The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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A sweater! Alias is done.

This is my first me-sweater completed in quite a long time.  The last one I made went to my mum as it didn’t fit me quite right and it was smashing on her.  This pattern is called Alias by Isabell Kraemer.

It is a wooly-wool-hug of warmth. The light worsted weight, undyed yarn’s from a little farm on Lopez Island called Island Fibers. I can’t get their webpage to load up for some reason.

I tried so hard to have the sweater completed in time to wear to the Madrona marketplace to show the farm’s owner mid-February.   I didn’t have it finished.  Show and tell photos on the phone had to suffice.

I knit it to the pattern adding sleeve length. I could have a bit less room in the waist.  It fits great over the chest. I did not add bust darts like I thought I would.  I went down two needle sizes for the ribbing. When (yep, when) I reknit it I may go down three as I’d like the rib to pull in a bit more.

Isabelle’s use of little details makes her patterns special. The pockets are knit in, cute and a snap. I was unsure about the bind off on the rib, cuffs, and button bands.  Once I played around with it I rather liked how it defines the edge. She has you knit a row on the rt side and bind off in knit on the wrong side instead of the usual bind off in pattern.  I had to play a bit with tension on that to avoid flaring of the rib while allowing some stretch. I think it complements the casual look of the sweater and makes the buttonhole band feel more substantial.

The construction is genius!  You start at the shoulders and shape with short rows. You then add on stitches for the fronts and all are joined to work back and forth.

There are faux ‘cables’ along the sides, arms, back, ribbing and button bands that keep things interesting.

The collar is knit long and folded over and sewn down. Sooooo cozy. I love it!

A faux cable is incorporated into the ribbing.

The sleeve stitches are picked up around the armscye and knit in the round, down, using short rows. Brilliant!  I like a set in sleeve. They seem to fit my frame better than a standard raglan, this avoids seaming in a sleeve and is such a smooth line. This is my second time using this sleeve method.  I prefer it.

I am hooked on Isabelle Kraemer’s designs. Her patterns are clearly written. I have Daelyn printed out and the Swans Island All American Worsted yarn all set.   And then there’s Driftwood. Wouldn’t that be a smart, 4 season sweater (so needed in the PNW) in a linen/wool blend?  I have sweater fever, with numerous patterns purchased and in the Ravelry queue.  I’ll show you Telja by Jennifer Steingass, which is on the needles, in another post.  Its progress is being slowed by a looming Biochemistry final.

Have you watched the Fruity Knitting podcast?  I’ve subscribed and am a Patreon.  They recently interviewed Isabelle Kraemer. I enjoyed the view into her personality and mind frame around knitwear design.  Fruity Knitting is my favorite knitting podcast. Andrew and Andrea, an Australian couple living in Germany, go above and beyond the usual podcast with interviews of people involved in knitwear and fibers all over the world.  They have a Knitters Around the World segment where other knitters share a short video spotlight of themselves. They also hike in the UK a lot and I love drooling over the locations’ scenery while they take breaks to knit.That’s something I identify with as I always keep a small project in my backpack whilst I walk.

Consider becoming a Patreon if you enjoy and support their work. It is a full-time job for Andrea and will keep this delightful resource coming.



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On the Needles

Oh, I have precious little knitting time these days.  When I knit it is welcomed relaxation and watch PBS time.  Just finished Victoria. Have you seen it?  Here’s what’s on the needles:

I started Alieas in September 2017. Had I been monogamous she would be done by now as it’s really a quick knit. Isabelle Kraemer is a genius, folks, the construction method was entirely top-down – shoulder shaping, sleeves and all.  Today she had a warm bath, a spin in the washer and is blocking into a cohesive and fluffy hug of a sweater.

I passed my Microbiology final last night so I treated myself to a full morning of knitting. All is done on this except the button bands. I prefer to block before I put those on.

The wool is delicious, wooly, undyed and from Island Fibers’ Lopez Island sheep. I bought it at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival almost one year ago.  My goal is to get the button bands on and wear it to the festival this week to share with them.


On the train back from Portland I cast on a new fingering weight, Shetland wool Field Hat by Amy Christophers. I’m using a mix of Jamieson’s and Elemental Affects. I adore the Peerie Flooers hat I made last year. It is warm and soft. This one will have a double brim to protect my ears from wind.

Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood has stalled for sweater ambitions. This behemoth will be a warm and light swath of fun. It’s a potato chippy pattern to make.  Just one more row is actually just one more pattern repeat. I was worried I’d not have enough yarn. I made it well past the halfway point before using up half the yarn.  It is Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed in the color Thistle.

And finally, I’ve been chomping at the bit to start a Telja by Jennifer Steingass.  I’ve queued up a few of her colorwork yoked sweaters. My LYS, Bazaar Girls, is doing a KAL for this beauty.  Getting Alias off the needles meant today could I cast on Telja.  I plan to knit the sleeve a ways up and block it for swatching information. The patterns calls for 5 SPI but I’d like to knit my Lett Lopi more around 4.5 SPI. We’ll see what happens. I’ve started on a size 6 for the cuff and a 7 above the colorwork. I have a feeling I need to pull back to the colorwork and use the 6.  I’ve never made a colorwork sweater for myself only for childrens’ charitable giving.  I also hope this style yoke fits me well.  We shall see!

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Not having a car in Portland is freeing. I had scant time to explore due to that class I took but still, I had time to explore and visit some favorite places.

The network of bridges and the river interest me.

Powells is an ENTIRE block of books, folks, a whole block. I spent plenty of time there on a rainy evening.

My last AM there I walked up the street to the Nob Hill area. new to me, this spot is famed for its boutique stores. I liked this small/local business slant. It made for a good walk which I craved after sitting in a class all day.

This is a lovely neighborhood with older homes and charming apartment (?condo) buildings.


The chocolate store.


I skipped Voodoo donuts this time. Found Blue Star instead and slowly savored a Mexican Hot Chocolate delight with strong coffee. There was a surprising kick of cayenne in that chocolate morsel.

Quirk.  Remember the movie?  Loved it.

Headed downtown.


Just miscellany glimpses.

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To Portland by train- views while traveling south

It wasn’t easy leaving an ailing Jane to attend a training out of town last week even though I knew she was in excellent hands.   I was thrilled to hear she’d regained her sight and appetite a day after I left.  Steroids to the eye reduced the swelling to near normal. About 25% of the eye is still clouded. Her sight’s restored and she is back to her usual antics including perching on me at night.  We had a helluva trip to the vet yesterday. Stepping into the office a cacophony of dogs barking greeted us. Her hackles went up.  The hissing commenced. As a result, the vet couldn’t recheck her BP or weigh her.  We return next Sat 15 minutes before they open to avoid that scenario.

Fingers crossed the BP is controlled, her kidneys rebound and there isn’t a repeat injury to her eye/s.  It’s good to have my girl back.

On to the trip.

I attended a training with the State of WA on RN delegation. RN delegation is assigning tasks to caregivers, that are properly trained, that require RN oversight (eg: clean wound care, catheter irrigations, administering insulin).

The training was in Vancouver, WA but I desired a Portland fix so I stayed very close to downtown. Sans traffic (hah!  not likely) it’s a 4+ hour drive from home.

I took the Amtrack. It was a blast! It was my first time. The train down was the Coast Starlight which was cush and comfy. Roomy!  I enjoyed the traffic-free time to knit, do homework and look out the windows at the sights. I can’t wait for my next train trip.

Here are some glimpses into the trip:

The King St. Station in Seattle-


It was gray and rainy-the scene was quite industrial close to the cities-

Approaching Tacoma-


Parts of the ride follow Puget Sound-

Farther south farms abound-

It was soggy-


Industry lines railways. Just north of Vancouver, WA-


Small towns dotted the route-


Centralia, a fun town to visit-


Crossing the Columbia River-

More on the trip back later-


Jane’s Update

It’s tough watching a pet age. Jane’s doing ok though we just stepped into a world of more involved care at home.

Here she suffers the indignity of a kitty BP cuff. The horrors! This cat morphs into a devil at the vets requiring a chill pill before going. She’s so sweet otherwise!

Her left eye went cloudy last week. The vet suspects her kidney disease, a result of a bum thyroid, has caused damage to that eye. Fortunately, the retina and cornea look good. A few years she received iodine treatment for her thyroid. We’ve been watching her kidneys ever since knowing they’d eventually succumb.

Since starting drops, BP pill and subcutaneous fluids on Saturday she’s perkier, the eye’s less swollen and she’s eating though not quite enough. Unfortunately a chronic eye infection in her rt eye now leaves her totally blind. I think she may see some shapes. It’s changed her behavior quite a bit. She no longer hops into bed with me to snuggle. It’s unknown if she’ll get her sight back.

I am on a trip to a training. It breaks my heart to leave her for a couple days but she’s in good hands.

I’ll keep you posted.

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A Winter’s Walk

I’m having a bit of a glum morning. Though I try to not let it drag me down the state of the world and the dysfunctional #$*’s in US politics has been magnifying everyday troubles and annoyances more than usual.

My cat Jane gazed at me two days ago with a completely clouded over left eye. Having impaired sight in her rt eye from a chronic infection, she is now nearly blind, walking into things.  We see the vet this AM. I hope this is a simple infection that can be treated.  It’s hard having a geriatric pet. Some days they look a bit stiffer or don’t eat very well – a reminder of their shortening lease on life.

A walk in a local park Thursday was just the ticket to lift the spirits.

Low tide was still high enough to make the beach route impassable.  A seal kept an eye on us like a para scope.  The clouds washed the sea in the prettiest grey-green.

Up the trail into the Madrones and young fir we walked.  It was very windy – the trees swayed.

Madrones – A favorite tree of mine – sculpted and sinuous.

I like how their curved lines wend around the arrow-straight fir.

There’s a coffee shop at Fort Worden we took full advantage of. Returning the way we came the sun made an appearance.  Hooray! Incredible how the color of the water changed so quickly and dramatically, now a deep blue.

The daylight lengthens. Tuesday it was warm enough to garden all day. A gift!

More later-