Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Monday, September 28, 2015

Making Monday, Diane Ivey and Lady Dye Yarns

Lady Dye Yarns
I had the pleasure of listening to Diane Ivey speak of her journey into becoming and indie dyer at the Common Cod Fiber Guild a few weeks ago. Lady Dye Yarns is a locally produced, skein by skein operation, Diane's color inspiration is based in the graphic tagging, street art and graffiti found in the local environs. Her growth has been on a trajectory over the past few years, the rockets are ready to blast her into the next orbit. She is doing and IdieGoGo fund raiser if you would like to contribute to her goal of raising enough funds to lease space and hire a business manager. I just checked the web page and today is the final day to contribute, anything you donate will stay with Diane as she raises funds for the next step in her business. You know I push for knitters to support local artisans and this is a perfect time to donate, show you care!

Yes, the yellow is that hue!!!!
Yarn for sale at Guild night, an array of colors.
Worsted weight.

Stunning color combinations!
Happy brights to warm you in the cold winter weather!
Image imported from Melanie Berg's Drachenfels pattern page.
Pattern: Drachenfels by Melanie Berg
Yarn: Lady Dye Yarns Fingering Weight in on size 6 needles

This is the current version, love the tones of green.

This is the first attempt, the colors are gorgeous but the wedge proportions are off. 
I have liked this shawl since it was featured on the Top Twenty Patterns last fall. I added it to my Favorites and then Queued it when I saw that Heather of Highland Handmades was doing a KAL (Knit A-Long) in her Ravelry forum group. I like the way the pattern blends colors to create another hue, and I think the multi colored skein from Lady Dye will be the exciting pop of color.
I must say, the garter stitch is fun, but the pattern needs a bit of attention paid as you knit the sections. I started once and redid it with new colors when I realized I had not followed the directions. Here are the two images, the blue is the attempt with bad reading of pattern steps.

What are you working on now? Share in the comments!

Friday, September 25, 2015

FO Friday Larissa Brown and Ultra-Eyelet Shawl

My daughter went to Europe and look what she brought back!
Earlier this summer, my youngest went on a group tour of Italy, France, and Spain. She travelled with friends from high school and saw the sights, ate the food, and sipped the wine. While in Rome, she visited a yarn shop and bought me this yarn. I love the shades of blue and it ties into the color of a leather bag she bought for me.

I love this cross body bag, the color is so beautiful!
As I pondered what to make with it, I reflected on her frequent comments while abroad and then back home. "They really don't like Americans there".... "I finally started saying I was from Canada"..... how funny is that?? Helen arrived back in Boston just after the Fourth of July. She admitted that missing the Fourth while in Europe made her homesick. My girl who isn't particularly patriotic inspired my Ultra Eyelet. Using some leftover Classic Elite Ultra Pima and the yarn from Rome, I cast on. It was an easy knit, one that did not take too much concentration.

A WIP photo of my Ultra-Eyelet

Pattern: Ultra-Eyelet by Larissa Brown, a "pay for" pattern.
Yarn: Classic Elite Ultra Pima, Calipso, Miss Tricot Filati on size 6 needles
This was an intuitive knit, the stitch patterns were easy to follow and it was carefree knitting. The progress went fairly quickly, and I enjoyed knitting with cotton during the heat of the summer days. I did block it aggressively and the dimensions are 38"x40". The pattern is designed for fingering weight yarn, imagine a Magic Cake paired with a solid color? It would be a great stash buster project.

Larissa Brown, Ultra-Eyelet
There is a story behind this pattern Ultra-Eyelet, do you care to hear of it? The pattern was in the Ravelry Top Twenty, and the shape of the design appealed to me, you know I am a sucker for shawl patterns. During July, the pattern design proceeds were donated to a fund raising event for an adoption of a child by her sister. That detail had me hitting the "Purchase Pattern" button in a wink.

The designer, Larissa Brown, is also an author. She has written books on knitting, including My Grandmother's Knitting and Knit Along- Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together.  She also written has two fiction books, A Beautiful Wreck and Tress. I ordered the two knitting books and plan to get the novels at my library. As I perused her pattern page, I fell for these two hat patterns, do you love the look of them and the loose fit too?

Beverley's Hat
I have so many FOs to put up on a Friday but alas, I am in Boston and my knits are in Maine.... perhaps I can feature them next week? Sending you warm wishes in this new season of fall! Happy knitting!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A moving pattern description and a tribute to a loved one

Gramma's Hug by Carolyn Macpherson, image imported from Ravelry.
I try to make a habit of reading the Top Twenty Patterns on Ravelry, sometimes I score a short term offer of a free patten, Other times, I discover something that will become a trend, and most of the time, I like to see what favorite designers are up to.

Today, I found this shawl,  Gramma's Hug and the description of the design inspiration is one you just must read. It inspired me and lifted me up. I plan to cast one on and give it to my mum. She moved to a Memory Care Assisted living a week ago and she is having a hard time adjusting. It breaks my heart to see her insisting she needs to come home and raise her family.... I think this pattern will give me a place to pray for her as I knit and hope that she comes to accept the new place to live.

Do you have a prayer shawl or pattern you knit on when you feel adrift, sad or helpless? Please share in the comments.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bixby Bars, Made in Maine

Bixby Bars, made in Maine
Bixby Bars
One Sea Street Place, Rockland, Maine
Kate McAleer

A blend of organic chocolate, fruit, nuts, spices and brown rice crisps.

This summer, I enjoyed many aspects of living in Maine while staying with my parents. I frequently watched the local news. The story of her business concept and it's success was intriguing. She has been featured in Yankee Magazine and WCSH news. She has been awarded the SBA Young Entrepreneur for Maine. I enjoy hearing how people grow their concept to a successful business. Recently, I splurged and ordered a twelve pack assortment of bars. They are so tasty, and the unusual blends of flavors make for interesting taste experience. Here is a video of her story, as featured on WCSH.

My favorite flavor is the Blueberry and Black Pepper Walnut bar. The Crunchy Peanut Butter with Maine Sea Salt is yummy too. I wonder if you are a foodie looking for a new twist on candy, healthy ingredients, no corn syrup, unique flavor combinations? Or perhaps, you like to support new and innovative companies? There is a list of stores that carry her product, type in your zipcode and select and area of 10-20 miles radius. I am pleased to see they are carried in my local Whole Foods, if you want a new treat, check it out.
Images imported from

Monday, August 31, 2015

Making Monday

My first Twiddle Muff
Making Monday is focused on Twiddle Muffs. I first heard about these from my FB feed and followed the articles to see how they were made and used. It is basically a knitted tube with various sensory items attached. When given to a person who is blind or who has Alzheimer's, it creates a warm and soft exploration device which calms the person using it.

When I showed my mum, she liked it and explored a bit, but then put it down. I will leave it nearby to see if she wants to explore again tomorrow. Truly, she may be in the middle phase of the disease and doesn't need it as yet. I am seriously thinking of starting a charity knitting circle for this type of item. They can be found ready made, on the ALZ Store website but the cost runs around $40-50.00.
Twiddle Muff from the ALZ store.

The concept behind a Twiddle Muff is that it gives a patient with a diagnosis of dementia something to hold, explore, or stroke to calm themselves. The muff design also allows them to have their hands held in a cocoon of warmth whilst providing them with stimulation.

Pattern: Twiddle Muff by Warrington and Halton Hospital
Yarn: Red Heart Worsted on size 13 needles, yarn held double
This was a quick project, but not so enjoyable to knit with squeaky acrylic. The items I added include three pompoms, two buttons, a string of beads, a fabric pocket, a fabric pouch, holding marbles and a ribbon of same fabric, tied in a bow. This design is really a spring board for your own ideas and the yarns you have on hand. It is best done in a bulky weight or by holding the yarn doubled or tripled. I would definitely think about how it will hold up in the laundry when choosing yarn!

Flat piece and components before sewing.
It was a pretty quick knit, given the large needles and bulky yarn. I sewed most of the component parts to the flat piece of knitting before I seamed the long edge, and then turned the lining side inside and seamed the ends. I did use my sewing machine when I put the pocket and pouch of marbles on the knitted piece. I used the yarn to tie down the buttons and when I attached the pompoms, I used a double strand to tie off the pompom and then using a crochet hook, I tied it securely to the inside. I did not sew the tube together until I had all of the components attached. The free pattern gives you basic directions and you could improvise as you go if you like.

Pocket, beads and ribbon.
Inside is a cushy pompom (and a bag with marbles sewn in).
Buttons from an old pea coat, to look at and touch.
So, that is a little about Twiddle Muffs. They seem to be more popular in the UK, do you think we can bring this to our local nursing homes with a charity knitting project??