Every Day I Write the Book


The following projects have gotten me to try something new for me: taking notes.

You see, usually, I just go by memory and examining the first item I knit of a pair to knit the second one of the set. That doesn’t seem to be working for me anymore.

Case 1:


These are Seed Vessels cowl and mittens from The Country Diary Book of Knitting, knit in Spirit Trail Fiberworks’ Brigantia that I got as part of Jennifer’s club. Actually, it is more accurate to say the cowl and mittens are based on, rather than actually are, as the cowl in the book is over 20 inches long, and I couldn’t imagine someone wanting 20 inches of knit fabric under her chin, so I kept it to 12 inches. That, and the mitten pattern is knit flat and sewn together to make very small mittens that would not fit an adult. This is where the problems came in.

I used Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns as the basis for the mittens, adding the cable pattern to match seed vessels. I played around with the cap of the mitten, and got the result you see above. When it came time to make the second mitten, I could not get the count right for where to start the cap so that the mittens would match up with the cable pattern. I knitted, ripped, knitted, ripped, and knitted again. I finally got it right, but if I had written things down as I went, I could have saved myself some trouble.

Case 2:


These are the basketweave socks in Sheila’s Hounddog colorway. (On a side note, Sheila is closing the doors to the dye shop, so if you want a particular colorway, you better hurry.) I did the first sock, but didn’t get around to the second sock for a month or so. Figuring out which row I stopped on to start doing the heel was annoying. Again, if I had just made a few notes, I would have saved myself some aggravation.

So, that is where this comes in:


I picked up some journals with grid paper that I can take notes in for my projects. I have a journal for knitting, for weaving, for spinning, and for dyeing.

And I have started using the knitting journal.


This is the Brigantia that I picked up at MDSW. Pretty sweet, huh?

BTW, in totally unrelated news, Mr. Penney and I are now officially married! Woot!

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Point of No Return


These socks took close to forever for me.


I blame this on the needles. No, really. The needles. And those needles? Signature Needle Arts 6 inch double points. Why? Because they are too damn pointy. I was splitting yarn like I have never split yarn before.

I got the needles at last year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I had heard so much about them, and such raves, that I thought that I would give them a try. To try them out, I made the socks above using Smooshy with Cashmere that I got from Cloverhill at the same festival. And a splitting I went with the first sock. Another problem that I had is that I had a difficult time seeing my stitches on the main part of the needle, as the needle’s color was close to the yarn that I was using. Maybe I just need better lighting, in that case.

The first sock took a darn long time, but since the needles were new to me and the yarn was new to me, I needed to eliminate one variable to see what was causing the splits. So for the second sock, I changed back to my Addi Turbos. No splits. Not a one. (BTW, Smooshy with Cashmere? Very nice yarn. Will definitely use again.)

Just to confirm, I started another pair of socks in a yarn that I have used before with no issues, Sheila’s Wullenstudio sock yarn.


As you can see in the photo, I am back to using Addi Turbos. Why? Because I was splitting with the Signatures.

Now maybe all of those that rave about these needles aren’t using the stiletto points, but that is all that is available for the double points unless you get a custom order or get the 4 inch needles, which are too small for me. Or maybe they are using the needles with yarns that have a harder twist than what I have tried before. I will have to give that a try, as these needles are too expensive to just let sit idle.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

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 textillian.com

Where Have You Been


Well, I didn’t post for the whole month of July. Wish that I had a good excuse for that, but I don’t. True, there are things that I am working on that I can’t show to the world just yet, (and to those of you who know what they are: Hush! Don’t spoil the surprise.) but I still have plenty that I can share with you.

I have been busy with spinning. Kimber had a spin-along on Ravelry to get through your stash. I finished my spinning for that a month after the spin-along was over. Oh well. The fiber is her merino/silk pencil roving in the Black Coffee colorway.

If you’ll notice, one of the skeins looks a little “funkier” than the others. That is the skein I tried to ply before MDSW. But in my haste, I plied the entire thing IN THE WRONG FREAKIN’ DIRECTION! Yeah, that’s not good. So I had to undo that and ply it in the correct direction. Fortunately, that only happened with the one skein. Here is what the big, good skein looks like close-up.

I figure I will weave a scarf with it, in time. I was surprised at how thin I managed to spin it, so I got good yardage. That big skein that I did right is over 600 yards, alone.

At MDSW, I got a couple things from Kimber that I am working. One is a drop spindle.

This occasionally happens to me. I see the pretty woods of all of the drop spindles and think, “Why don’t I drop spindle that often? It is so portable and those spindles are so beautiful.” Well, I will tell you why I don’t drop spindle that often. I am painfully slow at it. The fiber that I am spinning here is Kimber’s merino/silk/yak roving in Jolly Old Elf colorway that I got last Christmas. I am not sure how much longer this project will stay on the spindle. Fortunately, no one is waiting on it, unlike this one.

I recently finished Navajo plying that yarn for Mr. Penney’s scarf, and this knitting that you see is my trying to find the right needle size for knitting the scarf. The fiber is from Spirit Trail Fiberworks fiber club from last year. It is 80% merino and 20% cashmere, so it is plenty soft and is great for a next-to-the-skin garment like this. Hopefully, I will have it finished before winter comes so that he can use it!

Finally, it is getting to be that time again.

I just finished plying this fiber that I got this year at MDSW from Kimber. It is superwash merino and bamboo in her Raspberry to Cream gradient colorway. I separated the colors in the colorway so that I have distinct yarns to weave a shawl with. Now to figure out the weave and color order for the shawl.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.



The shawl hasn’t been the only thing that I have been on these last couple months. I have briefly stopped work on the vest to start a sweater from the same book

The pattern is Ansley from the Jane Ellison Queensland Collection. The yarn that I am using is Mas Acero from Brooks Farm that I got this past spring and MDSW. One thing that I did not pick up on with the yarn until now is that the shade changes from one end of the skein to the other. I am not so sure I like that. But I will keep going with it, doing the sleeves next, and if need be, ripping out the back and reknitting it so that the color progression matches the rest of the sweater.

And now that the bobbins are free from the shawl yarn, I can do some more spinning again.

I finally plied up the silk/camel in Titania from Dragonfly Fibers. I just have two more two ounce braids to spin up in the Bad Moon Rising colorway, and all of this silk and camel will be ready to go on the loom.

And as a little treat for both me and a friend, I spun up this.

This is Siren Song UNSPUN! in the Equinox colorway from Fiber Optic. Being a pencil roving, it spun up really fast. It was the first time spinning this particular roving from Kimber, and once fulled, it was extremely soft. I just gave it to a friend of mine last night as a gift. She has just learned to knit lace, so maybe this will find its way into a shawl or something.

Kimber is also having a gradient spin-along on Ravelry. This is the gradient that I am spinning.

It is the olive to slate gradient. I will let you how I am spinning it the next time. Warning, it may seem like crime what I have done with it….

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

Rubberband Man


You know that problem I told you able in the last post where a tie-up came loose? Well, it kept happening, and not just on the one treadle, but some other treadles as well. It seems some of the treadles really don’t like being tied to the eighth shaft. That last tie-up seems to want to work its way out of the treadle.

So, there has been some unweaving to take care of areas that were woven with the correct tie-ups missing. And there has been a treadle fix to keep the ties in place.

It might be a little difficult to see with all of those tie-ups hanging down, but for the eight treadles that I am primarily using in the pattern, I have wrapped a rubberband around the end of the treadle to prevent the ties from sliding out. This has worked out well so far.

I have about 30″ woven so far. I have at least 40″ (if not 50″) more to go.

Thanks to those that have sponsored me already. If you would like to sponsor me in the Race for the Cure, just go here and for every $5 in sponsorship, you are entered in the raffle for this shawl. Thanks again.

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

Race for the Cure Weaving

So, as some of you have figured out, the shawl that I was putting on the loom if the “thank you!” prize for the those that support me in Race for the Cure. For every $5 you sponsor me for in the Race, you get 1 entry in the raffle for the shawl.

So how is the shawl weaving going?

Well, it is on the loom and the treadles are tied up, and I have started weaving. Here’s a couple close-ups so that you can get a better idea of the design.

Of course, there is always a chance that this could all go horribly wrong. (For example, I have already had one of the tie-ups to one of the treadles come loose, causing a big old problem when trying to weave. I had to cut out the weft and start again.) If things do go so wrong that they are beyond repair, I will weave the winner another shawl just for him or her.

The race is October 23 in Hunt Valley. The drawing for the shawl will be October 30 at 7PM Eastern. Thank you in advance for helping out!

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.


Woohoo! Socks are done.

The toe and the heel of these socks are from Charlene Schurch class I took back at the MDSW. For the toe, I used Becker’s magic cast on, rather than knitting a rectangle as the basis for the toe. I think I am going back to the rectangle method, as the magic cast on gives two little points on the toe when the sock is actually on the hoof. For the heel, it is a matter of increasing a number of stitches, than knitting a trapezoid for the bottom heel, followed by picking up stitches along the sides of the trapezoid and gradually knitting in the increased stitches into the back of the heel. That works pretty well, so I may be doing that again.

Not that I waited to be done the socks to start this, but last month I was spinning up July’s shipment from Spirit Trail Fiberworks‘ club.

It is superwash BFL that I spun up as a single at around 24 epi. When I saw a notice on ravelry that she had more of the roving available, I contacted her (during Irene, no less) and snapped up the rest of it. Once it arrived, I spun that up to match the initial shipment so that I had a total of 18.6 ounces of singles.

With that much of one yarn, a woven shawl sounded like a good idea, so the last 10.6 ounces spun got wound into a warp, and the warp is currently being put on the loom.

The yarn is kind of kinky right now, which is making it a bit of a pain sleying the reed, but it is not too big of a deal. I think I might add a dummy warp to the end of all of these warp ends so that I can use as much of the warp as possible.

Who am I weaving this shawl for? More about that later.

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Color My World


While I loved working with the natural gray of the blanket, it was time for some color after completing it. Luckily, it was also time to finish up another project.

My YMCA socks are done. These socks are nice and comfortable and fit well. As an added bonus, the colors didn’t pool or form any noticeable pattern that I could distinguish. Cheers all around!

With YMCA done, I permitted myself to start a new pair of socks.

This is a slip stitch plait pattern that I got out of one of my stitch dictionaries. Part of the pattern is to drop the stitch that has been slipped for a couple rounds while working other stitches before picking it back up to knit it so that the whole pattern looks like a cabled pattern. It was felt odd to purposefully drop a stitch, but it all works out ok because the stitch originates a couple rounds below the round that is being work, so the dropped stitch does not get pulled or anything that would cause a run of dropped stitches. (I hope that all made sense, because I can’t think of another way to describe it.)

The yarn is Sanguine Gryphon’s Bugga that I got at MDSW. It is possibly the softest sock yarn that I have ever felt. No wonder people go on about it like they do.

While we are on green projects, I am trying to get myself back to weaving on my smaller loom.

This is Atropos from Spirit Trail Fiberworks that I got as MDSW a few years ago. I starting putting this warp on the loom a while ago, but let it drift off because warping this loom became a pain, literally. Now that I know that I can use the stepstool to sit on while threading heddles, I hope to get back to it this weekend, as this project has been mocking me every time that I go down into the basement. Just mock mock mock. We shall see who has the last laugh.

There has been spinning as well. Over Memorial day weekend, I did quite a bit of spinning.

The blue at the top is more of the merino/bamboo from Fiber Optic, while the bobbins below it are each two ounces of the BFL/silk in the Espresso-Crimson-Gold gradient that I got from Fiber Optic at MDSW. There will be a good bit of plying action that will be happening soon (mostly to free up bobbins for continued spinning).

On the future spinning front is this.

Back in April was the weaving guild’s auction, and I was lucky enough to get the day with the guild’s dyeing study group. The day was back in May, and I dyed this cashmere and silk blend that I had along with a yak and merino blend that is not seen here. I steamed the rovings the following weekend, and despite my best attempts to ruin everything (the plastic wrapped “burrito” actually fell into the water and boiled away for a while), it all came out great. There are places where I didn’t apply enough dye, but I figure those will work out somehow when I spin it all up.

So, is that enough color for you?

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com