Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snowed In

During most of the daylight hours today it snowed.  I chose to remain snowed in.  Good news for me as today I finally began to get ahead of the knitting muses that have been working against me.  I will let you know more about this soon.

When I looked out the door to our deck during all that snowing, I noticed the wind chimes.  (Maybe they should have been put away for the winter?)  This is my newest one.  It was a family gift for my (summertime) birthday.

The parrot looked so out of place, but so colorful.  He made me happy.

There will be more snow shoveling tomorrow, but there will also be more knitting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Just one of many...


When I was young, my dear mother liked to burn bayberry candles on Christmas Eve.  She told me that it was good luck to let them burn all the way down.

I recently learned that this tradition has colonial American roots and that there is a poem, with some variations, that usually ends... "a bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket."
This year, we burned our candles for Christmas Eve dinner and then through the night.  My daughter was up late watching them burn.  She gave me 'permission' to use her Instagram photo.
All that was left in the morning was a bit of blackened wick in each holder.  I think that we are in luck.

Wishing for the same light, love, and luck, to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
                                      ~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I greatly enjoyed the Saturday matinee performance of A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC this past weekend.  I sat in the second row and loved all the actors, young and old, the costumes (so beautiful), and the singing of a great many Christmas Carols!  Fantastic!  

I wish that I could share an image from the performance, but of course that cannot be.  My photo is of the legendary Presidential Box.

From the program: "Ford’s Theatre celebrates the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln and explores the American experience through theatre and education. A working theatre, historical monument, world-class museum and learning center, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in Washington, D.C., to explore and celebrate Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression."

I do find it interesting that Lincoln and Dickens were contemporaries, having lived their lives during the same period of time.  Also from the program, "Dickens's and Lincoln's lives were woven by common threads: family hardship resulting in tough labor during childhood and a desire to treat all people fairly and charitably...This holiday season, and at all times, let us remember both Scrooge's lesson learned and Lincoln's legacy, which call us to live and act 'with malice toward none; with charity for all.'" 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Midweek Meditation

 "my body is here
but my heart is at the beach"

I have been gradually getting myself into Holiday Mode.  I do enjoy the holidays, but I also strive to balance the busyness of it all.  After work yesterday, in between a doctor's appointment and getting back home to make some dinner, I stopped at Bee Hive Gift Shop for their open house.  I bought some lovely jewelry gifts for my daughter and two nieces.

At the check out, as the proprietress wrapped my gifts, I faced this wall.

The Christmas figures on the mantle and the paper letters taped to the wall were perfect... a reflection of just where my own head has been lately... (remember my last post?)  When I asked her (Patty, the shop owner) if she would mind if I took a photo, she said, "of course not", and s
he told me that her daughter had made the letters and put them up for her.  (Daughters are like that.)  And then she went into a little monologue about beaches... homes in the mountains (she did not want one)... and such.  She rightly assumed that I was totally in agreement with her on the beachfront thing.

As I prepare for my own Christmas Holiday, I have been remembering Seven Mile Beach... where I was just one year ago...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Just Remembering...

my 2011 late November trip to Grand Cayman Island...

I was walking my dog under drizzling gray skies this morning, and I began to remember some photos that I took... some with Christmas decorations...

It was very good remembering...

Friday, December 7, 2012

FO: Tweeds in Balance

Pattern: Equilibrium Cowl by Carolyn Kern
Yarn: The Fibre Company, Acadia
Ravelry Project Page: Tweeds in Balance

There is something amazing that happens when beautiful tweed yarns are used in colorwork.

This project began and ended in October.  I worked on it at Rhinebeck.  I wore it to Gosh Yarn It! when Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn -- knitwear designers, teachers, authors, and distributors of The Fibre Company yarns -- came with their trunk show on November 3.  I bought their newest book which they autographed for me.  It was great to meet them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse."

“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”    
                                             ~ Walt Disney, born December 5, 1901

Photo credit:

Monday, December 3, 2012

FO: Hélène

Hélène is French for Helene.

Do you like my November 26 photo of my October FO?

I was playing with the light.
It is "sideways" sunlight.
  It comes into my lower level family room
for an hour or so
just before sunset.
Even in the winter.
But only on a sunny day.

The second photo was shot outdoors in October.

Pattern: Hélène by Véronik Avery
Yarn: Quince & Co Sparrow, 100% Linen
Ravelry Project Page: Helene

Do you remember this bit of lace with the fading, end of the season, flowers?

So pretty.

(I would guess that Véronik Avery speaks French.  She lives in Quebec.
I once met Véronik.)

This was an interesting and unique pattern.  It was knit sideways in two identical pieces.  They were to be joined on each side with three-needle-bind-off from neck to bottom of sleeve... I tried that (stitch counts were not identical)... and I decided that a regular woven seam would be easier and faster... at least for me...

I enjoyed the yarn.  Though I have not often knit with linen, Sparrow is probably my favorite linen yarn to date.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Farewell November

November is the month of one of my favorite holidays.  I love Thanksgiving... a holiday to be together with family and friends and eat well.  What's not to like?

I cooked a big turkey dinner this year, with two kinds of stuffing, and I baked three pies.  Holiday cooking is a lot of work, but I love it.

I did hit that low point in my knitting in mid-November... But I got back up again.  I did not post so much this November.  I expect to do only a little better in December.

As this month closes, I would like to share some November photos of the cliff behind my home.  Perhaps they will show why this is far from my favorite month of the year.

In my part of the world very many most days in November are what I call white sky days.

November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012

Earlier this week we had our first snowfall of the year.  I took this photo while it was still snowing.

November 27, 2012

The snow can be pretty... but usually, it is most beautiful after the sun returns.

My favorite days are the blue sky days.  Thank God for the blue sky days.

November 26, 2012

I do have a lot to be thankful for...

Now on to December...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"Self pity stinks."

I remember my paternal grandmother saying this often enough
 that I consider it one of her lifetime philosophies.
She was born on November 28, 1907.

My grandmother was the daughter of Polish immigrants.  She married a coal miner and raised five children during the great depression.  Later she worked sewing in a dress factory.  During the far too few years that I was lucky to have shared with her, she sewed and crocheted and gardened and baked and cooked huge holiday feasts and always worked hard.  Late in her life my grandmother made a great many quilts.  I am very fortunate to have "Poinsettias" which was her first.  I loved my grandmother very much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sad Sock

I always have 3-4 active knitting projects at any time.  I need to have challenging projects, as well as mindless projects, and even some that are in-between.  I work on each depending on my mood and circumstance.

Certainly, when I am working on a challenging design for several hours in a day, there comes a point where I need some mindless comfort knitting.  Sock knitting fits in a small bag and can be picked up anytime and go anywhere.  Sock knitting should not make me sad.  But this sock did...

The pattern I am using is my own Fingering Weight TATU sock pattern.  The yarn is LANG Jawoll Color Aktion.  Each skein of Jawoll sock yarn comes with a little spool of matching heel and toe reinforcement yarn.  This sock yarn was a favorite of my mother who was a great sock knitter.

Mr K likes tall socks.  This first sock is only about 3" above the heel and I have now used almost half of the skein of yarn.  I do not have enough yarn to make the socks as I planned.  I have tryed to find more of this yarn (color 132.0366) online with zero success.  It is a limited edition colorway.

I could use a different yarn (There must be some sort of gray sock yarn in my house somewhere.) at the top of each sock, but how would that look?  Of course, I must abandon any thoughts of making the stripes on the pair of socks match each other.  (I actually do try to do this with self-striping yarns.)  I truly cannot make the socks that I thought I was making.  That makes me sad.  That makes me want to start over.  These are Mr K's annual Christmas-unless-they-are-done-in-time-for-your-November-birthday-socks.  They will not be done in November.  In fact, they may never be done at all...

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Bit of a Disappointment

I believe that this has become the longest break in my blogging historyHaving posted only three times in November, I am going to see if I can kind of "catch up" for the month.

The real reason that I have not been posting is due to my sad, sad knitting.  I count on my knitting to make me happy... it usually cheers me daily.  This has not been the case in November... in fact my knitting has been making me sad. 

In September I made a commitment to a yarn company to complete a pattern and a sample for a sweater vest.  I experienced many difficulties with this particular project.  The proposed vest had large all-over cables with a central eyelet double-cable.  I did not appreciate how difficult it would be to size (or 'grade') a design with all-over 12 stitch wide x 28 row cables, and a 30 stitch wide x 56 row central cable.  I spent many hours knitting and revising and pattern writing and re-writing.

As the proposed completion date approached, I knew that I might be able to finish, but only if I grouped the sizes like: XS/S, M/L and XL/XXL.  But what was becoming gradually more and more apparent was that much of the sections involving shaping had to be written out row-by-row.  Even worse, I knew that with every re-write there was added potential for pattern errors.  I knew that this would never be a pattern that I would be happy to put out there with my name on it.

I emailed the yarn company last week, explaining not only my difficulties, but also how much I had learned in the process.  I now have permission to redesign the vest with an extended timeline.  I am determined to see this through.  It has been a disappointment, but I am now relieved and grateful for a second chance.  (When this project is finally on track, I will let you know more.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Detail of "Bordighera" (Mediterranean) [1884]

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love.”  Claude Monet, born November 14, 1840

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing: Jemma

I am happy to introduce you to Jemma!

Jemma was actually designed at about the same time as her "older sister cowl" Jonna.  As I said in my last post, I was thrilled that Quince & Co selected Jonna to be a part of their scarves, etc. collection.  But like a parent with two daughters, I knew that Jemma would, and should, have her own time to shine.  

Pattern: Jemma by Carolyn Kern
Yarn: Quince & Co Finch in the Egret colorway
     2 skeins (287 yd used for cowl as shown)

Similar to Jonna, Jemma is a tapered cowl, narrower on the top and wider on the bottom.  The shape is created by using three progressive needle sizes with no increasing or decreasing.  While Jonna uses a sport weight yarn and has a geometric textured lace pattern, Jemma is made using fingering weight yarn and smaller needles.  The lace pattern in Jemma is quite easy and creates a lovely feminine cowl that complements flannel and denim as well as lace.

My Jemma Cowl pattern is now available at my Ravelry pattern store.

With a little help from my friends:  Thanks to my model/stylist Ali.  She has most definitely helped me in creating a more beautiful and professional knitting pattern.  Thanks also to my good friend Catherine for her speedy and careful test knit.  As always, thanks to Mallory (my real life daughter) for her consistently helpful advice.  And thanks to you for reading!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jonna's Little Sister

I cannot explain why it took so long.

I am finally ready to introduce you to Jonna's little sister.

Jonna is a cowl design that I proposed to Quince & Co (just about a year ago) during their first ever "Scarf Call".  Quince & Co liked Jonna well enough to include her in their scarves etc. collection.  Here is a lovely photo of Jonna that was taken by Carrie Bostick Hoge of Quince & Co.

© Quince & Co

Jonna was conceived a bit before her little sister.  But it so happens that I sent both proposals to Quince & Co last November.  Jonna's little sister is a finer knit, made with fingering weight yarn and on smaller needles.  She is a little smaller, and, if anything, a bit more feminine.  Even though she did not get a chance to appear at Quince & Co, she is now ready to go out into the world.  It is finally little sister's turn to shine...

I will be releasing this new pattern very soon.  A first peek...

© Carolyn Kern

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Colorwork Meditation #3

Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge), 1938
Still Life with Guitar (red curtains), 1938

"The white canvas -- it is like a layer of dust that covers up the real painting.  It's just a matter of cleaning it.  I have a little brush to clear away the blue, another for the red, and another brush for the green.  And when I've finished cleaning, the picture is all there."  ~  Georges Braque

Photo Credit:

Previous Colorwork Meditation: #2 (O'Keeffe)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some Things I Like

I like knitting lace... even lace swatches.

I like photos of knitted lace with flowers.

The lace... a remnant of old.

The flowers... here for a season.

Both (profoundly) beautiful...

(Some of these bits of lace may be appearing in future posts.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Colorwork Meditation #2

Petunias, 1925

"Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know.  I do know the flower is painted large to convey my experience with the flower - and what is my experience if it is not the color."    ~  Georgia O'Keeffe

Photo credit:

Previous Colorwork Meditation: #1 (Hoffman)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yesterday Was...

Officially called the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.
It happens every October at the Duchess County Fairgrounds
in Rhinebeck, New York.

My purchases.

My knitting for the day.

A wonderful way to spend a Sunday with many of my knitting friends

 and many thousands of like minded individuals.
How was your weekend?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Colorwork Meditation #1

The Gate, 1959-60

"Colors must fit together as pieces in a puzzle or cogs in a wheel."   Hans Hoffman

Photo credit:,_1959%E2%80%9360.jpg

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Like Eating Candy"

I have been a knitting teacher for some time now.

I have morphed from teaching beginner knitting at my local Michaels Arts & Crafts store to teaching, well, harder stuff, ("whatever you want to teach"), at the very best ever LYS in the Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Gosh Yarn It!

This month I am teaching a two-session class on "two-handed stranded colorwork".  It is a lot easier to say "Fair Isle" which is a slight misnomer as you may read about here.  The class project is my own "Equilibrium Cowl" which I originally designed with the idea of teaching a two-session class on this type of colorwork.  Here is a lovely photo taken by Ann for Gosh Yarn It!

© Ann Ross, Gosh Yarn It!

I would say (and I did say it once before on this blog) that colorwork is at the tippy top of my favorite things to teach.  During class last Saturday, one of my students remarked, "I am loving this knitting with color so much!  It's like eating candy!"  She added, "If I did not have an engagement party to go to later, I would sit and do this for the rest of the day."

How very happy that made me!

I also have a favorite comment from an Equilibrium project page on Ravelry.  This is from OPKnitter "There are some patterns that make you smile when you knit them. This is one of those."

How very happy that made me! 

It is fantastic to share my own joy in working stranded colorwork!

© Knitscene, Interweave Press
Though KNITSCENE ACCESSORIES 2012 is no longer available on newsstands, it may still be purchased online.  This page has links for purchasing both the digital (.pdf) and print (back order) issues from the Interweave Store.  "Equilibrium" is just one of thirty-three amazing accessory patterns, any of which would be great for holiday gift knitting.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Also from John

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”
                                                         ~  John Lennon

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."    
                                                 ~  John Lennon, born October 9, 1940

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Pierre Bonnard - Garden 1935

"The important thing is to remember what most impressed you and to put it on canvas as fast as possible."

"Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly." 

                                      ~  Pierre Bonnard, born October 3, 1867

Photo Credit:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Late September

I am not one to go all happy about fall and its (short term) beauty.  While I do enjoy the first part of fall, somewhere in the middle of it, there is that unmistakable feeling that we are loosing all of our daylight as well as all of our leaves and flowers.

Quite honestly, the foliage gets very gorgeous here in Pennsylvania right around my father's birthday (October 9).  For at least a couple days around then, there will surely be blue skies.  And in this part of the country, the blues skies of fall are so very crisp and fresh and clean.  I do enjoy all that brightness.

Early this week, as I was walking my dog, I thought that the beginning little splashes of yellow leaves against the evergreens and blue skies looked lovely.  After I returned to my home, I grabbed my camera and went back out to catch that loveliness.

In just minutes, some thin high clouds had moved in, and the image I wanted was lost.  Just not quite the same.

It rained here last night.  As I walked with my dog this morning the sky was mostly white.  It had been rather foggy earlier.  But even against the white sky the raindrops on the leaves were sparkling.  Once again, I went back out with my camera.  This is my best shot, but not quite what I wanted.

Weak sun was streaming through the windows late in the afternoon.  I decided to take some photos of my current WIP's.  "Helene" is in the finishing stages.  I have a lot of seaming.  (Using three needle bind-off to join the top sleeve edges did not work for me.  So now I am seaming them.)

 My "New Shell" is coming along.  The bottom edge is sturdy (I cast-on with a smooth black yarn.) and the texture feels just right.  I am glad that it will not have side seams.

I have begun my husband's annual Christmas-unless-they-are-done-in-time-for-your-November-birthday-socks.  He does love his hand-knit socks.

That is my own "Fingering Weight TATU Sock Pattern" on my iPad.  (How cool is that?)  I do love my iPad.  (Which was my Christmas present last year.)

As I cope with the wistfulness that I feel this time of year, I am focusing on a change...

In between all of my current WIP's, I have also been doing a lot of swatching and planning...

Now I am ready.  In October, I will be working on a new design...

This will be big for me...