Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I had a serious case of Finish-itis on Monday!

First up - Grandson's sweater. What a difference needles can make. I mentioned last Saturday that I'd purchased a set of Brittany Birch size 10.5 DPs. With those in hand, I whipped through knitting the sleeves and finished running in the yarn ends shortly after I returned home from teaching knitting.

Fair Isle yoked seamless sweater worked in Bernat worsted weight acrylic on size 9 & 10.5 needles. Knit in the round up to the armholes and then split for back & front yokes. Three needle bind-off for the shoulders, then the sleeve stitches were picked up around the armhole & knit down to the cuff. The snowflake pattern is from Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting and is worked over 25 stitches for 25 rows. Lessons learned: A boat neck needs to be larger than I made this one, even though I decreased the percentage of stitches for the shoulders from what Elizabeth Zimmerman's ESP calculations suggested. I wound up having to pick out the neck bind-off and removed the 3 needle shoulder bind-off for about 3 stitches on each side. I then worked a K1 red, P1 white ribbing for six rows and, switching to plain red worked six more rows of ribbing that was folded to the inside and tacked. I'm just hoping that this doesn't make the front neck too high for comfort.

Secondly, the Marine Blue Heather Palette socks with the lace up the instep and then all around the cuff.

See, there really are two of them!

And a close up of the heel & the cuff lace. Worked in Palette fingering weight yarn from KnitPicks on size 2 Harmony DPs. Started in March, finished originally on Monday, but then I frogged the bind-off of the second sock and reworked it with a size 4 needle to get the needed amount of stretch.

Also on Monday, I brought home two crocheted scarves, a light blue and a speckled navy that Frances had crocheted and made hats to go with them. It helped that I had a full night of TV with Bones, House and then PBS's Carrier. The teal hat with the variegated slip stitch pattern was completed last night and goes with a plain teal garter stitch scarf that I knit last week.

We went to an ALYS (Almost Local Yarn Store) over in Rochester today while we were there on other business this afternoon and I found these needles on the $3 table. A 35" size 1 circular and a 16" size 15, both Crystal Palace bamboo. My Boye NeedleMaster set doesn't go down to size 1 so this circular is long enough to let me cast on over the two points and make the little rectangle I use for the toe when I'm making socks.

And here, hiding behind the fan we needed last week when we broke a record high with 80° and don't need this week when we're challenging record lows set back in the 1870s, is Callie who is probably wondering why Mommy is spreading knitting out of the floor and hoping that it gets left there for a kitty bed.

Yesterday was a great day. My friend Coralynn is in town from AZ to visit her daughter and we got together to talk, laugh & have lunch. We've been emailing and working on genealogy together since 1999 and this is the first we've met in person. She's just as neat a lady face to face as she is via the web and I had a wonderful time.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Insert Snazzy Title Here....

Because I can't think of a good title this afternoon. This post is sort of a hodge-podge.

First of all, Grandson's sweater is coming along. I had the first sleeve almost finished when I realized that I had been working to the wrong measurement and had to rip back. I'm decreasing at a slower rate now which let me leave the sleeve on the 16" Inox circular longer which helped as I'm faster on a circular than I am on DPs. The shoulder seams have been finished off with a 3-needle bind-off, but I think I'm going to have to do something more with the boat neckline as I don't like the way it currently rolls outward. I'm thinking of a short stand-up neck-band in the red & white alternating stitches, perhaps in seed stitch.

I'm continuing to work on hat & scarf sets for our K4 group. Here are two that I finished this week and another set is on the needles.

Garage sales have started and I was able to pick up these three skeins of yarn for $1 total. One is Bernat black worsted and the other two are Baby Soft in a pale blue. I'll take the latter to K4 next Thursday for my friend Pat who is always looking for baby yarn and then probably make a hat & scarf set out of the black. Our local Meijer's store where our group usually stocks up on yarn appears to be discontinuing the department, so this summer I'll be searching garage sales to stock the cupboard at the Sr. Center with worsted weight sayelle.

On the way home from shopping this morning, we stopped by the LYS Heritage Spinning & Weaving and I brought home a sack of goodies. In the center, a second 16" size 10.5 Inox circular so I can work on a hat at the same time as I'm using that size to work on a sweater *and* a set of Brittany 10.5 DPs. I love my Harmony DPs in the small sizes, but find that working with the 10.5s make my fingers hurt because the points are sharp. The store had Bryspun DPs in that size for the first time since I've been trying to find a set that's shorter than the 10" ones you can see on the sweater sleeve, but after pressing my finger against the points of those, they were as sharp as the Harmony ones. I'm hoping that I won't have that problem with the birch needles - I have a set of them in size 13 that I like.

Then on either side of the needles, a couple real finds. 100 gram skeins of On-Line super-wash sock yarn at 75% off. Instead of the usual $16 a skein, I got these for $4 each (plus tax). I'm almost finished with the second Marine Blue Heather sock and had planned to work up the KnitPicks natural flecked superwash next, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't satisfy my curiosity on how these On-Line yarns in the Nepal colorways will knit up. That's color #785 on the left & #781 on the right.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Here's how I've been spending at least some of my time recently:

The flower bed by the front steps, just under the kitchen window, was over-run by myrtle. I've been slowly ripping it out along with some of the wayward violets that were also trying to take it over. I'm not done yet, but I've uncovered tulips, lilies, and some other plants that weren't doing too well before I started.

This is along the side of the garage. Several years back, my friend Kim came up from Kentucky for a visit and brought along some plants for Mom's garden. This is a perennial geranium that started out as a very small plant. Over the past couple years, it has spread to the point that a bushel basket would no longer cover it even at this early stage of growth. I'm not removing all the leaves from last fall just yet as, while our recent temperatures have been in the 70s during the day, the forecast for a week from now includes some pretty chilly nights. At least they've changed the forecast for the better as SNOW isn't included anymore.

The first daffodil bloom - there were originally four bulbs planted here but only two have come up this spring.

Remember the last early photos of the Seven Sisters rose? Those little leaf buds are developing into actual leaves.

And in the bed in the south-east corner of the backyard, a couple more daffodils are making an appearance. This is another bed where the myrtle is trying to take over and will need to be ripped back so I don't lose the other plants.

The tulips are showing the first signs of producing buds. I have no idea what color these are going to be.

Against the south wall of the house, violets are already blooming. The day-lilies get an early start in this area, but later in the summer the bounce back from the foundation makes it difficult to keep things alive.

And the rhubarb!! The stems aren't long enough to pick yet, but you're looking at cobbler on the hoof {bg}

I have been knitting and will try to get photos of some of the latest projects but it has been so nice out and without mosquitoes so far, I've been trying to get as much done as I can.


Monday, April 07, 2008


I've certainly been Missing In Action this last month. Lots of stuff going on with the move to the new house which is progressing slowly but surely. The computer is working (sort of) and the camera cable finally reinstalled so I can post some photos.

It's been a long hard winter here in southeast Michigan and I'm not assuming that it's over yet, but this weekend & today were glorious! Spring is starting to play peekaboo..

The rhubarb along the south side of the house is starting to show the little red bumps of growing leaves that presage rhubarb cobbler in about six more weeks.

The tulips I planted last fall are starting to sprout. I didn't plant the entire bag that our neighbor across the road gave me and some of them were sprouting, so when I was cleaning out the flower beds yesterday, I stuck the ones with shoots into the ground - probably planted them too shallowly, but I'll replant them deeper next fall.

It doesn't take much to make me happy - here you can see the first faint evidence that the Seven Sisters rose made it though another winter in the small leaf buds along the runner.

And here is why our three cats have been blissful recently: the first catnip leaves of spring which were sprouting under a covering blanket of leaves.

On the moving front, since it's been dry & sunny so we weren't in danger of tracking snow and/or mud into the house for the first time in months, we moved the antique oak cupboard that used to sit in the entry way at the old house and found that it fit almost perfectly into this corner between the fireplace and the hall. The lamp is an antique that belonged to my Grand-aunt Ruth. We also moved the oak table and two chairs over so the kitchen is almost complete except for needing to clean off the peninsula counter top which has attracted all the tools DH needs for what he calls his "Honey, do" projects. These include new towel racks in the master bathroom, fluorescent lights in the basement and the old shelves from the pantry installed in one corner of the garage.

And just to assure you that I haven't been totally asleep knit-wise, there are fourteen hat & scarf sets in this tote along with the toddler sweater & a shawl - all for our 4K group. I forgot to get a photo of grandson's sweater. The body is complete and I'm working on the first sleeve.

Acrylics Anon/a