Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Every year I force myself (because it really is not my thing) to make a blanket.  Sometimes the result is a decorative throw,  sometimes a lap blanket.  There were a precious few baby blankets.  And the occasional big afghan. 

This year, I set out to knit for a family member.  The original post (with directions) is in this post.  The design is a simple garter rib that looks manly and is totally reversible so that no matter how he tosses it around, it will look worthy of my time.  Not that I think he will be less than gentle.  It's just that most men in my extended family are not known for their ability to decoratively arrange pillows, let alone know how to artfully toss and display a loving hands creation.

 I call it DeConstructed because I am so fed up with camo themed yarn that holding another strand of the stuff cause me to shudder.  So, I deconstructed the colors down to green and brown and got on with the knitting.

Once again - in case you did not click over to the original post - I offer the reversible beauty of garter rib.  It looks great on the obverse.

And it looks fabulous on the reverse.  So good in fact that it is doing the stitches a dishonor to call one side reverse and the other obverse.  The look is that interchangeable.

Finally, the last section of brown is coming to life.  Then it is only the ending section of green and this 2013 blanket will be completed. 

This is a good time to confess that due to my lack of internal fortitude, three different yarns are now hiding in a project bag on the dark side of the stash closet.  It is looking like 2014 will be a tad blue.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Twirly Swirly

This is my new twirly swirly shawl pin.  Perhaps you should click the  photo so as to more clearly see how beautiful it is.  What follows is the story of how I acquired this new piece of sparkle.

I have friends who knit. I have friends who crochet.  I have friends who spin.    I have friends who design.  I have friends who weave.  I have friends who teach one or more of the above.  (Yes, there is a theme)

The odd thing that happens to creative artsy people is that they sometimes veer off into other modes of expression that have nothing to do with fiber.  Hard to believe - but 'tis true.  Take me for instance.  I think that I can write a good yarn.  Therefore I keep trying to spin these rambling stories and you keep reading with the hope that one day I will write something that is worthy of the time you spend reading it.

It is not like that with friend Ana.  Everything this talented woman tries ends well!  She knits, she designs, she teaches, she writes, she dyes yarn, she. . . .  You get the idea.  So, one day Ana decided to take a jewelry making class.  What happens?  Perfection.  Right out of the starting block, she creates lovely things.  (Does her mind ever take a rest??) 

Last weekend, at a guild meeting, she is carrying around a little zippered pouch.

"What do you have there?"  asked Lenora.
"Oh, some wire stuff," she casually replied.

"Can I see it?"
"OK.  Let's go over to the counter and lay it out.  I'm trying to design shawl pins."

My eyes almost leap out of my head.  Trying?  Trying!  Lady, you got it in one.  Fabulous shawl pins, perfect for controlling my humble knits.  I chose, according to Ana, a plain one.   She has others that capture a felted ball within the top part.  Those are fun and jazzy.  I can't wait to discover what she dreams up next. 

While I have direct access to the source, it is possible that in the near future these hand made shawl pins will be available at the every friendly The Knitting Tree LA.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short Memory

Forget Washie.  I'm quite over her.  Meet my new best friend.

 This is Miss Scrubby Dubby.  She is a sturdy gal due to her internal fortitude of TSS

The double pass of Tunisian crochet is too thick for delicate projects, but it is perfect for something that will be used and abused like an afghan, pillow, rug or wash cloth.

Both sides of the TSS field have texture.  Especially the reverse side which is all bumpy.  That textured cotton is ideal for gently washing skin.  Indeed, for some five or six years now, the only cleansing device (other than my hands) that touches my face is a hand made wash cloth. 

Like Washie before her, Miss Scrubby Dubby has my signature crochet chain edging that wads up into a brilliant buffing ball of cotton and then dries quickly for the next use.

Even before her first use, I am looking at MSD and thinking that perhaps she does not want to live in the bath where it is sometimes dark and lonely during the day.  Her bright happy yellow tint is perfect for the sunshine.

Just look at her edging!  Absolutely lovely and ready to live under a window in the sunshine.  Yes, I do think that MSD wants to live an active and rigorous live in the swimming pool known as the kitchen sink.  She will be perfect for a life twirling around glassware and removing evidence of too much coffee from the mugs.

Welcome to my world, Miss Scrubby Dubby!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Washed Up

Definition of washed up (thanks to Urban Dictionary)

     Something that has once had it's peak of greatness far too long ago, and is now still being over used,. . . . . even though it's gotten extremely old, bland, worn out, and is just sad to still see around.

 Exhibit A (offered as evidence that definition above is accurate).
My favorite organic cotton washcloth, crocheted from the fertile imagination of yours truly is all washed up.  Click the photo and look to the red indicators for visual proof.  

After 2+ years of faithful service to my face, Washie is, well, all washed up.  She is ragged around the edges.  Her cotton is starting to look fulled - if that is even possible.  She is old, bland, worn out and it is just sad to see her still around.

Please understand that Washie is not my only face cloth.  There are many others.  But she has been favored above all.  Once I hit on the idea of simple chain fluffery around the edges, my wash/dish cloth making efforts produced better results.

All of the frills do make Washie very feminine.  Never would I do this for a man.  But that edging becomes a great exfoliating soft scrubber when wadded up and liberally applied in circular motions.  It works on the face, the legs and other body parts. Yes, it is time to retire Washie from her service to self.  

So long, faithful friend.  You will be missed.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Little Ends

Using up stash is a good thing.  Using up little bits of stash is also a good thing.  Perhaps my new scarf should be named Good Thing.  That would be appropriate.  However, I refer to it as Little Ends.

 Little Ends because when knitting with lots of little bits of color means that there are lots of little ends to weave and snip.

A L.O.T of little ends.

Doing this much weaving and snipping is not high on my list of ways to spend a lazy afternoon.  Eagle-eyed viewers will see that round wad of golden foil in the upper left corner of the photo.  That, gentle reader, is the remains of the chocolate that I ate so as to keep my concentration focused and my fingers energized.  It took a lot of chocolate.

In the end (pun intended) a colorful scarf was born.  This one is for casual wearing - perfect for jeans on a crisp morning.

It is a study in color.  It is a study in reversible stitch work.  It is functional - - and full of Little Ends.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Color My World

Holes.  What is it about knitting or crocheting a hole that thrills me so?  Well, technically one does not knit or crochet a hole.  Technically one knits or crochets stitches that leave a blank space, aka hole. 

 These holes are a major design element of Color Craving from the nimble mind of designer Stephen West.  I participated in the Mystery KAL which brought a whole new twist to the project.  While there was video support for some of the tricks involved, there was no photo released during the phased pattern release.

And it was fun!

Yarn choice was left up to each knitter.  I chose La Jolla from Baah!  If you are making your Holiday Wish List, put this yarn at the top.  Utter perfection.  As in perfect yarn.  Skeins that do not get all tangly when you wind them.  Yarn that glides through your fingertips and slides into stitches with nary a hiccup.  Colors that make your skin glow.  Can you tell that I love me some Baah!?

If you plan to knit the unusual triangle, be warned that the final blocked shawl is "of a size."  It is huge in one direction.  There is plenty of stitch work to wrap around a person in a multiple of unique ways. 

See for yourself how tall/long it is.  Easily over six feet.  Much of that is a gradually narrowing point to the triangle.  Don't go thinking that the narrow end will keep you warm.  That narrow part is best put to use as accent for the larger field of stripes, holes, and color bands.

 I love this piece of art.  I love it so much that it went on an outing to the theater before I shared it with you.  Only after I wore it, did I allow she who crochets to touch it and serve as model once again.

This is one that I will make again - - as soon as I rush out to get more Baah!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nola - Accent On Heritage

The older I become, the more that family history and culture soften my heart.  During my teens and early twenties, a constant dream was leaving Louisiana.  I just wanted out of that farm and oil way of life and to experience the world.  My dream can true.  I left Louisiana in the late 70s and have never looked back.  My Dave loves the world and has friends in far flung places.  So we travel, take a rest, and then plan the next outing.

Now, approaching yet another birthday, it seems that my thoughts and my heart long for a hefty dose of HOME once or twice a year.  We still love our dual homes in California - one on the west side of Los Angeles and one in the desert.  We just returned from Barcelona and will be headed to India at the end of the year.  And in between?  Yep, a trip back to the home of my youth for a hefty dose of family and real culture.

Meet Nola.  Nola is a narrow accent scarf with a hefty dose of Louisiana that gives her some character.  You might think that Nola is named for New Orleans, LA.  She sure looks like that could be the case.

But Nola is named for my youth.  Miss Nola did for our across the street neighbors.  She practically raised all the kids on the block.  Nola would make the best popcorn - huge bowls of the stuff.  And then fuss at us for eating too much and "ruining our dinner."  Nola would kick us outside when we made too much noise.  And then wonder where we were.  Oh, freedom.  Small town Louisiana in the 1960s was a time of open back doors, knowing not to ride your bike too far without telling someone and neighborhood kids who fought real fights and then stayed friends.

Some days I miss living immersed in my Louisiana heritage:
- where the term "double first cousin" is part of every family
- where home cooking means that your gumbo tastes different than your neighbor's gumbo
- where a well placed nap is a thing of value
- where going for a ride is a perfectly acceptable family activity
- where azaleas grow bigger than a man and so do the tomatoes
- where memories sustain your for a lifetime.

So, this little scarf is Nola.  Like so many residents of Louisiana, she is a blend of cultural backgrounds.  The yarn is Legong from Mango Moon.  It is hand spun in Indonesia. The metal fleur de lis was found at a bead show in Pasadena, CA.  And an aging Cajun from Eunice, LA combined the two to create a reminder of her foundation in family and culture. 

Life.  A strange and twisty journey.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Knitting Dimension

Finishing the afghan square for the group effort charity project consumed me.  A breezy afternoon combined with stupid television programs that did not require much attention and VOILA!

The texture that was developing from the alternating rows and the crisp mitered corners made me want to keep going to find out how it all would turn out.  Working from the outside inward meant that each round took progressively less time.  And then, almost before I was ready, it was time to work a bit of weaving on the live stitches to make the center star.

All in all this was a wonderful and relaxing few hours of knitting.  These square patterns would be great for learning or practicing techniques.  There are decreases, double increases, slipped stitches and just a wee bit of counting. 

Are you fascinated?  The booklet can be downloaded here.