Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

This has been a very busy time of year. Projects are getting completed, just not photographed yet. I did take some time yesterday to update the snood page of my website. It now has additional photos of several different styles and stitches.

The separate pages are children and adult snoods, if you want to visit them directly.

And now for our 2009 Christmas poem.

Bethlehem Treasure

Where in this desert can we find a well to fill our empty vessels running o'er?
Where is He who will rescue Israel, the Promised One we've so long waited for?
In Bethlehem of Judah, scriptures say, the long-awaited Sovereign will be born.
Behold! The star that guides us points the way. Haste! Lest delay should bring imperial scorn.

But, lo, a humble dwelling here we find. No palace this! Yet reverently we kneel
To give these gifts, as if for all mankind, to One whose majesty our souls can feel.
This burning in our hearts bids us behold with eyes to see beyond our dusty scrolls,
As if eternity would here unfold a priceless understanding to our souls.

He comes to minister to everyone, both those men love and those whom men despise.
He'll bear our pains and griefs, the very Son of God, for each of us he'll agonize.
And so He's come at last, as prophets said, the One who brings us hope in darkest night,
That those who mourn in shadows may be led to see the dawn of faith and love and light.

Lo, after He has borne our sins and tears and died, He'll rise and live forevermore.
Through all millennia, centuries, and years, each one of us whose pain and grief He bore
Can treasure memories of His sublime and humble birth. Each heart may keep one of
These treasured gems to ponder every time the soul would bathe in warm, refreshing love.

Through countless generations you'll recall the light that shines for us in Bethlehem
And know He lives! His light still shines for all mankind who've lived or will live, all of them!
To seek this child we've traveled long and far, traversing deserts; perilous paths we've trod.
Yet we were guided by a heavenly star to find this child. This is the Son of God!

He's come to earth that He might consecrate His life for those who dwell in every land.
He manifests to us a love so great, it goes beyond our power to understand.
Now rise and render homage into deeds of love and service quietly bestowed
On those beset with silent, hidden needs, as well on those who bear an obvious load.

If we can dry a tear or render care to one with broken heart or feeble hand,
That deed will manifest the love we bear to Him who sees all. This is His command,
That we might live with love for one another, helping those whose lives seem gray and grim.
Be they a sister frail or ailing brother, the load we bear for them is borne for Him.

Merry Christmas from our family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Several weeks ago my middle daughter sent me some information about the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Scarf Project. It interested me, so I bought two skeins of blue and one skein of white. I found the white skein I already had and began to knit.

The first scarf I did was a ribbed scarf similar to the pattern found on the Coats and Clark Website.

Since I don't like to do the same thing over and over, I decided to do a two-color, ribbed moebius scarf adapted from Cat Bordhi's book A Treasury of Magical Knitting.

At this point I decided to try netting a scarf. Since I had to use the two colors, I decided to wind the two strands together onto my netting shuttle.

Several years ago I received instructions from David Keller for a "Blizzard Buster" net scarf.

When I asked for more information about his Blizzard Buster scarf, David replied, "For the Blizzard Buster I like to use fuzzy, soft baby yarn, or angora. Using a 1" mesh stick, I make it 16 across and net 64 to 72 rows. I finish
by putting fringe on the ends. For the little ones I adjust the size down."

I wondered how this yarn, and two strands of it, would work with his instructions. I liked the way the two colored strands worked together. I used both colors for the fringe.

I started another knit scarf at this point - a seed stitch pattern, but it was taking more time than I really wanted to spend, so I asked myself, "What would a scarf look like if I used two strands of yarn in the moebius scarf pattern?" The only way to know for sure was to try it. So I tried it.

It worked out just fine, though as you can tell, the stockinette stitches want to roll to the center.

By this time I had finished the first skein of each color and started the second. I wanted to see how the ivy stitch looked as a scarf.

I took the basic instructions in the Blizzard Buster (1" mesh stick and 16 loops) and changed the "net 1 knot in each loop" plain stitch to a two-row pattern. One row stayed the plain stitch and the other row became "net 1 knot in first loop, *skip the next loop, net 1 knot in the next loop, go back and net 1 knot in the skipped loop;* repeat from * to * across the row ending with net 1 knot in last loop."

These two rows alternated until the scarf was the length I wanted, about 6 feet. Then I added fringe to the ends.

I enjoyed seeing the columns of open meshes alternating with the columns of filled meshes.

I still had some yarn left, so I decided to try netting another scarf.

This time I chose to use the cube stitch. It did not take me long to realize that this pattern is very close to the ivy stitch. It is a four-row pattern.

I decided to begin with 3 rows of plain netting. Then I used the following instructions: net 1 knot in first loop, *skip the next loop, net 1 knot in the next loop, go back and net 1 knot in the skipped loop;* repeat from * to * across the row ending with net 1 knot in last loop.

That row was followed by a row of plain netting, one knot in each loop. The 3rd row started like the first except I net 1 knot in each loop for 2 loops before I started skipping loops. I also ended with net 1 knot in each loop for the last two loops. The 4th row was a plain netting row. These 4 rows were repeated until I was almost out of yarn. I ended with two rows of plain netting before I cut the yarn and prepared to add the fringe.

As I looked at the scarf I realized that I could see not only the "cube" I was expecting but also a "6-pointed star". This stitch has certainly moved up in my list of stitches I really like.

While I was still working on this scarf, my youngest daughter came to me and asked how easy it was to make a moebius scarf. She wanted to have some mindless type of knitting to work on while she was listening to some presentations and participating in discussions in her AP English class. I measured off the yarn I figured would finish this scarf and gave her the rest of the blue and white. When she came home she had used up all the yarn and was a bit more than half way done. I looked at the seed pattern scarf I had started (one square in blue and one in white) and decided to "frog" it and hand her the yarn to finish hers. After all, what are mothers for if not to help their daughters in their knitting experiences?

So when I finally finished this scarf, I had to go hunting for some white to use for the fringe, since all the blue was gone.

So with 4 skeins of yarn (2 blue and 2 white) my youngest daughter and I were able to create 7 scarfs. It was fun, provided a chance for creativity, occupied our fingers, was a good conversation starter, and gave us the opportunity to provide encouragement to those who participate in the Winter Special Olympics. That's not bad for about $12.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Net Bag with the Handle on the Side

Back in April I was talking to my oldest son on the phone. We got to discussing some of the net bags I was making. He reminded me of one I had made years ago (so long ago I had forgotten I had made it for him) that had a crocheted strap that went from the top of the bag to the bottom of the bag. He wondered about a net strap that would work the same way.

We discussed starting the bag with a chain, how to fasten the handle at the top and the bottom, the use of split rings as the grommet, and putting a drawstring through the loops at the top of the bag. He also wanted it made of a thick cord and a mesh that would not allow one of his martial arts sticks to fall through the mesh. The stick was 1/2" in diameter.

I went looking on-line for some thin parachute cord. The 550 size was too bulky to work with at that size mesh. I finally found something I thought would work at Supply Captain.

I did a bit of experimenting while working on my missionary son's sweaters, but did not start in earnest until after I finished the sweaters. Then it became a race with the clock since my oldest son's birthday was the middle of October and I figured that would be a perfect present for him.

I finished it shortly before his birthday, took a few pictures, and shipped it off.

This is a picture of the inside of bag, including handles looking from the top of the bag to the bottom of the bag. If you look carefully you can see where some of the joins are. (That's what makes it the inside of the bag.)

Here is the full handle stretched from the ring to the mouth of the bag. When finally finished, the handle was longer than the bag. It took 100 feet of cord to make the handle and 950 feet to make the bag. I used a total of 350 yards for the entire bag and handle.

On the left is the start of the handle. I net into the top round of loops and then went back and forth decreasing one loop each row. This created a wider handle to go over the shoulder and help support the bag when it is full.

On the right is the bottom end of the handle attached to the split ring. The split ring will also hold the loops at the bottom of the bag.

This it the outside of the bag with the handle attached; the drawstring is pulled closed.

Here is the handle attached to the outside of the bag at the bottom. I put the bottom loops onto the split ring until the handle was ready to be added. Then I added one loop from the handle and one from the bag until all the handle loops were added. Then I finished adding the rest of the loops from the bottom of the bag.

Because the split ring was 1" in diameter, the stick that my son did not want to fall through the meshes would certainly fall through the ring. To prevent that I wound the cord back and forth in such a way as to completely block the stick from falling through.

Yes, the bag arrived in time for my son's birthday. And it met all his expectations. The stick did not fall through.

To help me see that the bag truly worked, he threw a few juggling, martial arts things into the bag and, with the help of his wife who operated the camera, sent me a few photos.

Below are a front, back, and side view.

Oh,yes. Just as I was nearing the end of the bag for my son, I needed another gift bag for a baby shower. So I experimented with a top down bag and was able to figure out how to make the opening for the handle shorter than the opening for the bag. That way the bag has more room where it opens. Now to try the same thing for a shopping bag.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Knitting and Netting - Sweaters and Doily

A few months ago my 19-year old son learned that he would be spending 2 years in Bulgaria. I had already started making him a couple of sweaters (single color,long-sleeved, V-neck) to take with him. My obvious goal was to finish them before he left. He leaves on Monday.

Both sweaters were made from the top down so I could try them on him and get them to fit him as he wanted.

It was the first time I made the ribbed one in worsted weight yarn.

I made the cabled pattern twice before (once for each of his older brothers).

It felt great to finish both sweaters before he left. I remember that when my oldest son left I was finishing the ribbing of the first sweater as we took him to the airport. I kept it to use as a guide to make the second sweater. The first sweater was a basic stockinette sweater and the second was the cable sweater. I had to mail both sweaters to him while he was still learning Portuguese and before he left the USA for Brazil.

I wanted to give a gift to a friend, so I spent a few hours and using my Grandmother's pattern made another copy of Springtime.

The last time I made this pattern I did not have a digital camera, and was unable to get a picture of the entire doily. Technology is great (as long as it works).

I am currently working on a net bag, with a side handle, made out of thin parachute cord. Oh yes, one other requirement -- mesh small enough so that a 1/2 inch diameter stick will NOT fall through. Pictures to follow when it is done.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Different Net Doilies

I have been slowly working on one of the beautiful patterns I received from Herman Mangels. It has taken a bit of time since there are about 9,200 knots. But I finished it on Saturday and starched it yesterday. This one was designed by Martha Kupfermann. She called it Large Aster (well, that's an English translation of the German). It measures about 23 inches in diameter; the instructions said about 67 cm. It is hard to measure precisely since the edge is scalloped.

On a much smaller note (10.25 inch diameter) is the doily I made just before starting Large Aster. I was planning on re-making one called Ice Crystal. I thought I had followed the directions carefully for each round, so I was puzzled when, on round nine, I noticed that I had more loops than I was supposed to have -- twice as many.

Looking at the doily in one hand and the instructions in the other, I soon discovered my problem. On round four I was supposed to net 2 knots in a loop and then skip a loop around the doily. I had forgotten to skip the loops. No wonder I had more loops than I was supposed to have.

When faced with the decision of either undoing all the knots from round five to round nine, cutting off rounds five through nine, or creating a new doily pattern, I chose to create a new pattern.

It looked like a sunflower to me, but I already have a doily pattern named Sunflower. I decided to call it Helianthus.

In the process of designing this doily, I ended up with a new decorative stitch which I called Flame.
Oh, I forgot to add one other thing that made me decide to create a new doily. I only had a limited amount of thread. I had chosen Ice Crystal because it used only a small amount of thread. The amount of thread also influenced my decision to try a new stitch, which eventually became Flame, instead of keeping all the extra loops and doing a different edge. I ended the doily with about a yard of thread left.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Net doilies and NO GUILT

Almost a month ago I finished a doily for a wedding present. I promised I would display it when it was starched. Since the wedding was last week, let me present Energized.

Then, right after starching Energized, before any other projects could be completed, I got a wonderful package in the mail from Herman Mangels. It contained several beautiful doily photos and patterns, but the instructions were in German. My wonderful husband, who spent 2 years in Germany as a young man, was willing to help me read and translate them. We did one that evening!

I was able to start working on that one right away and not feel guilty about starting a new project before finishing an older one since I have another wedding coming up next month.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where did the last month go?

This past month has been fun and very busy. I was able to attend a two-day workshop with Cat Bordhi and picked up some great knitting tips. I was also able to knit a pair of socks for my husband. I made the Dove sock found in her book New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One. Most importantly, they fit him.

The knitting workshop reminded me of Cat's Magical Knitting books with moebius bags that I had worked with a few years ago. I still wanted to see if I could net a moebius bag. And then it happened. I was traveling along Interstate 90 heading toward Worcester, MA. Suddenly, into my mind sprang the way to create a net bag with a moebius handle.

The most frustrating part of the whole situation was that I was driving and could not write down any reminders as to how to create the moebius handle.

The second most frustrating part was that I could not try out my idea until I had completed my trip to Worcester and returned home.

The funnest part was when the bag was finished. I placed my hand on the handle and without lifting my hand went up around the handle, down into the bag, up the "other side" of the handle, around the "outside" of the bag and back to the where I started, thereby proving that the entire bag had only one surface and one edge.

It seems that having done it once I could think of several different ways to create such bags.

I was invited to a bridal shower and moebius net bags would not leave my mind. So I gave in and made another one.

This moebius bag was created from the top down with a hole in the side.

The same bag is pictured with the shower gifts in it on the left and with onions in it on the right.

The hole is present so the bag can be filled with something like onions and people can reach in from the side instead of the top or bottom of the bag to get the contents of the bag.

I also finished netting 5 doilies for my youngest son's teachers (as a thank-you for working with him this past year) . . .


Lacy (large)



Midnight Sky

. . . and 4 doilies (one not yet starched) for wedding presents.



Clusters (small)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time Flies ...

"Time flies on wings of lightening" and "time flies when you're having fun" apply to the past month. The time has been filled with vacation, knitting, netting, reading, mundane house and family related chores, and work, even though I have not been blogging. Sorry.

So now for a quick look at some of what has been done the past month.

These socks from Cat Bordhi's book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One, can be worn with the rings scrunched down (left) or pulled up (right) .

Either way my 4-year-old grand-daughter loves the socks. She should since she chose both the yarn (Softee Baby in Bongo Blue - a sport D.K. Bernat yarn) and the pattern.

The visit / vacation was just long enough to finish them.

Of course her year-old brother deserves a pair of his own, but for grandma's sanity, a different pattern from Cat's book.

I have been working on string bags - net with net handles - including one used as a baby shower gift bag for my middle daughter's youngest. This gift bag was made bottom up, with a pentagon increase for the base and two handles. Before you ask again, a pentagon increase base is where I start with 5 loops and increase to 10 in the second round. After that I add 5 loops to each round by increasing in each of the "closed" loops. That continues until I have the number of loops I wanted for the mouth of the bag. This time it was 40 loops. I finished it with just minutes to spare and so did not take a picture. I'll have to borrow it back to get a proper photo, unless she beats me to it and displays it on her blog.

I have also been busy decoding the doily sent me my Nancy Day. I used much larger mesh sticks, but I think I have figured out the center.

Nancy's is on the left and mine is on the right.

Her doily uses at least a 0000 knitting needle for the mesh stick, mine used a 3 knitting needle for the mesh stick.

I used size 10 crochet thread. I suspect her doily used 70 tatting thread.

Her doily center was about an inch in diameter, while mine had a diameter of several inches.

I would have continued onto the next portion of Nancy's doily, but there was a wedding on Saturday . . .

. . . and this was the present, so I needed to put an edge on quickly. I created the edge using some of the information gained in making the earlier portion of the doily.

One other project I have been working on is a sweater for my 19-year old son. The entire sweater is done in knit 4, purl 2 ribbing. I changed the pattern to work down from the neck instead of up from the ribbing. I have done down to about 6 inches under the arm and am taking a "break" and starting the sleeves, yes both at the same time, picking up stitches from around the armhole. When I have the sleeves at least 6 inches long I will try to take a picture. And ... since this sweater and another one need to be done soon (maybe next month), I better leave this blog and get back to knitting his sweater.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I love top-down sweaters, I think. I definitely love net bags

I was just reminded why I like to knit top-down sweaters. I finished the brown one I have been slowly working on for the past 6 months. It was made in pieces, from the bottom up. It's great except for a few small things like ...the sleeves hang down to my finger tips and the cuffs are not tight at all (which would compensate for the long sleeves, maybe, by holding the end of the sleeve to my wrist). So, now I have to decide whether to leave the cuffs loose and just frog the sleeves to where I can eliminate a couple to three inches, or just frog the sleeves completely and see if I can get the cuff to fit (maybe even making it circular instead of flat).

At any rate that sweater will have to be set aside for a few months. One of my sons is turning in his mission papers next week and if his list of things to bring on his two-year church mission is anything like those of his older brothers, he will need two long sleeve, single color, v-neck sweaters. Since clothing stores here in Massachusetts have already taken such things off the shelves in preparation for warmer weather (here's hoping that weather makes an appearance soon), I plan to knit them for him (just like his older brothers).

Naturally I don't want to make it easy on myself and do exactly the same sweater patterns as before (actually I can't, as I would have to tweak those since he is a size or two smaller than the other boys were). So yesterday I pulled out my patterns, bought some yarn, and began.

Of course I want top-down. Need you ask, after my opening rant? And of course the one pattern I really wanted to make for him is bottom up, with separate front and back sections. Thank goodness for Barbara Walker's Knitting From the Top and a wonderful daughter who gifted me that book several years ago. With the initial try-on, it looks like this sweater is going to work and fit him.

Maybe a picture later.

I have not been idle on the netting scene though. People have been asking me for a simple net bag and so my mind got busy and I came up with a net bag that is just diamond mesh netting along with increases and decreases. This one used size 10 crochet thread and a 1/4" mesh stick.

The shaping of the bag is done after all the netting is completed. It could make a small gift bag. In my case, I'm using it to hold my crochet thread snoods.

I have finished a shopping-bag-size one, in addition to one with two handles as opposed to the tied handle above. If you're interested in the instructions for this rectangular bag with tied handle, click here and go to the bottom of the page to order an e-pattern.