Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Excuse me for barging in early, but I want to post two pictures and I'm not sure I can do it without help -- and my web mistress is NOT an early riser.

Another thing I ran into at the Quilt Show in Duluth two weekends ago was a yarn booth. I don’t quilt, so you’d think I’d be safe from buying things at a quilt show, wouldn’t you? But noooooo. The woman at the booth was knitting a scarf in this fascinating pattern, and showed me how it was done. It didn’t seem terribly difficult, and it was a very interesting pattern. So I bought a skein of yarn, as that was the only way to acquire the instructions for knitting it. She calls the pattern Basketweave and it took me several tries with scrap yarn to acquire the skill. I’m still not terrific at it -- you can see a couple of errors in the pattern -- but I’ve started the scarf on the yarn I bought which is a fabulous blend of silk, wool and mohair, and a gorgeous color. One thing I didn’t realize until I was well into it is that the backside is a completely different pattern. The pictures here show the front and the back – amazingly different.

We have a bed that is very high off the floor – I literally have to take a flying leap to get up into bed at night. There are drawers in the bottom of it, so you can’t get underneath. I knew I’d had at least one pair of reading glasses fall between the head of the mattress and the headboard onto the floor, so when a paperback I’d been reading went missing, I took a flashlight and peered into the narrow space and sure enough, there it was, out of reach. I pushed the mattress out of the way and squeezed my forearm down between the box spring and headboard and still couldn’t reach the floor. I resorted to a pair of kitchen tongs and came up with the book and three (!) pairs of reading glasses. I didn’t realize that’s where they’d all gotten to. On the other hand, it makes me feel competent to have figured out how to get them back without dismantling the bed.

We’re going up to Cass County this coming Sunday, will be there till Wednesday evening. Look for a report next Wednesday on loons, a German POW camp, the source of the Mississippi River, and whatever else I can learn in aid of Buttons and Bones, the book I’m currently writing.

I took a one-hour lesson in driving, as that is my weakest part of my golf game. I think I came away more confused than helped, but we’ll see next time I play. Meanwhile, I’m going to go hit a bucket or two of balls to see if any of it has matured in my head since the lesson. Whoever thought hitting a ball with a stick could be so complicated?

Speaking of slow learning, I think I’m slowly starting to get the hang of writing a synopsis for film as opposed to a book. Think visually, that’s the ticket. But oh, how much easier is that said than done!
Speaking of visually, I think my eyes have at last started to improve.

A friend and I are planning a long train trip around this time next year and she came over this past weekend and we got out the schedules and maps and timetables and started plotting the stops we hope to make along the way: Fargo, Wolf Point, Cut Bank, East Glacier Park, Spokane, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Reno, and Salt Lake City. We figure we’ll be on the rails something over two weeks. If any of you are from one of these places, I hope you’ll come and see us wherever we're appearing, a library, a bookstore, or a needlework shop!


Betty Hechtman said...

What an interesting looking stitch. I like the yarn, too.

I'm glad your eyes are getting better. It must be a relief.

Sheila Connolly said...

Very interesting. A few years ago, in a moment of boredom, I decided to try a scarf with a larger basketweave pattern, based on one I had seen in a store. It wasn't easy to find a pattern--I think it came from an old Erica Wilson book from the 60s or 70s. And it took multiple needles and some concentration. But the scarf turned out well (I have it to my daughter) and it's still around--and both sides look the same.

Julie said...

Gorgeous yarn and pretty stitch! I don't feel that both sides of a scarf necessarily have to be identical, and I really like that one. Gonna check my Barbara Walker books to look for it. Have fun up north. Glad your eyes are improving, that has to have been miserable.
PS: While you're learning, trying hitting your tee shots with a 5-wood. Much easier than driver.

Betty said...

Is there any way we can get the directions for the stitch? Does it come with the yarn? If so, what is the name of the yarn?

Monica Ferris said...

Betty, I got the yarn from Mary Lue's Yarn & Ewe -- www.maryluesyarn.com. I afraid I threw away the tag for the yarn after I made a ball of it from the skein. But I know Mary Lue's will remember it if you say I saw it at the Duluth quilt show and it's the one they recommend for the basketweave stitch.

Anonymous said...

I don't live in any of those places but just want to say you are in for a real treat. I live in the Chicago area & last May, when my daughter had to go to Seattle for work, she invited me along. Only she, of course, had to fly but I took the train. It was a beautiful trip - the Rockies & Cascades are so gorgeous. There was a problem with track work so the entire train went to Portland instead of splitting in 2 with half going to Seattle. So those of us who were Seattle bound got to take the local train from Vancouver (Wa) to Seattle - it runs along Elliott Bay - fantastic scenery. Then my son in law was transferred to his company's headquarters in the Bay area & he, my other daughter & 3 grands moved there at Christmas time. We took the California Zephyr there & back in March. It made the trip to Seattle pale by comparison - amazing mountains & deserts. Gorgeous scenery - & you go throough Donner Pass (a little weird since there was still a good bit of snow on the ground!) If you can, go first class - they spoil you - esp on the Empire Builder - champagne (or fizzy apple juice if you prefer) on the first evening & a wine tasting the second afternoon with a trivia game to hand out the mostly full but opened bottles (all Wa state wines & quite good IMHO!) I love train travel & would never fly if I could avoid it.

Gayle Surrette said...

I love the basket weave stitch, it nice and tight and has a great look though I've mostly done the it with a two stitch pattern rather than single stitch as you have it here.

Your yarn is lovely and has great stitch definition. There's a different basket weave pattern that's more like a checkerboard where the back and front would look the same.

The difference here is that you are always knitting the front and purling the back -- thus the different look.

It's going to be a great scarf.

Mary in Oakdale said...

I, too, went to the Duluth Quilt Show and bought the yarn and pattern because I just loved it. I tried it last night and I CAN'T DO IT. I've been searching on the internet for some sort of instructions for the stitch and came across your web site. I'm going to try again tonight because I see it is possible. I'll let you know how I do.

Mary said...

I think I finally got it. Since I knit differently than anyone else, I had to go back to Knitting 101 to see how one is supposed to knit in the back of the stitch. Then it worked. Thanks for your excellent photos. The photos I took in Duluth were awful--couldn't see what the stitches looked like. Now off in the morning to JoAnns to get the right size bamboo needles.

Anonymous said...

did you ever find the pattern for this stitch?

Sass E-mum said...

You know how to do that stitch! I love it. Can you tell me how it's done? For once the interwebs are silent - any help would be greatly appreciated.

Linda Merry said...

I spent the better part of yesterday trying to remember how to do this stitch. I first saw it a week ago at the Mpls. Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. Mary Lou was kind enough to show me how to do it (realizing I was fixed income). I was able to do it when I got home and I have a nice sample to prove it. That's all good--except I never wrote it down. (hitting myself in the head)Now I can only remember 1/2 the stitch and not the other half. I would be most appreciative if the person who has the pattern would help me out. If you can help me remember the stitch I could return the favor by clarifying how it's done for you. I'm so close but not quite there and it's maddening. I can't afford to buy the pattern. This is the most unique stitch I've found in a long time and I'd love to use it for my family Christmas gifts. TIA