Stopover the Madness

Or as someone on Ravelry called it, the Stop and Start Over Stopover.  Color changes, yarn shortages, gauge issues, not paying attention and having to rip back –the Stopover is a gorgeous simple-to-knit sweater that I managed to mess up a few times.

I have never participated in a Knit-A-Long. I never even had the urge to participate in one.  But Kay and Ann at Mason Dixon Knitting caught me at a weak moment. After tossing a couple of old, ratty pullovers in my fall declutter-a-thon, I wanted a new one to wear around the house, which we keep pretty chilly as a rule.  I was browsing my stash and pondering possibilities when Kirsten at Through the Loops posted a picture of hers and then the BangOutASweater movement got started.  Why not?

I have to say, it was really fun.  I am a fast knitter, and could have done this in less than a week if I had not had quite so much on my plate.  Part of the fun was handling a project just for fun, not work.  There was no secret stash of the Lett Lopi, the Yarnery (where I teach) doesn’t carry it, so I had to track it down, choose from the colors available and get started.

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And, like all other knitters, I had the fun of following Mary Jane Mucklestone’s excellent Stopover pattern.  There was no calculation, writing down, trying to figure out how to explain what I just did, just reading the instructions and following them.

Well, sort of.  All along I did dumb things.  First of all, I didn’t get a safety skein.  I always get a safety skein, but I just didn’t.  Then I went on my merry way, adding length to the body and the arms with never a thought for tomorrow.  Or tomorrow’s yarn.  (I’m tall and long waisted, so I added 3 inches to the body and almost 2 inches to the sleeves.) I found a place online that had my main color, Lapis Blue, and ordered a couple to reduce the feeling of panic.  On the day the yarn was due to arrive, an email arrived instead, saying the yarn was back ordered.  Grrrrrr.  On a whim, I called Lila and Claudine’s, a yarn shop that is sort of on the way to the barn.  They weren’t listed on Istex as a stockist, but you never know. This shop is Tardis yarn shop – much bigger on the inside.

my heroes

Eureka!  Safety skein found.  Now I could throw caution to the winds, adding  a few short rows, leaving long ends, just going crazy!  That was Saturday and after ripping out the initial color rounds several times (I blame bad lighting) I got things going and finished it Sunday morning.


stopover dull

My ‘pop’ color, however, wasn’t popping.  The talented colorist Jani at Starcroft said the pop should be an unexpected color. The rust was unexpected. Unexpectedly dull.  More digging and I tried out a double strand of Nash Island Fog in Lobster Bake. Perfect!  I duplicate stitched it right over the rust, which helped it pop even more.  Lobstah pop!

lobstah pop

Ta dah!  I have no idea how it will wear, if it will be too warm, too itchy, too blue, but I think I like it.

This was a very quick selfie at 7 degrees F.

shoulder view


Join being careful not to twist.

twist do not

How many times have we all seen that caution in a pattern? Or, as Amy Detjen says, JBCNTT. My style sheet from PotterCraft requires “Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.” I help students avoid this every week, people. Yet here I was, casting on for a simple in the round sweater body, double checking it carefully, and several rounds in noticed I was doing the twist.


The scene – a table in a slightly darkened hotel conference space. The cast – CPAs, attorneys, municipal finance types and me. (I am none of the above. A sort of downstairs maid.) I didn’t want to rip out and cast on again when I was supposed to be paying attention. That was the whole point of bringing this particular project, knitting in the semi-dark, going around and around to keep me thinking about work.

I twisted it back at the join, and kept on going. I figured that since it was a rolled hem, I could take it out later and knit down. At least I wouldn’t waste five hours of blissful stockinette meeting knitting. An attorney tapped me on the shoulder later and told me how jealous she was, that she didn’t want to risk looking unprofessional but wished she were knitting.  I thought I did look professional, tights, dress, even some makeup!

Here it is in its twisted beauty.


And after being allowed to roll up, no weaving-in or attempt to improve the appearance.


I may just leave it. (Peter, avert your eyes.)

On the other hand, taking it out and knitting down is no big deal. What do you think?

I cannot reveal the pattern right now, but the yarn is Fiora from Berroco. I LOVE this yarn. It’s a cotton, alpaca, rayon and wool blend. It feels like a sweatershirt with drape and class, so I chose sweatshirt grey. Cozy. Which I need.


Another Twelfth Night

I was going to post pictures of all the gifts I knitted, but somehow, the pictures are not around.  Now I have to pester the recipients.  A new Christmas stocking for the new baby!  How could I have forgotten to take a picture?  Oh, yeah, I was knitting until the last second before mailing it.  Socks of leftover yarn.  Giant Christmas stocking.  My sister has promised a photo or two.  We’ll see.

But – the good news is that the Christmas gift-making tradition continued.  What used to be tiny humans satisfied with cookies and cocoa are now giant humans who can eat two pounds of carnitas and the fixings for lunch and then have cookies.  I love that they still want to make things.

Christmas Collage

Somehow the birdhouse, the cribbage board and something I can’t remember didn’t get photos.  I always get caught up in the fun and forget.  Oh, wait.  That’s the whole point!  I told these boys that girls find a guy who knows how to sew attractive.  That was seriously motivating.  A couple of high school kids had nose to the grindstone.  See that pie carrier in the middle?  He had never even threaded a needle.  So proud!  And the check-shirt sewer?  Thinks he has time while working on his mechanical engineering degree to sew and can I help him find a machine.  So sweet!

This was a low-key holiday here.  I had a bit of the Christmas blues and am happy to see Twelfth Night arrive.

Best wishes for 2016.  I hope to see more of you all!


Makers Gift List and the Winners!

I know, I was going to announce winners last week, but the Craft Friday turned into wash the kitchen floor etc. Friday.  I did do some crafting, really.  Like finishing this update of my Tamworth Cowl in Maai, in a similar color as the skein of laceweight that three lucky recipients have won:


Asteride, kim in oregon, and Ellen B.  I tried to contact each of you, but if you didn’t hear from me, holler, so I can send your yarn.

What did you make on Craft Friday?  Something for a gift, or something for yourself?  I loved the comments, it seems like everyone is most irritated by the horrible overkill of Christmas in October, and buy, buy, buy.  Beverly had an excellent idea for a round-robin of gift ideas from makers or small scale folks who can’t beat you over the head with the excessive consumerism message, but make a living through making.

Here are some of my favorites, in no special order.

I didn’t really want to duplicate any of Beverly’s but had to for this one: Tide Pool kit for colorwork, in several several color ranges.  The one I want:


Lucious yarn, spun and dyed by Jani herself from Nash Island sheep’s wool.  Read the Nash Island/Starcroft story while you are there, it is sweet.

I have bought several project bags from A Needle Runs Through It.  Nice quality and fast service.

Want a little bauble with a fibery twist?  Emily has some lovely ones.

I have to say, I just bought a skein of of yarn for myself, because a) it was on sale, b) all the cool kids were knitting with it at Fiber College and c) look how cute the packaging is!  It comes in its own hachimaki.  Rifton from JillDraperMakesStuff is spun to stripe, not dyed to stripe.  Gorgeous yarn.


Horsey types on your list?  A pal alerted me to her friend’s shop where there is a FjordHorse ornament.

I love the e-balm and the solid lotion bars from GoodiesUnlimited   My sister swears by it, too.

I have lots of ideas for non-stuff gifts.  Maybe another post!

Craft Friday Giveaway

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

Nathaniel  Hawthorne

Welcome Craft Friday folks!  I’m hoping for a cold, unpleasant day for Craft Friday.  That will encourage me to stay inside and craft.  This fall has been so mild that I have been playing outside as much as possible.  Here’s a photo of a lovely ride on Sunday.  Orange vests are de riguer around here during deer season.

Sunday in November

Mine is the blonde with the big butt.  I am wearing a hand-knit sweater, but it isn’t really visible.  I am just telling you because this is a knitting blog, after all.

I want everyone to knit!  Or craft in some way.  To encourage you and celebrate Craft Friday leave a comment and enter into a drawing for one of these three skeins of pumpkin colored silk and merino laceweight.


The yarn is Swans Island Natural Colors.  They were a pale pink, not to my liking, so I overdyed them in the Dye Tent at Fiber College.  Badly.  ( I had photos of the dye tent, can’t find them for some reason.) The generous and talented Odacier fixed them up for me in this warm, autumnal tone.  Pumpkin seems perfect for the day after Thanksgiving, don’t you think?  Each skein (sans label) is about 50 grams, 530 yards of 50% Fine Merino Wool, 50% Tussah Silk.

So enter in the fun – leave a comment airing your biggest gripes about the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  Or anything, really.  Or what you want to make with this.  Or why you love the color.  Contest closes Thanksgiving at midnight.

Check out the Craft Friday pinterest board, too.  Beverly has been busy!


P.S.  I’ll mail your prize anywhere!


What happens to donated yarn

If it is lucky yarn, it goes to someone like the generous soul who knits sets of hats and mittens in all sizes for the un-mittened of Minnesota.

Look at this!  And these are only half of the ones I shared last week.

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The knitter (unknown) of these even sorted them into bags marked small, medium and large.  Some sets went to a program for families fleeing violence.  The others went to this lovely lady:


Rayanne staffs the information desk in the courthouse where I work.  She knits, and takes donated hats and gloves as well.  When families come in and she spots children without warm gear (sometimes with socks on their hands!) she takes out the box and allows each child to choose a hat and or mittens.  She does this gracefully and the children love being able to choose.  I watched one day as some very serious, stressed out little faces lit up at being able to ‘shop’ for a hat.

I’m sure there are lots of places that take donated yarn near you if you are going all KayAnn.  Or Jean – who has found a woman’s program where residents are learning to knit.

I’d be proud to think that some of my stash ended up in one of these items.

Not so warm hat

This summer-like autumn continues unabated.  I wore gloves for the first time last night, but didn’t really need them.  I felt as though I were putting them on just because, like for church.  Thank goodness wearing gloves to be ladylike is a long-dead custom.  I remember wearing little white gloves to go to church on Easter.  I chewed the finger tips until they were grubby.  We also wore them for special scout events.

three scouts

Hats were de rigeur, of course, because we were Catholic.  (Anyone remember chapel veils?) I’m working on a hat that is a bit more style than substance right now.  It is fantastic yarn, Dune, from Shibui, but it is light and drapey, rather than super cozy.   A hat for looks, or maybe a bit of warmth in the fall or spring, but not winter in a climate of the Upper Midwestern persuasion.  Unless it is an El Nino winter.  My challenge was to design a hat that only used one skein of this gorgeous but no inexpensive yarn.  I really enjoy designing with a certain set of limits in place.  Is there a term of art for that in the real world?

dune hat in process

I worked on this hat in a darkened auditorium the other day.  Not a good idea.  I ended up ripping it back all the way to the ribbing when I got home.  I ended up with about ten yards left.  I’ll post a finished photo soon as I find a model.

My mojo for larger projects has waned post-book.  I’m working on smaller items, like socks for ME!

When I lived in Ottawa, I longed for a Hudson Bay Blanket coat, like this one, but they were waaaay out of my price range.

300hudson-bay-coat-hbc-classic-stripey-pure-wool-coat_7140021hudson bay sock

They don’t make them any longer, but I still think of them with nostalgia when I am freezing at a bus stop.  Then I saw the sock yarn, not sure where.  Susan B. Anderson?  Now I have little coats for my feet.  Sock selfies are a challenge – I just threw my leg up on the kitchen table on my way to put on my shoes.  Classy.