Friday, March 31, 2006

The count down begins
It seems that I am working towards or looking forward to a lot of things currently.
This morning hubby left for the last hockey "tournie" of the year. If all goes for him he will come home victorious on Sunday. If all goes well for me he will be home on Saturday. ...of course I don't wish them any bad luck ...but
My bike continues to receive much needed care. I am told that it will be another week. ...another week of sunshine. ...another week of perfect bike riding weather. ...another week without.
My web site is managed by a capable, talented web designer. Unfortunately, many happy customers have found her. So her desk is full. I attempt to wait patiently for my web site updates.
ArtCraft has informed me that they are waiting patiently for my inventory list. They will continue to wait patiently until April 19th. Will I make the deadline? Hope so.
I await "the" issue of Knit Together that features "Hey Blondie". "Hey Blondie" is a tribute to the iconic blonde movie stars of the 1950s and 60s. I used Kraemer Yarns "Little Lehigh" in the design. I highly recommend this cotton/acrylic blend.

A couple of days (or was it weeks) ago my muse whispered in my ear. It seems she had this great idea for a children's book. The book married a picture book with a craft book. I finished my submission yesterday. I slipped it in the mail and it was gone. What will the publisher say? I must wait six months for the judgment.

Many people have been awaiting my first pattern book. Well, I have decided that they shall wait no longer. I am currently working on such a book. More on this in future posts.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today I grief. I have lost not one friend but scores of them.
Allow me to explain: I crave knitting books. Now I knit my own creations so it is not the pattern books I crave. No, instead it is knit lit. I thoroughly enjoy stories about knitting.
Sadly, Mayne Island (population 1,000) does not have a bookstore dedicated to knitlit. So when I hunt down a "good" knitting book I cherish it like fine wine. When shall I open it? How fast shall I drink in the prose? I know this experience is finite. I savour each word. For a couple of months now, I have been tasting the sweet stories contained in Knit Lit III.
Two stories stand out for me: the Preface "Linda's story" is a tale of two friends and their mutual love for knitting.
'The Cardigan', written by Harry Kelley, is a poem written by an uncle to accompany his gift to his niece.
Both are finely crafted. One left me in tears the other in laughter.
I would have loved to sustain this relationship with my friends for years. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Yesterday I finished the book.
So now I am alone. Separated from my friends. Thank heavens for
Your suggestions for fine Knit Lit are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Introducing Aran

Due to knitting's vast history there are many legends surrounding it. Yet another is the origin of the Aran sweater.

Aran sweaters are identified by their highly decorative stitch pattern. There is a dispute as to when these sweaters were designed and the reason for the intricate pattern.

One theory has it that the sweater was designed during the 1920s. The reason for the intricate stitch pattern was simply pride. You see the sweater was presented to boys upon their partaking of their first Holy Communion. Grandma was thrilled to invest time and effort to celebrate such an important event.

The second theory maintains that the design is much older: dating back to the Middle Ages. The stitches are said to be helpful in identifying drowned bodies. Whether it be the fishing village depicted by the horizontal patterns of the English and east coast Scottish knitters. Or family as depicted by the vertical pattern of the Irish and west coast Scottish knitters. The knitters ensured that the bodies could be claimed.

It is any knitter's guess as to which legend is factual.

Every time we take a stitch we are contributing to the history of our craft.

More information on this topic:

I was heard "aran" described as painting a picture with stitches. The picture, although clearly not aran, is my attempt at painting with stitches.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


What if you scattered seed stitch over an odd number of rows?
You would produce an "interrupted rib"
Please click on the pictures to see the detail.
The following stitch pattern:
row 1 to 3: *knit one, purl one - repeat from * to end of row.
row 4: *purl one, knit one - repeat from * to end of row.
repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern
produces this:
The following stitch pattern:
rows 1 to 3: *knit one, purl one - repeat from * to end of row.
rows 4 to 6: *purl one, knit one - repeat from * to end of row.
repeat rows 1 to 6 for pattern.
produces this:

Looking for something more "traditional"?

Try: row 1: knit one, purl one - repeat from * to end of row.

repeat row for pattern.

The 1 x 1 rib stitch

I used this "traditional" 1 x 1 rib stitch to design: Pieces. 'Pieces' was featured in the Canadian guild of knitters' quarterly publication: Knit Together. 'Pieces', the hand knitting pattern, will soon be available for sale through
Traditionally 1 x 1 rib stitch has been used for collar and cuffs. I designed "Collar and Cuffs" to jazz any plain top or dress. Collar and Cuff will soon be available as well.
Another traditional rib stitch pattern is 4 x 4 rib

Try: row one: knit four, purl four - repeat from * to end of row.

repeat row for pattern.

4 x 4 rib gives your work an "accordion" effect. Meaning that left unblocked your work will pull together when relaxed. It will stretch when pulled.
Deep Blue features 4 x 4 rib stitch on the cuffs, neck, and waist. The scarf is also worked in 4 x 4 rib. Unblocked the scarf is skinny. Blocked it is wider.
September's Promise uses 4 x 4 rib on the armbands and waist.

How many more of my designs use 4 x 4 rib stitch? Visit to discover more.

Sailor's Delight for this sweater I "invented" a new rib stitch. I will work a sample and post it tomorrow. ...stay logged on.

Next post: introducing Aran.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Stitch pattern: "inventing" your own

Today I experimented with the number of rows in the stitch pattern.
I tried:
Cast on twenty stitches.
row 1 & 2: *knit one, purl one - repeat from * to end of row.
row 2 & 3: *purl one, knit one - repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern.

This is two sided stitch pattern. By that I mean, it looks the same on both sides. Hey, does this stitch pattern look familiar? Yup, it is the moss stitch. ...this happens sometimes.

Homework: what if you used an odd number of rows.

Next post: Ribbing

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stitch pattern: "inventing your own stitches": oddly

Yesterday we experimented with the number of stitches in the stitch pattern. Today tip:
Experiment with the number of stitches ...but choose an odd number.
Cast on twenty stitches.
row 1: *knit one, purl three-repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat row for pattern.
The result:
a stitch pattern that is the same one both sides.
Also yesterday I suggested that you try the
row 1: *knit two, purl two - repeat from * to end of row.
row 2: *purl two, knit two - repeat from * to end of row.
repeat rows 1 to 2 for pattern.

Next post: let's continue with our experimentation.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

part II Stitch patterns: seeding your own stitches

Isn't it fun "inventing". Today I "invented" a two side pattern. Here's what I did:
I experimented with the number of stitches in the stitch pattern. "Normally" seed stitch is worked in multiplies of two: one knit and one purl. Well, I worked "my" pattern in multiplies of four:
Row 1: *knit two, purl two- repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2: *purl two, knit two-repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.
Homework: try this stitch pattern in variegated yarn.

Yesterday I suggested suggested that we:

row 1: knit - to end of row.

row 2: *purl one, knit one - repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat rows 1 to 2 for pattern.

This is what I got.

"How would you capture the essence of your life for the stage?"
Two young Mayne Island writers accomplish this feat with naked bravery. A monologue captures the life of a cancer survivor. A one-man one-act play is a portrait of life with mental illness. Last night they received a well-deserved standing ovation. Doors open at 7:30pm.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Stitch pattern: seeding your own stitches

"Inventing" stitch patterns is not only enjoyable but is also a great way of using up odds and ends of yarn. I keep a small bag of yarn ball ends expressly for this purpose. without further delay let us play...
The rules (feel free to break them)
I like stitch pattern that are no longer than four rows.
..oh, I thought there more rules... guess not.
Combine two stitch patterns: such as purl and seed stitch.
row 1: *purl one, knit one - continue from * to end of row.
row 2: purl - to end of row.
row 3: *knit one, purl one - continue from * to end of row.
row 4: purl - to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern.
Pretty, eh? Do you want to play some more? Why not try...
row 1: knit - to end of row.
row 2: *purl one, knit one - continue from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.
I'll show you mine if you show me yours. ...tomorrow. Plus more ways to play.

What do I do besides knit? Well, yesterday, today, and tomorrow I am "working door" or "doing house" which ever expression you like to use. Mayne Island Little Theatre is currently staging two one-act plays. ...more on this tomorrow.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Stitch pattern: seed and moss stitch

It seems to be a re-occurring theme in this series of posts that I forget one design. Yesterday's post on Stockinette stitch was no different. I forgot... Ferry traffic
I combined I-cord with Stockinette stitch in this tribute to the ferry.
Funny thing on Mayne Island you can tell when the ferry is in: by the long stream of traffic.
Sadly, I must report that the sinking of the Queen of the North did result in two lives lost. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.

Seed Stitch

There seems to be some confusion (or differing) over the terms "seed stitch" and "moss stitch". Some seem to think that it is the same stitch only different terminology is used. As indicated by this site:

This site states that what is known as "seed stitch" in the United States is referred to as "moss stitch" in the United Kingdom.

So I referred to a United Kingdom web site and a United States book for the stitch pattern. Here is what I found in each source:

Row 1: knit 1, purl 1; repeat

Row 2: purl 1, knit 1; repeat

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.

Could it possibly be that we are not as different as we think we are?

Seed stitch

This stitch pattern is my muse: as revealed by the long list of designs which incorporate it.
Puddin' Pie: uses seed stitch on the collar, cuffs, waist and pocket. Even the cute finger puppet is worked in seed stitch.
Pets: uses seed stitch to "paint" on Stockinette stitch. More on this painting with stitches in future posts.
Islandia: seed stitch gives this garment a rustic look.
When the meadowlark sings: I framed the stockinette stitch with seed stitch.
Bunny Hug: I worked the hood, cuffs, waist and pocket in seed stitch. The body is done in Stockinette stitch.
Too Cool! Once again I framed Stockinette stitch with seed stitch. I enjoy wearing this top over a t.
Seaside stroll: unique use of seed stitch.
Island Dreams: finally I feasted on seed stitch: arms and body worked in this beautiful stitch pattern.
Summer's Sunset: a summer cardigan designed to showcase my muse: seed stitch. This new pattern will be available soon.
Cuddling: a uniquely constructed children's sweater with seed stitch detailing. This new pattern will be available soon.

See I wasn't kidding about my passion for seed stitch. Why do I like it so much: it lays flat, it does not stretch, it does not curl. It is a beautiful combination of knit and purl.

Moss stitch

Talking about beautiful stitches, this is another one.

I may not enough moss in my yard but I love it in my knitting.

Once again two separate sources (UK and US) verified that moss stitch is:

Row 1 and 2: knit one, purl one; repeat.

Row 3 and 4: purl one, knit one; repeat

Repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern.

Seeded stitches top: Inspired by the moss stitch I began to invent my own stitch patterns. In this pattern I teach you how to join in this fun. ...but I can't stand to keep secrets to myself so the topic of the next post will be how to use the seed stitch to invent your own stitch pattern.
Lasting Romance: I clearly have a lasting romance not only with knitting but also with seed stitch and its many relations.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Stitch pattern: stockinette stitch

Today I am feeling very much an islander. As an islanders we rely heavily on BC ferries. It is one of our only means of vacating our beautiful island. Well, last night the "Queen of the North" sank. "S-A-N-K" that word gains new meaning when you live on an island. The "Queen of the North" sails to the Queen Charlotte islands. It has a capacity of 700 passengers. If it was not for the BC ferries crew and the residence of Hartley Bay this story would have not have had this happy ending: all survived and are safe.

Stockinette stitch

"Rolling, rolling, rolling keep that knitting rolling...Stocking stitch"

My dictionary defines "stockinette" as 'an elastic knitted textile fabric'.

The stitch pattern goes by many names jersey, stocking stitch, stockinet stitch, and what I know it as "Stockinette stitch". I have had other knitters correct me saying, "Oh, you mean stocking stitch". Actually, all names are correct.

The Knitting Dictionary states that the jersey stitch "gets its name from the isle of Jersey where, for a very long time, fishermen's wives have knitted sweaters in this stitch for their husbands."

Pam Allen recounts the history of the stitch as dating back to the 1500's and the popularity of knitted stockings in England.

This stitch pattern has a "right" and "wrong" side. The "right" side is called the stockinette stitch and is achieved by the knit stitch. In the above picture, the "right" side is on the left side. Notice how smooth it is.
The stitch pattern is written like this:
Row 1: knit - to end of row.
Row 2: purl - to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.

The "wrong" side is called the reversed stockinette stitch and is achieved by the purl stitch. In the above picture, the "wrong" side is on the right side. Notice the bumps. Count these bumps to determine how many rows you have.
The stitch pattern is written like this:
Row 1: purl - to end of row.
Row 2: knit - to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.

The correct abbreviation for Stockinette stitch is "STst". It is the only stitch pattern that uses capital letters. Why? I am not sure.

In fact, there are many things about this stitch pattern which leaves me scratching my head. Why if both the purl and knit samples lay flat does Stockinette stitch curl? Why if both the purl and knit samples look the same when worked separately do the stitches look different when worked in alternative rows? why...why...why...why

Could the reason Stockinette stitch curls be revealed in the above picture. I casted on twenty stitches for both samples. And yet, the green purl sample is wider than the tan knit sample. If one stitch is looser than the other it would make sense that it would curl towards the tighter stitch. Yet the sides curl towards the purl stitch. Whereas the top and bottom curls towards the knit stitch.

Okay, so I don't know why it happens but I do know a way to fix it. You see

you tame the curl by adding a broader of garter stitch. As an alternative to the garter stitch boarder you work the boarder in seed or moss stitch. The topic of the next post will be the seed and moss stitch.

Other ways to tame the curl are to sew on a boarder, pick up the edge stitches and work a boarder from them or attempt to tame the curl by blocking your project. Of all these solutions, the best is the first I have described. least in my opinion.

Olavia's hand knitting patterns which incorporate the Stockinette stitch.

"Fair Wind" uses the Stockinette stitch curl to its advantage. The sweater's cuffs, waist and neck curl. The hat's brim also has an attractive curl.
"Honey Bunny" Did you guess correctly? This was the design I forgot in yesterday's post. The child's sweater features garter stitch on the neck, cuffs, pocket, and shoulders. The body is worked in Stockinette stitch. I am often asked if "honey bunny" can be worked on circular needles. The answer is yes. What you do is add the stitches required for the front and back together and cast on this number of stitches. You would then knit until you reach the underarms of the sweater. I do not include instructions for circular needles in the pattern. I have been toying with the idea of including them. Finally, I have decided against it. Why? My patterns are written for the advanced beginner and beginner. (although many knitters of intermediate and advanced level skill also enjoy knitting them) This skill level does not use circular needles. If you are frustrated by my response please send me an email: Who knows you may be able to change my mind.

No one will deny that it would be nice to sail through life in garter stitch...but then we would miss the challenge of the purl stitch.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stitch pattern: the garter stitch

Garter stitch has introduced many to knitting. It is one of (if not the) easiest stitch pattern to work: simply knit all rows. If a firmer fabric is required simply knit into the back of each stitch.
In her book Knitting for Dummies Pam Allen traces the history of the garter stitch back the 1500s "when hand-knit stockings were a major industry in England." Garter stitch was worked on the top of the stocking "where it needed to expand for the thigh."
Notice that garter stitch lays nicely flat. It also appears the same on both sides making it a wise choice for blankets, scarves and for other items were both sides are visible.
To count rows, count each ridge twice.
Take a careful look at the samples above. Where they both worked in garter stitch? Seems like a lam question. Clearly the answer is yes. ...and yet

is not garter stitch. To make the green sample, I worked each stitch in purl. There is an advantage to doing so. Much like working into the back of each stitch, purling each stitch results in firmer fabric.
This pretty lace pattern is so easy to knit. Click on the picture to enlarge.

What you do is this: Normally to knit you wind the yarn around once to form a new stitch. For the lace pattern you wind the yarn twice. Next row you treat each double wrapped stitch as one stitch. (Clear as mud? Email me and I will attempt to clarify.) This results in the pretty lace pattern.

In previous posts I have introduced you to double knitting. This is simply a combination of garter stitch and slipped stitches.
I have also introduced I-cord. I-cord is simply garter stitch done on double pointed needles. There is a trick, however. To learn the trick, please read the post on "making I-cord".

I have incorporated garter stitch in these designs.

"September's Promise" features a figure flattering centre panel. As well the collar is worked in garter stitch. The advantage of working the collar is that is looks the same on both sides and lays flat.
"Safe Harbour" Both the sweater and scarf feature garter stitch. For best results, work the sweater in a non-stretch yarn such as wool.

"Muffin" This adorable baby hoodie features garter stitch on the hood, waist, pocket and cuffs.

Wouldn't you know it I forgot one of my patterns which features garter stitch. Can you guess which one? Thankfully, the other stitch pattern used is Stockinette stitch which is the topic of the next post. So log in tomorrow to see if you guessed correctly.

To learn how-to work garter stitch, visit this helpful site: