Monthly Archives: September 2007

I am the Color of….



Well, I can see that, and it’s very close, but that’s not precisely what the yarn is intended to be.

A sunflower?



How about straw at harvest time?


Close, but not today!

No, I, the yarn,



“‘the color of wheat, the color of corn’ . . . the pale golden amber of ale.”

I am BEER!


At least, that’s what the master dyer and the designer had in mind.

The yarn and project are for Oktoberfest socks! (Follow the link to see, I don’t want to borrow pictures without asking.)

This was the Perfect Birthday Present for my father, whose birthday always falls near the beginning of our local Oktoberfest celebration, who is German/Irish, and who loves beer!
Now I had every intention of showing you an FO (does one sock count as an FO? In my book, yes!) But as it is, I have only a WIP, and not much of one at that:


(My foot, not the recipient’s, hence a little big.)

You know, besides my eternal optimism, life interfered; for example, I had people over at my house this week, which necessitated hours of cleaning, which could have been spent knitting.

And I restarted the sock three times; once because I goofed up, next time after I realized the recipient’s foot was not as big as I thought it was. Third time was a charm.

And then I was e-conversing with the Tsock Tsarina, the designer of the sock, and mentioned that I was going to try to find a less lacey but still barley-cornish pattern stitch to replace the barley eyelet, since the recipient wasn’t an eyelet kinda guy. She returned with a brand new stitch pattern that she invented specifically! It looks great (well, the stitch does, my execution and photography may be a little lacking. You try doing a close-up of a sock that’s on your foot! Oh, wait; some of you have!) ; )


And this is the first short row heel I have been completely, utterly happy with (no holes!)


and it looks like grains of barley, too


which was the designer’s idea, I am certain. I have learned a number of things from this project, besides the un-holey short row heel, and I will pass them all on for your knitting enlightenment when I have an FO (or two!) to share.

Well, the last reason I don’t have an FO to show, or even much more of a WIP, is that not long ago I was putting dishes away, having just washed my hands, and a heavy bowl slipped out of my hands as I was putting it away. It apparently rebounded as it broke and sliced my knuckle fairly nicely. Fortunately, it just missed the tendon. I definitely need both hands to knit and to do what I do at work! And because I was busy holding pressure on the laceration, I couldn’t even take my knitting to the ER!! Talk about frustrating!

Before and after (I’ll spare you hand pictures):


The people in the ER were all very nice and quite efficient, considering, though (and I know the doctor who sewed me up), so I am all put back together with minimal restrictions. But the Manly Barleycorn (working title only!) stitch pattern requires some tension on the needles to do, and it was causing my cut to be unhappy in several ways, so I am going to stick to easy-peasy no-needle-manipulation-required for a few days, I guess; to whit, this:


I seem to be starting a tradition of not-quite-finished presents for my father, whose birthday it is today! A year or two ago, it was a cardigan which took a seemingly inordinate amount of time to finish. It was meant as a birthday present, then ended up as a post-holiday present. Then I had to take it back and re-do part of it to make it fit better. It would probably also help if I could stop being impelled to alter any pattern I come across. . . . there is a certain amount of frogging inherent in that approach.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad!

But my father is leaving today for a two-week trip to Spain and Portugal with friends, lucky retired guy, so after making him try on the WIP for a fit check (useful *before* finishing the rest of the foot and the other sock!), I now have a couple weeks to finish it. Good thing, too, being somewhat knitting-impaired currently.

Hope your weekend was less eventful than mine! Or at least in a different way!

Oh, before I forget, here’s yesterday’s Saturday Sky — before it Rained On The Parade (the Oktoberfest Maple Leaf Parade and my children, that is):


Hey, a few years ago it was snow on the parade, so rain is not so bad! (I can say that, of course, I wasn’t out in it. Though I did send my children with warm clothes and raincoats and an umbrella, despite the fact that the forecaster had apparently not recently glanced at the radar and kept denying the possibility of rain. Moms know these things. Or at least can read a radar image, eh?)

Eye Candy Friday

Here’s a few photos for both of us to look at while I keep knitting!


Quiet riot of daisies.


Mums, another flower that insists it’s fall, though not fun to pop like hosta.


My favorite little maple.

Oh, and for Lisa’s husband, the whole aster:


Wanna see another composite flower?


Another of the painted daisies, as seen in the first photo.

Gotta go knit — got a knitting deadline here!

Colors redux — Fall and What Color Am I Now?

From my front porch, I can see a maple finally changing color. The fall colors are late this year, because we’ve had unseasonably warm weather other than the night a couple weeks ago that the temperature hovered around freezing, way too early. So the trees are confused. But this was the view from my front porch last night:


with our little Japanese maple in the foreground and a sugar maple across the street.

Not much color looking the other way, though:


A few cool nights, which have just started to happen, and the bluffs will turn warm sunset colors.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you what yesterday’s yarn color was designed to evoke without giving the project away. I promise I’ll show you Sunday when the stealth project has been revealed! I love reading your impressions, and now I completely can see corn on the cob! (However, I don’t think it’s accidental that most of the corn comments were posted before dinner….) It’s interesting how color evokes an emotional response, though it may not be obvious. Like my childhood ‘mean yellow’, as I mentioned yesterday. Or as smells also do cause an emotional reaction.

BUT — last night as I sat in front of my computer knitting the stealth project, I held up the yarn, and decided that even though the photo looked good initially, that the color was off just ever so slightly. Maybe it was just the compact fluorescents that my husband put in lately, even though they’re supposed to be color balanced. But with the help of color adjustment, different lights and lots of squinting, here’s (I think) a slightly truer representation of the color:


Do you have the same impression? Different? It’s just a small change, which may not even seem noticeable to anyone but me (and the yarn and pattern designers!) but does it evoke something different for you? What do you think?

Speaking of small things, this is for Lisa:

Another composite flower!


This is the center of an aster in my garden. Isn’t it lovely? Who knew?

(Edited to add:  From my work computer, yesterday’s yarn color looks more accurate.  From my home computer, today’s does.  So the true color, depending on your computer and my lighting, is — perhaps not between, but rather one or the other!  There will be FO pictures in a few days, so we’ll see how those look.) 

What Color Am I?

I have been musing about color lately, only egged on by Margene‘s post today about the very same subject.

One of the questions in the color meme that she has posted, is whether your favorite color has changed over the years.

I may do the whole meme at some point to explore color more, but that particular question just played right into my musings already in progress.

My favorite color certainly has changed, but what I find even more interesting is that my color dislikes have shifted and greatly decreased. I am much more tolerant of many more colors than I used to be, and see beauty in almost all. I personally don’t wear pastels, but they can be lovely in the right combination, for example. Or brights, which I used to abhor, can really perk up a knitted object or possibly an outfit.

And my least favorite color of my past leads me to my ‘color object lesson’ and to the stealth knitting project on which I am currently working.

No detailed photos, therefore, for obvious reasons, but here’s the scoop.

I used to dislike yellow as a child. Pretty intensely, actually. I distinctly remember writing a poem about yellow in elementary school in which I described it as a “mean” color.

But, I ask you: how could anyone dislike this?


Rich, subtly variegated golden yellow. Mmm! (Well, I suppose anyone can dislike anything, chacun à son goût, but believe me, if you saw this yarn in person, you’d be mesmerized.)

So here’s a poll:

What does this make you think of?

I know what the fiber artist & designer intended it to evoke, so I’m biased; but I’m curious about what it reminds you of.

Leave a comment and let me know!

(P.S.: a couple blog readers MAY know the yarn and its project. If so, don’t spill the beans in your comment, the future recipient could possibly read this blog!)

Squirrel of Doom

Do you all have black squirrels where you live?

I think this one is giving me the death stare because he’s wet (after a thunderstorm) and cranky, and in no mood for paparazzi. But you can see why, when I moved here after just reading The Lord of the Rings, I was reminded of the black squirrels of Mirkwood.

Here’s another scary one, in the twilight:

Evil! Evil, I tell you!

Mini-Mitts and Piano Mitts pattern!

Plain and slightly fancy fingerless gloves, of amazingly soft and warm alpaca/merino/cashmere yarn ( Baby Cashmere).

They look better on:

I’m providing the pattern for free, below. (Sorry for the delay; I went through a fair amount of gymnastics to make a .pdf file, and now I can’t get it uploaded. So please do that copy and paste thing if you like the pattern).

But I have a request. If you would, please consider, in exchange, making a donation to the Red Scarf Project. The Orphan Foundation of America does wonderful things for young men and women, who also are accomplishing wonderful things, with very little support. A dollar or three can make a difference in someone’s life. Here’s Norma’s (of Now Norma Knits) main blog and Red Scarf Project blog, which have buttons to donate directly. And if you e-mail Norma to let her know you donated, she’s having prize drawings here and there! Talk about a win-win situation! Of course, if you’d like to knit a beautiful Red Scarf for the project, here’s the information you need for that (only 3 more weeks to do so!).

Thanks for thinking about it, and enjoy the pattern!


Fingerless Piano Mitts




One size fits almost all.

Yarn requirements:

Piano Mitts: 1-2 skeins Baby Cashmere (60% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, 10% cashmere; 25g skein, 109 yds/100 m)

Mini-Mitts: 1 skein Baby Cashmere Baby Silk (80% alpaca, 20% silk) or any soft and warm fingering weight yarn may be substituted. Most sock yarn comes in 50g or 100g skeins, so will make more than one pair.

Gauge: 28 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm). These are designed more for indoor wear, so the gauge is looser than one might otherwise knit socks. Also, yarn that is a little too fragile for hard wear as a sock will work well in this project.

Needles: I used size 2 (3 mm) needles, but I am a loose knitter. Others might use size 3 (3.25 mm) to get gauge. You may use two circular needles, a set of double pointed needles, or the Magic Loop method at your discretion. You may wish to use one size smaller needles on the ribbing.

Accessories: 2 or 3 stitch markers.

Pattern notes: The Mini-Mitts take exactly one 25g skein of Baby Cashmere (as in, you will probably need to unravel your swatch if you make one). The Piano Mitts as knitted take barely over one 25g skein; perhaps just one if you make the cuff short. Three skeins will make two pair of mitts with plenty left over. It would be easy and fun to dress up the backs of the gloves with a lace motif or a cable. If so, remember that the pattern will look best not centered, but placed a few stitches to one side of what seems to be center, since the thumb is more towards the palm. Also remember to do a mirror-image for the second one, since the motif will make them asymmetric, left and right hands. Otherwise, they are completely symmetric as written.

You may use the increase of your preference for the thumb gusset. I would suggest paired lifted increases (also called Make 1 Right, and Make 1 Left), see tutorial here:


Piano Mitts and Mini-Mitts

Cast on very loosely 40 stitches. Divide as desired among needles, and join to work in the round, being careful as always not to twist. Place marker to mark beginning of round, if desired, or beginning of round may be between two needles.


For Piano Mitts:

Round 1: Purl.

Round 2: Knit.

Round 3: [k2 tog, yo] to end of round.

Round 4: Knit.

Round 5: Purl.

Round 6 and following: [K2, P2} to end of round.

For Mini-Mitts: Round 1 and following: [K2, P2] to end of round.

For both: Continue in K2 P2 ribbing for 2 – 2 ½ inches (5 – 7 cm) or desired length.

Then you will be changing to stockinette (knit every round) for the Palm.

Round 1: K1, place marker, knit to one stitch before end of round, place marker. You may remove beginning of round marker if you wish.

Rounds 2 & 3: Knit.

Round 4: K to first marker, increase one before marker, knit to second marker, increase one after marker, knit to end of round. (Increase round.)

Repeat rounds 2-4 six more times. You will have 54 stitches total on the needles, and you will have 16 stitches between the two markers.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 (knit).

Now, knit a final increase round as follows: K to first marker, slip the marker and increase one AFTER marker. (If you are using the lifted increase, K1 first and then increase.) K to second marker, increase BEFORE marker (again, if using lifted increase, increase before the last stitch before marker). Knit to end of round. 56 stitches on the needles.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 (knit).  [As written, the glove really does fit almost all, but for an unusually long or wide hand, you could knit more rounds at the point, until the glove just reaches the ‘crotch’ of the thumb.]

Hold Stitches for Thumb: On next round, k to 2nd marker and remove marker. Slip next 16 stitches to waste yarn to hold for thumb (8 between 2nd marker and end of round, and the following 8 stitches between end of round and 1st marker). Cast on 4 stitches, i.e. with overhand loop method, onto right-hand needle, then join to rest of live stitches and continue knitting in stockinette for the hand stitches (total of 44 stitches on the needles).

Top of Hand: Knit approximately ¾ inch (1.5 to 2 cm) in stockinette (knit every round), then knit 6 rows K2 P2 ribbing. Bind off VERY LOOSELY in ribbing pattern. (Could also use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind-off.)

Return to Thumb Stitches and place 16 held stitches on your needles, dividing as desired. Join in yarn, leaving a long tail, and knit these stitches. Pick up and knit 1 stitch into the small gap between the held stitches and the 4 cast-on stitches (try knitting into the back of the stitch you pick up). Pick up and knit the 4 cast-on stitches. Pick up and knit 1 stitch into the gap between the cast-on stitches and the held stitches on the needle. Join in the round (26 stitches on the needles).

Knit one round until you reach the first picked-up stitch. Knit 2 tog. Knit 4. Knit 2 tog (or SSK). (24 stitches.)

Knit 1 round.

Change to K2P2 ribbing for 6 rows. Bind off VERY LOOSELY in pattern.


Weave in ends, using the long tail at the thumb gusset to neaten up this area as needed.
Pattern copyright 2007 Catherine Ryan, all rights reserved. Permission granted for personal use.

Proof that one size fits almost all, almost miraculously:

9-year-old hand  * * *  Guy hand

Same glove on everyone, I promise!

First Day Of Fall

Here’s the Last Rose of Summer:

but now it’s fall as of today. Though we had unseasonably cold weather for a day or two earlier this month, this weekend was like summer — nice summer weather, rather than the humid heat that’s most of summer here.

I knit a hat for a friend’s son whose pumpkin hat had disappeared, to his sorrow. Can’t have a pumpkin hat deficiency, that’s not allowed. I had some more scrumptiously soft alpaca/merino/silk from KnitPicks and modified a baby hat pattern:

He seemed to like it, given that it immediately went onto his head, despite the summery day.

And he’s off!

And in more autumnal news, I received this lovely fall yarn in the mail:

Yarn Pirate merino/tencel blend in colorway “Butternut”.  Can you see the pale green?  It’s very lovely.


These are the flowers that always say “Fall” to me. When I was a kid, I would walk to school past a house that had long rows of hosta, and in September, there seemed like miles of these flowers.



Don’t you just want to pop them??


Saturday Sky After the Storm

Here’s the beautiful blue sky this morning, before I rode my bike to work. What a gorgeous early fall day!

This is in sharp contrast to yesterday afternoon, when the sky turned black at 5 pm, as a narrow but intense line of thunderstorms headed our way (similar to the storm system that had resulted in tornadoes in the northern Twin Cities at evening rush hour the day before). I had NOT ridden my bike to work, having seen the forecast, and stayed at work a little later until it passed over.

45 minutes after the black sky and the high winds had passed, I drove home to this (not our house, but just a block away):

Fortunately, the car and the house seem undamaged. Whew!

Look at the sky to the north as I took this picture — less than an hour after the storm!


I am so grateful that we took down the silver maple in our front yard several years ago. It was old, big and lovely; it surrounded our small upper porch, as though you were sitting in a treehouse, and shaded my daughter’s west-facing bedroom window from the fierce July sun. But limbs kept dying, and branches would break off in storms. So, three years ago, a friend in the tree business took it down — and lo and behold, it was completely rotted out from the inside (apparently silver maples are notorious for this). We turned that whole part of the front yard where it was, about 1/3 of the yard, into a ‘yarden’, which I love, and planted a pretty little Japanese maple, a hardy cultivar, which will not ever shade the porch but is a lovely sight.

So, the Silver Maple would certainly have come down in part or in toto in one of these storms we’ve had. Glad it’s gone. Let me show you, however, what I like to call the Conifer of Damocles:

See that second floor window? That’s our bedroom window. Specifically, ‘my side of the bedroom’ window. That tree sways wildly in winds like these, and when the storms are blowing up from the south, the tree brushes the window you can see, and another one directly over my head. I’m hoping that the flexibility of the tree’s trunk makes it less likely to come down, and its location between the houses may be a little protected. But in the big storms last month that caused the flooding, I saw an equally large spruce tree upended in someone’s yard. Gulp. My husband’s been talking about this one needing to come down too, because it also has a number of dead branches, more every year. But it’s on the property line between our neighbors and us, and they’re a little reluctant to take it down. Guess whose house it would fall on, though, if it did. Not theirs, likely. I hate to see trees go, but I don’t want a tree falling on my head during one of these 2 am thunderstorms, either.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees F and humid — NOT usual Wisconsin weather for later September. The deciduous trees have hardly even started to change yet, since the weather’s been so warm. But today is supposed to be a high in the low 70s — lovely.

So last night, my ‘fun’ thing was that we went to see the Harlem Gospel Choir at the Fine Arts University in town. They were awesome. We the audience were a bit pathetic; a bunch of Scandahoovian Lutherans who were NOT comfortable standing up, clapping and shaking our booties to Gospel Music. I did, and so did (wonder of wonders!) The Preteen! And my husband, who loves wonderful music of whatever persuasion (and is a good dancer to boot). I’m not sure my father did so much booty-shaking, though….

I’m happy to report a knitting first for me (even though this particular knitting accomplishment is not on the knitting meme that’s still wandering around):

I knit and danced simultaneously! I was working on a hat (photo soon) and during a non-clapping part, I knit and shook what I’ve got to shake simultaneously. I can’t speak as to the quality of the dancing, but the knitting looks fine!

Eye Candy Friday (Mittless)

Life’s gotten in the way of posting my fingerless mitt pattern, and I have something fun to go to tonight. But tomorrow should bring a few free minutes, after I work in the morning!

Here’s the late afternoon sun earlier this week, gilding not the lily but a weed. But it looks beauteous!

No sun this afternoon, instead a wicked thunderstorm.

Mo’ Mitts

Here is more visual proof of the amazing one-size-fits-pretty-much-everyone nature of the Piano Teacher’s fingerless gloves:


The husband actually consented to allow a hand photograph, though perhaps the lacey edge is not his style. I assure you, his hands are not small.

But I had to tweak the pattern. Here’s Mark II, The Mini-Mitt, more streamlined above the wrist:


This was made deliberately shorter, so as to be able to knit two mitts from one skein of the Baby Cashmere. Hence “Mini-Mitt”.
I also like the thumb gusset shaping better. I’ll write up the pattern in the very near future. Hopefully tomorrow!

The Gothlet requested I take a picture of this fascinating bug on our Painted Daisies. (This is a new insect to me. Lisa??)


An insectless view of the Painted Daisies in the evening light: