Dumb idea department

Clearly the Name that Yarn! contest was a bust. Lisa was the only person who stepped forward to make a guess. She did correctly identify Cascade 220 and Koigu KPPPM, so she wins the skein of her choice. Whaddaya want, Lisa?

Whether it was a fundamentally flawed concept, or just a crappy photo, one thing is for certain - I am still on my YHA 12 step program, despite a minor Hobby Lobby setback in Kansas. And many of you should be, too. My original 7 steps have been augmented with suggestions from Stacy (AKA Back-Assward Knitter, but we love her anyway!), Eboni (creator of the Clapotis Thong), and the wise Bev, for a grand total of 10 steps. You know you want to be the author of step #12...

So I feel pure because I came clean about that single skein of Wool-Ease. I have also confessed to purchasing yarn in sweater form - certainly not in the spirit of the law. But there are still some issues to straighten out. For example, what about patterns, books, and needles, especially those needed to use up stash? What about Katcha-Katchas? And (mind you, this is a purely theoretical question) what about buying a Katcha-Katcha, deciding you don't need it, and exchanging it for a single ball of yarn? Say, Suede, in a lovely fushia, for example? Does that count? Not that I would ever do anything like that...


Loopy Little Bag - free pattern

Announcing the first freddyknits free pattern....

the Loopy Little Bag!

Just in time for spring, here is a free, easy pattern for a girly bag with a loopy fringe. It knits up quickly with one skein of Berroco Zen. If you knit this, send me a comment and/or a photo to let me know how it turned out.

free ribbon bag pattern, Berroco Zen
Loopy Little Bag - one skein of Berocco Zen Ribbon


  • 1 ball Berrocco Zen Colors, or similar ribbon yarn
  • Size 8 (US) needles
  • Crochet hook
Loop Stitch Instructions

Insert right needle into stitch as if to knit. Form a short loop with working yarn and pass loop between needles from back to front. Holding loop behind work with middle finger of right hand, pass stitch from left to right needle. Continuing to hold loop behind work, insert tip of left needle under two new stitches on right needle and knit the stitch. Pull on the loop to tighten it up. Repeat this stitch across the row.

Top Loop Stitch Border (side 1)

Cast on 30 stitches.
Row 1 (RS)– Knit.
Row 2 (WS) – Loop Stitch.
Row 3 – Knit.
Row 4 – Loop Stitch.

Body of Bag (side 1)

Row 1 (RS) – Knit.
Row 2 (WS) – Purl.
Continue in stockinette until bag measures 7”. End on a RS row.

Bottom Loop Border

Row 1 (WS) – Knit.
Row 2 (RS) – Knit.
Row 3 (WS) – Loop Stitch.
Row 4– Knit.
Row 5 – Loop Stitch.
Row 6 – Knit.
Row 7 – Knit.
Row 8 – Knit.

Body of Bag (side 2)

Continuing on from bottom border:
Row 1 (WS) – Purl.
Row 2 (RS) – Knit.
Continue in stockinette until this side of the bag matches the other side in length, minus the loop stitch border. To compare sides, fold bag down the middle of the bottom border, so that loops show on both sides of the bag. End on a RS row.

Top Loop Stitch Border (side 2)
Row 1 (WS) – Loop Stitch.
Row 2 (RS) – Knit.
Row 3 – Loop Stitch.
Row 4 – Knit.
Bind off.


Fold bag between the bottom rows of loops. Sew up sides.

For purse string, double 6 yards of yarn and crochet a chain. Lace the chain through the top edge of the bag every 2 or 3 inches to gather the edges together. Weave ends of chain together to create a continuous chain.

Copyright 2004, Lynne Frederickson Rago
Do not duplicate or distribute.
Items made from this pattern may not be sold.
You may print one copy for your personal use.

Brushes with fame

Last night I got to hang out with Debbie Stoller, of Bust and Stitch 'n Bitch fame. She was in Ann Arbor to promote her new book, Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, and afterward, a small group of AA SnB'ers headed over to Sweetwaters for a brief SnB session.

Debbie was warm, funny, irreverent - everything you would expect. Over coffee & tea, we chatted about darning, crochet (Debbie's working on a new crochet book), knitting as it relates to feminism, and the history of knitting. She mentioned a couple of good books on the history of knitting that I want to hunt down - No Idle Hands by Anne McDonald and A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt.

Her presentation at the library was great - the room was packed, and many people brought with them projects they had knitted from the books. Debbie passed around several items so that we could touch them, smell them, and rub them on our bodies (her words). I already have the first book, but I have to get Nation, if only to knit a Joey Ramone doll:

Dave needs his own personal Ramone.


I have achieved llama feet

Look really hard. If you squint you may be able to make out the beginnings of llama feet in the top row. You probably won't have to squint to see how my fair isle is puckering. I know I am carrying the yarn too tightly in back. Anyone have any advice for me (aside from "don't carry the yarn so tight, stupid")?

Look really hard

At least two Llama-Alongers (there must be a better name) are overachievers, and have already completed their hats. Ada has completed two adorable red and white ones, and posted pictures on her blog. Barbara made a lovely brown one for her husband. Who knows who mine will be for. I think it will be too large for Brian, and too small for me.

The letter of the law

Because I can no longer buy yarn, I have stooped to a new low - buying sweaters to harvest the yarn. But that was too much work. So now I am buying them for felting projects.

The six sweaters below, all purchased at the Lawrence, Kansas Salvation Army last week (total bill less than $10) will be participating in upcoming felting experiments. The stripy ones want to be pillows. The bulky ones aspire to tote bag fabulousness.

Future felt pillows of America

Destined for tote bag greatness

OK, so once while I was in Lawrence, I did fall off the wagon. An inexplicable, uncontrollable urge to crochet came over me. I say inexplicable, because I haven't crocheted in 20 years and don't even like crochet that much. I say uncontrollable, because I tried everything - gazing at the four knitting projects I had brought along, sleeping, self-medicating with chocolate - and nothing worked.

It was just a minor indiscretion, but there is still shame. Not so much because I was weak and bought a single skein of inexpensive yarn when I had vowed not to. But Why Hobby Lobby? Why hot pink Wool-Ease? Geez, I could have bought something scrumptious from the breathtaking Yarn Shop and More in Overland Park. The inventory there is organized by color, and it was a wonder to behold. They had Lion and Lamb, in every imaginable color. They had skeins of Silk Garden in happy colorways. But I was strong.

I don't have anything against Wool-Ease, or acrylic, for that matter. They have their uses. But it isn't normally what I crave. To buy Wool-Ease, at Hobby Lobby, NOT on sale, in a moment of weakness? I work in a yarn store, for heaven's sake. I had yarn (four projects worth) with me on the trip.

I did manage to crochet something (a single fingerless mitten) but it looked like crap since I didn't have a pattern or even know what I was doing. I am too ashamed of myself to post a picture.

What should my penance be?

The saddest Clapotis on the internet

Because there aren't enough photos of Clapotis in the blogosphere:

The sad shades of Clapotis

Half a Clapotis is better than none

Boys in their sweaters

Here are a few photos of the boys at Grandma's house, wearing the sweaters I made them last year. Evan is wearing the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket, and Brian is wearing the Ann Norling Top Down Raglan. I made these last year when I first started knitting. They are the second and third sweaters I ever knit.

Supermodel spokestoddlers

Brian stands still!

Fun in the tub

Evan contemplating the sunshine


I'm not in Kansas anymore

Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle. Well, actually Michigan but that's how it seemed when I got off the plane tonight. I had stashed the coats in the checked luggage since it was positively balmy in Kansas. Good thing my luggage arrived, because we needed those coats to get out to the car.

There's a lot I wanted to blog about in Kansas, but I didn't get many chances. I'll get caught up tomorrow, but tonight I just want to veg with Dave. Oh, and maybe knit a few rows....

Here's an outline of tomorrow's post, to pique your interest (OK, really to remind me what to blog about):

- The Yarn Shop in Overland Park - mmmm, coloriffic! But I was strong.
- Movies - A Verrrrrry Long Engagement, et. al.
- Argh! I fell off the wagon. At Hobby Lobby. Oh, the humiliation.
- An inexplicable urge to crochet. It didn't last long.
- Sneaking out for latte.
- Doorknobs specifically designed for ease of use by two year olds.
- Self-medicating with chocolate.
- Salvation Army - Felt Central.
- Clapotis update.
- Llama update.
- There's no place like home!


Tuesday is Llama day

Hello from sunny Lawrence Kansas, home of the Yarn Barn. I'll get back to that momentarily.

I am here visiting me mum & dad, with the adorable wee ones. The surly large one remains in Michigan.

Since I have absolutely no responsibilities here, I have found some time to knit. Today is the official start of the Llama Along. I completed earflap #1, shown below. What is that little symbol supposed to be? Hopefully not a llama.

It isn't too late to join - to hop on over to the Llama group, just click the llama button.

Earflap with mysterious Peruvian symbol

I have also made some progress on my Clapotis. Here, for all to see, is the dramatic First Dropped Stitch:

Clapotlette, in sad colors

I've enjoyed knitting with Silk Garden, but am not sold on the colorway. Isn't it a bit somber? It was all we had in the shop, though, and I had to start knitting. Plus, it ain't for me, but for the rich ladies at the auction. Mine is gonna be happy, maybe even pink. I enjoy being a girl (bursts into song).

This is where I put in another plug for the talented Denise needles - as this thing grows, I just add longer cables to my tips. I can't imagine knitting this all scrunched up on straights. I find myself spreading it out and gazing at it every 5 minutes or so.

Did I mention the Yarn Barn? I got a chance to visit, without small children, yesterday. It was inspiring to wander around among the wheels, looms, rovings, cone yarn, and dyestuffs. I want to come back and take an all-day spinning class. As far as knitting yarn goes, the store is well stocked, but, there wasn't anything I had to have. They don't carry some of the luxury lines (Manos, Noro, Lorna's) that seem mandatory. Plus I am on a yarn diet, remember?

Thanks for all your comments. I heart comments.

Llama Lovers

I'll try to keep this page updated with Llama-Alongers:

Ada - done!
Barbara - done!
Lori Lynn
Jane - done!


Finally Felted!

Here's what I have been up to, and a bonus cat.

Noro Kureyon felted bag of mitered squares
Dave, the hand model

I have been procrastinating felting this bag because I couldn't figure out what to do about the handles. After trips to 3 thrift stores, Michaels, JoAnn's, many online stores, and ebay, I finally settled on the black wooden handles above (less than $5 at JoAnn's). To attach them I picked up 30 stitches on each side and knit 20 rows of garter stitch. I then folded the tabs over the handles and stitched them down with sewing thread. They ended up a bit wider than I would like, but all in all I am pretty pleased. I am hoping the rich folk at the auction get real drunk and bid lots for it.

This is actually Dave's second gig as a hand model. The last time he got paid!

Black felted bucket bag with sparkly, fuzzy trim
Goofy bag for Mary

My SIL Mary wanted a felted bag similar to one I made for my niece last summer out of yarn I dyed with Wilton icing dye. But she wanted black. I threw in the bling-bling just so I wouldn't get bored. Plus I had leftovers after making Joe's wine cozy. Hope she likes it. Sorry for the crappy photo - there must be a better way to get a good photo of black.

Meow! Can I play with your yarn?
Pete Zastrow likes yarn

It seems that you can't have a knitting blog unless you post pictures of your cat. I had to borrow a cat to meet this requirement. Pictured is my friend Drea's cat, at book club. I hadn't read the book, but Pete forgave me. He enjoyed sitting on my lap while I knit this hat:
running out of yarn on the baby hat
Why do I keep doing this?

If you have been reading my blog, you know I am trying to use up my stash. One thing you might not know is that I have a pathetic habit of starting projects, usually hats, knowing that I don't have enough yarn. I haven't even started the decreases yet and all I have is that little wad. The blue yarn in the back is a slightly different gauge but otherwise very similar. I am thinking there might be a not-too-ugly way to transition slowly to the blue (stripes? Fair Isle?). Help!

Anne came over last night to hold my hand while I re-started Clapotis, this time with Silk Garden. It is damn hard to knit while holding hands, but I did it. When I get to my first dropped row I will post a lovely photo and await your breathless, envious, flattering comments.

Have I mentioned yet that I like comments? I read each one and often reply. If you read me, share the love - leave a comment.


Clapotis musings

My favorite blog post ever: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Clapotis.

Five rows in, I am frustrated by Silky Wool and inspired by all the brilliant Silk Garden Clapotises (what is the plural of that, anyway?) on all the knitting blogs. Stripes. Are. Good.

Tomorrow I am going to the shop to make an exchange.

I have been having a hard time pronouncing Clapotis, until today, when I had a brainstorm - if I just think "Truman" to myself before I say it, I get it right, every time. I think.

I am hoping that now I have selected the perfect yarn I can stop obsessing and get on with my life. (DH in background, tapping foot, staring at me, humming "dum de dum de dum.")

Contest update

Lisa has thrown her hat in the ring, and is the current leader in the Name that Yarn! contest.

Here are some hints for Lisa and others who might want to come out and play:
  • Cascade 220 - yes - how many?
  • Koigu KPPPPPPPPM - yes, but how many?
  • There's no Lion Brand in the photo. But LOTS in my stash, future dishcloths yearning to breathe free. After today, though, thanks to Janice, there will be 19 fewer balls, and more dishcloths in the world.
  • No Rowan Kidsilk Haze (bummer!) but there is something with a similar name!
  • Any self-respecting Elannite should be able to recognize at least 7 balls.

I could be persuaded to post better photos if that would help.

The yarn diet is going well, I think. Technically I am not buying yarn, but I did buy three thrift store sweaters to frog for yarn. How desperate is that? After about an hour with a seam ripper and a glass of port (dangerous combination), I gave up in favor of felting the damn things. One looked good on Anne so it is now hers.

Speaking of Anne, we went to the Super Bowl sale at the Stitch in Time in Howell yesterday. Everything was 20% off and I was very well-behaved. I did buy the Fibertrends clog pattern and the Lavold Viking Knits booklet - but these purchases are intended to help me use up my stash, and I have been trying to get my hands on them for awhile. So that is OK, right?


The best reason to knit

I can't think of a better reason to knit than this:

Incredibly adorable 1 day old baby boy
Hello, world!

That's all I have to say.

Mr. Breakfast Face!

It dawns on me that I haven't posted any pics of my kids yet. Here they are for your viewing pleasure, at breakfast this morning:

Brian with Mr. Breakfast Face
Brian digs Mr. Breakfast Face.

Evan with Mr. Breakfast Face
Evan isn't quite sure.

I would post a photo of The Teenager, but Mr. Breakfast Face is somehow not as alluring to him as his smelly teenaged bed.

So... no one has entered the Name that Yarn! contest. I am hurt. Is it too hard? Is it not worth it if you don't know what the prize is? Is the concept fundamentally flawed? Or just plain dumb?

Ok Ok - the prize is whatever ball of yarn you want from that pile. Is that good enough? Do I need to post more pics to make it easier?


Contest - Name that Yarn!

I have been diligently photodocumenting my stash, as part of the "organize stash" step of my 12-step program (actually only seven steps right now - I will get back to that).

Yarn from my stash. You know you want some. No Red Heart here, baby!
Name that Yarn!

As you can see, I have lots of odd balls. Which brings me to the contest. The first person to identify all the yarn in the photo will win, um, I'm not sure yet, but something good and knitterly! I am open to suggestions.

I am not detail-oriented enough to actually make up rules. Just leave your guesses in the comments (and yes, I know that that tips off the next guesser - that's your problem). First person to guess ALL the yarn (manufacturer and brand) is the winner. Sudden death.

If no one has guessed all the yarn by February 20, the person who has identified the most balls by that date is the winner.

For the "planning projects" step of my new program, here are my 10 stash projects. I have to knit all these before I can buy more yarn.

1. Mitered bag, Noro Kureyon, for auction (95% complete, plus felting). I'll post a new photo when this is complete.
2. Clapotis, Lavold Silky Wool, for auction.
3. Babies and Bears sweater, 1824 Cotton, for a pregnant friend. If you know me and you are pregnant, don't follow the link! (40% complete).
4. Llama hat for Brian - Llama from Lehman's
5. Slippers for Dave - Galway.
6. Socks for Brian - Sock it To Me.
7. Hat for neighbor baby out of something.
8. Sweater for Geoffrey from Elann Highland Wool Bulky
9. Huge felted bag for me from Galway
10. Purple 1 skein Museum mittens (yes, that was a hint!)

The following felting projects don't count toward the 10 since they were already knitted before I got religion:

- felt SIL Mary's black bag
- further felt DH Dave's alpaca headband
- felt my two hats that are too big

If I get desperate, and decide to follow the letter, but not the spirit, of the law, may substitute any of the following projects:

- Galway slippers for me
- Koigu KPPPM earrings - an experiment (also a hint)
- Fuzzy feet for SIL Mary in black
- Fuzzy feet for SIL Nancy in raspberry
- socks for Evan
- more baby hats
- dishcloths all around from zillions of skeins of Sugar 'n Cream

Other yarn that needs to be dealt with, one way or another:

- messed up purple Lopi sweater
- wierd cotton/wool stuff from ebay - trade or donate
- kid classic - 1 skein - bonnet from Last Minute Knitted Gifts - trade with Jennie?
- orange Yorkshire tweed - enough for a Lavold Viking Knits sweater
- navy Donegal tweed - enough for a sweater
- taupe wool/viscose blend - enough for a sweater
- blue Peruvian Collection Highland Wool for hoodie for me
- Knitpicks Dye it Yourself merino - enough for socks
- Knitpicks undyed Wool of the Andes - enough for Rogue?
- Tahki Cotton Classic - enough for several baby sweaters or some shells
- yellow Wool-ease - donate, or charity knitting
- miscellaneous sock yarn
- odd skeins of Koigu KPPPM (fish? socks? wristies?)


Down with S.E.X.!

Welcome to the YHA (Yarn Ho Anonymous) recovery group. My name is Lynne. I am a Yarn Ho.

(Steps in red text added 2/26/2005.)
  1. We recognize that our repeated indulgence in S.E.X. (Stash Enhancement Expeditions) has gotten out of control, wreaking havoc with our financial future and personal relationships.
  2. We acknowledge that there are spaces in our homes that are sacred and should not be used to hide yarn from our loved ones. Namely, the space above the ceiling panels in the basement and the utility drawer under the oven.
  3. We turn our compulsion to acquire more yarn over to a Higher Power.
  4. We vow to make a searching inventory of our existing yarn stash and determine we can knit for a year or more without even setting foot in the LYS or logging into elann.com.
  5. We vow to organize our stash and identify at least ten (10) projects we must knit before we can spend another dollar on yarn.
  6. We will join in support with others in recovery, and call on them for help and encouragement whenever we feel weak.
  7. We will repeat to ourselves every day "I do not knit anywhere near as fast as I can buy yarn. Even if I have a Bond."
  8. We will actively knit for charity, and donate yarn that we do not plan to use to charity knitting groups (Stacy).
  9. We must complete works in progress before starting new projects (Eboni).
  10. We should make all yarn purchases with cold, hard cash, so as not to drive our families further into debt because of our addiction.

OK, that is only 10 steps. I need 2 more. Any suggestions?

It finally fits!
another baby sweater...
Not trafficking in baby animals, really
Some days are like that
Restraining Order
American Beauty
weaving class
yarn fairies
Coveting the scarves of friends
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
October 2007
November 2007
March 2008
April 2008
January 2009
My Local Yarn Store
Crack for Knitters