Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Market Day At Home And Abroad February 23, 2010

Filed under: Art works,Authors,Baby knitting,Knitting,Musical instruments — Janet @ 4:40 am

Yesterday was a great Market Day.  It marked the opening of the McKee Market and after fevered preparation and anticipation it opened with a flourish.  Trading was brisk.  Numerous works of art were for sale.  I SOLD MY FIRST PAINTING.  Maybe I should word that differently.  I made my first sale of one of my paintings.  That’s a break through for me, the occasional aspiring artist.   

In the afternoon I went to Fremont Market – a very popular Sunday market here in Seattle.  I wandered up and down eyeing various treasures.  I spotted 2 rugs from Ecuador and thought of buying them – to add to our rug collection.  Talked with some people about needle felting – they loved the craft and had made some truly magical figures.  Again, I planned to buy something from them.  I talked with a man I’ve seen at the Market over the years – he deals in Connemara socks and some handspun wool from his own sheep.  I met a spinner and knitter – she had a Lendrum spinning wheel and was knitting a scarf from her handspun.  I met a knitter of wrist warmers.  And I met Shanti, who has lived in Nepal, India, Japan and I don’t know where else.  She loves fairs.  I bought some postcards from her.  And I found out from here how to get space at the Market and also where to buy a tent for shelter – particularly when it rains.  Yesterday was such a beautiful day that it was hard to believe that a day would come when you would need shelter – but I know this mild sunny weather is unusual and one must be prepared for harsher days.

A few sample pictures from the day – not necessarily in the order in which events occured

   beautifully knitted wrist warmers at Fremont Market

   Ashley and Caitlin contemplating what to purchase at the McKee Market

   Ashley’s art work at the Market


  my items for sale at the McKee Market

   At Fremont Market – Size 3 Henselite Bowling Woods – I was actually sorely tempted by these at $100

  Guitar for sale at Fremont

   Caitlin’s art work


  resident cat in the sunny window at Orphelia’s Books in Fremont.  My main reason in going over to Fremont was to go to this bookstore to look for books by Henning Mankell.  Alas, no Henning Mankell books but I did find a knitting book and a couple of old paperback westerns.  As I perused the shelves I saw quite a few books by Dick Francis – reminding me that he passed away last week.  A champion jockey and a champion writer.

  my new friend Shanti who terms herself an ageing hippie

   my latest blanket – blanket no. 8?

   one of my favourite knitting books which has come to light in the unpacking


Thinking About My Knitting November 25, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Knitting,Skirts,Yarns — Janet @ 11:56 am

  this is my latest knitting, almost completed – it’s just straight garter stitch, very simple, lovely sock yarn, 2 strands – 1 plain, 1 self-patterning, size 3 mm circular needle, 190 stitches – I think it might be a baby blanket – like the one below, but I’m open to other suggestions.

  baby blanket no. 1

Now there are 2 other projects to finish – the girls’ skirts.

  skirts for 2 grandaughters – I just wonder if these are going to work as skirts – they need to be pressed and some sort of ribbon or elastic inserted at the waist – again it’s 2 strands of sock yarn – they might be too heavy or unwieldy – I’d better hurry up and finish them or the girls might have outgrown them – in which case the “skirts” could be morphed into cushion covers

By the way, the cushion underneath the cat was woven by Dori O’Connell – a wonderful weaver living in Cork.  I understand that she is now doing photography.



Baby Blankets November 15, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Blankets,Knitting,Knitting statistics — Janet @ 7:07 pm

Here is the finished edition of baby blanket no. 1.

Dewey 073  Baby Blanket no. 1 – Knit with 2 strands of sock wool – 1 strand multicoloured, 1 strand plain – size 3  100 cm circular needle but not knit in a circle.  It was knit going back and forth all the time – garter stitch.  It’s packed now for our move across the street – I’ll put in the measurements when we get unpacked. 

Here is the remaining stash of knitting yarn – 50 balls of wool.

Dewey 070  Remaining stash of knitting yarn – 50 balls.

How many more baby blankets will I knit?  I’ve started my 2nd one so we’ll see how I get on.  I have 112 stitches for the 2nd one.  I am making it slightly narrower –  maybe 2 inches narrower – than baby blanket no. 1.

Dewey 074  the stash all packed and 3 different projects in the cat food boxes – all ready to be moved across the street to our temporary home

Might as well be getting some fun and some statistics out of this knitting, packing, and moving process.


Dissectologist June 5, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Blogs,Jigsaw Puzzles,Photography — Janet @ 7:37 pm

Dissectologist – a person who likes to do jigsaw puzzles.  I am one of those.  Here is a a link to a 48 piece jigsaw puzzle made from one of my photos.  The photo is of Baby Surprise No. 4

band 140  Baby Surprise No. 4

I’m not sure I have succeeded with the link to the above.  Here is another photo puzzle.

Bloom 036  my photo of Bettina‘s colour wheel of natural dye results


Baby Surprise No. 4 May 21, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Knitting — Janet @ 8:58 am

band 140  Baby Surprise No. 4

band 139  Baby Surprise No. 4 and Baby Surprise No. 3

I used the Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern to knit the  two Baby Surprises show above.  They were knit with the same hand-dyed 4 ply Whitefaced Woodland yarn (purchased from Freyaln) and knit with the same Addi Turbo circular needle no. 4. 25 mm.  Is it an optical illusion that one looks smaller than the other? 

I went slightly wrong in my stitch count for BS no. 4 but I don’t think enough to account for the apparently smaller result.

Today I am going in to town to look for buttons and then I will be able to finish the jackets.

p.s. the pattern I used was an Elizabeth Zimmermann Ltd. Newsletter and leaflet No. 21, Surprise Jacket.  Fall’68.  Free until spring ’69; then 25 cents.

I have been making entries recently on my other much neglected blog.  Feel free to check it out.   www.8countries62years.wordpress.com


Another Baby Surprise May 5, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Knitting,Music — Janet @ 9:15 pm

2nd-baby-surprise-031  I do like this pattern for the Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise.  This was knit with yarn dyed by Freyalyn who dyes yarn by the bucketful in wonderful colours and sells it at various craft shows and on her etsy website.  This jacket was knit on an Addi circular needle size 3.75 mm, 78 cm long.  I used approx. 90 g of 4 ply Whitefaced Woodland wool.  The green colour is called Moss and the yellow is called Golds.  These colours are unique to the particular dyeing session that Freyalyn did.  That’s my knitting news.

Now for other recent highlights – by staying on in Seattle an extra week to have time with the new baby and the other members of the family and friends, I missed the first league match of the lawn bowling season, Kenilworth v. Westmanstown.  But I was here for the 2nd match which was a home match against Shankill.  The team did poorly in the first and got nil points, a result which put us at the bottom of the league table.  However, in our second match we fared better and got 5 points.  For the league standings and other information about lawn bowling in Ireland go to     www.irishlawnbowls.ie      Tomorrow’s game is an away match against Blackrock who have won the league for the past 20+ years.  They are the team to beat!

This is proving to be an especially busy week.  Readers of this blog might remember that the band I belong to is part of a bigger band called the Rathfarnham Band.  A year ago we gave a concert outdoors at nearby Marlay Park.  This was in celebration of Europe Day.  Europe Day has come around again and the concert is to be this coming Sunday afternoon May 10.  We are having numerous rehearsals this week in preparation.

Our big news and what is keeping me especially busy is that we are planning to move from Dublin to Seattle in order to be nearer our family members who are in the States.  More on that in another post.


Toddler Surprise April 27, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Country Markets,Knitting,Socks — Janet @ 5:39 pm

2nd-baby-surprise  The 2nd baby surprise looks big enough to fit a toddler.  The cat has given it its seal of approval.  I used Cascade Soft Spun yarn, purchased at The Full Circle in Ballard Seattle, and size 5.5 mm needles (size 9 U.S.).

And then there are the Kaffe Fassett yarn socks which I knit while I was in Seattle and sold at Kilternan Market on Saturday.  We had a very busy Market – maybe thanks to the Art Exhibition across the street or maybe it was the article which appeared in the Irish Times the previous Saturday.  It was a glowing article – it described the market as “a hub of warm chatter and friendliness where newcomers are very welcome, and it’s a sign of a community that knows how to guide the future with values that, happily, have not been left in the past.”

baby-trip-to-seattle-117 Kaffe Fassett yarn socks, yarn purchased at I Knit in London.

I also sold 4 of my notecards made from my photographs.  My stock is going down – I must make some more for next Saturday.

After the Market I went across the street to an Art Exhibition, wandered around admiring the paintings, and finally made the decision to buy one.

2nd-baby-surprise-004  Maisie

There were 2 other cow paintings by the same artist but Maisie was my favourite.

2nd-baby-surprise-003 3 cows, Daisy, Maisie, and Martha – Maisie looked the friendliest.


Ashley’s Grandma Likes to Knit April 23, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Family,Family history,Knitting,Memories — Janet @ 5:59 pm

I have just returned from Seattle where our grandaughter Ashley is approaching 7 years old, her sister Caitlin is almost age 5, and baby brother Ethan is 1 week old.  In looking through my files I have found a bit of writing I did a few years ago and I want to share it with you now.


Ashley’s Grandma Likes to Knit    


Ashley’s grandma likes to knit – Ashley’s great-grandma was a knitter, but that is not where Ashley’s grandma learned to knit.  Well, not really.  Somehow, where knitting was concerned Janet just didn’t find it very interesting.  She just didn’t get pleasure or satisfaction from trying to knit.  And she became tense when her mother tried to teach her or correct her mistakes – that’s sometimes the way it is between mothers and daughters.


But the knitting was there – and Janet liked to see her mother knitting – particularly when it was a sweater for Janet.  Janet’s mother knit very warm heavy sweaters that Janet wore when she went skiing.


Janet’s mother was a wonderful knitter.  She did some knitting for a Mrs. Parker, who in turn did knitting for other people.  It was sort of like a chain of knitters.


Janet tried to knit when she was a little girl but it just didn’t seem to happen.  Janet was more interested in rug making.  She did what was called latchet-hooked rugs.  This meant pulling short strands of wool through holes in a canvas – usually a canvas with a picture on it – like painting by numbers only using wool.  (yes, Janet did painting by numbers also.)


When Janet went away to college at age 17, she was very bored in her psychology class.   Everyone was knitting to fight the boredom.  Janet decided that she would knit also.  And so she went downtown and bought wool and needles in Lazarus Department Store – climbed back up the hill and sat down to KNIT.  She probably got a bit of help from her friends.  She proceeded to knit a long scarf, alternating broad bands of bright blue and white.  I don’t know if she ever finished that scarf or what ever became of the wool.  She certainly never wore it.  By this time, her more advanced knitting friends had moved on to knitting argyle socks for their boy friends.  Janet didn’t have a boy friend – but she decided to try knitting those pretty patterned socks anyhow.  Another unfinished project.


Janet was browsing one day in the knitting department of a large department store in Boston.  She found a wonderful kit for knitting a patterned waistcoat.  Feeling inspired, she bought the kit.  You guessed it – another half finished project.


The same thing happened with a blue sweater with a red train.


Janet’s knitting was sporadic.


Years went by.  Janet met Ian and they got married.  When they came to Dublin from Kenya, it was cold and Janet did not have many friends.  She needed something to do and Ian said he would like a sleeveless sweater.  So Janet took up knitting again.  A very nice light blue sleeveless was the result – it even had cables.  Alas, Ian thought it was too short and he scarcely wore it.  Janet still has the pattern. 


Then they had a baby whom they named James.  Ah, knitting.  Janet turned to the knitting needles again and  tried doing a V-neck sweater for baby James. The first one was a navy blue with a bit of red pattern at the beginning – just so it wouldn’t be too boring.  It was reasonably small – and it didn’t take forever to knit and lo and behold, it fitted wee James.  It was cold and James wore it.  Feeling this was a success, she went on to knit several others – at age 2 James was very good at wearing his mother’s hand-knits.  As was Andrew when he came along.  Janet loved knitting for James and Andrew.


And Janet also knit several patterned sweaters for herself, which of course she wore – with pride.


red-sweater-and-2-little-boys Janet wearing her patterned red white and blue sweater, James age 3 and Andrew age 2


In Dublin Janet and Ian had a neighbour named Jean who was from Scotland, the Shetland Islands.  Jean was a wonderful knitter.  She could knit wonderful Fair Isle patterned sweaters and she didn’t even need a pattern.  Janet was so envious.


When James was 3 and Andrew was 2 and David was a wee baby 4 months old, they all went to St. Lucia – a very hot place – and that was the end of knitting for a while.


A few years went by, wanting a project, she knit another sweater for Ian – trying to make sure it was long enough.  Alas, it was too long – he never wore it! ian-modelling-sweater-knit-by-janet-1986-bhutan  Ian modeling the sweater knit in 1986 while we were in Bhutan. 




The years go by – some years spent in hot countries – no knitting.  But in colder places Janet would turn to the knitting again.  Knitting with wonderful naturally dyed wools in Kenya.  Dyed from plants in the Highlands of Kenya.  A lovely range of soft colours.  She just had to knit with them.


Then there was a cardigan which she knit for herself.  But the wool for this cardigan somehow wasn’t so nice.  And the colour varied.  And when it was finished it didn’t fit.  And the neck was funny.  All in all, that wasn’t a very successful project.  But Janet can’t bear to undo it or give it away.  The buttons she chose for it are striking.




Janet’s mother came each year to visit.  When she came to Dublin one year she and Janet went to a long-established shop, Cleo’s,  where they were able to buy wonderful oiled wool – used for knitting warm sweaters.  Janet’s mother spent the whole visit knitting away on this sweater for Janet – her mother didn’t quite get it finished before she went back to Hawaii – so Janet finished it and now wears it with pride and nice memories of her mother having knit it.  .


happy-granmas-day  Janet wearing the sweater knit mostly by her mother




Janet sometimes felt she should clean out her cupboards and give things away that she no longer wore.  One year, she gave away one of those lovely ski sweaters that her mother had knit years ago – even though it just wasn’t suitable to wear in Dublin and she hadn’t gone skiing or had occasion to wear it for years, she felt sick after she gave it away.  It was sort of as if she had given away part of herself and her mother.  She felt the same way about a dark navy cardigan that her mother had knit – it had always been a bit short in the arms and Janet had never felt completely comfortable in it – yet, it was a very nice piece of work and her mother had made it especially for her.  Janet made the person she gave it to promise that it would be passed on to someone who would appreciate the fine work that had gone into the making of that sweater.


Now Ashley’s grandma is enjoying knitting for Ashley.  It makes grandma very happy to see Ashley wearing something grandma has knit.  And Ashley’s mummy says that many people have admired Ashley wearing her grandma’s creations.


ashley-year-1-105Ashley wearing her hat and holding her cardigan, knit by Grandma.


Now as Ashley is getting bigger, Grandma Janet has knit another sweater – Grandma has used the same pattern she used for knitting James and Andrew’s sweaters.


Ashley – I hope you enjoy wearing grandma’s knits.  It makes her very happy to see your cheery little face peering out from one of her sweaters – even if it is miles too big for you.  I think we have to thank your mummy for having you wear the sweater – maybe she too likes to humour grandma.


And maybe one day you and your mummy will try to knit together – or maybe sew a quilt.  Or maybe you will sit and knit beside grandma, in her rocking chair, watching Sesame Street together. 



Baby News April 14, 2009

Here I am in Seattle to welcome the newest member of our family.  It’s been a bit of a wait but Ethan James, 10 lbs. 1 oz., finally arrived on April 13th.


Grandmother Janet and Baby Ethan, 6 hours old


 While we waited for the baby to arrive, I knit a pair of socks with the Kaffe Fassett yarn I bought in London.


And here is the Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket


  I made a few mistakes with my increases and keeping track of where I should increase or decrease stitches but the final result is o.k.  The seams have yet to be stitched up.   The woman in the local yarn shop, Full Circle, helped me.  In chatting with her today she told me that she used to work in a yarn store in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and she got to know Elizabeth Zimmermann herself.    I stood in awe.


Here are a few pictures from our trip.


Woven American flag at Ashley’s elementary school.


View from our bedroom window.  Spring flowers are in full bloom here, camilias, azaleas, cherry trees, daffodils, the tulips are just opening up.  But it’s still cold.  I had to buy a pair of gloves.



Art work at Ashley’s school, grades K-5


This is my first entry using my new MacBook Apple Computer.  I really love it.


Shopping in Hong Kong February 28, 2009

Filed under: Baby knitting,Books,Knitting — Janet @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , ,

hat-knit-in-nepal  Bettina asked if I found anything of textile interest in Hong Kong.  Well, this hat was one of the first things to catch my eye in the street market in Stanley near Repulse Bay.  Most of the items in the market were made in Hong Kong or the Chinese mainland but one lady had a table full of hats knit in Nepal.  Remembering the snow we left behind in Dublin, I thought one of these hats would be just the thing.  You can see it was done in a knit 1, purl 1 pattern.  I think it’s great but it’s now too warm to wear it back here in Dublin.  I’ll save it for next winter.  

Other items of textile interest were the clothes – I bought several pairs of slacks and a blouse.  I kept looking for knitting magazines but that quest drew a blank.

Shopping for books

miscellaneous-ian-041  In one of my visits to a Dymocks book shop in Hong Kong I came across a book about cats by Doris Lessing.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I already had the book and sure enough, when I got home I found it on one of my shelves.  At least that time I resisted the temptation to accidentally buy a copy of a book I already had.

Knitting in Ireland

miscellaneous-ian-043 Today at Kilternan Market, one of the senior members had this baby cardigan for sale.  I thought it was so nicely knit I couldn’t resist.  Sort of like coals to Newcastle since I could knit a cardigan like that myself but hers was already knit and cardigans take more patience than I feel at the moment.  Besides I like this member and was delighted that she was knitting again, even though her items might compete with mine.