I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ok I'll admit I have been kind of busy spending time on ravelry.

I started a group called Stash Knit Down 2008 and got over 350 members in 2 days. Wow.
I finally decided that I need to knit down the stash a bit. I have never liked any kind of yarn diets, and especially couldn't quite warm up to them when I was a yarn shop owner. Plus, I know myself. I just cannot commit to not buying any more yarn for a year, let's say. I just think that's cruel.
But ever since I learned how to spin and fell madly in love with it, I realized that I was beginning to become seriously unfaithful to the stash. Need. To remember. The yarn. In all those bins.
Turns out there are at least 350 other people who are willing to knit (or crochet) down the stash. I have a feeling that number is going to climb a bit yet.
If you are on ravelry, come visit.
My username is KarinMT. If you put a search in for my full name, Karin Maag-Tanchak, my patterns come up.
I am having way too much fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

new kid on the block

Yesterday, we received news that our friend Olga was in the hospital, in labor, and the baby on the way any minute! Two weeks early! (He was born at 1:15 am this morning, that's all we know right now.)

So of course I had to make some booties. (It's not like I haven't known for several months that this baby was coming. Nothing like last minute knitting.) This is from Fiber Trends pattern # CH-36. I used Dalegarn "Falk" and size 4 needles. They took me about 30 minutes each to make. The mom is a fine knitter, crocheter, and cross stitcher, so I know these will be in good hands.
Gotta run!

ta da!

Yesterday I ran up to Border's for the fourth time to see if this knitting magazine was finally on the stands. Not that I've ever bought one of those before. I'll admit to you that it usually does not appeal to me all that much. Something about the lay-out, the glossy pages...can't quite put my finger on it...the articles are first rate, though.


It was time to buy it this time.

My design is in it!

If you click here, you can see it as one of four featured designs. They are calling it "Winter Berry".

I had been commissioned by Decadent Fibers to come up with a design for their yarn, they submitted the design to the magazine, and they in turn ended up liking it too. It is really something else to see one's own design, and the sweater that I knitted, on a pretty model in a shiny magazine. Not sure I can wrap my mind around that yet.

So there you have it. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

decisions needed to be made

Remember the pink mittens? (see post entitled "pieces (1))
In a small series of momentous decisions, I came to the conclusion that they were some of the saddest, most ill-fitting mittens ever to have come off my needles...so I unraveled them yesterday. See the two balls of yarn in this picture.
The hat, however, part of the set, came out rather nicely.

Crafty Girl is modeling here, but the hat is for my niece. (OK. Niece's mom? If you're reading? Please don't tell...)
The yarn is Manos del Uruguay. Needle size 8. No Official Pattern.

As to the series of decisions I had to make, revealing Christmas knitting was one of them. I had to or else there would be precious little to talk about these days.

This next project is a much bigger one, and I meant to never talk about it until the day came that it wouldn't make any difference.
Here, I have to ask my sister Doris to keep the secret, as she is the family member in Germany who reads this blog.
But. I need to talk about this. It is a pretty big undertaking for me, the kind of thing where you need your fellow knitters' support, where you need to tell someone who will understand what you are doing.
So here goes.

This is yarn I am spinning (I am almost done spinning the 1 1/2 pounds) from Romney roving I obtained at the NYS Sheep and Wool Fest this year. It is wonderfully soft and almost spins itself.
Almost. So far I've put in about 10 hours altogether. Yesterday, I plied some of it.

Again, I am quite pleased with the results.
Next, I would have to swatch.
Is your curiosity piqued yet?
This yarn is for a special sweater I am making for my dad.
We are going to Germany for Christmas this year, the first time since 1993 (other years we went during the summer). Also, it is my dad's 70th birthday on December 30th. This handspun, handknit sweater will be his present from me.
I hope I'll make it.
But now that I've told you, there is some hope that I will stick to my plan because you all are keeping tabs on me.
Or, you may just call me crazy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It is my most favorite holiday. This probably has something to do with the way we spend it: with friends, not family. We drive exactly one hour north, to Bennington, VT. We don't have to sit in airports or on the Thruway. We cook what we like, we each contribute about half to the meal. Each family has two kids, a boy and a girl (theirs are 2 years older than ours), who have known each other since they were babies. We play cardgames and boardgames and watch movies, the kids walk the dog, the men talk sports and the women talk knitting, and we all talk about life and what was and what might be.

I hope you all have a wonderful time, I hope you enjoy your meal and the people you're with. Come back safe from your travels.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Solstice Sock Pattern

Solstice Socks
By Karin Maag-Tanchak

I abhor holiday-specific clothing, but wanted something that pays tribute to the season. Hence, Solstice Socks.

I made two different socks, one Sun Sock, and one Moon Sock, which depicts the phases of the moon. You can choose to make two different socks, or two of the same. If you keep the cuff short (5 inches/12.5cm), there is enough yarn to make 2 pairs of socks, and you can mix and match.

In keeping with the theme, I chose a variation on the Star Toe, which I first discovered in Nancy Bush’s book Folk Socks.

All photographs by Karin Maag-Tanchak; model: Annemarie Maag-Tanchak (age 10); miniature Stonehenge built by John Maag-Tanchak and Sophie Patka.

Women’s medium.

Cuff: 8 inches/20cm around.
Foot length determined by you.

[MC] Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Socks that Rock” lightweight [100% superwash merino; 360 yds per 4.5 oz skein]; color: In the Navy; 1 skein
[CC] Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Socks that Rock” lightweight (100% super wash merino;
360 yds per 4.5 oz skein]; color: 24 Karat; 1 skein

1 set US 2/2.75mm double-point needles
1 set US 1/ 2.25 mm double-point needles

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

32 sts/40 rows = 4 inches/10cm in stockinette stitch

- To maintain gauge, I used the smaller size dpns for the plain stockinette parts of the sock.
- Twisted Rib: *k1tbl, p 1*, repeat to end of round.
- Color stranding is used for all charts
- Small Suns and Moon Phases charts each depict half the number of total sts and must be worked twice for each round.
- The basic sock pattern is the same for both socks.
- MC is different for each sock: In the Navy for Sun Sock, 24 Karat for Moon Sock, which means that the CC is the opposite.

With MC, and size 2 needles, CO 60 sts. Distribute sts evenly onto 4 dpns. Work Twisted Rib for 10 rounds. Work st st for 2 rounds.
Work Small Suns[Moon Phases] chart. Cut CC and work st st in MC until piece measures 5 inches/10cm or desired length from beginning.

Heel Flap
With same needle, work across 15 sts. 30 sts on needle. Turn, leaving 30 instep sts on 2 needles.
Next row: sl1, purl to end.
Begin heel flap pattern:
Row 1: *sl1, k* repeat to end.
Row 2: sl1, p to end.
Repeat these two rows until 30 rows have been worked.

Heel Turn:
(RS) Knit 17, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p 5, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl1, k 6, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p 7, p2tog., p1, turn.
Sl1, k 8, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p 9, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl1, k10, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p11, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl1, k12, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p13, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl1, k14, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, p15, p2tog, p1, turn.
18 sts rem.

Work across 9 sts. Using another needle, work across remaining 9 sts. Using the same needle, pick up and k 15 sts along heel flap. Work across instep st. Pick up and k 15 sts along heel flap, work to end of round.
Rounds begin at center of heel. Needle 1: 24 sts; needles 2 and 3: 15 each; needle 4: 24 sts.

Round 1: needle 1: work to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Needle 2 and 3: k. Needle 4: k1, ssk, k to end.
Round 2: k.
Repeat these 2 rounds until 60 sts remain (15 sts on ea needle.)

Work st st until foot measures 2 inches/5cm less than desired length.

Round 1: On each of the four needles, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Round 2: k.
Work these two rounds until 36 sts remain. Work Round 1 only until 8 sts remain. Break yarn. Using a blunt-tipped needle, run the yarn through the 8 stitches and pull tight.

Weave in ends on wrong side, and block.

Chart notes:
(not included in my original submission; I have since reformatted the chart; I was working with Stitch and Motif Maker had to save the chart as a jpeg, and this is what you get....)
Suns and moons are separate charts, really...I think you can tell from the socks.
Obviously, the "row 11" on the chart is not row 11. It is row 1 for the moon phases.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
The Star Toe tends to be a little bigger/boxier than the wedge toe, for example. Feel free to use your own favorite toe construction!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Solstice Socks

Dear esteemed reader,
here is a glimpse of the Solstice Socks which I had submitted to knitty magazine on September 15th. I got my rejection letter today.
To boot, blogger is not letting me upload all the pictures I want to show you.
The gold sock has a band of the phases of the moon around the top, the other one shows a band of suns.

I have to go get my daughter from school right now (she's my model in the pictures), and then I will try to get through the rest of my day and weekend without falling apart too much. Boohoo!
I have another very busy weekend coming up, tomorrow I'll be dyeing more silk scarves, Sunday is the Open House.
But please if you are interested in the pattern, email me at:
and I will email it to you.
Most likely I will start emailing on Monday.
If you want to get a headstart on your yarn shopping for these, they are made from Socks That Rock lightweight, "In the Navy" and "24 Karat". Size 1 and 2 needles.
You will get two pairs of socks out of that quantity, either matching or mixed like I did.

Much Love,
and I'll see you soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

you are invited

A strange thing happened on the way to blogging, put I am going to leave well enough alone with these pictures.
You are cordially invited to come to a Holiday Open House and Handcraft Sale this Sunday,
November 18th from 11 am to 2 pm
29 Burhans Place, Delmar, NY.
My friend Ricky is once again hosting this annual event, a tradition which I started about 10 years ago. She will have her sterling silver and gemstone jewelry.
Margaret Weinland will have photographic and watercolor cards and matted prints;
Lisa Ruud, pottery.
My Crafty Girl has been busy making doll purses from felt and embroidery floss.
We will have treats and coffee, and apple cider, of course.
There will also be 2 representatives from Mary Kay and Madison Handbags.
I will bring the silk scarves, some of my handdyed yarn, and a few hats I made.
Please come! It will be nice to see you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

goings on

While I was busy doing this yesterday,
(dyeing silk scarves for upcoming events)

Dear Husband and Crafty Girl (age 10.5) were out in the yard putting in tulip bulbs. I hear, "Mom! Can you come out and take some pictures?" I was in the dye bath right at the moment and handed her the camera. This is what I found:

Took her all of about 5 minutes, too.
Must be something in the air, because Tall Son is in the season's first concert of the Empire State Youth Orchestra. I'd brag about him too, but I have yet to figure out how to capture his violin playing here....
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
I will be gone for a couple of days, as I am taking Tall Son and one of his friends on college visits.

Friday, November 9, 2007

pieces (2)

Today I met up with my friend Laura real quick, at Albany's Ultraviolet Cafe. After our talk over tea, I hung back and took a closer look at this exhibit of quilts by Sugi Pickard.

If I counted them right, there are 8 quilts of varying sizes on diplay. All are hung from the same height. I am a fairly short gal, and lacking a stepstool (and also being mindful of patrons present at the cafe) these are the views I was able to get.

I love looking at quilts, and usually make sure I visit large area quilt shows that guilds put on. I am routinely blown away by the selection of fabrics, and the way a quilter is able to visualize panels of printed cloth, cut up and put back together in a certain pattern.

Here are 2 large quilts, each with a close-up; they are finished with unique borders:

Being a handcrafter and fiber artist myself, I wouldn't have minded a small description of each piece, as I am sure there is much to tell about them. Having missed the opening reception the other night, it would have been nice to see a title, or some such ( how many fabrics used? handdyed or commercial fabrics? source of inspiration?) accompanying each quilt.
However I can appreciate the thought, incredible workmanship, and artistry that went into each one of these. Two picture quilts were inaccessible to me and my camera, so you'll have to go take a look for yourself! The show is up until December 2nd, right next door to the Spectrum 8 Theatres, 290 Delaware Ave, Albany NY.
Photos taken by permission of the artist.

pieces (1)

Because some of you have asked, here are the mittens without thumbs. I keep making mitten bodies, with the intent to spend one day adding thumbs.

The one on the far left is from my own handspun yarn. It used to be a rolag from Grafton Fibers, just 4 ounces of fiber, enough for a pair of mittens. Yes I am keeping those.

The other ones will be gifts. The pink ones are made from Manos del Uruguay yarn, the other one is mainly from a handdyed wool I found a leftover of. The stripes are used to augment the yardage of the main color and are Bartlett wool.

It is getting to be the time of year where I make a ton of warm woolen items. Every year I swear I will start sooner, and then I never do. Only the onset of colder weather gets me going!
From now on, I will be posting about some projects that shall remain undesignated, because I worry that the intended recipient might read about his or her gift.
PS: Dina, the answer is YES! I switched computers over the summer, and I have yet to figure out how to transfer my address book from the old computer to this one. New operating system etc.
You can write to me here:
I am so sorry I cannot come see you on Wednesdays anymore because that's one of my days where I work at the Co-op. I miss you all! :(

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Look Ma, no pattern!

This is the cardigan I finished in May, except for the buttons. I just put them on, finally.
I did not use a pattern, but rather used my gauge swatch and my desired size to knit it. I didn't even write it down...but I do remember using

Greenwood Hill Farm Merino, color Pewter (bought at one of the sheep and wool fest a couple of years ago);
I used the 3 strand worsted, and the website tells me that that particular yarn has been replaced with a different ply.
Size 6 and 7 needles.
It's completely seamless, worked in one piece from the bottom up.
The yarn is a treat! So soft...itch free!

Just a straight and boxy everyday kind of cardigan. I picked up for the sleeves at the top and worked them in the round.

I did a 3-needle bind-off at the shoulders.

That's all! I sure am glad it's done.
Well, I supppose I ought to block it, too...but it's so comfy, I don't even want to take it off.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Question

Every once in a while, I get The Question. This time, Tall Son was the one to ask me,
"Um, how many projects to you have going at the same time?"

The very nature of this question tells me that They do not understand. They have no idea how much goes on in this knitter's mind. Yes I have multiple projects going. There is a summer cardigan that got started in fall when the weather was balmy, and I thought I could still use it. After all, I had spent all spring and summer getting winter things ready for other people.

There are two pairs of socks, each of which have one sock completed. Don't ask how, but there they are, two mismatched socks. I have one second sock started.

There are three mittens with no thumbs right now. They'll be quick to do.

There is a cardigan which I finished in May and is still missing buttons. Hey, the weather got warm and I didn't need the cardi, OK?

There's a big cozy turtleneck that's missing half a sleeve.

There's lots of roving which wants spinning. There are swatches for design ideas. Notebooks with said design ideas noted down. Knitting books on every shelf, and knitting magazines everywhere, for I read patterns like trashy novels.

I think my answer to the question is, "You just don't have any idea how very talented I am."

Emma however,

Emma understands. She even guards my yarn for me.