Monday, December 15, 2008

Breakfast At McDonalds

I recently received the following email from a family member, who received it from a friend, who received it.....well, you get the picture.

This story is compelling and deeply touching, and, surprisingly, the author's email address appears at the bottom. I secured her permission to post the email on this blog.

Please read it. I hope that it will cause you to perform frequent acts of kindness to those whose need is desparate. You, too, can give the gift of "Hope".

Be blessed this Christmas season.....and be a blessing to those in need who God places in your path.

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

To all of my friends and family at home, work and play. I pray that you all have a day like this. 'Tis the season to be thankful for all that we have. God Bless you all and Merry Christmas - Tam

Breakfast at McDonalds

This is a good story and is true, please read it all the way through until the end! (After the story, there are some very interesting facts!):

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree.

The last class I had to take was Sociology.

The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.'

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.

I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake....literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning.

It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.

I did not move an inch... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling'

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance.

He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted..

He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.

That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging
my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.'

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.'

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..'

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.

We are not church goers, but we are believers.

That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand.

I turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it.

Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?'

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my son,the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:


Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to



There is an Angel sent to watch over you. In order for her to work, you must pass this on to the people you want watched over.

An Angel wrote: Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart

To handle yourself, use your head..

To handle others, use your heart.

God Gives every bird it's food, but He does not throw it into its nest.

Tammy M Keil, Realtor SRES
Cell 805-797-2068 Fax 805-644-1381
150 Palma Dr, Ventura, CA 93003

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kudos & Clarifications

Last night Tia (my daughter) and I went to our guild meeting. It was the date set for turning in our charity knitting projects for donation to the Salvation Army. The local chapter has been getting a lot of requests for warm clothing from families who are experiencing severe financial crisis due to the suppressed job market and the mortagage industry troubles.

What a fabulous bunch of ladies make up the Woolgatherer's Knitting Guild! There were three 6 foot round tables heaped high with sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, lap robes and afghans. What a sight it was! All kinds of colors, all kinds of yarns and more love than can be measured by anyone but God. The guild also passed a resolution to donate cash from our guild fund and envelope was passed for additional monetary gifts. Here in Michigan, we are already experiencing some very cold weather and the Salvation Army tries, when it can, to stave off shut-off of heat for families in distress.

Well done, ladies, well done, indeed!

Now on to the Clarification portion of this post.

I think I may have confused people with my post regarding the Basic and Master Courses put out by the TKGA. Some people think that you MUST be on-line and attend meetings and many people cannot do both. So I will try to clarify here:

Anyone who wants to go take the TKGA Basic Course should sign up through and get your materials in January.

Beginning in February we are going to start going through the course, setting goals and deadlines so that we stay on track and finish.

IF you live local to us, roughly Plymouth/Canton area of southeast Michigan you will be welcome to attend meetings at my daughter's home. We anticipate meeting at least twice a month and will determine which days after we get a consensus of who signs up.

IF you do not live locally you can still go through the course with our support by signing up for Skype on your computer. You will need speakers and a microphone or a headset with a microphone (my personal preference as it leaves me hands-free). We will set up a Skype chat room for our class mates and we can meet "virtually" on-line. We can see dates and deadlines and also have the benefit of logging on at anytime to see if anyone else is in the chat room, sort of a rolling Sit-n-Stitch.

If you live locally you can participate either way or both ways. Its all up to you.

Please be sure to sign up with TKGA, if you are not currently a member. In January, be sure to order the Basic Course from them so you will be ready to start off the first week in February. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here, or email me at either of the following addresses.... or If you leave a comment here and want a response you must include your email address.

We hope to see you there!

As always,
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The yarn just did not want to be SOCKS!!!

Every knitter knows that sometimes yarn talks to you. You fondle a lovely yarn, feel its loft, its softness and immediately your mind is full of potential projects to make with it.
I bought some lovely Imagination sock yarn from Knit Picks in a colorway called Looking Glass (as in Snow White and the 7 Dwarves). Its all blues and cool and soft and relaxing. It is an alpaca/wool blend and very, very comfy. I was going to knit a pair of socks for myself as part of the Knit Picks sock knit-along.

I chose my pattern and cast on. I worked on it for a while but it seemed like the pattern just was not working the way it should. I checked the pattern, checked my gauge, checked my stitches. Check. Check! CHECK!! Everything was exactly right, but the whole thing was...wrong!
Undaunted, I tried another pattern. Again, it fought me. I've knit enough pair of socks that these should have been a piece of cake. No go!

Ok, this yarn does not want to be socks even though it is fingering weight and should be perfect for a nice pair of toasty warm socks. I got tired of fighting it. I wound it back into a ball and let it sit in a box and think about its transgressions while I moved on and used a different yarn and made socks.
This is Knit Picks Bare yarn that I had tie-dyed with Kool-Aid. I like the way it turned out.
Then I went back to the Looking Glass yarn and just petted it for a while. Eventually it spoke to my and told me it would behave if I wanted to try that SpiroGyra pattern from You know the one....the beautiful fingerless mitts in the over-lapping lacy, spirolling fans pattern. I had been wanting to try it, but since I am not an experienced lace knitter I was a bit hesitant. The yarn, on the other hand, was quite compliant (perhaps sitting in a box and contemplating its poor behavior made it want to co-operate a little more...). So, I plucked up my courage and knit a pair of SpiroGyra's.

The yarn was thrilled...Iwas thrilled. It reveled in the soft lapping of the pattern and gentle spin around my wrists and hands. Its lovely shades of blue flowed coolly through the pattern. The mitts knit up with surprizing ease. The pattern is much simpler than it looks and the yarn was becoming just what it wanted to be!

Now these are my favorite pair of fingerless mitts. I wear them at work when typing. The cubby where I sit tends to be a bit on the chilly side and the SpiroGyra's along me to type away, unhindered, on the keyboard and my hands are warmer.

If you want to try out a small lace project I highly recommend the SpiroGyra pattern by Lynne Vogel from

I have made other, more simple fingerless mitten patterns (see the next photo), but, hands down, I love the SpiroGyra pattern.

Sometimes, it pays to listen to the yarn! (Just don't tell the yarn I said that! Please!)

Have fun knitting, crocheting, spinning or weaving, just listen to the yarn.

Hugs & Prayers

Serene Knitter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Naming Contest for Ravelry Group

Good Morning Friends and Fellow Crafters!:

Please refer to the November 6th posting for the TKGA Basic and Master Courses. It explains everything about our plans.

That said: I need a name for our Ravelry group. It needs to define who we are and what we are doing. I am looking for something short and sweet that says it all.

As an example: Knitting Rose suggested "UnderGrads", which I like, quite a bit, but it does not define what we are doing and I am afraid that it would make people think we are a group of co-eds. Sorry, Rose, it was a great name, though.

So this is the contest. Come up with the most definitive name for out Ravelry group and win a prize. This lovely pair of Regia cotton/wool/poly sock yarn. Both matching skeins are 100Grams and you will get at least one pair, possibly 2 pair of socks in a cheerful self-striping colorway of pinks, oranges and blues.

How to submit an entry - Email me at, put "Undergrads" in the subject line and your name suggestion in the body of the email (keep the name clean, my grandbabies ready everything on my computer screen). Make sure to include your email address so I can get in touch with you if your entry is selected.

DEADLINE: December 31st.

Number of entries: As many as your fertile imagination can produce.

Good Luck.

Hugs & Prayers

Serene Knitter

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TKGA Basic Course Plans for 2009

Good Morning Friends and Fellow Knitters:

My daughter and I are interested in going through the Basic Course for TKGA (The Knitter's Guild of America). I am committed to continuing on through the Master’s Courses. This is our game plan:

If you are not a member of TKGA sign up as soon as possible. It's a simple process and not terribly expensive. For the price of a magazine subscription you get the TKGA quarterly magazine and membership.

Then, in January, request the Basic Knitters Course from TKGA, there is a charge for this program and the fees are available on the TKGA website.

Beginning the first week in February we will begin the course with any other members of our guild who also sign up. At that time we will agree upon a specified pace to get through the course and arrange to meet regularly. For those of you on Ravelry I would plan to open up a Ravelry group for those who would like to get into a Skype chat room and go through this program with us. This would be in addition to any guild group meetings we might establish for this course…sort of a virtual class room.

After the Basic Course has been completed I plan to move onto the first section of the Master's course. I have been knitting for over 49 years, nearly half a century, and there is so much that I do not know. I am opting to go through the Basic Course for three good reasons:

1. The Basic Course (if I understand correctly) is structured the same way as the Master's Program. This will give us a heads-up, clear understanding of exactly what will be expected of us. I am thinking that it is better to fumble a bit and "get our sea-legs", so to speak, in a course that we feel reasonably founded in already. Better to bumble a bit here than in the more advanced courses.

2. I want to be absolutely sure that I have all the skills that the Master's Program assumes that I have. That will save back-tracking and wasted time when into the more advanced program.

3. I would like to use this time to gather together a group of knitters who are serious about the Master's Program, (get us all on Skype with headsets and mic's, for the virtual participants) and for us to have the opportunity to get to know each other, form bonds and establish a group that knows what to expect from their fellow participants. I feel that this element will help us all to stay on track and stay the wasted time, no procrastinating and no wasted money because we started with good intentions and did not finish. Additionally, I am sure that a natural leader or two will probably emerge, as in all normal group social behavior. It is better to establish the leaders and iron out any minor dramas in the Basic Course arena before we move on to the more difficult Master's Courses.

What do you think? Did I forget anything? Are you interested? I am totally committed to doing this. Please give me some feedback on this because I respect your knitting opinions.

Hugs & Prayers
Lee Mitchell
Serene Knitter on Ravelry

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Charity Sweater

As a member of the Woolgather's Guild, Plymouth Mighigan we are asked to knit items for charity. We were directed to a pattern on-line ( and I knit up the first child's sweater. It is done on large needles with worsted weight yarn and knits up really fast! It took just a tiny bit more than one 6oz skein for a size 6. The sweater is knit from cuff to cuff in simple garter and stockingette stitches. Not that I ever just knit is simple garter and stockingette. I made the first sweater in bright yellow, left-over in my stash. I added a texture stitch (see left) and got a sweater I liked.

The second sweater, size 4, took a little less than one full skein, also bright yellow. I added ribbed cuffs and a basket weave pattern. I was really having fun with this pattern.
Thats 2 charity sweaters completed in a tad over 2 days.

Flush with success, I decided to re-knit Miss Belle's birthday sweater using this pattern (the original sweater was way too small). I added ribbed cuffs, a cable up the center of each sleeve, knit simple stockingette for the back panel but for the front panel I divided it into 6 rectangles of stockingette stitch with reverse stockingette in between and sewed butterfly buttons randomly on the panels. The buttons color coordinate with the Donegal bits in the yarn. She loves it! Score one for Nana!
Miss Belle's sweater took a bit more yarn, 2 full skeins, because I used smaller needles and made it a larger size, as well as making the sleeves longer than the pattern called for (and could have made them about 1 1/2 inches longer still!)
This a great pattern. It allows a lot of room to play with texture stitches and colors. I have seen it knit up so that the 2 garter stitch panels just to the outside of the stockingette panel were done in a different color and looked like suspenders. I recommend making the sleeves at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches longer than the pattern calls for. I tried a couple of different ways to cast on the additional stitches for the body and found that a knit cast on gives the neatest appearance, most consistant tension and best of all, no ends to weave in!!!
Have fun!
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just a little Holiday Fun!

I love to work a small project that is on and off the needles very quickly and then on to the next. This little decoration is lots of fun to work when working on a large project seems to just go on forever.

These small socks make adorable holiday decorations, a tiny Christmas stocking, if you will. These two were made of Moda Dea sock yarn. It is heavy sock yarn, just a tad thinner than sport weight.

What can these little goodies be used for? Stick a striped candy cane in it and hang it up as an ornament. Stuff it full of Christmas candy and tie it to a gift with a pretty ribbon. Make it just the right size for a small gift, add a little sparkling tissue paper and it becomes a unique way to give a gift.

I knit the larger of the two on larger needles because I wanted a stocking that would hold the long thin box that might contain a bracelet or a wrist watch.

Mini Christmas Stocking

Cast on 24 sts. I use 5 DPN's but circ's work just fine, go with your fave.
Join without twisting.
Work K1, P1Ribbing for 5 rounds.
Work Stockingette st, for 3 inches.
Place 12 sts on one needle to knit 3/4 inch heel flap. Since this sock will not be worn you can use any pattern you want to play with for the heel flap...plain stockingette, slip one/knit one heel st, alternating slip st honey comb....etc....this is the perfect place to play with new stitch ideas.
Turn short row heel:
K8, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P5, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K6, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P7, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K8, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P9, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K10, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P11, wrap next st, turn.
Knit across.
If using DPN's divide the 12 sts onto 2 needles.
Continuing around pick up stitches along side of heel flap, K12 sts, pick up the same number of stitiches on this side of the heel flap as on the first side, K6, this is the center back of stocking.
*K6, K2Tog, K around to 8sts before center back, SSK, K6.
*Knit even around.
Repeat 2 * rows until stitches number 24 once again.
Knit even until foot from heel measures 2 1/2 inches, begin toe decreases.
Starting at Center Back:
K4, K2Tog, SSK, K8, K2Tog, SSK, K4.
Knit even around.
K3, K2Tog, SSK, K6, K2Tog, SSK, K3.
Knit even around.
K2, K2Tog, SSK, K4, K2Tog, SSK, K2.
K1, K2Tog, SSK, K2, K2Tog, SSK, K1.
Kitchener st the remaining sts, weave in ends.

I did not give gauge. Use larger needles and heavier yarn for larger stockings...use smaller needles and use lighter weight yarn for tinier stockings. Play with this, one stocking can usually be completed in about an hour and a half. This is the perfect vehicle for trying new color combos, stitches, new yarns or unfamiliar needle sizes.

Have fun with this.
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My hat phase....

I am going through a hat phase. For no reasonable reason that I can identify, I have had a blast knitting hats.
The first hat is knit in KnitPicks 100% Merino superwash, DK weight, in a deep red color, the beads are deep red with a gold inner barrel so they flash red or gold depending on how the light hits them. This hat is a down-sized variation of the Odessa hat designed by Grumperina. Just google Grumerina and the pattern is available on her blog. It is a beautiful pattern and super, super easy to make. So much so that I made a bunch of them.
My lovely granddaughter Miss Belle (age 6) agreed to model all my hats for me. She is just too adorable to resist so enjoy the show.
The next hat is another Odessa worked in white worsted weight with beads of various colors strung randomly on the yarn. Miss Belle really likes this one.
The third Odessa is done is lavender worsted weight with dark purple beads and is Miss Belle's personal favorite. Her favorite color is purple so this is no surprise.
The last Odessa is worked in peach colored Knitpicks 100% Merino Superwash, DK weight (does anyone see a trend developing here?). The peach color beads match the yarn so well it is hard to see them in a photo, but they sparkle nicely in the sunlight.
The lace hat knit in lavender worsted weight yarn is called Foliage and the pattern is a free download from This is another lace pattern that looks like it might be challenging but is so very easy to make. Miss Belle likes the hat, but would love it if I added beads, she does like Bling!!!
Last, but not least, is a super simple hat knit from sock yarn, 75% wool superwash and 25% nylon. I just knit a few rows of ribbing, a lot of stockingette, decreased a bit at the top and pulled it all in, super simple, nothing fancy, the self-striping yarn did all the work. The hat was way too large for Miss Belle, so we just turned up the ribbing and adjusted it back a bit. She still looked adorable in it, once we found her face!
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Ever Have a Knitting "Phase"?

Ever start to knit something and have so much fun, or enjoy it so much you just keep knitting more and more of them?

I get like that sometimes. In fact, I have recently gone through 2 really strong phases.

Recently, I kept hearing about the BSJ - Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. The every popular baby sweater caught my interest and I wanted to try one out. So, I ordered the instructional DVD of Meg Swanson demonstration her mothers pattern. It contains the pattern right in the DvD case. Oh, and as an aside, Meg Swanson does a fabulous job demonstrating the construction of the sweater. Her presentation is relaxed, pleasant, precise and very easy to follow. I learned a lot from this video and I highly recommend it.

So, I made a BSJ. It was a lot of fun and I had no trouble with it at all. It is knit with KnitPicks 100% Merino superwash, DK weight in Cinnamon and Nutmeg. The buttons are natural wood and really suit this little sweater.

I had so much fun make this BSJ that I ordered more yarn and made another one!

This one is of KnitPick 100% Merino superwash, DK weight. The colors are Jade and White (go MSU!!) And the adorable little buttons are shiney red apples.

As you can see, I am somewhat fond of adding a collar to the sweater. I was really quite pleased with the way this turned out.

By the way, when I make a project and it is ready for the buttons, I take my daughter shopping with me. She has a marvelous eye for matching or combining colors. I don't leave home without her.

So, this went so well I just had do try another. But I was too impatient to wait for the LYS to open or for a KnitPicks order to arrive so I bought some yarn from the "big box store". It was a very soft acrylic in bulky weight with a bit of halo to it. Very soft to handle, but if you had to tink back even just a few stitches the fibers that made up the halo caught and tangled.

In addition, I opted to experiment with the pattern and made it in stockingette stitch. This creates a few problems (not insurmountable just bothersome), the number of stitches for the button band has to be adjusted so the front of the sweater does not pull up to much and the back sag a bit. I would not do it again, but I had to try it once.

I knit this with a bulky weight yarn, added a collar, the ribbed cuffs and a lot of buttons down the front. I like the way the colors pooled. The yarn was varigated white, yellow, pink, blue and turquoise. The button band did pull up a bit in the front, despite my efforts to adjust for it, but the little girl who got it really likes it and does not care in the least that it is not perfect by my standards. This knitted up in a size 6.

I also made a fourth BSJ, but it did not fit the recipient so it is being frogged and remade because my granddaughter loves the yarn and wants the sweater made from it. Perhaps I will upload the photo when it is finished.

I am sure there are more BSJ's in my future...right after I finish my Christmas knitting. I can usually knit one up in a weekend if I stick with it and it is a satisfying project.

Does anyone else find this a fun knit?

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Free Vintage Pattern Link

While searching for a boys sweater pattern on the web I stumbled across the following site. This site has about a dozen vintage patterns 1941-1942. Most do not have photos, a few do.

If you love the old patterns like I do (I have been knitting for almost 50 years) then you will be fascinated by this site. All the patterns are down-loadable free!

Have Fun!
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter (also on Ravelry)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Holidays Are Looming Closer Every Day!!!

I know, I know! It is July 15th and I am talking about holiday knitting. Time is flowing along at a steady speed and it is time to kick it into gear, my friends. No more putting it off, it is time to cast on for all our holiday projects.

My holiday projects list is as follows:

1. the Gryfindor House sweater from Charmed Knits for my nephew for Christmas (a must complete).

2. a log cabin squares afghan for the charity raffle for the pre-school at Real-Life Farms Christmas Pagent.

3. a pair of Boot Socks for my Dad (Size 15).

4. a pair Red, White and Blue socks for my Mom (size 7).

5. a pair of Ballerina Slippers socks in white and Pink for Annika for Channukah (from Knitted Sock Sensations)

6. a pair of Ballerina Slippers socks in white and Lavender for Eliana for Channukah (from Knitted Sock Sensations)

I will make a up a few hats and fingerless gloves as I am able once the Gift Projects are completed.

This is my list. What is yours? Leave a comment with your list of holiday projects. Please also leave your blog address or your email address if you want me to email you back to keep you encouraged and on track.

Lets Cheer each other on!

Whats on your list?

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Fun of Felting!

I come from a long line of knitters who make wearable clothing from wool. I have spent decades trying to not shrink a garment that is made with valuable wool and many hours of valuable time to create. So, for me, putting my time, effort, cash and beautiful wool into something that I am deliberately going to shrink is a novel thought.

Initially, I rejected any thought of doing that. However, many knitters felt items deliberately because they like the results they get. Lots of podcasters talk about the benefits of felting. Photos of so many lovely felted items on Ravelry are hard to ignore. I rethought the concept of felting and decided to try it.

Knit Picks dispalyed a really nice, simple purse pattern and a list of the needed yarn so I took the plunge. I ordered the book for the pattern and the recommended yarn (in the colors that appealed to me. Everything arrived and I didn't make the bag. ??? I didn't make it.

I found a pattern that I thought was more me so the pattern book went up on the shelf and the yarn was absorbed into my stash. I ordered the wool for the other bag from Knits Picks (again, in a different color) and made the bag as soon as the yarn arrived on my doorstep.

I made the Belted Felted Bag Designed by Maria Cook. I made it in white Wool of the Andes and felted it. Oh, it turned out so cute! It looked huge when I was knitting it but after felting it was a nice size. I might like it a tiny bit larger, but not a lot larger. I made a wine colored belt for it and my daughter made a Fire Engine Red belt for it. This bag is adorable! In white it can be transformed by simply changing the belt. Knitted belts, crocheted belts, I-cord belts and leather belts, all are equally usable and change the look of the bag dramatically. I really like it. However, my daughter likes it, too. I guess I will be making another one for myself as my daughter snagged that one. I don't mind...I have some changes I would like to make to the pattern anyway......

Next on the agenda....Felted Clogs!

Have a Happy and Bless Memorial Day and pray for all our men and women in uniform who give up many of their own personal freedoms to serve to insure that we live and sleep under a blanket of freedom unlike any in the world today. Remember those who have fallen, pray for their families.

Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary Marly!

Marly of the Yarn Thing podcast has been podcasting for 1 year now. If you don't currently listen to Yarn Thing I recommend it.

Marly is bubbly, energetic, vivacious and funny. It is not possible to listen to her podcast and not smile.

Marly is both a knitter and and crocheter, though I think she is a crocheter who knits and I am a knitter who crochets.

Her podcast has lots of interesting happenings, yarn information, book reviews and laughs. She gives tips that may be small in application but huge in effect. Example: her suggestion to take all pattern books to Kinko's and have them all spiral bound. Totally brilliant!!!

Marly, keep rocking the yarn world with your marvelous energy!

Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

This Old Dog Learns A New Trick

Ever hear the old saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"? I admit that always made me go "huh?!?!" until 2 weeks ago.

I decided that the process of knitting 2 socks at the same time on circular needles seemed like a really great idea. When I knit socks I always change the pattern in some way, shape or form. If I fail to document that change in detail I inevitably get to the second sock and go, "what the heck did I do?"

To knit 2 socks on circs is easier if you knit Continental Style. I have been knitting Scottish Style for 49 years. I am a thrower. I got Nenah Galati's instructional DvDs for Continental Knitting, Sock I and Sock II. I was determined to learn.

My struggles to re-learn everything I know about knitting is not in any way the fault of Nenah Galati. Her DvDs are clear, her instructions are very clear, her presentation is perfectly clear and she is very pleasant to learning to knit with a friend. I totally recommend these DvDs.

My struggles are entirely my own. I absolutely understood the technique. I picked up the needles. I will even admit that the long tail cast on is easier Continental Style. The knit stitch is easier Continental Style...the purl a royal pain Continental Style...but, again, that is not Nenah's fault.

I started to knit. I practiced the long tail cast on and picked it up fast. "Wow, this is cool, the rest should be a breeze!" WRONG!!! I tried to knit and my hands did not want to do it. My brain and my muscle memory wanted to throw not pick. Every single stitch required that I focus on that stitch and only that stitch. It was torture. I tried knitting a dishcloth. A dishcloth that I could normally knit in under 2 hours took me 4 DAYS. FOUR, count them, FOUR days to knit one dishcloth, garter stitch. I wanted to chuck it all in the trash and go back to my comfort zone and hide, but, I am an intelligent adult...not to mention of Scottish heritage, I come from a long line of very stubborn women (sorry Mom, Grandma and Granny, but its true, we could all teach stones to be stubborn). I was determined that I would not be defeated by something that small children can learn. So, I pulled together every scrap of stubborn perseverance I could manage and I stayed with it. My learning curve took nearly a full week. The first dishcloth took 4 days, the second one a day, the third one just 4 hours....I am on the fourth. I can knit almost as fast as Scottish style and I no longer have to focus on every singe stitch, although I still have to look at my knitting. I also noticed that I knit a lot tighter Continental Style. Scottish style I have to go down at least 2 needle sizes to get gauge. Continental Style I have to fight to get the stitches off the needle. I'll work on that.

I did it!! I learned a new trick. I can knit Continental Style! BUT, I still say that purling Continental Style is a pain...a real pain. I am going to have to work on that some more, too.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog has got to have some very powerful motivation.

DvD Review: I really like the instructional DvD's by Nenah Galati. I do recommend them. Her instructions and demonstrations are straight forward, clear and well presented. Her demeanor is very pleasant. What really impressed me was the out-takes from the first video where she was laughing at her own flubbs. She is the kind of lady I think would be my friend if I knew her in real life. Thank you Nenah.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thank You Angelika

Ever get tired of hearing people complain about petty little things? Me, too. This is not a complaint.

My son asked me to make him the "Jayne Cobb Hat" from the TV series 'Firefly'. Since my son never asks for anything knit or crocheted I responded by immediately searching for the pattern on-line. Then I googled the yarn, Cascade 220, and checked out the on-line stores that carry it. One of the shops that carry it is Yarn-Store, on the Southern Oregon Coast I chose this store because they have every conceivable color of Cascade 220, in fact, every Cascade yarn I have ever heard of and some I hadn't. And the prices were midway in the range I expected.

I ordered the yarn in the colors I was going to need, and I ordered enough to make more than one hat. Twenty minutes later I had an email from Angelika that my order had been received and that I would be sent a sales receipt when the order shipped. I was expecting that email in a day or two. An HOUR later I received a sales receipt that my order had shipped and I would have it in 3 to 5 business days. I received it in 3! Holy Cow! That was fast.

I emailed Angelika when I got the sales receipt thanking her for the fast service and received an immediate email telling me I was welcome.

My package arrived in perfect condition. They included, at no additional charge, a card style calendar with 2008 on one side and 2009 on the other. A Color Packett with 10 inch long samples of all kinds and colors of Cascade yarns on the front and pages upon pages of color photos of the same Cascade yarns in hundreds of colorways. I also received a hat pattern attached to pages upon pages of the new spring patterns available through their shop.

Enablers!!! Addiction Pushers!!! I am in love! Ok, I have three grandchildren so there are several patterns that I want to make and the yarns and colors I have to choose from is mind boggling!

I sent Angelika another email asking if I could mention their shop on my blog and got an answer back very quickly.

I am very impressed with the level of service I have received. I will definitely use this on-line shop again, and again. I highly recommend them.

Now, I am just waiting for my Harmony needles to arrive so I can whip up my son's new hat. I could have gotten needles at the local box store, but if I am going to invest in needles that I can use for many years to come I want the quality of Harmony needles.

Be Blessed
Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Proud Family

The Marine stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, Marine,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you Marine,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
~Author Unknown~

Thank you to all our service men and women who give up there personal freedoms to ensure mine. I am grateful for the blanket of freedom and safety I live under because of their sacrifice.

Proud Family!!

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Monday, April 7, 2008

Success Fuels Our Fires

Yesterday our family celebrated our monthly birthday party. Good hugs+good food+family=Good Times.

I gave my nephew the 3 pairs of Gryffindor socks that I had knit for him. Well, let me back up. Eric has special needs. He is a Downs young adult, high functioning but still Downs. He yearns to be treated like he is normal. He hates being treated as though he is not exactly the same as everyone else in the family. So, we treat him with as much normalcy as possible. That said, I played a trick on him. I used a tall tissue box, packed all 3 pairs of socks inside and covered them carefully with tissues. My grandson inspected it, pointed out one tiny spot of red that showed through, then pronounced it perfect. I wrapped up the tissue box and gave it to Eric as his present. He sat down and carefully unwrapped the box. He looked at it, then without any hesitation at all he pulled the tissues out and went right for the socks, which he loved. He liked the joke, he grinned at me and said, "Good one, Aunt Lee!" I laughed and told him that I would have to come up with a different trick for his birthday next year and his face lit up and he grinned, "Yeah!"

So the game is afoot! I am going to have to come up with a new gag every year for his birthday. Got any suggestions?

What was the success? There were layers of them. Eric loved the joke, he loved the socks, they fit him and he loves me! The best thing in the world are hugs from my beloved nephew. (My sister sent me an email this afternoon. Eric wore his new socks to bed and is wearing them now and refuses to take them off. She said it is a good thing there are 3 pairs because if not his feet would have gotten pretty darn stinky! LOL! Its good to know that he really does like them and was not just being polite while I was there.)

My non-knitting successes were, my daughter's fiance liked the gift I got him. He had been in 4 stores looking for a special step-stool for his work truck, but had no luck finding it. I knew where to acquire one! My other nephew, Adam, needs some new clothes. He was much relieved that I did not give him any of my (LOL) hand me downs and gave him money to shop for himself, instead. And, my Dad liked the books and book stand I got for him. He wanted some how-to pattern books on building bird houses. They have a huge variety of birds up at their cottage and he wanted to know what kind of nesting boxes attract what type of bird. I found a few books that were really detailed and informative and then I promptly took them to Kinko's and had them spiral bound. He really liked that. I also found a beautiful book stand made of American Alder, at Barnes & Noble. When it arrived I liked it so well I ordered one for my Mom and one for myself. It is called a cookbook stand but don't let that limit you. It folds flat like a book so it will fit beautifully on a bookcase when not it active use, but as attractive as it is you may want to have it open for display instead of folded. So the whole day was a success.

Just as a side note: I was listening to the Yarn Thing podcast and heard Marly say that whenever she gets a new pattern or design book, or a new stitchionary, she takes it to Kinko's and has the binding cut off and has it spiral bound. This allows the book to lie open flat without having to weight it down with things to keep it open. Brilliant!! Marly, you ROCK, Girl!!!!
The only 2 hitches are...there has to be enough of a margin in the book so that the holes for the new binding don't punch into the writing. And, if it is a hard cover book, Kinko's said they cannot punch holes in the hard cover. Instead, for and additional charge, they make a color copy of the cover on heavy card stock and use that for the cover. Thus, your hard cover book becomes a paperback spiral. If you are more interested in aesthetics than function you will not be happy with that. If, however, you plan to use that pattern book over and over then you will want to sacrifice that hard cover for the greatly improved function you will have.

What's on my needles?
1. A pair of boot socks for my Dad.
2. A pair of mittens in self-striping yarn, for no one in particular.
3. About 6 more cotton disclothes (not all are cast on yet, I do them in succession).
4. A pair of bright yellow socks for one of my daughter's friends (who asked for yellow socks) one is complete the other one is not yet cast on. I do not have second sock syndrom, I just had to divert to other things that had to be finished on a deadline.
5. A Jayne Cobb Hat (for those Firefly fans out there) my son asked for one.

There are lots of things in queue but I am resisting casting on anything else until at least 2 things are cleared from my needles.

I have a UFO (a sweater) that is going to be frogged and the yarn repurposed, and I have 2 headbands for my granddaughters that are knitted and just need to be grafted (that should be a no-brainer, I mean, we are looking at 10 minutes of finishing, tops).

So, my personal mantra is "STAY ON TARGET!!!"

Be Blessed
Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Generally speaking, knitters, crocheters, quilters, tailors, crafters of all kinds make things for other people because we express our love by giving gifts that are useful, interesting, creative and filled to the brim with our love, energy and creative heart. It is our hope that we will give our recipient something pleasing.

Sometimes we hit the mark dead on, sometimes we miss abismally, but we keep on trying. The socks I made for my Dad were a perfect score! I know that my Dad prizes hand knit socks above all others, so you would think making him a pair of socks would be a safe bet. I, however, am new to sock knitting, though I have been knitting for decades. I was afraid that I would not measure up to the standards set by my Mom and late Grandma. Add to that, I attempted a pair of socks for my Dad as the second pair I had ever made! Talk about brave....or fool-hardy, take your pick.

Well, I took up my DPN's and some very nice Opal sock yarn and made him the blue/black heathered stripe socks 2 postings below this one. I completed them and handed them over and received a grateful hug from my Dad. would they feel on his feet? Would he like them enough to actually wear them? A week later I asked my Mom if Dad had tried them on and how they fit.

"Try them on?!?!" she laughed. "In the morning he puts on his boot socks and work boots and goes out the door. As soon has he gets home, off come the boots, off come the boot socks, on go the "Lee" socks and he wears them around the house until time to go to be. He has worn them 4 days in a row with his slippers and has not put them in the wash yet. I think he likes them!!"

Yay!!!! Well, now that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling like no other. But now for my dilemma....
When I was a teen-ager I made my Dad a Key Lime pie because I know it is one of his favorites. I took great care in the making and tried to make it as perfectly as possible because I wanted me please my Dad. He is a wonderful man and I have been blessed to be his daughter. So, all went well and he had a slice of pie after dinner. Anxious for his reaction, I asked how he liked it and his response was, "If I tell you I like it you have to promise me you won't make it for me every single day until I am sick of it."

Apparently, I am one of those people that, once I find out what pleases you, will keep on with that behavior until I make you crazy. Hmmmm....well.....too bad! I already have some lusciously soft Merino/Silk sock yarn in a wonderful deep burgundy and enough undyed bare Merino/Silk for 2 pairs of boot socks......and just the other day I saw this rich Chestnut brown sock yarn!

Oh, Dad, your feet are in for it now!

Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

Monday, March 17, 2008

Eric's Socks are done!

My nephew is a Harry Potter fan. I began by making him the House Socks in the Gryffindor house colors. I made the first pair, the red with the narrow stripes, according to the pattern. It was a short 2X2 rib cuff then the rest is in stockingette. My nephew saw my Dad's socks and liked the 2X2 ribbing so the second pair was made with the entire cuff in ribbing and the wide bands of color. The photos look bright yellow, though in reality the color is more of an orangy-yellow.

I hope he likes these...they are for his birthday.

Happy Birthday Eric!!!

Hugs & Prayers

Serene Knitter

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dad's Socks are Done!

I finally finished the second sock for my Dad. I think they turned out pretty well. I had to make a few adjustments for guage and my Dad's foot size (he wears a size 14 shoe). Just to give you an idea of the size...the white boxtop they were photographed on is 25" long.

I like the way the yarn striped up in nice masculine heathered blues and black. I hope he likes them. The On Line Linie 3 Supersocke 100 is very thin and knits up fairly soft. Now, don't tell my Dad but the next pair is going to be 80% merino 20% silk. Keep that just between us!

Do you listen to podcasts? If you are looking for some delightfull podcasts some of my favorites are... Yarn Thing (Marly is full of enthusiasm and energy), Knit Picks (Kelly is full of lots of up to date info and tips), Stitch It (Meghan is sweet and fun), LimenViolet (they are racy, often risque', never boring) Sticks and Strings (an Aussie bloke named David Reidy who likes to knit and gives us an interesting male perspective). There are lots more out there and I listen to more than these...but these are my current favorites. Hope you enjoy them too.

For those of you who don't have an MP3 player or and iPod, you can listen to these on your computer, too.

Hugs and Prayers

Serene Knitter

P.S. Please leave me a message or email me at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I knit my very first pair of socks in self striping Opal sock yarn. I was loving the way the striping was working out and so did my daughter. So, I made them for her. Now, if the socks look oddly long, let me explain. Aside from being my first pair and there are mistakes in them, I like my socks snug around my feet because if the sock creases when I tie my shoes it causes the top of my foot to get so itchy that I have actually scratched them til they bled. So, I was making the sock snug around, but that required making it long enough for the stretch to pull up from the length.

Also, this is a toe-up pattern and I am not sure how I feel about it. The heel is not reinforced and starting is very clumsy, but I will give it another go with another yarn to see if I have improved.

Also, Marly from the Yarn Thing podcast left me my first comment. I love Marly! I love her energetic and enthusiastic podcast and use it as a measure of the other podcasts I listen to. Bless you Marly! Visit her blog at

Hugs and Prayers to All
Serene Knitter

Nubbly Checkerboard Dishcloth #1

For this nubbly textured dishcloth I used 4 ply 100% white cotton yarn stitched on size 7 needles. I recommend that you knit this dishcloth snugly. One of the stitch patterns calls for a yarn over, knit 2 pass YO over the 2 knit stitches and off the needle. If you YO loosely you will get a yarn bar across the 2 stitches, and as the pattern develops it gives a pleasant look to the pattern. However, I wanted this dishcloth to have a distinctly nubby texture for scrubbing and wiping purposes, so I recommend the following: When you YO, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off the needle that you YO snugly so that the YO cinches up the 2 stitches and adds to the rough texture of the cloth. That said, here is variation #1.

Cast on 44 sts.
Rows 1 thru 8: K44, turn.
Row 9: K6, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 2 times, (P1, K1) 4 times, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 2 times, (P1, K1) 4 times, K6, turn.
Row 10: K6, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, K6, turn.
Row 11: K6, [(K2, YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off needle) 2 times, (P1, K1) 4 times], repeat once, K6, turn.
Row 12: K6, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, K6, turn.
Rows 13 thru 16: Repeat Rows 9 thru 12, once.
Rows 17 & 18: Repeat Rows 9 & 10 once.
Row 19: K6, [(P1, K1) 4 times, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 2 times], repeat once, K6, turn.
Row 20: K6, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, K6.
Row 21: K6, [(P1, K1) 4 times, (K2, YO, snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off needle) 4 times], repeat once, K6, turn.
Row 22: K6, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, P8, (K1, P1) 4 times, K6.
Rows 23 thru 26: Repeat Rows 19 thru 22 once.
Rows 27 & 28: Repeat Rows 19 & 20, once.
Rows 29 thru 48: Repeat Rows 9 thru 28, once.
Rows 49 thru 58: Repeat Rows 9 thru 18 once.
Rows 59 thru 66: K44, turn.
Bind Off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

About Dishcloth Patterns

For those of you who are wondering why I am totally locked into making dishclothes and may think I am a knitting newbie I want you to know I can knit, crochet, sew, quilt and embroider a wide variety of other things. The reason I am so focused on dishclothes is that I am making bundles of these to include in the pile of shower prizes to be given away at my daughter's bridal shower.

Yes, that is right. My lovely, precious, sweet bundle of happy energy is getting married later this year. So, please be patient with the dishcloth phase and keep checking in with my blog and as I progress you will see more original patterns.

Dishcloth suggestions:

Shrinkage: 100% cotton dishcloths do shrink up a bit, and that is a good thing. It makes the dishcloth stitches tighten up and it makes the cloth thicker.

Cleaning the dishclothes: To keep the dishclothes from staining wash them in Dishwasher Detergent instead of laundry detergent. You can throw your dishclothes and dishtowels in the washer with a couple of scoops of dishwasher detergent and they will come out very clean.

Another Cleaning Option: If you have a dishwasher...use your dishcloth and just before you run your load of dishes, hang the dishcloth over the bar on the top rack closest to the wall of the dishwasher. It will come out beautifully clean and you will never have a nasty, sour dishcloth.

One last note. For reasons that I don't understand (I am certainly not a professional photographer) some of the photos come out somewhat dark and the white dishclothes look a little smudged and dirty. They are pristine clean so I cannot explain why they look like that. My apologies for the poor photo quality.

Let me know how you like the patterns.

Hugs and Prayers
Serene Knitter

Nubbly Checkerboard Dishcloth #2

This Dishcloth is worked in 4 ply, 100% cotton yarn on size 7 needles. I used white so that the focus in on the texture of the pattern and not the color variations.

Cast on 48 sts.
Rows 1 thru 8: K48, turn.
Row 9: K6, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 3 times, (P1, K1) 6 times, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 3 times, K6, turn.
Row 10: K6, P12, (K1, P1) 6 times, P12, K6, turn.
Row 11: K6, (K2, YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off needle) 3 times, (P1, K1) 6 times, (K2, YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off needle) 3 times, K6, turn.
Row 12: K6, P12, (K1, P1) 6 times, P12, K6, turn.
Rows 13 thru 28: Repeat Rows 9 thru 12 4 more times. Total of 20 rows.
Row 29: K6, (P1, K1) 6 times, (YO snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts & off needle, K2) 3 times, (P1, K1) 6 times, K6, turn.
Row 30: K6, (K1, P1) 6 times, P12, (K1, P1) 6 times, K6.
Row 31: K6, (P1, K1) 6 times, (K2, YO, snugly, K2, pass YO over 2 K sts and off needle) 3 times, (P1, K1) 6 times, K6, turn.
Row 32: K6, (K1, P1) 6 times, P12, (K1, P1) 6 times, K6.
Rows 33 thru 48: Repeat Rows 29 thru 32 4 more times. Total of 20 rows.
Rows 49 thru 68: Repeat Rows 9 thru 28, once.
Rows 69 thru 76: K48, turn.
Bind Off.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spring Rain Dishcloth By Serene Knitter

This original pattern is worked with cotton yarn over 47 stitches. The Dish cloth comes off the needles at approximately 11 inches square but shrinks with washing and drying. This is perfectly fine. It should shrink up a bit. In doing so, it will become thicker and much nicer to work with and will not lose stitch definition.

Gauge is: 4 Stitches = 1 Inch
6 Rows = 1 Inch

I used size 7 needles to get this gauge, however, I knit very loose and always have to down-size needles at least 2 sizes. A knitter who normally knits to gauge with probably need to use size 9.
Dishcloth is knit with 4 ply cotton yarn.
Cast on 47 stitches.

Row 1: Knit across 47 stitches, turn.
Row 2 thru 6: Repeat Row 1 (6 rows garter stitch).
Row 7: K6, (K1, P3) 8 times, K1, P2, K6, turn.
Row 8: K6, K2, P1, (K3, P1) 8 times, K6, turn.
Row 9: K6, (K1, P1) 17 times, K7, turn.
Row 10: K6, P1, (K1, P1) 17 times, K6, turn.
Row 11: K6, P2, K1, (P3, K1) 8 times, K6, turn.
Row 12: K6, (P1, K3) 8 times, P1, K8, turn.
Row 13: K6, P2, K1, (P3, K1) 8 times, K6, turn.
Row 14: K6, (P1, K3) 8 times, P1, K8, turn.
Row 15: K6, (K1, P1) 17 times, K7, turn.
Row 16: K6, P1, (K1, P1) 17 times, K6, turn.
Row 17: K6, (K1, P3) 8 times, K1, P2, K6, turn.
Row 18: K6, K2, P1, (K3, P1) 8 times, K6, turn.

Repeat Rows 7 thru 18 for pattern.

When dishcloth measures 10 inches in length repeat Rows 1 thru 6 and bind off.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What I Hope This Will Become

I would like for this blogspot to become a place for family, friends and new friends not yet met to come and post current projects, pictures and original patterns that they think people will be interested in. Ask questions about a craft, give advise or just chat about your favorite craft.

I am equally proficient in both knitting and crocheting, so crocheters, do not feel intimidated about posting here. All crafters are invited, all are welcome.

Posting etiquette: Be kind, be pleasant, be honest (but not brutal) and please keep it clean. Lets keep this the kind of blog where my youngest grandchild can browse.

I will be posting photos of completed projects soon.

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Dreams