Halvorsen 3

I love this treadling variation.  (4,3,2,1,4,1,2,3) I may do the 4th towel with it rather than the 4th variation included in the book. (4,3,4,2,1,2)  I want to finish by tomorrow morning for my guild study group meeting.  I have caused myself a time crunch because I spent some unweaving time  yesterday. I had made 2 treadling errors in towel #2 and contemplated keeping that towel for myself and leaving the mistakes in. But, I decided to heed my own advice, I would rather keep a towel that didn’t have a mistake, so bit the bullet and unwove.  I wasted time over the weekend not weaving most of Saturday and all of Sunday because I couldn’t make myself go on with the mistake in, and I didn’t want to unweave.  It only took me about 20 minutes to unweave the 4 or 5 inches yesterday and much less than that to reweave.  I should have done it right away.  The towels would be finished by now if I had.

I need to leave to teach a rigid heddle class soon at the LYS and that will cut into my weaving time tonight.  Its a good thing I get up early with my son in the morning.  Hopefully I can push through and finish then before I need to leave at 9:30.  I used fusible thread in my hems, so a quick iron on the ends and I can take the cloth along to study group with out fear.  Washing,  cutting apart and hemming of the towels can wait until after the meeting.

I was there this morning teaching a knitting class.  I love my knitting classes.  It is so gratifying to see how successful people feel the first time they use increases and decreases to make something shaped like a hat in the round, rather than a rectangle or square.  Many people knit for years without going beyond the rectangle.  In my hat class not only do they use shaping, but they learn to knit on a circular needle and a set of 4 double pointed needles.  Such a simple project that creates skill and confidence when they complete it.

Everyone in the class wants to make a sweater now, so that will start in two weeks!




User Error

1 thread in dent

Yes the auto reed hook kept me from skipping a dent yesterday, but it didn’t prevent user error. You can see in the picture above slightly left of center what the problem is.  I got my whole warp sleyed and tied on, then it was time to check for issues. I treadled some plain weave sheds and I examined the sheds from the front of the loom. Each dent should have two threads and when treadling the plain weave shed, one in each should move up and the other stay down. But, I saw an empty dent when I treadled the sheds. With the shed closed and flat, I hadn’t noticed it, but two of the dents only had one thread in each instead of two. When I raised a shed, the thread in one of the dents that only had one thread stayed down and there was a one dent gap. Fortunately the dents with one thread each were right next to each other. I contemplated leaving it, but it could leave a reed mark in the finished cloth. Since it was only about 4 inches away from the left selvedge, I fixed it and  resleyed those 4 inches.  If it had been in the middle, I probably still would have fixed it and resleyed 11 inches of warp.

I also looked into the sheds from the side and found 2 threads in the middle of the shed. I had twisted them between the heddles and reed. So I marked the threads with a piece of red string from a thrum and located the bout and untied it. I traced the threads back and sorted them out, resleyed them and retied the bout.

I  always look for problems before I start weaving.  That is the best time to fix things.  I don’t want to go through all the work that it takes to weave something only to have a flaw in the finished product that I was too lazy to fix.

I am like this with my knitting too. If I can fix it, I do.  I have been know to rip out almost completed knitting projects.  My philosoply is that if the mistake will bother me, I won’t want to wear it or give it to the person it is intended for.  I like knitting and I like weaving so ripping out or unweaving may take me a little longer to get that particular project finished, but I still get to knit or weave and will like the sock or the towel better.

DownhillSee this sock , it was a project I started last year during the winter Olympics. Shortly after this picture was taken, I ripped it out even though there were no errors in the knitting. I tried it on, and it was really tight. I didn’t take into consideration how the twisted stitches would affect the stretch of finished sock leg and they were intended for me. My daughter who has thinner legs said she probably would not wear them. I still had one sock to go, so I ripped. I want something that fits.

I will restart them on dpns (2.25 mm) for the leg with the same number of stitches. That will give a little more stretch. Then when I get to the foot, I will switch to two circular needles, one for the top of the foot in size 2.5 mm needles and stick with my usual 2 mm(US size 0) for the bottom of the foot. That should do the trick.

Meanwhile, I do have other socks on the needles.  I am trying to weave during the day and knit in the evenings, but have instead been working on weaving into the evenings since my days have been interrupted here and there by normal life.

Well, now its back to the loom to finish the last inch of resleying and hopefully to start weaving.


Handy Dandy

Handy Dandy Mitts

I have knit a couple pairs of these Slip-Stitch Fingerless Mitts now, and I think I have my pattern perfected.  I am going to send the pattern off to a test knitter or two and see if they can follow my instructions.  Hopefully it will be ready for sale soon.

Summer Slips Away

Yarn for slippersI have been teaching a bit this summer along with caring for kids, my own son and nieces and nephews.  As summer draws to a close, I will miss them all when they go back to school, but happy to have some of my time back.  I taught a private weaving lesson, an continental knitting lesson and a stripes and floats scarf in May.  June was a little quieter on the teaching front, but I had a beginner rigid heddle and a a second private weaving lesson in July.

Before school starts, though, we have a family vacation planned  to Savannah and Tybee Island in Georgia.  My great-uncle is turning 80 in early August and lives in Savannah.  We will visit while we are there, so I thought a warm pair of slippers would make a great gift.  I think I will use three colors.  A medium brown for the outer sole, a light brown for the upper, and a a paprika for the inner sole to add a little “wow” to them.  My plan it to knit them this week and felt them to custom fit after we arrive.

All Twisted Up

As a knitting teacher, I often have students that are unknowingly twisting their stitches. I had one yesterday.  They may be new knitters who just didn’t quite catch the instruction to wrap counterclockwise, but some have been knitting this way for many years and just don’t realize it.   New knitters are very willing to try to make the changes to knit in a standard way. Longtime knitters take the news harder since that muscle memory has become so ingrained, its difficult to change.

There are usually two main causes of twisted stitches.  One is wrapping the working yarn clockwise (instead of counterclockwise) around the needle when making knit and/or purl stitches and the other in knitting into the back loop.  I hate tell them they are knitting wrong, but call it nonstandard instead.  In some cultures they always wrap clockwise, but compensate by knitting into the back leg on the following row.   You can wrap the yarn clockwise OR knit into the back leg all you want, but if you don’t do both, some or all of your stitches will be twisted.  When you come to decreases or increases that call for knitting into the back loop, you have to do the opposite.  Lace instructions can become totally confusing since decreases and yarn overs are what make the pattern, and having to reverse everything mentally before you do it can get tiresome.  Twisted stitches can really affect your knitting in a bad way if that is not what the pattern designer had in mind when creating the pattern.  Twisted stitches are tighter to knit into and make a more rigid fabric.  In ribbing they stand out.  There are many lovely patterns that include twisted stitches on purpose such as my current socks in progress (which did not get finished during the Olympics) or Bavarian style sock patterns,  but you need to know how not to twist your stitches if twisted stitches will not give you the desired fabric.

I had often heard that twisted ribbing for socks and hats will make the ribbing stretchier, but what I read in Principles of Knitting indicated otherwise.  So I decided I would swatch (yes, that dreaded word) to really find out.  Below is some k1,p1 ribbing  made with normal knits and purls (on the bottom), and twisted knits and purls for twisted ribbing (on the top).  twisted rib swatch

The twisted stitches on the top have an attractive look, but as you can see, the swatch flares out more than the standard k1,p1 ribbing at the bottom which in which have pulled in together so well that you can’t even see the purls between the knits. So a twisted stitch fabric will be wider than you expect.  It doesn’t recover from being stretched out as well  and won’t cling as well to the leg or head for the cuff of the sock or hat, plus it is stiffer.  So, twisted stitches may or may not be what you want, but you need to know the difference and how to make them or not depending on the circumstance.
sock leg



In the case of my Olympic sock, the patterning has a strong undulating line of twisted stitches in it, but most stitches are not twisted.  The twisted ones give a raised texture and they stand out from the fabric a little more.  The pattern called for twisted rib at the top for the cuff as well, but based on my swatches, I chose a standard (not twisted) k1, p1 rib instead and only twisted stitches in the patterned part of the sock. 



It’s All Downhill from here

DownhillThe eye-of-partridge maneuver was eliminated from the event due to in-elasticity at the ankle and a slip stitch heel was performed instead.   The heel turn was executed with precision and the gusset has been fully decreased.  It is all downhill from the instep to the toe, and then the second half of the pair will commence with that leg.  The times must be faster in the second half, or the knitter will fall behind the pace needed to finish ahead of the competition.

Leg One of Event is Complete

First Leg of Scok

Our intrepid knitter has completed the first leg of the Rumpelstiltskin sock event at these winter games, and despite the twists, turns and holes the course has thrown her way, she has completed an error free run so far.  Next up is the heel portion of the first sock.  In this segment of the event there are new obstacles and the knitter may perform a bit of free-style to impress the judges by attempting an eye-of-partridge heel rather than the standard slip-stitch heel that most other competitors will do. Stayed tuned for further updates as the games continue.

Let the Games Begin!


Every four years, knitters around the glproject readyobe band together over the internet via social networking to conduct the Knitting Games which coincide with the Winter Olympics.  The basic premise is to choose a project that is a personal challenge in some way, to cast on during the opening ceremony and to finish before the closing.  My challenge this year is a pair of Rumpelstiltskin socks in a very cheery red colorway of Knitpicks Stroll Tonal sock yarn, with size 0, double pointed knitting needles.  An average pair of socks contains about 34,000 stitches.  If I knit about 4850 stitches a day, I should be able to finish.  The challenge is to find the time….

Wool = Love

clog slippersI have found the best way to my let my kids know how much I love them, is to let them know I thought about them in some way.  For my daughter it usually involves chocolate. I buy my daughter a really dark chocolate bar when I am at Trader Joe’s or the frozen chocolate croissants that we defrost and let raise overnight and bake for breakfast together.  My oldest son likes when I can get  a nice dress shirt or tie on clearance.  Their favorite supper or dessert  is always a hit. The second oldest son likes leftovers from Sunday supper that I package into lunches for him for a couple of days after he goes back to his college apartment.  My eleven year old is especially easy, spaghetti with meat sauce is his favorite meal and you would have though I hung the moon when I found a box of white chocolate covered caramels.  One thing they have in common is that they ALL love warm feet, and they know that I think about them when I make them something.  I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with their craving of wool socks in the winter, so I supplement with some store bought ones and those are their favorite stocking stuffers.  A couple of years ago I made them each a pair of felted wool slippers and they all wear them (husband included), all the time.  So far they are holding up pretty well for the third season.  My youngest has just started to get big holes in the first layer of the sole as you can see in the picture, but since he has outgrown them, I have to knit a new pair anyway.  His requested colors this time are silver and gold.  I have gotten the first one knit and will make the other one this week.  Then I need to shrink them down (no his feet haven’t grown that much) in hot water in my washing machine .  They fit just right when I am finished.

If you need a quick Christmas gift, they are the perfect thing. They knit up fast and everyone I know who has made them swears how much they are loved.  Even though the pattern is very well written it can be a bit tricky the first time you knit it, especially if you are unfamiliar with reading a multi-sized pattern, decreases, short rows and picking up stitches.  I have a class coming up at Silk Road Textiles beginning November 17.  If you can cast on, knit, purl and bind off comfortably, you can lean to make these and have them be the big hit under the Christmas tree too.

Time to Knit!

Yarn ClockIn July, my two oldest children told me that they were moving out.  I was sad and worried for about ten minutes, then I realized, that I could have a whole room to use as a studio for my fiber art.  I took out the ratty rug and cleaned up the hardwood floor, painted the wall with the color “Fuzzy Sheep” by PPG Porter Paints and moved in my weaving equipment, spinning wheels, book shelf,  books, yarn and sewing machine.  I am trying to decorate with items that have meaning.  I put up some of my children’s artwork and a photograph that a friend took and matted of downtown Cincinnati at night. Then I needed a clock and remembered a project I had seen a few months ago and though was really cute.  It took me about two hours to knit it up once I found the correct clock.  I dug out my scraps of worsted weight wool and wool blends, cast on 10 stitches with a provisional cast on, and changed colors at random on the same side, just tying the ends together.   I knit until it looked like it would fit, grafted the beginning to the end. (Grafting garter is just as easy as stockinette, just a little different.) Did a single crochet border on one side and ran a length of cotton yarn down the other side to cinch it together on the back of the clock.   I tucked in all the loose ends at the back of the clock–no need to weave them in.  Now I just need to find more time to knit (and weave and spin) .

Christmas in July!

Now is the time to start thinking about knitting for Christmas gifts. Based on my personal experience, waiting until November is not a good idea.  I have lined up  some classes at Silk Road Textiles that make quick and easy gifts for Christmas or anytime!  We are doing the favorites: Felted Clog Slippers, Mobius Scarf, Toe Up Socks, A Simple Hat, Rigid Heddle Houndstooth Scarf plus two new ones, a felted bag and the hottest trending pattern on Ravelry, the Pop Blanket.


Check out the list of upcoming classes




TNNA Recap

Just got home from TNNA where I suffered from camnesia (forgetting I had a camera), so I have no pictures.  It was an overwhelming experience with the amount of yarn and related knitting stuff to see.  Amy and I met Casey of Ravelry and I got to see Cat Bordhi spin yarn by rolling it around on the floor.

Not many yarn samples were given out (darn!). But I cam home with lots of  small fiber samples and a Louet drop spindle kit that I won in the silent auction (I outbid Annie Modesitt by $5) and got a spindle, 1/2 of roving and a sample of Soak wool wash for a $15 bid!    I had 2 great classes with Sally Melville (of The Knit Stitch series of  books) Class 1 was on Intarsia.  Class Two was multiple ways to carry 2 yarns for Fair Isle knitting–one yarn in each hand, both in right, both in left, and the Andean method (where you strand the yarn around your neck and manage the working yarn with your left thumb)  purling all the stitches in the round.   The Andean method was new to me and works really well.   I knew most of her tricks already, so its good to be validated in my self taught ways, and it was great to see how someone who is a professional teacher manages a classroom and approaches the methods with the students.

I also had a class with Lorilee Beltman on continental knitting.  She does it slightly different than me, so again its good to have another approach and to feel like I can handle a class of 10 or more people learning something new.

So, off to soak my feet think about more class ideas for Silk Road Textiles!  They have a bunch of new yarn coming in soon too!


I am going to The National Needlearts Association trade show this weekend for my first time.  I am really looking forward to it.  I am taking 3 classes from nationally recognized teachers so that I can learn how to teach them to others better.  I will post a couple of times over the weekend if I can.  I can’t wait to see all the exhibits and am meeting with Schact to discuss becoming a dealer of Rigid Heddle looms!

Just a little off the top…

Here is the stocking for the other nephew that needed major correction.  stocking with no name






In this case, it was operator error.  I forgot to leave a place to duplicate stitch his name.  The chart has a heart and holly leaves, and says to leave it blank if you are going to add the name afterward.  I just blindly followed the chart this time.  You can see that I have already threaded the circular needle below the heart and leaves in preparation to cut the top of the finished stocking off.  The stocking is knit cuff down and has a hem, so the trick this time is that I need to knit upwards and make the hem going the opposite direction it is normally knit it.

You only need to snip one stitch above the “lifeline” and unravel around.

Snip one stitch
Snip one stitch



Unravel Around
Unravel Around







The top is removed and ready to put on the correct needle and to be re-knit the opposite direction.

Rag Top
Rag Top










After re-knitting, the named wss duplicate stitched and the stocking was hung by the chimney with care.



My Dog Ate My Knitting

Well, not my dog exactly,  my brother’s dog chewed a hole in the Christmas stocking I made for my nephew so I had to do surgery.

I threaded two smaller circular needles into the stitches above and below the hole to act as lifelines to prevent unraveling when I cut it in half (just like a tourniquet stops bleeding from a severed limb).

The Tourniquet
The Tourniquet








I cut out the whole section of knitting where the hole was.

The Amputation









I re-knit the section and grafted the two halves together.

The Transplant and Suturing









All finished and almost as good as new.

Successful Surgery









I also knit a stocking for his brother for his first Christmas last year that was not without its own problms.   No dog involved in that one, just a huge chart reading error on my part.  I always tell my students that the only reason I know how to fix mistakes is because I make them all the time.

In a Fix

Mistakes are a part of knitting.   You are, after all, making thousands of stitches for even small projects–there are at least 6,000 stitches in one adult sized sock and quite possibly more depending on your gauge and the size of the foot.  I don’t know anyone who is perfect enough not to make a mistake over that many stitches.    Some mistakes can be left in if they don’t affect the wear-ability or the stability of the  structure of the finished object.  Other times mistakes must be fixed, occasionally that includes ripping out and restarting, especially if the garment is not going to fit (gauge matters).  Most of the time, if I find a mistake in my work, I fix it, even if it is only a small cosmetic problem.   I will ruthlessly rip out just as I did in the sock in the previous post, when there is no other way to fix what is wrong.  Dropped stitches can be picked up, missed decreases/increases can be fixed even a few rows later without to much fuss and even mistakes in cables and lace can be fixed many rows later.  There is no harm in trying, the worst that can happen is that you mess up the fix and have to rip out part, or all and start over.

fixing lace

Here is a picture of a fix in process on a baby blanket I knit a few years ago.  I don’t remember the exact problem, but it was probably a misplaced yarn over or k2tog that I didn’t notice until I was about 6 rows past.  I knit over to the section of stitches where the error was, dropped down the 11 stitches in that repeat of the pattern to the row where I needed to make the correction, picked them up on a needle and then reknit each row of the repeat using the strands behind.    It’s easier to do something like this using needles a size smaller that what you were knitting the project with and a circular needle or dpn so that you can do all the work on the right side by sliding the needles back and forth.

Want to see another?

Fixing feather and fan

This one was a problem in a feather and fan lace patterned blanket called the Hemlock Ring.  You can see the chart laying behind the project.  I had to drop about 40 stitches down 10 or 12 rows to fix this one.   It was actually a bit fun to do.  (I’m not sure what that says about me though).   Next time, we will talk about taking a scissors to the knitting in order to fix it.

To Infinity and Beyond Socks

galaxy socks by Dtkpmom
galaxy socks, a photo by Dtkpmom on Flickr.

These socks seemed like they were endless too. The yarn is Regia Galaxy and it looks like rings of Saturn if you get the correct gague when you knit. Needless to say, I worked hard to get the correct gauge and when I didn’t see the rings forming to my satisfaction, I would rip all or parts and start again, either knitting more loosely or more tightly. It didn’t help that I changed dpn between socks since I didn’t like the 5 inch ones I was using, and even though I stayed on US size 0 needles, the change made a difference. Finally though I am ready to take out the waste yarn and knit the afterhthought heel. Hopefully they will be finished soon.

I’m a little bit biased…

but I think it’s really pretty.

Bias Loop Scarf
Bias Loop Scarf

This is made with 50 grams of Kidsilk Haze which is a kid mohair yarn.  This is one of the colorways designed by Kaffe Fasset and is self striping.  The cool thing about it is that it is knit flat  on the bias.  You begin with a provisional cast on.  (My favorite is the one where you crochet waste yarn over your knitting needle) then when you finish, you unzip the cast on and graft the 80 live stitches at the end to the beginning.  The first couple of stitches on the grafting were tricky, but then I got into an easy rhythm and it went smoothly (or at least as smoothly as grafting 80 stitches in mohair can go).  It is beautiful and warm.  See my Ravelry project for the details.

Weaving for Knitters


I had a great class this morning at Silk Road Textiles teaching Rigid Heddle Weaving.  It is another terrific way to use luscious knitting yarns and you can quickly make a scarf or other item.    Here are two students threading the heddles on the Cricket loom you get to use as part of the class fee.  They will take the looms home overnight to weave some more, and come back tomorrow to take the scarf of the loom and learn about finishing.  It’s a great way to get a taste of weaving and using a Rigid Heddle loom before buying one.