Monthly Archives: January 2014

When Swatching Becomes Fun – A Review

Ask any group of knitters about swatching and you’ll probably hear a collective groan. Swatching (the process of knitting a sample of knitting to check gauge, to familiarize yourself with the pattern, to make sure your yarn of choice works for your pattern of choice, etc.) is the bane of many knitters’ existence. However, it is a useful little tool, really; it’s especially useful if you want to knit a garment that will actually fit the intended wearer. It’s also a very good way of familiarizing yourself with, or learning, new patterns or working with an unfamiliar yarn.

When I received an email from Interweave Knits this week, advertising “Creative Estonian Knitting” by Merike Saarniit, I was intrigued. It isn’t a book; it’s a dvd/video download. And it isn’t for a garment of any kind; it’s a swatch made with a variety of Estonian stitches. Merike, who is an American of Estonian descent, teaches a variety of Estonian decorative stitches and techniques. Ok, now I was more than intrigued. I bought it. I downloaded the video and have spent most of today playing with stitches.

Estonianset300For the first time in a very long time, swatching has become fun! I’m very much enjoying her relaxed, easy to listen to explanations of the stitches. I can even see that some of the stitches she demonstrates could make a simple garment completely unique, without much difficulty.

swatch2One advantage of having the video is that I can stop it and play with the stitch patterns at my leisure (it comes with a four page pdf of written instructions for each of the stitches).

swatchHere’s my swatch so far, with five of the stitches already done. (In order, from the beginning to the needles: 1. Wrapped Nupp in Ribbing; 2. Wrapped Nupp over 3 stitches; 3. Knot Nupps; 4. Quilted Embrace; and 5. Horizontal Braid separator.

If you’re at all interested in learning about knitting from other cultures (as I certainly am), I can heartily recommend Merike’s video. Her voice is easy to listen to; the stitches are explained very well and the demos are well filmed. The cost isn’t prohibitive ($24.99 for the DVD disk, $19.95 for the download) and I know that I’ll be referring to the video again and again.

Yup, swatching CAN be fun!




Categories: Blogging, Knitting, Review | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

In Memoriam

51fbf636a689b494276a6b22It saddens me to write this post. This morning, my nephew Geoff lost his battle with cancer. Geoff leaves behind his wife, Leah, and their five children. He is also survived by his parents (his mother is one of my four sisters), two sisters, two nephews, his grandmother (my mother), and a whole lot of family on all sides who will miss his ever cheerful presence.

From the Caring Bridge site set up to keep family and friends informed, his wife, Leah, wrote:

“In mid April of 2013, Geoff began to feel sick. He visited the doctor presuming he had a “normal” cold virus and subsequently took some time off work to rest and restore. Almost 2 weeks elapsed and after multiple doctor visits and amidst sporadic attempts to return to work at full strength it was clear that Geoff was not getting better. 

Some blood results prompted a referral to the local ER, where Geoff was immediately evaluated by a Hemotologist/Oncologist and  diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). Geoff has Philadelphia chromosome positive ALL.”
Categories: In Memoriam | 8 Comments

Stuff Dutch People Like

Your satirical guide to Dutch culture and the Netherlands!

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