Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

20131217-DSC_1986Seth finished reading High, Wide and Lonesome last week, and I couldn’t help but drop what I was reading for the moment (all those hard to remember long Russian names!) and pick it up myself.  My favorite books are those that center around pioneers; homesteaders picking up and heading west, chasing a dream.  I guess it all started with the Little House books when I was a child.  Something that struck me in the first chapter of High, Wide and Lonesome is a scene in which the father and son in the story are heading out to their future homestead to build their house.  They pass a man on their way, a stranger.  After introducing themselves and realizing they will be neighbors, the once stranger hands over his house keys and invites the father and son to stay in his newly built home while he is out of town for the week and they are building their own a couple miles away.  It just struck me I guess because these days sometimes it’s hard to even get a stranger to meet your eye, let alone smile at you.  This man handed over his house keys, sharing not only his home, but actually his very bed as well.  Trust and friendship, right from the start.

I’m trying to stay focused on finishing the girls’ bunny sweaters this week.  It’s funny that at my current knitting pace it is taking me about as much time to say, get to the point where it’s time to divide for sleeves on a teensy sweater, as it would have taken me on a sweater several times that size a couple months ago.  There’s a time for fast and furious knitting, and a time for just a little here and there.  As I was taking this photo, Silas sat down to grab the sweaters asking, “Where mine?”  He asks that question a lot lately, very sensitive to the new baby in the house and his new place in the family:  still a baby, but not the only baby anymore.

I want to learn how to knit colorwork (I don’t even know if that is the right way to phrase it) so I can knit these mitts.  Have you seen them?  They are Gretchen’s latest pattern and I really want to knit them but I’m pretty clueless about this technique.  Can anyone suggest their favorite colorwork “how to” book?  I almost ordered the yarn yesterday (I’ve not knit with Brooklyn Tweed yet and really want to) after buying the pattern (it’s half price this week) but stopped myself realizing that I have far too much in my queue right now, and wouldn’t even know how to knit them yet!  I better learn first, buy yarn second.


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  1. Those mittens look gorgeous, I can see why you wanted to dive straight in. I want to learn colourwork too but instead of being sensible like you I decided to just give it a go with very basic instructions from a “covers all bases” knitting book. I’ve already ripped it back and started again once, but hoping it will go better this time!

  2. Thanks for the link to those mitts. I will need to learn colorwork also. You are so talented, I am sure you will have no trouble learning it.

  3. Hal Borland – he was friends with Gladys Taber, I believe. I’m pretty sure she mentioned him more than once in her writings. If you haven’t read her, keep her work in mind. Really, really nice.

  4. Aww, poor Silas! Just when you think you’re the baby and then find you’re not the baby. But I know his mama and family are making him feel loved 🙂 Beautiful little sweaters! I’m amazed that you’re getting so much done! have a good week! 🙂

  5. Hi Ginny,
    I LOVE books about pioneers with homesteaders heading out west too! I can’t get enough of them. I grew up loving The Little House books as well. My mom and grandma made my sister and I sock dolls of Laura and Mary. And my grandma sewed us pioneer dresses.

    The little bunny sweaters are adorable.

    Beautiful mitts.

    Today in my YarnAlong link-up, I mentioned some of our favorite children’s books lately- about snow and holidays. Do you have any books by Jan Brett? She is one of my favorite children’s book authors and illustrators, I adore her books!

    Have a good night.


  6. Ginny, you can totally do stranded knitting. I knit my first pair of mittens ever, after having knitted for like a month, in colourwork. And I’m a knitting idiot. If I can do it, so can you. Its just a trick of keeping the two colours separated on your index finger, and not pulling too tightly. Start with a swatch, one red, one white etc. to get the feel of it, then advance to 2 reds, 2 white and play around a bit. That’s what I did, it’s a learning by doing kind of thing.

  7. Mason Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines has a 2 page spread with illustrations and easy to follow descriptions. It was that two page spread that convinced me to give Colorwork a try. It’s wonderful and so much easier than it looks!

    Merry Christmas!

  8. I just taught myself to do color work and it wasn’t so hard as long as I didn’t knit it too tightly. The book that helped me the most was actually Vogue Knitting: Ultimate Knitting Book. It has a really nice guide with good pictures and it is useful for learning all other kinds of skills too. I have a color work book and it wasn’t nearly as helpful.

    I love pioneer books too :-), thanks so much for posting about your son’s book.

  9. aw silas!

    i think you should just jump in with the stranded ~ colorwork ~ fair isle knitting, it’s very easy ginny, you already know how really, it’s just the knit stitch. practice practice practice, that’s the best thing to do. your tension is most important, so again, practice (the favorite thing scarf/cowl is brilliant for learning). books by mary jane mucklestone are excellent, and there are lots of videos on line to choose from too. just like in knitting, there are so many ways to achieve the knit stitch, we all hold our yarn and needles a bit different, and they are all correct. fair isle knitting is the same way. i hold both yarns in the same hand, my right. many hold both with the left, and some hold a color in each hand. (in fair isle you are only working with 2 colors in the same row). i wish we could sit and knit together (i would probably want to hold job though, hee hee). just try it, you’ll be surprised how easy and gratifying it is.

  10. Thanks as always for a wonderful Link-Up for our fiber arts <3

  11. What pretty mitts! I second the Elizabeth Zimmermann recommendation and add Alice Starmore to the list. Her “Book of Fair Isle Knitting” has been a great addition to my knitting library, and has a whole chapter on technique. Sometimes jumping in to a project with a new technique is the best way to learn–different things work for different people, and it takes a few inches of colorwork to discover what works best. Good luck! (And fun, new projects definitely need to be bumped to the head of the queue!)

  12. Colorwork is so addictive and so is Brooklyn Tweed. I am a die hard Jared Flood fan. The Loft is wonderful and the Shelter is … fragile for large projects. I’d stick to it for hats.

  13. It looks like everyone’s knitting needles are busy, busy with Christmas knitting! (Mine, too!) Ginny, I would have thought that I had written about half of your post today…trying to finish up Bunny sweaters, wanting to try colorwork, wanting to try Brooklyn Tweed…I love that mitt pattern. 🙂 I have one in my queue very similar that are full mittens with colorwork and Norwegian stars and snowflakes called Snowfling Mitts. So beautiful! Wishing you stolen moments of knittingness! 🙂

  14. I taught myself to knit colorwork/stranded when I made Fiona’s Ella Funt sweater. It’s seriously so easy. Carry one color in one hand, another in the other hand. If you have to carry more than about 4-6 stitches in the back, give it a twist with the working yarn so it won’t be all snaggy. Easy.

    I’m glad to hear you are finally reading The Brothers Karamazov! It’s so worth it.

  15. Wow! Look at all of these gorgeous projects that are being posted today! I haven’t participated in a Yarn Along in over 2 years, but I plan on doing so today! Ginny, have you read “A Lantern in Her Hand” by Bess Streeter Aldrich? We are reading it for my Well-Read Mom book club … It’s all about a woman/mother and her experience as a pioneer. It’s simple, but it’s good.

  16. Mary Jane Mucklestone is my favorite pro when it comes to color work. I taught myself by watching YouTube videos, but I feel like I need more help. I am taking a class with her at Vogue Live in NYC this winter. I can’t wait!! I would suggest getting her book, 200 Fair Isle Motifs. It has instructions as well as patterns that will guide you. It’s so fun to do! Good luck!!!

  17. Hi!

    I really enjoy knitting with multiple colors, or colorwork, or intarsia.

    I learned on my own with the help of Elizabeth Zimmermann videos. My dear husband gifted them to me for Christmas 2 years ago after I hit my limit of checking them out at the library. You must get them if you have not!
    http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Zimmermanns-Knitting-Workshop-Zimmermann/dp/B000MGTT54/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387380057&sr=8-1&keywords=elizabeth+zimmerman+dvd I know you can also get them from their family’s website.

  18. Thanks for hosting!

  19. Colorwork is easier that you might think, just make sure you are loosy goosy with carrying the yarns. Unfortunately I cannot think of a book to recommend. I love pioneer stories as well and I think it does stem from the Laura books. Little House in the Big Woods was a pivotal book for me and my love of reading.

  20. Still a baby but not the baby anymore…sigh. We’ve been there so many times and it always tugs at my heart for those little ones who need to find their new place in the grand scheme. When we had Veronica (now 11) Erica was exactly 2 (they are almost exactly 2 years apart by a few days). Any visitor who exhibited any interest in the new baby was quickly offered the baby by her sister with the disclaimer “you can have her, she is a really good baby”. Extra hugs for Silas.

  21. I look forward to seeing your colorwork projects. I always love the colors you choose to knit with and I know you will choose a beautiful palette for your future colorwork projects. I would recommend the book “Knitting in the Nordic Tradition” by Vibeke Lind. It is not a how-to on colorwork, but she explores that topic in-depth along with other aspects of knitting. It was my guide for my first colorwork project.

  22. Ginny!!! What a sweet surprise to come link up my Yarn Along post and see you’re talking about my pattern! You are so sweet! I’m working on bunny cardigans right now too, and I’m leaving all the arms to last. Probably not a good idea, right?

    You can totally do the color work. Trying a new technique is scary in thought, but pretty easy in all reality. The hardest part is juggling the tension of 2 strings, but I cheat and just pick up and drop the color I’m working on instead of holding them the same time. In full disclosure, I LOVE the look of the brooklyn tweed yarn the best, but if you’re just starting out doing color work for the first time, I’d pick a yarn that doesn’t break as easily as this one does. I do a lot of color work, and this yarn broke 3 times just because I accidentally pulled too hard. I love the look of it, and I love how it blocks and how it feels, but you do have to be careful with it.

    Someone already finished their *first* pair, with the lights and darks reversed. She knit them up in 2 days, so it is a pretty quick knit. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/oforney/cozy-morning-mitts

    • Colorwork is super easy. I knit Gretchen’s pattern (fell in love with them right away). And would you believe it’s really only my third colorwork project?

      I just dove right in after reading some pointers from others on rav. My husband is awed by colorwork. He’s never so impressed with knitting as he is with the colorwork projects!

    • But Gretchen, I want the exact colors you used, so they will match my red shawl! I wear it every. single. day. 🙂

  23. following for the colorwork suggestions as well! seems so complicated for a solid/stripe type knitter such as myself!

  24. I can highly relate to the “where’s mine” comment. Our youngest is saying the same thing. Our baby is due any day and somehow Pippa senses that big changes are coming!
    I think the best way to learn something with knitting is to just jump right in. Our 14 yr old daughter completed a pair of colourwork mittens this past summer that were amazing. It gave me the motivation to give colourwork a go. I’ve found that Youtube tutorials are the most helpful for visual learners such as myself:)

  25. When I read about you reading Seth’s book it reminded me of one of my all time favourite childhood books called ‘The Bounces of Cynthiann’ by Evelyn Sibley Lampman. When I had my baby daughter Hannah I would read it to her until it became one of her favourites. I’ve just managed to find an old copy of it on-line and ordered it for an extra Christmas present for her. She’s 25 now but I know she’ll love it. Thanks for reminding me.

    Gretchen’s mitts are beautiful thanks for directing us to them. They’re new to me. Hopefully in January I’ll have some knitting time.

    Happy days.

  26. I love the little bunny sweaters! This time of year always gives me an excuse to make little toys for our children which is fun for me and them. Happy Knitting.

  27. I so love those mitts too! Thanks for hosting.


  28. I saw those mitts and loved them as well…but have not done colorwork yet either…I will be following the comments to see what everyone recommends! Blessings to you and your beautiful family this Christmas !!


  1. […] 19, 2013 theblogmaven Leave a comment …Joining Ginny’s YarnAlong, sharing what I’m knitting and reading….…Knitting… I finished knitting […]

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