Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Oh, I know I've been quiet.  Awfully quiet here, for a chatterbox like me.

I've been busy and had a series of issues that kept me off balance.

First, John's mom got very, very sick, was hospitalized a whole month, had two brain surgeries and a stint at a rehab hospital.  She's home now, and doing okay, but this was terribly serious and she's in her 90s.

A few weeks later, I got sick.  I spent a night and a morning at the hospital to rule out heart trouble, but it was a nasty reflux flare-up.  After a change in my meds, eliminating a couple food items, and a couple weeks of relative peace, I was much better.

John had a work crisis and a horrendous problem with work deadlines.  He's been working crazy hours and is almost finished with the situation.

I had an insect sting about a week ago that turned into a 4" round pink and red bulls-eye on my leg very quickly.  It looked like something from a Lyme disease article!  The doc gave me antibiotics, which cleared it up.

Through all of this, work's been very busy, I've been going to evening meetings, and I've been trying to finish my upcoming mid-gauge machine knitting book.  It's in the pattern testing phase right now.  It also really needs some photos to get it out of its current sad black-and-white, are-these-really-projects phase. 

Every spare minute I'm running to the knitting room to do a little more, try another idea, edit a little video, or wind more yarn to get ready to knit.

Some really great things are coming up really soon: 

First of all, this weekend, our knitting club is having a retreat at a center in the Hill Country near New Braunfels, Texas.  We haven't been there before, but the pictures are lovely.  We aren't having a seminar, just a "free range" knitting time and some fun and fellowship.  Doesn't that sound great?  We've never done anything quite like this before.  I'll report back and let y'all know how it went for us.

Secondly, in July, I'm teaching at the Monroe Machine Knitting Seminar.  It's going to be super this year (again).  How do I know this?  Well, Larry and Cathy Reaume have done this for years and are organized experts, the venue is a wonderful spacious college campus setup, they always have several teachers, and they bring in a chef to do great food.  Just hanging around that many knitters is a mind-altering experience. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Office Violet

After a long history of no luck with African violets, I am having real success with a windowsill in my office and self-watering pots.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Finished My Afghan

For my last Knit Natters demo, I came up with a tuck lace afghan on my bulky machine.  I saw an idea in a magazine, then swatched, fiddled, and came up with my version.

With my swatches, I played around with fringe, tassels, and edgings, and I decided that a simple hem made the most professional finish for the latched panels.  The stitch has 3 needles in work and one out, and I used the same needle arrangement for the hems.  The mattress-stitched hems ensure every panel meets perfectly at the ends and lies nicely.

When I went to knit club, all I had done were the panels.  The panels still needed to be latched together, the sides had to be latched to make a pretty edge, and the hems, top and bottom, needed mattress stitched.  

For grown-ups, I like a big afghan.  This is about 5 feet by 6 six feet. I used two cones of dark and two cones of light, but I still have about 10 ounces of each color (4 cones of 5 ounces each).   

To my surprise, that all went very fast, and I enjoyed the finishing process.  I had used two strands of Tamm Star in a wine color and a soft rose color.  I thought perhaps having those two strands separate as I unraveled and latched might make the process tedious, but once I found an old latch hook for making rugs (it's big, and I needed the space to hold all the loops) it was terrific.

Using a tried-and-true cone yarn, stranded like this, is my new favorite afghan yarn supply.  This blanket had two cones of the same yarn for each panel, but for some afghans I made a while back, I actually used three thinner yarns to make a "tweed," a mixture of different colors. You don't need so very much of each color, and the finished result is quite interesting.

The color is truer in the close-up; that is, the wine is a little darker, but the rose is about right on my monitor.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Upcoming Seminar

I'm teaching at Knit Knack Shop's Spring Fling next weekend!

Have you been to Spring Fling?  Put on by Charlene Shafer's Knit Knack Shop, this is one of the relatively few larger seminars.  It's held at a fairgrounds in Peru, Indiana, has multiple teachers, incredible shopping (Knit Knack has just about anything you need for your machine knitting), and incredible fellowship with over a hundred knitters.

You can pick and choose from a great lineup of classes for Friday and then more for Saturday.  The teachers this year are Sandee Cherry, Susan Guagliumi, Carol Scott, Carol Wurst, and me.

I'm certainly looking forward to this.  My friend Barbara Deike is going with me to help out, and we always have a great time, visiting with fellow knitters and shopping a bit, ourselves!

Click here for more information.

New! Video for April - Chunky Woven Cable

Here's my April video:

This is one you can do on any main bed - no ribber required. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hello! I'm back!

If I owe you an email or if you're just wondering about me being MIA the last few days, well, we took a vacation and cruised with old friends.

OLD friends!  We went to each other's weddings!  We camped together, two families with two boys each!.  Their adult sons came along on the cruise, and it was wonderful to get to know them and their wives as adults.  Our boys didn't come - one had to work, and the other has a sweetie who gets very seasick.

This was great fun, but now I have to get back to the real world and off Island Time.  I'm in the final run-up to teaching at the Knit Knack Shop's annual Spring Fling.  If you have never gone, you really ought to go over to and read about it.  As knitting seminars go, this is one of the very best!  Barbara Deike (my Passap wizard friend) is coming along to help me out, and I love to travel with her.

Meanwhile, at work, we're being audited this week.  After we catch our breath from that, we're being audited again (a different kind of audit).  I've done this a long time, but I still get anxious.  I want everything to be fine, but we have so much accounting to do, and just two of us, that we're always finding and fixing mistakes in our own work, let alone having it examined by outsiders.

Gotta run and answer some more of those emails.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Knit Natters Met Today

Today was our Austin area machine knitting club meeting, Knit Natters.  We meet at a church in Leander.

Today Delpha showed us her brand new LK150 - really makes mine look a little old and worn, but I've had such pleasure with that lovely machine, and Delpha plans to "wear it out!"  She's already made a pile of hats and a scarf. 

Joan put a new sponge strip in her portable machine, and we were all pulling needles.  I was surprised at how quickly she and Pat put in that strip.  She carried it off with plans to clean all the needles before they go back in the machine.

I had the demo today, and I taught this Entrelac blanket - it's something I came up with to add to my afghan class at the Knit Knack Shop's Spring Fling next month.  Look, Ma, no triangles!  This Entrelac is on the square. 

Our local club is very good about letting me try out my new demos on them, and after I showed this technique using use one color of yarn, Dea said I ought to stick with several colors because it's so much easier to see the diagonal rows.

We talked about future plans for the club, at least a little bit.  We've got hopes of attending the Dallas seminar in October, carpooling to Dallas to see Sandee Cherry teach.  We nearly always send a contingent. We also rescheduled the April meeting so Barbara and I can attend, even though we're going to Knit Knack Shop the weekend we usually meet. 

It was nice to see Dea again, too; she had been out a while with illness.  Today, she purchased an extra Knit Leader I had - I had picked it up at a garage sale some time back.  You never know what you'll find at thrift stores and garage sales, but the really lucky thing about this one was everything was there, and complete.

John repaired my KE-100 Brother motor drive today.  It had stopped counting backwards, so I had to watch the rows.  He took it apart, cleaned it and removed old, gunky grease, and it's working great now. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Old Knitting Files

A few years ago, when I bought a new computer for my knitting, I took the old computer apart, and it has sat in a corner of the room now for three or four years.  

Thinking about some goodies I have on that computer and that I wanted them, hubby helped me fish it out of the corner and set it up today.  I pulled off dozens and dozens of old knitting files, and I've been having a good time browsing through them.  

Most of them are Design A Knit pattern files.  I have a real tendency to entertain myself by making up stitch patterns, whether I ever knitted them or now.  I also worked out a lot of more complicated knitting in DAK first.  I'd download them to the machine, discover problems as I knitted, go to the computer and fix the problems, and download and test again.

There are about 30 doily patterns, some much better than others.  Just as I have used the slip buttons on the Brother machine to make scalloped lace edgings, slip can be used to make short-rowed lace in pie shapes so that you knit and knit and get a round doily, tablecloth, shawl or whatever.  With a good invisible graft between the ending and the beginning, these things are lovely.  It's not that most people use doilies any more, but I just love figuring them out.

There are baby blanket files.  I had made a lot of garter carriage baby blankets for gifts where I would choose background and edge stitch patterns, and use the DAK font tool to program the baby's name into the center. 

There are about 35 garter stitch pattern files.  I made a number of big afghans that were stitch samplers.  One of them had garter stitch lace and hand-turned cables on it, as well, but my favorite thing to do by far was make afghans 3 or 4 panels wide with all sorts of stitches that didn't require any manual intervention.  The garter carriage would run for days, but these afghans were a wonderful weight and not much work after I figured out the first one.

I also found dozens of thread lace patterns and a gob of patterns styled after Norwegian fair isle themes.  

I also found old club demonstration files, photos from our knit club that reminded me of people I haven't seen in years, and Toyota, Brother, and Silver Reed stitch patterns saved in DAK.  

As a person who pack-rats data, there was a bunch of stupid stuff there, too, ridiculously outdated resumes, school essays the kids typed, and plenty of duplicates.  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Video for March - Scalloped Hem

For March, the new YouTube video is a scalloped hem that you can do on any flatbed knitting machine.  It's just some tuck stitch along with a regular hem.  I do love the looks of this, though, and hope you like it, too.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Knit Knack Seminar is Coming Up!

I just finished writing my instructional materials for the upcoming Spring Fling seminar at the Knit Knack Shop in Peru, Indiana.  The seminar is Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8. 

This is a wonderful seminar, and if you have never gone, you ought to!  First of all, it's a big seminar with several teachers, so you have lots of class choices.  Also, the Knit Knack Shop has almost every kind of tool or item that you might need for your knitting machine, and Harold Shafer does repairs on machines.  Harold gets very busy during the seminar, so if you need a repair and want it done to take home with you, contact him right away.  When I've been there, Harold also had nice machines and accessories for sale, as well, at very good prices.

Oh, as speaking of shopping, they have all the Tamm yarns for machine knitting.  This is acrylic cone yarn, made in Mexico.  It's practical stuff that washes and wears, and it is ideal for our machines.

Another reason you should go is the incredible camaraderie.  This is a big seminar, with lots of knitters.  Almost everyone who stays in a hotel stays at the same place, and it can take on a knitting party atmosphere in the evenings! 

Another thing I love about the seminar is that the Shafers are organized and experienced.  The instructors are varied, all the teachers have written handouts, food is fine, and the event is orderly. 

So - what am I teaching?  Well, I made a lot of changes to my class lineup.  I always change it, but I've taught at Knit Knack before, and needed fresh material.  I'm starting out with a ribber class, with the English Rib Cloche Hat, Wiggles stitch, and a ribber seams overview.  Then I'm doing a lace class, with short-rowing lace, slant lace, scalloped edge lace, isolated lace, and finally, a hand-tooled lace edge for a triangle shawl.  Next class is a fun projects class with Kitty Cat Baby Hat, Mocassin Slipper, and Stuffed Hearts.  After that, I have a fitting class, where I'll talk about fit, gauge, knitter's math, and the Knit Leader.

On the second day, I'm teaching a fairly advanced garter bar class, then a tips and tricks class, and a class that is all about making cables.  After that, I'm doing a class called "Easiest Afghans Ever," where I teach several panel afghan techniques and a rather different (and pretty) simplified Entrelac afghan that I've named "Squared Away."  (My mom was always getting things "squared away.")  My second-to-last class is all edges and joins, and I've got some good ones you probably haven't tried.  And, finally, I'm teaching "This Class is Biased," because I've got some fun slanted projects, including the Slant Lace Circle Scarf, Bias Mid-Gauge Scarf, and Bias Gift Bag. 

Actually, not on the lineup, is my own version of Clapotis and my own version of a fast, stitch-out-of-work bias scarf that behaves a little different than Clapotis stitch.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Socks by Bob - Here's an admirable gentleman!

Check out this article and video about an octogenarian man who has made over 10,000 pairs of socks for shelters:

Wow.  What a terrific charity knitting project!

He has built his own circular sock knitting machine, and he's apparently making long, long tubes of stockinette, which he later turns into tube socks.  I am curious how they are finished.  I cannot tell from the photos, but I suppose you could simple serge the toe end and the top end, or use a sewing machine.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Inspiration with Ozlorna

She's doing some beautiful things with tuck stitch and punch cards:

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Video for February - Horizontal Ribbed Band

Here's February's video:

This is a very basic ribbed band that is reliable for cardigans.  The ribbing stabilizes the edge, and these buttonholes are a great basic.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Video for January - Embossed Leaf Lace

As I create a video to upload each month, I'm trying to have a wide mix of machine knitting topics - sometimes a small project, sometimes a simple technique, sometimes an essential skill, and occasionally, something fancy.

Today's video looks fancy, a double bed technique where you make a lace motif that stands up on top of a purl background.  Although this is hand-manipulated, it is very easy to do, and I believe it could be done on any double-bed machine. I just love the way this looks, and hope you like it, too!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! Best Posts of 2016

Happy New Year!  I wish you every blessing in 2017!

Here are my favorite picks from my 2016 posts.  I stuck with my discipline of putting up a video each month, so many of these are videos:
  • Curved, slanted pocket lesson in a video.  This one's a little longer than most, but it's quite a thorough lesson.

  • Video showing how to knit both sides of a neck at the same time.   

  • Take the Ronnie Challenge!  I was so impressed with Ronnie, the lady who let me stay at her home while I taught at the Chicago seminar, her knitting expertise, kniting creativity, and her amazing charitable knitting output, that I wanted you to get that shot of inspiration, too.

  • You don't need a special Intarsia carriage or special setting to do picture knitting.  It can be done on just about any machine, with a little planning and manipulation.  Here's the video.

  • Want to learn picture knitting, and you DO have an intarsia carriage?  Here's a video teaching how to do Intarsia with the Brother carriage.  It's a 3-color cable design, by the way, but I do go through the usual Intarsia basics, especially how to manage all those yarn ends.

  • I love lace, and I do peculiar things to "hack" the knitting machine's lace capabilities.  Here's an old favorite of mine, Mirror Image Lace, shown in a video.  I often show this at seminars.  It gets you thinking about the directional movements of the machine and stitches.  

  • I interviewed Kris Basta, the creator of the wonderful, made-in-America, very cleverly designed garter bars for all sorts of gauges, bulky as well as mid-gauge.  Here's yet another hobbyist who has used her unique talents to help all of us.

  • Here's a post about stumbling onto and acquiring a fascinating vintage Juki machine.

  • February's video was a simple little craft project that is a huge favorite - stuffed hearts for Valentine's day!  I've made these into pin cushions, sachets, throw pillows, and heating pads.  

  • Based on reader feedback, I believe the most popular video of the year was the Cloche Hat project.  I hope you'll try this one and learn to make two-stitch English Rib as well as the flower embellishment.

  • Now this video teaches a darn good buttonhole technique.  
How do you plan to spend your Near Year's Day?  John and I aren't exactly worn out from partying, since all we did was watch a couple Netflix movies and then watch the ball drop.  This morning, we went to church.  We're relaxing right now with hot tea, but one thing for certain - I plan to have some time for knitting today!  Lately I've been having the best time with my antique sock machine and I've also been playing with Red Heart Scrubby yarn.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus changes everything!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another Video for December - Candy Cane I-Cord

I've done so many things with I-cord. Haven't we all?  It's good for edgings, trims, drawstrings, handles, and straps.  I've been fascinated for a while by variations on I-cord, and this video is a small example of that.

You can use you a little of your excess stash by making gift wrap bags and ties that you can reuse.  It saves money and reduces trash! 

Knitted cords often are much better than the fuzzy yarn ties you can purchase.  Cord knitted with sturdy yarn will hold up a long, long time.  For fun, you can mix different strands, colors, textures, and even add shiny run-along yarn.  In the video, I used the patterning system on the machine to make a candy-cane type of stripe.