Sunday, March 26, 2006

Knit Blanket for a toy pony by Sarah Thompson

Gauge 6 or 7 sts to the inch- 6 for a slightly larger looser blanket
size 1 needles or whatever gives you gauge. 2 Double pointed sock needles will hold this project but extra care should be used when doing the stranded work that no bunching occurs.

Cast on 53 sts of main color
Rows 1, 2 and 3 -seed stitch border at hem - on each row knit 1, purl 1, k1, p1 etc…
Row 4 purl entire row
Row 5 knit entire row

Heart pattern happens in rows 6-11 if you do not wish to do the 2 color knitting continue stockinette for 6 rows in your main color, or add a stripe or two for variety.

Heart pattern has an 8 stitch repeat, there will be 6 hearts in this design. It’s important when doing stranded knitting that is not in the round that the last stitch of the pattern (complimentary color) CC is interlocked with the (main color)MC yarn- do this by twisting yarns when you change color at the last motif.
Row 6 Purl all sts- MC6, (CC1, MC7) repeat 5 more times, MC6
Row 7 Knit all sts- MC5, twist (CC3, MC5) repeat 5 more time, MC5
Row 8 Purl all sts- MC4, twist ( CC5, MC3) repeat 5 more times, MC4
Row 9 Knit all sts- MC 3, twist ( CC7, MC1) repeat 5 more times, MC3
Row 10 purl version of row 9
Row 11 Knit all sts MC4, ( CC2, MC1, CC2, MC3) repeat 5 more times


Row 12 purl the entire row

Begin the shaping for the rump and neck, the decreases are paired with one slanting left and the other right. The neck shaping makes a slanting border of 3 sts, the rump shaping tapers toward the tail hole.

Row 13
Bind off one stitch by knitting 2sts and passing the first stitch over the second.
(Note: This bound off loop is the future location of one front tie.)
K1, (slip 1, K1, psso). This is the decrease you will always use on the right edge of the neck opening.
K13, now decrease for rump- slip 1, K1, psso, K13 across middle, decrease left side of rump K2tog, K13, K2tog, K to end.

Throughout the piece your decreases should make this pattern- from now on I will specify where, but not how to make the decreases ../…………./………….\.............\..

Row 14
Bind off one stitch by purling 2 sts and passing the first stitch over the second. Purl the rest of the row.

Row 15
K2, decrease, K12, decrease, K11, decrease, K12, decrease, K2

Now we begin to shape the neck on every row. Be careful when purling the decreases that the correct stitch lays on the top so on the right side the pattern is maintained.

Row 16 P2, decrease, P35, decrease, P2
Row 17 K2, decrease, K10, decrease, K9, decrease, K10, decrease, K2
Row 18 P2, decrease, P9, decrease, P7, decrease, P9, decrease, P2

In the next row, along with the regular decreases, three stitches will be bound off in the center to form the tail hole.
Row 19 K2, decrease, K8, decrease, K3, pass next to last stitch over, (K1, pass next to last stitch over) 2 times, decrease, K8, decrease, K2

In this row we will make 2 stitches to bridge across tail hole. Up to this point our piece has had an odd number of stitches, it will now have an even number of stitches.
Row 20 P2, decrease, P7, decrease, make 2 stitches by half hitch cast on method, decrease, P7, decrease, P2
Row 21 K2, decrease, K16, decrease, K2
Row 22 P2, decrease, P5, decrease, decrease, P5, decrease, P2

Slip 9 stitches to other needle and graft spine seam.

Add ties. Thread finishing needle with one strand of each color. Pass needle through bars of one bound off stitch. Doubled, you now have 4 strands to braid for tie. If you arrange the strands MC, CC, CC, MC … the 4 piece braid will make a spiral stripe, very pretty. Do the same braid on the other side of the neck opening.

Instructions for braid-
Leftmost strand- pass over two middle strands and then double back under the “right middle” strand.
Rightmost strand- pass over two middle strands and then double back under the “left middle” strand.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Special sneak pre-view... last time May had a baby. I have no idea when this baby is due! The suspense is gonna kill me!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The sweet momentum of a wheel spinning at the end of a sun ray's long long journey to earth.

Yesterday I took some time enjoying the afternoon sunlight of the lengthening days to spin up some more of my mohair. Working on that long draw. The wheel is the Kromski Polinaise with a maple color finish done by me. May, the goat appears to be "bagging up"... baby soon?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I have been having trouble getting my pictures uploaded to blogger. Here is another of the lederhosen socks, the cable.

Today was a cold cuddly first day of spring, big snowstorm last night with howling wind. Maybe all us snowed in people are updating their blogs.

Baby had a rough night last night again- teething. I'm thinking that we have to give him his first haircut soon. My husband named it right when he called it the "baby mullet" He has that worn bald spot on the back of his head and the hair at the nape of his neck although baby fine, is too thick and long to look cool below the bald spot.

I have been working on a pair of socks for my son. My aunt had wanted to make him a pair of socks to go with his lederhosen but sadly she has been having trouble with her hands. I recently discovered the project at my mother's house. My mom didn't know she had it! Anyway, the yarn and needles were there, but it looked like the ribbing she had started has been outgrown... so I ripped it out and started over on a design of my own for these socks.

I got a chance to try a few new techniques in this project.

I used the jogless stripe technique which is virtually invisible when combined with ribbing. (picture)

I also tried cleaning up the stripes in the ribbing by knitting the whole round when a new color is introduced. Usually stripes in ribbing will be jumbled up in the purl columns- but by doing all knit it prevents that- and when you quickly revert to the k2 p2 pattern- the texture is pretty well preserved. Things I noted in my test swatch of this technique...

1. The rib is slightly pushed out by the knit stitches, it does not contract as small as pure ribbing would- but it has the same potential when stretched outward. The overall sizing is not changed- but if you were doing this in a design that is intended to cling tightly when not stretched- the knit trick might cause the striped areas to be puckered.

2. The rib is no longer symmetrical on both sides, with the wrong side being very decorated with the funky purled stripes- if you want to be able to cuff your knitting- better stick to plain ribbing without this trick. The wrong side is shown in the blurry sidebar picture.

I liked the design I came up with for these, there is a paired decrease going down the back of the leg creating a decorative seam and a cable on either side. At the ankle the ribbing front to back is symmetrical.

I also had a great time using a "new to me" needle handling technique- that is simple- just put the new DPN on top of the old needle before knitting the first stitch of the new section- very easy tight stitch- no more DPN gaps!

One sock down, one to go.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New hat, new sling- looks like spring outside but still too bitter cold to go out and enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

must resist the urge to crochet dresses for spare toilet paper rolls....

Last Friday was a very sad day here, a boy was killed in a car crash, hilltopping. They had been visiting our neighbor kid, and my husband says they left squealing tires... a mile down the road- the driver was dead. The two passengers were thrown clear of the car and had minor injuries. Apparently the passengers, at 17, have already been in five wrecks... either they are some really bad luck or they are riding with the wrong sort of driver. I think if I was their moms I'd move to the city and give those boys a bus pass.

What's even more horrible is that it seems that the crash has made our little country road more popular, over the weekend it seemed that many unfamiliar cars came up here racing. Maybe they just wanted to visit the crash site and see for themselves, get some closure- but it seemed a little less somber than that. I sure hope that hump in the road does not become popular over this.

Last year on a different nearby road an entire family was wiped out by a teen boy whose flying bronco landed into the top of their minivan, decapitating the mother, killing two children, leaving the grandmother and father on life support and one young child of that devastated family with his world forever changed. From what I hear the boy responsible for the wreck is back to driving the same wild way... not even killing three people and crippling two sobered him up.
turbo charged
You are "turbo" charged.
Fast moving and classy, you get things done with

power and grace. Your expensive tastes can

be deceiving, since what you really value is

quality and efficiency. As you're careening

around those corners in life, finishing a

dozen knitted objects each month, stop and

smell the roses. Don't miss the beauty of


What kind of knitting needles are you?
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Friday, March 10, 2006

This wild duck appeared at our pond today, aside from canadian geese and mallards I have not seen any wild ducks here so this was a real treat. Our farm ducks stayed far away from him while he did a lot of diving. His dive technique was interesting- he would stay down for about 10 seconds or more and the come up again in the same spot. We were able to watch him for a while from the kitchen door. My son named him "Pop-up" I think he is a greater scaup- his bill was very blue.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Not like this is critical info- but my little ponies are very hard to fit- their heads a HUGE and factor rigid little ears onto that and a fitted neck (if they even have a neck) pullover is really an impossibility. The front opening horseblanket is a much better solution to the pressing world crisis of lack of clothing for MLP's. Scratch this.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I've taken on an odd little design challenge- I'd like to make a little Zebra costume for my daughter's My Little Ponies. I'm using some of the left over yarn I had from the striped Broadripple socks. Although I am not concerned with copying a zebra pelt perfectly- I would like to have the stripe contour and the shaping work together- I'd also like to knit it in one piece with minimal sewing in the end. This shows my third attempt at this- having tried and failed at a face first approach and then a hem line up approach- this one starts at the tail hole- and I remembered to keep a nice dorasl stripe this time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The formation of the MDC knitting blog ring inspired me to start a knitting/mother's blog.
I'd like to share pictures and stories of my fiber projects- from beginning to end- my animals, shearing, spinning, dying and knitting - maybe even weaving as well as the adventures of an Activist mom of 3.

I taught myself to knit when I was about eight years old, using the ends of some paint brushes. My mother discovered me doing this and watched my technique in awe without correcting me- not having been instructed on purling- I was just knitting back and forth across the needles. I did eventually learn to knit the way other people do, but have recently gone back to my roots and knit randomly using a combination of the english and continental methods.

I designed my own knit items as a little girl knitting for my stuffed animals and only recently started following patterns when I started in with trying to knit lace. I also have some Elizabeth Zimmerman books and I really enjoy the way she writes patterns and I like her designs. In the past month I have made two "Baby Surprise Jackets" and they were so much fun. The "Angus edition" was done with some kool aid dyed 100% wool yarn I had in my stash- but the worsted weight yarn would not give me my guage so I split the 4 plys to 2 and went with that- it's striped blue, lime and pale lemonaide. The "Helena edition" is for a friend's baby girl expected to be born really soon- I purchased a sock yarn in a dark purple, lilac and pink- this sweater is very light and the yarn is very springy- the stitches didn't melt into eachother in the same way as the split yarn did- I think because it's very strong sock yarn and has some acrylic in it.

I have a long way to go with this but I would like to try to write down some of my knit designs to share or sell. Yesterday I knit a blanket with left over yarn for my daughter's My Little Pony, it's purple with a row of pink hearts, a seed stitch border, shaped rump and collar and a little hole for the tail. I'd like to try some more of those and I have lots of that yarn left over.

I have been spinning for about a year and am still very much of a beginner. Last weekend we had a spinning clinic at the local library (a miracle!- a spinning clinic!) and I learned how to set my wheel up to do scotch tension and I also learned how to do "the long draw" wow- that really speeds up my spinning! Then I got my mohair back from the mill in the mail this week- it was amazing to see 5 pounds of mohair inhale and expand from a small block jammed in that box- to a big poof the size of a beanbag chair. Also the transformation from the curly locks I'd sent to the uniform smooth roving that came back- neato! And compared to combing my own fleece with the viking combs- what a time (and allergy) saver! I spun one spool of mohair so far and I am a bit dissapointed by the texture of the yarn it produces... I knew it was going to be like this- I mean, my goats are old- and they weren't great quality to begin with, I had heard that mohair from old goats is pretty much just for rugs- and now I see that- the yarn is beautiful and glossy- I think it will dye beautifully- but it's certainly not going to make a baby sweater. I just have to swallow that pill... maybe learn how to hook rugs? weave horse saddle pads?

Last night we went to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus I brought my binoculars- the camels were so beautifully groomed- I was having a fiber moment... when they brought in some performing goats I thought, "This I gotta see" I looked away for a moment and when I looked back there was a Lama and a pony in the ring... as I figured- goats, even circus goats... will be goats.

This picture is from last summer. I was pregnant with Angus. The kids and I had worked very hard on an entry for the Swiss Wine Festival Parade, we trained Nimbus, our Angora billy goat, to pull the cart. We made the cart from an old yard cart and put a lot of effort into the paint job. An Amish friend made the custom harness. Nimbus behaved! and the only downside of the whole thing is that my shy little girl would not crack a smile through the whole parade... maybe this year will be different