Monday, September 21, 2009

Scarf in use

I had to share this photo of my handsome nephew on his way to a big game, wearing the scarf I lovingly knitted for him. It's always gratifying to see one's FO being used and enjoyed. Go, Demon Deacons!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

What's Known as a Teaser . . .

Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you what these socks, Sonny Fox, Wonderama, a backwards spelling bee, and the Luau 500 all have in common.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wanna Enhance Your Sock Yarn Stash?

I've come across a terrific way to greatly enhance your sock yarn stash--the "Sock Yarn Knitting Exchange." (And it's also open to crocheters.)

First, you receive a letter (from me) with two names and addresses on it. You send a 100 gr. ball of sock yarn (or two 50-gr. balls--enough to make one pair of socks) to the first person on the letter. Then you send out a new copy of the letter to six knitting (or crocheting) friends with the first name and address from my letter removed, the second name and address in first place, and your name and address in second place.

In short order, you should receive enough yarn to make 36 pairs of socks! Cool, huh? And just as much fun will be seeing who, and where, the yarn comes from.

Now, I know these things often don't pan out exactly as expected. Somewhere along the line, someone usually drops the ball. (Of yarn. Hah!) But I figure if you even receive only one ball of sock yarn, you've broken even. Anything more than that is a bonus.

As it happens, though, I don't know a lot of knitters here. So I'm throwing this open to all of you in yarn cyberspace. If any of you would like to participate in this sock yarn exchange, please e-mail me at and I'll get your address and send you the info. BTW, this is only open to those in the US and Canada, because of the difficulties of mailing elsewhere. (Not my rule.)

Hope to see lots of you participate!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bragging on Barbara

Laced with Magic by our own wonderful Barbara Bretton is one of the Top Ten Romances for 2009 on Booklist, which reviews for the American Library Association. The Booklist blurb says: Chloe, owner of a popular knitting shop and mayor of the supernatural village of Sugar Maple, Vermont, continues to battle evil forces in Bretton’s poignant and magical story of love and sacrifice.

Not that I'm surprised because it's a fabulous book, but "Wahoooooooooo, Barbara!"

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Finding your level

I was browsing through my newest Knit 'n Style magazine (just started subscribing and love it) and found an advertisement for a pattern I liked. Except it was marked "For Experienced Knitters". Hmmmm, does that mean me? After all, I've knitted for a lot of years. Does that qualify for experienced?

It's easier when they define the levels of difficulty as Easy, Intermediate and Advanced because I know darn well I'm not an "Advanced Knitter". I consider myself a Low Intermediate because I have a) knitted several sweaters (not difficult ones but still...), b) made a fair amount of progress on a lace scarf, c) worked out my own stitch charts for intarsia and d) knitted short rows.

However, there's a lot of stuff (like cables and socks) I have not done. In the case of socks, I never intend to do them ever, ever, ever. So do I dare to order a pattern for an "Experienced Knitter?" Or will I founder on the shoals of my hubris?

All you Yarnies: how do you define your level of expertise as a knitter?

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sock Yarn Winners!

And the winners are:

Theresa N

Congratulations! And if the others who entered don't mind, I'll keep your entries for my next sock yarn contest, coming soon.

Fran Baker

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pink-Orange Shill-Shell Blankie

My toddler is going to be moving into a big girl room in a few months, which I'm planning to decorate in bright pink and orange. I bought some yarn in those colors (plus a few more) (Painted Desert, #1289), without much idea of what I'd do with it; I just wanted something for her room. I ended up with a blankie.

Sock weight yarn was a little fussy to crochet with -- I hadn't tried it before -- but I just loved the colors on this. Plus, the wool-nylon blend is super-soft and silky; feels lovely in your hands. And machine-washable, which is key for kid items. Ty-Dy apparently makes a 10-ply worsted weight cotton version of this color (#289); I'm not normally a fan of working with cotton, but people claim this yarn is really soft. Maybe I'll seek it out at some point.

As it was, I didn’t have the patience to crochet a whole blanket out of this yarn, but I ended up with a cute little blankie for her dollies, or a cape, or whatever else she comes up with…

The Shill Shell Shawl pattern was easy to memorize, and had enough variety in its three rows to keep it interesting. It only uses two stitches (single and double crochet), so totally do-able for beginners as long as you can count. :-) I'd recommend the pattern to others; I think it'd make a pretty summer shawl, and be much easier to work up in a slightly heavier yarn, like the recommended 5-ply sport weight. (My yarn was 3-ply).

If I decide I want the blanket to be larger, I might do three more squares (probably in different patterns, maybe one more crochet and two knit) and attach them to this square. But not sure I have the patience to do that in this yarn.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The rest of the August winners

The list is long. The apologies for the delay is even longer. But I promise the yarn is worth the wait.

  • Cathy S
  • Jennifer M
  • Joanie R
  • Cheryl S
  • Carolyn C
  • Libi
  • Susanne
  • kittenwithawhiplash
  • R3
  • Liz B
  • Marsha B-B
  • Carla B
  • Gina B
  • Yvonne
  • Jaymi
  • ozknitter
Congratulations to everyone!!

More Stephanie Plum's New Jersey

I didn't forget. I have more winners to announce. Honest!

But while you wait, enjoy this slightly goofy video.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

FO: Alma Mater Scarf

I did it! I finally finished something! Of course, my nephew's birthday is September 10th and the scarf is for him so I really had no choice.

This is an adaptation of a pattern from Scarfstyle which switches right sides every four inches or so, has stripes, and some interesting ribbed texture. It's very manly somehow. Can you tell my nephew goes to Wake Forest (Go, Demon Deacons)? He requested that I include his initials, hence the LCN on the other end of the scarf.

Many, many thanks to all of you Yarnies for your suggestions on hiding the back of the intarsia. Taking your advice, I ended up knitting two plain back panels the size of the section with the letters and sewing them onto the back. (I wanted to do double-knitting but found it too complicated with the intarsia pattern; my brain is very feeble.) I left one end open to create a pocket for holding ticket stubs, cash, Kleenex, or whatever. I got that idea from a NJ Devils scarf my husband gave me which has a zippered pocket built in.

(I know this just looks like black but it is the knitted back panel/pocket, and looks much neater than the reverse side of the intarsia.)

Woo hoo! Of course, I still have to complete the white lace scarf which will probably never be done because I'm convinced Barbara's Sugar Maple magic has bewitched the ball of yarn so it never, EVER ends. And I'm working on a beautiful soft blue throw blanket which I'm trying to finish before Christmas as a gift. It takes me forever to do one row because it's so darn BIG. But the yarn is so gorgeous that I love having it draped over my lap. And my (different, older) nephew and his wife are expecting a baby so I have to knit a bib for that. And I''ve found a pattern for a sweater I want to knit for myself. And...yes, I've still got the knitting disease.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I've Got the Wool Itch

Hoo, boy.

I've got that itch.

I just made a deadline and sent off a manuscript yesterday to my editor (WHOO AND HOOOO!), and she's got four manuscripts ahead of mine to read before she'll get to me, so I KNOW it'll be at least a month before she gets around to reading mine.

Which is good. It stops me from click-click-clicking at my email to see what my editing letter will look like.

But now I'm dying to cast something on, and I can't decide what. I'm torn between Venezia and Bonnie.

Bonnie, all solid cabled goodness, she's great, isn't she? 18 stitches per inch, she'd go fast. I've ordered yarn for her, and hopefully it will be here tomorrow. I could be done with her in three or four weeks. I'm a fast cable knitter. It's a sensible knit. An attractive knit. A sweater I'd wear in the mornings as I sit writing before I go to the day job.

Venezia? I'm out of my dang mind. I have the yarn in hand, having bought it more than a year ago. I swatched last year on size US 0 needles, and they were TOO BIG. I swatched again last night, and you know what? I'd have to knit the whole sweater on triple oughts. A sweater knit on acupuncture needles. That oughta be fun.


That's what finishing a novel does for my head. Apparently, I lose my mind.

I know that knitting a sweater on triple 000 needles is exactly the same number of stitches as knitting it on size 0s or on size 4s.

But then again, somehow, it's not, is it? I once knit Alice Starmore's Cromarty on US 1s, so I know from crazy.

And now that I've blogged this, I think I've worn my resistance, the slight little bit I had left, right out. I'm moving over to the couch, and I'm casting on. Me and my magnifying glass and my loose, loose gauge. We'll be over there while you laugh. I'll see you next year. (Sigh. It's a pullover. I'll never wear a pullover, and I don't want to modify it into yet another a cardigan! I'm out of my damn mind...)

Sock It To You! (Contest)

I've got four balls of Paton's sock yarn to give away. Two are Plum and the other two are Licorice. I'll draw two winners (one for the Plum and one for the Licorice) next Tuesday - the day after Labor Day. To enter, send an email with Sock Yarn in the subject line to
Fran at FranBaker dot com.

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FO #4

My most important FO, at least as far as my so-called writing career is concerned, is my finished and published book. Romeo, Romeo by Fran Baker is available as an eBook in any format, including Kindle. It's a contemporary romantic comedy, kind of sexy and kind of funny.

You can read the first chapter for free here:

And you can get it in Kindle format here:

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FOs #2 and #3

These are a couple of my knitting projects: a red scarf made from Berroco's Zodiac for my friend and a black scarf from the same yarn for myself. What I'm not showing you is the vest I made (and sent) to my son for his birthday and a baby throw for my soon-to-be niece or nephew. Both turned out beautifully, and I forgot to photograph either of them.

FO #1

Here's my first FO. My peach tree produced and I made 3 pies for eating and 4 for freezing. Now my apple tree is going to town, so I've got my rolling pin primed.

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