Letting Go

Finally, the heat has subsided and temperatures are back to normal for this time of year.  I decided to take my needles and yarn outside for a change of scenery.

California Dreamin'_1
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

I was greeted by three bromeliad pups.  The plant basically gets ignored, but always seems to provide us with such beauty every year.  I decided to organize my knitting space within eyesight of nature’s gift.

During a recent visit to Avenue Yarns on Solano Avenue in Albany situated not far from Berkeley, I decided to finally embrace short-rows.  Just by coincidence, a pattern I was also checking out on Ravelry was recommended I try, Breathing Space, designed by Veera Valimaki. “The sweater is worked from top-down with a raglan yoke and the asymmetric shaping makes it very stylish and at the same time very easy to wear.”

California Dreamin' #2_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

After starting and restarting a few times, I finally figured out short-rows with the help of Purl Bee’s online tutorial   http://www.purlsoho.com/create/2008/06/18/short-rows/.  The main color I selected for Breathing Space  from MJ Yarns, Simple Sock Fingering Weight, 75% Superwash Corriedale/25% Nylon, Col. Fresh Mowed, and the yarn for striping Wollelfe M/S Gradient 400 Fading to Grey, 65% Merino extra fine, 35% Silk.  I did gauge swatch the yarns and found Simple Sock Fingering did shrink a little.  The pattern is written with clear concise directions, and definitely exercises the brain cells.

Just by changing my “breathing space”situating myself in an environment of beauty and calm, in a different space and time, I  was able to reflect on one line in the pattern description that resonates with me in a very personal way, “The art of breathing, something we rarely really pay attention to, is so much like letting go.”



A Few Of My Favorites Things

This week, I started  working on a new knitting project.  Of course, this is in conjunction with Silke from Coco Knits.  Last summer, I discovered  Noro’s Kibou, a DK weight yarn, 54% Cotton, 34% Wool and 12% Silk.  The pattern number YS585 Ladies Raglan Sweater comes from Noro the World of Nature Vol. 35.

A Few Of My Favorite Things #2_1
Photo: Mary Lou Fall/Origami folded by Melissa

The  lace pattern consists of 12 rows with the back and front knitted exactly the same.

A Few Of My Favorite Things #4_1
Photo: Mary Lou Fall/Card Artwork Nick Wroblewski

I like knitting with patterns designed by Noro because they are written with few words and are pretty straight forward row by row.

Machine Knitting 101

Today, I dusted off the box of my Lk150 Kntting Machine and went to class.  The class was an introductory class with guest designer and instructor, Mike Horwath of http://www.onehookproductions.com at Purlescence Yarns in Sunnyvale, CA.

Machine Knitting 101 #2_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

An introduction to the machine parts and purpose familiarized us with the set-up of the machine. Immediately, the machine was threaded beginning with a cast on edge.  The test swatch included stockinette stitch, increasing, decreasing, performing purl stitches, unknitting, fixing dropped stitches, and binding off.

Switching from knitting needles to using tools was a bit of a challenge for me.  I wanted to manipulate the yarn with my hands, instead of using the transfer tools and tappet tool.

Machine Knitting 101_1_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
Machine Knitting 101 #3_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

By the end of class, I started to get a bit more comfortable working with a machine versus the relationship between knitting needles, the sensory touch of yarn and my own personal rhythm with the needles and yarn.



Step By Step

Sometimes, the best adventures are those not planned.  On the spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to take a day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore.

Point Reyes June 2016_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

The main attraction for the day was the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

Point Reyes June 2016 #4_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

After evaluating the path down to the lighthouse, my husband decided to wait for me at the top.  So, I began the journey step by step.  Along the way, I captured beautiful photographs. Here’s one of them.

Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

I successfully reached the lighthouse, and began the journey back to the top.  On my way up to the top, I noticed each step was numbered.  There are 308 steps down and 308 up.

Point Reyes June 2016 #5_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

It was sheer determination that motivated me to walk down to the lighthouse.  For the last five years, I’ve realized how determined I am.  Specifically when it comes to learning something new with challenges.  Take for instance, I attempted to knit a pattern with short rows twice. I’ve decided to try the pattern again.  Perhaps the third time’s the charm.

Silke designed by Julie Weisenberger of Coco Knits “is a drapey, flattering tunic with front points that hang down lower than the back” in a slip stitch pattern.  With this attempt, I decided to knit and block the swatch due to the linen content in the yarn.

Step By Step 2016_1_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

The damp swatch was pinned vertically  to test the effects of gravity  on the gauge. This makes sense to me because the garment hangs vertically when worn.

Step By Step 2016 #2_1_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

I’ve cast on 226 stitches using a Size 7 needle in  Schoppel Leinen Los 70% wool, 30% linen, Col. 7653M.  The tunic/cardigan is knitted from the bottom up in one piece.

Step By Step 2016 #4
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall (Rocks collected from Drake’s Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore)

I need to work straight until piece measures 9″ from the CO edge, and then the cardigan fronts are worked independently. I am determined to knit this pattern step by step.



The Secret History of Knitting

Happy Sunday! Hope your day is going to be filled with fiber goodness! Yesterday, I was chatting with a couple knitters about the history of knitting. I suggested this video from Makeful, thinking it would be easy to find. Somehow though, searching youtube for ‘secret history of knitting’ didn’t return this?? I had to scroll […]

via The Secret History of Knitting — FogKnits

The video is divided into segments, so when the screen goes dark wait a few seconds and the next segment continues.

The Shirt On My Back

I’m fascinated by the history and relationship between people, places and things. My curious mind wants to give meaning to pretty much everything.  I thrive on making connections between old and new, because I believe everything has a history.  Which brings me to the reason for this blog post…

During my recent research on the contribution women played in the development of textiles, I found an image of the world’s oldest preserved linen shirt (as of 1994) pictured in Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years, by Elizabeth Barber.

Sleeved Tunic_1
From a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkhan, ca. 3000 BC (UC 28614B’: photograph courtesty of Petrie Museum, University College London, where the piece is on display.)

“A meticulous British archaeologist, Sir William Linders Petrie concentrated on recording the minutest details of Egyptian daily life at a time when most museums and scholars prospected only for splendid works of ancient art and discarded the rest of what they uncovered.”

This homely piece of rag was tucked away in Petrie’s collection housed at the University of College London, and was later uncovered in 1977 by two women curators interested in textiles.  The shirt was actually found inside out just as the wearer had left it.

Petrie’s curiostiy and  fascination with detail provided tangible evidence for the history of textile design.  I was surprised to find a connection between the design of the earliest complete garment and my knitted sweater.

Chevron Sweater
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall



Ancient Doodling

In an effort to satisfy my curiosity about geometric ornamentation, I decided to go on a self-directed journey of research.  What I’ve uncovered so far, has expanded my worldview on the importance of weaving, and the significant role women played in the development of an economy.  It’s no secret how I feel about the use of geometric ornamentation on textiles, especially the zigzag or chevron.  According to Bernhard Schweitzer, “Geometric patterns have, in fact, a large number of different sources.  They began at about the end of the Early Stone Age.” Schweitzer also mentions, “It is not until the development of leather-work, weaving, and pottery in the Neolithic Age that the necessary preconditions are created for real geometric ornament to appear in certain places.  Sometimes, it is the result simply of a playful instinct to “doodle” aroused by the shape of the object.”

Who knew weaving played such an important role in history?  Perhaps I’ve taken my talent and passion for knitting, weaving and sewing for granted?  I didn’t even know about the Spinning Aphrodite until I read,  Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years, written by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.  Barber references original research by Elmer G. Suhr.  The Spinning Aphrodite written by Suhr,  explains the symbolical significance of the spinning process, its association with the goddess and why the connection between the two has not been recognized in the past.

The Aphrodite of Capua
The Aphrodite of Capua, in the National Museum of Naples

Pictured below is my desire to doodle with yarn creating the ancient zigzag pattern.

Chevron Zigzag Knitting_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

Chameleon Chevron Scarf  knit with various sock weight self-stripping yarn in random order alternating colors every 2 to 4 rows, measures 7″ wide by 70″ long.  I decided to knit a second scarf to be used as a lining, so there will be no wrong or right side.  The two pieces were stitched together using my sewing machine.

Here are some sample swatches of the zigzag/chevron geometric motif in mosaic knitting. I especially like mosaic knitting with slip stitches because the knitter works one color at a time.  Also, the back of the knitting remains neat and tidy.  The shadow patterns shown below are from, Mosaic Knitting by Barbara G. Walker. Shadow mosaic designs look the same upside down and right side up, and will “shadow” each other.

Chevron Zigzag Knitting #2_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

The above pattern is Shadow 47 using Method III, Multi-color Reversal using a combination of five different colors.

Chevron Zigzag Knitting #4_1_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

Shadow 47 Method I – Color Reversal, the top two bands form zigzag/chevrons.  The bottom two bands are Method II – Pattern Reversal changes the whole design of the shadow mosaic from zigzag/chevrons to diamonds. In Mosaic Knitting, a photograph is shown for Method I – Color Reversal, but Method II – Pattern Reversal is not shown creating a totally different looking design of surprise.

I look forward to uncovering more discoveries in the textile arts on my self-directed research into the history of “women’s work,” bringing a modern day twist using ancient patterns.




City Cape(r)

I finally finished knitting my first cape.  It has been a major time commitment, but my upcoming trip to SF was my motivation. I wanted to finish the cape to show it off, while walking the streets of SF next week.  Lately, the temperatures in Northern California have been unseasonably warm for this time of year.  I hope the fog rolls in next week and I can take my cape on an adventure.

City Cape(r)_1
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fall

The Cape Coat designed by Debbie Bliss published in The Big Easy,  appears on pages 21 and 22.  The knitting pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Chunky, but I decided to knit with  Noro Kama 26% wool, 25%silk, 25% alpaca, 12% kid mohair and 12% angora.  I also shortened the length measurement by 1-1/2 inches.

City Cape(r) #2_1_1
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fall

A garter stitch scarf accents The Cape Coat stitch pattern nicely.

Psst…I neglected to mention, last week I decided to take a daycation at Sea Cliff Beach.  The coast has taken a pounding the last month.  Here are some photos of my day.

Daycation Seacliff Beach #6
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fall

An artist painting surrounded by trees, sand sculptures and driftwood.

Daycation Seacliff Beach #4_1
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fall

The remains of the SS Palo Alto, commonly known as the cement boat.

Daycation Seacliff Beach #3_1
Photo Credit: Mary Lou Fall

A sand sculpture.

The Love of Knitting

An article written by Karin Schott in the February 1, 2016 Huffington Post, The Ex-Husband Sweater, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-schott/the-exhusband-sweater_b_9132208.html speaks to the emotional investment a knitter has to her work.  How many of you can understand her thoughts expressed in the article?  I certainly do.


Never knit a boyfriend a sweater
Image credits: thestitcherati.com



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