All posts by Lorraine

Meet the “Interns” – Part 1

Meet Tee, 4 years old now and into the fiber fumes from the get-go!

picture of cat with laptop
Intern? I should be at least an assistant editor!

Tee came to us as a little stray who showed up on the back deck and demanded attention, food, and eventually entrance to the house.

You are completely in my power...

He knew a sweet deal when he found one.  And a couple of soft touches in Lidlady and yours truly.  Not to mention soft laps.  I’ve lost track of the number of socks and other projects I’ve knit just inches from my face, to allow room for a pile of snuggly black fur taking up all available space. We’ve lost some yarn to his curiosity, and endured many scratches from his annoyance at being poked with dangling needles when we go the 2-circs route, but nowadays Tee has settled into his role as a senior member of the feline team and largely confines himself to inspecting the finished projects and supervising the other interns.


cat with bag of yarn
Not such a fan of the acrylics, really, but I love the pretty pink color!
cat with yarn
"Sugar 'n' Cream?" Now we're talking!









My best Tee & knitting story — this blue mat started out as a felting project to make a roll-up needle holder.  I even knitted the 2 cabled bands to hold the needles and attached them.  Even took a picture of the finished project and proudly uploaded it to Ravelry.  But Tee… well, he just loved it.  He loved to sniff it and roll around on it, curl up in a meatloaf on it, and sleep for hours.  <Sigh…>  What’s a mommy to do?  He loves it so much, it is his!

needle case project
Before: A felted needle case
cat on a mat
After: Bliss, sheer bliss!

Sweet Tomato

Cat Bordhi has done it again, come up with yet another take on sock knitting.  This time, she has taken all the angst out of wraps and turns for the short row heel with her Sweet Tomato Heel.  I don’t know about you, but even when I can remember where to put the yarn for the wraps, I rarely can find the wraps on the way back to knit them to avoid holes.  Cat taught us how to do it correctly in a class she gave at the Lion Studio last October, but…  I am a timid knitter, hanging on to my stitches with a death grip, not really wanting to risk lifting the wrap up and over the stitch to knit them together.  I am always afraid they will slip off the tip of my needle.

Clearly, I am not the only one of Cat’s students to feel this way.  She invented the Sweet Tomato with us in mind, and let me tell you, it is wonderfully easy.   Here is my first attempt:

picture of sock heel No gusset, no holes, no wraps to pick up.  Just a nice series of wedges and a lovely rounded heel that fits.  Cat has produced a serial e-book that explains the technique and shows how to apply it in some very clever patterns.

Read about it and order it from Cat’s website or from Ravelry.  The best part about the e-book is the instant gratification factor — you download each part as it is completed rather than having to wait for the whole book.  It also includes links to videos to demonstrate the techniques.  Cat has created a Ravelry group that already has hundreds of members, where you can discuss the technique, post pictures of your heels, and ask questions.  Cat is very active and generous with her time and advice.  When I posted this picture to the show-your-heels forum, I got a very nice note back from her, suggesting a way to avoid the slight “laddering” effect that I always seem to get when switching from one needle to the next.  Now that’s a teacher.  Thanks, Cat!

Goodnight Irene!

This has got to be the most stressed-filled week we’ve had in 10 years!  First the earthquake, an unusual event in New York at best, but rather nerve-wracking coming up so close to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  And then, the ever-more-dire anticipation of Irene, the hurricane of the century.  Yes, we had lots of advance warning, and yes, the City was prepared and ready, but really….

I think last night was the worst.  Lidlady and I spent the better part of 2 days battening down the hatches — laying in emergency supplies and food; hunting down flashlights, batteries and bungee cords; pulling in all the outside stuff and securing everything else; packing our “go” bags (!) — and then what?  Remembering the images of Katrina, and thinking about the six cats, and what if the windows blow out and we start to take on water in the house?  So, planning a move upstairs and preparing for hunkering down against a rising tide.   Hours of waiting, listening to the grim newscasts, wishing we could either project ourselves 24 hours into the future when it would all be over or else somehow putting ourselves into an oblivious state where we could sleep through it all.

As I write this, we have come through everything just fine, safe and dry.  And I sincerely wish and hope the same for all the Library knitters, especially those who live in New Jersey and Long Island.

And, as for the hours of waiting… may I just say that there is nothing more calming than a healthy dose of fiber fumes?  Knitting!  The simple, calming regularity of just plain stockinette stitches can do wonders for the nerves, calming the mind and slowing down the heart rate.  Here is a picture of what I will henceforth think of as my “hurricane sweater” although it is actually the “Out of the Shell Turtleneck” from Top Down Sweaters: Knit to Fit from Top to Bottom, by Doreen L. Marquart.

picture of sweater
Knitting -- it's better than drugs

Independence Day

July 3 — The newly-named “Fiesta Sweater” is done!  Just in time to celebrate  the holiday, though far too warm to wear right now.  Only one really bad mishap along the way (what the Knitmores might call a “when knitting attacks!” moment, or what Abby and Ben at Knit Knit Cafe might dub a “bitter cup”).  Clearly I need much more practice in picking up stitches.  My lack of mad skillz in this area didn’t matter so much for the sleeves, when I not only did NOT pick up the requisite number of stitches around the armhole, I didn’t even get the same number of stitches on each sleeve!  Did this faze yours truly?  No, I wasn’t planning to do decreases along the length of the sleeves anyway, so I calculated the number of stitches I would need for the lacy scalloped edge (13 stitches x 8 repeats), kept the sleeve that had closest to that number, started the other sleeeve over, and sneaked in a couple of extra stitches to add up to the required number on each.  After that it was, as they say, a piece o’ cake!  Many thanks to my knitting buddy, the estimable Lidlady, for the tip about figuring out what I’d need at the end and working backwards.

But wait — my tale of woe and my gratitude to Lidlady do not end there.  Somewhere during the body knitting I had tried on the sweater to test length, and the neckhole was perfectly fine.  However, my decided lack of aforementioned skill hit with a vengeance at the end.  I did the neckline pickups, finished the edging, and confidently slipped the sweater on over my head… only to have it stay there.  AAARGH!  My lovely sweater was now a hat.  Thankfully, Lidlady was kind enough to do the picking up for me.  So now I have a finished sweater, all that awaits is blocking.

picture of finished sweater pictre of lace edging

Sweater Blues

Almost the end of June, almost the end of this sweater!  I have now completed the entire body and one whole sleeve, working my way down the other, then just the neckline to go!  Here is another pic, showing the colorful yarn I’m using for the edging.  A commenter asked about the pattern info for this project, and of course I have been remiss.  Talk about a librarian falling down on the job.  At any rate, this lovely WIP is the “Scalloped Lace Trimmed Sweater,” from the book Top Down Sweaters: Knit to Fit from Top to Bottom, by Doreen L. Marquart.
Yarn and sweater edging
Making good use of that single skein


Summer Stash-down

I’ve said it before, but this time I really mean it.  I am not buying any more new yarn until I make some headway into the bins of lovely yarn I already own.  First on the needles, this lovely sweater with a scalloped lace edging, knit it Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo, in Hyacinth.  Very easy knitting, mostly stockinette.  Whoa, that’s a lot of plain blue.  I decided to jazz things up for the scalloped edging, using a skein of Chameleon Colorworks that I got ages ago (well, 2007).  This was back in the days when I just loved the pretty yarn and would buy a single skein with no idea of what to make with it.  Nice to look at and feel, not terribly practical for projects.

picture of blue sweater

Library Development Day

Okay, I know D-Day was May 26, which seems like an awfully long time ago!  I was jazzed up about the knitting event we scheduled at the end of the day, took photos, all set to write about it — and then life happened.  First, a computer virus and then a human one.  But my trusty MacBook and I both survived the onslaught, and here we are again.

photo of knitting sessionEverybody had a great time, especially the knitters.  It was a chance to show off what we do and maybe inspire some of our colleagues to give it a try.

photo of knitting

The Discovery Sock

My personal footprint sock
Discovering the Personal Footprint

Back to my Discovery Sock project.  Not as recent as I thought, this sock was actually done in 2009.  I was fascinated by the idea of making a sock that would actually fit my foot.   There is a learning curve, but once you get that sock to fit you transfer all the info to the cardboard foot and that becomes your “pattern” for any sock you want to make.

Last October I was lucky enough to take a master class with Cat Bordhi herself, at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in New York.  As expected, she was a terrific teacher.  It was hard to concentrate on making my little learning socks.  Cat had so much info to give us, so many tips and tricks, that I kept putting my knitting down to scribble notes.

Probably the most valuable thing I learned was that I had been making my socks much too large, and that I would get a better fit if I either used fewer stitches or went down a needle size or two.  It was a real “duh!” moment, but my socks work a whole lot better these days.  So it was a discovery sock in more ways than one.

Almost Ready for Prime Time

It has been a long time since Meredith’s “basic training” session (March 17), and I had hopes to be up and running before now!  My new goal is this Thursday, May 26 our first Personnel Development Day here at the Gladys Marcus Library.  I want Fiber Fumes to be part of it.  We are a craftsy bunch and I want this to be a place to talk about it and show off our fibery interests.  This isn’t meant to be my blog, it is for all of us.  But here’s a picture of one of my recent projects, just to get us started.

Footprint Sock Project
Learning from the Master

More about this project next time…

Hello world!

Welcome to Fiber Fumes, a blog about knitting, crocheting, and everything fiber.  Fiber Fumes… that state of euphoria and sensory overload that happens when you encounter yarn in all its glory, whether masses of it at a show or just that single perfect skein.