cum Laude
Here's our son, Steven, receiving his diploma Friday morning.  The "cum laude" was a marvelous surprise, since his science major was so difficult, especially these last couple of semesters.
In the photo, he said later that he took a few seconds to tell Dr. Loftin how wonderful the enhancements and improvements Dr. Loftin has begun in his tenure as President of A&M.  Steven isn't bashful, is he?  Later during our day at College Station, Steven told us about some of Dr. Loftin's initiatives and pointed out projects under construction.  Of course, our son was thrilled with this last Aggie football season, and he thinks A&M joining the South Eastern Conference was great.
We're not sure what's next for Steven, who is applying for grad school, researching career options and trying to figure out what will fit best for him, plus working at his little event business.  He claims a haircut is in his near future, but I've heard that one before!  We might have felt sad about him being "all grown up," but Steven has been so independent for so long, that we really weren't feeling that, just nostalgia for the fun we had raising him.  A&M held a beautiful ceremony (they are doing three ceremonies this weekend to graduate over 3,000 students), John got some good photos, we went out for a nice celebratory meal, and we visited with our son at the house he shares with two other guys.  Before we drove back to Austin, he gave us big hugs and told us how much he appreciated us.

Luke Chapter 15


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scarf and Gloves at Vanda's Page

Vanda's got an interesting project - long lace gloves and a scarf (it looks like it might be a sweater, but she says it's a scarf.

Little Angel For Your Tree

Little Angel Ornament by Diana Sullivan
She's about four inches tall, transparent and fragile.  In the photo, she's just leaning against a piece of velvet, but if you could see her in person, you'd know that she's really going to sparkle once she's on the tree with the lights twinkling.
Here's how to make her:
This is for the standard knitting machine.  You'll need 30 gauge coated silver and gold wire, wire cutters, and a small knitting needle. You also need 2 cast-on rags or pieces of mesh for casting on the wings.
Skirt:  Cast on 16 stitches with waste yarn.  I used T7 on a Brother.  Knit several rows and affix a couple of claw weights, a big brass weight, or a small ribber weight.  Knit a divider row with either the same yarn to make it easier to later remove the waste yarn.
E-wrap cast on with silver wire.  Knit 30 rows.  You need to go slowly; hand-feed the wire from your lap or the floor.  Pull the wire up as you approach, then have no tension on the wire as you knit slowly across.
Head:  Take the knitting off on waste yarn.  Rehang, putting 2 stitches on each needle so it's gathered into 8 needles.  Knit 20 rows for the head.
Wings:  Snip the wire with wire cutters and knit across with gold wire.  Use a cast-on rag and ravel cord to add 8 more stitches on the carriage side, hang another weight, then e-wrap the gold wire onto them and knit back.  Use a cast-on rag and ravel cord to add 8 stitches to the other side, hang a weight and knit 19 more rows.  Cast off using a transfer tool.  I have backstitched a cast-off, but it's tedious with wire.
Find the middle of the head and twist it so that the top is gathered.  Twist the neck to gather it.  Wind the leftover wire ends around and around the neck to make a shiny neck and cover that twist.  Shape the skirt with your fingers.  I made more of a cylinder with it and stretched and fluted the bottom with my hands, but do what you think looks nice.
You can get your fingers inside the head and shape it round. 
Shape the wings by folding them like a fan and then using a piece of wire to securely gather them in the center.  You can "sew" with the wire by poking it through - you won't need or want a needle.
Make the arms and hands by casting on 7 stitches (using waste yarn, etc., as above) and knitting 30 rows.  Bind off.  Stretch.  Fold in the middle.  Twist the ends for the hands.  Use the beginning and ending wire to connect the hands together if you like.  Sew the arms to the back of the angel between the body and wings with a piece of wire.   
The crooked halo was made by winding gold wire tightly around a very small knitting needle to make a "spring."  I used about 10" of wire for the spring and "sewed" it to the back of the head with the ends, which I left uncoiled. 
You can add a unique personality to your angel.  Perhaps you could add tiny accessories from the hobby store - a music book, a harp, trumpet, package, toy, etc.  How about a tiny ball of yarn and two pins for knitting needles?  You could sew on beads or glue on rhinestones. Maybe your angel will have curly or wavy hair made of wire.  I was a lousy angel hairdresser - my wire springs stood straight up, so I removed them.  Something to try again on the next one!
Attach a loop of wire to the back of her head to finish your ornament.
I have been playing around with knitting wire since attending a Marcia Hauser seminar.  She has wonderful books of instructions and stylish jewelry and lots of supplies at her site:

Luke Chapter Two


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Thoughts

This morning we attended the Lone Star Model A club's 1000th breakfast.  We seldom attend because Saturday is my day to sleep a little later, maybe until 7:30, and to make it every week, we'd need to get up and going about 5:45 a.m. (it's in another town).
Folks were wearing Christmas clothing and Christmas hats, and my favorite was a Grinchy hat covered in sequins that bobs up and down and plays music.  So, here we go again!  There's holiday music everywhere, we have decorations up at work.
I just posted asking how people get it all done, but now let's switch over to my other favorite Christmas subject, which is how to make it the most meaningful and memorable. 
I spend lots of time making it memorable for my family, but to help keep it meaningful for me, it's time again for me to go through the book of Luke, one chapter each day for the first 24 days of Christmas.  
Luke, Chapter One, HERE 

Friday, November 30, 2012

How do You Organize Christmas Work?

Ever read the Yarn Harlot blog?  It follow her, and this is an interesting post:

I understand exactly how she feels.  I am "in charge" of Christmas at our house, too.  I love Christmas and want to have a beautiful holiday, but I must buy a great many gifts and do lots of other Christmas chores.  Also, I live far from my extended family and struggle with gift decisions.  

My husband John is more than willing to help, although a few years ago, we had the following conversation:

Diana:  Whine, whine, I'm overwhelmed, there's so much to do for Christmas, and maybe I won't get everything done this year.

John:  I don't have any problems at all getting everything done for Christmas.

Diana:  (annoyed, almost speechless, croaks out)  Oh, yeah?

John:  (grin)  I get my wife to do it.

I keep a spreadsheet, too, which has an abbreviated "to do" list, plus a gift list.  My gift list is the most useful part of the spreadsheet - I have names, a place for ideas for this year, and, since I've kept this list several years, what I gave the person the last few years.

I have beaten the over-whelmed-by-Christmas blues, but not everyone can make the change I made: I started taking vacation days in the month of December and spending them doing Christmas tasks.  This uses up some vacation time, but I get so stressed by the holiday workload that I'm quite happy to make that sacrifice.

Hey, got any great tips for getting holiday workload organized and under control?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tis the Season for Charity Knitting

Tracy's got some very cute projects she's donating:

Ideas, Ideas at A Kitten Knits

More snooping in the hand knit and crochet blogs to see the gorgeous projects.  My favorite over at Kitten Knits latest long post is the lace shawl (scroll down a ways):

I used to hand knit lace from Anna magazine.  I haven't been finding time lately to hand knit lace, but I haven't stopped loving it, and I don't intend to stop finding ways to make fantastic lace on the  knitting machine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Good Idea, Vanda!

Vanda's made a nice sweater and then used matching yarn for a scarf.  What a great way to add variation to a sweater - wear the scarf, or not, and tie it different ways for neckline interest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Inpiration at Machine Knitting is My Life

I honestly have never felted mittens, but I love the idea. 

If we lived in snow country, I'd certainly be looking for a way to knit mittens that is less permeable to water, a sort of knitted ski mitten.  I imagine that felted mittens are much warmer but that moisture still soaks through.

The one idea I have entertained is installing a layer (inside or outside, I'm not sure which) of waterproof fabric, probably a rip-stop nylon.

Look at these nice mittens at Machine Knitting is My Life.  Maybe she'll run an after-felting picture later on:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scarf Knit-Along

A terrific club project - a progressive, charity scarf knit-along!

Hi Diana 

Sometime ago we spoke and I mentioned the charity  summer project our machine knit club was doing.

Eight of us ladies from the Kawartha Carriage Knit Club where working on scarves for a charity in our local area.  Each of us started a scarf (most of us did two) and then placed it in a paper bag and we meet at each others homes and exchanged projects without looking into the bag. The idea was to not look at the progress on each scarf as we meet, each person only got to see the scarf (or scarves) they took home to work the next section on.

We had all agreed to use either our mid-gauge or bulky machine and keep the width around the 30 to 38 stitches  and knit approximately eight inches a section. 

As we are all at different levels of knitting we had an open option of pattern to knit but to also consider trying new stitches to challenge ourselves.  We agreed also to use an acrylic yarn that was suitable for the given machines and what ever color we felt went with the already scarf in progress. 

Six of us took turns making lunch ( and they where delicious lunches with the some wonderful desserts)  and we would go home with a different (new to us) scarf to work on until we meet up again. It was a great learning experience and a pleasure to visit with each other over lunch and build on our friendships.

They are now complete and gift bagged up ready to be deliver to the charity in our area as a little warmth of caring to ladies in need of compassion.

Us ladies in the group pictures  Margaret, Marg, Betty, Barb,  Nancy (myself), Pat and the two missing from the pictures are Krys and Ialean. 

I hope you have enjoyed hearing a little what other knitters are doing. 

Thank-you  & enjoy



Friday, November 23, 2012

Knitting for the Troops

Today, I got a note from Barbara, who coordinated the "For the troops" project here in Central Texas and used a Yahoo group to help organize us. 

The Knit Natters, After Our Knit-In Day for the Troops
Happy Thankgiving everyone.

On Friday we will be mailing out 194 items to the Troops.

I want to thank everyone for all of their help. I would not have been able to do this without all the help.

Thank you
Leander TX

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

And thank you, readers and friends in the online machine knitting community!  May you have a very blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cable Lesson at Ozlorna!

Check this out:

I'm going to be a bit tied up this week, but I promise more posts next week.


As John keeps reminding me, we're on vacation! 

We are on a cruise that left Sunday out of Galveston.  We hadn't had a vacation so far this year, and we wanted something easy.  This fits the bill - we merely drove from Austin to Galveston and got on board.  After that, Carnival provides meals, lodging, and entertainment.

I am writing this concurrently but can't put the posts up until I get back.  There's surprisingly good bandwidth on the boat, but not enough to upload my many pictures to Blogger.

First, we had a sea day.  We  like making friends with other passengers, spending some time exploring the floating resort, and going to the shows and events. 

Yesterday, we went to Key West.  We saw the end of Highway 1 - at the southernmost point of the US, it runs all the way from Key West to Canada.  We did an overview tour on a bus, then

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knitted Jewelry

Marcia Hauser's seminar in Dallas inspired me to try knitting jewelry.  Here is my first small success.  It took me a few tries.  First, I tried to put too many large beads on the background and it didn't look good; then I broke the wire.  I just cut the beads off those two and tried again (you can't unravel this stuff). 

I enjoyed working from Marcia's book.  She writes a good, detailed explanation and includes lots of photos.  I especially appreciated her detailed advice as to exactly what supplies to purchase.
I like the effect of the gauzy knitted wire.  This is the copper color, and I used some glass beads I found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  I have some silver and gold wire, too.  I thought, when I bought it, that it might be fun to use all three colors in a necklace. 
I found knitting with wire awkward, but hopefully, I will improve with practice.
I'm planning to try some more!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Halloween festivities are about over in my neighborhood.  I can still hear kids giggling and shrieking in the yard behind us, but our doorbell has been quiet a while.

While there are very negative aspects to this holiday, John and I completely enjoy the cute little kids, saying hello to my neighbors, and the whole community aspect of the evening.  We had more kids visit than ever this year.  For several years, we were lucky if we had a half-dozen kids come by in the whole evening, but tonight there were about 60, based on the number of  items we gave away.  More families with children have moved to our area, plus, we try to be very welcoming and give the kids unusual items.

A number of years ago, when my own kids went trick-or-treating, some families gave the boys something other than candy, and I copied the idea of giving out non-candy treats.  The kids enjoy these items so much!  First I discovered the miniature Golden Books - exactly like the traditional ones, but tiny and inexpensive.  The kids loved those, but I haven't seen them in the stores for years. I would love to find those again, if they're still being printed.  After that, I found other things, searching for fun items (little airplanes, tiny cars, high-bounce balls, necklaces...)  Just the last few years, we started purchasing cheap plush toys from Oriental Trading.  Kids get a huge kick out of getting something surprising.  This year, we had bright colored stuffed snakes (always the MOST popular, but getting a little expensive now with more kids), little stuffed Halloween bears, and some toys called "Smiley Face Monsters," a peculiar assortment. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Does Anyone (Besides Me) Love Karen Kingsbury Books?

Karen Kingsbury writes Christian romantic novels, and I discovered her fairly recently, as I downloaded a tried out authors on my Kindle.  Her books are extremely popular, with hundreds of reviews and usually 4-5 stars. 

Her books are on special, today only, at Amazon for $1.99.   Her stuff doesn't go on special much, so I just treated myself to the ones I hadn't already read.  (I am a K3 user, and often listen to books with the mechanical voice, while I drive or knit.  How eccentric is that?  It sure has improved my boring, surface street commute with all the red lights).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Interesting at Rett Og Vrang

Here's a pretty little blanket that looks like "card #3" tuck.  But I'm not sure exactly, nor do I quite understand the very attractive waffly variation, since the browser translator made such a hash of Norwegian to English.  Some pages translate better than others, and this time, Bing couldn't find the words.

I just love Card #3.  I know it's not very original of me, but I like to change colors for the rows of bumps for contrast.

Any insights on what I'm missing in the translation?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marg Modifies the No-Sew Slipper!

Cool - I so approve!  Make my patterns - and everybody else's patterns your own!  Do come up with improvements, and do exercise your own instincts. 

I always feel like a kindred spirit when other people, like me, can't ever leave a pattern alone.

I like the cuff and I like the idea of anchoring the lining.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pretty, But...

This is a lovely handknitted lace knit along project shown at Marnie, speak! 

As nice as the lace is, some thoughts from a hand/machine knitter -

1.  I like bigger shawls.  I don't "get" these garments that are less than a shawl but more than a scarf...they look like the knitter lost patience and quit early.

2.  This would be so lovely blocked!  I really think I'd like it smoothed out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vanda Teaches Us a Beautiful Edging

Have a look at this very dainty baby sweater and then watch the video showing how to make the "bordo smerlato," such a nice scalloped edge along the bottom of the sweater.

Gorgeous as usual, Vanda!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seminar in Dallas

I just did something very luxurious - I went to a knitting seminar in Dallas with four friends from Knit Natters.  I'm hoping to describe what it's like to go enjoy a seminar with knitters.  Maybe I can get some of y'all to try it!

I took a half day of vacation Friday so I could get on the road, and Barbara and I drove to the countryside near Burnet so we could meet up with Norma and Mary and ride with Mary.  Mary had her comfortable Suburban detailed and off we went into the countryside on a perfect autumn day (warm, sunny, blue skied Texas perfection).  Mary drive the scenic route along 281 through hilly country dusted with yellow wildflowers under live oaks.  We spotted horses, donkeys, buffalo, goats, and sheep.  We chatted, we laughed, my friend Barbara who is recovering from back surgery got to doze a little, and we had a rest stop at a fascinating gift shop/cafe/candy store about halfway there.

We stayed in a hotel right next to seminar (which the last few years, has been held at Stacy's Furniture in Grapevine), where we had a room that easily held four of us, and went for a nice dinner, also walking distance, at Olive Garden.  Next, we watched Blue Bloods (a little dose of Tom Selleck is always good) and I went down for the count while the others watched the news shows.  I'd had a hard week - not so much because of work, but peppered with evening events and medical checkup stuff), and I was thrilled to get away from it all.

Saturday morning, we breakfasted in the hotel, and here came our instructor for the weekend, Marcia Hauser.  If you haven't gone to one of Marcia's classes, well, you're missing out.  An inventive, out-of-the-box, artistic thinker, Marcia creates high-impact looks with elegantly simple techniques.  Marcia says we've all let machine knitting get too complicated, and then she does one cool thing after another we've never tried before.

The general format of the day is like this:  munch out on yummy potlucked breakfast (yes, I know we just ate at the hotel, but we didn't let that stop us).  Browse the  many free, giveaway magazines and snatch some favorites, then browse the many, many door prizes while sipping strong coffee and watching Marcia set up her many, many displays and sample garments and jewelry.  Catch up with nice friends whom we haven't seen since the seminar last year.  Drool over Marcia's great displays and then settle in for her high-speed, high-content demos. 

I scribbled notes until I realized that I was missing content trying to write everything down.  I often take notes as a way to stay focused and not get too bored, but Marcia isn't capable of boring me.  She does one thing after another, working so quickly that you really don't want to look away.  I knew right away what I wanted to buy - her three big basic technique books and her two jewelry books. 

We broke for lunch at some point and had another excellent potluck meal, visiting at round tables and continuing the catching-up and meeting-new-people pleasures. 

In the afternoon session, almost everyone ended up clustered around Marcia.  I got a great vantage point over to one side and soaked up the remarkable way she approaches knitting problems. 

I meant to take a bunch of pictures, but the seminar was too content-rich, and I didn't like to take my attention away from the material.

Marcia is a hard-blocker.  She blocks her garments smooth with pressure and steam, so you get that elegant high-end drape; obviously, it's no surprise that she likes dress yarns.  Marcia has a great capacity for designing timeless yet creative, eye-catching garments that look great on real people. 

Saturday evening we hit El Fenix and gobbled up as much Mexican food as we could handle, then returned to the hotel for more nattering and watching telly. 

Sunday morning is check-out time.  We downed coffee, got our stuff out of the room and to the car, settled up with the desk clerk, and had more coffee and breakfast.  I got into the warm cinnamon rolls I had managed to resist on day one.  We were excited because Sunday was jewelry day, and we wanted to see how to knit with wire.  First, we reveled in the knit weaving - a technique I really ought to do more often.  Then Marcia showed us "rag knitting," in which she applied all sorts of separate trims and pieces to the work as she knitted.  The jewelry was exciting enough that I purchased three colors of wire (and when I got back to Austin, I hit Hobby Lobby for a little hammer, some pliers and more beads.).   

On of the things I find very difficult to describe is how enjoyable the crowd is when you get a big roomful of knitters together!  It's great fun to see what other people have been working on or making.

We hit the road about 2:30 in the afternoon.  I don't know when seminar ended, but we had a long drive home. 

I pulled into my own driveway about 9-ish.  I had brought home yarn, books, jewelry supplies, free magazines (old but very good), someone else's yarn (oops!  gotta return that), and a suitcase full of dirty clothes.  Ah, Austin.

Clogs at Knotty Knits

Nice slippers over at Knotty Knits and Naughty Kids.  Classic Wool felts so beautifully and comes in great colors!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Seam Article at Knitting for Profit

Do you watch this blog?  I have mixed feelings about it, since they run how-to articles that promise more information than they actually deliver.  It does have a brief description of how to kitchener from two knitting needles (instead of waste yarn):

If this website had more useful content - diagrams and pictures of examples - I'd send people there more often.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ooh! Cute at Rett Og Vrang

Check out this cute color-blocked child's sweater at Synnove's blog, rett og vrang

When Synnove has a new project photo, I always go and have a look at her beautiful workmanship.  I like her blog title, an allusion to making your work look good on the inside as well as on the outside. 

By right-clicking on the blog, Internet Explorer lets me choose to translate from Norwegian to English, so I can do more than just look at the photos.  It takes a while, but I find it quite helpful to read what she had to say about making her project.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Knit Natters Meeting Today

We had fun today!  In addition to many of our regulars, Joan was back, and Norma was there!  We met at the church in Leander, so we had lots of space, good lighting, and a television showing a camera close-up of the machine.  It did start pouring rain outside, but only after we were all set up and cozy.  There are worse things than munching cookies, drinking punch, and talking knitting on a rainy day.

I showed that demo with the vertical Fair Isle, and most of the attendees tried it.  I think everyone liked the technique, especially being able to make vertical designs with several colors (and no floats)!  I also showed how to make the picture frame blanket edging.

Then, we had a business meeting.  We're getting all uptown with officers, a new location, holiday party plans, and plans to carpool to the local fiber festival, Kid 'n Ewe.  Barbara has diligently watched our money to build up a kitty.  Maybe we can hold another seminar next year.

Five of us are carpooling (goodie - next week!) to the DFW Machine Knitters Guild seminar in Grapevine, where Marcia Hauser is this year's instructor.  We're renting a big hotel room next to the seminar and sharing for a hen party/slumber party and sharing the cost.

My one disappointment was that we ran late, and we didn't get to go through Barbara's Passap E6000 lesson with two forms of long stitch and two other very attractive doublebed techniques.  Longstitch, which can be done on Passaps AND Japanese machines, makes great sweater bands, because you can make it too long and trim away the extra on the bottom without it unraveling.  Next time we have a demo she'll do it.

Problems with My Shopping Site

I apologize that we were having problems today with the PayPal buttons one of our shopping sites.  I replaced all the "Add to Cart" and "View Cart" buttons, and it seems to be working fine again. 

I am sorry for the inconvenience, and a bit baffled, since it was working fine a few days ago.

If you still are having any problems, email me. I appreciate knowing there's a problem like this that I need to fix.  Just scroll on down the left-hand side of the blog and look for the big envelope icon.  Click on that, and it brings up an email window.

Friday, October 12, 2012


On a personal note, today we celebrate the 39th anniversary of our first date, which was on Columbus Day, October 12, 1973.  My husband is a sweetheart, my sweetheart.

Now:  Let's get a little Knitting Related - let me give you a link over to Marg Coe's blog, which somehow or other, I have not been following up 'till right now.  I'm fixing that now and following.  I already knew about Marg and her wonderful knitting, but I had no idea she had this great blog.

Marg emailed - she's knitting my Footnotes No-Sew slippers, and has a nice post and photos of that slipper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Inspiration at Knit Flix

Check out the spectacular lace shawl!

Now I know this link won't work properly in a few days...I couldn't figure out how to link to the individual post in Knit Flix, but do go have a look.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Demo for Knit Natters

I've been a busy bee, but not necessarily machine knitting.  However, this weekend, the haze finally cleared, with my taxes done and our club website mostly fixed, and I got to knit.  I needed a demo for knit club next weekend.

Feeling rather blank-brained about what to demonstrate next, I went flipping through my knitting magazines and found something interesting in Machine Knitting Monthly's January 2012 edition.  The magazine calls it "Magic Fairisle," but it is hand-manipulated and a little slow going.  All the same, I went off and practiced and found it quite cool.

The first sample on the left looks like the pattern in the magazine.  Basically, you cut a length of contrasting color and fold it in half.  You hang the middle of that piece of yarn on the stitch that you want for the bottom of the diamond and knit it through.  Then you push the needle all the way back to out of work position, knit 2 rows.  After the 2 rows, you bring the needle back into work, pulling the yarn a little to adjust the stitch so it isn't too loose.  Then you take the yarn to the right and knit it through the next needle to the right and knit the needle to the left with the yarn hanging on the left, push 'em both all the way back out of work, and knit 2 rows.  You bring those needles back into work and adjust the contrast stitches, then do the next two to the left and right.  And so on...

The magazine cautions that you should practice before you do a project, and I very much agree.  The writer warned against getting the stitches too loose, but I was making them too tight at first. 
Look, no floats to snag anything!   Have a look at the closeups, front and back of the work.  You're carrying a thread vertically, and if the design works with that, you don't have floats.

I played around with different kinds of patterns.  It's great to get to use several colors vertically, not so easy with conventional fair isle.  I found I could make a vertical line, but wasn't crazy about how it looked.  It seemed to help to use a heavier yarn than the background yarn for things like a vertical bar.

I could make a horizontal line, but that gives a float.  Sometimes you do need a horizontal line in a design, but it's tedious to adjust the tension of the stitches when you put the needles back in work.  Go experiment and see what you like!
I decided it works very well with skip-one kinds of designs and diagonal lines.  Since it's hand-manipulated, I liked it best with the bulky and mid-gauge machines, because bigger stitches work up faster. 

Saturday, I promptly got busy making a crib blanket with the technique.  I had some leftover sport weight pale pink and some white, and some rose colored worsted weight yarn.  I did horizontal rows of the pink and then the white, and zigzag columns of the hand-manipulated fair isle technique. 

I put a picture frame edging around the blanket.  I have done these for years, but haven't seeen other people doing them.  It's doubled with mitred corners, a fold on the outside edge and sewed to the inside. 

Here's a picture showing a little of the back.  It looks very nice on both sides, eliminates all rolling, and squares up the blanket, but you have to do a lot of sewing, around all four sides on the knit side of the blanket and then all around the purl side as well.  You have to kitchener the beginning to the end of the edging, too.  I spent far more time sewing up than knitting, but I like to sew and I like how it looks!

I like this generous-sized blanket a lot, and now I have my demonstration for Knit Natters this weekend.  I'll do the demo on the LK-150, which is so nicely portable.

Inspiration at Vanda's Blog

Look at this beautiful surplice baby top:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Inspiration at Tathy

I like the sassy green crochet dress very much!

Helping Colombian Orphans thru Machine Knitting

Jane, who is another knitter in Austin, and who serves on the board of the nonprofit Friends of Colombian Orphans (FOCO) met me at my office Thursday, and we went to lunch.  I enjoyed spending a little time getting to know Jane and lunching away from the office. 

Jane and her story inspired me.  I often link to websites with beautiful knitted things, and I mention "inspiration," but just wait until you see the FOCO website!

Jane explained that Colombia has a shocking number of homeless orphaned children, a greater percentage than anywhere else in the Americas.  So many of these little ones have lost their parents to endless war, and they live in desperate poverty - "first world" people can hardly comprehend such hunger and privation.  She says the locals are used to seeing uncared-for, homeless children on the streets every day. 

Jane adopted a Colombian daughter, and as she and her husband experienced conditions there during the adoption process, they began to wonder how they could help more Colombian orphans. 

At the orphanages, IF the children are very lucky, they learn some sort of vocational skill to help them escape an endless cycle of poverty.  FOCO has established a program in one of the orphanages that gives these beautiful girls and boys a chance to learn machine knitting, a valuable vocational skill, so that when they are sixteen years old and leave the orphanage's care, they can find work as production knitters. 

FOCO provides a machine knitting teacher on-site at an orphanage in Bogota and a dedicated knitting room with Brother and Silver Reed machines.   They are constantly exploring ideas to make the program more effective, dealing with all sorts of challenges, like obtaining machines, good yarn, sufficient instruction, funding, and on and on. They're determined to do their best for these kids, and have done wonderful work with few resources. 

Below is a picture of the children having a fashion show in garments knitted by the older children on Brother and Silver Reed knitting machines.  These kids are very talented, enthusiastic knitters, and I hope you'll go look at the website - in particular, there are more fashion show photos at  And, while you're over there, click around, check out FOCO, and think about whether you can help these children, too.