On the third Monday of the month a group of enthusiastic knitters meet in the Resource Room at the Duxbury Free Library. From 6:00 - 8:00 you can find knitters of various skill levels with yarn between their fingers. We would love you to join us. If you can't, follow us here!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Let's Start at the Beginning.

All the good books usually have a good beginning. All the old houses that are still standing usually have a good foundation, and all the knitting projects that don't look home-made have a good cast-on. 

At the last Monday Night Knitting I discovered that some people were having trouble with their cast-on. So, as Julie Andrews would say,  . . . well she would sing it, but you really don't want me to start singing . . . "Let's Start at the Very Beginning. A Very Good Place to Start."

The easiest cast-on to start with is the cabled cast-on. It will give a nice stable edge and is fine for most projects.



But done incorrectly . . . EEKS! 
Here is a swatch of it. See how loopy the bottom is!! In fact, it's so loopy it relaxes into the first row of knitting. 

Here's what NOT to do . . . after you have placed the second stitch on the needle, don't just knit into the first loop . . . insert the needle behind the entire stitch.



Take a look.




First start out with a basic slip knot for your first stitch.









Insert the right hand needle into the stitch as if you were going to knit it.

Wrap the yarn around the right needle as if you were going to knit it . . . 







. . . then pull the yarn through. 
Pull it through far enough 
that you can insert the left 
needle into the loop just 
created on the right needle.



Slide the stitch off the right needle and keep it on the left needle.

There you go . . . you have cast on 2 stitches. 






When you go to create the third stitch, insert the right needle between the first and second stitch.


I know it's not a glamorous shot . . . I need a manicure and my band-aid is showing . . . but I was willing to suffer through it to make sure you could see where to put the right hand needle








Then go ahead and pull the yarn through and place the loop on the left needle.


That's where some of my Monday night ladies made their mistake. They only inserted into the front loop . . . . resulting in the loose cast-on. 



Here's what it will look like if it's done this way.


 

On one side you will see a 'line',









On the other side it will look almost like a row of garter stitch.

Whichever side you choose to make visible on the public side of your garment is your choice . . . YOU are the knitter after all! 



Pick whichever one you like the best. Just make sure you pick the same side for all the pieces of your project.

There you have it. A good beginning. There are many other ways to cast on . . . but I'll save them for another day since sometimes simple is all you need. 

It's kind of like 'Once Upon a Time'. How can a story start any better? Can't you just see the prince, the princess and the dewy eyed looks they are giving each other? (Can you tell I just saw Cinderella?!).

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.














Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday Night Knitting Group

After a cold and snowy winter, the Monday Night Knitting group was back in full force last night!! It was so nice to have a full room of knitters . . . and a spinner too! Pat brought in her spinning wheel to give us a little demonstration.


Pat is going to knit a pair of socks with the yarn she is spinning. She is trying for a self striping pattern . . . we'll see!!


Pat not only spins  . . . but she weaves too. She came in wearing this gorgeous cape/poncho that she made.  We all fell in love with it. She was nice enough to let us try it on. Here is Linda modeling it.

It's enough to make me want to learn to weave!!






Joan S. is making another baby sweater . . . look how cute with this sailboat that is created with a few well placed purl stitches!









Lizzie is making hand warmers . . . you can see the luscious cranberry color . . . but you should feel how soft they are! 

Joan M. is working on socks . . . great spring color. (I think anyways. I haven't seen grass for so long . . . I think it's green! All I really know is that snow is white!)








Janet is making a scarf for a cute little guy (he must be cute, he is related to her and she is so nice!). I like the two color/half split that she did. Way to get the best yardage out of your yarn Janet!!



Marguerite is working on an afghan. Isn't it awesome? One row has one-heck-of-a-lot-of stitches in it! But, wow.









I love our group of familiar faces . . . new projects . . . and this week we had Jackie join us. (I hope we didn't scare her away). 

Join us sometime. 

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.




















Saturday, March 7, 2015

6 Is the New 2-4

I sat down this morning to work on my knitting and thought to myself, 'Geesh, this sweater is taking forever!' I wondered why . . . and then I realized that I have been so busy making these wonderful piles of snow in my yard that I haven't had time to knit, to clean house, to blog . . . really no time to do anything . . . except of course to add to the wonderful piles . . . every 3 days . . . and then fall asleep at night.






I tried to be optimistic and think that since I haven't had time to shop,  I am saving money. It's also like having a free gym in my yard . . . I am getting better arm strength and I have lost 5 pounds.

But still . . . my knitting is languishing in my bag . . . I should be working on the sleeves by now and I am still on the back!

Then the slap in the face happened yesterday. The forecast was 2-4 inches . . . and yet when I measured it . . . after it had sat in the sun and even melted or settled a little . . . 





. . . well I ask you . . . does that look like 2-4 inches to you??!! My 'You can Prevent Forest Fires' ruler clearly shows a strong 6 inches!!

Let's face it. If a knitter measured like a weatherman, nothing would ever fit. Sleeves would be hanging down to your knuckles and crew necks would look like cowl necks. 

Don't let it happen to you. When you measure your knitting, don't do it with it in your lap. . . and don't lean over and put it on the empty spot next to you on the couch. Get up, and place it on a flat, smooth surface. Yes, you even have to move your table cloth. That way your piece won't 'stick' to anything and you will get an accurate measurement. 

Otherwise you may end up with 'Weatherman Measurements'. And no knitting deserves that.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.













Monday, January 26, 2015

How much snow is coming??!!

Well in the northeast we are closing down the hatches and getting ready for a 'storm of historic proportions'. EEEK!! What does that mean??!!





The way the forecast is going . . . . there might be enough snow to go outside and be creative. 

Maybe there'll be enough for this . . .


Although I think I'll stay in and knit.



Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber. (Unless you are in the northeast, then keep your fingers in your hand-knit mittens!)


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don't Get Bent Out of Shape . . . Just Get the Right Needles for the Job!

At the end of the day . . . when dinner is over . . . when the dishes are done . . . when the coffee is made for the next morning . . . there is nothing better than sitting down with my knitting, a glass of wine (in my favorite wine glass which was given to me by a special person), and relaxing. 


Well, I thought I was relaxing!!

Then I put my knitting down for a second, and holy shamoley! Look at my needles! They were straight when I bought them. They were straight when I started knitting all these fleece-lined mittens. But now, after a few pairs of mitten cuffs . . . well, at this rate I will have the first pair of bamboo circular needles!

I knew I was using a smaller sized needle for worsted weight wool . . . and I knew the mock cable was a little tighter than a K2P2 ribbing . . . but wow. 

If nothing else, I guess the 'experts' are right. Sometimes if you are having trouble with a project, try switching your needles. Different types of wood will have different gripping capabilities.  I love my Addis for lace, but my KnitPicks double-pointeds are my favorite for socks. 

And yes, as you can see,  bamboo needles have a give to them and are easier on your hands!

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Whispering Mittens

In my quest for the perfect mitten pattern, I came across The Mitten Book by Inger Gottfridsson. The book contains patterns that were first preserved and published by Hermanna Stengard  in 1925. Before I even looked through the book I decided I loved it . . . just based on the quote by Stengard in the front of the book.
click here to place a hold

"How would it look, do you think, if everyone, old and young, would sit down together and knit for awhile? Laughter and merriment and riddles and questions and folktales and anecdotes from each person's life would blend together in the stitches. Then later, when you recalled these events that have gone through your own fingers stitch by stitch, they would speak their own quiet language: Do you remember? Do you remember?"

It just struck such a chord with me. Haven't you done that? Knitted something and then whenever you wore it . . . you remembered where you were in your life at that time. 


I have my first two-color Norwegian sweater sitting forlornly in my cedar chest. I never wear it anymore, but I can't bear to part with it. I made it when my kids were just toddlers - sneaking literally a row, or maybe two, each night after they were asleep. Then there's the green scarf from a skein of yarn I found one weekend when my husband and I went away . . . the shawl I made went I went through chemo treatments . . . the scarf I made from a kit that I purchased when I went to my first Stitches East Convention . . . the mohair coat my mother made from yarn she purchased on one of her past yearly visits to my aunt in Maryland. It goes on. So many knitted pieces gently whispering "Do you remember? Do you remember?" when I open my closet door.

Go ahead, look through the book. Imagine knitting a pattern that was also worked about 200 years ago by another knitter across the world. The patterns may be more work than you care to put into a pair of mittens . . . or maybe not. You could thread a little love into your skein of wool . . . knit them up . . . then cherish them for being a reminder of how fortunate you are today . . . right now . . . in this quickly changing world. 

I think Hermanna may be on to something.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mittens . . . Mittens . . . I'm Still Knittin' Mittens!

Seven Day Forecast
Brrrr . . . .maybe this is why I am mitten crazy! 
It's down right chilly in the Boston area! 
It was 4 degrees at my house this morning.
 Mitten weather!


After knitting a couple of pairs of mittens, I have become kind of obsessed.

The first couple of pairs I did were 'okay' . . . but I wasn't really happy with the way the thumbs came out.
I had to do a little 'creative weaving' where I picked up stitches to join the thumb to the hand. They were also generic mittens . . . meaning either mitten could go on either hand.





The obsession kicked in and I began pulling out all my patterns and looking through all kinds of books. I'm starting to take pieces from each one and combine them together in my search for 'the perfect pattern'.





In my last pattern scouring, I found a classic pattern, but this one is 'hand-specific'. I gave it a try with some royal blue yarn in my stash . . . and since I still have a supply of fleece . . . they are of course fleece-lined. 

This time when I went to work the thumb, I picked up more stitches than the pattern called for. (Then on the next row I just decreased down to the amount called for.

I also did the mock cable over 2 stitches instead of 3 (MUCH easier!!). 




Perhaps the next pair will reach that near perfection status. I'll let you know if they do. In fact, I'll give you 'the perfect pattern' when I achieve it.



Until the next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.