The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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Baby Shower Knit Set for Sis and BIL – A Finished Object

In April we celebrated my sister Karen and BIL Wes’s upcoming arrival of a little girl at a shower in MN.  For a gift, I chose to knit a sweater and bonnet I’ve knit before for another special little girl.


I rarely re-knit patterns. This one, Knit Lace and Leaves by Jeannine LaRoche and printed by Leisure Arts is timeless. Squishy garter stitch defines a yoke of leaves that fan out and frame a wee-one’s face. Plus, the hat or bonnet use that leaf motif in really cute ways that spread over the top of the head or cup the back of the head.  It’s very clever.

Back in 2012 I knit a set for my friends Matt and Agie and their little one Elsa.

This time around, I sent Karen a pic of several colors and she chose a deep, punchy magenta.  The yarn is cascade 220 superwash.

The leaves are so pretty!


For project details, see my Ravelry project page.

Like last time, I modified the pattern to knit the sleeves in the round, not flat.  Really. Flat?  Seamed? I simply knit the yoke, placed the sleeve stitches on holders, cast on a few stitches and knit the rest of the body.  I also made braided cords for teh bonnet.

My gauge was off, just like last time, I sure hope it fits this winter.

I chose to leave it short sleeved, as I have with other baby sweaters, for versatility.

Karen and Wes loved it. I can’t wait to see the little one wearing it!



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Quilting up a new home – Turning Twenty – A New Bed Quilt

It’s spring, I’ve a new nest to feather.  It’s time for a new bed quilt.

Back in 2008 I made a queen sized bed quilt from a riot of mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics using the classic and trusty Turning Twenty pattern. That version was made using the “Twisting Turning Twenty” version which used blocks, pieced in all light or all dark values, cut in half and arranged to make chevrons of values into geometric shapes. Pretty cool.

You know it’s a little odd peeking at vintage blog posts I wrote 7 years ago. Have I really been doing this for that log?  Jeesh!

This version was more simple, truly easy-peasy. I (cough) impulse ordered two fat quarter collections from Cotton and Steel, a fabric line I really dig.  Mesa by Melody Miller caught my eye for it’s Southwestey kitsch and Moonlit by Rashida Coleman-Hale was the other.  Both play well together. Needing 30 fat quarters (I added blocks to make this a larger queen than the pattern specified and skipped the pieced border) I used most all from both fat quarter collections (minus some i wasn’t keen on) and some from stash.  Leftover FQ’s will likely become a pieced shower curtain like this one I spotted on Pinterest.  Perhaps I’ll write up a pattern to share?

This baby’s colorful, but would you expect anything neutral from me?  Not really.




I mailed it off to Robins Nest Custom Machine Quilting in Lindstrom, MN for quilting and took it home, in a checked bag, when I visited last month. Robin does an outstanding job and is exceptionally reasonable.  I often send her projects and she phone consults on thread color and quilting pattern suggestions.  I completely trust her judgment as she has never steered me wrong.  Loyal I am to her!


Ii tried to piece the backing from stash only but didn’t have enough large pieces. That’s a sign I’m using up stash.  The middle strip I found at my local quilting shop Creative Union Fabrics.  The colors fit in with the others and it is delightfully whimsical. I’d not choose it for something front and center.


Close up of it’s silly print.


There’s a long lap size quilt (almost a twin) I also had quilted that is awaiting its binding. A special gift I’ll mail off to a dear friend, that one is top secret until it’s received.

Next project will be to get a lap quilt quilted and bound.  So many projects!

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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival-A Color Fiend’s Dream

Neutral and I don’t jive.  Beige makes me bonkers. Saturated colors please me.  They permeate my knitting and quilting, gardening and home decor choices.

Yesterday I took a day-trip adventure.  I visited some familiar quilting shops in  Anacortes and planned a couple hikes on Fidalgo Island. A 35 minute ferry ride from Port Townsend to Coupeville and a 1 hour and change drive delivered me to fields of blooms for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

I chose Roozengarde, a family owned, HUGE bulb grower. They plant over 1,000,000 bulbs each year.  In the fall, planned beds of bulbs are planted with 100+ types of tulips and 45+ other bulb types (iris, hyacinth, crocus, daffodil).  The Spring Tulip Festival showcases them to the public.


Swathes of planned color fill manicured grounds.


You’ll see a trend in my photos, having a sweet spot for orange, purple and blue placed together.


Next to the fields, behind the “authentic Dutch windmill” who’s photo did not turn out, drifts of plantings soften the contrasting foothills horizon.




Fields of mass plantings are open for public perusal.  An early, warm spring means I missed the daffodils.  Bummer.

It’s striking. Mount Baker peeks up.



A chance to familiarize myself with different tulip varietals, I found I like the doubles as well as the single blooms.  I think this one is called Angelique. Lovely!


The classic Singles are classified into early vs late blooming with heights specified in the catalog.

Queen of the Night. I think.  Stunning!

IMG_5414 2

Roman Empire – These remind me of the red and white tulips from my grandma’s garden. I loved ’em.  They reminded me of peppermint candy.


These are called Fringed because the petals are, you guessed it, fringed.


Here, Ballerina is a lily flowering variety, the pointed petals point outward. They are on my order wish-list.




Muscari is the purple, short flower on the right.  Scented so sweetly, it will be planted by the tulips I order for the fall.


I’ve circled daffodils, crocus, tulips and hyacinth in my catalog. The ordering deadline, for best selection, is August 31 for fall delivery or pick-up.  Having some time to plan I’d ,like to map out some spots to naturalize with bulbs.  The gardening bug’s bitten me, folks.

The festival is huge, many towns have special events, art fairs, runs. I saw a mere sliver.  Next year I’d like to bike around it.  It’s worth a trip if you’re in the area.

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2015 Knitting Goals – Let’s call ’em goals from now on.

Why do I write this post yearly?  [Why am I writing this 3 months into the year?  Ha Ha!]

I don’t believe in personal new years resolutions.  If I need to get my act together or work on something personal I just do it.  I may be rather Virgo-pragmatic-organized-stubborn but I don’t map out my actions for the entire year. For knitting I benefit from a bit of structure.  I get startitis, becoming overwhelmed by the prospect of casting on a new project, sifting and sorting through the stash in a glazed-in-the-eyes sort of way, far from monogamous to the project on the needles.  I’m also distracted from knitting by now having a great sewing room set up, a yard and garden to play in, and the urge to hike for hours whenever I can.

So much to do!

2015 will be the year of just letting the knitting be what it is – with just a bit of structure.  ;  )

2015 Knitting Goals 

  1. Knit 3/7 days per week, even if its just a few rows or 5 minutes in a day.  Bring knitting to work with me and retreat to it on a break, even for just a couple minutes. Keep something with me always.  Don’t record the days.  Just self-monitor.
  2. Use Afghans for Afghans projects as portable projects, simple projects that require little focus/attention.  Use them to experiment with new stitch patterns.  Use up those odds n ends of worsted weight partial skeins I have.
  3. Have all Christmas gifts completed by December 15, 2015.  Get a stash of birthday knitting together.  (All sisters have fall birthdays which makes for a crunch if I’m not prepared.)  Focus on simpler, smaller gifts.
  4. Make two sweaters for myself this year. This is totally attainable.  One is nearly done.
  5. Document my stash in Ravelry.  There’s a small fortune there.  And it’s not recorded. Being a new homeowner, I need to check with my insurance company and see how to document belongings in case of catastrophe.  Cull the stash.  Really look at it and bid farewell to what I am not using.  Fingering weight, sorry but that means you.
  6. Keep the knit it out/add to stash ratio at 4 skeins used to 1 added.  Track it. Otherwise it’s a lost cause. And damn you WEBS for the Anniversary sale preview video in my email this AM.  I really need to unsubscribe from such emails.  But I won’t.
  7. Knit some home decorating items this year such as cabled or colorwork pillow covers, an afghan (that may be a bit lofty a goal).

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