Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Knitting Tip #4 – Cabling without a cable needle February 28, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 1:59 pm

Lattice TopSo there it is, the cable sweater you have to have. But oh! all those cables.. Working cables is one of the most satisfying techniques in knitting, but if you have a lot of cables in one panel it can be also be repetitive, and not in the knitting and purling repetitive way that we all love so much about knitting. A simple way to relieve the annoyance of constantly picking up and putting down that cable needle is just to work without one! You do this by (heavens!) dropping your stitches, replacing them on the needle in the crossed position and then working them in either knits or purls as called for in your instructions.

And don’t worry, the dropping part is not as risky as it may sound! The trick is to pick them up in such a way as to minimize the risk of them being lost. In this example I will show you a cable that is worked using 3 sts. The cables are on a purl st background, and the two cable stitches are crossing over one purl stitch, heading to the right.

C3F_1Step 1: Drop the stitches. Some prefer not to do this, in which case you could work into the back of the purl stitch, then bring your yarn to the front to work the knits. Personally, I find this method a bit cumbersome and sometimes confusing if you are working a variety of cables in multiple directions. As I show you here, you can also just drop all the relevant stitches off your left needle. What I need to do now, is bring the purl stitch to the back of the knits, back on to my left needle, so that I can first work into the cabled knit stitches.

C3F_2Step 2: Picking them back up again. I certainly don’t want to lose my 3 little stitches here, and the sequence in which I pick them up will either make my life easier or harder. For this cable, I have found is that it works best to pick up the stitches closest to the left needle first, in this case, the two cable knit stitches. I bring forward my right needle and catch those two stitches, then I can reach down with the left needle to re-catch the purl stitch. Next, I will slide the 2 knit cable sts also back onto the left needle, which will put them ahead of the purl stitch, and in the correct position to be worked.

C3F_3Step 3: Working the cable. Here the stitches are in the correct sequence, with the knit stitches crossing over the purl stitch, and I am now able to knit the first of the two knit cable stitches. (BTW – though it appears as though I’m knitting into the back of my stitch here, that is not necessary. In all likelyhood, I had accidentally twisted the stitch when I picked it up, so rather than re-dropping it, I just went ahead and knitted into the back of the stitch.)


Here is a second example, this time cabling with four stitches. In this cable, I am crossing over again from left to right, but this time, one cable over another.


Step 1: Drop the stitches. As shown here, I have already dropped the four cable stitches and have now picked up the 2 sts closest to my right needle, these will be crossed behind the stitches that I have yet to pick up, which I will do with my right needle as shown in the next image below.
C4F_2Step 2: Picking them back up again . To do this, I will bring my right needle forward and catch the two loose sts. The next step would be to slide these front stitches back onto the left needle, putting them in the correct place in front of the other cable. They will then be ready to knit.

C4F_3Step 3: Working the cable. In this image, you can see that I have knitted the first two stitches and will now knit the next two, competing this front cross.

There is really no reason why this technique could not be worked with any size cable, the main thing being of course that you don’t drop your stitches. It may be a little more challenging if you were knitting at a really small gauge, but given good lighting and a bit of bravado you should be able to do this with no trouble at all. So don’t be afraid to give it a go.

These images were taken as I was working on what will be a sweater. At the size I’m making it, I have 14 repeats of four overlapping cables that will eventually form a trellis design. I’m crossing stitches in both directions, left and right, on every other row. This means if I were to use a cable needle I would have to pick it up and put it down some 56 times each cable round. As it is, working without the cable needle has made this project a lot more fun, engaging and satisfying, let alone considerably faster to do.


Hey, that stings! February 23, 2007

seen written on an online knitting forum regarding Knitty Gritty:

“Con: The episode I happened to catch was a knitted bikini pattern. I’m way past knitted bikini age myself, and so was the knitter/designer featured

Ouch! How old does she think I am??

That’ll teach me to ego-surf. Actually, I thought it was a bit funny.

When I was at Costco the other day I picked up a bottle of cheap plonk to use as cooking wine and I didn’t get carded. Of course I didn’t – I haven’t been carded since long before I even turned 21, which was close to 20 years ago.. I gave the guy at the checkout a hard time – joking “hey, you didn’t even ask me my age!”. I told him he could make any woman’s day by carding her. We laughed. He apologised.

Seriously though, if someone did card me I would think they were half blind. Someone who is under 21 really looks under 21, and I think you can only see it as you get older, the kids get younger – does that make any sense – or am I becoming senile now too?


As ye knit so shall ye rip. The cable sweater I started is coming undone tonight. I need to make it narrower. I kind of thought so all along, but I had to get through the first skein to really get a sense of the width and how it felt in that weight of yarn (cotton worsted). I’m actually really looking forward to taking it apart and starting over – maybe I am becoming senile.

It’s been so chilly here the last few days that I’m almost wishing I had been working on those gloves…


Fergus and FreiaSigned Freia up for another class. This one is on off-leash behaviour. For her, the problem is recall. She’s had a couple of disappearing acts at the dog park, but always in play with another dog, and she does return within a few minutes. I would of course prefer her to not run away, and certainly not out of bounds into the non-off leash areas of the park. That being said, her biggest sin is recall related.

She’s now taken to chasing the maintenance vehicles that sometimes come into the dog park, the odd bicyclist, and visitors to the park who look “out of place”, namely those without a dog, or wearing more formal clothes such as a long coat. She’s also curious about baby strollers, children on wheels of any kind, and squeaking children at play. Her other big trick is stealing other dogs’ toys. These are all puppy related behaviours, but it’s at the point where it’s really not so cute to have a 70lb dog barking at a passerby, who is only minding their own business. I don’t believe she will hurt anyone, but it’s really not appropriate for her to do this. Also, I want to put her into some agility classes but I need for her to have a bullet-proof recall before starting her in this as I believe sometimes the classes are held in an open field near a road. I can’t risk her doing something really stupid, to anyone else or herself.

When she gets in her “puppy zone” her curiosity and excitment gets the better of her, and I can call her to my heart’s content and she hears nothing. The only thing that works is for me to turn, walk away and call her away from whatever is attracting her attention. This of course doesn’t look very good to others, as it looks as though I’m ignoring the situation. And actually I am, in a way. All I can do is diffuse the situation by demonstrating how this person/thing is of no interest, and she’d better stick with me. If head in her direction, then that eggs her on more, as she takes that as me joining in the frenzy, and she gets closer still to her target.

So to recall class we go. If history has anything to say on it, I know she will have a blast. She loves going to school. This is a new school for her, the Oakland Dog Training Club. They also offer agility, rally, utility and tracking. I’m hopeful that I will like this place as much as Berkeley Humane.


And a little bit o’ knitting.. February 21, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 9:02 pm

My next venture into TV land is confirmed, with another taping of Shay Pendray’s Needle Arts Studio scheduled for the end of April. In addition to the projects that I present, I have always tried to wear something that I’ve made. For the Knitty Gritty episode that just aired I had made a lovely top out of Cascade’s Cloud 9, a super soft angora mix.

KnittyGrittyThe top is nice, and looks fine in this photo of Vickie and me taken at the taping, but it was not so kind to me on TV. It was really a 3 strikes issue, and nothing wrong with the top itself. #1, TV really does add 10 lbs, then #2, you factor in the microphone box tucked into the small of your back, pulling the top out of place, and then well, #3, the top is fuzzy..

That was taped a year and a half ago, before I got the dog and lost a bunch of weight from all the extended dog walks (14 lbs or so, give or take). The weight reduction came with absolutely no dieting, I still eat what I want, whenever I want and I’m keeping the weight off. (I feel I should add, the initial weight gain came from going from being a triathlon nut to someone who could barely walk – I injured my back in a skiing tumble, so limiting all motion and eliminating exercise from my world – somehow that didn’t stop me from eating though!).. anyway.. I digress. Now when I wear that top, it fits me the way I intended and is really quite decent looking.

Lattice TopSo, this leads me to my newest project. I’m working on what I’m hoping will become a nice lattice cable top to wear on Shay’s show. I like what I’ve done so far. My thought is to make a deep V-neck top, close fitting, long sleeved, with an elegant cable design. I’m working in the round for now; when I get to the neck I will work back and forth on the circular needle, and when I reach the armholes I will then work the front and back separately. I decided to go for working in the round as I think the stitches will be smoother and it saves me from unneeded seaming later on. I may even work the sleeves down from the body of the sweater to the cuff, starting with picking up the sts. around the armhole edge of the body. What’s also been interesting for me is because of the extended amount of cabling required for each round, I’m working without a cable needle. I will explain a bit more of this in a knitting tip, which I need to get back to doing. I have a list of knitting tips that I want to do, and only now am I seeing the light at the end of the tunnel regarding my crazy work schedule.

Of course, this new project is alongside the gloves with the goat locks trim and the poinsettia scarf also on the needles. I did just finish the redo of the new Mosaic hat, so that’s one less project to deal with.

Just a little bit o’ knittin’


In Sickness and In Health

Filed under: cats and dogs,Chesapeake Bay Retriever — knitwhits @ 8:14 pm

MedsI’m beginnning to feel as though I run an infirmary.

Freia’s ear infection cleared up, but then she got some horrendous tummy bug yesterday and spent the next 12 hours eating grass, then throwing it up, or .. worse. Her tummy was so gurgly that I could hear it across the room as I worked. I originally had plans to meet my mum, but Freia’s bug came on full force on our afternoon walk, so I called my mum to cancel our vague dinner plans. Later, just as I would think Freia was better, I’d reach for the phone to re-arrange to meet Mum for dinner, then the dog’s tummy would gurgle ominously, forcing me to hang up before I’d even dialed the phone number.

3am was the last bathroom call for the dog. You know it’s love, when you resign yourself to walking around the block waiting for your dog to do its business at 3 in the morning, in your pyjamas, in the dark, in the city. Fortunately she was then fine. She has slept for most of the day today and ate a light B’fast and dinner and is keeping it all down. No more gurgling.

NoseThen there’s the cats.

Sable is apparently my other problem child. According to the blood tests I couldn’t have been more wrong in my judgement of their health issues. Kidneys and thyroid appear to be pretty good in both cats (for their age). However.. Sable appears to have a tumor in her liver (or possbily her bile duct). The vet is quite concerned and has suggested a few next steps, namely an ultrasound to get a better idea of what’s going on, and then either an aspiration, or a biopsy of the affected area. Her white blood cell count is not particularly high, which says that her high liver enzyme readings are unlikely to be coming from an infection, and pretty much confirming the tumor theory. So the question would be if it’s benign or not. I really don’t want to go down the path of major surgery to try and remove the tumor, it just seems like at her age it would be hard on her. All I can really go on is her mood, which is pretty good, her activity level, which is unchanged and her appetite, and she’s eating fine, so it’s all a tough call.

And then there’s Sam. Ironically, he has the blood readings of a kitten. The perfect candidate for the major dental surgery that he most likely needs, but he should pull through just fine, and have a few more years to continue being tortured by the dog.


The cat thinks he must be a god because we give them food, pets and shelter,

the dog thinks we must be gods because we give them food, pets and shelter.


Not all design is created equal February 17, 2007

Filed under: Crochet,Knitting — knitwhits @ 1:33 pm

I want to design like this:

and live here:


The Zoo that I call Home February 14, 2007

Filed under: cats and dogs — knitwhits @ 10:55 pm

Sam 1Took all the creatures to the vet today. Sam had a claw that was growing too long and curling around to his foot pad. I tried to cut it back the other night, but he peed on me, and the claw remained uncut. Fortunately, when he peed I had him tightly bundled in a blanket, so I personally did not get peed on, just the blanket. I didn’t get mad at him, I just felt sorry for him, poor guy. Since he’s “of a certain age” (16 years) he’s falling a little behind in his personal upkeep and is not sharpening his claws like he used to, so they risk becoming ingrown.

Sam 2Since I got the dog, and now have a new vet for her, I figured I’d start the cats at the new vet too. I really much prefer this vet over the last one that I used for the cats before. Here they are friendly, caring and personable, as well as professional and communicative. Plus they aren’t exhorbitantly expensive, even though I have managed to spend a small fortune there over the course of the last year.

SableSo, new vet, new diagnoses for both cats. The previous vet had decided the two cats had kitty herpes, with Sable showing symptoms in her eyes (goopy) and Sam in his sinuses (stuffy nose/sneezing). They prescribed Lysine. I wasn’t thrilled with the diagnoses but tried the Lysine anyway, which had no effect. The new vet took one look at Sable, cleaned her eyes and showed me that she has entropia (inwardly folding eyelids). Now this makes some sense. And.. it can be corrected with surgery. Looks like my old lady is in for an eyelift! She doesn’t have a huge number of years left in her, but if this would make her more comfortable, then I’m for it. Oh, she also has a heart murmur (a 3 on a scale of 1-6) and arrythmia. Poor gal.

Sam 3As for Sam, he needs dental work, which is what is causing the sinus trouble (and probably contributing to his kidney issues too). Now that will be expensive as they will probably end up having to extract four canines (the big teeth).. last but not least, the vet said that Sam also has cataracts, and I told the vet that I believe he’s also becoming deaf. Sable gets an eyelift and Sam gets his teeth pulled.. not very fair.

And Freia? Well, she has an ear infection. This is because she is addicted to swimming, and runs from one dirty puddle to the next at the park. It’s also because her regular bacteria which help prevent these sorts of things is suppressed as she’s on this long term therapy for the mystery disapperaring bladder infection.

Sam 4Tomorrow I get the results of the kitties blood tests which will probably tell me that they are both suffering from kidney failure and thyroid issues, both fairly typical for old age cats. Then starts the debate of how much time/money does one spend to keep them going? And to who’s benefit is it to do that?

Like most pet owners, I really would like them to die peacefully at home in their sleep.

I can tell you one thing, after having these two around for 14 years, I’m going to miss them when they are gone, and even though Freia’s only known them for these first few months of her life, I know she will miss them too.