Archive for the ‘Yarn and Stuff’ Category

Casting on My way

October 20, 2018

There’s method of creating the first loop for your knitting project. It involves an overhand loop and a resulting firm knot at the base of it. I’ve been troubled about the knotty part for years. When you are running your fingers along the cast-on edge, you can feel the knot.

I don’t want to feel the knot. I work a lot of items in the round using a circular needle or double points. Socks, hats, mittens, sweaters. Almost any article of clothing can be knitted in the round.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video to show you how to make this loop. Click here.

One day as I was creating the first loop for a project, I stopped halfway because I realized that I had the answer right in front of me.

That loose end hanging on the right? Push a loop of that through the place where my thumb is.

Now it’s like a baby bow tie.

Push the loops up into a rabbit ear position and slide the needle through.

Now let’s add some stitches. I do this by inserting the 2nd needle between the stitches on the 1st needle, looping the yarn around it like I’m knitting a stitch, and pulling the yarn back through to the front and sliding it on the 1st needle.

Now I have 3 stitches! I continue to add stitches in this manner until I get to my goal. For this hat, I’m using 100 stitches cast on a #5 circular.

I join the ends by distributing the stitches all the way around the needle until the end meets the beginning. Then I add my short end of the beginning yarn to the working yarn and use them as one yarn to knit the next two stitches.

I work knit 2, purl 2, for ribbing until it is about 1.5″ long.

I switch to stockinette stitch for several more inches, then reduce the number of stitches every few rounds to finish the top. You get the idea. I’ll get better directions later.

I used a lot of Red Heart yarn when I saw all the fun transitional colors that they offered. Plus I needed cheap yarn for this science project.

The BabyGirl had asked for a Messy Bun hat. I created a pattern. Some of the openings at the top are more generous than the others, since some of our buns are more generous than others.

What a pretty, smooth join.

Yes, I am in the car at lunchtime modeling an almost finished hat.

I found that I could get 2 Messy Bun hats out of 1 skein.

So I have a whole pile of hats. Plus a smooth join that I have not seen anywhere else, so there’s that. If I had uncovered this 50 years ago, I think I would have been a much more confident knitter. And more confidence means you don’t model your hats in the car.

You just put them out on the Internet for random strangers.

A New Project

August 27, 2017

The contents of the cart reveal a new and exciting creation. 

No, people, I’m not making cat food quiche or dog food trail mix. The clue is the wax paper. 

My friend Lynda, who just happens to be Sugar’s cousin, has a clever little Etsy shop that features Scottish tartan jewelry. I ordered some jewelry from her for several Christmas presents, and the gifts arrived in these adorable little paper packets. Lynda makes the gift envelopes from vintage papers sandwiched between wax paper layers and then zig-zag stitched together. 

I was in love with this idea. I actually felt guilty that I was getting so much for my money. The item I purchased plus? An amazing gift holder. Lynda did all the work for me. 

I wondered if I could figure out how she did it. But you can see that now it is August, and I haven’t done anything more than wonder. 

Suddenly Lynda’s shop “Diva Designs” had the very tutorial that I needed offered for sale. It’s only ten dollars, people! Ten. Dollars. 

Even I have ten dollars. 

After the instant download, I realized that I needed some supplies, like wax paper, hemp cord, and something called Washi tape. Your friendly WalMart should have these items. At least mine did. 

Note: HEMP cord, which has nothing to do with cannabis, or the possibly pronunciation of Washy tape (was-high). 

I suppose you are thinking that it is sad that my kitchen set-up lacks wax paper. But I’ll bet that if your kitchen has wax paper, it has probably been there since the last century. I wonder how long wax paper lasts? Yours is probably still good. I won’t judge you if it’s not. 

I have downsized so much that I don’t have any old books that I could tear pages out of. Don’t be shocked about the page removal part. Who is going to miss a page out of a dictionary? That’s what Lynda uses, in addition to any other vintage-looking book that you could pick-up at a yard sale or thrift store. 

I found an old cookbook. If I don’t have wax paper, you can rightly guess that I am not doing any farmhouse cooking. 

I couldn’t find my button stash, so have a look at the first few that I made, pre-buttons. 

I had ordered some photo cards from VistaPrint a few weeks back, but had no way to give them away as a little gift, and I supposed a legal sheet of paper might be the solution. I had an old DAR record that became an experiment. 

This was actually perfect. It can hold up to 6 sets of 5×7 cards and envelopes. 

I located the button stash. 

A bonus recipe with this one.

So go see my friend Lynda at “Diva Designs” at Her tutorial is like Gift Envelopes for Dummies. I’m living proof. 😸

Another Knitted Hat

October 18, 2015

Because the blog is my scrapbook. 

And I can’t remember details of projects. 

This knitted hat is knitted from the brim to the crown on a 16″ #9 circular. I used an acrylic worsted yarn throughout and added an eyelash yarn for the body. 

Cast on 64; join being careful not to twist. Work in ribbing K2, P2 for 1 1/4″. 

Add the eyelash yarn and knit in stockinette stitch, holding both yarns as one, until entire piece measures about 6″. 

Drop the eyelash yarn and knit one plain round, knitting the first two stitches together to reduce the stitch count to 63. 

Place a marker at the beginning of the round, and use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s swirled decrease, which will have 7 areas of decreasing as follows:

Knit 7, knit 2 together. 

Knit a plain round. 

Knit 6, knit 2 together. 

Knit a plain round. 

Knit 5, knit 2 together. 

At this point you will have 49 stitches on the circular (or double-points if you have switched over). This is the magic number you need on the needle(s) to start decreasing EVERY round. In other words, leave out the plain row, and continue knitting until you have 7 stitches left. 

Break the yarn, leaving maybe 6″ to draw through the 7 stitches, pull it up tightly, and secure the end on the inside by weaving it in. 

Weave in the yarn tail at the start of the hat, and clip all the yarn tails short. 

This should fit an older child’s head. 

At least, that’s the plan. 


The Fan & Feather

September 27, 2015

It’s a knitting design that you might see from years ago. It looks tricky as all get-out, but there’s only one pattern row in 4 rows of knitting.

Overall, there’s a scalloped edge that’s created by the pattern. It’s a natural feature and can’t be changed. Which now makes me wonder if there’s a short-row method where you start with a straight edge and work in the scallops. I think it will take someone smarter than me with fewer irons in the fire to figure it out.

Anyway, the pattern is worked in sets of 30. Let’s start with one pattern repeat for practice. Cast on 30 on straight needles.  Knit the first row. Turn your work and purl the second row. The third row is the pattern row made by purling two stitches together five times (thereby reducing 10 stitches to 5), then knitting one and throwing a yarn over ten times (thereby turning 10 into 20), and purling two together on the remaining 10 stitches (reducing 10 stitches to 5). For the fourth row, you will purl across.

That’s it. A lovely design created with 4 rows.

You will need to steam block this, so remove the cats from the bed and spread out your finished afghan.

Maybe that last part is just me.

After blockage, I cut pieces of yarn that were approximately 7″ long. I cut them from another skein that was variegated with white, pink, and baby blue. I threaded each length through an end stitch and tied an overhand knot so little hands can’t pull it out and eat it.

The afghan is baby blue but the iPhone changes the color sometimes and won’t allow editing to the correct color. (Insert your imagination here.)

I folded it in thirds lengthwise and put on a hanger and hung it in a wax myrtle for photos.


I think I used a size 9 circular and acrylic worsted. I believe I casted on 180 stitches. You can use any size that makes your heart happy. Happy knitting!


An Unexpected Quilt Comes My Way

January 21, 2015

A series of texts…

Employer: Do you like quilts?

YoursTruly: Yes!!

Employer: Ok, I have 3 antique amish quilts for you

YoursTruly: Was that a trick question?

YoursTruly: Eeeee total score.

Employer: I’ll bring them tues

YoursTruly: Thanks!


I never look a gift quilt in the mouth. It’s just general good advice. If they’re not well done or falling apart or whatever, someone here besides myself will enjoy them.

Using that self-advice, I was totally unprepared for what I received. There are three quilts of the same vintage, no doubt, but who would give these away? They are remarkable works of art and craftmanship.


Cat is not to scale.



This beauty, when unfolded, measures about 64″ x 64″.






This quilt is in pristine condition. One of the other quilts has a stained spot on it, so I’m just going to say that that was where the Yankee bullet shot through the cabin wall and hit Great-Grandma in the side, and she used the quilt to staunch the bleeding.


The back is as good an example of perfection as the front, which is the mark of a great quilter and a marvelous quilt.



Y’all, these rows are less than an inch apart. Mind. Blown.



When I said “Total score!”, I had no idea. I’m still shaking my head.

An Unexpected Present

October 11, 2013

Oh, y’all, I just received the best present.

I went to a new Thai restaurant.  Somehow they knew I was a knitter.

They brought me a pair of knitting needles.  Squeeeeee!



The Citizen’s Free Library

September 26, 2013

When Sugar bought the grooming-and-boarding business two years ago, he signed a three-year lease on the building.  We considered that now that the lease is almost up, perhaps we should look at other properties, even though we don’t think that there will be anything available.

We looked at buildings that were for rent or sale in our little town.  We didn’t actually tour any, we just looked at the outside and considered if it was large enough and what renovations it would need.

One of the buildings was the old Coca-Cola building.


It was a patchwork-looking affairs, and had several additions to it.  It probably wouldn’t work, but we drove around the building anyway….

…and found the Citizen’s Free Library.



And because Sugar is a book collector, of sorts, we had to get out and take a look.



I didn’t even want to touch them.  They were dusty, and warped, and some were mildewed, and they smelled bad.




I said, “Oh, my gosh, this is just ridiculous.  Why are you looking at these?  These are just disgusting, and don’t even think of taking any of these books, and ohIhavetohavethisone.  It’s Sam Levinson!”




There were embroidery hoops, and old stuffed animals, and Yarn!


Sam Levinson wrote the first adult book I ever read.  I was probably in the fourth grade, and I was standing in front of the children’s section in the church library, trying to decide which book I was going to read – again – and the librarian said, “Let me show you this one.”  And she went to the next bookshelf (it was a very small library that had maybe four bookcases), and she pulled off Sam Levenson’s “Everything But Money”.  I protested that it would be too hard for me, and she said that it wouldn’t.  I was worried that I was going to get in trouble for reading a too-hard book, but I was taught to obey figures of authority, so I was stuck.

It was the best book ever.

And now, thanks to the Citizen’s Free Library, I have my very own Sam Levenson book, “In One Era and Out the Other”.


Thanks, Citizen’s Free Library!  No late fees!

Dyeing Yarns at Catcatcher Corner, Part 5

March 16, 2013






And now all the colors in the neon set of food coloring have been used!  On to the next colors, organic ones from the health food store.  And tea!  Let’s try tea bags!

Dyeing Yarns At Catcatcher Corner, Part 4; Or Plum Delicious

February 21, 2013

It appears that I’m going to need to dye each skein twice to make sure that the color saturates the yarn.

The latest color choice was neon purple.  When the dye was spotted onto the wet yarn in the processing bath, it made an odd hot pinkish spot.  After the first bath, the spots remained, and some of the yarn on the underside was light blue.

First dye bath, front of skein.

First dye bath, front of skein.

First dye bath, back of skein.

First dye bath, back of skein.

Let’s try another soak in another batch of dye.

Second dye bath.

Second dye bath.







That picnic table is really coming in handy.

Well, (t)Hat’s That, Then

February 14, 2013

Sugar needed a new, warm, knitted cap.

So I showed him a design I made using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s decrease system for the crown, and he didn’t like it.  The swirly-looking top was too girly for him.

I made up another decrease system, and the cap looked like a medieval helmet.  Yes, that’s right, because gray is the color he chose, and the top of the cap was slightly pointed-ish.

So I found this design on the Yarn Harlot’s website, and I knitted it in variegated greens, because he likes greens.  That served him well, but then he wanted another one.  Oh, yes, in gray.

He’s becoming quite the manly expert in choosing yarns.  He knows that only non-superwash wools will felt, after multiple times helping me chose yarn for a felting project, and I would reject his choice, saying, “It’s not wool.  It’s acrylic.  Won’t felt.”

Imagine my amusement one day at the yarn display when he picked up a skein, looked at the label, and said, “That’s acrylic.  That’s no good.” and tossed it back into the bin.  He not only listened, he remembered, and he repeated at the appropriate time.

Sugar likes the color gray.  He also likes blue and green, but he would like a yarn that is green, blue, and gray, which is nigh unto impossible to find.  Someday, someday, I might have the skills to make his wish come true, but for now, let’s remember that I’m dyeing yarn in a pasta pan.

So he chose a fisherman wool in gray and white.  I knitted along with no problem and produced a new cap.  There was a bit of yarn left over, not an enormous amount, but several yards, which I hate.  I hate leftover yarn.  I want to use it all up.

He washed the cap.  The next time I saw him, he clapped the cap on his head, and he looked a little bit like an acorn looks.  The acorn cap fits but it looks a little too small, too short.

What if I had used all the yarn up?  Maybe the cap wouldn’t have been a tad bit too short, because, let’s face it, caps are going to be washed.

I decided to knit another cap, this time starting from the top and knitting until I ran out of yarn.  I reversed Elizabeth Zimmerman’s 7-section decrease, and I cast on 7 stitches, joined these 7 stitches in a circle, proceeded to knit, and completely boogered up the increasing part.

I unknit, I reknit, I unknit at least 10 times.  I knew that the trouble was with the operator, not the equipment, and I gnashed my teeth and tore at my hair a bit every stinkin’ time I ripped it apart to simple yarn.  Cursed a bit, too, I did.

Finally, I got it so, so right that even I was satisfied, and I produced a hat over the course of a few days.  I used almost every bit of yarn.  I even did higher math to figure out how much yarn I needed to knit 20 stitches, and multiplied that number by 6, because there’s 120 stitches on the needes, and measured that amount of yardage back from the end of the yarn, added a yard as an insurance policy, and marked the place, so that I knew when I absolutely had to start binding off.  Confused?  Welcome to my world.





I *LIKE* it!