Sunday, April 29, 2012

Balancing my hobbies


The topic for today is: Do you both knit and crochet and if so how do you balance the two? 3KCBWDAY7

Currently I do not crochet, except occasionally to finish a knitted garment, though I did a lot of it in the 70's and 80's before I picked up knitting again. I also used to sew a lot. By the 80's and 90's I was making most of my own clothes and sewed a lot of gifts too, then I suddenly lost interest in sewing.  I sewed doll clothes for a while and then stopped doing that.  Hobbies do go in phases for many people.

Knitting is such a versatile skill.  You can knit things that are useful and comfortable to wear, especially if you live in a cold climate, such as Duluth, Minnesota. You can knit things for babies and children or dolls, you can knit toys and accessories and you can carry knitting and knit almost anywhere.  I especially enjoy knitting with my knitting group. We meet every Tuesday. I hardly ever miss a Tuesday unless I am out of town, which has been a lot this year. (see my travel blog

The hobby I have to balance my knitting with is Rosemaling.  I have been rosemaling for 11 years. I started in 2001, by taking a class at my local Michael's store.  It was a 3 or 4 week class--one evening a week.  Not really much and the teacher wasn't that great, but I decided I wanted to keep at it and learn more.  This teacher convinced me to join the local Rosemaling Society, so I did that in 2002, I think. Through them I have been exposed to more rosemaling and some very good teachers and painters. I have taken a lot of classes and am developing a style of my own. I have done some commissions and special projects, which has forced me to hone my skills more. 

Here's a link to our society's web site.  The Twin Ports Rosemaling Society.

How do I balance the two?  The rosemaling isn't portable and takes up a lot of room.  When I am painting, I spread out all my equipment on a large craft table in my family room and it's kind of a mess.  I pack it all away when I am expecting company and then don't like to get it out again, because it's so much trouble to get it out and put it away.  I need a studio.  So I do the rosemaling in spurts.  I sign up for a class and get into it and may continue at home for a while after that until I put it all away again.  When I have a specific project I get it out and do that.  My most recent project was a panel I did for our home in Normandy. I do all my own designs and paint freehand.  I use either acrylics, gouache or oils. This one is done in gouache, which, I think are oil paints that you dilute with water.  I have no idea how that works.  I need to learn more about paints.




And this is the last post for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  It has been an interesting experience. 




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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Improving my skillset


So this is the topic for today's post.  3KCBWDAY6

I love doing colorwork.  I have recently been working on two projects with cables and it has reminded me that I really prefer colorwork.  I did learn to do cables without a cable needle (from Jared Flood) and that made cables more enjoyable, but still they are not my favorite. I feel I can still improve my colorwork knitting, though and my next big project will be a colorwork one. I haven't done any for a while now. I would like to do a big Fair Isle sweater.

Other skills I would like to learn are shadow knitting and double knitting.  Shadow knitting just looks so fascinating.  I want to know how it is done. And I'm not sure what double knitting is, but would like to try that some day. I've tried "twined knitting" but that is really putzy. You have to twist the yarns after every stitch, which really slows the process, so I wasn't crazy about it.

In case you aren't familiar with shadow knitting, here is a pattern on Ravelry using this technique. It looks like magic to me.

I knit socks and sleeves and other small circumference items on 2 circular needles.  I used double points when I first learned to knit some 40 years ago, but switched to 2 circs and prefer that method now. I have done magic loop too, which is very similar. I like the 2 circs.

I also used to crochet years ago and can do that, but mostly I like to knit sweaters, which is why I switched to knitting from crochet.

Maybe one area I could expand into would be writing patterns. I sometimes design my own sweaters, but those patterns tend to be very basic.  I have written and published patterns for doll sweaters, but never for a garment for a person.

I would like to know a lot more about sheep and other fiber animals, fiber, and the various characteristics of fibers and yarns available. 

I have run out of things to say on this topic.  If this were the knitting and rosemaling blog week challenge, I could add that I have a lot to learn in rosemaling and hope to improve my skills there.

Since this is a post about things I don't know or haven't done, I don't have any pictures.  Since I don't have any pictures, I think I'll just stop now and work on tomorrow's topic.  I'm not sure anyone has read this far down in the post anyway.  I could just add nonsense here to make it look longer.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitting throughout the year


Today's topic for 3KCBWDAY4 is "seasons" and how my knitting changes with the season.

That's easy.  I knit with wool mostly in the fall and winter and with cotton or cotton blends in the summer. Here are some projects I have finished in the past few years, listed according to the month in which they were finished.  Thanks to Ravelry this is information that is easy to look up.


January, 2008  --  Gjestal Nagano 100% wool sport

This is a good one to start this post with, because this is what I was working on when I heard about Ravelry and requested an invitation. I did this sweater as a Tour de France 2007 knitalong, which was fun. I didn't finish it before we left for Paris. I didn't have a lot of knitting time while we were there, so it got finished in January, 2008. I blogged about it on this blog.  And here's the link to my

Ravelry project page.



February, 2011  --  Kauni wool

When this Kauni wool came into our yarn shop, all the ladies in my knitting group got excited and bought some.  Until I saw this colorway, I wasn't planning on buying any, but I just fell in love with these colors. Ravelry project page.


March, 2010  --  Dale baby wool

I have loved these Norwegian sweaters for years, but didn't feel my skillset was up to knitting one.  Finally in 2010, I was ready to try this. This is my own pattern.  I wanted to keep it simple and the Dale patterns  as well as other commercial patterns tend to be more complicated. Blog postRavelry project page.


April, 2009  --  some wool I bought in Japan and some Nature Spun fingering wool.

Okay, this one looks more complicated than the one above.  No explanation for that. Another pattern that I created to use this yarn. I like the back better than the front.  For more information see my Ravelry project page.  or  This blog.


May, 2011  --  Rowan cotton glace sport

One of two shrugs I made to attend 2 weddings in June.

coral shrug

June, 2011  --   Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima 100% cotton DK

I made this one for my niece's wedding. I wanted something to wear with that necklace, which had been my Grandmother's.  The handsome young man is my son.


July, 2010  --  Filatura di Crosa  cotton/rayon/nylon  Aran

This one is nice to wear over a tank top in the summer.


August, 2010  --  Taki Yarns cotton classic DK

I needed a white shell.  Both this pattern and the one below are from Ann McCauley's Twinset knitting book.


September, 2009  ---  Nature Spun Sport 100% wool

It's getting cold here by September, so I'm back to knitting with wool.

Ravelry project page.


October, 2010  Bergere de France Ideal Nylon/Acrylic/wool sport

I bought this yarn in Falaise, Normandy in May.  This is another pattern I made up to use the yarn I had. sometimes that works out better than other times. Ravelry project page. Blue nordic-done

November, 2007  --  Noro Silk Garden mohair/silk/wool Aran

I bought this yarn in Japan, then took it to France.  I needed an easy project there to take to the Knit-cafe I attended a few times. It's kind of a boring pattern, but I couldn't find anything else that I had finished in November.

Noro scarf-cap

December, 2008  --  Jamieson's Double Knitting 100% wool DK

This was made with yarn left-over from another project.


So that's one project for each month.  Looking back, I want to remove some of the photos.  I don't usually post so many pictures of myself. But I think knitwear garments look better modeled on a person, than laid out flat and I don't have a dress dummy, so I try to take pictures of myself in my finished garments.  My deck is just off the computer room, so that's the easiest place to take photos.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A peek into the past


Day 2 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012.  3KCBWDAY2  The theme for today is photography.  Since I'm not such a creative photographer, I decided to look in an old photo album for some knitting-related photos.

Here's a lovely photo I found of Miss Lily Pearl and Miss Ophelia Rose having tea and knitting.  It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but Miss Lily Pearl is just weaving in the ends of a pair of mittens.  The finished one is on the table.  I remember those mittens. They were light blue with white and dark blue designs.  My mom was very strict with me any time she let me wear them and made sure I knew I was NOT to lose them. I don't think I ever did.  I wonder what happened to them.

knitting ladies1

I used to love it when these two ladies came to visit Grandma.  Miss Ophelia had the fanciest hats and jewelry.  I was a little in awe of her, but Miss Lily was so kind. I was too young to learn to knit from them.  My grandmother taught me years later, but Miss Lily would let me play with some of the things she had in her basket--balls of yarn or buttons.  I so wanted to be big enough to knit with them.


And here's one my dad took in the 60's of an old woman we saw in Provence.  She's working on a sock on dpns. She didn't speak any English and our French was pretty weak then, so we didn't learn anything about her. I was just learning to knit on dpns myself, so I was fascinated to see her doing it.  She barely looked down at her needles. I was impressed.



[note:  The dolls in the top photo are by doll artist Joan Rydberg of St. Cloud, Minnesota. As far as I know she doesn't have a website, but I have an address and phone number for her. I added the knitting and took the photo for this post. The doll in the lower photo was a gift to my mother from friends in France. She has been added to my collection and I treasure her. I did nothing to alter her.]

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Monday, April 23, 2012


          I've always loved colors.  I can remember as a young child loving all the colors in my box of Crayola crayons.  I still remember the square cross-section shape of the box of 64.  But when I was old enough to have a double-wide box of 128, wow that was really fabulous.  My mother liked the fall colors and I did too, though I have also always been drawn to blues.
          I was more in tuned to fashion trends than my mother and in the 80's and 90's when the olive greens and rusts were replaced in popularity by the jewel tones, I thought I would never go back to the colors of the 60's and 70's. My mother bought herself a chartreuse pantsuit in the 90's.  She said she'd always liked that color, but I wasn't ready to go back to those colors yet.  About 10 years later, I finally realized I really did love the rusts and oranges, deep reds, olives, and natural colors. Now I have an orange bathroom!
          I have seen these color inspiration pictures on Pinterest.  They are usually for paint color inspiration, but why shouldn't the same thing work for knit-wear?  I love color-work and like to chose my own colors.  I often see a landscape or just whatever is outside the car window and think those colors would be great in a color-work sweater.  I am especially drawn to the softer tones-taupes, tans, greys, blues, such as are found in this beach scene in Hawaii.

          So for this post I browsed my computer for photos with different color combinations and made up some of my own color samplers.

A park in Paris in late autumn shows the golds and greens that I love.

The big round lake in the Jardins Luxembourg on a somewhat grey day in late fall.

Grasses and Verbena near a lake-side path in a village in Normandy.

Two trees hugging in a forest in Maryland, USA. I love the soft colors in just two color families.

Ancient carved stone of the Qtub Minar in Delhi, India. These are my colors.  I could see using this combination.

These are colors I would not have picked to go together, but look how great they look side by side in this garden bed. The grey at the top is from the dirt and the taupe at the bottom from the stone of the buildings in the background.

This is my first post for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012.  3KCBWDAY1

To tie this into knitting, I should go out and buy yarn in these colors, photograph it, make up color charts using those colors for some fair-Isle sweaters, and then post the finished sweaters here.  Yeah, come back in a couple years to see if that has happened.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A test and some rosemaling

          I just wrote a post for this blog to be posted on April 29. At least I hope it will be.  It is the last one for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  I will be out of town that week, so decided to do all my posts for the week ahead of time and schedule them to be posted that week.  I have never done this scheduling thing before.  The first post I uploaded and then scheduled on the blogspot site, but then I discovered that Windows Live Writer has a scheduling feature.  This is the program I use to write my posts, mainly because it is easy and when I hit "publish" the post and all related pictures get published all at once.  I don't have to do the pictures separately. But I have never used this feature and want to see if it really works, so I am now making a test post. 


          Since this week of blogging is related to knitting and crochet, I thought my test post ought to relate to rosemaling. There aren't many rosemaling blogs out there.  As opposed to hundreds or thousands? of knitting and craft blogs. There are at least two good reasons for this. A) there are more knitters and crafters than there are rosemalers. (needs citation) and B) Knitters and crafters tend to be younger and more tech-savvy than rosemalers.

           In my google search this blog came up on the 3rd page. Most of the results are either professional sites of professional rosemalers and teachers, organizations or just a mention of rosemaling on a blog that covers a variety of topics. One rosemaler who blogs about a variety of topics has left comments on this blog. Her blog is at Forestwoodfolk.

          I'm not sure the world of rosemaling needs more rosemaling blogs, though.  Are there enough rosemalers out there looking for inspiration and or tips through blogs? probably not.  Be sure to let me know if you think otherwise.

          What is rosemaling?   Well, here is one description.  I have to agree with this pretty much.  I wrote it, so I should. If you want to see some examples check the Gallery on that site.  Most of those pictures are done by amateurs, though there are a few done by teachers, who are professionals. All the photos are mine.

          And now here are just a few photos of my work that I haven't published here before.








These are done on paper with acrylic paints, my preferred media. 


Okay that's it for this test post.  I will schedule it to appear in two days or on April 18th, 2012.

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