Fudging with a Pinch of Judicious Cheating

This fall, Classic Elite sponsored two Colorful KAL’s, one in linen stitch, and one in stranded work. I always like to play along and, since I never do stranding or fair isle if I can help it, I joined the linen stitch scarf KAL. (The free pattern is called Liberty Wool Linen Stitch Scarf, designed by Susan Mills.) The KAL was a blast and I am finished, although I must admit that a certain amount of fudging and cheating was involved. And so, even though I failed the colorful linen stitch KAL, I thought I would share my journey with you.

When I joined this KAL, I truly intended to make a small linen stitch cowl, suitable to gift one of my granddaughters this holiday. 6 skeins, or 3 each of two colors, would be a scarf, 8 in. by 72 in. My granddaughters are not very big. 2 each of two colors would finish into a scarf, 8 in. by 60 in. That’s still kind of big, so I decided to get 2 skeins of Liberty Wool, in 2 contrasting colors, figuring that a piece 8 in. by 30 in. would make a very nice cowl. I looked at the pattern picture some more, and concluded that an 8 inch tall cowl would be too big for a small person (my four granddaughters range in age from 3 to 10), so I cut the cast on stitches down to 37, and started linen stitching away.

Very quickly into the project (about 1 1/2 inches!) it was forcibly brought to my remembrance that (1) I don’t like to knit linen stitch and (2) even love for my granddaughters would never compel me to finish this project. 4 inches into the project, I realized that (1) I *hate* linen stitch and (2) I was ready to consign the project to a dark closet somewhere. And so it continued, inch by inch, until I had 9 inches of a linen stitch cowl, which I hated and didn’t want to finish. I was 10 days into the KAL.

That afternoon was a Saturday, and one of my daughters asked me to take her to the library. I took the KAL piece along and stared at it with loathing, front and back. It was then that I noticed by chance how much the back side of linen stitch looked like seed stitch. And so, I started knitting seed stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (Seed and linen stitch, wrong side).jpg

Well, after a couple of inches of that, (and it grew so quickly!!), I remembered how, when my youngest daughter was learning to knit, sometimes her seed stitch would shift sideways into a 1×1 rib, and I knit some ribbing. Then I thought of how a chart for ribbing, turned 90 degrees, is a chart for garter stitch, and I did some garter stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (seed;1x1 rib;garter stripes).jpg

Linen stitch is a slip stitch pattern, with the yarn floats in front. Mosaic stitch is a slip stitch pattern, with yarn floats in back. So I made two different mosaic stitch patterns:Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (mixed mosaic)Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (garter mosaic)

And some moss stitch:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (moss stitch)

And some eyelet variations:
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (mixed eyelets)

By then in was Sunday afternoon, and I was getting close to the end of my 2 contrasting skeins of yarn, so I reverted to linen stitch (which went much, much faster this time around, thank you very much!), so the two ends would be the same width, to make it easier to join together into a cowl.

And so, it is finished. 10 days for 9 inches of linen stitch, 1 day for an engaging stitch sampler. I plan to block it L–O–N–G, to straighten out the edges (the ribbing will need to be pinned side-to-side, even so):
Classic Elite Linen Stitch Scarf (preliminary blocking)

and then we will see what it really wants to be, cowl or scarf, holiday gift or not.

BTW, I love the yarn, Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool, in 2 colorways, worked in alternating 2 row stripes throughout.

And thus we see, I have failed the KAL. But I had an awful lot of fun while I was doing it!

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A Blanket a Day

by Lee Louise

I have knit and crocheted many blankets. For my mother, for my sisters, for various friends, for weddings and babies, for charity. I once took on an extended project, and crocheted an afghan a year for five years, one for each of my husband’s siblings as our family’s Christmas gift to their families in the Christmas “sibling rotation.”

Some time later, I decided that it would be fun to make an afghan for each of my own children as a high school graduation present, to take to college with them. I had done a similar thing once before, for my in-laws, why not for my own offspring? It was a grand plan, though sadly lacking in execution.

A year ago, the status of the plan went something like this:
1. Oldest child: Her afghan was finished in time frame as planned; she took it to college with her in 1995, and used it extensively in the cold Utah winters; she still uses it:1995 -- Sarah's afghan.jpgf

2. Second child: afghan semi-finished while she was an undergraduate in college; she chose a knitted afghan on big needles with 4 different yarns held together; I do not enjoy knitting with multiple strands of yarn — in fact, I seem to recall that I finished the knitting of it and handed it to her in an unbecoming fit of temper, and told her she would just have to finish the ends herself. Still unfinished, it perished in a fire a few years ago, along with all of her other worldly possessions. I think she needs another afghan, but not until this first cycle is complete.
3. Third child: finished the afghan about the time her second child was born; she already had a Master’s degree in collaborative piano.
4. Fourth child: this is his, though deplorably late — his sixth child was born Dec. 31: Delft_Border_2d
5. Fifth child: afghan is a whisper and a promise; so is her baby quilt, which also never got made; I am looking at yarn and colors and designs now, for 2017 or, more probably, given that it is already mid-October, 2018.
6. Sixth child: I never told her of the original plan, so she didn’t know that I hadn’t made her an afghan (or a baby quilt either, for that matter); she graduated from college two years ago.

When I first shared this story, someone suggested that surely the sixth child had heard of the plan at some time, that she had seen her sisters’ afghans and the four baby quilts, and knew that she had been neglected. Poor youngest child!! So I asked. And no, she had had no idea. She does now, of course. Last Christmas I taught her to crochet, and she is a natural. Maybe I could give her yarn this Christmas coming up and let her make her own?

~~~~~~

Last night I started a Facebook page. Tonight, I have 67 friends. Woot!!

Lee Louise Etc. on Facebook

Hillary on RedBubble

by Lee Louise

Well, we did it. Or, to be more precise, Hillary did it. Here she is, my daughter the entrepreneur:

H-3.jpg

Hillary has opened a RedBubble store. She is a gifted artist, and has chosen this venue to showcase her work. After researching various print on demand sites, she chose RedBubble as the best fit. She will increase her offerings weekly. Each picture has a multitude of print options. My favorites are the tote bags and the framed prints, most often with black matte and mocha frame. Hillary is drawn to the postcards and notebooks.

The self-portrait above is available, as are these pictures, among others:

H-1

Vases and flowers

H-2

Meditation in the woods

Hillary has chosen to start by offering her early pieces first, to document her growth as an artist. The pieces on the website to date are from her middle school and high school days.

Take a look at

http://www.redbubble.com/people/Hillary-Louise

 

Reaching out

by Lee Louise

Embroidered Refurbishment

by Lee Louise

Notes from 2015. I enjoy making sweaters with unusual design features, but even with five daughters, sometimes I discover that not one of them would be willing to wear something I want to make after I finish it… In 2015 I lucked out, because Hillary expressed a willingness, if not an actual desire, to own and wear a Caldwell Pullover. (The original pattern by Courtney Spainhower can be found in the Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene.) We found three colors of Cascade Yarns’ Cloud on sale at Webs. She would NOT wear the orange, I would NOT knit the nearly-black green (I think it was green, it might have been brown, I just know it was very dark), so we settled on Honey.

cascade_cloud_honey_2

We ordered it, I worried about it, silently fussing that she didn’t really like it but was just humoring me. When the yarn arrived in the mail, though, she was delighted with it, and I went to work.

I don’t recall exactly how long it took me knit the Caldwell, but I believe it was only two or three weeks. Aran yarn knits up so quickly, and the shaping is so interesting, that I didn’t want to put it down.

caldwell-1

However, aran weight wool/alpaca yarn knits up into a very warm sweater. She has worn it quite a bit, I think she likes it, but it is really too warm for the MidSouth.

At the points on the arms, back, and bust where the eyelets stop, there is a pronounced tendency for the fabric to come out in a point. Just sayin’. If you choose to make a Caldwell, be sure to fiddle when blocking to minimize those points. I suppose if the arm points came at the elbow, it wouldn’t look so odd, and there is an excuse to have points in the bust area. But back points are not totally necessary.

 

caldwell-3

The underarm is not a gansey-type gusset, and there are seams (the only seams!) where the underarm of the body meets the underarm of the sleeve. On each side of that seam, there is the potential for holes to form. After seaming, a bit of darning must be done to minimize those holes.

caldwell-2

I did make one change in the design. Hillary asked for elbow-length sleeves instead of wrist-length. I misjudged where to start the ribbing, and so the sleeves are longer than elbow length, but she hasn’t complained. I stopped decreasing a couple of inches before the ribbing, and I don’t think I should have. Maybe I should have gone back and reknit the last few inches of the sleeves, but I didn’t. Judge for yourself.

All in all, I am happy with this sweater, and Hillary likes it too.

Notes from February 2017. Time has passed. I am happy to say that in the past year and a half (?), this has been Hillary’s go-to sweater. She wears it to church on Sunday, and most days of the week besides. With that kind of wear, perhaps it should not have been surprising when a few weeks ago, I noticed 3 or 4 little holes in the garter stitch section of the arm. (Right arm? Left arm? It depends on whether she is wearing it frontwards or backwards, and she is pretty indiscriminate about that.)

I mentally filed this information away, and when Margaret came for the wedding, I asked her to embellish the sleeve to camouflage, and mend, the little holes. So, while I finished the Wedding Bolero, Hillary darned, and Margaret embroidered Palestrina knots, woven spiderwebs, lazy daisies and a couple of satin stitch leaves with leftovers of the original yarn. The result is amazing. It looks so delicate.

I love it even more than I did in 2015, and Hillary still wears it to church, and every day of the week besides!

I hope it doesn’t spring any more holes but, if it does, a solution is at hand.

A Note of Encouragement

by Lee Louise

Is it gray and dreary where you live? Are mountains sliding down the hillsides? Are the potholes big enough to swallow your car?  Are you dreading the floods that will wreak havoc when the snow finally  does thaw?

Worst yet: Is it snowing? AGAIN??

Don’t lose hope, my friends. Spring will come to you too!!

Forsythia above the retaining wall in the side yard:
forsythia-1

Battalions of daffodils blooming under the dogwood tree:daffodils-5

 

Reunions

by Lee Louise

We had a family reunion at Christmas time. My five daughters were all there:

december-2016-reunion-2

With their families:

december-2016-reunion-3

Our son and his family were sadly missed, but their new baby was born December 31, so travel for them was problematic.

Then in February we gathered again, this reunion celebrating a wedding:

My heart is full. Life is good to me.

Delving the Depths

by Lee Louise

Okay. My oldest, antique-est wip on my Ravelry projects page, now that I have finished the Rambling Rows sweater, is Lochinver, an Alice Starmore gansey. Begun in 2002, it languishes. This fall, I have entered it in three separate finish-it-by-such-and-such-a-date challenges, and failed twice. The finish date for the third one looms — January 1, 2017. Ideally, I would like it to be finished by Christmas.

A few months ago, in a fit of organization and reordering, I excavated a lot of old projects and wips from their various hiding places, and made project pages for them all. As I was creating the project page for Sarah’s Lochinver wip, I found the receipt, dated October 5, 2002, for 12 skeins of yarn. That really pinpointed it for me! No guessing at all, but an added source of guilt. I have been instead-of-finishing that sweater for 13, maybe 14 years now!

This project entered the hibernation state when I got to the point where the instructions told me to GRAFT the shoulder seams. I’ve spent some time (14 years?) waffling over this — graft? would a 3-needle bind off be just as effective? It’s a shame, because Sarah bought the yarn herself. Occasionally, she has reminded (nagged?) me about this project… she was storing it in her room somewhere…

Well. On 30 July 2016, the sweater came downstairs from the limbo of Sarah-land so I could take progress pictures for my projects page. That day, Lochinver was officially designated a WIP. I know where it is; I have no excuse. Based on a poll in one of the Ravelry gansey groups, I have decided to use 3-needle bind off on the shoulders, instead of trying to graft them. (That decision was a relief. I began to feel hope.) Then, with just four balls of yarn left, I will attempt to knit two full length sleeves. My fear is that the sleeves will be too short. But hey, if they are, they can be 3/4 length sleeves. Or 7/8 length. And that is okay, because shorter sleeves might be more realistic for the climate here in the MidSouth anyway.

I had forgotten how lovely it is.

The yarn is actually a deep, violet red, and not the pale, wimpy red in the pictures. For some reason my phone captures only the red, and not the deep or the violet…

I am glad for many things

As Thanksgiving approaches, I find that I am mindful of many things that make me happy. Some things are related to the holiday, the time of year, the songs we sing. Family, church, and nation.

But today, I am especially happy for my 5 1/2 day weekend, which started Tuesday at noon!

I intend to make the most of my holiday weekend, which has been carefully augmented with annual leave to stretch to a total of 140 hours. Family will visit, and the design for a bolero for an upcoming wedding will be chosen. Thanksgiving dinner will be created and eaten. Savored, even. Stores will be visited this weekend, small local businesses that enjoy my patronage, none of them in the mall.

Today I am also glad that my size 8 24-inch circular needle is no long being held hostage by a hibernating project:ramblingrows_et_2

16 years ago, I took a mitered squares class at Yarn to Go in Memphis, and started this little sweater as my class project. This Rambling Rows Jacket has been in hibernation for 16 years, but today I have finished it, as a holiday gift for one of my grandsons. I am glad that the circular needle, barely visible but in evidence in that picture, is available again… I have missed it.

16 years ago, I stopped on the buttonhole row since I didn’t know whether to put the buttonholes on the boy-side or the girl-side. A Yarn to Go bag (including the receipt and all the ball bands! imagine that!), the partially finished (so close to completion!!) sweater, the pattern, and a perfectly serviceable size 8 24-inch circular needle went into my closet. Many times over the years, I have remembered the needle, and regretted it.

Today, I finally took this project out of the closet to finish it. The buttonholes are now on the boy side, and I will buy buttons when I go shopping Friday (or Saturday).

Finished. Or close enough to call it finished.

I had forgotten the other reason I put this project aside. The center back join was a disappointment, to put it mildly. In actuality, it was NOT a join — there was a hole the size of a nickel where those four squares were supposed to come together. So tonight, I darned that hole closed, and only I will know it was ever there.

ramblingrows_et_5

He liked to hear the laughter of happy people

slater_1943-93

Today was my father’s birthday. Harry John. A moment of silence to remember him – – – he was a great man, full of mischief, a born storyteller, everybody who knew him liked him. He told me once that he patterned his life after his own father, my grandfather Frederick Heath, who was also well liked and esteemed. I didn’t know my Grampy well, I was young when he passed. But I loved my father very much.

My sister and I always called him Daddy. Daddy married my mother, Garneta, in 1943, in a parsonage in Ashtabula, Ohio. As I understand it, since it was wartime, the only people present were the pastor and his wife. They didn’t have a wedding party, no family to support them and celebrate with them at a reception in their honor, just two young people starting their life together.

slater_1943a

They didn’t have a 25th anniversary party either. But as their 50th approached in 1993, my sister and I planned a 50th anniversary party for them. All the family came. My cousins were there, many of them staying over from my Uncle Bud’s funeral, which had been that morning. My father’s cousins were there as well. We tried to keep it a surprise from my mother, but of course she knew there was something going on, when I flew into town and went into huddled planning conferences with my sister. The party was held in the old firehouse on Main Street, and at one point, as I sat next to my mother and listened to her talk, and realized how much it truly meant to her, to finally have the wedding party that she hadn’t had 25 years ago, or 50. I have never regretted that party.

slater_1993a