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 and Off the Needles

Project catch up:

A big box o’love I mailed to my sis last week. Would you like a peek inside?

Have you knit the Tomten by Elizabeth Zimmerman? It’s brilliant!  I used up many beloved odds n ends as well as two skeins of yarn from my northern CA days, Windrush Farms yarn from Mimi. This is a modular, all garter stitch pattern. Sonja will look adorable and ever bit the mischievous, impish wee one in that hood. Notes can be found on my Ravelry project page.

A quickie Husky quilt goes to Sonja from fabric her mom sent me.  This is my third time sewing this pattern. Super fast! Love it.

A Pumpkin hat went in for my nephew Chris because hey, babies get that sort of thing.

For a baby on the way I crafted up an apple hat. The leaves I winged.

You may know I’ve gone back to school and knitting time is at a premium. I need simple, can knit it while not looking sorts of projects.  This is The Big Easy in Manos Maxima a merino single that is knit underwear out of it soft.  I like the deep brim and it’s the perfect amount of slouchy.

The color is more accurate in this pic. Most knitting is done at night with Jane in my lap these days.

I also started Alieas, a cardigan by Isabelle Kraemer in a wooly-wool I bought at Madrona last February from Island Fibers of Lopez Island. Loving it so far and I’m much further that this pic shows. Top down, I got to the bust and decided horizontal bust darts are needed to provide some length to accomodate the girls to keep the sweater length in the front correct.  I read somewhere that it is a good idea to get sleeves in before doing so as that will greatly change the fit on the shoulders and front. I’ve got one sleeve zooming along (really love knitting a sleeve using the short row top down technique).  I put it on last night and the neckline and back width are perfect.  I’ve done bust dart calculations per Ysolda Teague’s Little Red in the City book and will insert and con’t the body after I’ve done both sleeves.

This is my first Isabelle Kraemer pattern and it is meticulously written and clear. I adore her designs and have several fav’ed and queued. There is a mock cable on the fronts, the underarm and sides and hem that are a special detail.

Can’t wait to finish this and make another sweater!  I’m in a sweater making mode…

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Charitable Knitting August 2017 Shipment

I sent a box of wooly goodies off to Seattle to help warm and clothe Syrian refugees.  The group on Ravelry called Hats and More for War Torn Syria facilitates this.  A very positive and lively group, it’s full of camaraderie. 

Three vests (L-R) Mini-Thermal Vest x 2 and the Toddler T-Shirt Vest. I found vests to be a reasonable project in warm months. The one on the L is from Noro Kureyon, the middle is Brown Sheep Lambs Pride worsted and the blue one is from bits and pieces.

Two sleeved sweaters made the box including (L) a very thick and warm Baby Pullover in more Brown Sheep held with Noro Silk Garden and (R) Quick Oats in some very deep stash Mountain colors 3 Ply wool.

Mukluk Slippers are a fun knit and also used some deep stash of Berocco Vintage. I suspect I’ll be making myself some for around the house.  A simple beanie for a child topped it all off.  Time to build that pile back up!



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!