March - April 2006


March is here already! So further down in this issue, in the Just for Fun section, is my seasonal contribution which I hope will especialy interest you knitters who love to do Aran Isle patterns. Now you can learn the meaning behind each one of those fancy stitches and cables knitted into those beautiful sweaters.

I want to thank Jackie Taylor for the great photos she has been taking at all our events. They add a lot to our newsletter and show how much fun we have when we get together. The more you contribute to this newletter, the better it gets. Any and all contribtions and suggestions greatfully accepted. Remember, this is YOUR newsletter! So sit back, start reading, and enjoy!

Lesley Fry, Editor




1. Comments From Our President
2. Who’s Who at CNKG
3. News Tidbits
4. Knitting on the Web
5. Knitting Hints and Trivia
6. The Book Nook
7 Just For Fun
8. Knitting For Other
9. Calendar of Events



Dear Fellow CNKG Members and Friends:

We’ve started 2006 with some very good programs. Our thanks to Marsha French who devoted two programs on entrelac. We were able to learn (with some fits and starts) how the basic technique is done and saw several projects that lend themselves to entrelac, a great way to use odds and ends and to feature variegated yarn. It’s a surprise that Marsha wasn’t a teacher professionally because she is an excellent instructor!

Last month we had an outside speaker, Kelli Donley, from Esperanca. She shared her agency’s programs and goals, with lots of interesting stories and information about the orphanage in Mozambique. I’d not thought about public health in such a direct way before and found the evening particularly informative - and uplifting. In typical CNKG style, we sent Kelli away with our thanks and several bags of knitted caps and scarves. She’s collecting for her August trip, so keep knitting and we’ll make arrangements to get items to her.

In March we’re having an altruistic knit together (bring your Linus squares, get more from Lesley Fry, or work on an item for Kelli), hearing selections from our reader Regina Esposito, and having a mini fashion show of some “vintage” hand knitted gowns.

I’ll also officially appoint the Nominating Committee for the ‘06 - 07' fiscal year. It’s not too early to think about what you’d like to do in the guild!

Happy Knitting,




President - Francine Ebersman
Vice President - open office
Secretary - Mary Schirtzinger
Treasurer - Penny Celmins

Standing Committee Chairs
Membership - Jackie Taylor
Altruistic - open office
Newsletter - Lesley Fry
Nominating Committee - ErikaVerley
Immediate Past President - Erika Verley

Ad Hoc Committee Chairs
Holiday Party - Regina Esposito
State Fair - Erika Verley







Marsha helping Susan at an afternoon of knitting at Francine's. Is Regina rewinding after frogging?

Marsha French and I grew up in the same delightful small town in Pennsylvania and while our parents were acquaintances, we never met until knitting brought us together in Arizona.

Tell me about your family and where you live.
I live in Paradise Valley from November to May with my husband and two Border Terriers. We live in Somerset, PA the rest of the year. My parents also live in PV and Somerset. My 37 year old step son (single) visits each year during baseball season (I do remember going to a fall instructional league game with my knitting--no more than 100 people in the stands, and at least 8 of us were knitting! I think all the rest were somehow with the players or coaches!) My 40 year old step son and his wife and 3 kids get out here only occasionally, but we see them frequently in Somerset.

How did you find Cactus Needles Knitting Guild?
I found Cactus Needles from seeing the brochure at Roberta's and then looking you up on the web. I had trouble getting connected at first, then Shanta from Somerset kept telling me to go and meet Jackie Taylor, so......................!

Who taught you to knit?
I was taught to knit by my grandmother, but I don't remember--my mother tells me. I do remember being taught to crochet by my grandfather's housekeeper and that is what I was most comfortable with for many years.

As a new knitter, what was your first knitting experience?
I do not remember my first knitting experience, although I do remember working on an afghan with many yarn overs--I had to rip it out at least 15 times to get it started and it took me 7 years, but I finally finished it.

Why do you knit?
I knit to give my hands something to do while on car trips or watching TV. I've found it helps me sit in one place and concentrate, so I even knit in restaurants. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out patterns and using computer skills to make the patterns easier to follow.

I'm always willing to act as a facilitator to share what I've learned as long as it's interactive with the people I'm "teaching", as that's where I learn a lot! Knitting has also helped me make friends and get involved when we moved from Pittsburgh to Park City, UT and then here to Phoenix. I've enjoyed the types of people I meet and their varied interests. I've also learned about spinning and other fibers through knitting friends.

Who do you knit for?
I knit for everyone in my family--now more vests than sweaters. I enjoy thinking of them as I knit--once I'm finished I turn the project over to them and never worry how they take care of it--I do try to use yarn that will make care easy for them (blends for kids, for example). For me I do vests, socks and shawls. I also help out with any altruistic projects the guilds I'm in do, such as chemo caps in PA and the afghan squares in Phoenix. I do not like afghans as they are too big to hold my attention.

How long have you been knitting?
I've been knitting, except for a 20 year break!, since I was about 10, so that makes 24 years!

How did you learn so much about knitting?
I've learned most of what I know from teachers, especially a good one in Park City, and from my friends in the knitting guilds in Somerset. Magazines and patterns help, but the personal touch has been most important for me.

What fibers do prefer using?
I love wool, do not like cotton, in large part because my gauge is somewhat inconsistent so that shows more in cotton. Wool is much more forgiving. Wool blends are also very good. I enjoy the smaller gauge yarns (needle size less than 10), except for felting items. I find the smaller takes longer but causes much less shoulder/arm/hand strain.

What are you knitting right now?
Right now I have a record low # of projects on the needles: one pair of socks, a mitre square vest, a lace shawl. In the summer I sometimes have 5 - 7 projects going. TV projects are different than restaurant or car projects are different than interesting detail work because of the attention you need to give them or the complexity and amount of yarn to coordinate. I have a terrible time staying interested if there is only 1 project.

What is your most valuable knitting technique?
I do enjoy finishing--I guess sewing in ends and being willing to finish is valuable. I also enjoy working with the lace patterns because they are always different-even though they take me a long time to do.

Have you and do you belong to other knitting guilds?
The other guilds/groups were in Somerset and Park City, UT. The most important thing I've gotten from each group is a strong core of people always willing to help anyone who asks. I've always felt welcome to ask questions, and in my opinion that is a very big bonding experience.

The Somerset guild has a very active knit together every week program that I really enjoy and that is the basis of most of the learning. It usually only has 7 - 8 people or less, so it is a manageable group for most everyone's home. Same time, same day, different house every week for 3 1/2 hours. You need a couple of people always willing to fill in for schedule changes, or this would be very difficult to do. The Park City group was a real mix of fiber interests--spinning, felting, needle felting, people who raised alpacas, knitters. It was very interesting to me to learn about so many things. Each of the groups tries to have a once a month program, but when there's no program, everyone still seems very happy.

The Somerset group is starting an every other year program with an outside instructor or just guild members teaching. They go off site and spend a Saturday night together. Somerset also does altruistic projects, Park City was a new group and hadn't gotten to that.

In addition to knitting, Marsha does agility training with her dogs. While in PA she likes to garden and does lots of weeding in her husband's day lily beds. We all know Marsha as a great knitter, a wonderful knitting teacher and friend of Cactus Needles Knitting Guild. We are glad she found us!- It may be a SMALL world, but it is amazing how it is filled with BIG hearted people like Marsha French.


Submitted by Jackie Taylor







Judie Agee sent instructions for knitting sweaters for penguins. Yes, this is true! There was a need for donated penguin swetaers but the response was overwhelming . Oil clogs the feathers of the tiny seagoing Tasmanian Fairy Penguins and reduces their insulating and waterproofing qualities. Even worse, the penguins attempt to clean themselves by preening, and rapidly become poisoned Over 15,000 jumpers were collected, which will be stored in Oil Spill Response Kits around Tasmania. In the case of a major oil spill, these jumpers will be used to help rehabilitate little penguins (Eudyptula minor) that have been oil affected.




Mary Lu Metz, Darlene Ong and Lesley Fry attended the Philosophers Wool http://www.philosopherswool.com/ class on Knitting Two Colors with Two Hands hosted by the Old Pueblo Knitters Guild at the Tanque Verde (dude) Ranch. About 35 knitters attended and we all learned this technique from Ann, listened to Eugene's tales of the how and why he started raising sheep, and had a fabulous buffet lunch. Just looking at the vast array of deserts was worth the trip! Of course we had to make two yarn shop inspections while we were in Tucson.. No flat tires on this trip, but we did learn more about the town of Eloy than we had planned. It seems that not all rest stops on the I-10 have a way back onto the I-10.

There's a new yarn store in Tucson, Kiwi Knitting Company at 2540 E. 6th St. http://kiwiknitting.com/ Lynn Davis is the owner and she has classes and a Knit Klub. We didin't get there but plan to the next time we are in Tucson. And for those of you who visit Purls when down that way, they still have a store at 7862 N.Oracle but the other one on Speedway has moved to 7531 E Broadway.




photos by Jackie Taylor






Darlene's crocheted blanket won second prize at the latest Project Linus Blanket Bee. The theme was "dogs" and Darlene's daughters contributed the design elements which Darlene combined to make this prize winner! Congratulations, Darlene!




adapted from report by Lauren Collins

To the well-worn list of the comparative advantages of suburban life, the inhabitants of Westchester County, NY, have recently added another - better knitting. For this civic coup they can thank Kevin Lundeen and Elise Goldschlag, who are the proprietors of Flying Fingers, a yarn store. Since the couple opened up shop a year and a half ago, their voluminous inventory has attracted customers from as far away as Canada, Ireland, and Alaska. But persuading New York knitters to make the forty-five-minute trip up the Hudson has been a harder sell. And so, to render the reverse commute sufficiently enticing, Lundeen and Goldschlag, his wife, conceived of the Yarn Bus, offering free shuttle service between Irvington and Manhattan.

The Yarn Bus is a fifteen-passenger van topped with three enormous balls of yarn and a pair of knitting needles the size of 9-irons. To build it, Lundeen and Goldschlag enlisted Prototype Source, a California company that is one of the nation’s leading makers of promotional vehicles, having produced such industry icons as the Hershey Kissmobile and the latest Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. To fabricate the giant yarn balls, the designers considered marine rope (too heavy) and real yarn (prone to rot) before settling on lengths of thin plastic tubing, coated with fibreglass to evoke a fittingly woolly look. The bus cost seventy-five thousand dollars. It took six people six weeks to complete, and after being driven cross-country by a pair of college students it arrived in Irvington last month. Liz Bracken, who moved to Westchester from Atlanta several years ago and works at Flying Fingers part time, signed on to drive the bus. A retired nurse, Bracken was selected on the basis of her even demeanor and her chauffeuring résumé, which, though limited to driving her daughter’s Girl Scout troop on a field trip, was still more impressive than anyone else’s.

On a recent Saturday, Bracken, who was wearing a periwinkle purled scarf, along with a turtleneck and pearl studs, picked up Brian Blaho and Bevin Bermingham at Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street.

“We’re thinking of making Flying Fingers our L.Y.S.”—local yarn supplier—said Blaho, who is a legal librarian and has a penchant, common among practitioners of the fibre arts, for speaking in acronyms.

At a stoplight, Bracken passed back a basket of yarn and two pairs of size-13 purple needles, on the house.

“Brian, I may be able to create something magical by the time we get to Flying Fingers,” Bermingham said. She started in on a grape-colored hank.

A few minutes later, Bracken stopped in front of Flying Fingers, where she would wait for an hour and fifteen minutes before setting out on a second round.

“I didn’t really think I’d be driving a Yarn Bus and working ten-hour days,” she admitted on the way back to the city. This time, her passengers upriver included three officemates from Rockefeller University, one of whom was taking some time off from needlepoint. As Bracken prepared to pull away from Bloomingdale’s, her first stop, she squinted into the rearview mirror and asked, in a cheerful voice, “Can you look and make sure my needles aren’t caught in that tree?”




Didyou enter the Yarn Harlot's Olympic Knitting Games? Hands sore? Here's a page of hand excercises for the serious knitter

Make your own graph paper for the gauge you need. Free.

"I wish someone had told me" has scads of knitting help ideas.

Here are a lot of good hints to help with that felting project.

A cupcake hat is tops for that little sweetie pie. Free recipe here.


shared by Judie Agee

There is a web ring of free patterns and here is the list of member sites. On the main page of any one of them you can click to go to the next or choose to do it randomly.

Free baby patterns galore.

Hundreds of knittitng inks on one page.

Teddy Bear Sweater pattern generator
You plug in your needs, such as arms in front or on the side, style and gauge. Then then let the generator do the rest. If you toggle over to her home page, she has other generators.

This is a Korean site but this page has photos of knit cable patterns and their charts. You don’t have to be able to read Koren to use this page - just how to read charts.

Here is a very handy chart with the new yarn standards. It shows the symbol, type of yarns in that category, stitches per inch and recommended needle size or hook. I printed mine out to keep handy with my yarn and pattern books. What is does not have and I will add to mine is rows per inch,

Here is a web site with just scads of free patterns for stuffed toys including lots of animals! Thats’ the good part. The bad part is that most are crocheted which a lot of us don’t know how to do. Guess that's another subject for a guild program.


shared by Maggie Kiehl




To avoid puckering when picking up stitches for a button band, pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows in worsted weight and 5 for ever 6 rows in sport weight or along the neckline on a V neck sweater.

To eliminate tangles in Fair Isle knitting, using either circular or double pointed needles, work across the row, knitting every stitch that should be color A and slipping as if to purl every stitch that should be color B. At the end of the row, DO NOT TURN, but slip the stitches back to the other end of the DP needle, pick up color B and work every stitch that should be color B, slipping the stitches that were previously worked with A. Turn and work the same way on the purl side. With circular needles, knit one round with A, then one with B to complete a single row.

What if you have varying batch numbers? Sometimes you can't avoid working balls with different batch numbers in one garment. However, if you follow these tips, this will not necessary mean that your knitted garment will have noticeable differences in colour: First, sort all the balls according to batch numbers so you can steer how the various tones are used. If you knit the ribs and cuffs with one and the basic pattern with another batch number, the difference in shade will hardly be seen. This is also the case if the entire front is knitted with one and the back with another batch number. Even if you've almost finished your garment before you notice that there won't be enough yarn, there is a trick to avoid visible colour variations: over 12 rows, alternate every two rows between the old and the new batch. The colour variations are then mingled and can hardly be seen.

When you receive a new knitting magazine, tape a piece of paper to the front cover, and as you find things you want to make, write the item and page number on that piece of paper. When you decide to make something a year later, you will have an easier time finding the issue that has the pattern you want.

Don’t be afraid to mix several multicolor yarns in stripes or color-blocking. It’s easiest if you find a central color theme throughout. For example, find one pink or blue shade featured in each different multicolor used.

Mix tonal shades of different textured yarns for an interesting effect. You can combine a matte, a shiny, a boucle in slightly different colors in simple stripes.

If you happen to acquire yarn from someone that smells of cigarette smoke, one way to remove the offending odor is to take a handful of aquarium charcoal (or briquettes) and put it in a little fabric bag. Then put that bag and the yarn in a Ziploc and seal it up. The charcoal absorbs odor. See how the yarn smells after a couple of days, and put it back if it's not ready. One more idea for getting rid of the smoke smell in yarn (or anything): spritz it with a little white vinegar. Don't worry -- the vinegar smell itself will disperse too, and you ought to come out with fresh, clean-smelling yarn. You might also try an opened box of baking soda in a closed contained with the yarn. If it works in the refirgueration, it should also work for yarn.




by Marianne Isager
144 pages
Interweave Press
$24.95 list price

Beutiful and historic African carpets, baskets, and other textiles provide the design inspiration for these 16 sumptuous and sophisticated knitted cardigans, pullovers, and sweater vests. Intended for seasoned knitters, these projects use domino, double knitting, entrelac, intarsia, and stranded two-color techniques worked in fingering-weight yarns. Now is the time to put your guild's intarsia lessons to use! Coming in January 2006



To be released March 28, 2006
Mason-Dixon Knitting : The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures
by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne
List Price: $29.95

Featuring: Technical hints; Great (knitted) things you will do; How to cope with disaster; Must-knit tv; Mistakes you will definitely make; Knitting for the common good; Knitting something that looks like something else

Mason-Dixon Knitting is a collection of unbelievable patterns, a how-to manual, and a crazy quilt of hilarious narrative, all in one. In this book, Kay and Ann chitchat their way through a series of more than thirty incredible patterns. Drawing creative inspiration from their surroundings, they present colorful blankets, sassy nightgowns, a delicate curtain, and much more to reveal that knitting can weave its way into just about every aspect of life. Most of these projects are the epitome of ease, but you can make them as simple or complicated as you prefer.





For March, the month when we celebrate all things Irish, let’s examine the Irish gansey, the Celtic fisherman’s sweater, and their myriad designs. Just what do these intricate patterns signify?

CABLES - the cables ropes hold the fisherman’s small boats safely against the sea; a wish for prosperity, safety and good luck.

TRELLIS - the rough stone walls that climb the coast; the pattern in the fishermen’s nets.

DIAMONDS - success, wealth and good fortune to the wearer.

LINKS - the unbreakable chain of family ties and memories of the villager’s home and history.

INTERLOCKING MAZE - many kinfolk, many marriages, many villages

TREE OF LIFE - strong children and family unity; a fertility symbol

ZIG ZAG - the winding cliff paths along the rocky shores

DOUBLE ZIG ZAG - “Marriage lines”; represents two people traveling life’s ups and downs together

LADDER - climbing the ladder of life, overcoming difficulties

BLARNEY KISS - the gift of a persuasive tongue (can anyone identify this stitch for us?)

TRINITY or BLACKBERRY - the Holy Trinity; emblem of God-given life and being

HONEYCOMB - busy activity, hard work,; recalls the honey earned by the hard working bee.

IRISH MOSS - gratitude for the gifts of the sea; edible seaweed harvested at low tide was an important source of nourishment.

BASKET - depicts the fisherman’s basket, embodies the hope of an abundant catch.

Start a beautiful Aran handknit today and help to continue the centuries-old tradition.



According to the Dec 13 issue of Woman's World:Knitting is one of 13 activities shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia by as much as 38%, the journal Neurology reports. But what about the craziness involved in stash enhancement? Have they ever seen our battles over yarn at the holiday party? Guess that’s not considered dementia.




Very Strange But True Department




Now for the silly stuff! Because you all enjoyed last issue’s knitted wedding so much, here are some more treats for you



Shared by Harriet Trobman





Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E.) provides clothing, medicine, and educational support to residents of developing countries impacted by poverty, political instability, and natural disaster. F.I.R.E.’s personal delivery of clothing and supplies insures that donations reach only individuals and organizations with the greatest need.

F.I.R.E. is a northern Arizona non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to building bridges of cross-cultural communication. A grassroots organization, without political or religious affiliation, F.I.R.E.'s mission is to provide assistance to the neglected populations of the world, in areas with few relief agencies limited media attention, and remote locations.

Through their Mongolia Project, Flagstaff-based volunteers collect, pack, and ship donations, traveling to Mongolia to personally distribute clothing to individuals and relief organizations. The direct contact between U.S. volunteers and Mongolians builds bridges of cross-cultural understanding.

Look through their web site to learn more about F.I.R.E., how to contribute goods or offer donations, and read about past trips to deliver supplies. The Dulaan [knitting]Project (on this same web site) has patterns for knitting children's clothing.






Check your e-mail for updates throughout the month from Jackie.

3/6 -Monday
Cactus Needles Knitting Guild Monthly Meeting
6:30 - 8:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 PM at la Madeleine's near 32nd Street on the north side of Camelback Rd.

Program - Altruistic Month at Cactus Needles Knitting Guild. Come prepared to work on a project for your favorite charity. How about a scarf or cap for Kelli Donley whom we met in February? Or a square for Project Linus? Lesley will have yarn and instructions to distribute.

3/7 - Tuesday
Knit Together
5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Needlers' Nest
12133 W. Bell Rd. #102
Surprise, AZ 85374
623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.

3/18 - Saturday
Westminster Village
1-3 PM
101 and Cactus in Scottsdale

Lunch for Hungry Knitters at Mimi's on Shea at 11:30 A.M. - RSVP to Jackie by Friday

3/20 - Monday
Knitters Knit Night
5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Fashion Square Food Court.
Camelback and Scottsdale Rds.
Center area of Food Court near la Madeleine's
Check with Jackie.

3/21 - Tuesday
Knit Together
5:30-8:30 P.M.
Needlers' Nest
12133 W Bell Rd. #102
Surprise, Az 85374
Check with Maggie Kiehl.

3/23 - Thursday
Night out with Bev
6 - 9 P.M.
The Fiber Factory
150 West Main, Mesa
Knit with Bev - Social Knitting, Idea Exchange, Show & Tell, Help from Bev.
Special discount for those in attendance.

3/24 - Friday
Field Trip to The Fiber Factory in Mesa
Bus leaves Westminster Village at 11:15 a.m.
Bus returns by 3:15 p.m.
Cost - $12.50 per person for transportation
We will eat lunch in Mesa
A time to join our Happy Hooker friends. Knit all the way there and all the way home. Leave the driving to someone else!

3/27 - Monday
Knit Together
6:00 P.M.
It's A Grind Coffee House
Albertson's Shopping Center
43rd Ave and Bell
Check with Regina Esposito.


4/3 - Monday
Cactus Needles Knitting Guild Monthly Meeting
6:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 PM at la Madeleine's near 32nd Street on the north side of Camelback Rd.

Program by Jo-Ann Mullen: KNITTING WITH FABRIC

4/4 - Tuesday
Knit Together
5:30-8:30 P.M.
Needlers' Nest
12133 W. Bell Rd #102
Surprise, AZ 85374
623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl

4/11 - Tuesday
Night out with Bev
6.- 9 P.M.
The Fiber Factory
150 West Main, Mesa
Knit with Bev - Social Knitting, Idea Exchange, Show & Tell, Help from Bev.
Special discount for those in attendance.

4/15 - Saturday
Westminster Village
1-3 PM
101 and Cactus in Scottsdale

Lunch for Hungry Knitters at Miimi's on Shea, 11:30 AM please RSVP to Jackie by Friday

4/17 - Monday
Knitters Knit Night
Fashion Square Food Court
Camelback and Scottsdale Rds.
5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Center area of Food Court near la Madeleine's
Check with Jackie

4/18 - Tuesday
Knit Together
5:30-8:30 pm
Needlers' Nest
12133 W. Bell Rd #102
Surprise, AZ 85374
623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl

4/24 - Monday, Knit Together
Knit Together
It's A Grind Coffee House
6:00 P.M.
Albertson's Shopping Center
43rd Ave and Bell
Check with Regina Esposito.





4/8 - Saturday

Blanket Bee for Project Linus

9 A.M.. - 4 P.M.

Fountain Hill Community Center

13001 N. La Montana Dr., Fountain Hills

Contact - Judie Agee

Knitting for the Needy
Meeting Dates - 1st Monday of the month and 3rd Wednesday of the month.
1 -3 P.M.
Location - Scottsdale Senior Center
10440 East Via Linda
Knitting for the Needy knits slippers and caps for the homeless in the Phoenix area.

Meetup Knitting Group
Meeting Dates - 1st and 3rd Sundayof the month
2 p.m.
Location: Borders Books, 699 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe
Park below in parking garage.
Free parking on Sunday.
Knitting group meets near Cafe Espress in the store.

Knitters of all persuasions and skill levels get together to gab, compare projects and swap patterns.

Stitch n' Bitch
Meeting Dates - Monday, March 13 and Monday, April 10 (But not always on a Monday)
Location - Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr
Tempe, AZ 85283



I'm looking for a pattern for a man.
And when you find it - will you share? That way we can all make the men of our dreams!