Posted in Uncategorized


It’s been a long and eventful two weeks. No arts or crafts were done in the interval. I think I’ll just post some photos of our trip to Alaska.

The Westerdam

Seattle in our wake.

View from veranda

Mendenhall Park from the visitor’s center

Hubbard glacier

Beautiful Sitka

More mountains surrounding Sitka. We are on a whale-watching excursion.

Potlatch Park in Ketchikan.

After returning to Seattle, we rented a car and drove to Olympia. The following day we hiked in Millersylvania State Park, Tumwater, WA

This trip gave us so many experiences and created beautiful memories. It was well worth waiting three full years to finally go.

Posted in knitting

WIP – Mosaic Stitch Swatches

For today’s post on work in progress, I’d like to share my adventure in choosing a mosaic stitch design for my crescent shawl.

To get started, I picked up Barbara Walker’s excellent Treasury of Knitting Patterns, published in 1968. Chapter Four (Color Changing Patterns) contains advice and 76 different examples of mosaic stitch. The first one I tried is called Rippled Chevron.

For the 1st pattern repeat, I used stockinette stitch. The second repeat was knitted in garter stitch. I liked this pattern, and it was quite easy. The garter stitch version would work better with my shawl design.

Continuing my swatch, I went for something more complicated: Dotted Diamond.

I love the look of this pattern. After knitting it I began to see how an exciting piece of knitting could be made by working a sequence of different mosaic stitches with different background yarns and one foreground yarn.

All of this swatching around is very fun and instructive. But I concluded that Mrs. Walker’s patterns were all very geometric looking. I craved a pattern that appeared more curvilinear – almost flower-like. So my next step was to use the advanced search option on Ravelry to find some flower-like mosaic patterns. This took a good hour. Eventually I discovered a pattern for socks that incorporated mosaic designs inspired by Native American symbols.

This is getting closer to what I had in mind. After making a few final adjustments and switching to a bigger needle, I started knitting the resulting pattern into my shawl. By yesterday evening I was half-way finished with the 50-row pattern.

I love what’s happening here. My original swatch was too narrow to give me any idea of the secondary pattern in the design. When several pattern repeats are worked, the wing-like lines between the circles clearly stand out. This makes me happy.

Barbara’s treasury is truly a treasure. If you can get your hands on this book, you will find it immensely useful in expanding your knowledge and skills. Kudos also to Mary the Hobbit, who designed the Burntwater socks. This pattern could easily become my next sock project.

Posted in painting

Wednesday Watercolor – Improvising with complementary colors

In this exercise, I chose to paint washes that were opposites on the color wheel. Then I decided what the resulting painting reminded me of. Next I “brought out” the image.

Red Giant with webbing, using red and green.

Sunset over Circle Mountain, with yellow and purple.

Detail drawn in with watercolor pencils and Micron pens. Cold press paper by Winsor and Newton, 4 x 6.

Posted in knitting

Cast-on Monday – Crescent Shawl

My new project is in keeping with my desire to work with my stash. I have been wanting to make a shawl with this purple yarn, called Leticia, by Bremont.

It is a singles yarn (for you non-knitters, that means it’s not plied.) Three fibers are blended together: wool, alpaca and silk. I own three skeins. Over the past few years, I have tried unsuccessfully to pair it with another yarn, so that I could make a two-color shawl.

Last week, while wasting a lot of time viewing yarns on the Jimmy Beans site ( ) I discovered the perfect match from Malabrigo.

I ordered two skeins lickety-split and they arrived post-haste within three days. This yarn, also a singles, combines silk and merino wool about 50/50. It’s hard to describe the silky sheen of this yarn, (I was almost swooning while casting it on and knitting the first few rows.)

For my pattern, I re-visited a Craftsy tutorial by Laura Nelkin, in which she explains how to design 14 different shawl shapes. It’s fantastic, if you don’t mind doing a little math. I chose the crescent shape.

My two-color shawl inspiration comes from Helen Kennedy’s Pale Moon pattern on Ravelry.

I love the way the mosaic section bridges the two colors of yarn. But instead of making Pale Moon, I would prefer to use Laura Nelkins’ instructions for the shape and design a mosaic chart of my own.

My first attempt at designing a mosaic pattern, unfortunately, was a failure. Apparently, there are some hard and fast rules about sequencing slipped stitches between the two colors. So back I go to my graph paper for a re-do.