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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Knitting Fiend » Blog Archive » How To Twist Yarns When Changing Colors.

A friend found this link for me, solves my changing colors dilemma on the Alaska Jacket X's!!
Posted on 11.04.05 by lucia @ 4:19 pm
Having shown several intarsia sweaters from the 80’s I thought I’d better demonstrate how to work this technique, especially since the recent edition of Vogue Knitting shows a tasteful use of this technique.
Intarsia is a traditional knitting technique used knitting multi-color patterns with isolated blobs of color. Typical examples include the diamonds on Argyle sweaters, but this technique can be used create free form designs which look like pictures of some sort.
When knitting intarsia the sweater pattern will generally include a gridded chart to illustrate the picture. Each box on the grid will indicate a color to be worked. Because the grid looks like the picture, this part of the instructions is generally obvious; intermediate knitters often cast on and begin to knit.
Often, they discover the not-so-obvious part of intarsia.
How do you change colors without leaving holes? Checking the instructions, they will read something like “Be sure to twist yarns when changing colors”.
It’s actually very easy to do. Still, I think it helps to look at the front and back of a bit of intarsia before trying the technique. Examine the two pictures immediately below. Notice the blue and very light pink regions are side by side, but they two regions appear to be linked on the back side.

Obviously, you want the two side by side colors to be linked; this is the purpose of “twisting” the yarns.
Here’s how I twist the yarns:
When purling across the row, start with one color; here I began with the light pink yarn. Purl until you reach the point where you need to work with the other color (which in this case is blue.) Insert the tip of the right needle to purl. Drop the the pink yarn. The blue yarn will be dangling on the left. Pick it up, take it below the pink yarn and move it to the right. Now, raise the blue yarn, and wrap to purl. work the stitch.
In the photo, you can see the pink yarn labled “1″; I moved the blue yarn to the right, passing it behind pink, then raised and wrapped the blue yarn around the right needle tip. See the blue yarn slanting from the lower right to the upper left? When I raised and wrapped the blue yarn around the needle, it passed in front of the pink yarn. So, the blue yarn is wrapped or twisted around the pink yarn.
When I purl the next stitch this, I try to make sure I tighten the yarn so the interlinked region is nice ans snug, and the new blue stitch is the same size as the other stitches. I find if I’m not careful, the new stitches tend to be a bit loose, which is not what I want.
So, now, you give this a try. After you change colors, notice the two yarns twist around each other causing the regions to link together.
Now, work across the row.
When changing colors working a knit side facing row, you do pretty much the same thing; it’s just more difficult to photograph what’s happening.

I knit across with blue, when I reached the stitch that needed to be pink. I inserted my right needle tip as to knit and dropped the blue yarn. I picked it the dangling pink yarn up and moved it to the right passing between the blue yarn and the fabric on the needles. Then I raised the blue yarn, wrapped and knit the stitch.
Once you do this a two or three times, you’ll figure out you can just sort of toss the yarn to the left when you are dropping it, and grab the new yarn from “underneath”. The work will interlock automatically.
Of course, I know what you’re asking: “How can I tell if I do it right?” If the strands of yarn link together , you’re doing it right!

I am happy to announce I have ripped out the entire pattern rows, and am now back to the middle row of the NEW X's. The changing colors is not puckering as before. Pictures to follow, once I've got it done :D

Epic failure in Alaska-RIPPIT In Progress

Sadly, I think I'm going to have to RIPPT. Yep, you heard right. The X's aren't happening for me. The cross-over yarns are pulling a little too much for my liking and here's where it finally told all:

Alaska front and back before rippit

Alaska back slose-up of pulled stitches

close-up of puckers
As I'm using Red Heart Super Saver, I don't believe blocking will be the solution, but only a temporary fix.  Better to rippit back now; I'd rather be proud of this accomplishment than hate it later.
Today is a good day for taking this project on- I want to get back to the start of this pattern and have it fixed so I can move on.  I got a 3-mile walk in this morning, while T-storms lurked in the distance; rumblings told of imminent rain which has yet to happen.  The neighborhood is growing quiet as some of the Summer People return to their daily routines for another week.

Another short week as we head in to Summer, this Memorial Day weekend was the best we've had in a while, and life goes on.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

X Marks The Spot

The Alaska Jacket is coming along; I'm at the first pattern row and haven't made a single miscount yet.

Go ahead, click the image to see a close-up and the picture, too!

It's Memorial Day weekend, and we just finished scrubbing down the upper deck to get it ready for staining. I can't wait-once it's stained, I'll have my patio furniture to move back upstairs, and my Reflections Tree Fort will be complete :D

Hope you are all having a fun and safe weekend! I'll be back later to add-to this blog post, but I had to get my Alaska picture posted~

Later that day:

Finally, the day has come to an end, and I'm back inside. We had a perfectly beautiful day.

Went for a walk with the neighbor this morning at 9, a little later than usual. It was warm but nice, and we spotted a fox while out walking-it crossed the road in front of us, and when I called out to it, it stopped and watched us walk by-I spoke to it until it turned and cantered off into the woods.

The Summer People have invaded us!!! It was crazy busy in town-we had to go for beer-DH let it run out and didn't check his supplies before we went out, so we had to turn around and go back out~

DH made me a bucket of soapy water and I scrubbed off the upstairs deck, (my Tree Fort) and then hosed it off in preparation for tomorrow when we will stain the deck. He got the front yard mowed and I planted some Roma tomatoes in a couple remaining pots.

DH grilled out tonight-we had Italian sausages and roasted red peppers, which I peeled and sliced, then put into a container and covered with olive oil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and some dried basil for seasoning. I will use some of the roasted red peppers for my hummus recipes over the summer. YUM!

We decided not to camp out tonight-it's going to be a hot one tomorrow, and we didn't want to wake up cranky and sweaty, when we have so much to do tomorrow. SOooooo, we've put it off for another day.

I got the X pattern completed today-Will post a picture when I can get a daytime shot. The only problem I think I ran into with the pattern is, when switching the colors, there are yarns that span the spaces between colors. I have found that when I pulled those cross-over yarns, I created a little too much tension, and some of the X's are a bit tight. I think I may be able to pull out the slight puckering in some, when I block the finished jacket. I have another row to do further up in the shoulders and on each sleeve, so I hope to perfect the tensioning while changing colors, so as to avoid the slight pucker.

Time to check out for the night-tomorrow is a new day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Signature Needle Arts, Made in Wisconsin

I ran across a blog, by way of an email newsletter, regarding Signature Needle Arts,  a Knitting Needle manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin and had to check them out.

The circulars come in 3 needle sizes: 4", 5" and 6", for more versatility.

Signature Circular Needles will be available for sale online May 1, 2010. To get the most current information on Signature circulars please sign up for their newsletter!

There is much to do in preparation for our Memorial Day weekend, so this will be short but sweet, and I'll be back later on to fill in the blanks!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alaska, from My House

The Alaska Jacket is gaining rows, I'm pretty happy with the results after adding the Dark Sage Green, thus far.

Another hot day, I didn't knit until after a few T-storms rolled through and the temps began to drop. The air is not as heavy tonight, and the weekend promises to be especially nice, just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend.

Short but sweet, I'll say goodnight and get some knitting in before turning in.~

Monday, May 24, 2010 | Summer Vest

I love the soft blue color, saving this for future reference. A quick summer project, maybe? | Summer Vest

Summer Vest

Summer Vest

Technique - Knitting
Just a touch of coverage is what you'll get with an openwork pattern vest. This e-pattern was originally published in the May 2010 issue of Creative Knitting magazine.

Size: Includes women's small through 2X-large. Made with medium (worsted) weight yarn and size 6 (4mm) 14" circular needle.

Skill Level: Experienced
EK00350 $4.99

Will have to add this to my Bucket List~

I got the yarn for my Wonderful Wallaby last week! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Young Woman Spreads Her Wings

What is it about knitting that brings one back to center. I guess you have to be a devout Knitter to be able to answer that one. Today was pretty stressful, and I found comfort in my knitting, as I usually do.

And when I'm not knitting (or working) I'm out working in my gardens, yanking weeds, or taking a 3-mile walk with the neighbor. Those are the things that can really clear one's head.

This afternoon, I sat outside and enjoyed the rays of a warm sun while working on my Drops "Alaska" jacket, and as one friend said, my needles were smokin'! I'm really liking the colors as they come together; it reminds me of a Pendleton or Hudson Bay Trader-style blanket, and will be very warm. The only part that bothers me is the 2-stitch garter edge; I'm not very good at weaving in such small areas, and the front borders are sadly showing my lack of expertise. Thankfully, the crochet border will hide all that, later. For now, I'm enjoying the play of colors as my jacket evolves from a basket of yarns, into the layers that will define the style.

DH and I had fun grilling out night before last. The weather was absolutely perfect, a cool 68.  We made Grilltop Burritos while watching a spectacular sunset off in the distance.


I took a picture of a new wildflower that emerged in our gardens this year-Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata. It smells like anise when you break a stem. There are many uses for it, most of which are uses in fruit salads and ice cream. I wonder how it would fare in my biscotti?

The Wild Phlox is absolutely gorgeous now, and it's coming up EVERYWHERE! This year seems to favor the wildflowers.

Nats was gearing up for her solo flight (first car trip) to Indianapolis to see her brothers and sister, and assorted nieces and nephew. Tonight DH commented on her absence, and go figure, just when I was blogging about it....we are definitely feeling her absence tonight. Even though she's normally not around much anyway, just knowing she's not close by is enough to feel the void.

We are thinking about you out there, FreeBird  Nats. Spread your wings and fly high, fly free and enjoy these days~ we love you and miss your familiar presence tonight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Easy Peasy Strawbarb Pie

Sunday was a day of rest-we got up, showered, then hung out; I baked the rest of the day.

This recipe is so easy, it's fool-proof!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
2 qts (8 cups) rhubarb, chopped to bits
4 cups sugar

1 6 ounce box Strawberry Jello (wild strawberry or plain)
2 frozen deep dish pie crusts.

Pre-heat oven to 425°.  In large mixing bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar and jello packet, toss until coated. Pour into 1 deep dish pie crust and add a few pats of butter on top of fruit. Cover with second pie crust and seal edges with fingers-the crusts will thaw quickly, so don't wait too long to remove top crust. Wet your fingers to help seal the edges.

Bake 40-50 minutes on a foil-covered round pizza pan, it will get messy.

Let pie cool, it will be incredibly soupy. Then refrigerate until ready to serve-the jello will set once the pie is cooled. 

Did I say it would get messy? (the goo on the pan will resemble a Fruit Rollup on steroids)

The Aftermath

The best pie is a messy pie!!

Bon Apetite!

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Do

OK, I think I'm done messing with my hair. This is it.

One question remains. Does it make my butt look big?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Standard Poodles and HD

We are a mess right now. Igor is showing obvious signs of distress, it  began late yesterday. He is babying his rear right leg, and I'm scared to death it could be HD rearing it's ugly head. Hip Dysplasia is a common problem with Spoos, and we're bracing for the ugly reality.

Canine Hip Dysplasia and the Standard Poodle

We noticed yesterday on the way to Delavan, a 20 minute ride, he never sat down once in the back of the Blazer, until we insisted that he sit, for his own safety. But then it was only if he could reach out and give me paw so I could hold his hand while we rode. Same on the way back.
We are a mess right now. Igor is showing obvious signs of distress, it  began late yesterday. He is babying his rear right leg, and I'm scared to death it could be HD rearing it's ugly head. Hip Dysplasia is a common problem with Spoos, and we're bracing for the ugly reality.

Again today, we went back to Delavan, to make a return, and the same thing happened. He's obviously not feeling well. He's eating fine, but he is not rightHis back right leg trembled a little when Mike and I tried to inspect it, and while we could find no hot-spots that would indicate inflamtion, he never complained except by his stance, which favors that leg. He is also finding it difficult to sit or lay comfortably...
One day last week, when he went to jump up in bed, he faultered, which is not normal. He has legs like a kangaroo, he can leap straight up in the air 4 feet from a stand-still, but that night, it was different, like a spring was sprung...
We are going to keep him inside over the weekend, and not allow him to run with the Monster next door. She is the very bain of our exsistance as she has taken Igor down repeatedly in the past, a couple of those crashes were not pretty-none are, for that matter. She's a tank of of a yellow Lab that weights more than Igor, and is half his size- and she's got the personality of a rock.
She has a nasty habit of going for his rear shin or Achiles or hamstring area of his leg and we've put a stop to their runs because of the danger to his long legs. She and he go so fast, that they often times will tumble and roll when she goes underneath his hind end,  and that is not good for his long legs either. She likes to trip him up too. This has to STOP!!!
We gave him a Baby asparin at the Vet's suggestion, and will keep him on low activity for the next 5-7 days so that any flare-up will have a chance to calm down.

 I am in tears just thinking about this. He won't leave our side, and is glued to who-ever is closest.
Pray for us, please.

Igor says, "Mom's just being silly, I'm just FINE and DANDY, I'm outside prancing around now!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Men's Vest "Alaska", Women's Jacket "Alaska"

DH toke me to Ben Franklin Crafts, in Delavan today. I got the rest of the yarn needed for the Drops "Alaska" Vest and Jacket I'll be working on over the next few weeks.

40-9b men’s sleeveless jacket in “Alaska” by DROPS design
These are the colors DH picked out for his Vest
These are the colors I've picked for the Jacket.

As you can see, I couldn't wait to get started and have already cast on my jacket. I also picked up some circular needles and a set of  #6 DPNs for a Wonderful Wallaby Jacket!

I took Elizabeth Zimmerman's recommendation (pg 4), " You will never need anything other than a 16" (hats and sleeves) and a 24" (body of work) needle in any given size." I got 29's, ooops! Susan Bates will be happy with my selection, and I'm sure I will be happy too.

And when I'm done with all that, I'm sure there will be yarn left over for a pair of Wisconsin Winter Socks too!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Buck Stops Here | Lita Ford Live

Lita Ford is an Island: Lita Ford "Kiss Me Deadly" Interview

We were watching one of Lita's videos on Youtube when we happened to glance up and spotted a deer (pun intended), a young buck, munching away at our Ornamental Crab in full bloom. I whispered to DH, "Buck!" and no sooner had the words left my lips, the buck looked up at us in our window, starring out at him in amazement. He had bud antlers forming, a wonderful sight! He went on munching, and moseyed on as though we were not there.
Late last Fall, a buck died in our woods, at the top of a hill next lot over. A lousy shot, the arrow missed it's mark far short of fatal, and the buck came back to his woods to lay down for the last time.
The neighbors had alerted us to it's presence already, concerned that Igor would take an interest. We didn't wonder at that or worry much, but Igor did check it out nearly every night as the sun went down, making sure things were as they should be. He is the Protector. Coyotes and other woodland critters frequented the buffet for the first few weeks before the snow fell and covered the carcass up in a blanket of white.

Our young Visitor is a welcome sight now. We hope he finds comfort and safety in the shadows, and lives a long and healthy life, under our watch.

This shot was taken in 2008.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I started working on DH's Drops "Alaska" Sleeveless Jacket on Mothers Day.
I'm making these two jackets using Red Heart Super Saver yarns. His vest will be in the following colors:

I'm going with the original colors for my jacket:

My color choices are not set in stone yet. I have to locate the tan and brown, hopefully later this week, when I go back to Ben Franklin Crafts, Delavan.

Mothers Day Recipe Blog : Strawbarb Jelly and German Broccoli Salad

This recipe is from the kitchen of DH's Mom. I am not sure if it's a family recipe, but it's certainly DH's all-time Favorite!

German Broccoli Salad Recipe


3 bunches broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size florettes
1 lb bacon, cut into 2" pieces
1 large red onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbl vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups shredded cheddar

Wash and cut broccoli and set aside. Prepare dressing by mixing mayo, vinegar and sugar in a small mixing bowl, refrigerate until ready to use.

In a skillet, brown bacon until crumbly. Remove from pan and add to broccoli, set aside. Add diced red onions to the bacon grease and saute until just translucent- you don't want them to get soft, just to release the flavours of the onion.

Add the onions to the broccoli, pour in a little of the bacon grease and mix together. Add the dressing mix and cheddar cheese, combine all and refrigerate for about an hour.  Serve cold.

Makes 8-10 servings for company, make an additional bowl for yourself or DH, there won't be any left-overs!

Strawbarb Jelly

2 Qts. rhubarb, diced
4 cups sugar
1-6 ounce box Strawberry Jello

Cook rhubarb pieces and sugar in large saucepan on low, until mushy. Add packet jello mix and bring to a boil- cook 10 minutes on high. Pour jelly into prepared jelly jars and seal.

Makes 10 Jelly Jars and lasts until DH finds it~Weeee!!!

Bon Apetite!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

FREE PATTERN : Mini Key Ring Purses



DESIGN 1: 1 Ball 3960 Spring Stripe
DESIGN 2: 1 Ball 3965 Razzle Dazzle.
DESIGN 3: 1 Ball 3970 Faded Jeans.
DESIGN 4: 1 Ball 3972 Black Jack.

Knitting Needles: 2.25 mm [US 1].
1¼” diameter key ring.
Yarn needle.


Mini Purses are 2” by 2”.


GAUGE: 32 sts = 4”; 44 rows = 4” in Stockinette stitch. CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Use any size hook to obtain the gauge.

free pattern instructions

To view a larger photo, print and save the instructions for this project, please click link above to download Free Pattern Instructions (pdf).

This pattern has been formatted to ensure best quality when printing, and to provide you with a file that you may save and print for future enjoyment.

helpful hints

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If you have trouble downloading patterns, please check the security settings on your computer as they may be blocking your access.

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Let's all try to make one over the weekend and post your pictures of your purses here, when done!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mojito Cake Recipe from Betty Crocker

I got this recipe in today's Betty Crocker Newsletter, and gotta try it. It may just be the order of the day, after I finish redoing the neck edge of my Camo Vest, ARRRrr-GH!

Mojito Cake Recipe from Betty Crocker

What a beautiful day, it was sunny and warm, temps at 80- a bit windy, but that didn't stop me from taking a short break from work, to go sit outside and soak up a few rays. Then at 3:00, I had to go meet DD at Lockhart's, where we learned the shimmy in her rear was from a tire belt that was separating and in need of a new tire ASAP! We decided to leave her car there in lieu of my having to drive her car over tomorrow, and have DH pick me up from there. They can have her car ready by the time she gets off work, VIOLA!

Storms are approaching, so I'm going to make this one short and sweet.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Aurora and the Night Geese

DH made a campfire tonight. It was a beautiful evening, the stars were popping, once our eyes got adjusted to the night. The rope lights on the stairs provided a faint back-light for the emerging hostas in our Zen Garden under the Deck.
I read on the news that we got a big solar blast from the sun last night, and that the Aurora Borealis was quite a sight over much of Canada, and visible in parts of the US. I had hoped to catch a glimpse. The last one was in 2006, I think. We got some beautiful pictures that year, reds and greens. Alas, nothing tonight.

Igor and I sat on an old rug and soaked up the warmth of the fire. Coyotes could be heard wreaking havoc on the goose population over by the pond; it was causing Igor no end of distress. Several times he jumped up and bellowed his presence for any who dared cross into his territory. He is The Protector.

I received a most beautiful and unexpected surprise in the mail today: my dear friend Lindy, in Australia, sent me a gorgeous shawl. It's called Spirit of the Southwest Shawl (S-2012) by Evelyn A. Clark.

Until I can get DH to take a picture of it, here's what it looks like, before I got it: it is absolutely stunning in it's detail. I was brought to tears when I opened it, the meaning behind it was so evident. Thank you so much, Lindy, from the bottom of my heart. ♥♥♥

I completed my Shine On Vest, Part I. *Free Pattern YAY!
I've started the neck band for the shawl collar I'm going to create, using the Red Heart Buff for contrast. I spent the better part of Sunday working on my cast on all around the neckline, and got 8 rows into it, before realizing I had cast on the wrong side of the vest!!! It came to me at the oddest hour, 11:30 last night, after I'd gone to bed. Needless to say, I got up and promptly ripped it out, rolling the worked yarn into a ball, and left it for the morning. At 7am, I was up and ready to start over. I am now on row 3, again. Pictures to follow, when I get back to where I screwed up-you had to be there...*BIG siiiiiiiiiiigh.

Tomorrow, I hope to get in a walk with Igor before sunset. Wednesday, the neighbor and I plan to resume our walks in the morning, on a daily basis. I look forward to a more regimented routine now, and hope to get in plenty of miles in the coming weeks.

Off to work on the neckline for a spell, then off to Never-Never Land. DH is taking me to Ben Franklin Crafts for yarn tomorrow!! WHOOHOO!