Saturday, December 30, 2006

And for the knitters...

...Knitting Patterns Book 250, a knitting stitch pattern compendium written entirely in Japanese and using Japanese symbolcraft charts. This book is divided into several sections -- just what each section is isn't readily apparent to me, since there is considerable overlap of stitch types/techniques among the sections. There are, however, plenty of openwork patterns, cables, twisted traveling stitches and edgings. One section that interested me had stitches arranged into an overall pattern, then a second version of that stitch pattern arranged into a linear design. Plenty of opportunity for interesting twin set knitting with those designs. Components of the various patterns may appear in other, more familiar sources (such as Barbara Walker), however the various combinations appear to be fairly original. I am not familiar with the German language Bavarian traveling stitch books, so I can't comment on whether there is overlap of design with the traveling stitches in this book -- the cables and openwork ones appear different from those I have in other books though. The format of this book is similar to the crochet stitch book -- a swatch of the stitch pattern on one side of the page, and the chart opposite it. There are a few photos of completed garments, however they are for inspiration, as there are no complete garment charts. Also like the crochet book, there is a section in the back of the book that has illustrations for each chart symbol. Some, such as a twisted double decrease, would require concentration of the part of a knitter unfamiliar with that operation. All in all, I think this is an interesting addition to my stitch library. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the more unusual stitch patterns when my current projects are completed. This book was ordered online from -- again, other sources may be available, although I haven't done any research into that.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Japanese crochet resource

This new (to me) crochet stitch dictionary is written completely in Japanese, but for those who are comfortable working from stitch charts (rather than written directions) it contains 300 very attractive crochet stitch patterns that should be well within reach of English speaking crocheters. I also have The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden and Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet -- and while I'm not certain that there are 'no' duplicates in this Japanese book -- it certainly seems to be mostly patterns I haven't seen elsewhere. Like the Barnden book, it is only stitch patterns, not garments, but for those who, like me, tend to go their own way when working crochet I think it would be a valuable addition to any crochet library. Mine was purchased online through -- possibly it can be obtained from other sources as well. The book consists of closeup photographs of the stitch patterns, and an accompanying chart which uses the Japanese symbolcraft for each stitch -- the basic stitch repeat is printed in blue ink. Symbols are shown in the back of the book, with illustrations on how to accomplish each maneuver. There are also Japanese language descriptions of the stitch, but other than a few words on the cover, no English.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More quick projects...

I've always thought I was more of a process oriented needleworker, but there's a nice sense of accomplishment to actually finishing projects, small though they may be. The scarf is Shelly" from -- worked in Elann's Peruvian Alpaca. The shawl is "Sweet Pea" from S&B The Happy Hooker. It's worked in Elann's Champagne -- a sparkly rayon/poly/nylon. My choice was to leave off the fringe; we'll see what the recipient thinks later.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A holiday tradition... at Casa de Mingling Yarn is for the adults to draw names and make a gift for the recipient. We're a varied bunch, with many different skills and interests, so gifts are also varied. A favorite, though, with some of the men has been the food gift. This year DH drew the name of a notorious snack lover/muncher, so decided to make a couple different flavors of the always well received Chex mix. Ingredient list in hand it was off to the grocery store. Now, his recipe listed the ingredients by volume measurement (cups) -- but he was confronted by boxes of cereal with weight measurements. No worry, a cup is 8 ounces, right??? So, since he needed 12 cups of one type of cereal... Here's what he came home with -- Think he'll have enough???

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Headless Husband shot...

...of the latest finished project. Because the yarn was lightweight, and sometimes you just want a plain pullover, this one was mainly knit on my mid-gauge machine. Ribbings were done by hand (and probably took as much time to knit as did the rest of the machine knit body). Pattern was generated by Sweater Wizard software. He's happy with the fit -- and I'm happy to have it done! Yarn is a coned Donegal tweed from a Webs closeout.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

And yet another...

...small, quick project. While casting about for a suitable belt for my Hex coat, I came across a free pattern on the Berroco site for one crocheted from Berroco Suede. Serendipitously, Elann had some for only $4.98 per ball -- only one color, but it looked like it might work. The pattern called for only one skein, but since I thought I wanted the belt to be worn lower around the hips I went ahead and ordered two. That turned out to be a good decision, as I used almost all of both balls (the yarn is worked doubled). A dead simple pattern, and my only changes were to make it longer, and also making a button loop on one end. Turned out rather well I think, but sadly it won't work for the Hex. Looks like I'll just go ahead and make one out of the LiteLopi I knit the coat from instead.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A quick little project...

Larger projects languish, but there's always time for a quick scarf. Daughter #3 requested one in black -- not a favorite color for tired eyes. Crochet to the rescue though. Just one evening of TV watching and it was done. Pattern is from S&B The Happy Hooker -- One Skein Scarf. Although the yarn I used (Elann Peruvian Highland) should have been roughly the same weight as the pattern called for (Patons Classic Merino), I had to add many more chains to the length and two extra rows to the width to get a scarf approximately the same dimensions as the one in the book. Hard to picture how the yarn used could have been bumped up successfully to the gauge of the book -- I'm wondering if perhaps the pattern should have called for using it doubled? Can't find any errata for this pattern (although there are plenty for the book!) so I guess it will remain a mystery.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Tasty Bite

For those looking for a cranberry relish that's just a little bit different, for your own holiday table or to bring to someone else's -- here's my current favorite (from Cooking Light).

Triple Cranberry Sauce with Dried Apricots and Apples
  • 2 cups chopped dried apples
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 8 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add rind, and simmer 2 minutes. Cover and chill. Yield: 16 servings

Since I generally cook for a small group, I halve the ingredients. Can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. In fact, I think it needs at least one day for the flavors to mingle and mellow.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Knit Doctor is in...

Time was when the last stitch was bound off and the last yarn end darned in, I was done with a project. Too bad if the buttonband drooped, or the sleeves were too wide, or the length just not quite right. If I didn't like the way it looked, well, off to the corner of the closet with it. Thankfully, I've learned a bit since then.
I recently finished the Hex Coat from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. Loved knitting it, love the color, and knew it would be a handy layer for our not-so-frigid winter. Problem was the sleeves were too long. I've run into this before -- why designers think that our arms grow longer as our middles grow wider I'll never understand--so I should have been more careful in the knitting. Not to worry though, time for some surgery.

Off went the excess length. While I was at it, I decided I would prefer not to have a ribbed cuff. I decided on an I-cord bind off -- I thought it might look more coat-like. Plus, the wavy edges bordering the hexagons looked a bit like I-cord, so...

There was a lot of fabric hanging from the shoulders, so I decided to try to keep them from stretching out by hand sewing some seam tape along the shoulder seam. I couldn't find an exact color match to my yarn, but luckily it doesn't show at all from the right side.

Then, to provide a little more balance to the shoulder area ( I have narrow shoulders) I knit some shoulder pads from instructions in Vogue Knitting - the Ultimate Knitting Book.

Now, instead of being relegated to the dark corners of my closet, I have a sweater coat that fits better, and one that I'll be happy to wear. Well, just as soon as I figure out how best to belt it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Someone needs to learn how to properly post photos -- trying again with an 'in progress' look at Congo.

Temptation... the form of a kit for Tivoli, a Hanne Falkenberg design. So if interest in Congo flags -- a side trip to Tivoli will be in order. The only thing keeping it off the needles right now is the thought of working 300+ tiny little stitches per row.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The beginning of a new project -- Congo -- from the Marianne Isager book, Knitting Out of Africa. Had a bit of trouble deciding on a yarn for this project, but decided to go with Maine Line by Jaggerspun. It's a bit fiddly, but so far an interesting knit -- it will take a while, so we'll see how long it stays interesting.