Archive for the ‘Patterns’ category

Lu Top Fever!

July 7, 2008


Among lots of other things I have been doing,  I have been  helping friends out with their projects as well as trying to organize myself and my knitting, including dealing with the huge amount of “papeleo,” as Spanish speakers would say, that I have had in piles all over, waiting for me to go into filing mode.  

I have not made that much progress on organizing the yarn, even with one of the rooms in the house being designated “The Yarn Room.”  Well, that will come later.

Things got wilder than usual in the living room (o.k., and maybe beyond the living room) last weekend. 

This is what has kept me from doing other projects…trying to get all of these knitting patterns into binders. 

I am now officially owning my propensity for procrastination and documenting it here.  The first pic below shows part of the sorting pile, on its way to being filed into binders.   I have had all of these in boxes, unsorted and essentially unuseable, at least if I wanted to find anything specific. 

I am naming the evidence pics Out of the Chaos I or  how the entire l.r. floor looked as I was sorting everything…

                                                                  Out of the Chaos !


                               Out of the Chaos II or Ready, Set, File!

                                                                  Out of the Chaos II

I finally wound up with this:                                                                          Out of the Chaos III

Part of my packrat cybertherapy…1st,  own the madness chaos, then do something about it, and then document the progress…small steps, but progressive steps nonetheless.

As librarians say, “the only information you can use is the information you can find“…so true.  So there it is, still untidy looking, but at least accessible.  As it turns out, I am a librarian.  Eek!

The small notebooks in the foreground are “idea” or “creativity” notebooks of the 30 or so that I have kept for years, the concept being that ideas are ephemeral and like a wisp, will evaporate unless one gets them recorded somehow. 

If I imagine something, or see something that inspires me, or come across anything at all that interests me, I try to get it into the current notebook no matter what.  About this I am very disciplined.  I love going through the notebooks later.   My dilemma is finding time to implement more of what springs forth from my ever-fertile imagination.

For the last couple of months, in addition to trying to find time for my knitting,  I have been helping friends and family to do all manner of projects: 

  • tutoring a friends’ son in reading
  • setting up another friend’s home wireless network
  • helping my aunt by proofreading her online Ph.D. program papers…atta girl, Aunt Ruthie!
  • teaching one friend to knit (she’s doing great after only 4 or 5 days)…atta girl, Gabby!
  • participating in several “meet and greets” at work as we look for a new University Librarian 

That last activity resulted in the eating, o.k., my eating of who-knows-how-many awesome chocolate chip cookies made by our university cafeteria.  Well, I have been pretty good about what I’ve been eating for the last few months or so, and life is not really worth living if you’re just going to obey the self-inflicted , uh, self-imposed rules all of the time.  

I’ll wait until later to tell you about my friend whose family owns the cheesecake factory………


Today, exactly one month after my last post, I am determined to get my latest projects posted. 

Blogging or keeping up with blogging is certainly a lot more, uh, relentless than I had ever imagined prior to starting to do this myself….but it is certainly a lot of fun.  My style of blogging is to post less often, but to post more (and hopefully still interesting) content.  

Blogging is especially good for someone like me, a World Class Procrastinator, at least a lot of the time.  It forces me to focus. What a concept! Funny that I have no problems getting knitting projects finished, but posting about them here, or in Ravelry, is a whole other thing.

I have completed a total of three Lu tops. The original, designed by Adrienne Thomas,  I bought as a kit and knitted up and love.  I posted about it in my last post on June 6. 

Intrigued by the Turkish stitch pattern used by the original designer, I decided to try this with some different yarns.  The first is an inexpensive yarn from Moda Dea called “Tweedle Dum” (or maybe it is “Tweedle Dee”).  It has some interesting subtle color changes and I wanted to see what would happen with this knitted-in-one-piece design.  Tweedle Dee (yeah, that’s it!)  is technically a bulky wt. yarn so it knitted up to a larger garment, but I had also added 6 stitches at the cast on to make it longer.  I like the brevity of the original design, but I think a longer length is more practical (unless you are the size of the Perl Grey model, who seems to be a size 2!).  The original gauge or tension was 3 sts. and 5.75 rows per inch, unstretched. 

Note:  the Turkish stitch makes a very stretchy fabric.  Also, there are many different Turkish stitches available via Google.  This one is a one row repeat employing slip stitches, PSSOs (pass slipped stitch over) and yarn overs.

Here are my pics of those two new Lu tops:                                             Lu top of Tweedle Dee yarn  

                                     Lu Top III, original design by Adrienne Thomas

It looks as if I need to block the corners a little bit so that they won’t curl so!).  Other than that, these are great for putting on and taking off as I try to adjust to my own temperature fluctuations from hot flashes air conditioning at work and blazing heat outside.  For the second one, I used Queensland Collection “Kathmandu Ultra,” which is a merino, silk, cashmere blend that I picked up at Tuesday Morning (the overstock chain found in some parts of the U.S.).  More images here at the High Tide Purlers Knitting Guild website. See the June 19th posting there.

The blue top took about 2 (or perhaps slightly more than 2) balls of the Moda Dea yarn, and the other took 6 balls with a little left over of the Kathmandu.

I increased some stitches to make these longer than the original, although I like the short length of the original.  I increased the cast on from 36 sts. to 42 sts. 

You can go to the  Perl Grey page for the Lu Top kit and click where it says “worn in many ways,” or here: “worn in many ways” and you’ll see that this top can be worn as a cozy scarf, and also right side up,  upside down, and even backwards, all achieving a very stylish look.  You can even wear it without a pin for a shawl that won’t fall off of your shoulders!  


I just found out that soon I’ll be visiting my daughter and her family, including my two beautiful grandchildren.  There is a pic of my grandaughter, known here as Queen Isabella, here

“The Queen” is thrilled to be a “Big Stister” to her baby brother, he is thrilled to be her main groupie (he laughs at everything she says or does) and I am thrilled to be their Gogo!  Here is the baby.  We’ll call him “T.J.” here in Blogland.

                                                          Angel Boy

This weekend I made him the adorable little Sachiko kimono sweater below from the free pattern you’ll find hereSachiko Baby Kimono for Baby T.J.

I modified it ever-so-slightly giving it side seams and a tie on one side only.  It was so fast and easy that I think I’ll be making more….

As usual, I still can’t quite get the colors right with my limited skills and even more limited software.  Well, sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.  The true color of this little cutie is a deep teal. 

Finally, I went to see the current Indiana Jones movie and managed to knit the back of another cute sweater.  Got to get lots of stuff together for my trip.  Gogos just don’t show up empty-handed!


This has nothing to do with knitting, but rather FOOD…always an interesting topic if you like to eat, as do I.  I have discovered the joys of eating quinoa, a grain eaten by the indigenous people of Central and South America for millenia.  I cooked some up with some mung beans, partly because of the latter being mentioned so much on that great show (we get it on BBC America here in San Diego):  “You Are What You Eat,”  Gillian McKeith often mentions mung beans so I decided to give them a try.  She’s right!  They are delicious. 

I am still mulling over what I want to do with that recycled green yarn…which I still love….and skirts and shawls are calling to me.  I want a luxurious soft black shawl….. I have been thinking that this yarn might be perfect for

That’s all for now folks!  I should know better than to promise anything in writing(!), but I’ll try to post again before another month has passed.


News Flash! A Doomsday Vault for Our Agricultural Future

June 6, 2008

I just woke up after crashing on the sofa for a few hours when I got home….long day!

I was checking messages and came across the most fascinating story about the Svalsbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the Doomsday Vault.  It is an amazing story and worth checking out.  The t.v. news show “60 Minutes” featured a story about it, too.  Scroll down the page a little here to see that program.  There is lots more about the story at that site, too. 

My only worry is that it is not controlled by the same corporations that engineered, with the complicity of the corrupt U.S. government, Directive 81 in Iraq whereby the farmers there are prohibited by law from re-using seed stock from a previous year’s crop, which they have been doing for millenia in the world’s breadbasket. Instead they must buy expensive genetically engineered stock for subsequent plantings.  And some of us wonder why so many people around the world hate Americans so much.  Good grief.

Knitting content….

I decided to make another Lu top  (see my earlier post about my first one) using a real bulky weight yarn:  Tweedle Dee  a soft acrylic wool blend yarn with lovely and subtle color transitions.  This yarn is not very expensive (available at Michael’s, even) but has a lovely color-transition effect.  It also has good yardage in each ball: 155 yds.  This variation turned out well and although it is larger size-wise than the original Lu, which was knitted of the marvelous Fleece Artist hand dyed yarn, it looks great on.

As it turns out, he original yarn included in the kit is not really bulky (as referenced elsewhere) but rather Aran or heavy worsted weight yarn.  Yarndex got it right, but I would say that bulky is inaccurate. 

I have bound off the second top and will post pics this weekend.  At the moment I am the only model I have and my hair and I are too wild-looking even for a hat to conceal convincingly.  The downside of all of this working in the middle of the night! 

The top came out great.  A better fit really, at least for my size.  I wear a medium size, but the model at the Perl Grey site must be mighty petite because the original definitely does not fit me the way that it fits her! No matter, I like both versions on me and expect to get a lot of wear out of them both.  The original will be nice over my little black dress in the summer, and this new and heavier one will work great when it is cooler.

I love the Turkish stitch’s flexibility and versatility, not to mention ease:  it can look very different depending on the type of yarn used.  One version of it is here.  It is a one-row stitch pattern, one of the easiest lace stitches around, I am sure.  It is used on one side of the top to make the curved edge that hugs the shoulders.  I think it would be interesting to make a coat this way.

More to come when I come up for air again….got to climb into bed for some R.E.M. sleep.  

Buenas noches!























































Finally joining the legions of bloggers….

April 6, 2008

Late bloomer that I am, today is the day, after years of deliberation (and procrastination), that I have decided to launch my first attempt at blogging.

Welcome to my creative world and please keep reading this first post for a “reward” of a free knitting pattern further down.

I have been knitting and designing for most of my life, have given away more stuff than I can remember, published a bit (in Knitter’s Magazine, Winter 1997 and some self-published leaflets), and lately have wanted to reach out to others, knitters and non-knitters, who might interested in what I do, and what I have to say about it.

Being able to connect with one’s own creativity is a wonderful thing and I believe that each and every one of us has a well of creativity within, just waiting for us to dive in and partake. Not everyone’s creativity comes out in the same way and creativity does not happen in a vacuum. It needs stimulation, something to wake it up and make it want to shout!

Of course coming from creative parents helps:

Perhaps reading my posts will help to motivate a few of you to do what I do…well, maybe not adopt weird sleeping hours, as I did when my daughter was a toddler…just to find time to create…but it might help to stir your own creative impulses. If yours have already been activated, maybe it will spur you on even more!

Here are a couple of pics of my daughter, the beautiful, smart, and talented Julia Barrus, modeling a one-of-a-kind shawl I designed and made for my ex-MIL’s 80th birthday present.  The technique for this design was handknitting with crochet-embellishment using many different yarns, ribbons, and beads.

Clara's shawl

Clara's shawl



Freebie Pattern Coming Up!

Easy Elegance Ponchette

This design is perfect for those who have not been knitting for very long and affords a great opportunity, if you can stand it, to log lots of time knitting what is essentially a long rectangle of ribbing.  I know, I know, that seems boring…but look at it as a zen exercise.

To inaugurate my blog, I’ll offer this free pattern for my original “Easy Elegance Ponchette,”  and if anyone can think of a name for this other than “ponchette,” please post it in the comments.  I dislike the word “ponchette” but it does seem to fit!

This design came about when I bought yarn to make something for one of my dearest and oldest friends, Ruth R. of Zurich, Switzerland.  She’s not old, but our friendship is!

I was spending a month there with her about 5 years ago and as we traveled around the country, my eyes, ever on the lookout for yarn shops, spied a very nice-looking one in a small town near the Austrian border.

We went in and I lost my mind….yarn costs there are (or were) about a third what they were in the U.S., so I bought lots and lots (and lots!) of yarn.

Fast forward to two years ago in South America.  Ruth and I met there to do some travel in Chile and Argentina.  I had carried the yarn for Ruth’s “whatever,” intending to finish it and give it to her to avoid having to mail it to Europe from the U.S.  Rayon can be heavy!

Another view of the ponchette

The design kind of defined itself on the needles and resulted in a silver grey version of the garment you see here.  She and I both liked hers and I decided to make another one for myself when I got back home.  Ruth wore hers to a tango show that I was too sick to attend.

Later, I made the blue one for myself with yarn I found on the web at Cudgenet, a wedding supplies company.

Then one day a few months later,  I was wearing mine at work, someone admired it and commissioned me to make one for her!

Last year I put together a written pattern for my fellow guild members at the High Tide Purlers knitting guild in Laguna Beach, CA, U.S.A. and here it is:

*Easy Elegance Ponchette


Deborah A. Fleming

Blue Chainette Yarn from Cudgenet used double, or any other yarn to get gauge.  This is probably about a sport weight when using it doubled.

One size fits most


I bought 2 spools  of the chainette yarn and used the yarn doubled.  Any rayon or drapey yarn works well with this design. Other yarns can be used, but the result will vary.


For the size I made, there will be  some yarn leftover…probably enough for a small purse.


Gauge:  On size #9 needles with 2×2 ribbing.  6 sts./5 rows to the inch, unstretched. 


The fabric made is very s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y.


I have one selvedge stitch at the end of each row: 

On each row, I slip the first stitch of the row and knit the last stitch of the row.


Cast on 76 sts.

Row 1 (right side):  Slip 1, *k2, p2, repeat from * across to the last stitch. K1.


Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1, *p2, k2, repeat from * across to the last stitch. K1.


Repeat these two rows until piece measures about 48” unstretched, ending with a wrong side row.


Bind off loosely in ribbing.


Finishing:  Fold piece in half lengthwise.  Sew sides together beginning at a point 3” above the cast on/bind off edges, and at intervals about 1.5” apart to leave a keyhole effect at the join.

If the wearer is of a larger-than-average size, you will want to increase  the number of stitches you cast on as follows: 

To balance the placement of the knit stitch ribs (as the work is facing you), to increase you’ll want the number of stitches to be a multiple of 4 by an **odd** number, plus 2 stitches for the end selvedges. 

So, for example, my original size has a cast on of 78 stitches.  So that’s 76, divisible by 4 an odd number of times (19, to be exact), plus 2 more stitches for the selvedge.


Now go out and party!  Or, if you are making this for someone else, make another one for yourself!

*Updated September 22, 2014

© 2007-2014 Deborah Allen Fleming

Please don’t sell this pattern or otherwise use it for profit.  If you decide to share it with anyone else  that’s fine, but if you do, please be sure to include my name, the copyright symbol and this note.  Thanks!

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