Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Knitting Socks, a Wartime Poem


The Boston Transcript reprinted the following poem in 1917, just as it appeared in that paper November 27, 1861.

CLICK, click! how the needles go 
Through the busy fingers, to and fro--
With no bright colors of berlin wool, 
Delicate hands today are full: 
Only a yarn of deep, dull blue, 
Socks for the feet of the brave and true. 
Yet click, click, how the needles go, 
'Tis a power within that nerves them so. 
In the sunny hours of the bright spring day, 
And still in the night time far away. 
Maiden, mother, grandame sit 
Earnest and thoughtful while they knit.
Many the silent prayers they pray, 
Many the tear drops brushed away. 
While busy on the needles go, 
Widen and narrow, heel and toe. 
The grandame thinks with a thrill of pride
How her mother knit and spun beside 
For that patriot band in olden days 
Who died the Stars and Stripes to raise--
Now she in turn knits for the brave 
Who'd die that glorious flag to save. 
She is glad, she says, ''the boys" have gone, 
'Tis just as their grandfathers would have done. 
But she heaves a sigh and the tears will start, 
For "the boys" were the pride of grandame's heart. 
The mother's look is calm and high, 
God only hears her soul's deep cry--
In Freedom's name, at Freedom's call, 
She gave her sons--in them her all. 
The maiden's cheek wears a paler shade.
But the light in her eyes is undismayed. 
Faith and hope give strength to her sight, 
She sees a red dawn after the night. 
Oh, soldiers brave, will it brighten the day, 
And shorten the march on the weary way, 
To know that at home the loving and true 
Are knitting and hoping and praying for your 
Soft are the voices when speaking your name, 
Proud are their glories when hearing your fame. 
And the gladdest hour in their lives will be 
When they greet you after the victory. 


The Boston Transcript reprinted the following poem in 1917, just as it appeared in that paper November 27, 1861.

from Great Poems of the World War: Electronic Edition, W. D. Eaton

Continue browsing this volume:
Previous poem:  - Allan P. Thomson
Next poem:  - "Anchusa"

A Good Yarn Abounds

A Good Yarn in Boston~

This comes from their blog:  http://agoodyarnma.blogspot.com/


Best of Boston


The best news to come to A Good Yarn recently is that we have been awarded
Best of Boston 2008
for Knitting Supplies!
We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our loyal customers, without whom this would have never happened and to Boston Magazine. We were taken totally by surprise and had no idea we were being considered, since I don't think (though I may be wrong) this category existed before this year.

More Good Yarn

A Good Yarn in Prescott, AZ

Debra Dorrell
220 W. Goodwin Street
Suite #6
Prescott, AZ 86305

Another Good Yarn

A Good Yarn in New York has this to say about its store:

About Us

A Good Yarn is owned by Linda Stanyon Johnson, previous owner of The Woolgathering, on New York City's Upper East Side, for 10 years. We're located at 200 Browertown Road, in West Paterson, New Jersey, just off Interstate 80, Route 46 and the Garden State Parkway. Call 845-913-6547 for an appointment.

On the Web, we offer yarn, free patterns, kits, books, our favorite knitting images and a long list of our favorite blogs and links. Besides all of the above, our store in West Paterson offers knitting classes, workshops and a pleasant place to knit with expert assistance readily at hand.

A pensive customer 
considers her next project

A Good Yarn

A Good Yarn
Originally uploaded by Mr. T in DC
A Good Yarn

The yarn store A Good Yarn, at 1738 Aliceanna Street, in the Fell's Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.

A Good Yarn

What to do with A Good Yarn?

I found four yarn store sites online with the name A Good Yarn:


*   *   *   *   *

Also, the book entitled "A Good Yarn," by Debbie Macomber, which my mom has read.  Here is one review I found:

From Publishers Weekly
Macomber revisits the cozy Seattle yarn store of 2004's The Shop on Blossom Street in another heartfelt tale of crafts and camaraderie. After a slow beginning, this sequel clips along satisfyingly, as shop owner Lydia, a cancer survivor, and her no-nonsense sister, Margaret, meet three new and conveniently quite different friends and bond over the complications of life. Overweight, depressed teenager Courtney Pulanski has found herself plopped into a new town for her senior year, living with her grandma while her dad works in Brazil. Bethanne Hamlin, a recent divorcée, and Elise Beaumont, who's been single for years, are both still suffering from their broken marriages. Serving as sounding boards and sources of endless support for each other, the women find friendship and, of course, resolution for their problems (the latter a little too easily). Readers will miss The Shop on Blossom Street's spirited Jacqueline, who plays a minor role here, and a few things—like the character of Elise's ex-husband, Maverick—strain credibility. But the author's trademark warm treatment of the lives of women will satisfy her readers. Despite occasional draughts of treacle and a too-easy denouement, this should be another Macomber bestseller. (May) 

*   *   *   *   *

You can visit agoodyarn.blogspot.com, and you could also Purl Up With a Good Yarn at  jillz.typepad.com/

*   *   *   *   *

Scientific American has this to say in an recent article called "The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn":

A Good Yarn
Storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across culture and through all of known history. Anthropologists find evidence of folktales everywhere in ancient cultures, written in Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian and Sumerian. People in societies of all types weave narratives, from oral storytellers in hunter-gatherer tribes to the millions of writers churning out books, television shows and movies. And when a characteristic behavior shows up in so many different societies, researchers pay attention: its roots may tell us something about our evolutionary past...

For more on this article, check out this link:  

*   *   *  *   *   *

If you are a spinner, you might be interested in what the West Virginia University Extension Service has to say in "Traditions Continue...Spinning a Good Yarn."  To read this pdf, try this link:   

*   *   *   *   *

So, if you're looking for a good yarn, check it out!

Following the links,

--The Knit Chick

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Photos from my Artist Date

Yesterday I took an Artist Date, for my Artist's Way journey.  Here are a few photos I took, for texture and color ideas...

I loved the play of light on alder leaves...


                                                                                            the varying shades of blackberries...

                                             lilies on Upper Hawk's Pond


                                                                                feathers on nettle leaves...


The Knit Chick

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Poem By Emily

Good morning!  

Here is a poem perfect for the time and place.  It's not that easy to find poems about knitting, or with knitting in them.  But, it is my mission to search them out!  If you've found poems you love, feel free to share them.

All stitched up and ready to go,

The Knit Chick

Autumn—Overlooked My Knitting

Autumn—overlooked my Knitting—
Dyes—said He—have I—
Could disparage a Flamingo—
Show Me them—said I—

Cochineal—I chose—for deeming
It resemble Thee—
And the little Border—Dusker—
For resembling Me— 

Emily Dickinson

Friday, September 26, 2008

Awesome Entrelac Socks

Entrelac Socks
Originally uploaded by summerofsocks2006

Here's another way you can use the Entrelac Stitch. Aren't these gorgeous? In two shades of blue, these great socks will warm your feet, and brighten your day.  Wear them with Birkenstocks, or other favorite sandals...

A few years ago I created a Christmas stocking for my daughter, now 16... wow. Times flies.  She was 2 when I gave this to her.  

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Here's a look at the cuff, which is done in Entrelac.  I used worsted weight wool primarily, and added Eyelash for pizzaz.  I played with two different shades of green to keep it interesting, and two or three different reds, sticking with one main worsted red to anchor it.

Thinking ahead to red and green,

The Knit Chick

Falling for Entrelac

Stitch of the Day--Exquisite Entrelac~

I love this stitch.  I have two UFO's in progress, with the idea to make a cardigan out of one, and a shawl out of the other one.  The photos I have here are of my first attempt.  This is the one that will become (eventually!!!) a cardigan.  I design most of my stuff from scratch, so I'm never quite sure how it will present itself when all's said and done.  Same with my poetry.

Here's a little close-up view of the stitch. My blocks are all 10 stitches wide. You can make them larger or smaller if you like, depending on the effect you want.  

In this sample, I alternated rows with the same blue -- in this case I used Cynthia Helene wool (20%) mohair (80%) in "Lapis."  Every other row I alternated between Rowan "Kaffe Fassett Kid Silk" (70% kid mohair, 10% silk) in Gold, to Schaffhauser Ambra (wool) in variegated shades ranging from grey to gold to blue, and lastly Bryspun Kid-n-Ewe in a nice steely grey.

Once you get it down, this stitch isn't too difficult to do.  Here's how to get started:

The Entrelac Practice Piece

This sampler will have four 6-stitch wide blocks, once you get past the triangle row

Materials: any bulky, worsted or sport weight yarn, needles size 5, 6, or 7 or whatever accomplishes the gauge you require.

Cast on 24 stitches to make 4 triangles in short rows. The cast-on is done left to right, and the first row goes right to left. Left and right are going to become very familiar to you when working entrelac.


  1. k2, turn
  2. slip 1, p1, turn
  3. slip 1, k2, turn
  4. slip 1, p2, turn
  5. slip 1, k3, turn
  6. slip 1, p3, turn
  7. slip 1, k4, turn
  8. slip 1, p4, turn
  9. slip 1, k5, turn
  10. slip 1, p5, turn
  11. slip 1, k5, turn
  12. and 13. repeat rows 10 and 11 
Now make the next triangle, starting with the next two stitches. If you want to mark your place, use a stitch marker. Make 4 triangles in the same manner, utilising all 24 stitches on the cast-on row. 

The rectangle rows:

Each rectangle row begins and ends with a little triangle. 

Starting triangle, left end. 

  1. p2
  2. sl 1, k1
  3. sl 1, inc 1, p2tog w/ 1st live stitch from other needle.
  4. sl 1, k2
  5. sl 1, inc 1, p1, p2tog w/next live stitch
  6. sl 1, k3
  7. sl 1, inc 1, p2, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  8. sl 1, k4
  9. sl 1, inc. 1, p3, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  10. sl 1, k5
  11. sl 1, inc 1,p 4, p2tog w/ last live stitch
  12. sl 1, k 5
  13. sl 1, p5http://knittyotter.typepad.com/otterknits/files/6_stitch_entrelac_scarf_tutorial_by_knittyotter.pdf
Now go "over the hill" and pick up six stitches to make

Right leaning rectangle:
(no increasing or decreasing this time, only joining)

  1. slip 1, k5
  2. slip 1, p4, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  3. slip 1, k5
  4. slip 1, p4, p2tog w/ next live stitch
Continue this way until the live stitches from the next section are all used up. After the last p2tog, join turn and slip and go back uphill, then come back downhill again. Now, move on to the next rectangle, by picking up six stitches from the side of the triangle below.
You end on the right. Next row will be left leaning.

Start with the left leaning triangle.

  1. k2
  2. sl 1, p1
  3. sl 1, inc 1, ssk w/ next live stitch,
and so on...
You will make the same sideways triangle as before: slip 1, increase, work to end and join with the next live stitch; turn, slip and work back uphill - but this time you will increase and do your joining on the knit side, and purl back.

Then make a set of left leaning rectangles, reversing the way you did the right leaning rectangles; join on the knit side, slip and work back on the purl side.

  1. pick up 6 stitches
  2. sl 1, p5, turn
  3. sl 1, k4, ssk w/ next live stitch
and so on...

Binding off as you go - the last set of triangles
Make the beginning triangle the same as any beginning triangle, until you get 5 stitches on the left needle. Then sl 1, inc 1, bind off those two, then bind off the remaining stitches of the beginning triangle as you knit each one, except for the last stitch.

Pick up 6 stitches down the next valley, as usual. You will have 7 stitches on the left needle, one from the beginning triangle, and 6 from the current pickup.

  1. slip 1, work 5 to the left, turn and bind off the last 1 of the picked up stitches with the remaining stitch from the beginning triangle.
  2. slip 1, work 5 to the right and join to the next live stitch as usual.
  3. slip 1, work 6 to the left, turn, and bind off 1 stitch
  4. slip 1, work 5 to the right and join to the next live stitch

Continue doing this, as if making the usual rectangle but binding off one stitch each time you arrive at "the top of the hill," until you have bound off the entire 6 stitch section, leaving only 1 stitch on the needle, then pick up for the next section and so on, until all stitches are bound off.

*   *   *   *   *

**For another look, with great instructions and step-by-step photos, check out this link:


(See Hot Links, to the left)

This what the back of the knitted piece looks like.  If you weave in as you go, it's so much nicer!  Not so much tucking in when you reach the end of your project, and you can really enjoy both sides as you knit!   


Colorfully yours,

The Knit Chick

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jean Luc Cornec - telephone sheep object in the Frankfurt Museum of Communications

Here's another view--I love these! I want one in my house... easy to keep, easy to communicate with. No mess. Very handy.

= )

Phony Sheep

I love these photos of recycled phones... Enjoy!

As it said in the e-mail where I first saw these images:

"Where old phones go!  Every one of these sheep is made from telephones and cords.  Check out their feet!"  

Make sure to click on the photo--with any luck you'll be able to see a larger image of these wonderful creations.

Credits:  Artwork "Telephone Sheep" by Jean Luc Cornec in the Museum für Kommunikation, Frankfurt am Main

All wound up,

The Knit Chick

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Basketweave stitch in Red

Originally uploaded by Victor Venefic
I just couldn't resist this one--I'm weak for red. Especially as now when I drive past a little nursery near our home I see the trees lining the road and it looks as if they are changing sideways from vivid green to crimson.


Tuesday: Bountiful Basket Stitches!

Basketweave stitch
Originally uploaded by happyskrappy
Today's stitch is the Basketweave, perfect for Autumn knitting, when we begin to harvest our fall fruits, can blackberries and apples, and give gifts of what we've made in little baskets...

Basketweave Stitch

Multiple of 8 + 5

Row 1:  (RS) k
Row 2:  k5, *p3, k5; rep from *
Row 3: p5, *k3, p5; rep from *
Row 4: Rep Row 2
Row 5: k
Row 6: k1, *p3, k5; rep from *; end p3, k1
Row 7: p1, *k3, p5; rep from *; end k3, p1
Row 8: Rep Row 6

A quote I found, which seems to fit well in this time of shift and change.  

"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." 
       Elizabeth Zimmermann, 1910-1999



A pair of needles in hand, slip 
of stitch between fingers, a friend
to untangle the yarns 
of a day, an honest
cup of tea.

--Ronda Broatch

Yours in stitches,

The Knit Chick

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Irish Sheep

While in Ireland this past summer, I enjoyed taking a good many photos.  As is customary in many places, spray painting your sheep to keep track of them seems to be the thing to do.  I'm wondering about tie-dyed designs?  I wonder how the sheep feel about this?  I wonder how difficult it is to get the paint out?  


One day while traveling the countryside in the Connemara region, I stopped to take photos of a house with a thatched roof.  A man happened to be standing outside the neighboring house and, as is common in Ireland, we got to talking.  For quite a while.  As we talked several sheep darted around us and out of site.  I wonder where they went?


Some of my favorite knitting is Aran knitting, with its rich language of cables and texture stitches.  

For a nice description of the meaning of Aran stitches, check out this link:


In stitches,

The Knit Chick

Friday, September 19, 2008

Socks Again!

Yarn-winding postcard
Originally uploaded by iknitlondon
Today's poem is one I found by Robert Service, one of my husband's favorite poets.

Winding Wool

by Robert Service

She'd bring to me a skein of wool
And beg me to hold out my hands;
so on my pipe I cease to pull
And watch her twine the shining strands
Into a ball so snug and neat,
Perchance a pair of socks to knit
To comfort my unworthy feet,
Or pullover my girth to fit.

As to the winding I would sway,
A poem in my head would sing,
And I would watch in dreamy way
The bright yarn swiftly slendering.
The best I liked were coloured strands
I let my pensive pipe grow cool . . .
Two active and two passive hands,
So busy winding shining wool.

Alas! Two of those hands are cold,
And in these days of wrath and wrong,
I am so wearyful and old,
I wonder if I've lived too long.
So in my loneliness I sit
And dream of sweet domestic rule . . .
When gentle women used to knit,
And men were happy winding wool.

All wound up,

The Knit Chick

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Speaking of Socks...

This little gem of a book is an excellent resource for sock knitting ideas.  Within the covers of Folk Socks is a history of sock knitting, from peasant to royalty, and a bit about sock knitting traditions in Europe and Britain.  Author Nancy Bush takes the reader/knitter through the how-to's of making a good basic sock, with special attention to creating strong heels and toes, with plenty of variations on the theme.  Following that are numerous wonderful, colorful patterns to inspire your craving for creative socks, from lacy and cabled to just plain comfortable-to-wear-with-my-Birkenstocks socks.  I highly recommend it.

Yours in stitches,

The Knit Chick

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Colorful Poets

In my travels today, I discovered a new color description:

This one comes from Target, and is called Poet's Purple... 

So, here's my challenge:  write a poem using the color purple in it, while making reference to knitting in some way.


--The Knit Chick

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knitting in Poetry

Ah, it is confession time~

In truth, I'm really a poet who has also been a long-time knitter.  I confess that my stash of yarn competes with my growing piles of literary journals and books of poetry.  I confess that I haven't knit in a long time and that, as I revise poetry on my Mac, I'm gazing up at the rows of multi-colored spines adorned with bright artwork and sometimes glittering titles.  And in between all these books is an assortment of some of the most gorgeous fall colored wool, mohair, llama, and cotton yarns, just waiting to be "published."  Er, "knitted to completion," rather.  

I confess that I will revise this post several times before I'm happy with it.

During my internet travels today I came across the following poem, which was translated by one of my favorite poets, Robert Bly. 


by Pablo Neruda

(Translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me 
a pair of socks 
which she knitted herself 
with her sheepherder's hands, 
two socks as soft as rabbits. 
I slipped my feet into them 
as though into two cases 
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin. 

Violent socks, 
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks 
sea blue, shot through 
by one golden thread, 
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons, 
my feet were honored in this way 
by these heavenly socks.

They were so handsome for the first time 
my feet seemed to me unacceptable 
like two decrepit firemen, 
firemen unworthy of that woven fire, 
of those glowing socks. 
Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp tempation 
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies, 
as learned men collect 
sacred texts, 
I resisted the mad impulse to put them 
in a golden cage and each day give them 
birdseed and pieces of pink melon. 

Like explorers in the jungle 
who hand over the very rare green deer 
to the spit and eat it with remorse, 
I stretched out my feet and pulled on 
the magnificent socks and then my shoes. 
The moral of my ode is this: 
beauty is twice beauty, 
and what is good is doubly good 
when it is a matter of two socks 
made of wool in winter.

Nuevas odas elementales, 1956 

Literally yours,

The Knit Chick

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chevron Scarf

Chevron Scarf
Originally uploaded by javaje
Simply Stunning!

Check out the link via the photo for the instructions for this vibrant scarf by Javajem, using Koigu yarn.


The Knit Chick

Feather and Fan

feather and fan
Originally uploaded by greenolive*
This is a most gorgeous pattern, done over a multiple of 18 stitches. Another name for the stitch is "Old Shale." It makes a stunning scarf, and an even more impressive sweater.

Feather and Fan:

Done over a multiple of 18 sts.

Row 1: K

Row 2: P

Row 3: *K 2 tog 3 times, YO, K1 6 times, K 2 tog 3 times* repeat to border.

Row 4: K

Repeat these rows until desired length. The larger the needle size relative to the gauge of yarn, the lacier the effect. See both examples.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Feather & Fan Stitch Scarf - Close Up

Here is  a closer look at the stitch.  This one was made using a fingering weight yarn, and done on size 7 needles, creating a wonderfully airy quality.  Imagine the warmth and feel of silk, cashmere, merino, alpaca, or qiviut-- are you ready to knit?   

Warmly, the Knit Chick


Boku Scarf

Boku Scarf
Originally uploaded by auntieknits
How cool is this? Just imagine the feel of bamboo needles between your fingers, the slip of 5% silk, 95% wool yarn in color that would rival a New England hillside in the fall... Wow.

**Note the Seed Stitch used, and how nicely this yarn shows it off...

As always,

The Knit Chick

Moss Stitch Beret

moss stitch beret
Originally uploaded by small::bird
Done in Cascade 220, this Moss Stitch Beret is just the ticket for Autumn!

Here's how to do the stitch:

Moss StitchThis stitch is related to the Basic Seed Stitch, but stands out a little more.

Multiple of 4 sts., plus 2

Row 1: *K2, P2*, K2
Row 2: P2, *K2, P2
Row 3: *P2, K2*, P2
Row 4: K2, *P2, K2*

Repeat this sequence to establish pattern.



The Knit Chick

Orange Seeds

orange seeds
Originally uploaded by knitboy1
Here is a vibrant example of Seed Stitch used in a scarf. Looks awesome! And so easy to do.


Basic Seed Stitch: This one is more textured. Made by alternating one knit stitch and one purl stitch within a row, then knitting the purls, and purling the knit stitches on the return row.  

Multiple of 2 sts., plus 1  

Every Row: *K1, P1*, K1  

Nice thing about using the Basic Seed Stitch is that, when used in blankets and scarves--anything with a definite selvage edge--the fabric won't roll inward.


The Knit Chick

Hot Tip for Joining Wool Yarn

Ever get tired of having so many ends to weave in when the project's done?  Here's a hot tip to reduce the tidying-up time once you put your needles down.

This works with wool, and best with wool that can be felted.  Here's how:

When you are nearing the end of the skein, and are ready to join on a new skein, simply split the end of your yarn back about an inch or inch and a half.  If your yarn is plied, split the plies, and if your yarn is a single ply, gently untwist back an inch or so and tease the fibers apart.  Now gently tug off half of your split, leaving the other half attached.  Do this also with the new yarn you are joining on.  

Now, you have two ends that are half split to about an inch or so each.  Line those ends up, overlapping your plies so that they make a whole.  Here comes the fun part--spit on the the inch or so where the yarns are to join.  Then, between your palms, rub the join vigorously to felt them together.  Once you have a join that is resistant to being pulled apart, you can continue knitting.  Best thing is, no ends to weave in!  

Have fun and keep on knitting!

The Knit Chick

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Seeds for Fall


Two more textures to add to your projects.  Both of these stitch patterns are done over 

Chevron Seed Stitch:  Purls zigzags on a stockinette background.

Multiple of 8 sts.

Row 1: *P1, K3*
Row 2: *K1, P5, K1, P1*
Row 3: *K2, P1, K3, P1, K1*
Row 4: *P2, K1, P2, K1, P3*


Diamond Seed Stitch:  A purl stitch lattice on a stockinette background.

Multiple of 8 stitches
Row 1: *P1, K7*
Rows 2 and 8: *K1, P5, K1, P1*
Rows 3 and 7: *K2, P1, K3, P1, K1*
Rows 4 and 6: *P2, K1, P1, K1, P3*
Row 5: *K4, P1, K3*


These two stitches look great when using a crisp finished plied yarn in a sport weight.  Great for those Guernsey knit sweaters!

Have fun!

The Knit Chick

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Simple Seeds

Looking for a little spice to dress up a plain knit? Using a simple seed stitch or variation could be just the ticket. Whether using a plain yarn, which often shows off a texture best, or whether you are using a variegated yarn, these easy seeds take that project to the next dimension.


Simple Seed Stitch: a stockinette stitch interspersed with purl stitches.

Done over a multiple of 4 sts.

Row 1: *K3, P1*
Row 2 and all other even rows: purl
Row 3 and 7: knit
Row 5: K1, *P1, K3*, P1, K2

Done over an area of a few inches, this easy pattern creates the illusion of diamonds.



The Knit Chick


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