Monday, July 18, 2011

What is Skein Snake?

Several years ago, I invented Skein Snake:


It's a zippered skein jacket that you place around a skein of yarn. Why would you want to do that, you ask. Well, at the time, I was working with a lot of linen and hemp. I kept hearing that these fibers soften with washing. I wanted them soft while I was working with them. I have heard of the usual method of washing a skein, a million safety pin in a pillowcase, which did not appeal to me. The lightbulb of inspiration clicked on and I sewed up a prototype, zipped it around a skein of linen, tossed it in the washer, then the dryer and PRESTO - soft linen yarn. AND pre-shrunk!

I thought this would take the Knitting & Crocheting world by storm. Thus far, it has been more of a couple of sprinkles. I plan to put the pattern on Ravelry in the coming weeks and see if there is more interest in folks trying to make it themselves. Here is a slideshow of how it works:
Skein Snake 01
Skein Snake 02
Skein Snake 03
Skein Snake 04
Skein Snake 05
Skein Snake 06
Skein Snake 07
Skein Snake 08
 Skein Snake 09

Patterns to make Skein Snake yourself as well as finished, ready to use Skein Snakes for sale at

The colors I made the Skein Snakes with came about because of a favorite song from my childhood:

Where have you been all day, Henry my son
Where have you been all day, my beloved one
Woods, dear mother, woods, dear mother
Oh mother come quick 'cos I feel very sick
And I want to lay down and die, die, die, die
Die, die, die, die

What did you do there, Henry my son
What did you do there, my beloved one
Eat, dear mother, eat, dear mother

What did you eat there, Henry my son
What did you eat there, my beloved one
Eels, dear mother, eels, dear mother

What colour were they, Henry my son
What colour were they, my beloved one
Green and yellow, green and yellow

Those eels were snakes, Henry my son
Those eels were snakes, my beloved one
Yuck, dear mother, Yuck, dear mother

What colour flowers d'you want, Henry my son
What colour flowers d'you want, my beloved one
Green and yellow, Green and yellow

Oh mother come quick 'cos I feel very sick
And I want to lay down and die

The Skein Snake logo was designed by DH, based on an oroboros and snakes that were in "Ouran High Host Club", a japanese anime.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pivoting I cord stitches

I am very fond of the finished look of garter stitch edged with I cord. I think it is the influence of my Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Ashlock. She graded on the outside & inside of the finished garment. I learned to love finished edges in sewing and carried that over to my knitting.

Many of my garter stitch patterns have a method that I call "pivoting". This is necessary for the I cord edge to flow along all edges of the finished item. Simply put, you are reversing the order of the first and second stitch. The first stitch will become the second and the second will become the first. Pivoting is the method I have found easiest to accomplish this. Here is a photo tutorial:

In this photo, the I cord stitches are slipped purl wise to the right double pointed needle. You can also use a cable needle.
2 I cord st on needle

In this  photo, the 2 I cord stitches on the right DPN or cable needle are halfway through the pivoting. Pivoting is done clockwise.
 2 I cord st being pivoted around, at halfway point

Here the stitches are pivoted around, the order is reversed. In most cases, you will put the yarn back, slip the 2 stitches back to the Left needle and continue as instructed
2 I cord st pivoted around, stitches are now in reverse order

One of my free patterns, Giving Heart , is a free download that uses this technique, if you want to practice it. I would love to see more projects of this pattern on Ravelry!

Take care and keep your yarn dry.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Butterfly Silk

Butterfly silk butterfly with bead head 2

This is the larger of the two butterflies in my pattern "Butterfly Motif". It is knit of 2 ply Bulky Silk yarn from White Rabbit Fibers ( , custom dyed by Fun House Fibers (

For fun, I added a bead. I am new to beading and found that if one does not have adequate lighting and magnification, one should not try to work with thin black thread.

The pattern is available at for $1. I also have a kit with the pattern, yarn for one butterfly of both sizes and some beads for embellishments at

Almost finished with "Stone River Shawl". Pictures soon.Lots of blocking in my future!

Take care and keep your yarn dry.