Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

New Yarn New Project August 3, 2011

Filed under: Rug making,Rugs,Yarn shops — Janet @ 9:38 pm

  a  little booklet that I thought was lost but has turned up quite unexpectedly.  This is the booklet I used 40+ years ago to make the following 3 rugs.

  design for the first rug I made, using the latchet hook technique, and buying little packs of precut wool as I went along.  Following my husband Ian’s advice I made a grid on the picture to correspond to the grid on the rug canvas I was using.  Then I followed the design quite religiously, even down to the choice of colours.  The resulting rug lasted for years and years.

  This was the next one.  Slightly bigger than the first one.  Again I used pretty much the same colours.

  the third rug, by the time I finished this rug I had had enough.

Off we went to St. Lucia for 2 years and the rug making phase of my life receded completely as we turned to other activities with the 3 little boys.

  we had playmates living next door

  and the third was still in his high chair

Now these three little boys and their friends are well grown and following their respective life paths.  I have refound my little rug booklet and I am getting the urge to make another latchet hook rug, after a lapse of quite a few years.  Since I no longer have a loom but am still primarily interested in making rugs, I think the latchet hook is the answer.

  while we were in Victoria I did nip in to the local yarn store,  The Button and Needlework Boutique, and I found this lovely green yarn – a yarn I have used before.  I just couldn’t resist the colour and know I’ll use it sometime.  But for now with my rug-making ideas, I am turning to my little booklet and my stash of coarser and sturdier yarn.

  possible choices for the next latchet hooked rug


Trip to Victoria British Columbia July 29, 2011

Yes, another trip.   July has been a busy month.   While most of the U.S. was sweltering Seattle remained cool but the day we went over to Victoria on the Clipper (a fast speed catamaran), we had bright sun and all was looking better, despite the wind and the forecast of gales.   The sun stayed with us for the whole time we were there and the return back.   Sunny and warm but not too hot.  Victoria and Seattle at their best!

A wonderful ambience as we wined and dined with Ian’s brother and family.  And also did a bit of sight seeing.  I particularly enjoyed the special exhibition at the Museum of British Columbia.  The exhbition was called The Other Emily.  The Emily referred to was Emily Carr.  A famous Canadian artist and writer and I think particularly famous here in the Pacific Northwest.  I found it a fascinating exhibition – sort of an artist within an artist the way it was presented – a present-day artist using old photographs and original paintings to give a modern insight  into Emily Carr’s life.

I like Emily Carr’s work, I liked the old photographs, and I also like the present-day artist’s take on Emily’s life and times and art work.  What I didn’t like was the rather labyrinth way the exhibition was set out, the stale smell of popcorn which pervaded the area, and the dim lighting or lack thereof.  I used the word labyrinth – I had a hard time finding my way out!  Exits seemed to be labelled emergency when you actually got there – not finding a simple exit made me decide that I would ignore the emergency signs and just go out – it worked – then I negotiated my way (more or less in the dark again) past the big exhibit of woolly animals.  I had seen that exhibit out of the corner of my eye when I found the Emily Carr one so I knew I was somewhere near the down escalator.  Relief when I finally emerged into a brighter area and found my way out of the building.  Museums shouldn’t make you feel like that but I think that experience was not uncommon.

The following photos are from the wikipedia entry for Emily Carr.

  Emily Carr, 1871-1945     The dates for Emily Carr’s life roughly paralled those of 3 of my grandparents.   So I felt I was getting a picture, not necessarily of the lives of my grandparents but a snapshot of the experiences of a person who lived at the same time.

  Blunden Harour Totems

   Odds and Ends

  Autumn in France, 1911

  Breton Church, 1906

The day before my visit to the Emily Carr exhibition, I found 3 books by Emily.  2 in Renaissance Books, a bookseller near Bastion Square, and the third in Chapters on Douglas Street.

   Growing Pains – about the book from the back cover – “Completed just before her death in 1945, Growing Pains is Emily Carr’s carefully-crafted portrait of an artist; her girlhood in Victoria B.C.; her training as a painter; the initial rejection and eventual acceptance of her painting by the Canadian people.  This autobiographical collection is invaluable for revealing the face she wanted to show the world and the rich texture of her life.”

  Hundreds and Thousands:  The Journals of an Artist – again quoting from the back cover of the book – ” Emily Carr chose to call her published journal Hundreds and Thousands after the minute English candies so small they need to eaten by the mouthful to be appreciated…….In her notebooks, she chronicled her philosophy of art, her criticism of her own work and others, her hopes and fears.  She also wrote of the subjects she painted – the sea, sky and forests of British Columbia.  A personal and passionate manifesto of an extraordinary artist.”

  anecdotes about her life as a young girl

I look forward to reading each of the above in order to learn more about this remarkable woman.  In the Seattle Public School system, at least in Whittier the school my Seattle grandaughters attend, they learn about Emily Carr when they are in second grade – I’ll try to keep one step ahead of them.

But what I really look forward to is exploring the parallels between Emily’s life and times and those of my grand parents.  Watch for future installments.


Soup and Cinema March 9, 2011

Filed under: Dyeing,Films,Friendship,Knitting,Yarn shops,Yarns — Janet @ 5:46 pm


 soup and cinema at the Nordic Heritage Museum.  This is what we did yesterday.  Allt Flyter/The Swimsuit Issue  was a Swedish film so we had a Swedish soup – it was delicious – a kale soup and a nice bread to go with it.  The film was wonderfully done.  Excellent acting, an unusual centerpiece for the story line – the formation of a men’s synchronized swim team.  So that was the offering this month.  Last month it was a Norwegian film, Elling.  Next month is Denmark’s turn with the film Adams aebler/Adam’s Apples.  And then in May it will be Iceland with Mavahlatur/The Seagull’s Laughter.

As we enjoyed our lunch I reflected on how yet again I didn’t think to wear something Scandinavian.  Rather ironic since it is the colourful knitting and weaving tradition of the Nordic countries which is part of the big attraction for me.  I did wear something handknit at least.  Handknit but not by me.  It was a vest knit with handspun naturally dyed yellow/green yarn.  I’ve had that item a long time and wore it very often when I was working in Kenya.  I bought it at the Spinner’s Web, just around the corner from the Norfolk Hotel.  The Spinner’s Web stocked those balls of naturally dyed yarn with the Kenya Leo label.  They also sold items knit with that yarn and I was a frequent admirer and purchaser.  Thinking about all that, part of my association with the Kenya Leo label is that I knew one of the founders, if not the founder.  She lived upcountry but she used to come to Nairobi for the Kennel Club Dog Shows.  I always looked forward to the Shows – and also the chance to visit with Jean.  That’s all long ago now.


Earth Hues Scarf March 6, 2011

Filed under: Knitting,Scarves,Yarn shops,Yarns — Janet @ 10:32 pm

  an easy scarf, knit using yarns from Earth Hues.

This is the sample scarf that I knit from a kit provided by Earth Hues, a company here in Seattle.  The scarf is garter stitch, done on a circular needle size 3 1/2 mm, but the knitting is back and forth.  i.e. the circle is never joined.  It measures 5 inches wide and 44 inches long.  It didn’t take long to knit – maybe a week?  But my shoulders are wrecked from too much knitting altogether plus computer hunch plus carrying a back pack, and I don’t know what else.  The self-assessment/analysis will continue until the problem gets solved.  Maybe I’ll have to go back to a physiotherapist for a few sessions.  That happens occasionally.

This was the kit for the above scarf (see my previous entry a week or so ago)


A New Knitting Project February 21, 2011

Filed under: Knitting,Scarves,Yarn shops,Yarns — Janet @ 2:05 am

Despite suspicions to the contrary, given my silence of late about knitting, I have actually been working away.  I have 2 projects on the go – the sweater for Ian – the local yarn store is still working on getting me more Socrates dark brown yarn so that I can continue that project.  Two, I started another sweater, for whom I do not know but I am half way along on the body of the sweater, assuming it’s not going to be for a giant. 

On Saturday I wandered down to Old Ballard and visited a WSD store – Earthhues – with emphasis on the Dyeing.   After an inspiring chat with Michele, the founder, I came away with an assignment to knit a scarf from one of their kits.

  5 different yarns to be knit back and forth on a circular needle.  I’ve cast on the 210 stitches on a size 4 mm needle and have done 4 rows according to the easy to follow instructions.  Two more rows and then it’s suggested that I choose one of the novelty yarns.  The title of this kit is Shrinking Violet.  And the kit has 110 yards of sportweight organic wool, and 60 yards of designer yarn.  The sport weight yarn is organic (I had better ask exactly what that means), the accent yarns are imported luxury threads (I think maybe from Japan if I understood correctly), and the colors are from plants and natural sources.  The knitted measurements are reckoned to be 5 1/2″ x 42″.  We’ll see how I do.  This will be interesting.


Vintage Knitting Pattern Book February 1, 2011

Filed under: Knitting,Nordic countries,Norway,Yarn shops — Janet @ 2:42 am

A recent purchase was made of this vintage knitting pattern book.  This was my find last Saturday when I went to the local yarn store – The Tea Cozy Yarn Store.  A wonderful book of vintage Norwegian knitting patterns.  I don’t know if I will ever have the patience to knit one of these sweaters but I am feeling rather tempted.  Even if I never knit one, I just love looking at the patterns.  And some of the book is in Norwegian so I can practice my language skills – people ask why are you taking a Norwegian language course Janet – well, now I have an answer for them – to knit Norwegian sweaters following the instructions in the language in which they were written.  Could I put that on a label?  I know, I know, some of you are going to say, just follow the chart or read the instructions in English, but I like the idea of learning the language and finding a practical application.


To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Peer Gynt yarn.

The closest I have come, and it isn’t very close, to knitting a Norwegian type sweater was this pattern, many years ago.

  at least the colours are Norwegian.  I think I knit this when James (in the blue sweater) was a toddler and Andrew (in a red sweater I knit) was still an infant.  The pattern was Paton’s – not Norwegian at all.  And I remember being so focused on trying to do the pattern and not drop any stitches – James came along wanting some attention and as I did not want to be interrupted at that crucial moment I’m ashamed to say I gave him a thump.   A spontaneous reaction, not deliberate.  Oh dear.  Knitting and violence, or worse, child abuse?


Just Plain Knitting January 12, 2011

Filed under: Knitting,Scarves,Yarn shops — Janet @ 1:26 am

Regular readers will know that I just plain like to knit and am not always sure what or for whom I am knitting.  My latest is just a plain rectangle, using 2 strands of yarn.  One strand is a self-striping sock yarn and the other strand is something from my stash.

  I thought maybe it would be a scarf – and it could be.  But now I’ve found a couple of pattern sheets in my stash of knitting instructions.  So it could be a Twist Neck Wrap or a Neck Twist – thanks to Irene Lundgaard of The Yarn Room in County Wicklow Ireland.  I just have to do a bit of folding and sewing.

          Irene’s instruction sheets