Monday, May 30, 2005

A Gift of a Pillow

I'm working right now on a pillow as a housewarming gift. I believe pillows make terrific knitted gifts; no size required. I like using large needles and bulky yarns to make the project go quickly. I also find it helpful to use a mulit-colored yarn, something that could match almost anything. I selected Lion Brand Homespun for the yarn. I am tripling the yarn throughout the project and knitting a wide ribbing type pattern. And since I plant make the pillow a case held together by buttons, I like the fact the yarn is wash and dry. I'll post pictures as I progess.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

First Harvest

The lettuce and spinach have arrived! After much watering and weeding, I am harvesting a bunch of lettuce and spinach. The cooler temperatures here in Chicagoland have been friendly to the leafy vegetables, although the tomatoes and peppers aren't growing much. From seedlings, I planted butter crunch and romaine lettuce. From seeds I planted Olymipa Hybrid spinach, Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach, Prizehead lettuce, Green Curled endive, Ruby lettuce, Roasanna chicory, Tendergreen mustard spinach, and Roquette. Even though the spinach was planted from seed, it has thrived and was the first harvest. Thinning also made a huge difference with the spinach, it didn't begin thriving until each plant had about 8 inches of room.

I am thrilled with how crisp everything is compared to the store bought vegetables. The salads are outstanding. The picture is a smallhead of the butter crunch surrounded by some romaine and spinach.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Knitting Lace

Have you tried knitting lace? I know there are many beginners out there who shy away from what look like complicated stitch patterns. But creating lace can be so satisfying. The beautiful fabric that results from a simple ball of yarn still amazes me.

Knitting lace is also an excellent use of the thinner, summer weight yarns. If you struggle to find projects for summer use, consider knitting a lacy wrap or cardigan with a light weight cotton, silk, or synthetic.

Some advice when knitting a lace. As always, start by making a swatch. I recommend the entire stitch pattern be repeated at least twice in your swatch. This makes the piece easier to inspect and measure. Using stitch markers and row counters is also critical. And for your first attempt, try a lace pattern that has more "repeating" included and a combination of stitches that is easy to remember. Not having to constantly be looking at the pattern is helpful.

Happy lacing,

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wall Street Knitting

Imagine my surprise when my husband handed me today's Barron's with an article on knitting. The story is titled, A Well-Stiched Strategy - Thanks to guides like Stitch 'N Bitch Nation, knitting is cool again, especially among young women. That bodes well for Jo-Ann, which sells yarn and fabric, as well as other arts and crafts supplies.

It's terrfic how popular knitting has become. If you are curious about the financial aspects of knitting, make sure to check out the article.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Congratulations to Tracy

Tracy and her Woolywarbler blog were selected as the winner of our drawing. She wins three skeins of yarn compliments of The Daily Knitter. Thank you to all of the bloggers out there who added a link on their site to The Daily Knitter!


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Add a ruffle

Looking for an easy way to add detail to a simple sweater? How about adding ruffles to the hem. Before you start at the bottom sweater when knitting in the round, cast on 3 times as many stitches as the pattern requires. Then follow the instructions below. (This works best if you have a multiple of 6 stitches)

Work in K3 P3 Ribbing around until the piece measures the height of the ruffles you desire. Then close up the ruffle, working one row of decreases as K3tog, P3tog around. Now continue with the pattern.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Your knitting habits

Do you work on one knitting project at a time or have lots of items on your needles at once? I am only able to work on one project at a time. I know this is strange, but I also only buy yarn one or maybe two projects ahead. I just don't trust myself enough that I will come back to a project if I put it down.

Right now I am working on a long sleeve red bolero jacket for the Exclusive Patterns section of the site, but I really need to knit a pillow for a housewarming gift. I can't do it! Must finish the jacket first.


Where vegetables come from

This is surely not meant to be a gardening blog, but since I seem to be spending so much time at my garden plot lately my thoughts are bound to end up here. All of the vegetables are taking off. I do feel a special affinity for the plants that were started from seeds. While I am grateful for the seedlings, there is something extremely satisfying about watching a plant grow from such small seed.

I am happy to report that I did get to harvest some spinach last week. It was time to thin the plants and as I prepared to throw away the basket of discards I realized I was looking at a baby spinach salad. And it was so crisp and delicious. Mmmm...

After thinning the spinach and pulling out some damaged lettuce last week, I was amazed at how much the plants leftover grew. I guess they just needed a little breathing room. The radishes are about ready to be harvested, perhaps they will be ready by the weekend.

Now if I could just eliminate weeds! I was so surprised at how much the weeds had taken over in the four days I was away from the garden over the weekend. What good exercise it was to remove them all, though.

I did have some knitting related thoughts at the garden today. I was using some twine to make fences for the peas and began to ponder what knitting with twine would be like. I recall seeing a rug knit from twine somewhere. So many possibilities...


Monday, May 16, 2005

We knitters are strange

As promosed, the article on knitters admiring yarn is on the site now. The editors sure had a ball discussing this one. We knitters sure are strange!


Welcome to Handpainted Wool

Welcome to Handpainted Wool, the newest advertiser with the Daily Knitter. They specialize in hand painted wool yarn via their eBay store. Their ad can be found on the Yarn Companies page at the Daily Knitter. Check it out!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Knitting on TV

I heard from a friend that the Jane Pauley show on Tuesday was all about creative crafting, and a large portion of the show was on knitting. Did anyone happen to watch it? I'd love to hear about it. The summary from the show was:

Knitting 101
Learn to knit from The Urban Knitter Lily Chin. Check out some of her latest runway fashions and watch in awe while she knits a hat in minutes! Plus, find out why knitting is the new yoga and how it's grabbing Hollywood's attention. Which stars are hooked on knitting? Suss Cousins, author of Hollywood Knits and Hollywood Knits Style gives us the scoop.


Monday, May 09, 2005

I must get bored easily

Have you ever gotten half way through a project and and then just tire of it? Just like that you dream of starting something new, but know if you don't finish it you never will. I am a believer in one project at a time. For example, I like to finish a sweater all the way to blocking before I start another project. I don't even like to buy new yarn until I have a specific project in mind. But I may brake this rule tomorrow and put down what I am working on. But will I ever finish it!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Here, needle, needle

I am incapable of keeping track of the needles that I use to weave in the loose ends of my knitting projects. Every time I am at my local yarn shop I buy at least 2 sets and still can never find them when I need them. I was so excited to finish a tank I was working on tonight. All that was left was weaving in the ends. Now where is a needle! Where did they go? I swear I put them in the top drawer of my knitting shelves.

Perhaps my lost socks have taken them prisoner?


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sweet summertime

Does your knitting frenzy cease in the summertime? I know a lot of knitters who say they just don't spend as much time knitting when the weather is warm. While I agree there is nothing like knitting in front of a roaring fire when the snow is falling, I love to knit outside. I relish the chore of dragging my Adirondack chairs up from the basement and setting out the citronella candles. With a tall glass of lemonade and my stash of cotton yarn, I can spend my summer Saturday afternoons in "knitting heaven."


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

So Cal, listen up!

If you're in the Southern California area, check out the release party for The Art of Knitting & Crochet 2 DVD. It's for a good cause; the details are below. Thanks to Ellen M. for passing on the info to us.

The party will be held on Saturday, May 7th, 2005 from 10AM-6PM at Stitches from the Heart, a knitting charity at 3306 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405. The festivities will include a first-look screening of the DVD, as well as demonstrations and appearances by knitting celebrities like Kathy Silverton, Founder of Stitches from the Heart, recently named California’s Woman of the Year. Free prizes, too!


The lettuce lives on

I am happy to report that my vegetable garden did survive the first of 2 cold nights here in Chicagoland. My husband tells me the plants were OK because it was so windy. (huh?) I don't question it, I'm just glad everything is OK. I did spend quite a bit of time picking off flowers from the June bearing strawberries. Since this is their first season in the ground, I was told to remove all the flowers so the plant puts all of its energy into growing strong and not fruit. And so next year's harvest will be plentiful. But it just breaks my heart to do it.

We had another cold night last night without wind, so I will be out later today to check on everything.


Lesson learned

I'm working on a new pattern for the Exclusive Patterns section of the site. It is a summer shawl and includes a fairly complex combination of stitches to create the lace-like section. Apparently, I was so involved in watching the Amazing Race last night, that I didn't realize I totally dropped the stitch pattern and just continued purling half way through my row.

I am grateful that I realized this at the next commercial break and only had 1/2 a row to undo. Lesson learned, it is best to go with those mindless stitch patterns during your favorite TV shows.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005


We had a frost and freeze warning here last night in Chicagoland and a temperature of 21 degrees was recorded in Aurora. My vegetables are already in the ground at the local community garden where I rent a plot and I am nervous to head out there later today. I hope I didn't lose everything. I really don't want to start from scratch.

I've been thinking of what I can knit that is garden related. Maybe a large felted basket for harvesting? Or a cover for the handles of my gardening tools? I could have used a really large blanket last night to cover everything up...


Monday, May 02, 2005

The Mr .Whipple test

How do you test out yarn? For me, I must give it a good squeeze. But I have seen many variations at my local yarn shop. Sniffers, cheek-rubbers, and more. Look for an upcoming article on this subject at the Daily Knitter. Comments here are appreciated.



Welcome to, the newest advertiser with the Daily Knitter. They specialize in incredible yarn at incredible prices. Their ad can be found on the What's New page at the Daily Knitter. Check it out!



I am happy to report that the felting was a success. The yarn was Lamb's Pride Burly Spun. I put the item into a cloth laundry bag and into the washer it went with a pair of old jeans. I added a bit of detergent and fabric softener, and set it on hot/cold. Each time the machine reached the rinse cycle, I stopped it and set it back to wash again. I did this three time and the result was good. The purse is taking quite a while to dry, but once it is complete and I am satisfied, a new pattern will show up on the Daily Knitter. I also used a bit of beading on it and it is really cute.


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