Yesterday’s Songs


I was starting to put this entry together and was thinking about what I was going to say about the final product, when I realized that I have really gotten behind on showing things here and never showed the yarn that I used for it.


This is yarn that I spun a little over a year ago from two different colorways of BFL from Dragonfly Fibers. I got them when Kate had a trunk show at Cloverhill. The colorways are Cherry on Top and Ode to Sock Summit. I spun up each colorway and plied the two together. I figured that there was enough common between the two colorways that it would all work out.

I originally spun this yarn to make something for someone else. But we always think we have more time for things than we actually have, and I only got as far as the yarn.

Lately, I have been on a kick to use my handspun, so, with a year passing, I figured it was time to make something with this yarn to see how it all work together. I decided to make a small, simple shawl, which is what I had originally planned because with all of the color going on in the yarn, any kind of fancy stitch pattern or tricky design would fight with the yarn.


I really like how it all came out. The colors worked out well together. While working this shawl, I really enjoyed seeing the color combinations go by.


I gave this shawl to a friend of mine that just finished up her chemo treatments. She was surprised to say the least, and very thankful.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for

Wave on Wave


You may remember this handspun from a while ago.


The fiber is superwash merino and bamboo from Fiber Optic. When I saw it, it reminded me of water, which made me think of my sister, as she and her family like going “downy oshun”. (No, they do not talk like that.)

With that in mind, I went looking for a shawl or shawlette pattern that work with the yarn. I found the Sally Rand pattern on Twist Collective. Feather and fan is one of my favorite patterns for variegated yarn because curves made by the stitch pattern gives such movement to the colors. It all made me think waves crashing on the beach. I thought it would make a good birthday gift for my sister.


I didn’t do the full shawl because I didn’t have enough yarn for that, but it should be good as a shawlette. The bamboo in the yarn gives it a nice drape. I am pretty happy with how it came out.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for

Like a Feather


Back around Thanksgiving, Mr. Penney was talking to his mother. At this time, she hinted that it would be really nice if I could knit her a cowl like she saw at J.C.Penney. I went and took a look at the cowls that J.C.Penney was selling, and decided that I did not like any of them, so I was devise one of my own. And here it is!


The yarn I used is Dragonfly Fibers’ Djinni Sock in Wood Hyacinth – B side single. (B side single meaning that it is not the regular for the colorway). The cowl itself only took about a half of a skein.

The main stitch pattern is Japanese Feather from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker. The top and bottom of the cowl is just seed stitch. Since the Japanese Feather pattern is an odd number of stitches to the repeat, I did an odd number of repeats so that there would be an odd number of stitches for the cowl overall, and thus, the seed stitch could be worked as a continuous k1, p1, with no break between rounds.

Once I was done knitting, I blocked the hell out of it. I am pretty happy with the way that it came out, and my mother-in-law got it for Christmas and loved it.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for

Wrap Her Up


Well, the temperatures have dropped here; and I have finished Mr. Penney’s Christmas present just in time for him to use it! Now, don’t get too excited. It’s his Christmas present from last year. (In my defense, he was given the option of a scarf from yarn that was already spun, or from fiber that had yet to be spun. He chose the fiber that had yet to be spun.)


I have been working on this for quite a while. So long, in fact, that members of the knitting group that I go to would go, “You are still working on that?” when I would pull my knitting out. My initial intention when spinning was for a yarn that was a sport weight, but I wound up spinning a light fingering weight. This meant a long time spinning and a long time knitting; but it all turned out well, so it was worth it.


The yarn is spun from a 80% merino/20% cashmere blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, and is a chain-ply. I used about 7 of the 8 ounces that I spun for this scarf. The stitch pattern is the pennant stitch, and it gives kind of an accordian effect long the width of the scarf, forming natural pleats. Now, Mr. Penney can be warm and toasty.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for



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

Thank you

I know that I said that my next post would be about the actual race, but really, very little changes about that from year to year. Instead, I want to talk about why I have been doing it all of these years, my sister-in-law Debbie.

Here are a couple of my memories just to give you an idea.

  • Back in high school, I got mono so badly that I wound up in the hospital for a week in respiratory isolation. When I came home from the hospital, I was given medicine to get my appetite back. Debbie was just dating my brother at this point. Debbie’s answer for getting my appetite back: her cheesecake. Her cheesecake was whole lot better than the medicine!
  • When I was coming out to my siblings, it was my brother having Debbie as his wife that moved him up in the order. While not knowing what the reaction would be, I knew that it would be better because of Debbie.

She was very special to us mostly because she accepted people as they were and would do anything for those that she loved.

Thank you again for your support.

Next entry will be fiber related. I have a backlog to show you.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for


We have winners! The winner of the shawl is Chuck Gardetto! The winner of the massage is Lynn Zwerling! The winner of the BFL scarf is Bonnie Becker Ramsey! And the winner of the Sea Monster scarf is Dorothy D’Ascanio!

I will talk about the actual race in my next post, but for now. Thank you all for your support!

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for

More, More, More


Thank you all so much for your support in Race for the Cure! We have raised over $1000, thanks to you!

And because I want more people to win, I am adding prizes!

In addition to the shawl and the massage from New Horizons Massage, I am raffling off the scarf that got a first at this past year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

It is BFL wool, dyed by Fiber Optic Yarns. More specifics can be found about it here.

Also, I will be raffling off this scarf.

The fiber for this scarf is merino/silk/seacell dyed by Dragonfly Fibers. More about this scarf can be found here.

The drawing will be tomorrow at 8 PM Eastern, so there is still time! And if you have mailed in your contributions, please let me know so that I can include you in the drawing (the mail is a little slow!)

Thank you all again.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for

It’s Time


So this summer, I spun up some superwash merino/bamboo roving that I purchased from Kimber of Fiber Optic Yarns at this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

And earlier this month, I teased you with the start of what it was to become.

Well, it is done. And it could be yours. Mr. Penney was gracious enough to model it for photos.

How can it be yours? For every $5 in sponsorship of me in the Race for the Cure, you get a ticket in the raffle for this shawl. The race is October 21, and the drawing for the shawl will be October 28 at 8PM Eastern time.

But the shawl isn’t the only thing up for grabs. A one-hour massage from New Horizons Massage will also be raffled off. How great is that!

This year’s race is very special to me. Thank you in advance for your support.

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