Saturday, April 30, 2011


Many knitters would not be surprised that as my "Z" post I decided to write a little bit about Elizabeth Zimmerman, who is said to have revolutionized knitting and was author of the much read book "Knitting Without Tears".

Ms. Zimmerman was born on August 9, 1910 and died November 30, 1999. As some creative knitters do, she attended art school in Switzerland and Germany. She was British and learned to knit initially from her mother and then from a Swiss governess. She came to the Unites States with her husband and settled in Wisconsin.

She was one of the first to advocate knitting "in the round" on circular needles making seamless garments and patterns work better. I am grateful to her for that. She brought "continental style" knitting to the United States. This is a method that I still cannot use, but it is a certain way of holding the needles and yarns and a knitter can work much faster in this style. It is written that she is credited with the first "Aran" (fisherman knit) sweater to be shown in the U.S. knitting Magazine, Vogue Knitting.

"Knitting Without Tears" has been very widely read by knitters and non-knitters with the exception of me. Therefore, since she was the first knitter to get a full obituary in the "New York Times", I will link that here for more info. OBITUARY.

Y is of course for YARN

Yarn is this reason I knit, I don't know about any of you. A yarn store, even a small one, is like heaven with fibers all over, all types, all weights and sizes, and you want to take all of them home. This is why some many knitters have "stashes". In the this '60's Stashes were a different thing, but in knitting a stash is all that yarn you JUST HAD TO BUY and had no real purpose for, but will someday, somehow make it into some the marvelous.

Actually you can knit with most anything from crochet thread to heavy thick bulky types that would be on something like a #19 needle.

Many people make bookmarks with crochet thread because anything of a higher weight would curl, see image

The other light weight yarns are sock yarn and fingering yarn. Sock is obviously used for socks and fingering is used in many light weight things, but the most common are baby knits.

Look above for the lecture on Worsted under "W" and then we have Bulky, which is a very thick yarn done on very large needles and usually knits up very quickly.

This is just a tip of the iceberg on yarns, there may be more in another day or so. Yarns and needles work together to make the size and weight of item that you are knitting (refer to N is for Needles).


X is no real problem for pirate knitters because the SKULL and CROSS BONES is our symbol and as you can see from the top of the blog page (thank you Kimberly Morgan) throughout the blog.

So for my "X" post I'm going to treat you to some of skull and cross bone patterns that have been done up by people on RAVELRY and you can find them easily there in the pattern search.

So now a post full of CROSS BONES (and skulls) Enjoy!!!

These are all on RAVELRY

W is for WORSTED (catch Wool on the Z-A)

Yarns (on which you be treated to a whole post very soon) come in different weights and twists (of weaving) and patterns are done in certain yarn weights for various different reasons.

Worsted is a medium weight yarn and many good things can be made out of it. My dishcloths and dish towels are all done in worsted weight cotton. Most scarves and hats are done in a worsted, it is the "journeyman" of yarns. Thinner yarns are used for baby knits, lacy knits and socks etc.

These are two of my favorite worsted weight yarns:

When knitting a worsted weight you would USUALLY use a US 7 to US 9 knitting needle (4.5 to 5.5 mm) and the gauge should come out about 16 to 20 stitches per 4 inches. There heavy worsted yarns sold and their gauge would be different, what I just wrote pertains to basic worsted weight yarn. Remember the weight is not the type and there are worsted wools, cottons, wool and silk blends, more on yarn later.


Anyone that is reading our A-Z blogs knows that some letters give us a problem, but I thought that "V" would be really easy because of v-neck sweaters. I haven't knit one in a while, but since I'm never at the height of fashion that didn't seem to matter.

VERY SHORT HISTORY OF THE V-NECK: In the 1960's when I was trying to be trendy in high school and making sweaters the V-Neck tennis sweater was a very stylish item. It was done in white or off white with a red and blue striping around the sleeves and neck. In my neighborhood, you didn't do it in red and blue, you did the edge in Maroon and blue which were the colors at the time. Today I doubt even Roger Federer has one. Also the V-neck Spice yarn sweater pullover was really popular and I loved spice yarn which was one color yarn with slight frosting of another color. Anyway, I know the V-neck cardigan had a good run, but I didn't realize that ---

Guess what, V-neck sweaters are not particularly popular now, even in the men's styles and even in the vaults of RAVELRY I had to look hard to find some cute examples and patterns. Below is what I found:


The V-neck has come a long way and I believe it will return so start knitting now!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

U is for Usual Places

We all have our usual places where we end up going on a pretty regular basis and where "everyone knows our names" (to steal from Cheers).

For knitters and crocheters this is often a "stitch and bitch" at a favorite yarn store. Usually one night or afternoon a week the group gets together working on different projects and if needed, receive expert help from the staff and other crafters. Great for the knitters, great for the store owner and great for learning.

There are other usual places in our lives, Fellini's Pizza was one of mine for a few years and I even got a free lunch a few times. I never knew other patrons that well, but got to know the staff, their stories and always felt welcome. Now my usual place is Dunkin' Donuts (yes these all relate to food I admit it) where they save my regular coffee roll for me and other people I know are there as it is in the neighborhood. In college, I was active on the event planning board so hung out in the Student Union. I eventually had a job at the Union and I am still close friends today with many of the people I met there, including my husband.

Now retired, my husband and a friend of his drop into a place called Gilligan's maybe once a week and have become part of friendly group they really enjoy. There is even a usual place nearby where some of the blackjack dealers knew me pretty well, but hey that's another story.

Where are your usual places?

Monday, April 25, 2011

T is for KNITTING TEES (go figure)

When I was contemplating actually catching up to the group (which is on U anyway) and considered my "T" post. I thought maybe you can knit Tees as in tee shirts. I have a figure that would totally reject a knitted Tee and this must be why I never considered it before. So I went to my old friend RAVELRY to browse their millions of projects and sure enough there were amazing tees and people with good figures wearing them. Here is a small sample, I still can't label pictures so I will write them in the paragraph after the photos so you can link to them on Ravelry.

These are the titles to click for the pattern info: 1. TEE FOR TWO , 2. SLANT CABLED TOP , and 3. RIBBED LACED TRIMMED SHORT SLEEVE. Nos. 1 and 3 come in larger sizes, 2 does not. They all seem relatively easy to make.

LECTURE: If you knit or crochet regularly, you should be using RAVELRY. They do have you register, but it is free and there are so many things to see and learn and fun groups too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

S is for Stylish, Me?????

Wow, I have been awarded an award, is that redundant or what, and I'm thrilled. I got a badge earlier in the challenge which I've yet to figure out how to post, but this one means much more especially as it comes from Marie-Anne at MARIE-ANNE'S MISSIVES one of her 4 great blogs and the only one I've missed during the challenge. I hear laughter throughout the universe at anyone calling me stylish, but I accept and am grateful for the honor.

Now to follow the rules (unusual for me I know) I will state 7 things about myself that may or may not be interesting, consider the source.

1. Recently rediscovered the library and love it, but am having trouble getting the timing down. (My husband kept swearing there were free books out there).

2. I've fallen in love with my iPhone like I did with my first transistor radio; doesn't that give an age clue.

3. Unlike Marie Anne, I LOVE ebooks and read them on the aforementioned iPhone free from the library and you don't have to remember to return them.

4 I sometimes play the piano.

5. I'm generally shy with no self esteem whatsoever.

6. I often speak (write) before thinking.

7. I have a sense of humor.

Now the fun part, passing the award along. With many great ones to choose from and some already have it, I'm happy to pass it on to:

Hookin', Knittin'& Livin'

Four of these blogs I have been quietly following from the beginning and Better Than Ordinary grabbed me with "sleeping at your desk" and then I read the whole blog and loved it.

O.K. guys here you go, I think you are worthy of this award and now YOU have to follow the rules which are:

If your blog is listed above, copy the Stylish Blog Award and save it to your computer, then proudly display it on your blog after making a post that:

1. Links back to the person who gave it to you, with a thank you.
2. Shares 7 things about yourself.
3. Lists at least 5 other Stylish Bloggers (don’t forget to tell them to come pick it up!)

Enjoy and Happy Easter.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Thanks to a friend of mine I was introduced to BRUTAL KNITTING as a site she knew I would love and I do. First here's a sample of what I'm talking about and if you have seen these in your everyday life, I want to know about it:
I contacted Ms. Widdess and told her that I was blogging her and asked her if she sold these patterns. I knew I would never be able to make them, but maybe someone else could. She told me she creates them out of her head (like artists do) and never got to writing them down. Knitting is an art, and Tracey is taking it out of the "arts and crafts" world.
So if you got your "eye" (see below) on this wonderful stuff go to Brutal Knitting and check it out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Q on BEING a Q

I am not a natural Q, I was born to another letter. I grew up as a B, part of that boisterous, bustling, bunch that is almost at the top of the alphabet. My life as a B was full of being up front and noticed, alphabetically speaking and yet being part of a pretty large crowd in the world of finding records and documents.

Then I met a natural Q and we married and since it was 1974, there was a decision for me to make. Would I remain a B as more and more women were starting to do, would I become a B-Q, also a trend at the time, (but kind of annoying) or would I become a Q as women had done for years. At first Q status meant changing documents and then as time went on we had little Qs. As they entered permanent record land (known as school) I found the privilege of being Q. There was usually only one in a group, if any. I then realized that Q was a select small group and a group whose records were easily found. Although on the local voting list we were placed after R by an alphabetically challenged clerk, which caused some confusion every 4 years.

Being a Q stood out; not always in a good way, as in law school when a professor called on me first in a group of 125 because I was the only Q. Now my oldest Q is a T and my grandsons are T's. My son is still a proud Q and will probably remain so and may make some natural Q's of his own. Thus my life as a Q so far.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

O & P are for Other People and other O's and P's

I know I'm cheating a bit, but I am behind and I hope it will be worth it. I also apologize to anyone who was expecting "P" to be Pirates or Purling well maybe on the way back Z to A.

This short post is about other people because (Marie Anne) that's how I became involved in the first place. When I started Pirate Knitting, I looked for other blogs and bloggers. I knew they were out there but I couldn't seem to find any community or group. Then came the challenge and no this is not an obituary for the challenge, as I intend to continue, but actual praise for the experience.

I am not a writer, like many others I left another profession, law, and then decided I could write. Places like AC allowed me to write and some people, mostly on the legal side, paid me to write, but this month I found all the real writers. I was both shamed and thrilled to read the excellent blogs and I have not yet even read the whole challenge group.

I believe the same people were or are on YCN, but I saw everyone in a different light during this obsessive journey. Some I had not noticed at all on YCN, which was also a community, but kind of complaining snarky one, and I could be the snarkiest. The group here on Facebook and others in the challenge are such talented caring people that I am glad Other People (Marie Anne) led me to it.

I thank all the non-knitters for struggling through my blog and I thank everyone for letting me make it about more than just knitting as I had always Planned. I hope I used enough O's and P's to pass the audition. Also, what a techie I've become!


Rather than just lecture on needles, i.e. knitting needles (not the other kind), I am doing an FAQ and try to answer some of my own frequent asked questions.

What types of needles are there?

For kntting we use straight needles generally for a pattern that will go back and forth and perhaps have a seam in it. Also many people use them for small projects. They look like this:

Then there are the double pointed which are usually used in sock making and sometimes in mitten making. These have point on each end like these:

An finally my favorite, circular needles. These needles are attached by a wire
and are used for patterns that would work best without a seam break. Also I, like many people, do all my projects on them which saves losing a needle as you all know I would. Here they are:

What materials are needles made of?
Needles always used to be sort of an aluminum in the past and then wooden needles and plastic needles became popular. Plastic tend to lose shape over time. Wood are best for airplane travel, they never beep for me. I use the harmony wood interchangeable circulars from Knit Picks.

What about needle size?
Needles in the US are sized from 0 right up to 19 and in Europe and the UK are sized in mm and there is a conversion chart on the web. Needles are sized differently to be compatible with different types of yarn and to achieve a certain gauge of stitch in the pattern. Oftentimes you don't use the size suggested in the pattern because you need a larger or smaller size to achieve the all important gauge of the pattern.

This has been a little dry and there is more say about needles, so look for it in the upcoming Z to A blog challenge.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today, perhaps a little behind, I'm highlighting the projects that I most liked making that also those that I most want to make in the future. You will note a surprising lack of color knitting in this group, but I will come to terms with that too. I link the patterns to the title of the project and most are FREE.

First up are the projects I want to make in the future, although the stuffed pirate may be beyond my expertise. I love cables and look forward to doing the mittens, hopefully before we get winter again. These pirate pattern is free and small charge for the mittens, click on titles HERE FOR THE PATTERNS: STUFFED PIRATE and ARAN MITTENS

These two scarves are finished projects (believe it or not) and they were fun and very easy to make. These patterns are FREE so click here


I will be getting better at adding pictures and labels, but as always the patterns are a click away on the label. Happy Patriots Day you people in Massachusetts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The beautiful lighthouse that is pictured here is the Plum Beach Lighthouse in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. Like many lighthouses, this one had fallen into disrepair and needed a lot of help to maintain it's spot in the bay. People got together and decided to get a license plate issued as a fundraiser. (Below see the video of them making the plates in prison). RI is a state where people have paid thousands of dollars to have a low number license plate, but the fundraising plates haven't done too well. This one though is beautiful and has done exceptionally well with over 3,000 plates ordered. The PBL plate also came in as 1st runner up in the "Best Plate in America" awards. We pirates salute them and want them to keep the light on for us.

The plate looks like this: (yes I have one)

And for an added attraction for this week's blog, here is the video of them being made at the Adult Correction Institution (I get a kick out of this):

Thursday, April 14, 2011


This is a pirate site and so not all our knitting is ARRR pretty (although it's actually all very nice). I have decided to post some links and pictures from sites that I have found that have the dark, goth and pirate side of knitting if you are of a mind to knit like a pirate. First off we have what I call the "deathflake" and the "Dark Bunny". The Deathflake is a graphic that you can knit on any garment or even a pillow. Dark Bunny speaks for its self. Click on titles for patterns.


Now it is well know that pirates love their big black boots and also like being barefoot on land. But every pirate needs a pair of socks and if you are a sock maker you might like this pattern for "Jack Sparrow's Socks".


I don't know if Johnny Depp actually wore these, but you can. These designers all did a nice job. Remember to finish the bunny for Easter. Also look in the blog archives as I have a skull hat in there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Well, o.k. that was wiggling the J a little far. The first commission granted by a Governor of Rhode Island to a bunch of Pirates, ARRRR. The RI Pirate Players have worked hard over the years, reinacting, educating at schools and libraries and give the Pirate Historical Tours of Newport in the summer. They were also the inspiration for the "pirate" part of pirate knitting. I even knitted one of them a scarf which will be on view later, since he left it here. They have earned this Ceremonial Letter of Marque.


If anyone can enlarge this let me know. You do get to see the large name of our state though.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for ICELANDIC (Fair Isle Knitting)

While it should be clear by now that I am absolutely a beginner at color knitting, but I do like stranded knitting more than intarsia and the typical Icelandic design has a design of different colors at the bottom of the sweater and then similar or very close to the same design around the neck. These are examples I DID NOT KNIT:


My other favorite Icelandic designs are on MITTENS :

Icelandic designs as everyone can guess originated from Iceland, Finland, Norway and Nordic islands. They are a nice way to step into color knitting because in stranding you carry the colors rather messing with the nasty bobbins of intarsia and it is really pretty to watch the pattern emerge. However, 80% of the sweater is straight stockinette knitting so you don't have to worry about the color mix all the time or even a pattern as in Ganseys. I always picture these sweaters and mittens on ski slopes, but the Lopi yarn used for many of them is warm enough even for here in RI in the winter.

When choosing an Icelandic pattern, especially on Ravelry which is so international, make sure it is written in English unless you read Icelandic, Finnish, etc. You know this is a mistake I would make in a heartbeat.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


For most people "homemade" is a good thing, such as homemade brownies and bread etc. When I was growing up my friends' mothers didn't work outside the home (mine did) and one of the things they did do was knit beautiful sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, etc. for my friends. I wanted my mom to do this, but she was not a knitter.

My aunt taught me to knit, but I was not a knitter for a long time. As a teenager I tried to imitate what my friends' moms made for them, but I was much slower and the style passed. My children had some handmade knitted things, however, the slowness is still with me and they weren't always excited with the result. My husband wore a very ugly knitted vest I made him just to be nice (that's love). Now I'm slow knitting for my grandsons and sooner or later they'll get something homemade.

The point is that homemade isn't always good, but it can be. Friends' mothers who made a sweater in an evening, I found as I got older were also incredibly busy in all phases of their lives even if not "outside the home". Probably in "F" I should have done FINISH YOUR PROJECTS, any other knitters with half-dones hanging around?

Friday, April 8, 2011


These are beautiful sweaters and scarves that have patterns of all different combinations of cable stitches, seed stitches, popcorn stitches and many, many more. I think are much more fun to make than old color knitting. The pictures that I am showing on the blog today come from, a place all stitchers should visit often. I DID NOT MAKE THEM, however later in the challenge you will see some scarves I did in the style. My husband keeps moaning about where his sweater that I have the yarn for but haven't started. As you can see the style is not just for sweaters but works up nicely in hats, mittens, scarves, etc. CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE, CLICK ON TITLE OF PICTURE TO GO TO PATTERN AND DESCRIPTION. These patterns are not free.




Legend has it that this style of knitting was started in the Aran Islands. The sad story is that wives and mothers knitted different patterns in their husbands, sons and children's sweaters so that they might identify their bodies after a fishing accident or drowning. Today they are beautiful pieces of knitting craft design, some of the most famous by Alice Starmore.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Frogging without Frowning

Everyone makes mistakes at one time or another, some of us make many, many mistakes and most of us would love to have a "do over". In golf, they call this a "mulligan" where the bad shot doesn't count and can be taken again. There are so many do overs that I would like to have in all these years that the count would be too high to calculate.

Fortunately, in knitting when you make a mistake you do get a "do over". That is what we call "frogging" which is taking out the stitches done incorrectly and knitting them over again. So if you have miscalculated a pattern, dropped a stitch or counted your stitches wrong you can take out the stitches up to the error and then correct it. Of course, unless you find your error very early, then you have a lot of frogging to do. The link below is from Knitty and explains frogging in detail.


Now how to figure out how to "frog" the rest of life's mistakes.


If you were following, you somehow got lost in my change to "". Please, please, please sign up again. I thank you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Everyone has to start somewhere, I am not an expert knitter. I did not make every project on my blog, except dishcloths and some others, and have hopefully linked to where the pattern and knitter might be found. I decided for today's "E" to assemble in this post links to easy knitting instructions, patterns and tips that I like and will hopefully be helpful to all.



Finally a just had to throw in a dishcloth, below is the link to the dishcloth pictured. (I did not knit this)

The link for this cutie is: KNITTY KITTY: EASTER BASKET

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"D" is for Dishcloths

Today I am highlighting dishcloths as they are so easy to make, with inexpensive cotton yarn and yet so very useful. I led with the "I Heart NCIS" one because it's Tuesday which is of course NCIS night. I have hopefully linked to the pattern. If not go to FREE PATTERNS in left column, it is in there also.

This is my next favorite, "The Squidgie Dishcloth" Fun to do, looks good in both variegated yarn and solid yarn and has a certain sponginess to pick up spills. To give credit where credit is do, many of my free patterns come from Ravelry a site that all knitters should join. For other cute dishcloths look to the FREE PATTERNS on left.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for COLORS

(BTW wrote this once and somehow lost it in technical world)
Color is everything in knitting and why I do it. There are thousands and thousands of colorways of the various types of yarn that just make you "high" when you go into a yarn store. knitting with different colors is hard for me and I'm only successful if I use varigaeted yarn (dishcloths everywhere). The photo shows you the reason I would love to create with stranding which that Knit Picks Tote is or with intarsia which my unfinished pirate sweater is.

C is also for consistency which means keep on trying and going to yarn groups and getting help when needed. Here is a blog I hope will help:

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Actually I began Pirate Knitting a couple of years ago and while I liked it, it didn't get many people reading. NOW I am discovering that you need to blog something for them to read, DUH. As I told Marie-Anne I did get out of kindergarten, slowly. Also I am discovering some of the tech aspects that have been a bit beyond and that my cat (who understands becaus they're that simple) won't help me with. Most importantly I'm discovering BLOGS. I always wanted to find good blogs, but blog directories were kind of huge and somewhat disorganized. I have found some great blogs in just two days. The pirates of this blog are the RI Pirate Players and their activities, the knitting is me procrastinating, but hey, look at the my blog list (just learned how to do that) these are some great finds.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for APPS (knitting apps that is)

For all you knitters that have smart phones there's apps for you:

1. Vogue Knitting. My absolute favorite is the "vogue Knitting App". This app is like having the the Vogue Knitting Book in a yarn store or at a "stitch and bitch" with you. ALL the stitches are there, how to do them, with pictures. All yarn types are there and much, much more. There is one for Droid also.

The rest of these I'm learning about with you so let me know which you like or dislike:

2. Knitting Daily: This looks really intriguing and I'm going to download it, "knitting daily". It seems like a very informational app updated regularly. Let's give it a shot.

3. Knit Minder
These apps are done by Quilt2Go. The knit minder lite is free and the other costs something. What do they do? Well for me this would be invaluable since all my projects go on hold constantly. They keep a record of your ongoing projects. YAY. Sounds good to me.

4. Stitch Minder: This is a baby brother to the knitminder group and it is a stitch counting application. Wait while I download this. This is also seen at Quilt2Go.

5. Ilocator for Wool and Yarn: For this you must go to the App Store. Wherever you are, you can use this app and it will find the local yarn store for you. Traveling gets better and better. Once again something that sounds pretty useful. It does cost $1.99 though.

Only 5 today as I continue this research. If anyone has any to add please do in comments are write to me at and I will post them. Thanks for reading.