Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fear of Knitting

Here is my conundrum, I have some beautiful Scottish wool that I bought at Uncommon Threads in Los Altos, California many years ago, on sale. Darkish heather green worsted and is screaming to be knit into a fantastic deeply cabled cardigan. I even know which sweater I want to knit, a pattern from a Kristin Nicholas book. Here is the pattern, it is from a choice of two sweaters named "Greener Pastures" and a close up of my Scottish Wool.

But here is the rub, and I wonder if anyone else has these issues. I will worry about what to knit with a certain yarn, not wanting to “waste” it on the wrong sweater. You know, will I later think that I should have saved it for something else. I must also confess to you that I have no shortage of yarn, I have a personal yarn stash that could keep a small country warm. I am also in the process of cleaning up my moms house and I have unearthed yarn, some of mine that I have long forgotten, and much of hers that I’m sure she has forgotten, and much we both remember. Needless to say, another small country could be kept toasty.

If I could only get over my fear of knitting the yarn I have into the wrong sweater. Does anyone have a cure for that feeling? Don’t get me wrong, I know the logic that if you use some of the stash, there is then this empty void so you must fill it with another yarn purchase. What better excuse to buy more, than I used up some? But somehow the logic escapes me and I sit frozen wondering if I’m choosing the right sweater for the yarn or the inverse, the right yarn for the sweater.

I thought some time ago that I had faced my addiction and finally put all my yarn into one place so I can see it all. Come clean about my stash and the fiber addiction that has taken over a small room in our house. When you have a small house, that’s about ¼ the house! Not to mention the snide comments from my husband and non knitting “friends”. The reality is that once I get the yarn from my mom’s house and really put it all in one place and really face the facts of my addiction and frankly my mom’s addiction to all things fiber, fabric, quilting and sewing machines (I think I counted 3 the other day, now all sitting in the back of my car and it was 4 not 3). I may have to move out of my very tiny house. You would think that I could get some perspective about the gravity of it all, all the hoarding, and collecting and stashing. I would bet we could probably fund a college education on the money we have wrapped up in yarn, fabric, tools and equipment. But the urge to buy more is never very far. I have managed these last several months to keep it at bay, but my resolve is thin, very thin.

Do you want to see my stash? here are a few examples of my collection: This first yarn is yarn that I dyed with Nancy Roberts in her class.

This is some Mohair that I purchased years ago. It is so beautiful, I just really have no idea what I want to knit with it....

Below,is some of a collection of Cotton yarn that I purchased early this year, one of my last yarn buys. Next, a couple of close up shots of this cotton.



Spring Green


Friday, October 12, 2007

Auction and Rescue Parade a Success!

The sweater and hat brought $35.00 for the auction to benefit the OES Rescue of Southern California! I was so happy to be able to bring some money and benefit to those sweet fur babies who find new homes through the rescue. If you are looking to find a companion to share your life, I can't recommend them highly enough. They are wonderful friends and never make a negative comment about your knitting, ever!

Here is the booth in action! People busy bidding on the different items that were up for silent auction. The Burbank Kennel Club is so kind to sponsor the event and invite Jane and the OES Rescue back each year. I already have the date for next years event, it will be held on Sunday, September 28, 2008. This event is so fun for the dogs as well as the owners who come and participate in the parade. Again the web address to the rescue is Please come visit and think about rescue when you look to adding a four legged companion to your family.
Look at this lovely girl, she has just come from the "beauty parlor" with her ribbon in her hair, all ready to strut her stuff in the parade.
Here is another lovely participant in the parade. Let me just give you a little run down of a few of the lads and ladies who ran around the winners circle at the Burbank Kennel Club dog show.

  • Peggy Sue and Ellie Mae who live with a lovely couple, were rescued after being born in the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter, they are sisters and are 4 years old and happy.

  • Skippy is 13 and was rescued from the San Bernardino Animal Shelter.

  • Retzel is now 14 years old, it was 12 years ago when Jane picked him up from the "backyard" breeder when he didn't sell fast enough. At the parade, Jane wept when she saw him run around the winners circle and it reconfirmed for her to know that what she does for each of these furry characters is important and needed, Thank you Jane.

  • Fraiser was 12 years old and was all set to participate in this years parade. He suddenly fell ill and went over the Rainbow Bridge. It is sad to say goodbye to our companions, but in the same breath we need to remember that years spent with us, their adoptive families, they lived a wonderful love filled life.

In all, 36 Dogs were signed up for the parade, and it was a site to see. I am so proud to participate and do what I can for the cause.

This is my own rescue, Taggart. He is waiting in what is called an Xpen for his turn in the ring. Actually, I was there not only for the parade, but my friend showed her Sheepdog, Channing. She won her first point towards her champion ship. So we were there for 2 and a half days and he had to cool his four feet waiting. In this photo, he is giving me a little sass.

Next post will be on knitting

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Don't keep this under your hat!

Hat candy! I finished these some time ago, but just took the time right before my water aerobics class to snap a few photos. Then off to exercise my butt off, I hope.

As you can see there are so many ways to finish off a sweet little baby hat, with no adornment like the purple one or as simple as a single outstanding button, or use old shirt buttons spaced evenly along the single ribs as in the blue one.

Next up is the little sweater and hat that is going up for auction at the Southern California OES Rescue Parade and fund raiser that will be this weekend at the Burbank Kennel Club Show. The URL for the OES Rescue that Taggart came from is:

As time was of the essence, I knit this on the Brother 260. This is a two button cut away baby cardigan of my own design. Yes I am working on writing up the pattern, but gosh that is slow going. The edging is done with a cotton yarn in a contrasting deep lavender crocheted in a simple picot stitch.

I just love this hat pattern, the way I designed it, the crown looks like a star when you look down on it. Is that not the sweetest top of a hat.

When I have nothing going, I will just cast on a baby hat and have it while I'm watching TV. They knit up so fast and take so little room. I have the beta of the baby hat ready for anyone who is interested in trying it for me. I would like to get at least a couple of different people work on the hat and tell me what I can do to improve the pattern.

Thanks for looking and the comments.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I have a couple of Finished Objects to share

Take a look. I have been working on the patterns most of the summer. I will post some photos here and if you are interested in doing a beta knit of my patterns, let me know via a comment and I will send you a copy to knit. You must let me know how the knitting went and any comments for the writing of the pattern.
Here is the baby hat with a mock baby cable.

This hat is hand knit in worsted weight acrylic yarn with a crochet flower as adornment. I taught myself how to crochet recently. The hat is hand knit on double points. Sweet right?

Below is the 3 button baby kimono I have designed. It has an asymetric opening and is knit using a Brother 260 knitting machine. In case you wonder, I knit using both machine and hand knitting.

My first love of knitting is hand knitting, but I wanted to get into knitting design and the knitting machine is the tool that will enable you to go a little faster with some basic designs. I choose to do what I refer to as "Fusion Knitting" where you use both machine and hand skills to complete your garment. In the above garment you will see that I did a little hand knitting for the bottom edge.

Above is a close up of both the flower and the increases at the under arm that make the short cap sleeve. I tested this pattern for hand knitting myself so the next views are what I knit from this pattern by hand.

Here is a funny fact about the differences between hand and machine knitting. When you hand knit you knit it on the "right" side and when you machine knit, you knit from the "wrong" side or the purl side. So you will see that the difference between the two sweaters are the opening are on different sides and on a asymetrical front you will notice this, where as on a normal front you would not notice it at all.

This is a close up of the neck detail with the decreases that make the neck. You can see that I used the green yarn as a contrast, I crochet the edge using a picot stitch. I loved how this came out. This is my beta of hand knitting it from the machine pattern. So this cream colored version was knit by hand. You will notice that I did a contrast picot edge to keep the look really simple. I love how they came out, what do you think?

Please leave comments and let me know what you think. I

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Color Spots

I was so happy with the flower pots that we planted up for a pop of color. They are beautiful, better than I dreamed. I had an idea of what I wanted planted and what colors I wanted. Then I went looking for the flowers. Well that was a different story. I wanted white, blues and then the Marigolds for the pop of yellow, but the big thing I wanted was the Pansies and the nursery guy is telling us that it's too late for Pansies, the will get all leggy and it's too hot for them. Well I'm here to tell you, they have been so wonderful and in the full sun till noon each day, along with the sweet alyisum and the lobilia they just make my day each time I see them. Tell me what you think. Maybe I should used them to dream up a new sweater concept and color scheme. We are in the midst of major garden work. This weekend was all about getting the back yard rose bushes tamed and trimed. Next weekend we will be renting a chipper or mulcher to chop up the huge pile of what we trimmed out.

I received Spike for Christmas a few years ago from a buddy of mine. I fell in love with him at first sight, now I want to share him with the rest of the world. So here is introducing SPIKE

How do you like him. I think he is the perfect pet. My geraniums blooming in the background. I think my years at Kodak served my well, I guess that and being a bit artistic probably helped a bit.
Next up I will be sharing my stash with you. I recently aquired some beautiful cotton I'm dying to see knit up in fairisle of some sort. Well you will just have to wait to see them.
I will have lots to catch you up with. I have plenty of yarn to share. I'm looking for ideas. I will also discuss my new views on trying to not add any further to my stash.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Been Busy with my new camera

I worked for Eastman Kodak years ago, and I really loved the company and my job. It might have been because it was somewhat creative. I was an inspector and retouch artist for some of the time I worked there. So when I decided I needed a digital camera, I checked out the Kodak website. I'm really glad I picked this camera. I have been busy taking photos of the dogs and my garden. I want to share with you a bit of what I have been up to

This is a photo of my sweet Keira Jean. She is an Old English Sheepdog that we adopted several years ago. We had another sheepdog, Tyler from an earlier adoption and he had been sick, I thought it was time to find another sheepie to help me over the loss of my darling boy. He lived another 4 years. Kiera was a life saver for me during the first months after he died. I will for ever be grateful for her. She has become such a wonderful companion and friend.

My husband and I adopted Taggart about 6 months after Tyler passed. Here is a photo of him. He has this wild blue eye as you can see in the photo.

He is huge, a whopping 116lbs and thinks he is a puppy. He will be turning 5 years old this August 5th. He made a very smooth transition to our home and he is loving to both of the girls and really quite sweet. His favorite pass time is to clean the girls ears. They allow it but don't clean his.

This is Daisy. My mom wanted a sheepdog of her very own after have experienced our Tyler and Kiera. So I looked high and low for this girl and found her in Southern California. She lived with my mom until my mom's stroke. So now both Daisy and Mom live with my husband and I and our two sheepies (photos above). It has been pretty exciting living with 3 sheepies and 3 adults in a very small 2 bedroom house. But you know, I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything.

I love taking care of my mom and glad to come home and cook dinner for all of us and share what time she has on this earth, I hope it's many, many more years. To me it's a blessing that I am able to have this time with her. She is who taught me to knit. I love her for teaching me to knit and that we had the time to enjoy our habit all these years.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

News and Views...

Back again. I was fortunate to go on a much needed knitting retreat in a wonderful Inn located in Sonoma, California. It was taken over by several members of our Machine Knitting Guild at the end of March! I think there were at least 15 machines set up, several people hand knitting and we even had a spinner on hand. Machines were set up on the patio, on the porch, in the great room, and some even in the dining room. It was an amazing weekend, such a great bunch of women. I wish I had my camera with me, but alas I did not.

My focus was to work on my pattern for the Baby 3 Button Kimono. I had made some changes to the design and wanted to knit it up and see how they looked. I knit them on the machine using Caron Simply Soft. I made four complete baby kimonos, using the time in the evenings to sew them together. So all I had to do was to crochet the trim. The point was I wanted to make sure that the pattern was good and I could duplicate it each time I knit it. All four came out really beautiful and I’m very pleased with the final prototype of the pattern.

The really good news is that I am knitting it by hand in order to write the pattern for hand knitting. I have had some things to work out, like what kind of increase would give the ease for the underarm curve and look good. I have both fronts completed and have begun writing the pattern. This is my first attempt at writing a pattern and it’s it not easy. I’m wondering if there is a software that will assist you in writing long hand patterns. I will have to do some research in that arena. If anyone knows of one, give us a shout out in the comments section.

Next installment I’m hoping to have my digital camera in hand and I will take some photos of the sweater to get you all excited about the upcoming pattern. I was also wondering if anyone would be interested in knitting it and be a tester of the pattern for me? Let me know in the comments section and I will contact you to find out what level knitter you are. I’m really more interested in the beginning knitters for this. I want to learn a couple of things. One: is how was the pattern to understand, and another is to see how long each piece took to knit. In the knitters’ opinion, did it take too long to finish or seem like you would never get done. Were any new skills learned?

Signing off


Friday, March 23, 2007

A new begining!

Welcome to Fresh-Picked Knits!

Here is where I will share what I'm working on and many of you who knit may want to assist me in testing my patterns. Let me know if there is a pattern you may like to test.

For the most part these patterns will be designed for babies and toddlers. To start off, I have designed a 3 Button Kimono, a baby hat, a baby cardigan. My goal is to do something a little different in the pattern designs, one of the things I would like to do is to let the intended knitter have an idea of how long it might take to knit the garment, besides a difficulty rating. Also I want to be clear on the skills that will be needed to make the garment to look like the photo, but also what the options would be if you wanted to finish your sweater a little differently. Also, many yarns used in patterns today are at times quite costly. I will give two options for the yarn; one will be an inexpensive option, and the other a moderately priced yarn.

Another goal I have is to ensure that many knitters who are just starting out will finish what they start, have a feeling of accomplishment and want to knit again. I want it to feel like, "Hey, look what I can do!" and want to do it again or try a more difficult challenge.

With all that being said, this is all about fun and sharing a past time that I dearly love on to someone new who may do the same some day.

In one of my posts to this blog, I will tell you about my journey into knitting.