About Me



There are two finished objects for the end of July, the Gansey sweater and the handspun Polkagris.  Starting with the kerchief, I pulled some photos from a previous post (May 2013) to show how the yarns were created.  They sat in the stash for five years waiting for the perfect project.  Shortly before Grey Wolf in June, an email arrived from KDD with a pattern for newsletter subscribers.  It did not take long to choose yarns from my stash for the project.

Colorful wool roving and wool batts with some cotton yarn are pulled together.

The fibers are added to the bowl on the scale for weighing.  Joanne and I made 3-ounce batts.
Fibers used in both batts:  wool, silk, mohair locks, silk noils, sari silk, and cotton.

The fibers can be blended a little or a lot using the drum carder.  It is ready to spin!
The singles are plied with thread or yarn.  This was plied with a thin textured yarn.
This skein weighed 3.7-ounces after plying.  The white skein weighed 3.8-ounces.  Each skein was 200+ yards.
I should have enough left from both skeins for a small project.
The Polkagris kerchief by Kate Davies was the perfect project for the special skeins of yarn.
The shape of the kerchief fits nicely over the shoulders

The Gansey sweater was a rewarding project to knit.  It is a simple, wool sweater with traditional shape and style with extra ease added for comfort.  It will be a good piece for layering when it gets cold.  I have it on right now, as we are experiencing a cold front before the heat and humidity return.  

Before the knitting, I did my homework by looking through my personal library and studying photos of the design elements of traditional garments.  Body  measurements and measurements from other garments along with choosing yarn and swatching are so important.  One of my biggest take-aways from the experience was that less is more.  I planned for fancier textures at the top, but the simple, 2 +1 stitch repeat over four rows fit so beautifully into the design.  

Mary is just about finished with her sweater and soon we (Kathryn, Mary, and I) will have to take photos of our finished projects together.  
Garter stitch at the neck, cuffs and hem. Ridged ribbing worked well for the stitch counts for the body and sleeves.  
A bit of shaping on either side of the front neck and three-needle bind off at the shoulders.  The bind off was worked on the right side of the work and the purl ridge flows into the texture stitches nicely.

The two-stitch faux seam runs on either side from the hem, around the underarm gusset, and the to the  cuff.



Progress on the Gansey style pullover is going well.  I have been adding notes in a notebook and also on my Ravelry project page.  It has been an enjoyable project so far and now I have to type up the handwritten notes so I can use what I learned, knitting without a written pattern, to knit another sweater.  My early sketches included various texture stitches, neck gussets, the split hem, etc.  The split hem was the first element to go, and then the various texture stitches changed to a simple and easy-to-adapt stitch pattern that fit well with my stitch counts.  The Ridged Rib is a multiple of 2 + 1 stitches and a 4-row repeat.  The second sleeve is in progress and the sweater will be finished this week.

By trying on the sweater while the sleeve was in progress,  I could easily customize the length and  the decreases.  
There is a new vendor at Anoka Fiber Works, Wether'sfield Wool Farm.  I purchased some of the Shetland wool.  Two 4-ounce bags of Emily's white washed wool, and one 3.1-ounce ball of Treble's moorit roving.  I had some black Shetland roving I bought when we visited the Faribault Woolen Mill's 150th celebration a few years ago.  I combed the white wool and it is just beautiful to spindle spin with my Moosie spindle.  Mary held a second bag for me when Jim and I were camping last week.  I will have to see how much yardage I can spin and figure out a nice project for the yarn.

Emily's beautiful washed wool
Combing was the perfect prep for the wool.  I used my Valkyrie (fine) wool combs.
Moorit is a mid-brown color between fawn and dark brown.

It was a good thing I waited to finish spinning the last of the black.  There will be plenty to add to the future project.

Beautiful natural colors.


It started with a conversation...

It started with a conversation about a year ago while sitting at the table with friends Mary and Kathryn at Anoka Fiber Works.  We have the best conversations around the table while enjoying our tea.

The conversation involved knitting a sweater without a written pattern.  Not a new concept, but we thought about the process of creating a sweater, slowing down, and being mindful about our knitting.  Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts (Interweave Press, 1985) was the perfect book for inspiration.   I used the garter stitch split hem from The Basic Blouse and The Basic Gansey for the rest of the sweater.   It was easy to look through my books and sketching ideas on my Boogie Board.  Choosing the yarn was another matter.  Keeping in mind the function of the sweater, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool was the perfect choice for my camping/hiking/working sweater.  The price point of the yarn was great and using a couple of JoAnn, Etc coupons, the purchase was even more attractive.  Fisherman's Wool is 100% wool, it comes in eight-ounce/465-yard skeins, it is worsted weight, and hand-washable.  The skeins of Oatmeal Heather felt softer than the skeins of Brown Heather and the light-color skeins were the same dye lot.

Sweater design elements from one book and a stitch pattern from another book.  I searched through many stitch dictionaries before settling on a simple Ridged Rib.  The pattern is a multiple of 2 + 1 stitches and a four-row repeat.

I found some inspiration from some of the books in my personal library.  The book second from the bottom is the first knitting book I purchased after returning to Germany.  The Encyclopedia of Knitting, by Pam Dawson, Orbis Publishing Limited, London 1984, was (and is) one of my favorite reference books for knitting techniques.

My Gansey sweater in progress.  Two purl stitches at each side, the underarm gusset and the Ridged Rib stitching at the chest.  There will be Ridged Rib stitching on the sleeves at the upper arm above the elbow.

The underarm gusset stitches are on a holder.  The front and back are knit separately.  

The Lett Lopi Flock, my name for it, (Ápril) pullover is finished.  It was started before the Gansey sweater and the mindless knitting until the yoke was a good take-along project.  There were a few bumps when I started the sheep bodies' section.  I made some chart corrections (purl and color, not stitch count) and now I must wait for cooler weather to wear it, sigh...

Markers placed  every twelve stitches to keep the sheep in order.

I ended up frogging to the top of the brown zigzag and re-working that section of the yoke.

The blocked Flock, ready to wear.  



I have been busy knitting on two pullover sweaters, a Gansey and a Lett Lopi.  Mary, Kathryn, and I had been talking at length about Ganseys and we decided to knit in the old way using yarn we had in our stashes, the percentage system, and elements of the traditional garments.  Kathryn finished her sweater, Mary is working on the front and back neckline shaping, and I started the underarm gussets and texture stitches.  In the meantime, when I have to stop and make decisions, the Lopi sweater came to the front of the WIP line.  The pattern is Apríl by Berglind Sveinsdóttir and the yarn is Lett Lopi.  I finally made it to the colorwork section at the yoke.  I chose to have longer floats on the back side of the knitting because the catch was showing on the front side because of the purl rows on the sheep bodies.  The floats will lightly felt together with wearing and washing.  It is one of the characteristics of Lopi yarn that I love.  Sadly, the shop where I bought the yarn is closing and the shops carrying Lopi are few and far between.  

Happy little sheep

The Gansey pullover is at a point where I need to make a decision about what texture stitch/es to put on the top section and then the sleeves to the elbows.  This project is inspired by the Gansey sweater in Knitting in the Old Way (1985 edition) by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.  It is fun to knit with a general plan (sketches, stitch dictionaries, travel photos, measurements, etc).   The split hem is in garter stitch and the "seams" on either side are two purl stitches, which split apart as the underarm gusset is knitted. 

Decisions to make at the underarm gusset.
A couple of weeks ago the plein air painting group was where the Rum and Mississippi Rivers meet at a local park.  I found a shady spot beside a large tree and painted a willow tree trunk.  
A lovely spot and beautiful day to paint en plein air.



Ireland is one of our favorite places to visit and this year Jim and Ben did a bike ride, the Steven Roche Atlantic Challenge.  They were fortunate to have a beautiful day for the ride, with sun and low wind.  Andi and I walked to "downtown" Doolin from the cottage after we cheered our guys on from the intersection up the hill.

We stayed in Doolin, a small town in County Clare on the west coast.  Home base was a cottage overlooking the ocean and in the distance are the Aran Islands.  Inishere (Inis Oírr, and also spelled Inisheer) is the smallest and closest to the mainland.  On the days we had other plans the weather was beautiful and the days we were available to take the ferry found the sea to be rough.

Here are a few of the highlights from our visit, in no particular order...

Quin Abbey in County Clare, Ireland

Across the street from the abbey was a tea room and we enjoyed coffee, tea, and cake while sitting by the fire.  

We had a lovely day for a hike on one of the Burren National Park's trails.

It was a treat to visit McKernan Woollen Mills and watch the antique loom (late 1800s) in action weaving one of their beautiful scarves

We met Andi in Galway at the bus station and popped into a tea shop so she could buy a gift for her friend.  

We stayed in Doolin and the daffodils were in bloom this trip.
Jim and Ben on the ride.  And and I met them as they rode through the intersection above where we stayed.  We were wearing our t-shirts and waving an Irish flag.  The fellows directing traffic knew who we were cheering for, our guys were famous!

We stayed cozy and warm in the cottage by the fire.

It was a rainy, windy, and very cold day at the Cliffs of Moher.  I think they are so beautiful in the mist.
St. Brigid's Well, Liscannor, County Clare
 Inside St. Brigid's Well

Boots make nice flower pots

Every morning and evening I enjoyed the sunrise 
and the sunset

Our last full day we visited and hiked around the cliffs of Kilkee, County Clare