MMario's blog

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Garter stitch in the round.

Frequently I see people complaining about garter stitch lace; especially when they are knitting lace shawls in the round. The very thought of purling entire rows seems to make a lot of people blanch. Likewise many people complain about the long purl back rows when doing stockinette knit back and forth.

Now I don't mind purling that much; well, not unless I'm doing a 1 x 1 rib and then more because I can't count. But I've also learned to knit backwards (or purl backwards - depending on how one looks at it)- which means a number of things:

a) when knitting flat I don't turn my work, I just purl back/knit back backwards. It's faster and more convenient then turning and purling, partially because when I "purl" backwards I'm scooping yarn rather then throwing.

b) in the round, I can TURN my work and knit backwards/purl backwards for garter stitch - again faster.

C) when knitting on edges - I don't have to turn the work after each of thsose short rows.

d) it confuses the heck out of people watching my knitting! (added bonus)

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you've been warned.

okay - this isn't a full head of steam screaming rant - more of an "I don't understand the world I'm living in and think I may be crazy" rant.

Let me say first that I'm no expert; I am also aware I am much more "fly by the seat of my pants" in style then many people; and I try to take the advice of my acting coach (Dare to Suck!) to heart in life as well as on-stage;

But just how detailed do people expect directions to be ??? ! ???

For example - There is a circular shawl pattern out there that starts with:

Cast on 8 stitches; knit one round; double the number of stitches on the next round (16 stitches).

I can think of several ways to accomplish the above - most of which would not make much difference at all in the final product. We are talking a total of 32 stitches in an item with many thousands of stitches. The three most miniscule rows in a shawl with almost 200 rounds.

Would you believe over ***THREE WEEKS*** of discussion on how to cast on and what method to double the stitches? and wether or not they should join the stitches into a round at the caston, on the first round, or after doubling.

Am I the crazy one or is the above taking obsessive to an extreme? Good God, if you can't decide which way - an hour or so of experimenting could give you multiple examples to choose from and you could then proceed!

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Yet another FO

I'm giving you one link and one attachment this time.

This is a shawl I test knit for someone - and is NOT blocked - merely washed and laid out to dry. Even so it opened up a lot. Here is is, modeled by our resident bear, Blackie.

and the attached photo is laid on the couch.

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....

since I'll be taking off for 1842 shortly - and doubt I'll be around much before tuesday....

Drat! the mp3 file can't be attached. Oh well.

Never mind. I was gonna sing you all a Christmas carol - but the forum won't let me.

So - instead - I give you Toast for the New Year


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two new fo's

finally got around to taking some pictures - these have actually been done a while.

It's a good thing though, that I knit better then I take photos.

Christmas Stocking - Wool of the Andes (Knitpick) - on size US 10 needles - felted.

Tricorn Hat - likewise felted - Lopi

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Shameless Self Promotion

yes - this is an advertisement.

In addition to knitting I sing. Sometimes even in public. sometimes even for fiscal renumeration!

anyway - I have two CD's for sale - either of which I'm told are pleasant to listen to (yes, by people unrelated to me) and one of which in particular makes is an appropriate purchase in the Christmas season.

either or both can be ordered

via e-mail @

or via PayPal with the same e-mail address.

or via PM here at MWK

Don't forget a shipping address!

I'll accept cash, checks,PayPal and quite probably even barter!

some samples can be heard at:

Mudcat Cafe Songbook

Pricing is $12 post postpaid for one, $10 per additional CD in the same order.


17 tracks of mostly traditional Christmas carols performed by myself and friends from the cast of 'A Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles' (an annual festival in upstate NY)

The sounds of traditional street caroling as you might have heard it in the mid 1800's. Or so was the intention.

The tracks marked with an * have other vocals in addition to myself. Track 17 is a lad who has 6 years experience playing our 'Tiny Tim'

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well, today has just been kay-rap!

not scottish at all (therefore ...).

Walked out of the house this morning without knitting bag -- realized that about 1/2 way to work.

finishing up an exhange item for another list that *must* go into the mail today - a crocheted item, and somehow managed to lose the crochet hook with 5 stitches left to go.

Lost a detailed post to my music forum TWICE while trying to post it.

and to top off everything - my neice has officially moved to Japan (they landed in Tokyo this morning).

Hope my mood changes soon because I have to celebrate christmas something like 12 more times before the day actually occurs - and right now I am feeling very Scrooge-ish.

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One knitter + boredom = ???

Notice I said "boredom" not "too much time" - there is a difference...

anyway mix the knitting, boredom, 'Harry Potter' and stir well - the story is over here

I still have to weave in some ends...

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Tales from the T.A.R.D.I.S.

some day I'll have to look up what those initials stand for...

Spent most of my weekend back in 1842 preparing for Her Majesty Victoria's visit to the lovely village of Skaneateles - President Polk* is hosting HRM for negotiations regarding the Oregon Territory, an inspection of the local Teasel industry (see? fiber content!) and a good American Christmas Celebration.

anyway - since a lot of the rehearsal time is spent sitting I kept my hands occupied working on one of the shawls I haven't finished up yet - just a couple more rows to the edge on this one; and started another Christmas stocking to be felted. If I get enough done this week then NEXT week I'll be working with heavier yarn and bigger needles and knitting a shawl for one of the characters. Probably a nice simple Faroese garter stitch shawl with a simple lace band. If I can find the second skein of that garnet-red yarn.

Has to be pretty mindless knitting though, because though I know most of the words to the songs we sing (this event involves 4 hours a day of caroling - outside - in Upstate NY!) and the melodies - the music director likes us to sing harmonies...and I don't read music. Add to that trying to learn to sing a different tune then the one you've been singing for somewheres around 50 years *WHILE* someone sings the familiar tune right next to poor brain cell is fried.

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Knitting at a Folk Music Gathering

For the past five years or so I've been attending an annual Folk Music weekend - lots of time to work on various knitting projects. Over the years more and more handcrafts are making their appearances at the various song workshops, concerts and sing-alongs; a bunch of knitters this year, several crocheters, some hand spinners, embroidery and this year even a quilter. Several comments heard at various times over the weekend:

wow! I can see knitting to shanties, but I never thought you could knit to Do-Wop!

Can somone loan me some needles and yarn? I feel out of place.

I knit Music into every stitch.

but best of all was when they tried to turn the lights down at once concert - got a chorus of "NO!"'s and then a shouted "We knitters have needles and we know how to use them!"

I managed to do the finishing on one shawl, added several inches in diameter to a circular shawl and got most of a christmas stocking knit up while listening and singing.

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