Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Things are very quiet in my house here in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas Eve morning. Just the dog and I are up, puttering around quietly in the kitchen. Husband, children, grandparents, (even the birds) are still blissfully asleep, still in the midst of their own sugarplum dreams...

All the knitting is done!!! Fingerless gloves, spa cloths, socks, socks, and more socks, and even a hat or two, are finished, wrapped, and ready for the excitement of Christmas. This morning brings no holiday pressure beyond the pleasant task of making the traditional holiday gingerbread with the girls. Yesterday's baking was all about loaves and loaves and LOAVES of aromatic banana bread which we delivered to our friends and neighbors as we serenaded them with Christmas carols, and an occasional silly holiday song (another family tradition made all the more comical this year as we all sported Santa hats and reindeer antlers courtesy of Grannie!!) Okay, "serenaded" might be a bit of a stretch, but we certainly do sing our hearts out!

It's unlikely, but possible, that I might find a quiet half hour later today to work on some personal knitting before we head off to the Children's Mass at Mercyhurst College: a lovely, candlelit, musical service made even a little exciting by the distraction of wondering if this will be the year little Christopher manages to ignite someone's coat or hair in the pew in front of him as he precariously balances his candle...

And finally we'll slip into bed after a wonderful dinner with friends and family, and tired but fulfilled, we'll fall asleep listening for the sound of Santa's sleighbells.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Knitted Teddy Bears

The new schedule of classes will be mailed out in a few weeks, and here's a peek at one of the projects you can sign up for. These teddy bears are as cuddly as anything you can buy, and what a fun project to help get yourself out of the winter doldrums!

Sue knit one of these bears and the other was made by Laura, who will be teaching the class. Bob, Laura's husband wanted me to point out his contribution to Laura's charming bear: the very colorful red tie! If you're ever lucky enough to stop by Cultured Purl when Bob's there with Laura, sit down for a chat and you'll find yourself thoroughly entertained by one of the most engaging, conversational non-knitters I've ever seen in the shop!! Bob has lived quite a life, and has lots to say about all kinds of topics (including knitting) and there's no telling what unexpected and compelling discussion you'll end up in the middle of!

So look for the newsletter next month, stop in and check out the bears, and sign up for some classes!

Yours in knitting,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just in Time For Santa!!

Our friend Barb just finished these cute Ann Norling Stockings for her grandchildren. I love the different toes.

Santa will be able to fit lots of goodies in these sizable stocking.
She has inspired me to make some for my family for next Christmas... It is never to early to get started :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sock update...

For those of you who followed along as I went through the knitting-socks-for-my-husband's-birthday saga...I'd like to share the happy news that the socks were FINALLY WORN OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!! Here we were yesterday, out at Walker's Christmas Tree Farm discussing (quite heatedly I might add) the worthiness of this particular tree. My husband, saw in hand, is wearing his one and only pair of handknit socks. Prior to this monumental day, he had only puttered around the house in them claiming that he "didn't want to wreck them." They survived our annual pilgrimage to the bitterly cold, snow-covered, deep Northwest Pennsylvania woods and yes, he found them extremely warm and cozy...

I'm off now to round up the troops so we can decorate our beautiful Douglas Fir,

Yours in yarn,

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Looking for a quick-to-knit Holiday Gift?

How about a spa cloth? (what we like to call a fancy face cloth, handknit with VERY nice yarn!!)

I have been knitting these all week. This is about the time when I realize that my original plan for knitted gifts is not realistic for ANYONE, let alone me-with 3 kids, endless PTA responsibilities, and waaaayyyyyy too many projects, such as the 99 handmade Christmas cards that I have only JUST begun to work on...

And yes, I realize this picture is posted sideways. For some reason it looks correct on my computer, but it keeps uploading rotated...

I have knit these in the absolutely scrumptious Blue Sky Organic Cotton. One skein will make 2 cloths. I recommend using a size 8 or 9 needle- unless, like me, you're a loose knitter. In that case, I used a 7.

Here's the pattern:


Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit one row.
Next row: K2, yo, knit to end of row.
Repeat this row until there are 9 sts on the needle.
Begin broken rib pattern:
Row 1 (WS): K2, yo,*k1, p1; repeat from * to last 3 sts, k3.
Row 2: K2, yo, knit to end of row.
Row 3: K2, yo, *p1, k1; repeat from * to last 3 sts, k3.
Row 4: repeat row 2.

Repeat these 4 rows until the sides measure 8 inches, or until there are approximately 48 stitches on the needle. (You can adjust this to whatever dimension you'd like your cloth to be.)

Begin decrease:

Continue in established rib pattern, except replace k2,yo at the beginning of each row, with: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, continue in established broken rib pattern to end of row.

Continue decreasing at the beginning of every row, until there are 8 sts remaining on needle.
Next row: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit to end of row.
Repeat this row until there are 4 sts remaining.
Bind off. Weave in ends. Block lightly.

That's all there is to it! Shirani has lots of the Organic Cotton in stock. It comes in several natural colors as well as some beautiful pastels.

Yours in knitting,

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What's in Your Knitting Bag?

Next to "How long have you been knitting," the question I am asked most frequently asked when teaching a class is "What do you keep in your knitting bag?" I think knitters are a lot like watercolorists in the sense that we are gadget lovers. We like lots of little 'do-hickeys' to make the job easier. Our paint totes and knitting bags are stuffed full of all kinds of neat, unique, tools we find stacked by the cash registers when we check out. So here's a list of what I can't do without. How does it compare to yours?

First of all, I keep my supplies organized, clean, and visible, in a clear plastic Cultured Purl zippered toiletry bag. (Alright, I'll admit it here-I keep two identical bags going at all times, because I'm usually working on more than one project at the same time. However, I realize this leans toward the obsessive...) Anyhow- I highly recommend Cultured Purl's bags.

So here's the list, in no particular order, although I've marked the criticals with "**":

**yarn needles - I prefer Clover's CHIBI needles. They're gold-toned, with a slight bend at the tip. I use them for weaving in tails, kitchener seams, and some bind-offs.

** crochet hooks - for fixing a dropped stitch; picking up stitches at a cranky neckline; provisional cast-ons; and adding a crocheted edge. I keep 2 or 3 in my bag at all times - different sizes to match my project needles.

** measuring tape - anything will work, but the retractable fuzzy sheep tapes that Cultured Purl sells are the cutest things ever!

needle gauge- mine is the 5-inch wide, metal, Susan Bates "Knit Chek" which has holes to check needle diameter, as well as a window for measuring stitch & row gauge. Although it's not one of my criticals, I do use it all the time.

**stitch markers - I keep an assortment: a few of the circle variety, either plastic rings or pretty beads on wire; as well as the safety pin type which can be opened to clip onto actual stitches.

stitch holders - I keep several sizes and use them for holding stitches that will be worked later. They also come in handy when the unthinkable happen: you've just finished the most challenging part of a project, it looks like it's error free, then you sit on your needle, it snaps in half, and all your work falls off... I didn't mark these as critical because a length of yarn tied in a knot will work in a pinch. At the very least though, throw in a big safety pin or two.

** scissors - I use the little embroidery type. Cultured Purl sells cute scissor toppers to keep them from poking through the bag or stabbing you when you reach in for something.

Knitter's Little Helper - A hand balm that Cultured Purl sells. It's a quick absorbing moisturizer with lavender and other soothing natural ingredients which keeps hands smooth. Dry hands can catch and pull fine yarns. Makes a really nice stocking-stuffer...

small circular or double pointed needle - This can come in handy if you have to rip back. I carry a size 2 (US) 16 inch circular needle and I have found it to be incredibly useful.

**pencil - for taking notes on projects

nail file, tissues, and 1 Band-aid - nothing will wreck your project faster than a jagged torn nail or a bloody hang-nail... The file can also smooth a rough wooden needle in an emergency! (rub some Knitter's Helper on first.)

These next items are project specific so they're only in my bag if the project warrants:

cable needles - (never use a size larger than your project needles)

T-pins - or any pin with a very large head, Cultured Purl sells several styles. For pinning seams and blocking.


Well that's a first look at my gadget bag.

I'll edit this later if I find something important that slipped my mind this morning!! In the meantime, take a look at these cool new knitting bags that Shirani just got in:

Yours in knitting,

Monday, November 27, 2006

How to make a picot hem

I've decided to use a picot hem for the cuff of the ankle socks I am working currently working on. It's a very pretty, feminine edge that gives a lovely look to an otherwise ordinary pair of girl's socks.

It begins with a provisional cast-on: a temporary cast on using contrasting waste yarn which is eventually removed to reveal live stitches. The method I normally use, a crocheted cast on, does not work well with knitting in the round on double pointed needles because the waste yarn is only easily removed from the opposite direction, so I ended up having to cut out the temporary edge. (just a wee bit stressful, so I DON'T recommend it!!) You'll find instructions for several different provisional cast-ons here. There is also an excellent instructional video here.

Once you've cast on the appropriate number of stitches and divided them evenly on your double points, you'll want to knit several rows. The exact number of rows depends on how long you want your cuff to be. I knit 8 rows.

Next, comes the actual picot row. It is simply: yo, k2tog, repeated across one round.

In this photo, you can see the picot row with the holes made by the yarnovers. Once this round is completed, then knit the same number of rows you knit before the picot round.

Now here's the tricky part. You have to fold the cast-on edge inside the double pointed needles to form a hem. The cuff will naturally want to fold along the picot row which is what will give the cuff its pretty picot trim. I spent about 30 minutes on this next part. I'd recommend maybe pouring yourself a glass of wine and finding a comfortable chair in a quiet part of the house where you won't be disturbed...

Carefully remove the waste yarn to reveal live stitches. I unraveled one needle's worth of stitches at a time and slipped them onto a spare needle. Here in this photo, you can see my waste yarn was tan and my spare needle was blond. Then, holding the spare needle behind your working needle, knit a row, picking up one stitch from your working needle and one from the spare needle and knitting them together as one stitch.

After you've gone an entire round, all the cast on stitches will have been picked up with the working stitches and the cuff will be double thick and folded at the pretty picot edge!!

If you do decide to give this a try on a sock in place of a normal ribbed cuff, reduce the number of stitches cast on. Ribbing has a natural tendency to tighten making it an ideal elastic band. Picot/stockinette does not, and the cuff will be too loose if worked over the same number of stitches. Try casting on 20% less, and increase evenly on the first round after the cuff band to get back to the correct number of stitches.

If my ankle socks turn out nice, and people are interested, we might put together an intermediate sock class for the winter schedule. I promise the pattern won't be this wordy!!

Give it a try,
yours in knitting,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chain Selvedge for Garter Stitch

I've spent most of today knitting the hooded baby sweater for a class I'm teaching Wednesday (it wouldn't do to be behind where I asked my students to be!!!) The sweater, really a cardigan, features a garter button band and the designer suggests using a chain selvedge at the edge of the band.

Selvedges are used either to facilitate picking up stitches and seaming, or as a decorative edging. In this case, the chain selvedge for garter stitch gives a very nice, finished edge to the work.

This close-up photo doesn't do it justice. You'll have to trust me when I say it has a very attractive appearance!

To work this edge, at beginning of every row,

with yarn in front, slip 1 stitch as if to purl, bring yarn to the back, continue as directed for your pattern.

This knitting instructions for this are often written as:

wyif, sl 1 pwise, yb, continue in pattern

where wyif=with yarn in front
sl = slip
pwise = purl wise
yb = yarn in back

You can incorporate this into any pattern that calls for garter stitch. This is NOT the chain stitch used for stockinette stitch.

Give it a try!
Yours in knitting,

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I did a bit of knitting today so I could post a picture that actually has to do with our craft! I cast on for Celia's Picot Trimmed Ankle socks. This pair will have the Welsh heel - in honor of Shirani & Martin, and a flat toe.

This is the first year EVER that I have not had a houseful for dinner, so while I am not quite so frenzied in the kitchen (the turkey's in, - it's Plum Glazed this year - the giblet stock is simmering) it is AWFULLY quiet here...

The thing I love about this most American of holidays, is that for one day, all over this country, we sit together to share a meal, literally or figuratively, with family and friends, and to celebrate the same thing: our common American heritage and our thankfulness that the America of our forefathers continues to thrive today with as much promise as existed back in 1620 when a tiny, tired band of hopeful pilgrims first stepped ashore onto Plymouth Rock. (Okay, yes I'm a New Englander...Jamestown was first in 1607!!)

Whether our family arrived on these shores yesterday, or 400 years ago, we all came to America with the same hopes and dreams of what freedom has to offer and what a people, united in the belief that all men and woman are created equal, can accomplish. That we came from all over the world and brought with us our different knitting traditions and skills is just one of the perks for us, the knitting obsessed!! (See, I'm keeping this relevant...)

The poet Emma Lazarus, gives us this:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The invitation America has always offered to anyone willing to accept it. With so much ugliness in the world today, I think it bears remembering these lines; this invitation; this promise of America. Just one of the many things we can be thankful for today!

So here's the question. Do you know where you can find this very visible poem??

Think about it while you enjoy your turkey dinner. Ponder it while you curl up with your knitting tonight. Let me know if you come up with the answer!

Yours in yarn,

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Supporting our community

Today I took the day off knitting. Does that mean I'm not a knitter with a capital "K"? I don't think so: even the obsessed need to rest their wrists every once in a while!!

I spent a couple hours working on some quickie ink & watercolor washes of my second favorite locally owned Erie business: The Brickhouse coffee shop. It got me thinking about the difference between chains and locally owned shops and why we owe it to our community to support those among us who have the vision, drive, and courage to strike out into the entrepreneurial maelstrom with little more than a dream, what assets they could gather, and an overflowing of passion. It's the kind of passion that you just don't find in chains. It's the American Dream with a capital "D"!!

Locally owned shops bring charm, uniqueness, as well as superb product quality and variety to Erie and their owners greet shoppers with a smile and a sincere offer of friendship. What abounds in Sue & Shirani's yarn store, and Jeff and Rebecca's coffee shop, is what will never be found in A.C. Moore and Starbucks: that sense of place that I'm always going on about here. The sense of personal place and welcome we're always looking for in life - that comfort which grounds us in this crazy world in which we live.

So, next time you find yourself with a free moment or two, go relax in that cocoa colored front room at the Brickhouse with a steaming latte and one of Rebecca's mouth-watering scones. Or get it to go, and sit with the Purl girls and knit for a while. Both will sooth your soul.

Yours in knitting,

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sock Update

The birthday socks were finished about an hour before the birthday party. So...I was happy. The socks were well received. We glossed over the part about how handknit wool
socks are line dry only, with nothing more than a half raised eyebrow.

And I am well into pair number two!! The ankle socks with a Dutch heel and a pointed toe. I'll let you know how those "architectural" features compare :)

Yours in lots and lots of 30 sts/4" yarn,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We've been featured in Yarnival!!!!!

About a month ago, I submitted our blog for publication in an online issue of Yarnival!, a blog carnival. It's a sort of blog magazine that gathers together links to blogs having to do with a specific topic. I submitted THIS entry, and we made it into the November issue!! If you follow the link to our entry, you can check out the comments at the bottom to see if we've attracted any new readers from the online world-at-large!

Here's the link to Yarnival! Issue 3.

Yours in knitting,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

...she pauses to consider a title, wondering if readers will balk at yet another sock story...

I am now well into birthday sock #2! There is the small problem of everything else on my todo list: the PTA taxes are due; the treasurer reports for the PTA meeting need to be prepared; 571 envelopes must be stapled onto bookfair reminders; birthday shopping with the kids has to be done; the cake has to be baked; the dog needs a bath and the birds need a wing-clip;there's the ever present laundry; I have 3 knitting classes to prepare for; and, there are still 250 pages left to read in my book-group book. All due on or before my husband's birthday! Still, I am totally committed to getting that sock finished. Okay, I made up the part about the laundry - my husband does most of that (in his spare time when he's not operating on someone's heart.) He also does all our hemming, mending, and God bless him, the sewing on of the girls' pointe shoe ribbons: thereal perk of being married to a cardiac surgeon!

So... I will finish the sock. And you know what else I did in my spare time this weekend? I stopped by Cultured Purl and picked up 3 more balls of sock yarn. Yup, that's right. I'm going to knit each of the children a pair of socks for Christmas. Luckily the girls only wear ankle socks, which is really like knitting only half a sock... You may be wondering if I, who normally avoids sock knitting as if it were the plague, have really lost my mind. But, here's the thing. Working on this sock has opened my eyes to the joys of knitting a small project on fine needles. Putting aside the annoyance of maneuvering tooth picks, there is a real art to the craft of hand knit socks. Such a variety of skills combined in a mere 10,000 stitches. (give or take a couple thousand...) (per sock...)Ribbing, short rows, slip stitch selvedges, picking up stitches, decreasing, grafting. And the engineering behind turning the heel is, well, a beautiful thing.

And did you know that sock knitting is the OLDEST form of this relatively young member of the textile family. English handknitted socks date back to the 1500s. Earlier samples of stockings, some dating back to the third century in Egypt and Europe were once thought to be knitting, but are today identified as the similar but older craft of nalebinding, or "binding on a needle". Still, European knitters have been producing gorgeous, intricate stockings and socks for at least 500 years!!

I did a little research and I learned there are a variety of heel and toe contructions from which to choose when knitting a sock. We can make a Welsh heel, a German heel, a Dutch or horseshoe heel, or stick the classic French round heel. Toes can be round, pointed, flat, wide, or in the form a four-pointed star - all methods that have evolved around the world as different cultures mastered and improved upon the simple, beautiful yet pedestrian workhorse of our wardrobe: the sock.

As I knit my children's socks, I'm going to experiment with various heels and toes. Why don't you stop by Cultured Purl and join me in my pursuit of the Perfect Hand Knit Sock!!

Yours in knitting,

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What a difference a wrap makes!

The ribbing on the left is the Eastern Combined method of purling. The ribbing on the right is the loose first sock. The Eastern combined purl resulted in a beautifully even, pleasantly tight, elastic ribbing. I am so pleased with the result that I think I'll do all my purling this way from now on!!

Of course, I am now faced with the problem of unmatched socks. I'm going to try my best to resist the urge to rip out the first sock and do it again. Maybe my husband won't notice the difference...

Yours in yarn,

Friday, November 10, 2006

Are your purl stitches too loose?

Well, I finished one sock, and I'm into the second. My husband has tried it on and declared it to be warm and cozy. And yes, he will wear my socks around the house...

Neither of us mentioned the obvious loose ribbing. The problem seems to be that I form my purl stitches too loosely. A common problem for a lot of knitters. So, as an experiment, I'm using a variation of the Eastern Combined method of purling for the ribbing on the second sock.

Eastern knitters, those in Asia, Africa, and some Islamic countries, wrap their yarn around the needle in the opposite direction from Western knitters. There are myriad versions of this, two of which we call Eastern Crossed and Eastern Uncrossed.

Wrapping in the opposite direction uses a smidge less yarn and creates a stitch which appears to be more neatly formed. However, the resulting stitch has a left slant versus the normal Western right slant. To avoid a plaited, or twisted stitch, the left slant stitch must be worked through the back loop on the next row.

To adapt this technique to purling in the round (for the ribbing), I enter the twisted purl stitches through the back loops and wrap the yarn clockwise. The knit stitches are not affected.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yours in knitting,

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Diana's Socks

Here's a photo (of a photo) of socks Diana knit for her two daughters and a daughter-in-law. Lucky girls!! Diana was at the yarn shop last night, along with Laura and a group of her former students. She told us a funny story about how years ago, when she was living on the West Coast and was just getting started with knitting, she adventurously decided to buy some expensive sock yarn, a variety of needles, and a sock pattern, and she gave it a go. A few disastrous skeins later, as well as a big investment in needles which various yarn shops suggested might solve her problems, and still having met with no sock success, she finally found Laura. Who, as anyone who had taken one of her Cultured Purl classes knows, is an AMAZING sock teacher! Since then, Diana has knit lots and lots of socks including these modeled by her family. Perseverance pays off!

Stop by the shop and sign up for a sock class! Find out why they're so addictive.
Yours in knitting,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Knitting Socks with the T.V. On

My husband's birthday is in 10 days and I'm making him a pair of socks. It's a somewhat odd thing to do for him, because: He hates itchy wool; he finds any amount of bulk in his shoe uncomfortable; and he's
extremely concerned that handknit socks will not stay up. But he admits to being thrilled that I am knitting him a pair, because it means "I'm thinking about him."

What he doesn't really appreciate though, is what a mammoth act of love it is for me to knit him socks. I find the process angst-ridden. It's not the normal sock issues that faze me. The short rows, picking up stitches for the gusset, grafting the toe together- all of that is fine. It's finding needles small enough to get gauge. I'm using 0s and honestly, should really be working with 00s. Aren't they a pain in the butt? First of all, they're the size of toothpicks. They're sharp so they irritate my fingers. Psychologically, it's seems like the bloody things will take forever. And then of course there's the problem of THERE'S STILL ANOTHER ONE TO KNIT...

Anyway, I sat down with my husband last night to watch the Patriots play football, thinking, now here's some quality time I can spend with him and make some REAL progress on these socks. After about 15 minutes, I realized the tension I feel when knitting on 0 needles is NOTHING compared to the stress of being in the same room with a freaked out football fan. There was pacing. There was yelling at the tv. There was SCREAMING obscenities at the players AND the coach who one would think must be the biggest idiot on the planet. I was thinking, haven't they won the majority of Superbowls played this century, all under the direction of this man?? Including the Superbowl my husband and oldest daughter attended? (The one where Paul McCartney performed Hey Jude. See for me, the most moving aspect of that once in a lifetime event wasn't that the Patriots won. It was that Audrey got to see a live performance by a former Beatle....)

Well, I couldn't take the stress of the socks AND my husband's game anxiety, so I retreated to the relative calm of my bedroom. I knit a few rows while watching an episode of Without A Trace, where a woman is driven so crazy by her life that she convinces a priest she needs an exorcism. After that, I read a chapter of my book group book, Mapping the Edge, about a women who is so overwhelmed by her housewife/mother roles that she disappears to Italy for a rest. Isn't escapism great?

Now back to those socks,

Yours in knitting,

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Look at Leo!!!!!!

Shirani emailed these pics of Leo modeling clothes knit by friends of the yarn shop.

Laura, our awesome sock teacher, knit the yellow sweater Leo's wearing in his car seat. Isn't the hood adorable? It's cuter than adorable, but I can't think of the word right now. And the bunny hat is so fun!!! Look at the ears!!!!! How nice of Leo to wear them so well:)

Shirani, he really is the cutest little monkey!!

Stop by the shop and ask Shirani for the patterns. And if you're looking for a quick baby gift, we're starting a hooded baby sweater class Monday night. It's knit in one piece, from the top-down: A cute little cardigan in a range of sizes that beginners will find fun and quick to knit. And if you're an intermediate knitter, we'd love to have you join us too! There are some interesting little quirks about this pattern that make it a good learning project for everyone. Call and sign up, there's still some room in the class!!

Yours in knitting,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Night Knitters

I stopped by "First Friday" at Cultured Purl tonight. (I had the kids in tow, so it was only for a minute) That's the first Friday of every month when, in addition to a cozy fire and good conversation with other knitters, there's food!! And I should also mention that I'm not sure it's actually called "First Friday", but that's the gist of it...

Despite the wintery weather, the ladies were expecting a crowd of traveling knitters from Akron, visiting Erie for the weekend. (True knitters don't let blizzards get in between them and good wool.) They heard about us from Linda, a committed Friday-Night-er, pictured here working on a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. That's a wonderful charity program sponsored by the Orphan Foundation of America. As Linda explained to me tonight, the program is aimed at giving college-bound orphans and foster children scarves for the winter. It's a great way to use up your stash yarn or, if you're in the mood for something new, stop by the shop and Sue & Shirani will help you pick out one of their soft and luscious lovelies. They have lots of scarf patterns to choose from. If you'd like to read more about the project, click here.

Well it's a snowy Friday night, the little urchins are just about tucked in for the night, and I'm going to go settle down with some knitting and my decaf skinny skinny Irish Creme latte (new favorite flavor!) from the Brick House - our favorite Erie Coffee Shop. Yum!!

Yours in yarn,

ps. Okay, I keep meaning to mention this. I find it a hoot that the blogger spell-check always recognizes "knitters" as a mistake and tries to replace it with, and here's the hoot part, "janitor's"...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I love Autumn and I also love these felted wonders!! Joy made the really cute pumpkin. She knitted it and felted it. (The pattern is at The gorgeous leaf was needle felted by Trish. Thanks for sharing ladies! Happy Halloween ~Shirani

What a difference blocking can make!!

I've been playing around with some different lace patterns looking for something just right for a Lace Stole class this winter. (The pattern will also work as a table runner!!!) Here is a swatch of the old french Chatelaine lace done in Jaggerspun Zephr. This crinkly swatch is "as knit."

The thing while knitting lace is just to trust that eventually it will be pretty.

Then it's a COMPLETE leap of faith when you actually wet the thing and it looks like a wet, knotted mess that couldn't possibly be salvaged:

And then, ta da!!! You pin it out and it looks like you can actually knit!!!

Then you smile and think all that time spent doing the yarn over thing and scowling at the chart was TOTALLY worth it! So what I'm really wondering is... would any of you like to take an intermediate lace class?? It would be something like a weekly 90 minute class spread over 4-6 weeks. I'd teach you the pattern and be there along the way to help with problems and cheer you along. You'll definitely move into some advanced knitting and by the end of the class you'll have created a lovely heirloom piece that you or someone you love will treasure!

We're working on the new class schedule now, so any feedback will be really helpful.

Yours in knitting,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rita's Bag

Rita finished her Lucy bag, and it turned out GREAT!! She used 3 skeins of cascade 220 and added a little bit of novelty yarn to make some stripes. Because she knit the bag with only 1 strand, as the pattern directed, her bag is a lot smaller than Shirani's. I think Rita said it measured out to be 13x13. Isn't the handle cool?

Yours in knitting,

Friday, October 27, 2006

More of those "fetching" gloves

I'm wondering, do they mean fetching as in attractive, or fetching in the sense that one can fetch things while wearing them??

Anyway, here's yet another pair begun, this time with the channel island cast-on. (I'm trying to apply my newly learned skill...) Note the cute little knots along the edge. The idea I had in using this cast-on was that it sort of mirrors the picot bind-off at the top of the glove. Very fetching, don't you think?

Enjoy the weekend: rain and high winds predicted - the perfect time to hunker down with some wool.

Yours in yarn,

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Check out the Noro yarn at Cultured Purl

Shirani's been reorganizing all the Noro yarn in the shop. And let me tell you, there's tons of the gorgeous stuff!!! The colors and quality of the wool make it hard for Shirani to stop adding to their inventory. I know it's one of the brands she's selling online.

The Kureyon, 100% wool, and the Silk Garden, a wool/silk blend, are my personal favorites. I'm using them in my felted Lucy bags. And I'm dying to making this Kureyon throw.... Here are pictures of some other project ideas.

I especially love this cardigan.

Next week we're starting the Noro Hooded Striped Baby Jacket class. It's done from the hood down, all in one piece. Stop in to see the sample and think about signing up!!

Yours in yarn,

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I stopped by the yarn shop today...

and I spent a wonderful hour chatting and knitting with Chris, Daren, Trish, and Maria (along with Shirani & Sue of course and Rita was there for a bit but had to leave; and Leo had a few things to say too.)

One of the absolute NICEST things about Cultured Purl, (besides having access to the most luscious yarns and knitting supplies imaginable!), is the feeling of community that exists there. A lot of that certainly has to do with Sue's kindness and Shirani's colorful spirit and warmth, but over time the customers who hang out there and knit and chat with us, become more than customers: they become part of the Cultured Purl family, bringing a lovely camaraderie and vibrancy to the shop that creates a personal place of belonging for all of us. Cultured Purl has its own personality that is growing and changing in lovely ways as the customers stop being customers and become friends. And I am so glad to be a part of that!!!!

Am I too gushy?? I feel a little gushy. But I was very touched today. I have lived in Erie for 9 years, and my closest family is a 6-hour drive away. And while I have made great friends here over the years, there is something special about Cultured Purl that eases the absence of family too far away. It's lovely to know that there's a warm, wonderful place, filled with charming, friendly people, where I can go and always be welcomed and made to feel at home.

As we chatted today over our knitting, telling stories and laughing, I was reminded of something Virginia Woolf wrote:

"What is it that lights the soul? Not the spark of brilliance, but the rich yellow glow of rational discourse."

Thanks ladies, for the good conversation today!!

Yours in knitting,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Practice vs Practise

It's been pointed out by someone near and dear to me that I spelt a word wrong in yesterday's blog. (I'm looking at "spelt" and wondering about that but I don't have a dictionary handy...) And when I refused to fix the error, it was suggested that I might appear to some readers to be "academically challenged." (The actual word of choice was stu___d, but I discourage the use of that word in our house....) But here's the thing- I DID spell the verb "practice" with an S for about 25 years, blissfully ignorant of the fact that in America there is no spelling differentiation between the verb and the noun. Now I do it on purpose.

One of my mother's (many, many) virtues is that she was born in England. I was too, but I'd moved to America by the time I'd hit my vocally-formative years. But Mum grew up there and to this day retains her lovely British accent. So I grew up in a transplanted English household and spelt all kinds of words as they do across the lake. For example, it wasn't until an Art History paper was returned to me my freshman year at College of the Holy Cross with angry red marks through all my "colours" that I learned there is no "U" in that word... Those erudite Jesuits atop Mount St James apparently had no issue with practise, because it wasn't until much later I learned of that spelling foible.

So I decided that I'd continue to spell the verb with an "S" (the British use a "C" for the noun form of the word...) as a sweet reminder of my heritage. It's part of who I am.

And now that I've cleared that up, I'm going to go practise the German Twisted cast-on.

Yours in yarn, from both sides of the lake,


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Advanced Cast-on Techniques: Channel Island Cast-On

Here is an slightly unclear picture of the classic Channel Island cast-on with single rib. In fact, it's so hard to see, I may edit this post later and replace it with a better picture...

But for now...

The Channel Island cast-on.

This weekend found me with a little time and a lot of curiosity, and I put both to use playing around with different cast-on techniques. I am thinking about putting together a series of advanced technique classes for the winter and one of the things I'd like to share is how to master the beautiful tubular cast-on and corresponding tubular (kitchener) bind-off. Both create an incredibly lovely edge for single or double rib. While there are several ways to achieve the tubular cast-on, the fastest method, using two strands, has proved elusive for many. So I've been investigating another approach which uses a provisional cast-on that may be easier to learn in class.

While looking for on-line references, I came across the CLEAREST instructions for Channel Island cast-on that I've ever seen. It creates a lovely selvedge edge of tiny picot knots when used with stockinette stitch. And it is truly spectacular in single rib. Channel Island Cast-On

After practising a few gazillion stitches, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. You think I'm joking but I'm not.... It's an amazing thing to knit a stitch that was invented hundreds of years ago by women on a couple of small islands off the coast of Normandy, to make sweaters of such beauty and function that they earned their own name: the Guernsey (or Gansey).

Back in Elizabethan times, knitting was a huge industry on these tiny, sunny, English islands where there was an abundance of sheep. In fact, knitting was so popular that a government ordinance in 1603 forbade men to knit during the summer months because the harvest was rotting. The Channel Island knitters were incredibly skillful and they made amazingly intricate designs in thick, oiled wool sweaters which fisherman wore out to sea. The legend is that every design was different so that when an unlucky fisherman washed ashore, he could be identified by the pattern of his sweater. One of the design elements was a beautiful cast-on edge of tiny picot knots, now known today around the world as the Channel Island Cast-On.

While knitting is the toddler of the textile industry, what's so endearing about it is the way in which different cultures arrived at the same end result using completely different techniques. Today, in our global world, we have the German Twisted cast-on, the Italian two-strand cast-on, the old Norwegian cast-on, the Channel Island cast-on, to name just a few. All beautiful, functional, and unique, but all leading to the same fabric: the knitted stitch.

When I worked that cast-on today, I felt a sense of place in this world. I was making something lovely that had been passed down for hundreds of years - from grandmother to mother to daughter - on a small island in the middle of a sea, and finally out to the global knitting community. Doesn't it feel great to be a part of that community?!

Yours in knitting,

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Shirani's Lucy Bag turned out GREAT!!

I stopped by Cultured Purl quickly today and saw Shirani's just-felted Lucy bag. It was still wet from the washer, but it shrunk to a really attractive shape and the colors merged beautifully in the felting process. What's interesting is the way the different wools she used felted. The stripes are lovely. Maybe, if you're reading this Shirani, you'll post a picture of your bag??

My red bag is coming along too. I've stopped while I wait for some chocolate brown cascade to arrive to do the handle in something different. Meanwhile, since I have HOURS and HOURS of available knitting time backstage at Arthur's Halloween, (this week-10 show in 5 days)I've started a second bag in turquoise and some red & gold Silk Garden. Hmmmmmmm, this sounds familiar, did I write about this already....

Anyway, I am just having a BLAST knitting this bag!!!!! the yarn is incredibly beautiful and the project flies along on 10 1/2 needles. I wish I had pictures here to show you, but I've been SO busy with the Arthur thing...but alright, I'm gonna do the stagemom thing: all my energy these last two weeks has gone into this little cherub, at the playhouse on Opening Night with Erie's own Marc Brown:

Thanks for smiling! He's even cuter in his fluffy ears and red collar. But I digress...

Back to the bag. Stop in this week and take a peek at Shirani's creation. And if you've already made one, bring it to show us!! Looking for a winter project? Think about signing up for this class: The more the merrier!

Yours in yarn,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Women's Expo

We participated in the Women's Expo, held at Family First last weekend and we want to thank everybody that stopped by our booth. It was good to see familiar faces and to make new acquaintances. We had not participated in this event and didn't know what to expect. We were happy to see so many women supporting local businesses. Hope to see you soon in our shop.

Knitted Friends

I was never really a fan of knitted toys, or that's what I thought.... In April my son was born and among the booties and sweaters, he received these knitted toys. I just think they are all so cute. The one on the right was going to be a cat but turned out to be Humpty Dumpty which is perfect.
(oops, I forgot the cupcake, I will have to post a photo of it later. It is from the One Skein book and it is perfect for tea parties, a little knitted delight.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another knitting perk: there's always something new to learn.

One of the best things about knitting is that it's known to keep our minds sharp. So not only do we get to make beautiful, durable, useful things using lovely fibers, but we stay mentally agile as we do it!!! Someone posted a comment today in reference to a previous post I wrote on right-side seaming. I had been lamenting on how long it had taken me to see the mattress-stitch "light" and he or she replied that sometimes we just need to trust directions and do what books say, even though we can't imagine the authors know what they're talking about. I have to say I agree 100%.

That comment got me thinking about how so often we learn something like a craft and then think we know everything and we stop learning. Why do we limit ourselves? Why do we so often get into a comfort zone thinking there couldn't be a better way? We need to always remember to think outside the box, grow as knitters, learn from those experts who have honed their skills over the years. Just today, in my Shrug class, a knitter mentioned how her mother had knit when she was little, and her mother's mother before her, and how glad she was to have inherited some of their knitting gadgets. I was reminded of a story my late grandmother used to tell me about knitting a blue dress under the watchful eye of her German grandmother - how hard she'd worked, how much she'd learned, the skill her grandmother had used when gently fixing her mistakes, and how proud they'd both been of the finished garment. What a wealth of knowledge exists out there, all gleaned from love of craft!!

Thank you, Anonymous, for that thought-provoking comment!! Keep the ideas coming!!

Yours in knitting,

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Lucy Bags

After weeks of working on size 3 double pointed's incredibly rewarding to switch to a project that uses 2 strands of yarn and size 11s!!! When Shirani showed me the progress she was making on her Lucy Bag, I just had to jump off the Christmas ship and get started on a bag of my own. Shirani is using a variety of leftover wools from her private collection. I'm using a dark red (the colors appear paler in these pictures than they really are,)worked together with a self-striping Noro Kureyon.

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My bag appears to be a lot smaller than Shirani's, but looking here at the stitch gauge, they seem similar so I'm hoping mine will turn out large and tote-like too once it's felted. Normally, I don't make felted bags because I prefer the look of the knitted stitch over the boiled wool look. But I am LOVING this bag so much, I've already picked out the yarn for another one :)

Knitting this bag is easy and relaxing: a total de-stresser!! The handles do a cool little wrap thing giving the finished bag a very unique and fun look. I'm going to teach this as a class this winter, so think about signing up.

Yours in knitting,


ps. Cultured Purl will be closed this Saturday. So stop by today if you need anything for your weekend knitting.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Isn't it annoying when LIFE gets in the way of knitting?

I'm delinquent with my blogging duties... I taught the Cast-On Technique class Monday night. And I would be teaching the Beginner Sweater Class this Friday, but we're rescheduling it till January. A nice SUPER chunky, top-down wooly sweater project to snuggle up with during those long winter evenings...think about it!!

AND, Shirani and I are both knitting the Lucy Bag out of various feltable wools - I'm using a ruby red Cascade with some colorful self-striping Noro in olive, coffee, and lavender; Shirani is making an absolutely gorgeous concoction of her own design drawn from her stash of leftover wools. The bags are knitting up REALLY REALLY fast. I'll post pictures soon.

But what's really keeping us busy are the URCHINS we live with!!! Shirani's getting NO SLEEP these days with that sweet, and very Alert, babe, and I'm rushing between dance classes, cross country meets, dance classes, Playhouse dress rehearsals (Arthur's Halloween opens Friday), oh and did I mention DANCE CLASSES? But that's what it's really all about, right? What fun would knitting be if we could do it uninterrupted, at our leisure, without pausing mid YO to meet the needs of our littlest ones!!

Well mine are all tucked in snug, for the moment at least, so I'm off to sneak in another couple of rows...

Yours in yarn,

Monday, October 09, 2006

Computer woes...

I've been unable to post, let alone share photos, all weekend because I've been grappling with a computer virus. 16 hours of scans and 4 hours of phone conversation with the cable company has (sort of) resolved the issue - turns out the culprit snuck in attached to some SMILEY FACES my daughter downloaded Saturday... The painful part isn't the ache in my neck from holding the phone at my shoulder while banging on the keyboard with both hands - useless really. The real pain is: All that lost knitting time.

Now I've got to get ready for the Techniques class tonight - Cast on Methods. (Did you know there are at least 40 different ways to cast on??) Check back later to get an update on how the For Women Only Expo went this weekend.

Yours in knitting,

Friday, October 06, 2006

Here it is!!!!

Take a look at Daren's lovely afghan. All she has left is the crocheted edge, but it already looks GORGEOUS, don't you think? We are so proud of Daren and ALL the afghan block ladies who have been working on these blocks since March!

We'll be starting another set of these classes after Christmas, so stop by and sign up!

Yours in yarn,

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Autumn Knitting

This is my favorite time of year: When the mornings are dark, the days turn cooler, and the rain never seems to stop. Fall has arrived in Northwest Pennsylvania, and it's time to get serious about Holiday Knitting!

Every year I make a plan for knitting Christmas gifts that never seems to come to fruition. But this is the year!! I have the plan. I have the wool. I have great patterns that are fun to knit. (I can't really tell you any details here because one or two of the recipients might be reading...) But I have a list, I'll tell you that- lists are key for me, just ask my family. A list on paper, and two items are ALREADY CROSSED OFF!!!!!

Stop by Cultured Purl this weekend - Sue & Shirani will be at the For Women Only Expo and I'll be holding down the yarn shop fort. I'd love the company and I'll show you my list and get you started with your holiday knitting. And the nicest thing about knitting gifts isn't the wool or the needles or the fall weather. It's that for a not-so-insignificant period of my life, I get to relax with a project and spend quality time thinking about the person I'm making my handknit treasure for!!!

Yours in knitting,

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our Recent Afghan Block Class

This was cultured purl's maiden voyage into the afghan block class. It was generally smooth sailing but occasionally we hit some rough seas.

The students learned how to make lace, bobbles, cables, and read charts. I think we learned just as much from them over the seven months. Thanks for your patience and your suggestions.
I can't wait to see the finished products! Good job ladies.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I finished the new purse design!

Here's the moss cabled purse. To be completely honest, it's not entirely done because I can't find the other handle... But I wanted to feel like I accomplished a goal this weekend, hence the picture-it at least LOOKS done! I used the Berroco Ultra Alpaca: an alpaca/wool blend that marries well with moss stitch-slow going but so worth it! Now if I can just write the pattern while it's fresh in my mind :-)

Yours in knitting, Claire

sent with Treo 700p & Snappermail

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We'd love to hear from you!!!!

We've had a blast setting up this blog, and we're hoping that readers find it engaging enough to want to comment. (it's SO much more fun to read what other people have to say!!!)'s the question: What's the wackiest place you've tried to knit??

I'll start the ball rolling. This summer, we took the family to a Red Sox game (you can never take New England out of New Englanders...) While my husband scurried around-alright "scurry" isn't exactly a word I normally use with him but there was a great sense of anticipation - anyway, while he scurried around making sure everyone had the appropriate amount of Red Sox attire, my concerns lay more with which knitting project to bring for the 4+ hour game. Mike was more than a little horrified when I asked if Fenway security would let me in with scissors. While he has tolerated, mostly without comment, my knitting in theatres, youth sporting events, and all the obvious places like planes, trains, school openhouses..., he seemed genuinely incredulous that I would not be 100% riveted by watching men throwing a ball at a stick. Besides, he said, "fans can be really really mean."

Well I took the knitting, security didn't even blink, and I hurriedly shoved the bag under my seat while I scoped out our neighbors. And honestly, we did have AWESOME seats behind the dugout which held my attention for about 15 minutes. But I was worried...especially about the shrieking woman behind me with the beer.

After a while, Mike leaned over to whisper that I could probably get out my project - these people seemed pretty nice. I was still worried about the beer-drinking-shrieker behind me - there was SO much wool in my bag. Does beer ever really come out of cashmere??

Finally I did brave it, the lighting was EXCELLENT after all. And the picture here, while having no real relevance to knitting, is to remind me of how, in a stadium filled with angst ridden fans (they lost), I alone remained calm.

My knitting was on my lap while I took this of the girls

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to what YOU have to say!!!
Yours in yarn,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


We wrapped up another set of Technique classes today at the yarn shop. Today was "Finishing" or more specifically the wondrous Invisible Seam. For years and YEARS I hated sweaters because, well here's the biggy - I never did a gauge swatch, didn't know I was THE loosest knitter on the planet, and could never understand why my sweaters looked like they would fit Mr. Stay-Puff. But the other reason, and the point I'm trying to share here..., is : I only knew the backstitch seam and my sweaters would have looked just as nice if I had sewn them up with shoelaces.

BUT, I read a book (actually EVERY knitting book I'd ever read suggested right-side seaming, but I couldn't imagine it working...) and decided to sit down and give it a try and Who'd-have-thunk-it: it really is like MAGIC. That's why I love Technique part 4 - no one really believes it will work BUT IT ALWAYS DOES!!!!!!!!! Now if I could only get gauge on those sweaters without going down to a 2...but that's another story.

Yours in knitting,

Monday, September 25, 2006

Project Gallery

Way over there on the right, hanging out under Purl, is what I hope will someday be a functioning photo gallery of knitting projects from the shop. NOTHING is easy in the world of HTML programming though, especially when you haven't a clue about programming, or what HTML means... so I can't promise what you'll get if you click on the link today!!! But let's all have a little faith in the Dell faeries, and keep checking back...

Yours in knitting (when I'm not ripping my hair out with HTML whatever-that-is),

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"Fetching" Gloves

I have knit 3 pairs of these great fingerless gloves. The pattern is at (one of my favorite sites) They are quick and easy...Instant gratification.
My beautiful friend Radha is modeling her pair. I made hers a bit longer and crocheted an edge with Blossom yarn from Noro. ~shirani

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another rainy day in Erie

Nothing fun to do on this rainy day?? Run over to Cultured Purl and pick up a skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - just ask for the buttery soft, cashmere nirvana, they'll know what you mean.
Ask Sue where to find the cabled fingerless glove pattern (it's FREE!!) and by the end of the weekend you'll have the MOST charming pair of fingerless gloves you've ever seen.

Happy knitting!!,


Friday, September 22, 2006

Another photo of the yarn shop

When I stopped by Cultured Purl today I noticed an enormous box of new Louisa Harding yarn-some GORGEOUS fall colors. Perfect if you were, like me, DYING to make some of her fingerless gloves out of the luscious Kimono Angora-from the Gathering Roses collection- and, unlike me, you don't have 10 other projects already in varying degrees of completion, weighing on your mind!

So, stop in and take a look!

Yours in knitting, Claire

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Not being a particularly NEWSY day at the shop, I've decided to share a personal story. Recently, I had the wonderfully spiritually cleansing experience of throwing out (into the trash can) a partially completed project that I WAS NEVER EVER GOING TO FINISH. It had haunted me for years: the Orange Dress.

Awhile back, something like 6 years ago, my husband (not a knitter OR a sweater-wearer) accompanied me into a yarn shop during a vacation to Maine. Needless to say, it was an unusual experience and as thrilled as I was, I had a certain nervousness about the whole thing, so I hurried about trying to take it all in while my husband browsed through the knitting magazines. Specifically, it was Rebecca that caught his eye: the European Rebecca, featuring incredibly hip patterns modeled by impossibly tall, lanky, Scandinavian BABES with 8 foot long legs, usually strolling barefoot along a beautiful beach… I should have known I was in trouble when he said, “Why don’t you make this?” pointing to an orange ribbed minidress barely covering one of the BABES.

Unfortunately, the shop had the yarn, just a bag of it, in the exact color orange. (Understand by orange, I don’t mean the charmingly muted tone of a faded summer daylily, but rather something more akin to a Penn Dot rubber road cone.) Despite my concerns that the color wasn’t my best, my husband enthusiastically purchased the bag of yarn, just enough and all they had, along with the pattern and the picture of the BABE, and off we went.

Well, as you might imagine, I very quickly determined that the pattern, although pleasant enough to work on, was never going to turn me into the BABE. In fact, although I am decently thin and petite, I could tell as I was going along with it that I would more closely resemble, at best, a great big curvy carrot. A carrot with very short legs…

So I did what any of us would do, I stuffed it into the back of the closet, where it lived for about 2 years. Eventually my husband insisted that I couldn’t add to my stash, growing at what he considered to be an alarming rate, until I finished the ORANGE DRESS. So, out it came. Now here’s the part that I feel really bad about: …somehow our very exuberant, oral, flat-coated retriever, Bailey, well, somehow, she got hold of 3 balls of the yarn and shredded them…

My husband discovered the disaster and was horrified. The shop in Maine, not being computerized like Cultured Purl, had NO record of the yarn. I, being me, had long ago lost the die lot information. But we searched. And searched. And, well, there just wasn’t any more of that yarn (right dye lot or not) to be had… With not anywhere near the amount of yarn required, the project went back into the closet where it stayed for a couple more years. I couldn’t believe it, but my husband STILL talked about the freaking ORANGE DRESS that I never finished EVERY TIME I bought yarn for a new project. He also couldn’t understand why I couldn’t somehow make it work with what I had left. The guilt of the whole thing was just really really getting to me. So…the other day I threw it all out. Trash day. Gone. Gone for good. I have chalked it up to the learning of a valuable lesson: never buy a shop’s entire inventory of a yarn for your project, even if it seems like enough for the project. And never let your husband browse Rebecca while you shop; better yet, have him wait in the car…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mary's bag

Definitely one of THE coolest knitted bags I've ever seen...Mary made this from a pattern in last fall's Interweave magazine. And by the by, she also made that cream sweater peaking out from under her jacket - it's done in Rowen big wool (key when you need some instant gratification!!) and it's the Knitting Pure and Simple neck down sweater pattern that we're teaching again this fall. NICE NICE beginner sweater!!!!!!

The rain continues here in Erie and it definitely feels like fall today, making it a great day to get to the yarn shop and hunker down with a comfy knitting project!! What I really should be working on are my red striped socks. It would be a stretch to call them comfy though, as I'm SUCH A LOOSE KNITTER, I'm having to do them on 1's...just a wee bit stressful

Later on this afternoon, it's another Debbie Bliss Knit-along. See you there,

Happy knitting, Claire