Monday, January 31, 2011


Did you ever feel like you know it all? Once in a while, I feel like I get sort of complacent - or maybe, in a rut, I think , and it’s not like I think I know it all, but I think I’ve been knitting so long that I’m not really going to learn anything new...Ha!!! I love it when I do come up with something new - or is it that I knew it already and just forgot???....I hate when that happens!!
Okay, I’ll be honest - I was trying to ‘fix’ something - you know, try to get away without having to re-knit the whole thing because I never should have added those extra stitches to the front anyway without thinking it probably think I’m rambling here and you’re right, I am - I’m trying to say something without full disclosure, but it’s not working... but the point here is what I learned!!!
Did you know that when you chain cast off, the nice line of the chain lies on the side away from you? Well, I know that. Sometimes it doesn’t matter - in fact most times, it doesn’t. Getting back to my fix-up, I added a strip of stockinette to the front side of this piece, in an opposing direction - like, I’m adding a strip of stitches to the row edge and making a facing on the outside of the piece - the first side was okay, but after looking at it closely, I thought, G! that would look so much better if the final chain was on the front of the outside edge. So, I still had to finish, er, fix the other side, so while I was making the stockinette strip, I 'm running it through my head and trying to figure out what to do. I want the stockinette strip on the knit side of the piece, so I hang the selvedge edge -
(can you believe it?? almost the only thing they changed in my KnS article was the spelling of selvedge - they changed it to selvage - hummmph... Americans! always dropping letters! I never knew there was a US spelling for that...)
-knit side facing me, hanging the whole outside edge stitch (which means both sides/the whole stitch!). Then I hang the open stitches of the strip, knit side facing me, pull the open stitches through the closed edge. Now, here’s the problem. If I just knit my loose row and chain off the stitches, the chain lies on the side away...the light bulb comes on!!! If I take it off now, turn it around  (one of those RTR's!!) and then knit my loose row, the chain will be on the KNIT side. OMG!!! Life is good - you better write this down because I may forget about it!
Looking at those swatches, you might think I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but you gotta trust me here, it does looks better in person!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Well, Knit’nStyle magazine April 2011 has hit the streets - I finally got my copy so I could see what they did with my stuff - I was okay with it except that they chopped one of my photos in the article, eliminating the most important part of the photo...oh well, it’s tough not being in control!

So, I get an email from the assistant editor of Knit’n Style - guess what? She said:
Hello Mary Anne,
I knew this would happen. You cannot have a sweater as cute as yours in the magazine and not expect to hear from the hand knitters. This morning I received an e-mail from a knitter who wants to know if there is a hand knitted version of the Swing Cardi pattern? I told her I could not make any promises but I would check with you. Thank you for your time and attention.
I loved it!! I was LMAO!! Sorry, but no hand knit version - tell her to buy a machine!
Since then, there have been several more requests for the same thing!
Ha! Mission Accomplished!
Also, we finally got the POM thing up on the website - you can check it out at
- hope you sign up! I’m busy working on the February stuff - sneak peek - the mid gauge thing will be a raglan cardigan with tons of cute little details - of course you could do the stripped down version...

Friday, January 21, 2011

minor alterations only...

Well, I’m trying to come up with something catchy to call this pattern of the month thing -
Serial Stuff
Monthly Mentor
Blueprint Knitting
Knit & Learn Monthly (yikes!)
Recipes for MKers
- it reminded me of the time I bought a coat because it had my initials on the tag - really! It actually had ‘MAO’ on a printed-up tag hanging from the sleeve - I thought it was a sign from the style gods that this coat was made for me -  later found out that MAO stood for ‘Minor Alterations Only’ - I still liked it though!

Anyway, we are about to post the new ‘pattern of the month’ series and I thought I’d explain what you would be signing up for. Each month will feature a new pattern in the usual MAO style along with a mini-article pertaining to the pattern and techniques. Patterns will be in 5 sizes, ranging from finished bust 36/38 to 48/50 in. and of course, you get all 5 sizes. The format will be similar to what was used in KNITWORDS magazine, without the space restriction, so: few abbreviations, lots of extra tips and techniques, explained as you go, great professional photos, schematics and stitch charts if necessary, set out in a pdf file for you to print out yourself, sent to you by email. Designaknit stitch files will be included in the email if applicable.
There are two different series, one for mid gauge machine knitters and one for standard gauge machine knitters. The cost of our 3 month trial offer is $15 for each series which means you will get one pattern/article per month for the next 3 months for whichever series you choose - you can purchase both - it’s a different garment/pattern/article for each machine.
The patterns will be available as individual patterns for $7 each, emailed, or the option of a cd of the pdf mailed to you for $8 each. All of these options will be available on our website, through PayPal.

Update on the tiger top - I soaked it in a vinegar solution - about 1 C vinegar to 2 gal. water, let it sit for a bit and then washed it in ‘Eucalan’. Some colour came out in the first part, but not a lot and the water was clear in the washing. I put buttons on it and modelled it for my seamstress girlfriend - she thought it was wonderful, so I took it along to Bill’s when I went to get my photos done for ‘In the Tweeds’ and ‘Sophisticate’ for the POM.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well, it’s late Monday afternoon, in the already second week of January - OMG - where is the time flying to?? I just finished my article for the June Knit’nStyle - I’ll give you a hint - it’s about tuck patterning on the LK150 and there is a garment pattern to go along with it - I’m having a hard time keeping up with their schedule - they work so far ahead compared to what we did at KNITWORDS!!! Now, I have to get moving and do my garment for their August issue - cripes, it was hard enough thinking summer knitting in March and April in Thunder Bay, but it’s way too cold here!! One of the other things I do for them is to translate 4 or 5 of the hand knit patterns to machine language and I picked a pattern from Jodi Snyder that I was intrigued by. A couple of the ones I did in the February issue were pretty simple - I can’t change too much and I’m trying to convince them to do something different, but anyway - I learned some stuff from Jodi’s pattern! I used to be a hand knitter, way back in another lifetime, before knitting machines. So, now, what I do is knit - that should read HAND KNIT - a swatch - using a similar weight yarn, just to get the pattern in my head and then I can figure out how to do it on the machine - I think that makes a lot more sense than just taking a stockinette sweater and telling you to use the hand knit version of bands and finishing etc...Back me up on this one, people!!! 
   Here's my machine knit swatch after I knew what was going on - check out the tuck at the top of the swatch - I'm not saying too many machine knitters will do this, but it's what was in the hand knit instructions, in my opinion anyway - I may just check with Jodi befoire I send it into KnS. Anyway, I love a challenge and this is working for me!
   I’ll tell you what I do have almost ready - it’s the Pattern of the Month things I promised to start in January. There will be 2 different ones available each month. One on the mid gauge/LK150 and one on the standard gauge - different techniques and different patterns.
For January, the standard gauge one is called ‘Sophisticate’ and is made with Zephyr Marl from Silk City Fibers (or the old BT Yarns/Knit it Now) and is using One-Row-Tuck with ribber for the longstitch facings and hems. I wore it to Inspiration ‘10 in Cleveland so if you were waiting for the pattern, it’s ready - we just have to finalize the details of getting it up on the web.
   For mid gaugers, I did a sideways stockinette jacket that is a grown-up version of Rhiana’s ‘Red Riding Ruffles' from No 52 - my daughter, Laura, saw that one and loved it and ordered one just like it - the yarn was discontinued, so I had to find something else (BTW, Laura was here for Christmas and I didn’t even show it to her because she can’t have it) - I added some shortrowed darts to make an A-line shape to the body of it -I settled on a hand knit yarn - Tatamy Tweed by Kraemer - it’s a DK weight tweed-look cotton/acrylic, not too pricey, good yardage - that I just loved working with - knits beautifully and easily on the LK150, it washed up great and LeaAnn McGregor at has agreed to offer kits for this project, so you could check it out and be ready to knit! I think it’s really cute on!! and you'll notice how well it blends in with my livingroom carpet!
Stay tuned for more details of the POM - they will be pdf’s available for download only, I’ll let you know more - when, where, how, and cost, soon! I'm planning to run a 3 month trial.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a tiger in my sweater?

Hi! No, I haven’t died, but I’ve been dyeing! Well, sort of...
I started off making ‘Side Steps’, my newest pattern. I did the shaped version (Mulberry) and I used Yeoman Yarns Silk Bourette on purpose. Silk Bourette is a 4 ply weight fingering yarn of pure silk that only comes in the natural shade. It just begs to be experimented with. In the past, I have done some painting and dyeing experiments using this yarn - most recently, see ‘Woodstock’ from June. I finished the garment, only leaving the underarm seam open because I figured it would be easier to work with it still flat.
For this project, I wanted to make a ‘print’ fabric and what could be easier than an animal print - I’ve always liked them and have seen sweaters in the shops lately, but never anything that I totally loved, enough to buy anyway!
Here in Thunder Bay, we are kind of limited for supplies - Michael’s is about the only craft supply store left and I was through with the Tie-dye phase. I wanted to retain some of the original natural shade, add 2 or three more colours and have the colour to soak into the fabric - not harden it like fabric paints will. After reading labels and directions in the store, I came home with 3 shades of my old standby, RIT. I had camel, cocoa and dark brown. The instruction sheet had a short blurb at the end:
‘To dye-stain unfinished wicker, rattan, baskets, wreaths, wood accessories and natural craft materials: Dissolve 1 pkg RIT in 2 cups very hot water; apply 1-3 coats with sponge or brush....’
That was enough for me!
I found that to completely dissolve the package of dye I had to boil the water in a saucepan and stir for a bit with the heat on to get it to dissolve completely.
Practising a bit with a sponge brush, it was hard to control spots and dabs while letting the dye soak into the fabric. Changed to a 1 inch angled paintbrush worked better.
After applying a base of the camel shade - unevenly on purpose, of course ;-) and letting it almost dry - I was anxious to get on with it - I brewed up the dark brown - and quickly began making strokes and convincing myself that I had planned to make a tiger print all along. Let it dry completely, took some photos along the way and all is good. I finished the underarm sleeves, held my breath and put it in to wash! I'll let you know what happened soon, I promise!