We did it again

Long time readers of the blog will know that I’m not a KAL kind of knitter for the most part. Everynow and then I participate, as I did with this poncho pattern with the Sheeper Than Yarn gals in the Fresno area – it was a retreat project one year. Apparently I don’t have the group photo of our ponchos together:

So it is fun and not common to see another knitter with the same/similar finished item. Last month, Pam, who is in the Knitted Knockers of Silicon Valley group, wore her Leftie shawl, and so did I! The pattern is Leftie by Martina Behm.

This past Saturday as I was leaving the house, I was trying to figure out which cowl/scarf/shawl to wear, and changed it out at the last minute. And lo and behold, Pam was wearing a very similar one to mine. We twinned again with our knits!

They are not the same pattern – mine has a different way of making the holes than Pam’s, but it was quite the coincidence to be wearing the same kind of item again, and this time, we picked similar gradient yarns to use. The pattern I used was the Spindrift scarf by Lucy Neatby. I’m not sure what Pam’s pattern was.

When have you been “twinned” with a knitted thing in the wild?

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Despite all the knitting that happened over the year, toward the end I began to lose my knitting mojo a bit. I knit myself a dishcloth like the ones I knit for my staff, and then, well, things mostly sat.

I made a bunch of knitted knockers (will get to 28 by the end of the week) because I really wasn’t in the mood to figure out what to knit next.

I did swatch a little for a vest for Luis – but didn’t get far.

This past weekend all of that faded. I began to hatch a couple of new things though. First, because my knitting friend Nhien is super generous, I got a skein of Knit Picks Capretta in a couple of hand-painted color ways. This yarn is super soft – it’s a super wash blend of merino and cashmere, with a touch of nylon. The color way I’ve started with is Springwater which has lovely blues, violet, and periwinkle colors:

I’m knitting the very basic CoPilot cowl (free on Ravelry), which is basically the Reyna shawl (also free on Ravelry) converted to a cowl. I tried first to use a draft pattern of my own  that I had done years ago, but the yarn is too busy for it, and really I am looking for an everyday item. I love that I don’t have to do a lot of math to get this to work!

Apparently I cannot be relied upon to knit in the round – because while the initial joining was good, about a round later I twisted it up, and then didn’t discover that until about an inch was knit. By then I was not going frog it, so I twisted it back because this is cowl in variegated yarn and no one will care.

I also remembered that I had frogged the Wisteria sweater after reading that it didn’t really fit people very well. Apparently after that I had made another plan to knit the Copperplate cardigan, but when I looked at that pattern, I realized I’d be using a light worsted yarn for a pattern designed for sport weight yarn. The sweater would be way too heavy for the floaty look that the designer had in mind. So that plan got tossed (I’ll hold the pattern for another yarn someday), and I found a fun sweater by called Recoleta by Joji Locatelli which has been successfully knit in the Miss Babs Yowza several times.

Swatching went well,

so last night I cast-on for the lace collar, and by the third cast-on, I finally figured out how to knit it! Here’s half of the collar before I pulled out crochet provisional cast-on.

Onward and upward on two projects.

Next up: more serious swatching for the baby vest!

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Christmas Knitting or Not

For a number of years, I have spent a lot of time planning the Christmas knitting – as in gifts for family and friends to be given at Christmas. Some years there is a theme – like socks or hats – and at others, it’s individual for each person. Some years, I started knitting for Christmas in August because I am a pastor and leaving things to December would be a really bad idea. Other times it’s been later.

This year, I knit for many in the friend/family network during the year. There were baby shower gifts, and birthday sweaters and cowls, and when I got to the fall, I realized that most folks had already gotten a knitted thing this year. And I mostly bailed on the Christmas knitting.

But not completely. I have a couple of friends, Nhien and Curtiss, who are completely knit worthy (as in sending photos wearing the knitted item, lovely handwritten thank you notes). Nhien is a knitter, and Curtiss is a muggle who appreciates the socks I knit for him.

For Nhien, I made a shawl to replace one that had gotten eaten by the moths. It’s Wilhemina’s shawlette (from the fabulous book What Would Madame DeFarge Knit). The original was in a now discontinued color from , and the color was pretty cool, so I made a lace-weight version in ShiBui Lunar, which is a merino/silk blend. I did a couple of more repeats to make the shawl big enough, and love how it came out:

For Curtiss, I knit him his annual pair of knitted socks – this out of some vacation yarn I got at The Swift Stitch in Santa Cruz. The yarn is Candy Skein Yummy Fingering Sock and truly a lovely yarn, The pattern was mostly a toe-up ribbed sock but I added a small Twisted stitch cable on each side of the foot running up the leg.

And finally I knit some dishcloths again – only six this year – and I verged on burning out on them. These were for the staff at my church:

In mid-December, I went to an event where the Knitmore Girls were hanging out. They offer a truly fun way of knitting in the holiday period – they call it the Grinch-along, which means you don’t knit anything for the upcoming Christmas after December 1st. That sounds good, although I’ve never followed it. But Jasmin and I chatted and I told her about knitting things for people through the year, and she loved the idea of taking this further by making a calendar so that you just follow that and not stress at the holidays.

It’s too far away for next year to make any predictions, but I have enjoyed making-the-things through the year instead of giving everything all at once!

So, tell me, What is your Christmas knitting approach?

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What I knit in 2018


As another knitting year has been completed at Casa del Revknits, so it’s time for the annual counting of the knitted things.

For the past couple of years, my knitting quantity has increased. In 2016, I knit 12,640 yards, in 2017 my knitting yardage was up to 15,050, and this past year, 2018, I knit 18,935 yards.  That’s an increase of almost 50% over two years!

There were some surprises as I reviewed last year’s knitting. I forgot that I knit so many sweaters, 6 of them (2 for the new baby Luis) and I didn’t remember all the baby charity hats that I knit.

Of course, the knitted knockers were the most for any category – 101, then followed by hats and dishcloths. A couple of new items made it into the list – Stuffed Toys – with a couple – the Dolores Van Hoofen kit and a bunny!










The largest single item was the Baby Blanket that I knit for the new baby in the family (1,367 yards – big!),

and the small bracelets for the knitting class were the smallest – I didn’t even count them into the mix for yards.

By the numbers:

  • Sweaters – 6
  • Socks – 6 pairs, plus 1 pair baby booties
  • Dishcloths – 10
  • Shawls – 4
  • Cowls – 2
  • Mittens – 1
  • Hats – 13
  • Knitted Knockers – 101
  • Stuffed Toys – 2 (Dolores Van Hoofen, Bunny from a square, plus 2 outfits for DvF
  • Baby Blanket 1
  • Bracelets – 4

2019 Goals

My going-in goal for the year is to knit myself more sweaters – I knit a short sleeve cardigan and a shell (that magically now fits me because I gain weight – yay?), and would like to freshen up my sweater mojo. I also want to use some yarn that I bought in 2016 in Paris in the Montmartre – will have to make plans soon. Finally, I want to do some colorwork knitting for the new baby, and I’m already swatching. So fun!

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Adding to the Knit People

A couple of months ago I decided to approach the downtown library around the corner to teach knitting to teens. I had felt as though I needed to be sharing some skills back into the community, and fortunately for me, the teen center at the library said yes.

I created a four-session class for Beginning Knitting (based on Susan B. Anderson’s lovely book Kidz Knitting Workshop) with these three projects:

And today was the debut class. I was totally prepared for zero interest, but I had four teen knitters who all hung in there to learn the knit stitch and how to cast off to make a bracelet/scrunchy.  One knitter said as he learned the stitch, “this is so relaxing.” Awww. One librarian thought it was a great success because some of my students have trouble focusing on reading and math. This was different!

And see these two faces?


Next week we make the bunny. So fun!

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Gift Knitting Through the Year

This year, I’ve decided not to put together a large-ish knitting list for Christmas – with many projects that need to have started in August if I was really going to accomplish them in time. Perhaps it is just a change of pace that I need, perhaps the fact that the people I love have received a whole bunch of knitted things from me, so that I am spending more time asking what they would like to receive, and tailoring things more.

Whatever the reason, I’ve spent a fair time this summer on knitted gifts for folks – and had fun doing it.

Marie’s Shell

I haven’t talked about this one for my cousin-like-a-sister – and luckily, this fit Marie well! It’s Morning Sky.

Unfortunately for me, I made one for myself that does not fit – it’s too big, and I’m working on losing a little weight, so it most definitely is a miss. I think I’m going to frog the whole thing and try either another shell or the same one on a size of different needle.

Jeff’s Retirement Socks

My good friend Jeff retired after almost 40 years in Christian ministry, and what else can a knitter give a guy like that except some amazing socks. He got the yarn and the pattern (Marpleridge by Kate Atherley) at his retirement party, and since he showed no inclination to knit them, I’ve done that for him:

Sheri’s Fingerless Mittens

There’s a new person on my knit worthy list – Sheri is my little cousin’s mother-in-law and a delightful, creative, strong woman. She keeps us entertained, and was totally there for the family in the middle of my cousin Dennis’ hard year with cancer.

For her birthday, she got to pick the accessory of her choice – and she chose fingerless mittens because she has a cold office. After giving her a few choices of patterns, she chose the ones that I had knit for my cousin – Beaded Fingerless Mitts from one of those “One Skein” books. Despite the name, I didn’t use beads on either pair. . Winter colors are her best choice, so I knit her a pair out of Madelinetosh’s Tosh Sock in the Tart colorway.  They’ve arrived and hopefully already being put to use!

Rachel’s Cowl

August birthdays always seem to sneak up on me. It was true for my brother while he was alive – August 1st, and apparently I still have trouble with Rachel’s on August 14th. But the good news for her is that I hadn’t knit for her in a while, so she requested a cowl because shawls are a pain to keep on.

The blue-greens are in her color wheelhouse, so I ordered up some Madelinetosh DK in the Translation color way, and knit a slightly larger Honey Cowl for her. If you knit this pattern, do check out the helix stripes modification, which hides the round changes nicely.  From a knitting point of view, this kinda felt like an endless knit, but the recipient loves it so it’s a knitting win!

How about you – what are your plans (or not) for holiday gift knitting?

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Finding (and Making) Knitting People

Long-time readers of Revknits know that I change jobs about every couple of years. Sometimes I move along with that, and about a year ago I moved to San Jose from Fresno.

Each time I move, I have a whole host of new providers to find – hairdresser, doctors, auto mechanic, etc. The priority of who I find first changes each time. With this last move, I decided to reconnect with my former primary physician, even though she’s about 50 miles away (I’m not sick and needing to see her often), but I had to find a gastroenterologist quickly. On the other hand, i just found an optometrist and dentist.

And of course, finding my knitting people is very important. Having been introduced to Knitted Knockers in Fresno, I was thrilled to find a local Santa Clara group, and went early on to a monthly gathering. They are very welcoming, but it has been a challenge to attend consistently with my schedule. I’ve only made it about every 3 months, but again, they are lovely. Other groups also seem to meet monthly, except for a group charges a fee to attend (??).

This past Saturday I was tired from seeing a show the night before, but pushed myself to go, and I finally feel like I belong. They know my name, we’re now friended on Ravelry, we’ve traded knitting patterns and I shared my latest knitting disaster, after which a knitter, who had gotten intimidated by my Ravelry projects, looked at me and said, “That is so good to hear.” Yep, we are the knitting sister and brotherhood sharing our challenges and our successes.

So I guess I’m going to help the group do some publicity for Knitted Knockers in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Belonging also means helping the group!

I’m also setting up a meeting at a local library to see if I can set up a class to teach teens to knit. I think it would be really fun! My current thought is to use Susan B. Anderson’s book Kids’ Knitting Workshop – it is really clear and has great beginner projects.

Because sometimes it’s not about finding knitting people, it’s about making more of them!

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Staycation and Mini Clear out

Here at Casa del Revknits, I’ve been looking forward to a vacation time, and had planned to go to Southern California for some of this week to see some friends. Then I looked at the weather forecast, and all of the days I was thinking of going were going to be well above 100 degrees.

Having just endured lived three summers in Fresno, it did not seem like a vacation to go into Fresno-like summer weather, so instead I embraced the staycation. And it has been a lovely few days in San Jose, with the weather in the mid-80’s.

As I settled into my new plan, I realized that now that I know I’m staying for a whole year, it was time to unpack the rest of my stuff, like a bit of jewelry. You see, I hadn’t hung all my pictures and mirrors and paintings, and then I remembered I had a table lamp (a cast-off from a friend 15 years ago) that had bitten the dust, and there were just lot’s of piles of little things everywhere.

Long-time readers of the blog may remember The Great Clear Out from a few years ago, in which I hired a friend who is a home/office professional organizer to help me with my “inheritance” of all my families stuff. This is very small in comparison, so I’m calling it the Mini Clear Out – because it is mostly getting rid of dysfunctional items (see Table Lamp) and clearing out clutter. Then I realized I needed a new sofa pillow and a new couch cover too. So much better for not very much $!

This project didn’t take that long – maybe 3 hours total, but I am so happy with the results and feel of my apartment.

I did get in a day at Santa Cruz (about 35 minutes away by car) and totally enjoyed a beautiful walk along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. It is almost as good as a massage in terms of de-stressing.

And wildflowers were blooming close to the coast’s edge:

After eating a bag lunch, I made a 1-mile trip to visit a delightful new-to-me yarn store called The Swift Stitch. I got to chat with the owner, and delighted in my of their yarns. I bought a beautiful Indigofly dyed skein to match a Hedgehog fibers skein I received as a gift (the new yarn on the right – called Poseidon, while the other is named Damp).

In addition there was a line I’ve not tried before called Candy Skein – a 3-ply fingering weight with a beautiful twist:

I’ll definitely visit again – there’s a cute French cafe next door to try.

Today is a transitional day – because tomorrow I preach, lead worship and teach a class, but fortunately, the sermon is pretty much done at 12 noon, and I just need to review my teaching notes for my class.

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A Lot of Fun

It’s summer, and my knitting mojo has waned a bit since I knit my cousin her summer top. I’ve knit a bunch of knitted knockers, but that’s just placeholder knitting.

I’ve not been especially into knitted toys because I haven’t had a lot of children in my life, plus, well, knitted toys are what I make for my cats.

Then I learned that Franklin Habit and WEBS Yarn Store has teamed up to make a kit to knit his cartoon character, Dolores Van Hoofen, a very badly behaved sheep. So much fun!

I pre-ordered the kit, and it arrived on time. It even came with hilarious sun-glasses!

Now, there’s always a risk that when you are the first to knit some new pattern, that you will discover issues in it. Alas, such was the case with this project. I have it on very good authority that the WEBS tech editor dropped a bunch of the directions; and my own experience was that a few of us knitting to the first issued pattern could clearly tell that no one had test-knitted this version of the pattern. This is when it’s nice to have knitting partners: a few of us gathered into the Franklin Habit Ravelry group and helped each other out as far as we could get (which was not all the pieces). Franklin was contacted, and was more than apologetic about the problems (not of his making, imo), and great improvements have been made.


Dolores has proved that she earns her reputation – she plopped herself into Izzie’s favorite chair yesterday morning to sun herself, and Izzie was not at all happy!

The plus of knitting this toy is that there will be outfits. Yes, just like your Barbie, Dolores is having her very own knitted-couture outfits designed by the knitterati. Amazing! Amy Herzog is having the first go with a Rhinebeck-inspired sweater set, complete with a parasol.

Franklin Habit is starting a KAL on August 1 – so head on over to WEBS and pick up a kit, you won’t regret it!

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Ups and Downs with Gauge

The knitting at Casa del Revknits has been proceeding, but with a family member who has been declining in health, and passed away last week, my brain and energy has been other places.  The positive has been a new baby in the family, Luis Cole (pronounced Louis, at least for me), who has been a bright star in a shadowy time.

Along the way, there have been ups and downs with my knitting.

The Sweater

I had found this lovely yarn called Coast that I reviewed here. I decided to make a lacy cardigan that my cousin Allison could wear after she had her baby – and it was a monstrous knit. I had to knit it extra long because of the gauge I was shooting for after washing, and then it was a large overlap. I thought it would never end.

It looked like this after I knit it:

And then I popped into the washer and dryer. And it felted. Felted. FELTED.

It was midget-sized. Apparently the wool and cotton duked it out in the washing, and the wool won. It was devastating.

I pulled and pulled, and yanked and yanked, and it finally got the point of being a small-sized sweater.

I’ve given Allison the sweater with the proviso that she doesn’t ever have to wear it as it came out in an unexpected way.

The one good thing, is that this happened to me and not her. I would have been sad if I had had the yarn work for me, and then she shrank it to midget sized.

Baby Sweater

The other sweater came out closer to gauge. It is a baby sweater for the new baby:

It is a bit wide for the length, and it turns out this baby is longer and thinner (like his dad), so I will keep that in mind for future sweaters.

One more sweater

I’ve completed one more sweater, and this one was a case of the gauge after blocking is what to trust. The garment is arriving at its intended recipient’s house today, so it’s safe to post here. The sweater is Morning Sky by Heidi Kirrmaier. This is a lovely top, knit from the bottom-up, and has just enough going on to keep your interest.

I knit what I thought would be the right size, having made a small modification to add more stitches for the armhole opening that seemed too tight for middle-age-and-up arms. And I spread it out, measured, and had another omg-gauge-sucks moment when I realized it was about 2 inches smaller in the bust than I had intended. Marie, my cousin and intended recipient had mentioned she’s wearing looser garments since she retired last year, so that was pretty important.

I held my breath and went to the swatch, which had come out exactly at intended post-washing gauge, so I put the sweater into the washer on cold, and then lay flat to dry instead of putting it into the dryer. Now, that was simply a choice, because the Hempathy yarn has no animal fibers in it to felt.

The result – everything came out nicely from the wash:

That was convenient! USPS tells me that the package arrived about a 1/2 hour ago, hopefully I’ll hear soon if it fits as I intended.

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