The Knitted Frau

Adventures in knitting, and other things too.


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The Adelisa Earflap Hat (and my very first original pattern!)

Whoops… Haven’t posted since November. Time flies!

Since then, I have (obviously) been knitting up a storm. I made some really nice Christmas presents, followed those up with some very nice birthday presents, then dove head first into baby presents. Times like these make me SO happy for my giant, growing family! I’ll never run out of people I love to knit for.

A few weeks ago, I was showing my grandmother a knitted hat that I designed for my brother. She is a fantastic knitter who knit every one of her grandkids a Christmas stocking (there are a lot of us), not to mention all of the sweaters, blankets, socks, and who-knows-what-else she knit over her lifetime for her kids and grandkids. Needless to say, I respect her opinion as a knitter. She is amazed that I can write my own patterns and make things up as I go along, which I do for the majority of my projects. After showing her the hat I designed, as well as some Christmas stockings I had designed for my newlywed sister and her husband, she encouraged me to start writing down my designs and publishing them.

I’ve been thinking lately that I should start writing my patterns down in a usable form, and her telling me to was the kick in the pants I needed. I had a few little ones lined up to knit hats for, so I looked back on some past baby hat notes, opened up Excel, got out my yarn stash and got writing. The result is the Adelisa Earflap Hat, which I absolutely adore. I’m lucky enough to have a 6 month old nephew, an 18 month old cousin, and a friends newborn on the way, so I could write all three sizes at once and have presents ready for all of them! Here are my three sizes:

Toddler

Toddler

Baby

Baby

Newborn

Newborn

I love how it came out, and had so much fun writing the pattern. The attached i-cord was time consuming, but I am so happy with the end result. I did not have a chance to take good pictures of the toddler wearing hers, but here is Del sporting the baby size.

Delly Bean

Delly Bean

If you, too, would like to knit the Adelisa, here is a PDF of the pattern!

The Adelisa Earflap Hat

This is my first time writing a pattern, and I was my own test knitter, so PLEASE let me know if you find any errors or if I have been unclear at all, anywhere. I would really appreciate the feedback.

Happy knitting!


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So fall is officially here… it’s the end of September, leaves are just starting to turn, and we’ve gotten our first frost.

Which means, I’m back on my needles. And I couldn’t be happier! (To the new mothers whose tiny baby sweaters sat sad, lonely, and unfinished all summer inside of my knitting bag, I am sorry. They are finally done now. And you will have them soon!)

I am lucky enough to have a job where sometimes I get to knit for a good chunk of the day. It’s pretty great. Last week, I started designing a project and today I took it off my needles! I have also just gotten a few folk mitten knitting books and a few books on the history of knitting, and seeing all of the wonderful patterns and reading all the history inside of those pages has really inspired me. My sister had asked if I could make her and her new husband Christmas stockings for their wedding present, which I am more than happy to do. After I finished up those poor, lonely baby sweaters I started to design a pattern for the stockings. I LOVE all the old Scandinavian two-color knitting and had found the geese-and-foxes pattern that is traditionally used up in Maine in one of my mitten books, so I used that as a jumping off point for the design. Here is my graph, in case you want to make one yourself!:

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I used a fair isle stocking pattern by Lisabee Designs as my base pattern (available for free here on Ravelry), but made my own chart and did a short-row heel and rounded toe rather than the heel and toe she uses in her stocking. I loved the idea of using two shades of the same color for the main pattern. It really helps it to not look too busy.

For my brother-in-law, I’m going to use the same design with different colors… I can’t wait to get it cast on! But first, here is the finished product (I haven’t added a loop for hanging yet, nor have I blocked it. Forgive me.):

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I don’t know about you fellow knitters, but knitting gives me such a sense of pride. I love to see my own designs come off my needles, stitch by stitch, and I love giving my projects that I love so much to people that I love so much! There is so much of YOU put into your projects… they are the perfect way, I think, to tell people you love them.

Besides all of the personal enjoyment I get out of designing and knitting my projects, I feel so connected to the women of the past who spent so much of their time and energy knitting… the history of the craft is fascinating and I am loving reading about it. Seeing all of the beautiful and wonderful traditional patterns is amazing. Twisted-stitch socks from Austria, Sanquhar patterns from Scotland, ornate gloves from Spain, mittens from Maine,  socks from ancient Egypt… it has been a global craft for so, so long. Being inspired by these crafts from long ago and being conscious of all the mothers, artisans, fishermen, and craftspeople who did what I am doing today hundreds and thousands of years ago is an amazing feeling. It is history looped around my needles, taught to me by my mother and being continued by my hands.

It truly is an amazing craft, and it is really amazing today that we can share our own personal passions and patterns with each other all over the world through the magic of the internet.

And so, today, thank whoever taught you this amazing skill! They brought you into the wide, wonderful world of knitting!


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Knitting Without Tears and Knitter’s Humor

As it has been summertime, I haven’t knit a stitch in months.

I should have been knitting. I really should have. There are babies on the way! There are weddings coming up! Winter is coming!

So, finally, just as August arrives, I have decided to get my ass back in gear. I just returned from the library, hoping to have found a book with a basic stocking pattern. What I came out with instead was “Knitting Without Tears” by Elizabeth Zimmerman (August 9, 1910 – November 30, 1999).

I have heard or read many knitters referencing Ms. Zimmerman’s book, and it is considered one of the classics of knitting literature (despite mysteriously not having a Wikipedia page). It is one of the first books that handled knitting in an informal, free-form way, teaching the basics while encouraging experimentation and the development of your own patterns and ideas.

Even though I am already fairly well-versed in knitting techniques, I figured it couldn’t hurt to read it and brush up on my terms before jumping back into my projects with rusty needles. And I am SO glad I’m reading it. Ms. Zimmerman is funny. Really funny. I laughed aloud, in the library, reading a knitting book.  If that doesn’t prove how funny she is, I don’t know what will. If Amy Sedaris wrote a knitting book in the 70’s, this is what it would be. (If you haven’t experienced Simple Times; Crafts for Poor People or I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence I strongly recommend reading them. Amy is a crafting humor genius.)

Here are some choice excerpts from her chapter one, “The Opinionated Knitter.”

 

On double-pointed needle guards in an emergency:

“Emergency knobs for double-pointed needles can be made from tightly-wound rubber bands, or from those rubber needle guards which are never to be found when wanted. Dorothy Case links her needle guards with wool; then they can both get lost together.”

 

On what you need to knit:

“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.”

 

On the ingenuity of knitters:

“We could, if he desired them, make long-johns for an octopus.”

 

On tight vs. loose knitting:

“Tight knitters lead a hard and anxious life… If you are a tight knitter by chance instead of by choice, practice knitting loosely, and it may change your life.”

 

I am really enjoying reading this, and I’m only halfway through the very slim volume. If any of you knitters have not read Knitting Without Tears, I strongly suggest it. It’s funny, informative, and written by a woman whose influence on modern knitting is huge. She probably invented at least one technique that you use. The #1 cardigan pattern and the #1 baby sweater pattern on Ravelry.com right now are her patterns. She, a humble knitter, got a full-article obituary in the New York Times entitled “E. Zimmermann Is Dead at 89; Revolutionized Art of Knitting.” How many knitters can boast that??

Now, I just need to track down her other books and my life will be complete. After I buy copies of them for my ever-growing personal knitting library.

In any case, I am full of renewed vigor and motivation to continue my projects that I abandoned back in March and get some new ones started! Christmas stockings, here I come!

 

And now, in closing, the personal motto of Elizabeth Zimmerman;

“Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”


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Dreams & Reality

I just awoke from a dream in which I was intensely longing to be at a certain pool fed by the Saranac River that I had stumbled upon during my days in Plattsburgh. The pool was tucked into the woods, had no path leading to it.

Someone had told me there was something interesting in that certain patch of forest, and one day I went walking alone. Following their general directions, I came upon a beautiful cerulean pool carved by a small stream out of white rocks. There was a small outcropping of the white rock on the southerly side. Everything was dappled by the sun, the forest around it an amazing green. I was in awe. I could not believe my luck at finding such a beautiful and quiet place.

I sat by its waters and eventually swam. The water was perfectly clear and blue and cool. I could see the rounded white rocks, blue on the pool floor.

I do not know how long I stayed. I do not remember leaving.

When this pool has crossed my mind since it’s discovery all those years ago, It never occurred to me to question it’s existence. It was there. I saw it’s unfathomably blue surface and slipped in. I sat on it’s white, sun-bleached rocks in that cool green forest and felt blessed to be there with my thoughts. I deeply loved that secluded and peaceful place. It made my aloneness at the time something right and beautiful rather than painful and lonely. It restored me.

When I woke today, I realized the truth.

This pool exists only in my dreams, only in my mythology. When I had remembered it in the past, I was remembering a strong and beautiful memory.

If it was there, why did I never find my way back? Why did I not show a friend who would have loved it’s waters as much as I? I walked the banks of the Saranac many times, with many people. Surely we would have found it again. We were not ones to always stay on the paths.

I have often felt a longing for the pool and gone back in my memory. It must have begun as a lovely and necessary dream that has never left me. A dream so real and immediate that it’s existence does not depend on topography. It depends on love and memory, for by loving it’s sweet blue waters and remembering the warmth of the sun on it’s rocks I call it to existence when I am in need of a restorative bath.

I believe that we all have our pool, our place of peace and restoration and maybe loneliness, hidden in the forests of our personal and mythological topography.

Cool and sun dappled, it quietly awaits our next visit. Perhaps God is there waiting to cleanse and restore you, perhaps the waters are all you need. But it is there, and it is very real. We only need to love and to remember… there is no path, but we will find it.


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Baby Sweater Number 2 Is On The Way!

I don’t know about you all, but every time I knit something I try to learn a new skill. My last project (which I cannot post pictures of until it finds it’s way to Virginia) was my very first baby sweater. My project before that was my first attempt at fancy stitch work. Before that, it was my first fair isle hat that I designed the pattern for from beginning to end.

So now, I’m on to my second baby sweater. I was thinking of doing a simple three color sweater, and the more I thought about the more I wanted to make the sleeves and hood one color and the body another, with gold accents throughout. Simple, right? Nothing new, you say? Wrong!

Well, when you start making the sleeves light purple, the body dark purple, and the increases for the arms gold (two for each arm), it turns out you have 9 balls of yarn hanging off your needles all at once. Considering I usually hate knitting with more than two balls attached to my needles, I started to question my sanity.

“But it is going to be so cute!” that inspired, silly voice is saying. So what do I do to control NINE balls of yarn on my needles at once?

Invent!

Each ball needs to be in its own compartment, like those little canisters you can buy with the hole on top. But I didn’t want 9 canisters. So I found a shoe box and a 12-pack of beer, emptied out 11 of those beers (I needed the 12th as hydration for my hard work), and got to work.

I cut a piece of beer box to divide the shoe box in half long-ways, cut 4 pieces to divide it short-ways, cut 4 slits in the long one and one each in the short ones, poked 10 holes in the top of the shoe box, and VIOLA!

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A messily done but perfectly functional color knitting organizational box!

It is so much better than having 9 balls of yarn getting tangled in my bag. I just need to be careful that on my purl rows I twist the adjacent colors together one way, then untwist them the opposite way so they stay unknotted. I also can’t take my knitting with me like usual, but I only need this contraption for 18 rows.

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I am so proud of myself! Ah!

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My fiancée was nice enough to take some action shots for you folks.

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I’m not even sure if they sell a box for this purpose, but it was pretty easy to throw together.

Unfortunately, these may be the last pictures I post of this baby sweater until it is in the hands of the mama & papa of the little lady it’s for. I’ll make sure to share some pictures when it is done & gifted! :)

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Have a wonderful Easter!


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A New Adventure for a Nearly-Here Baby!

And it begins! I just cast on for my very first baby sweater. It is for my little brother’s baby who is on the way in April. A first sweater for a first niece or nephew… I’m excited!

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I am using this pattern. It is a simple back-zip baby sweater, as per my mom’s suggestion. Having had 9 of us kids, I don’t doubt for a second that having the back-side zipper is the way to go. I’m using a bulky 25% wool 75% acrylic blend that is super soft and in a wonderful muted rainbow color way. I can’t wait til it starts striping! They are having a surprise baby, so I had my pick of colors. I think what I chose will fit the new parents well. I hope they agree!

By that’s enough for now, I’ve got to stop giving stuff away and get knitting!

Anyone have some baby sweater words of wisdom?


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Hello, Internet!

Hey folks! So, I’ve been knitting up a storm lately.  Thus far, I’ve kept my knitting in the comfort of my own living room. Lately people have been bugging me to open an etsy shop or at least go public with my knitting, so here I am.

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to take my adventures in knitting on the road to the wide-open spaces of the internet. I always end up knitting for other people, so I’m not going to open up a shop just yet (although I would be willing to knit a custom hat for you if you’d like!). I figure sharing my projects is a good start.

I’ve just finished up knitting a slew of Christmas presents for my family and am moving on to some simple kids hats for the kids I work with. I am in charge of a Boys & Girls Club before and after school program with about 8 kids in it, and have been trying to think of something nice to do for them for the holiday. I knit in the mornings and afternoons with them when there is only one or two kids left, and  therefore have shown them a good number of projects I’ve done. A few of the kids were so interested in knitting that I went out and bought some cheap aluminum needles and got my hands on some bright acrylic yarn and have been teaching them to knit themselves. It’s been a rewarding (though sometimes frustrating) experience. We’ve recently begun (most of the kids are only a few rows in), and I’ll keep you updated on how the kids projects come along.  Now that I am done with family Christmas presents and have so much time during school hours while I am not working, hopefully I can whip up some nice little hats for my little ones before Christmas break. I’ll post pictures as I go along.

In any case, I hope you stick around! I’ll be posting about my favorite few projects I’ve done for Christmas in the very near future.

Vayos con Dios!