Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Wreath 2010

A picture of my Christmas wreath hanging on my door. Hope my neighbor doesn't mind me cutting off a few magnolia leaves from his tree.

More Madder Red Wool Dyeing

The last madder red color washed out. So, I re-dyed it and this is the comparison between the previous wool and the color now. It is even a darker red than what appears in this photo. Success. Have already made a Liberty or Death Cap with it.

Here is the dye pot with the two pounds of wool skeins.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to Knitting?

I have not posted in quite a while. Mainly because I have not been knitting. That is not until Sunday. Here are my new knee-high stockings.

I used Opal Sock Yarn (Opal Pullover & Sockenvall) color 26. The yarn is 75 % Superwash and 25& Polyomide. They fit great and I love them.
These were done on my Passap E6000.
Knit from toe up
Single Bed Knitting CX/CX
Stitch Size (SS) Main 5.5
Ribbing 1X1
Ribbing SS 4/4
52 Stitches at the top, 32 Stitches at bottom
130 rows on foot, 360 rows body, 20 short rows for toes and heel.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year

I have not posted to my blog for quite awhile. I have done no knitting for over a month as all my time has been spent planning/making built-in bookshelves and cabinets surrounding our fireplace. I had wanted to get this project done before my husband returned in time for Christmas but I was unsuccessful. Making bookshelves is hard to do by yourself as they are big and since they are made of plywood, weigh a ton. I can report however that as of yesterday, one side of the built-in is nearly finished. We have some final finishing touches to do such as putting facings on each of the shelves and putting handles on the cabinets. We plan on making the other side next weekend. I absolutely love it. It is lovely and took a lot of work to get it to look as it does. I love accomplishments especially when I can look at them every day and say "That built-in you made looks gorgeous".

I have to get thinking about knitting again. As I proposed last month, I am very interested in doing a Passap knit-a-long live on –line. I have everything I need to make that happen except time. The evening of 16 January 2010 looks like a good time to do a simple on-line tutorial about 7 pm EST. I will send out more information on the Ravelry Passap machine knitter’s group. If you are interested or have a specific beginner's topic you want to make sure I cover, please email me.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Frustrating Days Before Christmas

I had to cancel my effort to hold an on-line sock knit-along with the Passap. I had changed the date twice and now I have family visiting next weekend. I just had to admit that I can't do everything.

I also have given up in knitting a kit I bought for a felted bear. The pattern by Mary Martin (Bare Bear) is so terribly written that I got tired of frogging back each step trying to figure out what she meant in the pattern. Why write a pattern if you expect the knitter to to fill instructions that you forgot to include. Going to start a new project and use that yarn for something else all together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Date Change, Yet Again 12 Dec 09 1 pm

I had to change the date AGAIN of the sock along. With all of those date changes, I may be the only one connected.

If I end up changing the date again, I will cancel and try to do something after the holidays.

Passap Sock-Along 5 Dec 09 1pm

I had to change the date of my "Sock-along" because of the Thansgiving holiday. I won't even be home on the 29th.

I have the pattern written and want to finish knitting one so that I can put the picture up for all to see.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Passap E6000 Group Sock Knit

I am considering doing a live video feed to demonstrate and discuss how to knit a sock on the Passap E6000 (without electronics). My plan would be for a toe down ribbed sock.

I have an internet camera with an IP address that everyone (in theory) would be able to connect to and I have set-up a conference number for everyone to call in .

Does this sound interesting to anyone for Saturday 29 Nov 09 at 1pm EST? It is not often that I get to talk about my Passap E6000. The discussion I think would be lively especially if we could get everyone knitting at the same time.

I am not sure how many people will be able to connect to my camera but I'd like to try.

If I get at least a few interested, I will send out the telephone number and IP address for the teleconference and camera after Thanksgiving.

If you are interested, please send an email to or reply to my Ravelry post at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Scarf with many firsts

I mostly finished a scarf that I have been working on.

In making this scarf, it was the first time that I used Stitch Painter to do the design. I then downloaded it to my Passap E6000 console.

The red wool in this scarf is the first time that I have ever tried to make a variegated yarn using natural dye methods. I used cochineal (about 2 ounces of the dried bugs ground to a fine powder). The purple resulted from adding acid to the dye bath. I kept changing from an acidic bath to a basic bath amazed at the colors that resulted. If you are a Ravelry member, you can see the yarn before knitting at

Two yarns were used, the fingering red wool already described and a dark grey lace-weight alpaca single-stranded (I should have doubled it).

I knit the scarf using Stitch Pattern 183 (double bed knitting with both yarns being knit on back bed). It turned out to be 22” inches wide with 130 needles (-65 to 65). I am folding the completed knitting so the front bed design can be seen on both sides of the scarf, making it 11” wide.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Knit a Tree

I knit this "It's a Boy" banner for my neighbor. I knit it flat on the Passap E6000 and then used a crotchet needle to keep it on the tree. I hope she liked it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Baby Sweater

Finished the baby sweater that I have been working on. The sweater is made from the wrong gauge bicycle sweater front that I knitted earlier.

This is the first time that I have messed around with adding button bands and collars with my Passap E6000. I believe that I am adding snaps for the opening.
I rarely make sweaters on my machine. But I got so inspired after attending Inspiration 2009 in Westlake, Ohio last weekend.
The sweater is far from perfect and I feel real uncomfortable in giving this as a gift. I may make a matching baby blanket as well. I have a great pattern for my E6000.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guess what I am Making

Guess what I am making with the bike sweater?

Leslie the Laundress

The 1st Virginia Regiment had an event at Mt. Vernon two weeks ago for the Craft Faire they have every fall. I was the laundress and Gail Davis took two great pictures of me that I just have to share.

Here is me carrying water buckets with the yoke.

And here is me talking to the public. I love my bonnet and the new blue linen gown. The bonnet is one of the few things that I did not make myself.

Thanks Gail, you make me look great in 18th Century garb.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Update on Bicycling Sweater

I knitted up my new pattern today on my Passap E6000. I love how the design. However, the pattern is too big. I knitted the whole front bed knowing that I would cut and sew the sweater together. However, the triangle with "Vehicle Ahead" is 19" wide. That is probably the whole width that my sweater needs to be. So, I need to resize the whole pattern so that the triangle is less wide. I also want to change the lettering and use something that looks like my own handwriting.

Up until now, I have been using Creation 6 to do my designs which is a DOS program. Resizing this design and to have it still look good would be very difficult in that program. So, I downloaded the Win Crea program today and can't wait to try it. It looks like it will be much easier to use than Creation 6. But, all my designs (I probably have a 100) are on an old laptop that doesn't have any way to transfer designs except with 3 1/2" floppy disks. So, now I have to buy an external floppy drive and a DB25 to USB cable in order to hook it up to my E6000 console to download the design into the console.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Crazy Machine Knit Project

After reading "Charted Patterns for Sweaters That Talk Back" by Lisa Anne Auerbach, I have decided to make a bicycle sweater on my Passap E-6000. I have ordered the book, "Knitalong - Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together" that has the pattern Velo Cycling Sweater by Adrian Bizilia in it and I am waiting for it to come in the mail. Note: Those last two links for the book and pattern are from Ravelry. I do not believe you will be able to view them if you are not a member of Ravelry.

I designed my pattern during the week using Creation 6 (a DOS program) on an old laptop and have downloaded it into my machine. I have decided to use gold and purple cotton yarn.

I did the swatch today and know how many stitches and rows per inch. So all I need now is the pattern and the ability to change the hand knit pattern to work on my machine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Misc Photos May and June 2009

I finally downloaded pictures from my Blackberry. These photos are form May and June 2009.

Washington Monument with Ranger on Horseback

Washington Monument from World War II Memorial

Mike and I during Chesapeake Bay Air Ride 6 June 2009.

Gwen chewing up my bike helmet after I brought it up to dry after riding home in the rain.

Flowers in Front Yard.

My sister Barb with two of her kids - Emily and Max.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Finished First Century of the Year

My husband and I finished our first century of the year. A century is a 100 mile bike road made by those bicyclists that have nothing better to do. We raised almost $2,000 for the Maryland Lung Association. The weather was perfect for the ride - cloudy all day, temperature high of 76 degrees, and hardly any wind. And since we were riding on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the ride was almost completely flat. The biggest "hill" was the bridge to Assateague Island.

Following the ride, we were rewarded with all-you-can-eat Maryland crab. Mmmm.

Thanks again to all that donated for the cause.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

100 mile bike ride for charity

I am going to ride 100 miles on 6 June 2009 to raise money for the Maryland Lung Association. I need every dollar I can get to meet my $2,500 goal this year. You can see my pledge page here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Soldier Ride

I had to get up early today (4:30 am) to pick up my husband at the airport as he returned from a short visit to Kuwait.

Then, I had the wonderful opportunity today to do a 34 mile bicycle ride with about 21 wounded warriors from Washington D.C. to Annapolis, Maryland sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project, Soldier Ride. I love being around Soldiers; I wouldn't still be in the Army after 28 years if I didn't But, for anyone that has ever had the chance, the ability to spend time with Soldier/Marines that are wounded is even more special.

Here are a group of folks that just want to be normal but have been forced suddenly into being different. None of these individuals think of themselves as heroes; even though we can't help but think that when you meet them. Their attitude is refreshing and makes me realize that my problems are minor.

Some of their injuries are invisible to the eye and are only discovered upon talking to them. Others have injuries that cannot be hid, no matter how hard they try. I was amazed at all of those that were riding hand cycles, some for the first time. These bikes are really fast downhill, but uphill is definitely a challenge. Imagine pulling yourself up a hill with just your arms. Unlike on a regular bicycle, you can’t stand up and put your weight into helping one up a hill. Some of the hills we did today were quite steep.

The local support was huge. Although I am sure there were those that were late to work and were stressed, the traffic was made to stop in both directions as we passed. They even closed off a four-lane highway so we could ride for a few miles. The kids in buses were the loudest in their cheers. I am so happy to see such a response from the public. When I was participating in ROTC in the beginning of the ‘80s, the reaction to Soldiers was not all supportive. It probably didn’t help that I attended Kent State University. But, even during my first ten years in the Army, you were expected not to wear your uniform anywhere off-post after duty hours. And, I remember the horrible way we treated the Vietnam-veterans. I can assure you though, that today, the public response to the war may not be encouraging but to the military, the public is highly compassionate and accommodating.

(Added 6 May 2009: Check out this video about the Soldier Ride and how it got started.)

I want to thank everyone that that allowed me to participate in such an event. I definitely want to take part next year. I must thank my boss for allowing me the time off to participate.

Then I came home to find that my Passionate for Parrots and Purls Ravelry Bird Swap toys and yarn was at the door. Look at what I got from Chaimama:

Look at those stitch markers. They are little cockatoos! Beautiful. She added the Starbucks cup toy because Gwen loves Starbucks coffee. How sweet.

I am exhausted - I think it will be an early night.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cochineal Dyeing Gone Crazy

I have a customer order for cochineal dyed red silk stockings. I dyed the silk yarn a couple of weeks ago. I had tied the silk with wool. The wool shrunk and kept the dye from dyeing under the ties. So, when I knit the stockings, there were "white" spots throughout. Then when I measured them, they were too small. So, I unraveled both stockings and knit them again. Now, I believe the feet are too big. And, it didn't help with the white "speckling". So, I figured that I would redye them with more cochineal. It helped, but didn't remove the white totally. And now, for some reason, there are black spots. Not sure how my customer is going to take all the imperfections. But, what can one expect with using natural dyes?

There was so much dye left in the pot, that I decided to do some playing around. I threw in two skeins of sock yarn, two skeins of silk, and tried some multiple coloring with two skeins of lace wool.
The silk is on the left and the fingering weight wool on the right.
And, here is my first attempt at multi-colored yarn. Crazy?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cochineal Silk

With the return of good weather, I was able to do some dying. Today, it was silk in cochineal. This yarn is for a special order of stockings. It is beautiful.

Let's start with what the yarn used to look like.

And then look at what the dye bath looked like. I used recipe #118 (pink - crimson recipes for animal fibers) in Gwen Fereday's book Natural Dyes. I love this book. Her recipes are always easily understood and I get consistent colors from dye bath to dye bath. It is nice to be able to see the color you want and then to make it.

And, the final picture is one of the finished yarn hanging outside drying.

There was so much red still left in the dye bath so I threw in 300g of wool after the silk was done. It should be ready to take out of the bath when i get back from grocery shopping.
Now to make the stockings.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

1st Virginia Annual Meeting

We held the 1st Virginia Regiment Annual Meeting today. I brought two cases of gear to sell and stayed quite busy doing that. I was able to successfully log in all of the items into Quickbooks which made updating the inventory sheet quite easy.

I also sold a Liberty or Death Cap, two Monmouth Caps, and a pair of stockings. I was hoping to have sold more stockings.

Their is a winter storm warning for snow tonight. I am really hoping that we get enough to either delay going in to work or to not have to go in at all. A snow day would be great.

Gwen looked so cute tonight on her perch. I just couldn't resist taking pictures of her.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Sea Chest

We picked up our new maple Sea Chest today made by:

Henderson & Vinci, Historical Cabinetmakers & Joyners
205 Birch Street, N.E.
Leesburg, Virginia 20176-2521, USA
(703) 777-3923 Fax (703) 777-9507

It is beautiful. Normally, Sea Chests are painted. But I loved the wood so much that I just can't see painting it.
We put it at the end of our bed. However, Gwen the cockatoo believes that it is a striped, maple, cockatoo eater. So, for now, we had to cover it up. We will slowly uncover it so that she can get used to it slowly.
I finished a custom order for a pair of silk stockings. These stockings have my new toe and heel. Since I am mimicking 18th Century hand knit stockings (which were knit with fine needles), I didn't like my machine knit toe and heel for my reproduction stockings.
I am apprehensive on whether the customer will like these stockings as much as I do. He is an expert on 18th Century clothing and has had some actually garments in his collection.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Finally a Vacation

We are finally well enough after our bout with stomach flu to actually be doing our usual vacation things such as road bike riding. Although the weather has been a little rainy, we have been getting a ride in everyday since Tuesday. We even tried to fit in a mountain bike ride with a bunch of folks from The Hilo Bike Hub. Turned out to be not such a good idea.

Mountain biking is not a skill I hold. And after last night, I am not sure that I will be willing to try again. I did a "great" fall trying to jump over a log. Didn't do either well - I didn't jump the log and I didn't fall well. First picture is of my left arm and the other is of my left knee.

I would have kept riding even after wiping out except on the fall, I somehow messed up my left hand. Scratches and bruises have never stopped me from riding but when I can't hold unto the handlebar, I have no option but to quit. I have had the wrist immobilized since last night following icing and it hurts much less today although it is still swollen (not much). I don't think anything is broken just really bruised. I was able to ride the bike to breakfast (with the wrist splint) and also to take a 10 mile road bike ride this afternoon without too much pain.

Will try to knit some more on my Oak Leaf and Acorn Scarf. Hopefully my wrist injury doesn't stop me from knitting. I will run out of yarn before finishing. Another skein awaits me at home. I could have finished it with one skein if I had done the pattern length - I decided to add a little more.

And to top a not so great vacation, United has upgraded us to 1st Class on the flight back - yeah! Something good at last.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Something Other Than Knitting

I know this isn't knitting but I wanted to show off the new curtain and pillows I made.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry