Monday, December 29, 2008


Picking up stitches around a neck edge or armhole or even an afghan isn't as hard as it sounds. There are ways to make this #@!*%@ task and easy one!!

Let's say you have a neck edge to pick up. Instructions read something like this: With right side facing, pick up 16 stitches along the left front edge, 30 stitches along front and 16 stitches on the right side.

So, how do you pick up 16 stitches if you have more than 16 rows? Well, the easiest way to do this is to divide your front edge in half by folding it in half and placing a pin or stitch marker at the mid point. Then you can pick up 8 stitches before the marker and 8 stitches after the marker. The same holds true for the front: fold it in half, place a marker at the mid point and pick up 15 stitches before the marker and 15 stitches after the marker. I can't stress to you how much easier and more uniform this looks!

Say you have an afghan that needs crochet edges and you have to crochet 100 stitches along the edge (we're only going to use this one side as a demonstration.) Fold the afghan in half, place a marker at the halfway point. Then fold the half in half and place a marker at that mid point, then do this again on the other half. You should now have 3 markers. So you now are going to pick up 25 stitches in each of the 4 sections making your crochet journey a much, much easier one!

Picking up and knitting these stitches will become easier each time you have to do it. Some people use a crochet hook to pick up their stitches and then transfer them to their needle. I like to eliminate the middle man (actually the crochet hook) and just pick up and knit with the knitting needle!

Also, when you are picking up your stitches, make sure that you are picking up both the front and back loop of the stitch. If you only pick up one of them, the stitch won't be secure enough--as a matter of fact, it even will be loose.

Hoping that picking up stitches will be a lot easier for you! It truly will be a better experience when you have a little bit of help along the way!!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


When I write my newsletters, I like to look back at past ones so I can make sure that I am not writing the same info as others before!

In writing our January 2009 newsletter, I came across January 2007's. On past newsletters I wrote HELPFUL HINTS, which I no longer write because of this blog!

But, this HELPFUL HINT was a good one that I want to share and it went like this:

Thursday is my day off. Depending on how I feel, I may kick off my shoes or maybe not even put them on and watch TV. I finally got to watch an episode of KNITTY GRITTY. I couldn't believe it was on! Well, there was a woman (didn't catch her name) who was teaching sock knitting. What a wonder! I was delighted to see it on TV. After the sock session was over, they had this great helpful hint. Let's say you have yarn, you don't have the labels, so you don't have any idea what size needle to use. Take out your handy dandy knitting needle gauge, the one with the holes, and double the yarn and pass the yarn through one hole. If it's too tight, try the next size hole. If the yarn passes through the hole easily without pulling, then that's the needle size to use! Neat? Yeah!!!

See, it pays to look back sometimes, (even if it's a newsletter!)

Just for the heck of it, pull a label off from one of the yarns in your stash (I'm sure you have LOTS OF STASH) and try the above exercise. Don't look at the yarn label to see what size needle to use. See if it works and let me know!


HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I am knitting a capelet that is a design from Plymouth Yarns. The yarn is yummy - and it's called CONFUSION (if you ever knitted with it, you will understand why). Anyway, The capelet goes from stockinette stitch to reverse stockinette stitch, about every 4 rows or so. Hard? No! Keep your place--not a problem......until you forget to mark off where you are!

I am almost done stitching it and I realized that I should have had a cross reference of the rows--meaning this: Since this goes from Strip 1 of 4 rows of stockinette to Strip 2 of reverse stockinette, etc., AND the rows are numbered for each strip 1 through 4, I would number the rows consecutively on a separate piece of paper and put whether it's a purl or knit row. It may sound like a bit more work to do before you start knitting it up, but when you are reversing every 4 rows it's okay, but it goes from 4 rows in some areas to 10 rows in other areas and this yarn consists of 12 yarns connected together and sometimes it's hard to see what you have done. So, cross referencing your rows to another sheet of paper, at least for me, helps me to keep my place and keeps me in check! It tells me where I am suppose to be!!

If you have any ideas on how to keep your place in a quasai simple pattern, PLEASE let me know!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!

Monday, December 15, 2008


My Dad was in the shoe business for as long as I knew him, so I guess you can say I am the shoemaker's daughter! Normally the shoemaker's daughter goes without shoes. Did I go without shoes? Heck no! You should of seen how many pairs of shoes I had as a kid and now have!!

The reason for the above silliness is this. Sometimes we have to improvise when our knitting "tools" are not in site! Do I have stitch markers!? Yes, I do. Where they are is another question!! They could be in one of many bags! But...I don't want to take another set out of inventory, so I improvised. (See how the shoemaker's daughter comes into play!)

I was knitting a Christmas Tree hat (which, by the way, came out really cute!) I didn't have my stitch markers available, so I used yarn instead, but in a different color.

There are times when we are leaving for a trip, and we think we have everything that we need, and then we realize we forgot one important item (not toothpaste, but a stitching aid!)

Improvisation is not only in a comedy helps when we need to make do with what we have! The yarn that I used for stitch markers were okay and if I lost one, I made another one!

If you need a split stitch marker and don't have any...use paper clips, if they're available to you. I don't like using safety pins. There's something about them that says "no" when it comes to yarn.

So, take the advise of the shoemaker's daughter...don't fret if you forgot a stitching tool...I'm sure you'll find different ways to make one up...and if you do...let me know!

Happy Stitching, my friends.


We have customers who would like to knit or crochet, let's say, a shawl, and either has a certain pattern or their going to design their own. How do you know the gauge?

If you are buying a published shawl pattern, then of course, you're going to follow the directions. But let's say you like the pattern, but it's too tight OR you want to design your own, using one of the ga-zillion type of "patterns" that are out there!

Start with a swatch in either knit or crochet and whatever size hook or needle chosen. Stitch for several rows and if you are not sure that this is the size you like DO NOT TEAR OUT THE ROWS. WHY?

Example: You knitted or crocheted with size "x" needle/hook for 3 inches. Place either a split marker or a paper clip at the end of the row. Now, knit or crochet using a needle/hook that is either smaller or larger (whichever way you want to go). Now you know what both samples look like! If you had taken out the swatch and started over, you probably would not have remember what it looked like and now you do.

This makes your decision making a lot easier. The gauge may not be important in this particular case, providing you have enough yarn! Sometimes all you need is what is pleasing to YOUR eye, because it's your design!

Happy Stitching, my friends!


If I wrote before that you NEVER stop knitting in the middle of a row, then, sorry, I'm gonna repeat it! NEVER STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROW. Why?

We had a customer knitting her first grandchild's baby sweater. 'Ginny, I have a hole here, why?', she asked. 'Did you stop in the middle of the row before you went to bed?', I asked. 'Yes', she said. Sound familiar?

If you have to stop in the middle of the row for more than 20 minutes, then read on. Remember that the yarn should be on the right needle. What happened to my customer is that she turned her work, making the yarn on the left side. In ripping out her work, it looked like she short rowed (knitted in one direction before completing the row, and then turning the work.)

So, rule of thumb here is: Either finish your row or don't start another one before bedtime. But if you do, remember your yarn needs to be on the right side to start up again!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stitch N' Rip

My friend Brigitte is knitting herself an afghan. After getting through about 1/8th of the pattern, she realized that her double moss stitch wasn't double moss anymore! She had to rip out at least 4 rows (or maybe more!)

I felt like Mighty Mouse...'here I come to save the day!' Instead of either taking out each stitch at a time OR ripping out all those rows without protection (oh my), I had her take a long strand of yarn that was attached to a yarn needle and made her weave through her stitches on her last correct row.

This makes it easier to rip your stitches down--you are saved by the yarn. Brigitte didn't have another circular needle with her, so you improvise, like others do! This made putting her stitches back onto her circular needle an easier job and a lot less frustrating as well!!

So, don't throw away your long strands of yarn. Keep at least a few of them with you wherever you go, because it's easier to stitch n' rip with this handy little tool!

Happy Stitching, my friends!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Sock knitting is the hottest craze. You have striped yarn, solid colors, jacquards and so much more. They come in skeins, balls, and now even FLAT FEET.'s your choice....4 needles or 2 needles or 1 lonnnnng needle?

Everyone has their preference. I learned to sock knit several years ago and got hooked on teaching it to anyone and everyone! I do like double points. To me, they make sense. I tried the 2 circular needles and honestly, I got confused! I also tried the Magic Loop method which a lot of people love. I like it to a point.....and then again, I get confused!!!

I would love to share how I learned to sock knit. You know, sometimes the Good Lord sends us people for a brief moment and then you never see them again. I had this one lady truck driver, who was just a bit taller than a fire hydrant, who drifted into our store and claimed that she loved to wear her knitted socks with clogs as she drove her 18 wheeler. She advised me to knit socks using size 15 needles. I thought that was a bit too much....I didn't want a Christmas stocking. Anyway, her point was to knit socks on larger needles so that you can see what you're doing PLUS it gets done faster! I teach sock knitting using Encore worsted weight yarn and size 7 double points. The stitcher gets the job done in 3 sessions (at least 1 sock is completed at the end of the third session.) They may not be socks that you would use in your shoes or sneakers, but they're great to walk around in the house! I love the Ann Norling pattern (#12). It gives you 3 sock gauges: Fingering, DK/Sport and Worsted. This is a GREAT beginners sock pattern and I've sold a ga-zillion of this pattern since we started teaching.

So, regardless of how many needles you use: 4, 2 or even 1 lonnng one, the point is (ha ha) to learn how to sock knit. Try it......I promise you ..... you will LOVE IT!!

Oh, and by the way, I took that Ann Norling pattern one Friday afternoon, used size 10 double points and created a Christmas stocking!! It was finished 2 days later on a Sunday evening! It's hanging on our store's wall.

HAPPY (SOCK) KNITTING, my friends!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave.....

Years ago, when the scarf craze was HOT, we used to knit or crochet with fancy yarns...and it was mostly with 2 yarns together. I remember knitting a triangular scarf riding in the car to our daughter's house. I said to myself...'I don't need to separate these yarns, I'll be okay.' So wrong!!!

As I'm riding, I'm cutting and knotting, cutting and knotting, and then I cut and I knotted again!!!

So, how do you avoid this mess? You can do a few things: either put each ball of yarn in a zip lock bag OR we carry zippered vinyl bags that have either 1, 2 or 3 holes in the top. This way, the yarn is separated, but in one container!!

It really doesn't matter which yarns you're putting together.....just separate them. They will definitely fight like 2 unruly children. Don't be cocky and NOT separate them---trust me!!! You will definitely be happy that you did!!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

K2, P2, K4, P6, * #&! % $, OH MY!!

I taught a cable purse this morning and in teaching this class I realized that sometimes when we have a lot of changes (k2, p2, k4, p6, etc.) along a row, it tends to get mighty confusing in reading where we have already gone!

So, how can we fix this!? First off, I like to make a copy of my pattern. I bought it---it's mine--I can make a copy (but don't pass it on to your friends). I'll mark the pattern up for easy reading. Today, I took the row of changes and with my yellow hi-lighter I hi-lighted the knit stitches. They stood out so that the stitcher can see and follow a little bit easier than just reading across the row.

If that doesn't work, then re-write the instructions as I have said in another blog:

Re-writing the instructions vertically is easier on the eye so you can follow it a bit faster!

Oh, and don't forget your Post-It Note to keep your place!

HAPPY STITCHING, my fellow knitters!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In October 2007 I started a wonderful knit sweater that I happened to see at our summer convention. The beauty of this sweater is that it starts from the left sleeve, then you knit the left front, then the back, then the right sleeve and then you finish it off by knitting the right front. Easy? Yes. AND...there's a but! I truly enjoyed knitting this project, but something else (who remembers what) came along and I stopped knitting my wonderful sweater.

So why is this blog titled NEW PROJECT/OLD PROJECT? The sweater is my old project that I put down for almost a year (shame on me) and now that I'm finished working all that needed to be done for classes, I wanted to start something new.....ta-da, my sweater, now a new project.

The problem with starting something new that was old is that I didn't practice what I normally preach. NEVER, EVER put down a project and not note where you were on your instructions. It took a while before I knew where I was PLUS I needed help, from Peggy, to find my place.

So, needless to say...IF and WHEN you put down a project, you MUST note where you stopped or else!!! Use a Post-It Note to keep track, that much I've said before on other blogs!

You will save yourself a lot of heartache and time to keep your place!!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Denise Interchangeable Needles

I have been asked: "What kind of needles do YOU like?" Well, I'm a chameleon. I can use any needles, but I do like my Denise Interchangeable Needles. Never heard of them? Let me tell you how great they are!

First, they come as a set: Sizes 5 through 15. If you want sizes 17 and 19, then they are sold separately. They come with 6 cords: 5", 9", 12", 14" and 19". They have 2 extenders so that you can join your cords to make a longer cord (for BIG projects), and 4 end buttons. The end buttons are used so that you can use them as straight needles. BUT...if you don't want to use 2 different size cords, they do carry a companion set so that you have the same 6 size cords as the kit. You can even use the cord as a stitch holder: just put the end buttons on each side of the cord!

Now the beauty of using these needles is this: suppose you are knitting on regular circular needles and you purl looser than you knit. Your project will be uneven: the knit stitches will be tighter than the purls. IF you were using your Denise needles, you can use one size smaller for you purls so that you are knitting evenly!!! This happened to one of our customers who happened to be knitting a sweater for her daughter-in-law. She had to pull out the whole project because she was knitting unevenly.

Also, they are very easy to connect - put the cord into the needle and turn a 1/4 turn and it's connected!

If you are traveling and want to take a few projects with you, then you have your needles all in one set. Need to change to another project, but use the same size needles? No problem. Just unhook them and put the end buttons and your safe.

So, I guess you could say I really LOVE my set of Denise Needles! They are a fine quality of needles and are a delight to knit on!

Try them, you'll love them too!!!

(P.S. We carry them at our shop, A Stitcher's Haven)

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I want to share a story with you regarding felting. Peggy, one of my employees, was becoming a grandmother for the first time. She knitted an adorable sweater with a hood for her new granddaughter. The yarn was 99% wool and 1% nylon. Knowing that the sweater was made of wool, her daughter thought 'I'll wash it in cold water so it won't shrink.' Well, I guess we all would think that. But guess what? It shrunk....and got real small---small enough to fit one of our bears!

Try this little exercise: take a strand of 100% wool and moisten it. Now rub it between your fingers for about 10 minutes or so. It soon will felt. It's not so much the hot water that turns your BIG project into the size it should's the agitation of the washing machine that felts it. That's what happened to the sweater!

It probably is better to felt in hot water, since we're instructed to do so. Rule of thumb: do what your instructions tell you to do. Don't be afraid to felt. It really isn't hard to do. I always start out washing it for 10 minutes, then I check EVERY 5 MINUTES, and then restart the machine to it's longest cycle. Just remember that when you stop seeing your stitches, then your project is felted enough. The only thing that I don't care for is that your project smells like wet dog in a rain storm!! Never put it through a rinse and spin cycle. Rinse out the project in your sink and gently squeeze until you get most of the water out. Then air dry---which will take several days.

So, felting should be done in hot water...but remember you can felt in cold water as well!!

Happy Stitching!!!! (or should I say Happy Felting!!)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tips of the Trade

While trying to help a new knitter, who happened to learn the continental method of knitting (yarn in the left hand), I saw how tight her stitches were.

For those who knit continental method, it is VERY important that you NOT knit on the tip of the needle. The purpose of the tip is so that the needle can enter the stitch easily. Think of this: there's no point on the needle. How hard would it be to get the needle into the stitch? VERY hard!!! By knitting on the tip, you will never get your gauge (SEE other blog: TO GAUGE OR NOT TO GAUGE...THAT IS THE QUESTION--July 2008). If you are knitting tightly and you are knitting, say, an afghan, you're going to use much more yarn than if you knitted it to gauge. Why? The tighter the rows, the more yarn you will need to get to your length.

The reason why we have different sizes of needles is because of the types of yarns that are available: fingering, sport, DK, worsted, chunky, bulky. If there was just one needle and we just knitted on the tips, can you imagine how tight the stitches would be?

So my suggestion is this: cast onto another set of needles and knit onto the SHAFT of the needle. That's the area just passed the point. Practice your knits and purls for awhile and get used to knitting on that area. I tell my knitting newbies to think of your needles as a pencil. You don't knit on the sharpened area of the pencil, but just below it, on the yellow! If you look at your needles that way, you will be surprised how much easier your stitches will flow when you knit properly on the shaft!

So, that's my TIP of the trade today!!!

Happy Stitching, fellow knitters!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tools of the Trade

Have you ever come across a pattern, whether it was knitting OR crocheting and found it difficult to follow? Well, I've got a few ideas!!

If the instructions are crochet, then instead of reading them across the page....
the instructions
one term
the other
so that when you have to repeat those instructions, it's a lot easier to see!!! I do that at times when the designer doesn't have it in his or her head to make it easier on us! I crocheted this one really neat shawl. It had to be made in sections and then sewn together. The instructions were ONE page, (and there was a lot more room left on that page). The designer could have repeated the instructions for us instead of saying: 'go to section 1 at the * and then go back to section 2 at the *. Yeah right! This was a class--I couldn't let my students go from * to * from one area to another---they'd walk out of the class---and I wouldn't blame them!

A tool I LOVE to use is Post-It Notes. Thank you Art Fry (the inventor.) I go through those things like tissue paper. When I'm reading a pattern, I keep the Post-It Note under the line I'm on. It not only keeps my place, but I use it to make notes and write down my repeat rows and hash mark them. This has kept my sanity!!! Another way to keep your place is a Magnetic Board. These were widely used in the counted cross stitch world. The board, which happens to be metal, is placed under your instructions page and there are line magnets to keep your place and to keep the page from turning. Either way is GREAT, but I really LOVE my Post-It Notes!!

Just like a carpenter or a plumber has his/her tools, so should every crocheter and knitter.
They're our tools of the trade, so to speak!!!

HAPPY STITCHING, fellow stitchers!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CABLES-They're easier than you think!!

A dear friend of mine took one of my sweater classes which happened to have cables on it. In making her cables, she criss crossed them. How? When you are taking your knit stitches off the cable needle, you need to slip them purl wise. The first stitch you slipped is the first stitch you will knit off the cable. Well, she knitted her last stitch off her cable needle. When she learned that she was doing it incorrectly, she had to continue cabling in that fashion to finish the sweater.

So, how can you make sure that you don't knit off your last stitch? Take a dark color of nail polish or a permanent marker and paint on the tip of one side of the cable needle. Personally, I prefer a straight needle instead of the "J". The painted tip should be on the right side as you are transferring your stitches from your needle to the cable needle. Now, when you are knitting the stitches off the cable needle, you'll know from which side to knit.

Cables really are easier than you think. I'm sure the first time we held knitting needles in our hands, we had no idea what we could do with them or what we could create!! Don't be afraid...just practice it. With each cable you make, the prouder you will feel!

Happy Cabling, my friends!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Boy or Girl Buttonholes???

When we first find out that we're going to be a grandma (or grandpa), an aunt (or uncle), one of the first things we want to do is knit or crochet a sweater for that precious newcomer!!

Sometimes the moms don't want to know the sex of their child, so we have to create our sweater in either neutral colors or just plain white (blah....boring!) Then the chore comes to the buttonholes. Which side do you put them on when you don't know if it's a boy or a girl? Well, the easiest thing to do is to put them on BOTH SIDES so that when this precious bundle does arrive, you can then place the buttons on the correct side. Then when you sew on the buttons, you also sew up the buttonhole! So, which side does the buttonholes go on for boys or girls? My rule of thumb is this: GIRLS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT, so the buttonholes go on the right for girls, and the left for boys.

The only time this won't work is when you have to give the sweater as a baby shower gift. I don't think the moms (or the dads) really care if the buttons are on the wrong side. They're not going to care---they've got too much to do when the baby arrives to even notice buttons/buttonholes!

So, chant the mantra: GIRLS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT, GIRLS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT and you won't forget which side the buttonholes go on!!!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cast On, Bind Off!!

Tonight at our stitch-in, we had a FREE CLINIC on knitting a circular scrubby. The project only has 18 stitches and the reason why I'm writing about this is because of how one customer was casting on which happened to be not one of my favorites.

We all know that there are a ga-zillion ways of casting on, but my favorite is the long-tail (or otherwise known as the sling shot cast on.) Did you know that if you are doing this cast on, that the short end MUST be on the left? If you have been casting on with the tail on the right, and you had enough yarn to cast on, then, boy you were lucky...or you had a LOT of yarn to cast on with.

The reason why the short end MUST be on the left side is that when you have the yarn coming from the ball on the right, it takes up much more yarn than the left side. So...what's the formula for casting on: worsted weight yarn normally takes up 1 inch per stitch. Lighter weight yarns are going to take up less and heavier yarns take up more. What I like to do is measure how much 5 stitches takes up, and then do the math.

Oh, by the way....if you are casting on tooooo tightly, you have options: you can cast on with a larger needle OR you can cast on with 2 needles held together and cast on tightly. Then pull out one needle and all the stitches will be even. Either way is fine.

The same holds true for binding off. I have seen a lot of projects where the bind off is way too tight. So, if you have trouble binding off loosely, then switch to a larger needle when it comes time to bind off.

It's always fun starting a new project, and it's even more thrilling to finish it!

Cast on and bind off, my friends!!

Happy Stitching!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yours vs. Mine

There are times when you start a knit project with, let's say, Brand X straight needles. You then decide that you want to change from Brand X straight needles to Brand Y circular needles. DON'T DO IT!!! Why? Good question!

Let's say I'm the manufacturer of Brand X needles and you're the manufacturer of Brand Y needles. Just because we manufacture needles DOESN'T mean that they are going to be the same exact thickness. It's okay to switch from straight to circular or visa versa on a project AS LONG AS they are from the same company. If you switch from Yours to Mine, there will be a definite difference in your gauge...AND it will show. The same holds true for crochet hooks.

So...decide first whose needles you're going to use and stick with them throughout your project. It's going to be YOURS or MINE!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Round-and-round You Go!

This evening was the first time we held a class on a Friday night and it started off with a Pizza Party! Our class was knitting socks. Socks, as some of you are well aware of, is VERY, VERY HOT in the knitting world. Why? I wish I could tell ya---but...I LOVE to teach this class.

We use the Ann Norling pattern, which has 3 yarns types: Fingering, DK (or sport) and worsted. I prefer to teach on worsted weight yarn because the stitcher gets to do less homework, and at the end of 3 sessions, you have one sock made!!! do you get these socks made? There are a few ways: 3 or 4 double points, 2 circular needles or 1 circular needle (Magic Loop Method). It really doesn't matter which way you knit them as long as you have fun knitting them.

I prefer knitting with double points and that's what was taught this evening. At first, you may feel you have 6 thumbs, but once you get going, it really becomes quite simple. If you have ever knitted in the round with circular needles, you will know that the yarn MUST start on the right needle or you won't connect your stitches. Well, that's how it's done with double points. You work around and around and guess what....around once more!!! The tail that is left after you have cast onto your needle is between your first and third needle so it helps you know when you complete your round.

The next time we offer a Sock class, which happens to be on each of our newsletters, try it. If you're reading this and you don't live in the South Florida area, then go to your LYS (local yarn shop) and take a class. You will never regret it, because it's like a merry-go-round: you go around, and around, and around and eventually you stop!!

Happy Stitching!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I look forward to Thursdays because it's my day off to do what I want to do, all by myself, if you know what I mean! I had errands to run and then I took myself shopping. After walking around for awhile, I realized the time and said "oh, just one-half hour more." Well, that half-hour came and went and I couldn't leave because of the heavy rain. So, back to shopping and I want to let you know what I found.

Have you ever walked right by something and it called your name? That's what happened to me. As I was trying to kill time I found something that said "hey Ginny, come here, you can knit with me!" Well I listened to my colorful friend, who happened to have a lot of colorful friends by him, and proceeded to pick out what I needed, or what I thought I would need to make a knit project bag. I stopped knitting to write this blog to you all because I am having so much fun knitting my Clothesline bag. Yes, you heard right. What I'm knitting with is clothesline. It happens to look like I-cord, so I couldn't resist trying it out---and guess what, it is working out b-e-a-u-t-f-u-l-l-y!

So, wherever you go, keep your eyes AND ears open--you'll be surprised what you may come across. If you check our WALL OF PURSE-AN-ALITY you will see a white with silver eyelash purse---and it was knitted with white nylon twine. Why not!!? It looks very much like the original that's made up, except for the silver eyelash. The possibilities are endless.
If you have knitted OR crocheted with something that is NOT yarn, let me know. Just respond by clicking onto the COMMENTS section after the blog!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Most of what I'm writing is from experience, so I want to share with you what I normally tell my customers NOT to do! We have a program called SWEATER WIZARD and unfortunately I don't use it enough. Well, one of my customers, Linda Vespi used to work for a yarn shop in North Carolina and they used it a lot. So I decided to take her advice, plug in a repeat pattern and make a child's tank top. (Didn't want to knit too much---just wanted to check to see IF the computer program was going to actually work with a "repeat pattern.") Most of my knitting is done at the store, since my umbrella cockatoo, Angel, doesn't allow me to have lights on while I watch TV at night. I stopped in the middle of a row, left my work for several days, and when I came to knit again, all the stitches that were on one needle came off!!!! You should NEVER stop in the middle of the row for a few reasons: the first one is the obvious--stitches can come off, secondly, you may not know what row you're on and may knit in the opposite direction (almost like short rowing) and you wind up with a hole at that point. So, if you're really tired and you think you can crank out "one more row" --- don't. Leave it for the next time you pick up your "2 sticks." You will be refreshed to start a new day's knitting. You're not supposed to walk in the middle of the road, so don't stop in the middle of your knitting!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hook or by Crook?

Thanks for all the comments, either via e-mail or by blog on how you like the articles. In viewing my e-mails, suggestions were made that I shouldn't forget the crocheters. Fellow crocheters, I wouldn't dare think of forgetting you. Do you know that in certain stores, so I have been told, they don't carry crochet, but they do carry knitting. I'm sure you all know that we carry both. Because in my book, you can't have one WITHOUT the other!! One BIG reason is: if you KNIT, you MUST know how to crochet...and I 'll tell you why. There are times when a knit project may call for you to single crochet around the neckband, sleeve band, and down the front of a sweater. Ya gotta learn how to do it!!! Let's say you knitted a baby afghan, but you knitted it in stockinette only. Well we all know that stockinette curls up like a baby, so how do you get it to uncurl? Crochet a simple shell stitch around it. The afghan now looks like a million dollars. Don't know how to do it? Check our class schedule on our website OR look at our last newsletter we sent you--the class schedule is there.

So here's my hint for our crocheters, but I first have to tell you a little story. Many years ago, before I bought my shop, I wanted to crochet a Christmas ornament I found in a magazine. I hadn't crocheted in a lonnng time, so I went to mother-in-law. Her advice to me was: "Ginny, the way you read crochet patterns is from comma to comma. You don't read it like a book."
So, my advice on reading crochet patterns is what Mom taught me. Once you read it the way I was advised, you will read AND crochet like a pro. You can't take a cake recipe, throw all the ingredients into the bowl and expect the cake to come out right-----right? You read a recipe from comma to comma---cream the butter, then add the eggs, add flour and salt, etc.....
See--crochet is a recipe to read. You have your hook (by crook) and you add your heart, your soul, and lots of love.....but from comma to comma!!!

Happy Stitching, fellow crocheters!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To Gauge or Not to Gauge...that is the Question!

GAUGE.....most knitters or crocheters DON'T GAUGE. Why? I don't know. We have customers come into the shop and say 'my sweater didn't fit' OR 'why is this baby sweater so small?' Well, the answer is they didn't gauge their work. Steve took a crochet class last year and the question was posed to the teacher: "Is gauge important?" Her answer was: "If you want it to fit!!" Sometimes it's easier just to take the 2 sticks or the hook and stitch. But..will it fit? Get out your crystal ball and ask it because no one is going to know if it will until it's done. may be sorry that you didn't take the time to gauge it! So...what is gauge? For those who don't on! For those who do know...READ ON too!! Your project may read: 20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches or
20 single crochets and 24 rows = 4 inches. Take the time to gauge it. The proper way to achieving gauge is to hang your swatch on a clothesline or onto something similar. Why? Because you don't wear your sweater lying down, so you don't check a gauge that has been sitting on a table. Others say that it should be washed AND dried so that you can see what happens to the yarn AFTER it has been laundered. Both make sense. Well, the choice is Gauge or Not to Gauge...will it FIT????

Monday, July 14, 2008

Frog-It (aka Rip-it, Rip-It, Rip-It)!!

I'm a believer that there's a reason why things happen. Several years ago, Steve (my husband) and I were on a plane to California to go to our winter trade show. Of course I had 2 sticks and lots of yarn!! I was working on the back of a bulky cotton sweater when I noticed that 3/4's of the way down I made a big boo-boo! So, instead of getting rabid mad, I frogged it: (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it). As Steve was winding up the scads of yarn that I unknitted, I realized I should of had a V-8!!! Instantly revelation set in! All I had to do was go to my boo-boo, take the stitch off the needle, rip it down and reverse the stitch. But....I had to learn, and really, it wasn't the hard way. I feel that a mistake is not always a bad thing--it's a learning experience. What I like to tell my customers is 'let this be the worst thing that ever happens to you.' So, my friends think of your boo-boos as being a teacher--you get to learn on your own sometimes, plus, Steve says that you get to knit again without it costing you any more money!!
Check out my website: for classes and more!