Sunday, April 28, 2013


I know that you will understand the feeling as I write about an WIP of mine that has been just waiting for me to pick her up again.  It was a gift from my parents when they lived back at the house; which should tell you how long ago that was.

I saw the Sipalu Bag at Knitpicks and I fell in love.  I'm the kind of Aries that jumps into everything with cannons blazing and only when I am knee deep in chaos do I stop to ponder my actions.

This kit came with 16 balls of Palette which were all so lovely to look at and I pet them lovingly...and that was it.  After reading over the instructions I put the kit away.  Yep that's me...or was me...but I digress.

Now and again I would pull out my kit and then I would find a reason to not knit it and back into the recesses of my UFOs it would go.

In 2011 I had played with Fair Isle a bit on my own; as I do most things, and enjoyed it enough to take a foray into "the kit".  This time I looked at the Fair Isle as an adventure and created a provisional cast on and began to knit Fair Isle.

Now mind you I moved balls back and forth to strand and switch colors but my strands or floats on the back looked pretty good and my fronts did too.  I was pretty darn proud of myself and knit the entire side band.  Now all that moving of balls had become second nature and I could switch those colors pretty fast.  I breezed through the little side welt and cast on my 4th side provisional and began to knit the bag itself.

About six rows after the welt in I dropped two stitches and put them on lock ring markers and put "the kit" away.

And then it was excuses and this and that and really I didn't remember why I had stopped knitting; but I was constantly reminded of "the kit" because the bag of yarn is right by where I place my purse.

Fast forward to 2013 and I finally take a two-handed, two stranded knitting class in Fair Isle.  Now there were no more excuses.  I teach picking up stitches; I can handle some drops and I pick them up easily making sure the color sequences follow and I am back to knitting.  No more ball moving; I just knit with a color in each hand and strand as I go. The whole thing flows without effort.  I am back in the game.

My goal is to knit on "the Two Side of Me" as I now will call her, at least once a week,  This is only the bag front that I'm currently working on.  And it still needs to be blocked.  There is still a back and a top and a cord of some sort to tie it all together.  So I have a ways to go but that is okay.

I decided on that name because I will knit the other side in the opposing color chart that they included.  I liked them both and I thought why not?  Not sure how I will do the welt yet...but that is a long...long...way off.

I have an FO to share as well.  Here is the brioche scarf all posed and looking very Halloweeny IMHO.  This was a really fun project and I hope to make lots more.

Have a beautiful day,

P.S.  Thank you for all you kind comments regarding Mom; they mean more then words can convey.  She passed in her sleep last night; she went peacefully into the next world where Dad was waiting for her.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Little Rain Must Fall

Be still sad heart and cease repining; 
Behind the clouds the sun is shining, 
Thy fate is the common fate of all, 
Into each life a little rain must fall, 
Some days must be dark and dreary. 

I'm sorry that this post is very personal and not full of knitting or spirituality or really anything of valve to you dear reader.  Today I just kind of ask for a hug from my cyber space family and next week I will be back with things to show and beautiful yarns to dazzle and tempt you with.

The thing I have been dreading has happened and most days I feel like my world is just shifting out of order. Mom's cancer has become untreatable. They have said she has two to six months to live and to get her affairs in order. Rain was pitter patterning on the window and the moment is forever frozen in my mind. Lonestar was playing when the Doc told her:

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
I'm your imaginary friend
And I know, I'm in your prayers
Oh I'm already there

I was knitting my brioche before I left and I felt Dad's hand on my arm so much so that I turned to see who had touched me and he said, "You do such beautiful work.  It will be okay."

I thought I was going to drop a stitch which is harder to fix in the brioche then you might think; but he was talking about Mom.

In my heart; I know that I let go a long time ago so I could accept this new woman that my Mom had become.  Her dementia makes it hard to talk about most anything for long but I tell the same stories with a smile on my face and treat her with love and respect.

I know she is so weary of everything and she misses Dad terribly.  She hardly eats now; but I can ply her with chocolate and cashews when I visit and her eyes become so bright and my heart smiles a bit to see her so happy.

I called Hospice today to start the process of having them watch over Mom.  Right now she isn't in any pain and most days she has forgotten that she has cancer; which is good I guess.  But Hospice will assure that if she needs anything like pain meds or whatever, it will be there.  They also tell me that they have a wonderful grief counselor and maybe one of these days I will check into that.  Not now though.

So if you are of the praying sort, if you could say one for my Mom I would truly be thankful.

I wish you all a beautiful day,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are You Ready To Burp?

So a few weeks ago I tackled the subject of barking and now I'm on to burping.   So in all of knitting is there anything that makes you laugh more then brioche?  I mean all this barking and burping can really get hilarious!

brp or burp stitch is made by purling the stitch that was made on the previous row together with it's YO.  When you look at your needle you will have a stitch by itself (that is the stitch that you slip) and the two stitches clustered together.  Those two will be the ones that you purl together or burp.

You will also need how to make a sl1yof, brp1:

This stitch is a little trickier then our bark stitch.  Let me break it down.  With the yarn in front you will slip the first stitch.  Then you will YO.  To do this when a purl is your next stitch, you bring the working yarn from the front to the back over the needle, and then to the front under the needle...or you circle it clockwise.  This creates a YO and allows the yarn to be in position for the purl stitch.  You finish the stitch by purling the next two stitches together.

Another thing worth noting is on the 2nd (Row 2 WS CC) and 3rd (Row 1 RS MC) rows are comprised of a bark1, yf, sl1yo.  The 2nd row will end with a YO and you will have to hold it in place as you turn your work so it doesn't escape.  

After you turn your work to start the 3rd row make sure that you capture that YO with your working yarn.

The 3rd row will end with a YO as well.  This time you will not be securing it until the last stitch of the 4th (Row 2 RS CC) row so make sure it is present before making the burp which will anchor it.

The only colors left in the Gradient this time were black and orange so excuse my Halloween theme in the middle of spring.  And pardon my actual lack of black.  The ball started in white from the center though all the layers showing were grey and black.  Go figure.  :)

So this will be continuing from our one color brioche.  Make sure you are knitting on a circular or dpn or it will be impossible to work the stitch.  I attached my new color over my old color with a slip knot just to keep everything in place.  I can take it out later.

In two color brioche you will first knit with the main color then the contrasting color on the same side.  This is the reason for the circular or dpn; you will slide your work back like an old typewriter and make two passes on each side.  Maybe it is more simply written:

Wrong side
        Burp with color A, do not turn your work, slide your work back to the right hand needle
        Bark with color B, turn work
Right side
        Bark with color A, do not turn your work, slide your work back to the right hand needle
        Burp with color B, turn work

Note:  I realize that I'm starting from one color brioche so the columns show the shift in stitches.  This is for a technique class where knitting one piece is desirable   Also, I kind of like the shift, but if you don't you can start fresh and follow these instructions:

Begin with casting on an even number of stitches in your MC; then work the set up row before following the four row pattern.

Set up Row CC:                     wyif *sl1yo P1* rep ** to end

If you are continuing from the one-color brioche then you should start here.

The actual pattern looks like this:

Row 1 WS MC  BURP  PURL:              wyif *sl1yof, brp1* rep** to end

do not turn your work, side your work back to the right hand needle

Row 1 WS CC   BARK  KNIT:             *brk1, yfsl1yo* rep ** to end

turn your work

Row 2 RS MC   BURP   KNIT:              *brk1, yfsl1yo* rep ** to end

do not turn your work, slide your work back to the right hand needle

Row 2 RS CC    BARK  PURL:               wyif  *sl1yof, brp1* rep ** to end

turn your work

Repeat these 4 rows until you have the length you desire.

The pure genius of this stitch is just spellbinding to me.  I also love the color possibilities that you can make with this pattern.  You can play with warm and cool colors in your favorite hues and you can create an original scarf just for you.

Oh, edited to add after ripping out the my original swatch...brioche should be done on a needle size one or two sizes down from the recommended ball band or you will be loosey-goosey like my sample and the colors will show through.

May your days be full of color,

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Going with the Flow

This week I've been swatching and madly designing for an upcoming lace class and I don't have much to show you.  I did finish my squishy brioche scarf and I think he loves it.  Everyone who saw it had to give it a squeeze or too to celebrate the softness.  :)

I've been working hard on making this shawl flow from one pattern to the next.  The idea is that a student would start with simple eyelet rows and then the design would progress and grow as the student does.  I'm actually pretty darn happy with the flow of the overall design.

Like most things in life there are rules to lace.  They are not steadfast and can be manipulated as one desires but it will change the shape of your garment and that needs to be taken into consideration.

YOs are the black holes of the knitting world.  If you make one and do not pair it with a decrease your garment will grow.  You have probably seen this with the most simple of blankets and shawls that increase a stitch on every row and slowly a triangle grows magically before your eyes.  These shaping increases are usually in the center and / or on the sides but they can be sprinkled about wherever you wish to achieve the shape you are looking for.

But back to black holes.  The YO creates a disturbance in the balance of the fabric and depending on where you put your paired decrease it can shape the fabric in ways that can't be seen on the chart.

Take for instance this simple pattern:
SK2P - slip 1 stitch purlwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch

Row 1:     (RS)   K1, YO, K3, SK2P, K3, YO, K1
Row 2:     (WS) On this and all WS odd rows purl all the way across
Row 3:     K2, YO, K2, SK2P, K2, YO, K2
Row 5:     K3, YO, K1, SK2P, K1, YO, K3
Row 7:     K4, YO, SK2P, YO, K4

Now look at a swatch of this pattern.  From the chart it looks like there should be nice little diagonal lines with YOs next to them; but this is not the case.  See how the fabric is pulled into a rounded shape around the YOs on the second repeat?   All the energy in this swatch is flowing towards the SK2Ps from both directions.  This is an awesome effect and depending on how you shape pattern it can look like leaves, feathers or scales.

As you can see I used the above pattern to springboard into another.  I've found by charting the YOs first I can get the basic shape of a piece.  After that I make sure all my non-shaping increases are paired with decreases; but it is in the swatch that everything truly becomes clear.  What I thought were lines become gentle curves or stacked decreases that pull the eye in such a way that they look like a stem of a leaf...the truth the swatch can show one is endless.  This is one of the reasons that I just love is always surprising me.  :)

May your crafting bring you joy,