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Stretching My Knitting Muscles

For most of my knitting years, I’ve always used my right hand, throwing yarn around the needle. I even do two color knitting with my right hand. When I started out with two color knitting, I carried one color on the right and the other on my left.

But it just didn’t feel natural to me, and I found that my tension was very uneven. I tried Continential knitting, and can go through the motions. But again, it just doesn’t feel natural to me. So, right-handed knitting it is for me.

Several years ago, while browsing the web, I came across Andrea Wong. I was intrigued enough by her Portuguese knitting style, where yarn is wrapped around the neck (or over a pin attached to your left shoulder), and yarn is wrapped around the needle using your thumb.

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Andrea%20Wong%27s%20Demo%20of%20Portuguese%20Knitting”]

So, I got her book, CD and a knitting pin, read through the book and practiced a little. But I got distracted by other shiny toys, and moved on. And then one year, while reviewing classes being offered at New York Sheep and Wool Festival, I saw that she was going to be teaching a workshop, so I signed up (and got another knitting pin).

Had a few a-ha moments there. But, again, got distracted by all those lovely yarn being offered by vendors and looking at what others were wearing. Fast forward to the end of last year.

By the way, you can listen to her on the Marly Bird podcast. Unfortunately, there is no transcript, so I have no idea what she is saying.

A friend asked me to show her how to knit this way, as she thought that it might work better for her. Well, now I had to really get familar with it. While checking out the deals at Craftsy, I discovered that she had a class there, “Knitting Faster with Portuguese Knitting“, and it was one of those being discounted at the time. How convenient, being as that the CD has gone MIA.

So I bought the class, reviewed it, and then dug through my case where I keep safety pins and stitch markers to find one of these knitting pins. Then, I thought about which project would be good to practice this technique on.

Being the one to complicate any endeavor that I go on, I decided to use my Edin Cardigan project to pratice with. It’s a nice, simple cardigan with a lace border that uses yarnovers, SSK and K2TOG.

Now, the first day. Really slow going. And my thumb . . . by the 2nd day it was a bit sore. I had to take breaks so as not to overwork my hands.

Edin Cardigan Progress

Edin Cardigan Progress

But now? I’m getting the hang and making even progress, although I keep feeling like I should be just as fast as my usual knitting style. I still haven’t figured out how to do SSK, even after watching the Craftsy clips, and have to resort to my usual method. While the knitting pin works for now, I’m not really crazy about having to poke holes through my shirt; I’m afraid to exert a lot of pressure for fear I’ll tear my shirt.

Andrea Wong Knitting PinWell, it just so happens that there is an alternative – magnetic knitting pins. Here’s what one of these looks like. So, I thought, I have a set of brooch and earrings that Lorraine gave me several years ago when she had to move and was downsizing. I’m not much of a jewelery person.

But, hey, I can repurpose it like so. I can source some rare earth magnets from my BIL, and Colette knows a jeweler who has a shop across from hers that I can talk to about the back work and a suitable hook for the yarn. So, I’m hoping to get this all done before end of month.

Knitting Brooch

Knitting Brooch

Unfinished Projects As of Now

Dalilah Shawl

Dalilah Shawl

What is this: Dalilah Shawl


Yarn: Kauni Effektgarn

When did you start it: Two years ago?

So why isn’t it finished then: There is a slipped stitch. About 3 or 4 rows down. This is a lace shawl. So I can’t just ladder down and work it back up. And it is a big shawl. So that means frogging back every single damn row. Boring as heck and I can only sit there and frog for so long. So there is about a 4 or 5 week hiatus between each frogging hiatus. The Holiday Season made this hiatus even longer.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: After I’ve finished frogging back, chances of me finishing this is about 80%.

Shorewood Cardigan

Shorewood Cardigan

What is this: Shorewood Cardigan


Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland jumper weight; Jamieson Spindrift (note these are two separate companies)

When did you start it: 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Just the sleeves remain to be done. Since I was working on this the last three months of 2015, I decided to take a break from this for the time being.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. All that is left are the sleeves. I’m planning to knit both sleeves at the same time. It will be interesting to see how the shaped armhole come out. I hope that this works out since I had to go further than the pattern specified due to the row gauge.

Abalone Cardigan

Abalone Cardigan

What is this: Abalone Cardigan


Yarn: Alice Stanmore Scottish Campion (through Jamieson of Scotland)

When did you start it: January 1998

So why isn’t it finished then: Huge pattern repeat. 32 stitches and 58 rows repeat. Sigh. I love Alice Stanmore, but some of her patterns can make you feel like you totally understand how Sisyphus felt.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I’d put this at 20%, considering the other projects I have going on at the same time.

St Brigid

St Brigid

What is this: St. Brigid Cardigan


Yarn: Cascade 220

When did you start it: I think I started collecting notes back in 2012, so likely I started working on this about a year later.

So why isn’t it finished then: See the chart behind the ball of yarn? It’s a pretty complex pattern, as tends to be the case with Alice Starmore. Since I’m short and petite, I will have to make a lot of mods to the pattern, in addition to making it a cardigan (where I live, it just doesn’t make sense to have an Aran pullover in worsted yarn).

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Sadly, it’s probably going to be at 40%. Its a great pattern, I love arans, but it is going to take some time working it up.

Oregon Cardigan

Oregon Cardigan

What is this: Oregon Cardigan


Yarn: KnitPicks Palette

When did you start it: Fall 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: I’m not really looking forward to working with Knit Picks Palette yarn. It seems rather splitty. And I’m always finding myself getting into a mobius strip position and have to do the caston again. I’m hoping I get lucky this time and not have to do the caston over again.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Looks to be about 50% at this point. Fair Isle is my thing, after all, and I’ve always wanted to do this pattern.

Roosevelt Cardigan

Roosevelt Cardigan

What is this: Roosevelt Cardigan


Yarn: Ella Rae Classics

When did you start it: Ummm . . . I think it was last year.

So why isn’t it finished then: The directions are very detailed and I had started it when it was spring, I think. And since I usually start working on the garden and then summer blows in and it is kinda hot to be working with worsted wool yarn . . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Probably at 50%. If I can get back to it when we have quite a few snowy days and I can get away with just hunkering down for the rest of the day with dinner cooking in the crockpot . . .

Trellis Vines Shawl

Trellis Vines Shawl

What is this: Trellis Vines Shawl


Yarn: KnitPicks Shadow

When did you start it: Last year?

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, this is lace weight. And I have a feeling I discovered an issue with the row that I’m on where the count is not quite right, so I probably stopped right there in order to regroup and then wandered away to other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, probably 50%. Due to the fact that this is extremely fine knitting.

Edin Cardigan

Edin Cardigan

What is this: Edin Cardigan


Yarn: Ella Rae Classic

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, I just got started it in December, so .  . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 85%, I think. I need a project that has a fair amount of stockinette, and I want to practice Portuguese knitting (where you wrap yarn around your neck or on a pin, tension the yarn with your dominant hand and manipulate the yarn over the needle with your thumb). I have to teach a blind friend how to do this, so I need to refresh my memory.  Andrea Wong has promoted this quite extensively here in the United States, and now has a Craftsy class.  As for knitting pins, there are several Etsy vendors that have lovely pins.


Lacewing Shawl

Lacewing Shawl

What is this: Lacewing Shawl


Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (Note that the color is actually darker than in the picture. The initial photo turned out to be too dark to show the lace design)

When did you start it: Maybe about 3 years ago.

So why isn’t it finished then: This is one of those pattern where you have lace stitches on almost every right and wrong row. So you have to really pay a lot of attention. I love this pattern; I love Ann Hanson’s lace patterns. But these can be rather challenging to knit.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, 75% at this time. Depends on when I finally get back to that row.

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

What is this: Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl


Yarn: Rowan Donegal Brights

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Because I just got started on it!

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: This is a fairly easy pattern, so it shouldn’t be a struggle to knit it. I do need a shawl before May, after all.

Bracken Vest

Bracken Vest

What is this: Bracken Vest


Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering

When did you start it: February 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: It is almost done; I just need to rib up the armholes and the front.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. It’s just that I need to get going on the last 5% that needs to be done.

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

What is this: Madeira Mantilla Shawl


Yarn: My own wool hanspun 2ply

When did you start it: Umm, I don’t remember.

So why isn’t it finished then: Yes, this is hanspun. So why haven’t I got cracking on this? Well, I guess I got sidetracked. I have no excuses except that I’m easily distracted by other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think 50%. I need to have at least one shawl finished before May.

Happy New Year!



Wishing you all a great 2016!

I know I’ve been very scarce here on the blog as I’m usually hanging out on FB.  I know I could stream my FB posts into here, but that would be a bit excessive and lazy, don’t you think?  That said, I’m going to make an attempt to be more active here on the blog. Can’t make promises, but instead, it’ll be a goal for me to try to meet, amongst other goals.

Now, be safe out there, and don’t let others put stuff into your drinks without you knowing!

Testing Book Setup . . .

Testing . . .

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Ten Ideas for Daily Blogging in November

10 Tips/Ideas/Topics for Daily Blogging in November

Oh, my gosh. Daily blogging. Given how my blogging has fallen off the cliff, what with being on Facebook, being busy with other stuff, that is a tall order. But, here’s the theme for this week’s Ten on Tuesday post, so, I’ll answer the call. I can’t promise that I’ll suddently be blogging everyday in November, though.

  1. Get a good blogging editor that will allow you to compose offline and upload to your blogging platform with the minimum amount of fuss. Everyone has their preferences. Since I’m always banging away on my MacBook Pro, I’m using DeskPM. It is a newish editor that allows you to post to Facebook, Tumblr, and WordPress, to start with. In the past I’ve used Ecto, but since it was bought out by a small company, it seems to have entered LimboLand.
  2. Set up a folder for November, and create daily drafts for each day. That way, you will hopefully have no excuse for not blogging daily. I said . . . hopefully. It also depends on your (non)tendency to procrastinate.
  3. Create a notebook in Evernote where you can jot down notes. You can use Evernote on your tablet, phone, and desktop, so you have no excuse for not putting down tidbits when you’re around and about.
  4. Set aside a half hour during your most productive time of the day to polish your post of the day. Hopefully you will have been filling in your draft posts, all the while depending on your Evernote notebook.
  5. Maybe you could play around with a weekly theme centered around what your interests are, be it knitting, cooking, outdoors sports, or whatever. Designate one week for each interest, and start off with why you like that particular interest, and end the week with suggestions on where one can go to learn more about your interest for the week.
  6. Maybe, if you’re a popular blogger and have people frequently commenting, you could ask your commenters to ask questions to which you could give your answers during November.
  7. Make use of your blogging ecosystem. WordPress allows you to automate your posts. You can set the time and date for your draft to go public.

    WordPress "Publish" Box

    Controls for publishing posts.

  8. If you’re into being held accountable, have a friend or family member nag you during November. Now, this isn’t going to work for me. But, just an idea for y’all.
  9. Since Holiday Season starts during this month, you could maybe talk about how you’re going to deal with this season. Maybe you just don’t want to face this. Or maybe this will give you inspiration if you’re at loss as to what to blog about. But, here you go.
  10. Motivation. Find ways to motivate yourself. Maybe you want that Lorna Lace yarn you’ve been drooling over. Promise yourself that if you successfully complete posts for all 30 days of November, you will get it. Maybe you want to let your loved ones know about this so that they can hold you accountable (see #8).

Wow. I was able to knock this draft all out Saturday morning. Maybe there’s hope for me after all. Now I gotta spend the next couple days polishing this and putting in image links (DeskPM formatting is still basic, after all, especially when it comes to ordered lists).



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