Hell hath no fury like me casting on. If a knitting pattern leaves the cast-on to me, I’ll use the long tail cast-on method. It’s what I’ve been taught as a child and have used most of my life. I have learned many other cast-on tricks techniques since my elementary school days in Seckenheim, Germany, and I love them all. I have no favorite, the long tail cast-on is just habit. Though I’m willing to be the sheep who follows a suggested cast-on in a pattern blindly. Who am I to question the designer. That’s the little sheep in me, follow the authority.

I cast on with two needles and don’t start with a slip knot. I’m not sure why just about every youtube video or knitting book will start out with a slip knot. There might be a conspiracy. My people are looking into it.

Since I cast-on with two needles I pull every stitch tight, because when I remove one of the needles the stitch has just the right looseness and the stitches stand like soldiers evenly spaced with their neighbors.

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But there is trouble in marianna’s long tail cast-on paradise. I pull pretty hard on those stitches and there is some yarn, actually only three so far, that breaks. The latest is Brooklyn Tweed’s shelter yarn. I think it’s the lack of twist in the yarn. With the long tail cast-on, you are untwisting the yarn that comes from the ball. Every stitch unwinds it a little bit more, in the wrong direction of course. If you’re starting out with low twist yarn, trouble ensues, you end up untwisting the ply. And if you’re working with single ply, you can be in major breakage hell.

I tried being gentle and not pulling too tight, which is very difficult since the motions I make are more reflex than thought out, so it took three cast-ons before the yarn cooperated. That makes me angry. I’m thinking about spinning the yarn again and putting more twist into it, but I guess that probably removes all the qualities the yarn offers. Knitting the yarn poses no problems so far.

For Brooklyn Tweed yarns, shelter and loft, I suggest an alternate cast-on. I wish Jared Flood would actually suggest one suitable for his yarn. I am that way, wanting to be told. I am not into reinventing the wheel by trial and error.

Yesterday I promised news from the good vibrations cowl. Yes, the one that started out venomous and now is a tamed pussycat with lots of goodness. Unfortunately it’s still drying and blocking. But here is a preview. Let’s all agree I didn’t make any mistakes and anything odd is a designer choice. The best news is that I have enough yarn for another one, perhaps I’ll reverse the colors?

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The postal carrier just came to the door with a package. It has the yarn for liana’s sweater and I’m a bit disappointed in the color. It’s not as bright as I was hoping it would be. Actually, it almost duplicates the shelter color you see above in the cast-on.

Included in the order were three skeins of yarn new to me. Not unhappy at all about them. But pictures tomorrow or after the weekend. Because we have tickets to the KVMR Celtic Festival. For a while there I was worried the festival would be smoked out, instead, perfect weather.



Rain, Shelter, and Loft

So many posts have been started and rejected in the last few days. The King fire has been raging and so has the smoke in our little town, and my mood. The whole town felt crappy and I had nothing nice to say. All I could do is spit venom.


This picture should give you an idea of how we all felt. A big thank you to Rick Ewald for letting me use it. And a thank you for being braver than me and going outdoors to take this picture for all of us.

This morning, waking up to the sound of rain, had me opening the windows and admiring the sound closer up from under my covers. Sad to say, it’s not even noon and the rain is over. Wonder how the firefighters feel? Is it muddy? Is the rain helping extinguish the fire or just making it harder to fight?

Toby’s hotshot crew is moving from the King fire to the Cascade fire. It’s only 35 acres at this point. But I believe it’s in the Tahoe National Forest and after all they are the Tahoe Hotshots. the last time I met and talked with Toby he was coughing away with a respiratory illness that he shared with the rest of the crew. I can only imagine how they sound right now after inhaling the King fire smoke up close. Somehow we should have the technology to protect our wildland firefighters.

The cowl I’m knitting had so much smoke and bad vibes knit into it that it needed the cleansing. The rain washed all the smoke and vibes away and the cowl is left with pure good energy. Instead of choking the recipient, it will lay cozy around their neck.

Last weekend I got a chance to score some yarn at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland.  A sweater in the new Brooklyn Tweed collection knocked my socks off.


I want to fit into that sweater. I need that sweater, but I’ll settle for Liana having it. Since the yarn, Shelter, is a little pricey, I got a couple of skeins at Verb to test drive. And while there I thought I’d try some of the Loft yarn.


This yarn photographs very nicely, but in reality the colors are much duller. The yarn also tears very easily. When I cast on I tend to pull on the yarn, can’t do that here unless I want shredded yarn. If I cast on very gently it works, when knitting I had no issues. It is the softest yarn. I thought it might be itchy or scratchy, but no, super soft and gentle.

That said, I will not be using it for the sweater. The price is too rich and I could not find a color I would be happy with. So I ordered a substitute and am keeping my fingers crossed. Should arrive Saturday. What to do with these skeins? A hat, of course.

Unfortunately I not only left yarn money at Verb but also indulged in a little fabric. You know how that goes. I’ll just take a look and since I don’t need fabric I won’t be tempted. Nice try, Marianna.

The first fabric to call out to me, actually shouted out, brought memories of my childhood. This fabric could have come out of any child’s book I was reading in Germany.


And almost, and I really mean almost, I got away, until I discovered the following while she was cutting the previous.


From then on, it was shutting my eyes and mind tightly to not let another expense in.

So what will I do with the fabric? Why? Do I need to do something beyond stare at it and touch it?

Other people get happy having a glass of wine, I get happy looking at my fabric. And ecstatic and downright drunk looking and touching my yarn.

And now to the neglected baby sweater. Oh, the intentions were good. But then the package arrived with the yarn for the next project, and what can I say that I haven’t said so many times before? I’m fickle, I’m a yarn addict, I’m a start a new project every day addict….

But I am almost finished.


I know it looks an awful lot like the last picture I posted of this little gem, but notice the arms. I still need to weave in lots of ends, sew down the seams all around and add a button band or some sort of band. It’s not that cold yet, I have time. I do, really.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the cowl with all the good vibes.