Ok, that seems like a really odd title for a post about baby blankets, but I will get to that in a bit.

Turns out that my niece Maureen, Colleen‘s twin sister, is also expecting and is due pretty darn soon. And not only is she expecting, but she is expecting twins! Yes, double your pleasure, double your fun. So I decided to weave her some baby blankets using Sheila’s sock yarn. One of the advantages to weaving is that I can warp the loom once to weave two (or more) if I choose the right pattern.

Here are the resulting blankets.

The colorway for the warp is Watercolor and the colorway for the weft is Yellow Submarine. The weave patterns come from the book A Weaver’s Book of 8 Shaft Patterns. These two patterns are called plaited twills.

Now one problem with choosing these weaving patterns is that they require twelve treadles to weave them according to the pattern as written. My loom only has ten treadles. That is where the skeletons come in. More precisely, a skeleton tie-up.

A skeleton tie-up is a way to reduce the number of treadles needed to weave a pattern by requiring the weaver to use more than one treadle for a single pass of the weft yarn. There can be a lot of trial and error in figuring out how to reduce the number of treadles needed, but luckily, in this age of computers and Internet, there is Tim’s Rudimentary Treadle Reducer that can figure it out for you! This is the route that I went.

So I started out with this tie-up from the book, with the d’s underneath showing the treadling for the tie-up:

By plugging in 10 for the number of treadles to reduce to, I got this:

Then I thought, maybe I could go even lower, so I tried 8. What I got was nothing, as it couldn’t go down that far. I decided not to be so greedy, and tried 9. This is what I got back:

I decided to go with this one because for each shot of weft, I had to use two treadles, as opposed to the 10 treadle tie-up that sometimes used one treadle, and other times used two. Having each throw of the shuttle require two treadles to be depressed would be more consistent and easier to remember. It all worked out, as you can see.

Probably the strangest part of all of this is the amount of time it took to do the fringe. It took almost as much time to twist all of that fringe, even with my trusty Mary Kate and Ashley twisty braider, as it did to weave the blankets. It is all in the details.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for

Pretty in Pink


Well, my niece, Colleen, is expecting a little girl (really soon!)

I don’t think anyone ever doubted that I would make her something. Because, well, really, must I explain?

The pattern for this matinee jacket is from a Hayfield pattern book from years ago. I am pretty sure that the pattern book is not available new anymore. The yarn is Kate’s Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock in the Conch Shell colorway. It knit up pretty quickly.

Of course, when I order something that is pink (or any light color), people that I normally purchase fiber from know that something is up. Go ahead, look back at my projects. I’ll wait.

See, I normally pick darker colors. So, yeah, when you see me making something in a color like pink you know it’s not something I am making for myself.

Yes, it’s about that time.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for

Keep On Truckin’


It’s been a while since you have heard from me, again, hasn’t it. Every time I think about posting to my blog, I think, if I just wait until X, I can include that in the post as well! The last of those items on the X list happened today, so today I am posting.

First off, I finished some spinning. Both of these fibers are from Fiber Optic.

The first is the 50% superwash merino/ 50% bamboo blend that I got as part of her “As the Whorl Turns” club. It was great to spin, as it was pencil roving and required no predrafting on my part. The second is the BFL/silk that I got from her at MDSW dyed in the gradient from gold-crimson-espresso. It spun incredibly fast. Both need to be blocked yet, since I plan to knit with both of them, but that can wait.

Next up is a toy that I knit for my great-nephew’s first birthday.

The pick-up truck pattern and yarn came as part of a kit from Knitpicks. It was a great project, though sewing the tires on with the black yarn really was a test for my eyes. Here is the little guy after opening up the gift.

He seems to actually like it! And, he will still be able to use it no matter how much of a growth spurt he has.

Finally, the socks in the slip stitch plait pattern are done.

This are part of my gift to Mr. Penney for his birthday, which is today! They are in his favorite color (and that was no accident.) The yarn, Sanguine Gryphon‘s Bugga, was great to work with. Luckily, I have more of this in my stash, so more socks will be on the way (like that was ever in question.)

Happy Birthday, Mr. Penney!

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for

Cover Me


So, about the baby blanket. As I mentioned earlier, I had a few gifts to make for people that were having babies, and this is the last of the gifts in that series. It is for my niece, who is expecting her first child, my sister’s first grandchild, and my parents’ first great grandchild. Something special was needed, and once I found out that she is supposed to have a little boy, I could start picking out a project and colors.

I went to the Homespun Yarn Party hoping to find something that would appeal to me for a baby project. I wound up heading over to Sheila‘s booth and ordering her superwash worsted weight merino. Having all of her colors there in front of me was extremely helpful, and I ordered two skeins each of “Horse with No Name”, “Scarborough Fair”, and “Blue Bijou”. With all of the confidence that I have in putting colors together, my question to Sheila was, “Do these colors look okay together?” Guess what her answer was….

Emily at Sip and Knit asked me if I was going to weave with the yarn. My answer then was no, as my big loom was still in the process of being dressed for the rug that I started three years ago, so my initial intention was to knit a baby blanket with the yarn.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I had given enough time to the rug trying to get on the loom and I should give another project a chance on the loom.

So the rug yarn with the reed came off the loom, and I started to wind the warp for a baby blanket. I decided on a 2×2 twill plaid sett at 8 ends per inch. The warp would be 36 inches in the reed with each color stripe in the plaid being 4 inches.

All was going pretty quickly, until I got to the last weft stripe. That is when I realized that I was too skimpy in calculating loom waste when figuring out how long to make the warp. It wound up that I still had three inches to weave, but not enough room to weave those three inches in. I actually had to weave those last few inches because the symmetry of the blanket would be totally thrown off if I had just to decided to leave it as is.

To solve the problem, I got some left over yarn of similar weight and started winding a dummy warp to tie onto the blanket warp and weight in the back. I threaded two nuts (the kind that goes on bolts) onto a dummy warp thread, and tied the dummy warp thread onto two blanket warp ends. This gave a pretty good, though not perfect, even tension along the blanket warp.

It was not enough weight, though, to create the same kind of tension on the warp that I used for weaving the bulk of the blanket. Since I have a sectional warp beam on my floor loom, I took the two inch sections of dummy warp, with nuts attached, and tensioned the back by making a half-hitch with these threads onto the pegs used to divide the sections. From here I was finally able to weave again. And this pick is of the dummy warp threads after the blanket was cut off the loom.

Like I said it gave a good, but not perfect, tension across the blanket so that I could weave the final three inches. Since the tension was not perfect, I had to use a tapestry beater that I happened to have when putting in the last of the weft.

With Maryland Sheep and Wool coming up, and this blanket being all wool, I figured I would enter it. With only a few days to go before I had to have my entry in, I just did an overhand knot to tie off the fringe, ran it through the washer on handwash cycle, hung to dry, and trimmed the fringe for this.

I entered it in the Mamie Francis category for baby blankets. When I arrived at the festival on Saturday, I was greeted with congratulations from the knitting group that was making camp at the hospitality suite. They told me that I got a first and a second for my baby blanket, which confused the hell out of me since I only entered the one baby blanket. As it turned out, the first was for the baby blankets in the Mamie Francis category, and the second was for all of the blankets that were woven from commercial yarn.

I must say, I am pretty proud. And the first place prize for me was a $100 gift certificate for Harrisville. I still have to figure out what I am going to get with the certificate.

After getting the blanket back on Sunday evening, I went to work of re-doing the fringe. Since this is something that is going to be going through the wash (spit happens!), a blanket twist fringe will wear better, especially on a superwash yarn. (Being superwash, the wool doesn’t have its little hooks anymore, so it will want to separate in the wash rather than stick to its closest buddy.) After the change to the fringe, it got another wash and another trim to look like this.

And here is a close up of the fringe.

The blanket is now in the hands of my niece, as I gave it to her on Mother’s Day. She was very surprised and grateful.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

So Good to Be Bad


Well, as you might have suspected, I did go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the other week. It was a hot one, too. I can’t remember it being that warm (up to 90 degrees) at the festival. Fortunately, this year, Columbia Sip and Knit had a hospitality “suite” just outside the entrance to the festival. So a big thanks to them for that. They helped out a lot of people with their lemonade and cupcakes.

As with every year, there was plenty to walk away with, and I certainly did my share. First stop was the Barefoot Spinner.

I just find her fiber so easy to spin and a quick way to generate some great yarn.

Then, I happened upon the Fold.

Actually, I happened upon them twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. On Saturday, I got the STR Lightweight in Cattywampus and BFL from Fiber Optic in Sapphire and Everglade. On Sunday, I picked up more BFL from Fiber Optic in Mulberry and Tuscany. I can not wait to spin these up. The colors are so rich and saturated. And when making my purchase on Sunday, I got to meet Kimber of Fiber Optic.

From the Fold, onto Cloverhill.

From Cloverhill, I picked up more of Dragonfly Fibers’ Naiad in Black Pearl and Spring in Washington. And I happened to see Kate, who I first met at the Homespun Yarn Party.

Next stop, Spirit Trail.

On the left is a merino/angora/cashmere blend in Celadonian Pines, and on the right is a baby camel/silk blend in River Bed. Luxury! Of course, seeing this now, I am kind of wishing I bought two of each braid. Hmmmm.

And on Sunday, I hit Miss Babs.

Working our way from left to right, there is Oregon Cellar and Jingle Jingle in the 3 ply, an unnamed brown in the wool/bamboo/nylon blend, and Denim and Bronze Plum in the 2 ply. I was kind of amazed by the organization of her booth. The racks were so that I was almost afraid to disturb the order of the yarn on them. Almost.

Now, looking back over this, I am thinking that I wasn’t so bad this year. But then I remember that I also purchased a six pound light gray Romney fleece from Triple ‘R’ Farm that I dropped off at Zeilinger’s to be processed. That should be arriving in July for more spinning goodness. I am hoping to spin the fleece up to weave a blanket, though I am undecided whether I will try to work with that fleece alone or combine it with some of the other fleeces that I have of a difference color. Decisions, decisions.

Now, why did I go back on Sunday? So I could pick up this.

Woohoo for me! More about this next.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

Bad Boy


Well, you know I couldn’t stay good for long. The completion of two socks meant the commencement of two others. The first is in Dragonfly Fiber‘s Djinni Sock.

The colorway is Reluctant Dragon that I purchased at the Homespun Yarn Party. The stitch pattern is one that I have done before, the slip stitch rib from SKS. I started out the sock using a rib and moss pattern from one of the Knitting Treasuries, but it was just not working out as I had hoped. There was surprising little elasticity to the stitch pattern. Elasticity is not a problem with the slip stitch rib. In fact, I have had to change over to using the magic loop rather than my beloved 12″ circulars because the draw in of the pattern makes the 12″ kind of a pain.

You may notice that Reluctant Dragon is kind of dark, so for lighter knitting, I started another Naiad sock.

This colorway is Oriole – Dubious, which I also got that the Homespun Yarn Party. I am not quite sure what Dubious means, perhaps a test run of a colorway or something, but I really like how this is kintting up, and love the base yarn.

Oh, and I have started spinning up the fiber I got from Neighborhood Fiber at HYP.

It spins up pretty easily, with me being half way through the braid now. Being part silk though, it does stick to my sweaty hands. A little baby powder helps with that problem, though.

And finally, there is this to explain:

But I will do that a little later. Right now, someone is looking to be petted.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for