Sunday, September 17, 2017

September's Video: Scrubbie

This might be the easiest, fastest project I've ever put up as a video:  A quick little kitchen scrubbie to knit.  This is using Red Heart Scrubby Sparkle yarn.

Note:  Don't use the regular Scrubby yarn.  Scrubby Sparkle runs smoothly through LK150, Studio 860, and Brother 350 machines as well as bulky knitting machines.  I've even gotten it through a standard gauge machine on every other needle, just keeping a close eye on it.  I haven't tried the regular Scrubby myself, but it looks much too lumpy for our machines. 

This pattern is for the mid-gauge machine, but you can also make it over the same number of stitches and a medium tension on your bulky machine.

This is a little kick-back, no worries project.  Once you're worked this through once, you can probably make one faster than you can watch the video, and when you sew it up, you don't need to worry about perfect seams because the eyelash yarn covers any irregularities.  To These make cute little gifts for Secret Santa or "just because."

I ended the video with a brief overview of the mid-gauge book, which is the book that contains the scrubbie. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Book & DVDs Available - Mid-Gauge Mastery

I recently finished my new book & DVD set, Mid-Gauge Mastery:  Fun Projects for Any Mid-Gauge Knitting Machine.   The set consists of a 33-page book and two DVDs.

This one took me quite a long time, because it was a large project.  It actually has 13 different projects, and the edited video lessons (detailed instructions on how to make the items) are over five hours long and took two DVDs.

Rather like The Goldilocks Challenge, this is a progressive project book.  That is, if you're looking for materials to teach a friend to knit, or you're wanting to learn to knit and actually get some nice knits made, this book starts with very easy projects and then moves up to more challenging and more interesting items.  I think that even experienced knitters will find some new ideas here!

The book starts with three afghans - a baby blanket with three panels, with a "worm join" and a "worm edge."  Did you know you can use the worm for a join?  Next, there's a fancier baby blanket with strings of hearts joining and edging the panels.  The third afghan is a great stash-buster, gift or charity project - it uses several thin, industrial cone yarns and a plying technique to quickly make a giant, "man-sized" afghan.  The panels are joined using a beautiful sew-as-you-go cable join, and then the blanket is edged with a cable edging.

I put in a fast kitchen scrubbie made from Red Heart Scrubby yarn.  I like this sparkly, colorful stuff, and I've found that if I give these away, people ask for more of them.  You won't believe how quickly these make up, in just a very few minutes.

The Diagonal Mid-Gauge Scarf is a warm, doubled scarf made with an easy but very interesting bias technique.  With this little project, I teach seaming and grafting.  I made mine with a beautiful self-striping alpaca-blend yarn, which results in bias striping patterns without any extra ends to hide. My friend zipped over to the store and tried out two of the other color ways of that same yarn, and we loved them all.

I have a big triangle shawl with a hand-tooled lace edge.  I start from the skinny points and work to the wide area, then do a graft.  This results in a terrific mitered lace for the bottom corner.  Here's a closeup of that corner.

My baby set consists of a raglan pullover, baby pants, and a hat.  These are great fun to make, and I admit that I lost count of how many raglan pullovers I made before I realized I was through testing and simply holding up publication.  The little pullovers are fast to make, and cover most of the techniques you need for basic sweater making.  I have three neckline options - a lapped neckline, a mitered neckline, and a scalloped collar neckline to go with the girly baby pants.  My girlie baby set uses scalloped hems in pink and was one of my favorite finished items.

The ear flap hat has child-to-adult sizes.  I was hoping this would be an outstanding charity hat because it has the extra warm, doubled, short-rowed ear flaps.  I did the shaped top of the hat two ways - the garter bar method for perfectionists and a quicker, needles out of work shortcut method.

The baby kitty hat is the earflap hat with kitten ears and an embroidered face.  This was another addictive little project; I just kept making and making them.  Cute kid, huh?  It's a baby doll.

There's a mitten, too, in seven sizes, with a shaped palm and a very comfortable thumb easily attached with more sew-as-you-go tricks.  Just for fun, you can make the Felted Oven Mitt by knitting a big size loosely with a feltable wool and felt it down in your washing machine to the fit and thickness you want. 

The most advanced project in the book is a sew-as-you-go sock - yes, a sock on your mid-gauge!  I have had so many requests from readers for a mid-gauge sock, and I had been concerned about getting a successful sock even though the mid-gauge can't make tiny stitches.  This is a nice sock if you're looking for a thicker sock.  Ordinary sock yarn is going to be a bit too thin; you'll need the heavier kind.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Surprise! There are openings at the Grand Rapids Area Machine Knitting Seminar!

I just heard from Vicki at Grand Rapids, and they have some open spaces for the seminar this coming weekend.  This is sort notice, but a great opportunity to attend a machine knitting seminar and make a bunch of knitting friends.

I'm teaching Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8th and 9th, and am very excited about teaching at this one.  It's a little smaller group, and I'll be able to cover more and get to know people more.  I worked with the club to choose this schedule of classes:
  • A thorough garter bar class - this is not your ordinary garter bar class.  I teach how to do some unusual, very cool things with it.
  • A lace clinic, which will include my automatic scalloped lace, along with a number of other interesting techniques, like slant lace and mirror lace.
  • A bunch of cheaters and tricks, like setting in a sleeve as you knit it, the "practically perfect gauge swatch," Knit Leader tips, all kinds of interesting edges and joins. 
  • I'm also doing a ribber workshop.  I don't get to do these very often, but with this smaller group, I've got some fun ribber items planned.
  • I've got a 28-page, coil bound handout book which has a big pile of bonus materials this time - Kitty Hat, Heart Pillow, The popular foldover edge tuck baby blanket, Squared Away Entrelac, Scrubbie, and Diagonal Mid-Gauge Scarf.  I'll teach as many of these as time allows, but if I don't get to all the goodies, they're in the book.
Attend just one day for $40, or attend both days for $75.  Here's the club information - do consider calling them and registering to go!

Please contact and let her know which or both days you plan to attend, and you can pay the club's seminar fee when you arrive.
Workshop Location:
First Reformed Church of Byron Center     
8425 Byron Center Avenue; Byron Center, MI 49315
This is a ground level space that provides easy access for everyone.

Including lunch made by Sara!

Here are are the details Vicki will need when you contact her: 
  1. Whether you're attending September 8 ($40), September 9 ($40), of both days ($75).  Friday the 8th will run from 8:30-4, and Saturday the 9th, 8:30-3.
  2. Do you have a special diet?  If so, explain what you need.
If you need a hotel, Vicki suggests the Comfort Suites South, 7644 Caterpillar Court; Grand Rapids, MI 49548, (616) 301-2255 (make reservation by phone).
Are you in the area and not connected with a knitting club?  Consider the Grand Rapids Area Machine Knitters.  They meet the second Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. at the Kentwood Senior Center, 355 48th Street, Grand Rapids, MI.  Marcia Zysltra is the contact for meetings, and can be emailed at

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Quick Update

Hey, friends, my little family are just fine.  We're in North Austin, and we had several rainy days and wind, a few downed trees, but no problems.  We're about 200 miles from the really big trouble.  It was really strange to have blue sky and puffy little clouds here while it continued to pour and pour on eastern Texas.

I didn't actually realize right away that our out of state friends were concerned about us. It was a busy week, at the office with meetings and deadlines, some evening meetings, and next weekend, I'm teaching in Grand Rapids.  I know it's going to be an incredibly fun seminar.  They've already been wonderful as we have been setting up the seminar.

Houston is an enormous, growing city of over 2 million people, not even counting the many surrounding cities that are related economically many of which were devastated by the flooding.  The Houston area produces the lion's share of the economic growth in Texas, is filled with corporate headquarters and universities.  I can hardly fathom what it will take to rebuild, or the number of people affected, but I have great faith that we will see an incredible recovery.

I am not from Texas, but I've lived here since 1994, and you fall in love with the people here.  They are friendly, funny, generous, down-to-earth, hard-working, and loving.  I have a whole storehouse of personal memories of kindnesses Texans have done for our family over these years.  Some of them were small, like shop owners giving my boys a treat and refusing payment, and some were big, like the farmer who towed my son's car for hours from the countryside to a small town where he could get a transmission replaced.  Gosh, a gas station owner once trusted my college boy to pay for a tank of gas so he could get home, even refusing to phone us for a credit card number!  I'm always noticing Texans helping out frazzled parents or elderly folks without giving it a thought.  The friendliness and the politeness of the Texas culture makes every day more pleasant. 

Lots of people have traveled to the coast to help.  God bless everyone who has dropped his or her own life right now to help the afflicted! 

Austin is receiving many flood victims.  When Austin received Katrina victims, local people found many creative ways to help the individuals who came. Now our city has this new challenge, so pray for us, folks; not just for those hurt, but also for those of us who need to see how to help and then do it.