Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Hard Graft December 31, 2010

Filed under: Knitting,Stash,Tank Tops — Janet @ 7:48 pm

When I should have been writing Christmas greetings, I turned instead to a morning of finishing off a couple of knitting projects.  I spent the morning GRAFTING the shoulder seams of 2 sleeveless tops.  That was a new skill learned and it took several hours of concentrated effort.  I decided to leave my contrasting stitch holder threads as some sort of fashion statement. ( They don’t show up in these photos.)

  Tank top – green+

  tank top – black and whitesockwolle+

Hooray.  These are finished.  Now I have moved on to knitting the sweater for Ian – I’m halfway up the front and feeling bored with all that plain brown knitting.  So I’ve started what I think will be a scarf.  Three of the yarns are lurking there at the left hand side of the picture above – a self-patterning sock yarn, a mustard colour Norwegian yarn, and a baby blue yarn gifted to me by grandaughter Ashley who found it in a shop in LaConor.   My base yarn is the self-patterning sock yarn and then I use another strand of yarn with that.   Last night I broke off the mustard colour and used a bright cranberry colour yarn, and then broke that off in favour of a baby blue.  The colour combinations are emerging.  I guess this is what I like to do best.  All this while we watched a very good dvd – The Bridge of San Luis Rey based on the novel by Thornton Wilder and starring Robert de Niro.  I read that book years and years ago – wasn’t it required reading for anyone who reached high school?


A Slight Detour December 5, 2010

I’ve been blogging about the genealogy and trying to get that sorted out but today I’m going to take a slight detour and maybe eventually even talk a bit about knitting.

Yesterday I went to an antique store (which incidentally is near the cat shelter we went to last week). On the way I saw a number of very happy looking cats sunning themselves and surveying the passing scene. Did they ever look content. I warned them about the dangers of busy roads and hungry racoons but they assured me that they were pretty savvy and were well able to look after themselves.

At the antique store I had my eye on a red chair which I thought would be a fun addition to our house. However, I was put off by the “vintage” signs which seemed to be everywhere. Well, I thought, all I had to do was find an old chair in a garage sale, paint it a bright colour, and then label it vintage. Should I do that or just buy the one that was already there. I decided to wait. But what I did find were some vintage postcards from the British Isles. There was something about this one of Victoria Avenue, Whitehead. That somehow struck a chord. It certainly looked like Northern Ireland but I couldn’t make out the postmark. The other cards in the group were dated around 1906 and the stamp is Edward VII so that was fine. Now Ian tells me that the postmark is Green Island and the card is written to an address in Scotland (Gorian? – hard to make out) And, click, Whitehead, north of Belfast and well-known to one set of outlaws and also to a new friend whom we met in Bangor Northern Ireland when we were going up there last year to visit Ian’s brother.

My other purchase in the antique shop was a crochet hook made from bone. Not that I needed a crochet hook but I just liked the idea of it – and the feel of it. I use a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches so now I can use my “antique”, as opposed to vintage, crochet hook.

Now that leads me to talk of knitting, on which I have been steadily working. I have 2 projects nearing completion. Both sleeveless sweaters at this point. I’m not sure whether to add sleeves to the black one. I have taken pictures but they don’t seem to be appearing in my pictures library. It’s so annoying when there is a sort of dysfunction between the camera and the pictures library and wordpress. I’ll show you the knitting in due course.


Searching for an Idea January 4, 2010

Filed under: Art works,Knitting,Sketching,Tank Tops — Janet @ 1:05 pm

This morning one of my sketches came up on the screen saver.  So that sketch appears somewhere in my photo albums – and it is also in the container rapidly making its way to Seattle.  In my search for the sketch I have now found the photographs I used.     The photographs were taken in February 2008 and were of the so-called Fashion Parade leading to the Dundrum Town Centre.  This never materialized as a Fashion Parade, instead on the right are a number of eating establishments, the trees are no longer there, and Poppies is gone although the cottages are still there.  Beyond the cottages, a big hole was filled in and it was to be an ice skating rink.  No sign of ice or skaters yet.   

I’ve searched and searched but I can’t find my sketch – so I procrastinate a bit longer about getting down to painting.  That’s the trouble with having your photographs appear on the screen saver – you see the photo but it’s soon gone and then you can’t find it.

Now for some knitting to show you.

The photo to the right is of a tank top I knit a couple of years ago and am now wearing, along with a few more layers in this cold weather.  And here is the tank top I finished this morning.    


More hats – One for Everyone in the Audience September 24, 2009

Another hat knit with Noro and LodbandI’m still knitting hats.  Am now up to hat number 20 or thereabouts.  My sales have a way to go to catch up with my productivity.  This hat was knit with a strand of Lodband (an Icelandic lace weight I think) and a strand of Noro on a size 3 circular Addi Turbo needle.  The knitting is quite tight and consequently I think the hat would only fit a child’s head.  I suspect I should have used a larger needle.

I like the Icelandic Lodband yarn so I am now knitting a short sleeve sweater with 2 strands of brown Lodband.      Brown short sleeve sweater knit with Lodband   My progress so far – about 8″ 



        Lopi Lodband Einband  Icelandic Lodband, 50 g, ca. 225 m


The sweater being knit on a size 3.25 circular needle.  I cast on 192 stitches.  Progress is slow but the yarn is nice to knit with.  The knitting is quite tight.

Pattern for brown short sleeve  Pattern for the brown short sleeve sweater.  The red is very attractive but try to picture it in brown.

Short sleeve sweater in black and white          

  Map of Ards Peninsula  

The map shows the scene of our travels over the past couple of days.  As the passenger, I could knit while enjoying the lovely scenery.  More of that in another post.


Artwork, Knitting Projects, and Reading January 9, 2009

Filed under: Art works,Books,Knitting,Postcards,Sketching,Tank Tops — Janet @ 3:42 pm

My sketching class resumed today and I did this sketch from a postcard.  The picture was from a mural in San Francisco, dated 1934.  The title of the mural is California Agriculture and this section of the mural depicts men packing oranges.   I really enjoyed doing the sketch and then adding a bit of colour with watercolour pencils. 









When we were in Seattle at Christmas time I was pleased, despite the snow,  to be able to get to that very good yarn store, Weaving Works.  I found a very nice yellow yarn in the Norwegian Heilo wool that I like so much.  It’s like the Sirdar double knitting wool that I used many times in the past.  I embarked on a sleeveless vest for myself.  For the back I cast on 90 stitches on size 3 3/4  mm needles.


 This picture showing the completed back and the start of the front was taken recently.  I have now progressed about half way up the front.  I am eager to finish this project and move on to some baby knitting in the bright blue Heilo yarn.     This picture hardly does justice to the bright colour of the yarn.   









I recently completed the book for our next book group meeting, With My Lazy Eye by Julia Kelly.  I was slow in getting into the book but once I got going I just read it straight through.  I found the book rather disjointed.  It purports to be a novel but the reader feels that much of the book is exaggerated auto-biography.  I wonder if Julia Kelly will write any more novels with a different theme.     

One of the books I especially enjoyed rereading over the Christmas holidays was East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  It was so good that I decided to reread The Grapes of Wrath.  However, I have now been sidetracked to read Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith.


Tank Top Statistics October 13, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,Tank Tops — Janet @ 3:39 pm

My recent yellow adult tank top project is now completed.    I used Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed, made in Kilcar Ireland.  Colour yellow.  I did a swatch on size 3 1/4 mm needles and my gauge was 4 st/inch and 6 rows per inch.  I calculated a front measurement of 19 inches plus 1 inch for seam allowance.  So I cast on 80 stitches and did about an inch of ribbing.  The yarn is 100% wool 88m/50g per ball.  The recommended needle size is 5 mm.  I purchased 2 balls of the yarn in The Craft Room, Dungannon Northern Ireland in August 2007.         debbie-bliss-conegal-aran-tank-top.jpg  I am not pleased with the result.  It is just plain too wide.  I took it to the Market today but when I tried to display it on my fashion model, it was not attractive.  I  will think again on this one.


Favourite radio programmes October 7, 2007

Filed under: Books,Dance,Family,Knitting,Music,Reading,Tank Tops — Janet @ 2:07 pm

Two of my favourite radio programmes are broadcast on Sunday morning starting at 6 a.m. on BBC Radio 4 – Something Understood and On Your Farm.  In Something Understood the theme this morning was the importance of dance.  To quote from the website:

“Felicity Finch reflects on childhood ballet lessons, adult salsa classes and observations of dance-like movement in everyday life through the writings of Isadora Duncan, Rudolph Laban, Gunter Grass and Gabrielle Roth. She talks to retired priest Colin MacLean, who considers dance a form of prayer and intends to devote the rest of his life to dancing.”

The discussion lead to all sorts of mental associations for me at that early hour of the morning.  Rhythm and movement.  The joy and freedom to be experienced in running – expressed so well in the book I had just finished reading – Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt.   And a lovely image of 5 year old granddaughter Ashley running and skipping rope at the same time.  How many of you can still do that???  Not me!

How does the above relate to knitting?  Well, I’m not sure that it does unless you want to examine the process of knitting in terms of rhythm and movement.  My mental wandering went more in the direction of my music lessons where I am trying so hard to develop a good sense of rhythm.  The most recent clarinet lesson had developed into a discussion of syncopation – which all seems like that old exercise of trying to pat the top of your head with one hand and rub your stomach with the other.  Well, at least we don’t have to do that when we try to knit!!

And On Your Farm this morning was about a pig farm near the M25 on the outskirts of London.  Again, to quote from the website:

“On Your Farm returns with a visit to Essex to meet Tracy Mackness who, at the age of 37, was given a ten-year prison sentence for her part in a drugs conspiracy. This week she won a national award for entrepreneurs, just eight months after coming out of prison. Tracy tells Charlotte Smith about her extraordinary fall and rise, her love affair with Saddleback pigs, her role in television’s Jimmy’s Farm and how she built a business from scratch – breeding pigs, making sausages and selling them under the label Giggly Pig – in just eight months.”


I am a fan of the TV series Jimmy’s Farm so it was especially interesting to hear how this woman had been influenced by Jimmy and his farm.


Now for the latest progress report on my real-life knitting project.    debbie-bliss-conegal-aran-tank-top.jpg  This is the Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed tank top.  I’m not sure whether it is finished or not.  I have used the 2 skeins of yarn.  I think the shoulder straps are a bit far apart.  I’m thinking about adding a panel in a contrasting colour to reduce the width.




Filed under: Books,Cycling,Knitting,Sports,Tank Tops,Travel,Weaving — Janet @ 3:59 pm

Ashley’s grandma (me) tried to teach Ashley to knit on a Knitting Nancy or a Knitting Spool – I should have practiced first!  Didn’t do very well but I have found several sites showing the process and plan to follow up on this to our mutual satisfaction.  Problem is Ashley is 6000 miles away.  Sad sad.  Never mind, we’ll work it out.

Trying to do French knitting (another term for the Knitting Nancy) was only 1 of my knitting activities while I was away.  I also worked a little bit on the pink baby thing and on the yellow tank top. 

 knitting-progress-after-usa-trip.jpg  my 2 projects – still a bit to knit on the back of the yellow tank top, and a lot to knit on the pink baby thing

No progress to report on the Eccentric Blanket.

 The rest of my knitting time consisted of visiting yarn stores and buying knitting and weaving books.  I’ll put in a plug here for Woolcott in Harvard Square in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Village Wool in Glastonbury Connecticut, and of course the famous Weaving Works in Seattle.  Now you know where I’ve been.  Add the Von Huene Workshop (The Early Music Shop of New England) in Boston where I met a cyclist proudly wearing the bright red Paris-Brest-Paris T-shirt – she did the 1200 K challenge on a fixed gear bicycle which made it even more of a challenge compared with the fancier titanium bicycles costing thousands of dollars. For those of you interested in reading more about the PBP you can read Emily’s blog at this link.   

And the list of bookshops visited would also add to the count – I added Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears to my collection plus a couple of weaving books.  Also Priscilla A. Gibson-Robert’s Knitting in the Old Way and Meg Swansen’s Handknitting.  My case got very heavy.