The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Peerie Flooers – Wee, wooly flowers!

Here’s a first.  I knit colorwork in fingering weight wool.  Gasp!  I know.  There are cobwebs in my bin of fingering weight yarn.

Peerie Flooers by Kate Davies has been in my Ravelry queue for some time.  The LYS Bazaar Girls has a fine selection of Elemental Affects Shetland wool.  Check out the 54 color chart on their website.  It is incredible!  Winter’s been cold. I think that motivated me to get this going for the yarn float warmth it would bring.

I had gauge issues because I just couldn’t bring myself to make a gauge swatch. The plan , heh, was to just CO and take it off the needles after a bit to check.  I have a small head so I CO a small using a #3 needle for the ribbing and a #4 for the body. The medium I started with was too large.

My row gauge was off.  The tall band should have been a clue.  But I liked the fabric on a #4 so I kept on.

I had to modify the crown decreases (omitting many rows) to avoid the hat being freakishly tall.


Kate shares a tutorial on reading decrease charts for colorwork patterns which I needed to understand how to read her chart. I’m still not clear on it.  Despite her thorough explanations I still relied on the written out instructions at the end of the post that lined up with the number of stitches in the chart.

I love it!  It’s so warm and very soft.  But I think I would choose the #3 needle next time I do colorwork with this yarn. The hat fits great in diameter but still is too tall and not slouchy enough for the top to flop over in a cute way. So I remedy that by folding the brim up a bit in the back.

Perhaps I’ll make the mittens?


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A Two Month Lapse

Jeez. I haven’t posted in two months – not for lack of interesting things to share.  Still here. But I’ve been ignoring the laptop on days off as I’m glued to one on work days.

I’ve had some knitting disappointments, placing an entire finished sweater in a don’t look at it and you won’t know it’s there pile and a vest that fell victim to a lying gauge swatch.

So knitting momentum is slowed – but not gone.

Here’s what’s been filling up my time-

  • A new nephew, Christopher arrived on Feb 2nd. He’s adorable!  Keeping the tradition, I made him a quilt and am nearly done, sewing the binding down.  Pirates, Octopus, Fish, in huge and simple blocks are delightfully colorful. More on that once done.
  • Spring won’t arrive. It’s been cold and rainy. Folks I am so ready for sun and warmth.  We must be at least 3-4 weeks behind in weather.  Nevertheless, gardening’s happening. We had the entire east side of the house dug up and prepared for landscaping.  We’ve planted 9 trees thus far – A Black Tulip Magnolia, A Japanese Stewartia, a Hinoki Cypress, A Vine Maple and a Japanese Maple, a Weeping Birch, a clump of Himalayan Birch, a Juniper and a Shore Pine.  This is the spring of investment in trees.  Seeds are starting in the dining room window and a couple new garden beds are in place. On work-outside- days, that delightful fall into bed and sleep better than you ever do feeling is back. There’s something so gratifying and therapeutic to me for working in the garden.  Photos to come.
  • Working in the yard has displaced some crafting time.  The little I’m doing tends to be while listening to the Wet Coast Wools Podcast on Youtube which I’m glad to recommend to you.  Glenda and Bernadette are goofy,  informative and enjoyable. I look forward to seeing their FO’s and WIPS.  5 minutes into a podcast I know if I’ll stick with it.  I’ve been watching back episodes as well.  Glenda owns and Bernadette Manages/works at Wet Coast Wools in Vancouver, BC. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them and shopping at their shop.  They kindly welcomed me to join them at their knitting table while waiting for Pete to return to pick me up.
  • I’m on book three of Ransom Riggs Series that starts with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Sure they’re kids’ books. But man I can’t put them down.

What else is in the queue for you?  How about a weekend at Madrona Fiber Arts? Or a hiking trip at Dosewallips State Park? Maybe some photos of the Olympic Mountains from above tree line? And there’s that fingering weight colorwork hat that’s done.

I’lll get going on those this week.  Until later!


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Charitable Knitting Winter and Spring 2016

It makes me happy to send off boxes of thick and warm, wooly items for people.

This spring, my LYS, Bazaar Girls, decided to join together to knit hats for Syrian Refugees headed to Canada.  The Canadian-based project was called 25,000 Toques and several provinces joined in. We mailed our hefty box off to Montreal.



I tucked in five thick and warm hats:



MUD hat by Andi OldTrout


Bulky Waffle Hat by Linda Suda


Hogsmead Hat by AuntyKaren Knits


Slip Stitch Stash hat by Renee Rico – Modified. Renee blogs at RevKnits. Miss you Renee!


To the Hats and More for War Torn Syria group I mailed off a box of 6 hats, a pair of mittens and a shawl.


My box o’ charitable knitting yarn is stuffed. Such projects are very portable and tend to be my I-don’t-carry-a-purse knitting projects.  I’ll also get some more kids quilt tops pieced up. It pains me to see such hardship. I hope this helps.

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Updates-Knitting, Soup and Hoops

Time for a mish-mash of catchup 

Home ill from work the last week, I was ill enough I couldn’t knit for several of those days (yah that sick…)

However, things are looking pretty good this year as far as the handmade gift checklist goes.

I give this phenomenon credit to:

  1. Several knitted gift ideas were switched to quilted gift projects which made the time frame MUCH more realistic.
  2. I wrangled the handmade gift list down to a realistic length and simplified some of the projects. For example, that lap quilt in flannel is just not reasonable, but a runner and napkins are.

I have sweater fever.  It’s cold out and all I want to do is make soup and snuggle under quilts while knitting or bundle up in down and walk in the trees.  Winter arrived with rain storms but clear, sunny days punctuate and they are divine. There are several SQ’s of yarn in my stash begging to be let out. After a partial day of sorting and mumbling and swatching I started a sweater project as a reward of sorts for having my last hand knit gift half-way completed.

This is The Lake Breeze Cardigan by Amanda Woeger.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry as well. It has all I’m looking for at the moment including:  Top down raglan shaping, cabled details on the back, minimal finishing.  The button band is knit as you go.  The fronts are plain stockinette so I think I’ll play with adding vertical bust shaping.


The yarn? Socks that Rock Heavyweight in True Blood Red.  I scored if from a destashing Raveler for a steal.  This yarn is so rich in color.  It’s tight twist makes it sturdy. The cables pop.  I’m playing yarn chicken, however, as I only have 100 yards over what the pattern calls for.  Since I often lengthen sleeves I have my fingers crossed.

What you see above is the collar looking down the body. There are short rows that help shape the neckline. I learned a new short row technique called Shadow Wraps or Twin Stitch.  Brilliant!  They’re invisible and don’t require picking up wraps.

This is the tutorial I used to better understand Amanda’s directions on paper.  I do much better visually:

Now blocking, a Christmas stocking I made for my niece Lily awaits a lining and a few embroidery stitches to finish up.  I made the mistake of not spinning this in my washer before laying it out.  It’s taking forever to dry.

Other ramblings –

Here’s our Canadian Hemlock living Christmas tree. Our back yard needs trees so we found this guy at a local nursery and gave it a special spot in the home, our first Christmas tree.  He’ll be planted after the holidays.  Jane’s leaving it alone. Hooray!


Speaking of Jane, I discovered a cat nip spray that’s been really fun. She ignores the dried herb version.  One spritz on a toy or her scratching post and look out! She morphs into a playful thing.  Here, post catnip binge, I think she was drooling.


Other rambles-

Speaking of wintery soups-below’s a concoction of carrots, butternut squash, mandarins and their zest, and plenty of fresh, grated ginger.  Puree with a submersible blender, add some curry and other spices and you get soup that warms you to your toes. I keep this in the freezer almost all of the time in single portion containers.  It’s helped get me through this week of cold-induced-misery.

A glimpse into the neglected garden-

A photo of the beautiful hoop frames Pete made. They’ll have plastic sheeting affixed. I’ve been too ill to be out in the cold wind to do this. But today…I can. Here’s a gardener’s lesson – I planted my winter greens starts too late. The chard and spinach in the closest bed are wee and not growing much.  Maybe the covers will help? Next year, I know to plan and start earlier.

And lastly, I just have to share this stroke of good luck with you. A road improvement project behind our home involved the construction dudes taking out a stone retaining wall.  Needing landscaping rocks, and turned off by the cost and, frankly, from paying for rocks, I eyeballed this wall of potential. After speaking with one of the fellas, he showed up the next day and asked, “Where would you like your rocks?”


Just had to take a video of them unloading a pile in the front yard.  I can’t wait to put them to good use.

I hope you are staying warm and cozy!



Fall Knitting Finished Projects

Hey Y’all-

Thought I’d catch up on posting FO’s from the last few months.

I’ve been knitting a lot.  Just finished a Christmas gift and half of another. Sharing those, of course, must wait.  Also pending are Halloween photos of my niece in her Babe the Blue Ox hat I knit up.  This weekend I’m finishing up a bunch of charity knitting. I’ll mail it off to the same organization I send the quilts. If you use Ravelry you can access they group’s page at: Hats and More for War-Torn Syria.

First, the cutest project given its model, the Bonny Tee I made my niece Sonja. The colorway of Tosh DK, Happiness, is the same blue as her eyes.


Glad it fits. I hope it fits through the winter. Geez she’s cute!


Next up is a B-Day gift for my sis Rachel.  The pattern is November Leaves in BT Shelter in Button Jar. This photo does not show the rich, flecked green color well.


I did not aggressively block open the lace leaves. I didn’t want the size growing any larger.


This hat I cast on while taking the Keystone Ferry enroute to my Mt. Baker trip. Based on the iconic  Turn a Square, which has 17,089 projects made in the Ravelry database, I’ve made this hat at least a half-dozen times. This one’s from a skein of Noro Silk Garden.


I did not make this shawl. It was a gift from a dear, sweet friend.  It’s so beautiful! I just had to share it with you.  She used the Northmavine Hap pattern by Kate Davies in delightfully light, wooly yarns in the colors of a moody, winter WA coast.  It’s now cold enough to wrap this around me. This is the first knitted gift I’ve received from anyone and so treasured.

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Made sometime ago, this Find a Penny Shawl (my third) I managed to lose in my sewing and craft room. Finally unearthed, it’s warmed my neck in the last week.  The yarn is Tosh Merino in Tart. Soft…yummy…this pattern is so functional and wearable.  It wraps around twice and knots for a secure neck warmer or drapes if wrapped more loosely.  It’s a quick knit.


Dainty Dorris satisfied a desire for a more loose, lightweight hat.  It’s too slouchy for my liking. I will undo the top and frog back a couple inches.  It’s knit in Tosh DK in Robin Red Breast (I think.)


I introduced Wee Sonja to the wonders of wool on my August trip to MN.  I know that look. I think she’s hooked!


Sis Karen admired my Betsy last winter so I made one for her B-Day in Malabrigo Mecha as well. The color is London sky.  How I love this pattern.


It accompanied me, up above the trees, while hiking by Mt. Baker.  DSCF5717

Cozy Thermal Mitts were intended for my sis Rachel’s birthday gift. But they are big. Too big even for my paws despite using a needle #4.  I may try felting them up a bit. The yarn is BT Shelter in Hayloft. This color I am drawn to. Unfortunately, I can’t wear yellow by my face.   When I make these again, I will remove some repeats.


This hast is the Station Hat.  Not sure who it will go to. It’s in the future gift pile. I knit it up in Malabrigo Worsted which is what MAL knit the patern card up in.  I love how you turn it and knit in stockinette then reverse it for a reverse stockinette surface.  I modified it by casting on fewer stitches than called for. As a result, I had to recalculate decreases.  To fit my pinhead, I cannot cast on more than 90 stitches in worsted weight. And that’s pushing it. I usually go for 86-88.


Sis Ali’s B-Day gift was the Lowbrow hat in a colorway of Malabrigo Worsted (Bobby Blue) I set aside for her years ago.  The pattern has a matching cowl.  DSCF5761 DSCF5762

Cool weather’s amped up my instincts to craft, cook and hunker down.  This winter I have some lofty goals for knitting. More on that later.


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Charity Knits

Last month I mailed out a box of thick, warm knitted items that will warm up Syrian refugees. I’ve been knitting for the Ravelry Group Hats and More for War Torn Syria.

Recall I made quilts as well.

This  MUD hat  is a blast! Bulky weight color work makes for a very warm fabric. This one is of doubled kureyon bits.

  This shawl, Sursa I made eons ago. It would serve someone else much better than I. It’s knit of doubled Silk Garden.  
Hogsmead is Uber quick. Bright, various worsted yarn held doubled make this one extra cheery and warm.

  Matching small childs’ mittens. I used this pattern off Ravelry.   Another Hogsmead at 2.5 SPI.

Here is the aptly named Big Comfy Chunky Hat. This would be fun to knit up a quick gift hat from a tasty wool such as Malabrigo Rasta.

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A Waffle Knit hat:


2016 my small, portable projects will mainly be charitable knits. Check out the groups page on Rav if you are interested.

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On the Needles, Off the Needles and some Charitable Sewing

I’ve been a busy bee in the crafting department and not so much with the blog.

Just completing a major yarn and fabric destash,  I’ve decided to repurpose quite a bit of languishing stash into charitable knitting and sewing projects.

BTW, is it possible to ever completely destash?

In the past, I’ve knit for Afghans for Afghans. Conflict over there prevents any shipments. I’m knitting up quite the pile of mittens, hats and socks and sitting tight. I’ve my eye on another charity, however, called Wool Aid (Rav link)  (Website Link).  I found them on Ravelry. Depending on what happens with A4A, I may send a box off to Wool Aid.

I’ll photograph these later.

There’s another charitable knitting group on Ravelry that knits and sews for Syrian refugees. It’s called Hats and More for War Torn Syria.  I’ve been piecing up children’s quilt tops from bright fabrics in my stash that need a good home. There’s a gal that volunteers to long arm quilt and bind any top sent to her. What a saint!  It would take me hours to do that. She can zip those out in a flash.  I love piecing.  I don’t care for quilting once I’ve pieced.  What a match up!

The three quilt tops I’ve made up so far:


This one below is mostly from leftover fat quarters from a grouping I purchased. The pattern I used is Sunsprite by Villa Rosa Designs. I just love their simple designs. Check out their website.


A plus to these projects is the license to create, to go patternless, to really stretch what you can to with odds and ends. Below, I made a coin stack of scraps using fabric as a foundation.  I then applied strips to frame it and add more width.


This last top started out as a cute border print I purchased ages ago with no intended project. I split it up and inserted a strip of leftover blocks from my niece’s quilt.


Quilts are to be about 45-50″ in width and 50-60″ long. It’s a great size for a manageable project. I’ll be making many more.