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Spinny Stuff

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I got a spinning wheel (a Kromski Sonata) (spinners like to know those things) in February, and I’ve very much enjoyed adding to the fiber madness of my life.

Please indulge me as I post some of my recent spinning efforts. When I started, like everyone else starting out, I spun big lumpy yarn. Then I gradually got better at it and spun the teeniest tiniest thinnest yarn I could. That’s great, but I was left with really thin, super-over-plied yarn that had the gentle consistency of electrical wire.

Now I know that I can spin yarn a little thicker and looser and ply a little less frantically, and I’ll end up with yarn that I actually want to knit with.

Here is some nice yarn spun from fiber from Spunky Eclectic. Merino wool, “Night Owl” colorway:

I knit the Morningside Neckwarmer by Jared Flood from it for my husband. This is the first thing I’ve ever knit out of handspun yarn. I might cry!!

Here is some nice yarn spun from fiber from Corgi Hill Farm (as the “owner” of several goofball corgis over the years, I love to buy fiber from this farm). 70% Bluefaced Leicester, 30% silk:

This was a dream to spin – my first time spinning anything with silk. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, other than to just gaze at it lovingly.

Finally, here is some nice yarn spun from fiber from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm. I have to give them a shout-out because what they’re doing is so awesome. Check out the website and then buy some yarn or fiber from them.

This fiber was a Lincoln cross (sounds like I know what I’m talking about, eh? I don’t.) It was fuzzy and fun to spin and the bluey-green color was like sea glass. I also don’t know what I’m going to make with it.

Hey, you spinners out there – do you have favorite projects you like to knit with your handspun? I’m still intrigued by the fact that I can make yarn, let alone knit with it. The yarn itself is like the finished object!

Hurricane Giveaway!

So Irene is gone, though her effects are still being felt up and down the East Coast. On this sunny cool morning, I’m feeling so relieved that Irene wasn’t more awful that I thought a giveaway was in order to celebrate her passing. I’m giving away some nice nice sock yarn and a free sock pattern.

Here’s a beautiful skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (based in Barton, Vermont! Yee haw! Go, Northeast Kingdom of Vermont!), 420 yards of superwash merino. Colorway is Champlain Sunrise – beautiful deep red, magenta, blue, orange.

I’ll also email you a copy of either the Momogus Knits Easy Toe-Up Socks or Momogus Knits Twisty Toe-Up Tube Sock pattern – y0ur choice.

Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page and let me know your most interesting hurricane experience, and I’ll pick a winner at random. Mine was not particularly interesting (thank God!) but it was kind of sweet: because our house is surrounded by big old trees (two of which have crashed down and just missed our house already this year), my husband and I decided it would be prudent to all sleep downstairs in the living room. So we blew up an air mattress and my son got in his sleeping bag, and we all got cozy and listened to the rain and fell asleep. It was fun, though we did have to take shelter in the basement once when there was a tornado warning for our area, which was spooky. And for you readers out west who missed all the Irene fun, any interesting weather experience will do!

More Sock Stuff – for the Frugal Sock Knitter!

Have you ever knit a pair of socks and been left with a ton of leftover yarn? I have, for sure, and here’s a post about a recent experience I had using up that yarn.

I have been off the sock bandwagon for some time, but after coming across the yarn Indulgence by KFI, I have jumped right back on. The socks are nothing fancy (just my regular toe-up sock pattern), and as I’ve said before I’m not in love with the colorways of this yarn, but it is a dream to knit. Soft soft soft!!

Anyway, as I vowed, I made my second pair of socks fraternal twins:

It was a little difficult to make myself NOT wind off the yarn to make them match, but I did it! I was a little sad when I finished these because I was done and I wasn’t knitting with that yummy yarn anymore. But then I looked at how much I had left from each ball, and I had a revelation!

What if I knit another pair with the leftover yarn?? Here’s the thing I’ve found with most commercial sock yarn – I always have a lot left over. And I have big feet!

So here’s what you need:

A “food” scale (ha ha – seriously, all I ever weigh on this scale is fiber and yarn), a ball winder (or your own two hands), the yarn, a toe-up sock pattern, and your noggin.

I weighed one of my finished socks. It weighed 35 grams. I weighed the leftover yarn from one of the socks. It weighed 35 grams. I weighed the leftover yarn from the other socks. It weighed 35 grams. Hallelujah! So I knew I had enough leftover yarn to make two 35 gram socks. I put the leftover yarn from one sock on the scale and wound off yarn onto the ball winder until the scale read 17.5 grams. I did the same thing with the other leftover yarn.

So I was left with four 17.5 gram balls of yarn – two each from the leftover yarn from each sock. Are you still with me? So now I was ready to cast on. Here’s how far I got with one of the little balls of leftover yarn:

I got all the way up the foot and beyond the turned heel! Phew. I felt comfortable knitting with the leftover yarn because I was knitting these socks toe-up. I’ll make the leg as long as the leftover yarn allows me – just knit till it runs out. If I were coming cuff-down, I wouldn’t know how long to make the leg and still have enough yarn to finish the foot down to the toe.

Done and done! Frankenstein socks!!

Now I know that someone is out there thinking, “If she had enough leftover yarn to knit one sock, why did she split it into two balls? Why not just make a third sock from each yarn?” Good question, person out there! The answer is that I wanted to make a third pair of unique socks. Also I wanted to try out my fancy-pants calculating and stuff. Now I just happened to have enough leftover from two similar yarns to make a whole pair of socks, but you could use this method to use up odds and ends of sock yarn from many socks.

My Nutsy

Holey schmoley, it’s already August!! I had very good intentions about posting regularly this summer, but they disappeared in the wind. I have a lot of knitting to post and talk about, but first please indulge me a moment while I go all crazy cat-lady on you.

We just got back from a nice vacation in northern Vermont. Unfortunately, the morning we were coming back I got a call from the vet that our beloved cat Nuts had died that morning.

Listen, I was a dog person all my life. The cats I knew growing up were aloof and bitey. I never understood why people liked cats at all. Then I got married and my husband (a devout cat person) convinced me to adopt two kittens from the SPCA. My son (3 yrs old at the time) named them Funny and Silly. And they were awesome. Sweet, affectionate, cuddly – I got it! I became a cat person.

Then a stray I named Smokey adopted us and had a litter of kittens which she deposited under the wisteria tree in our backyard. We caught and placed all but two, which we adopted. Nuts and Caroline. Caroline is very independent and funny, but Nuts….. Ah my Nutsy….

Nuts was 100% pure love and contentment. He would walk into a room and start purring. He loved the other cats (and they tolerated him). He loved the three of us. He loved visitors. He loved shrimp. He loved a squishy pillow. He loved to get a “tour”, where I would pick him up and point out various objects around the house, which he would reach out and touch gently.

He had very severe asthma, which meant he took steroids daily and had to take puffs from an inhaler, believe it or not. He tolerated all this with patience and the good nature that was inherent in him. And finally, though he was only 4, his body gave out, and he died. And we weren’t there, which I’m struggling with. We always boarded him at the vet’s, so that he could get his medicine, and I know they took good care of him.

But I wish we had been with him. I wish I could have given his big orange lovey body one last hug. My Nutsy……

Toe-Up Socks Done!

I started these socks last week as I was teaching a Toe-Up Socks class at The Tangled Web. I love toe-up socks. And this yarn (Indulgence by KFI) is smoochy – very enjoyable experience. Here’s the pattern: Easy Toe-Up Socks.

And now, some thoughts on how matchy-matchy these are. Whenever I used self-striping yarn in the past, I seemed to be able to just start the 2nd sock at wherever the yarn from the first sock left off. I (silently and gently) tsk-tsked students of mine who insisted on making the stripes line up. But of course as always happens when you mock someone or something, you end up doing exactly that thing. My last few pairs of self-striping socks are identical twins. I wind off yarn at the beginning of the 2nd sock so I’m starting at the same place. Like a crazy person!!

And then, look what happened to these socks. I had them all lined up and as I was nearing the end of the 2nd sock, there was a knot! The color pattern was broken up and so the cuffs of these socks are, GASP, different!!! Let it go, Diana!!

I’ve started a 2nd pair in this yarn and I shall grit my teeth and make the 2nd sock a fraternal twin. I shall not wind off until I come to the same starting point. It will be good for me.

Summer Shell Patterns on Sale!

Whoa, where did I go?! Sorry everyone, local community baseball (my husband’s a coach, my son’s a player) completely overwhelmed me for the last month. BUT, baseball’s done, and now it’s back to knitting!

I’m usually gearing up for the TNNA (National Needle Arts) Show this time of year, but we’re staying home this year because my son has an important graduation ceremony (from Lower to Middle School – gulp!) that we don’t want to miss. BUT as a nod to TNNA, I’m putting all three of my Easy Summer Shell patterns on sale (20% off) for the month of June. Click on the titles to go straight to the website to buy yours now!




These are the definition of easy summer knitting – knit in the round up to the armholes, easy edging, simple shaping. These shell patterns are written for worsted or dk weight, have a choice of seed stitch or ribbed edging, and have optional waist shaping instructions. And they’re all 20% off for the month of June. Go here (they’re at the bottom of the page.)

Crafty Monday – Make Your Own Sea Glass Suncatcher!

This is a very particular Crafty Monday post, maybe not applicable to many people, but I think it’ll be helpful in showing that you don’t need a million tools and a million dollars to make some fun pretty things for your house or for gifts.

Every winter we spend a week out at the end of Long Island, housesitting for my beloved Aunt Jane. We wander on the deserted beach – my husband and son skip stones and play football and I look for sea glass and interesting shells. A typical vacation can produce this:

Until now, I’ve collected the sea glass in a jar, which I also found on the beach, and it sits in a window of my kitchen.

But I was in a gift store the other day and saw sea glass made into Christmas ornaments. I was going to buy one, but my sensible husband reminded me that we had that jar of sea glass at home, and we should not be spending $15 on something that I could make.

So I went to my local craft store (in the jewelry-making aisle) and bought this:

Red wire for $2.99! This is 8 yards of 20 gauge copper wire. It’s fairly substantial but was easily bendable by hand and by pliers. I took a piece of green sea glass, cut a piece of wire about 8″ long and simply wrapped it by hand around the glass, leaving about 4″ for a hanger and hook. I needed the pliers to crimp up the end and bend the hook. I like a sort of organic, informal look, so I didn’t try for any particular pattern, but you could easily manipulate the wire into a more formal pattern:

Done and done! It’s hanging in a window in the living room, reminding me of wonderful times on Long Island. At Christmas, I’ll hang it on the tree.

If you don’t have a beach handy, you can buy sea glass by the bag at most craft stores. And you don’t have to use sea glass – you could use a beautiful smooth stone that you picked up on a hike or a family vacation. (We are always picking up stones and rocks on vacation – is that crazy? I hope other people do this too….)

Welcome New Stores!

A hearty Momogus Knits welcome to the following new members of our family: The Yarn Gourmet in South Bend, IN, The Blue Purl in Madison, NJ, Motif Needle Arts in Lynchburg, VA, The Yarn Farm in Findlay, OH, Apple Tree Lane in Clare, MI, Clever Ewe in Ada, MI, A Grand Skein in Grand Rapids, MI, Uncommon Threads in York, PA, Knit N Purl in Marquette, MI, and Knitting Basket in Richmond, VA.

If you’re ever in the vicinity of any of these fine shops, please take the opportunity to give them your business. Local yarn stores have been hit hard by the economy and need our business! Big box stores will never be able to replace the selection, atmosphere and incredible customer service that your local yarn store can give you.

(Also, yooooo hoooo, Kathleen Ramseyer! You’re a winner! Please email me at!)

Our Friend, Duplicate Stitch.

As you may or may not know, there are many many ways to introduce colorwork into your knitting. There’s Fair Isle or stranded knitting, which I discussed here. There’s mosaic knitting, which you can try with this pattern:

There’s intarsia, my Lex Luther:

And then there’s my dear, dear friend, mighty duplicate stitch.

Duplicate stitch allows you to create one section of colorwork that you would have to knit in intarsia otherwise. No bobbins, no trillion strands of yarn tangling everywhere. It’s essentially an embroidery stitch that mimics the look of the knit stitch. Here’s how you do it. Start with a graph. You can make your own with graph paper [note: knitter’s graph paper is available, but I just use regular graph paper] or use the colorwork chart that comes with your pattern. Cross-stitch and needlepoint charts will work as well, but keep in mind that they do not compensate for the size of the knitted stitch as a chart written specifically for knitting will.

(that’s a smiling face, folks). Notice that the design is slightly elongated top to bottom, as compared to the finished result below. That’s because regular graph paper is composed of squares, where the knit stitch is more of a rectangle.

Finished result, much shorter vertically than the graphed design.

Here we go. Each block of the graph represents one stitch. Thread some yarn onto a yarn needle. I usually use 12″ lengths of yarn. Bring the yarn up at the bottom of the “V” of the stitch you want to cover:

Next, bring the needle through the tops of the V of the stitch ABOVE the one you want to cover:

Bring the yarn through. Don’t pull tight. You need very little tension on the stitches. You want the duplicate stitch thread to cover the stitch.

Now bring the needle back into the bottom of the V where you first came up.

Done and done.

It’s easy! You can add designs or embellishment after you’re finished your garment. It’s great for putting initials on kids’ sweaters.

Or make up your own motifs – this was for my train-loving son. Please note awesome smoke, which I am very proud of:

I Knit a Chicken

Truth be told, I am a sucker for Fiber Trends’ felted animal patterns. They’re crazy-fussy, but they’re small and over quickly. I saw this one at my local yarn store and snapped it up! This is Henrietta and Family. Someday I will knit Henrietta, but I only did a chick this time. The only yellow yarn I had was some I had bought at a farmer’s market in Vermont and had no label. Unbeknownst to me it must have had some mohair in it, because when I felted it, it came out very fuzzy. Which was appropriate. And adorable. Here’s the chick:

Waaah! I love it! I have a lot of this yarn left; if I get my act together I can maybe knock out a couple more for an Easter centerpiece. Or just gaze lovingly at this one.