Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy St. Distaff's Day!

Today is the day that tradition tells us we get to go back to our spinning wheels after the Christmas holiday. So today, several of us from Northwest Regional Spinners' Association gathered in Mountlake Terrace to celebrate, share a few cookies, and spin away, whilst tempted by new treasures from many local vendors. Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! What a Wonderful Day! I drove down from Bellingham with two of my favoritest people.

It's always inspiring to see what folks have done with their handspun. There were many beautiful shawls & sweaters. What a colorful and creative group!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2007! We have high hopes for you.

I'm not usually one to make and follow through on New Year's Resolutions, but this year, I do have a couple of goals set. First of all, I plan to do something fun every day. Second, I have two unfinished projects that have resurfaced. I plan to finish both my son's graduation quilt (he graduated from Western Washington University in 1991), and the Philosopher's Wool Sweater that I started about five years ago. I just finished the first sleeve (which is a swatch. . . the sweater body has not been started yet). Wish me luck! (If you choose to make resolutions, make them fun ones, Friends!)

Over the weekend, I finished knitting a shrug for my Mom, who lives in a lovely Assisted Living/Retirement Center with her hubby (whom she met at the retirement center a few years ago). Mom is at the point now that everything needs to be easy care. I do most of her laundry, but once in awhile, somebody else will throw in a load for her. Let's just say that I won't be making any more handspun lambswool vests or wool socks which may experience close encounters with hot water, strong detergent, ammonia, or chlorine bleach. So we're into acrylic now. Being somewhat of a yarn purist, it made me cringe to think such a thing, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some verrry nice offerings out there these days. :-) So here is the pattern that I wrote. Easy, easy, easy. Very warm & stretchy, being garter stitch. Enjoy!


Yarn requirements: 1+ ball Red Heart Symphony yarn (310 yards/283 meters, 3.5 oz) or
Needles: size 8 straights, size 11 straights
Gauge: approximately 13 stitches/4”, 18 rows/4” (if your yarn is different, adjust the
number of stitches to compensate . . . this is a very forgiving pattern)

Using size 8 needles, cast on 32 stitches. For cuff, work in k1p1 ribbing for 3”.

Next row, increase to 48 stitches by k2 m1 (your choice of method) across row.

Change to size 11 needles. Knit 9 rows.

On next row, increase to 56 stitches (k3, *m1, k6* across, knitting last few stitches).

Knit in garter stitch until total length is 46-50”.

Decrease to 48 stithces by k3 *k2 tog, k5* across.

Knit 9 rows. Change to size 8 needles.

Decrease to 32 stitches by *k1 k2 tog* across row.

For cuff, work in k1p1 ribbing for 3”.

Cast off loosely in k1p1.

Find midline & mark with pins at top and bottom. (Because garter stitch is stretchy, you may want to count ridges & divide by two to find midline.)

Measure out 13” from midline, both sides, top and bottom, and place pins to mark.

Match top and bottom markers together on each side, and stitch from cuffs toward midline on each side, matching garter stitch ribs, leaving center 26” open (13” from midline on both sides).

You’re done!