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The Other Side of the Pink Ribbon

At the end of this post, is a photo of my mastectomy scar.

If you don’t want to see it, stop now.

Breast Cancer, it’s more than pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, cute memes “save the tatas,” fun-runs and free screenings.


Invasive Ductal Carcinoma


3 tumors
Stage IIb
Er/Pr +
Her2 –


And Ductal Carcinoma in SITU speckled throughout
the breast over 8 cm.


With a breast cancer diagnosis,
life becomes mammograms, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans,
biopsies, IVs, blood tests, port surgery,




chemo, endless doctor appointments, watching my blood counts,


nausea, fear, worry, fatigue, anger, sadness, depression, medication, anxiety,
insomnia, pain, mouth sores, trouble swallowing, ringing in ears, baldness,
digestion problems, needles, loosing fingernails and toenails, neuropathy,
skin problems, rashes, runny nose,
lose of taste buds, self image, chemo brain, overwhelmed, naps, hot flashes, amputation, drains, scars…
this is what a breast diagnosis brought into my life, and so much more.


It has also brought friendship, vulnerability, surrender,
intimacy, peace, encouragement, prayers,
hope, patience, determination, trust, perseverance,
bell ringing, fierceness,




They aren’t kidding when you take on the label breast cancer survivor.




I have been in a war, a true battle for my body, my emotions, my thoughts. A race to see if the chemo would kill me or the cancer first.


I have faced my mortality, thought about my family without me, my husband without me,
looking now at a life with a constant fear of recurrence.  I will never be back to normal.


I am a warrior! I have the scars to prove it.


The chemo took away all the cancer.
The results after the mastectomy show no cancer in what was removed. No lymph node involvement, clear margins.


What relief, joy, hope, freedom to live again, but still fear. A lot of fear.


Now I get a “fill” every other week. A needle jabbed into just above my scar to fill the expander until it “matches” my other side, then I will have one more surgery to exchange the expander for an implant. The docs recommended no radiation, which I am grateful.


My healing should go much faster without that last treatment. I doubt I will have nipple reconstruction, it doesn’t make sense to build a nipple that will not function as a real nipple and will always be covered with padded bras, because who wants to always have one headlight on! I may consider a nipple tattoo.


But I now look forward to healing and having a fun life again.


I have no idea what this new normal will become, but I’m anxious to get started with it.


If you have read this far, I thank you and plead with you to not put off mammograms, Go!  Get your scans, get your pap done. Do it!


1 in 8 women will get breast cancer this year. 1 in 8.  Do you know 7 other women, of course you do? One of  you will get it.  So catch it early, I pray none of you reading this will have to go thru what I’ve gone thru this year. It’s been the hardest thing in my life.
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JennyKnits on Twitch – Mon-Friday 3-5pm EST

in Videos

We are live when you see this video playing.  You can watch the LIVE knitting Show from here, or you can hop on over to Twitch and join in with the other chatters.

We chat about knitting, life, health, cats and yarn!

Please join us!



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Warm Green Mittens

1937034042_33ae5540a8_oIt’s getting to be that time of year. The air starts to cool, the leaves start to change and you can sometimes catch a whiff of fireplaces being stoked. So finding a project for the winter is great fun.

I love to knit, duh, and I’ve been learning to felt. So the perfect project came along and I could not resist.  Felted Mittens!

I used 100% wool. NOT SUPERWASH. Make sure your yarn is wool and the label should warn you to not wash in hot water.  That is key. Felting is all about the wool and hot water!  So I picked a nice bright green wool and got busy knitting up these great mittens.

Normally I would knit mittens using about a size 8 needle. For this project, I knitted using a size 10.5 needle. You want to use needles that are way bigger than what you are used to for the size of the yarn.  Needless to say the project will be huge when finished, but that is ok, the felting process shrinks quite a bit.  I finished each mitt and then threw them into the washer.  Super hot water and agitation is all it takes to felt wool.  I also have an old pair of blue jeans that I toss into the washer with the mitts that helps to agitate the knitting. When I’m felting, I do not leave the washer.  I do this because walking away and allowing the machine to complete a wash cycle could take the felting too far.  Meaning the garment continues to shrink and shrink and will become unwearable. Sometimes I have even had to go through 2 wash cycles to shrink the felt down far enough.

So I stand next to the washer and pull the knitting out every couple of minutes to check it’s progress. 1936199961_d49f000a46_o When the felting has claimed the yarn and I cannot see the actual stitches anymore, and it’s the size I want, then I pull out the mitts, rinse them in cold water and let the spin cycle take out all the water from the mitts.  I will also wrap the knitting in a huge towel and dry the mitts as much as possible.  Then I leave the mitts to dry for several days.

So if you over felt, you can’t go back and make the piece larger…so watch it as it felts and shrinks, and pull it out of the hot water when it’s time and you should be fine.

Wool mitts are super warm because of the yarn, but add the thickness of the felting process and your hands will NEVER be cold.  I’ve also felted slippers and those will keep your toes nice and warm. So the cold weather is coming, find a project to keep you warm!

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Have you tried the Kitchener Stitch?

Img_1035So I had started my blanket project called Persian Dreams and as I read the instructions I soon discovered that each side of each hexagon are put together using a technique called Kitchener stitch. Also called Grafting. It’s a beautiful way to bring two separate knitted pieces together.  It’s an invisible seam and looks like the two pieces have been knit together. So I decided I better get good fast and perfect my technique.

So this version of Kitchener Stitch is used on stockinette knitting.

Once I got a few sides finished I felt like I finally have this technique down.  I still have a “cheat sheet” handy because it’s so easy to loose your place and it helps to have the safety net to look back at for help. Here is the cheat sheet I use.

cropped-cropped-cropped-IMG_0728-1-1.jpgThere are four steps to go through and repeating these four steps across the row takes each stitch off in the proper orientation and looks beautiful. I made a mental note with myself that when doing this technique, I would not stop mid step.  I will complete all 4 steps before setting down my work.  This has helped keep me on track.  So if I get distracted, the phone rings, whatever, I won’t lay down my project until I have completed step 4.  This will save you a lot of time trying to figure out where you left off.

I put together a video of how I worked this technique.

I also use the Kitchener stitch when i’m making socks and use a special toe called the Fish Lips Kiss heel.  After completing the toe, I’ll use the Kitchener stitch to attach the toe back to the rest of the sock.  You can see the nearly invisible seam in the photo above.

Let me know your thoughts and leave your comments below.

Thanks for watching!


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Sock Making in General

in Socks

Pile of SocksOk, Socks.  You either knit a bunch of them, or you don’t knit any of them.  Up until recently, I only could ever knit ONE of them.  I’ve had a condition for years that prevented me from completing a pair of socks.  Yes I had one-sock-syndrome. I’m sure people have heard about the big black hole that lives in the dryer that sucks up socks that you are washing and drying.  Socks disappear there, never to be seen again.  Now that becomes a problem when you have TWO socks.  My problem has been that I get jazzed to knit socks, I cast on and get busy making a sock.  Oh I love the pattern, the colors, the shape as the heel gets turned, the gusset, the toe, just amazing to watch a sock pop out of your string.  Then the magic ends and the thought of casting on again to knit exactly the same thing, would make me cringe and off I’d go looking for a new project.  Hedgehog

So I loved socks, just never a pair of socks.  Until recently.  I bought some beautiful Hedgehog sock yarn and thought dammit Jim you are a knitter!  So off I went and what-a-you-know, I knit the 2nd sock with ease.  I felt like I had just won a marathon.  I knit two socks, in the same yarn, in the same pattern, one-right-after-the-other!

Then I put down those sock needles and went off to knit other projects and the socks kept kicking around in my head, see what I did there?  No?  LOL?  So I started thinking that I’d Dither Socklike to knit more socks.  So I did.  Then I couldn’t stop!  I’ve knitted Striped socks, Gator Orange and Blue socks, Slipped Stitch Socks, and my current sock project is called Dither.  The pattern can be found on Ravelry of course for free!  I’ve completed the pair, it’s a special order and they turned out beautifully!

And you know what, I just placed a huge order with KnitPicks for more sock yarn!  Oh my!  I’ve knit several pair cuff down and several pair toe up.  I’ve also been introduced to the heel-of-a-life time called Fish Lips Kiss. It is a stunning heel and while using short rows, does Slip Stitchnot show any holes and no stitches are picked up for gussets. There is nothing not to love about this heel pattern and what’s really great is that I also use the heel pattern to make the toe!  So much win.  You can find the pattern for this heel on Ravelry of course and it’s only a $1.  What you get is a huge e-book with how to measure socks in every way imaginable and also this beautiful heel.

IMG_1131There are other ways to overcome the one-sock-syndrome.  Some people learn to knit two at a time socks, which for me was a hassle having 2 socks and 2 balls of yarn hanging around to tangle.  Some people even learn to knit one sock inside the other sock at the same time, yeah one wrong move and you’ve knit them together, not going to happen for me, I know the mess I could make on that one!  Gator Socks

So right now I seem to have overcome my weaknesses and I’m having an absolute ball making socks, TWO of them and I hope you give socks a try again if you suffer with only one sock being finished.  You can do it!

Blue Stripes




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Has a Yarn Ever Matched so Perfectly? Ashes of Al’ar Becomes a Winged Shawl

IMG_1180Ok, true confessions, I play World of Warcraft. I have played this amazing game for more than 12 years. Seriously, saying this out loud makes me cringe a little. Mostly because I’m sort of old and decrepit  experienced in life for being a gamer.  You don’t find many women my age (or even just women for that matter) playing a video game.  But as Ashes of Al'arI’ve enjoyed this game, I have run across places and items that amaze me.  This photo of a phoenix is a mount in the game that you can win and ride and his name is Ashes of Al’Ar.  It’s difficult to get.  The chances of winning this mount is rare. I have seen people riding this mount and someday I hope to find him and make him mine!

So one day I’m minding my own business drooling over yarn researching things on the internet and whammo I see this yarn and it knocked me back in my chair.  I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough! Take my money. I had to have this yarn and make something amazing.

Ashes of Al'ar ballThe yarn is from a line called Molly Girl Bass Line.  The colorway is called Barbie Girl.  The colors are so bright and beautiful and vibrant. I started looking on Ravelry immediately to find the project that could show off this yarn in just the right way. Then a few days later, the yarn arrived! I took a A Sockcouple of pictures of this fine yarn then wound it into a ball and started knitting. I thought about socks and even cast on and knit a couple of inches.  I was using a dark grey as an accent color. and while gorgeous, it wasn’t quite right. Frogg’d it. Back to Ravelry and then I found the pattern.  It is a beautiful shawl pattern called Nymphalidea which is named for a large family of butterflies.  I loved the Ashes of Al'ar Scrafsweeping lines of the shawl and thought this would properly show off this Molly Girl Yarn.  I was right.  THIS is the project! I knitted it quickly and blocked it out a few days later.  Yes, THIS is the yarn and pattern.  It brings so much color to your shoulders and sweeps around your neck.  It’s light weight fingering yarn and somehow I managed to still have enough left over to make a pair of socks.  Squee!





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Persian Dreams melts my heart

Persian Dreams Close UpEvery now and then a pattern comes along that calls to your heart.  I saw this pattern a while back and thought it was absolutely stunning.  Then a few weeks went by and I saw it again.  This time I added it to my wish list of future projects and thought….someday….this will be mine!

Well that someday was the end of 2015!  I researched the Ravelry forums and read everything I could about this wonderful project.  The project is called Persian Dreams and the designer is Jenise Hope.  Her work is amazing!

I decided to create this project using a dark background rather than the cream background the pattern called for. I also decided to use a long color changing foreground yarn rather than order 20 different colors and have a million ends to knit in. So off I go to KnitPicks and found the yarns that called to me. I picked out Abyss Heather in Palette, a deep dark blue, as the background color and I chose several balls of Chroma for the foreground.  And IMG_0480best of all….the yarn was on sale!  Sold!  Now was the time to knit my dreams!

As for the Chroma, I picked the balls that showed lighter colors since I went with darker blue background. Vermont, Lupine, Groovy, Sandpiper, Carnaval, Pegasus, Sugar Cookie, and New Leaf. So I started a hex and watched the magic unfold. I could knit one hex about every 3-4 days and after I had about 5-6 hexes finished, I blocked them and grafted them together.  I weaved in the ends as I went and became a master of Kitchener stitch!

This project held my attention because I just couldn’t wait to watch the color changes and the beautiful patterns unfold with each hex.  When buying the pattern, the designer offers the original patterns which includes 6 unique patterns.  She also offers an expansion pack with 17 more patterns which allows you to have a different design for each hex.  I had to have the expansion pack!

IIMG_0925 started the project in September 2015 and completed it by Christmas 2015.  I added the date into one of the hexes as a marker of when I worked this project.

I’ve enjoyed every stitch of this great blanket and using sock yarn and small needles was daunting but the end result was worth the journey.IMG_0633

I’m seriously contemplating making another with the cream background and Chroma has introduced new colorways that sing to me.  You’ll see this in a future post!




An overall look of many of the hexes. The colors are so much more vibrant than my photograph can show.









The back is as beautiful as the front!IMG_0637



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Blue Lace Sweater

in Sweater

I love to knit sweaters.  I’ve been knitting sweaters for about 25 years.  I’ve made colorful ones, cabled ones and woolly warm ones. I’ve even made sweaters and got all the pieces knitted then during the sewing together stage, figured out that I really didn’t like the sweater and never completed it. I know, would have been nice to figure that out before knitting the whole thing!  But I enjoy the process.  So nothing was wasted in knitting it.  How do you feel with your knitting?  When you encounter mistakes made, or yarn that you just don’t love, do you get frustrated? Do you just frog your work and make something else? Do you still enjoy the lessons learned?

I’ve learned something from every sweater I’ve made. I’ve learned a new technique or a new way to do something I’ve done a different way for years. I’ve learned what styles I like, I’ve learned how fit makes a huge difference when following a pattern. I’ve also learned that no matter what pattern I pick out, my body just doesn’t fit it!  LOL

So I’ve learned to tweek patterns and I decide as I go whether I need to work increases and decreases that are recommended in the pattern.  I was always afraid I’d mess up a pattern by making the thing fit me better.  But I have been very happy with the changes I”ve made and somehow the sweaters are fitting way better!

Another thing I have to calculate in as I decide on a sweater is how much yarn do I have? As in the sweater I made here. I love the yarn. It’s a very soft bamboo yarn and I love the color. Problem was, I didn’t have enough for a whole sweater….well a sweater with long sleeves. So off I go and knit and knit and as I get close to sleeve knitting I only had a handful of yarn and decided it needed short sleeves. Dang it! So while I’d rather this thing have 3/4 sleeves or full length sleeves, it still looks ok with short sleeves. The pattern called for short sleeves which is why I choose this pattern.  And I ended up making the sleeves a tad longer than the pattern called for.

So what do you learn from your knitting projects? Do you enjoy the journey of making a garment? Knitting reflects so much our real lives. How do you handle mistakes and choices in life? Are you easily frustrated? Do you roll with it. Do you tweek life as it comes at you to fit your needs?

This is a great summer sweater. Colorful, not to hot and a beautiful lacy pattern down the front and back.







Pattern:  Anisette Cardi by Julie Farmer








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How to Weave in those ends!

Weave in those EndsOne of my all time favorite things to do after completing a great project is weaving in the ends.  Yeah no, not really.  I have actually met people who like to weave in ends. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.

It’s just one of those tasks that actually crosses my mind when I’m picking out a new project.  I always think oh how many ends will this project have?  So over the past few years I’ve tackled quite a few color work projects, and of course, by nature, there will be literally a thousand ends.  So lately I have made a conscious effort to weave in my ends as the project progresses and not wait to do them all at the end.  I will just stop and take 30 minutes to clean up the back of the work and then progress on to the next step.  It looks a lot neater and it really makes it easier at the end.

There are many ways to weave in ends.  Lots of fancy ways to do it.  But I just weave in ends by pulling the end of a color run into the purl loops on the backside of the work.  I will go about 10 stitches or more in one direction, then turn the work and go back towards the beginning by 10-5 stitches.  Its good to try and weave in the ends at least two directions.  If your tail is long enough, go an extra row of burying the end.  The reason for going in lots of directions is that when wearing a garment there will be lots of pulling and tugging.  Like poking your arm in and out a sleeve of a sweater.  Lots of tugging.  So the more directions you weave in the ends, the better the chances that the end will not come undone.  So good luck with your projects and let me know your thoughts on weaving in ends.

So I put together a quick video on how I weave in the ends.


Thanks for watching.

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Dust Off the Cobwebs! I’m Back

So ok I’ve been gone for a while.  A long while.  Taking care of real life things have caused my online activity to come to a screeching halt.  So I’m currently in a much needed lull!  Let’s hope it lasts more than a few weeks or months.  So I’m diving in full speed ahead into a new online life that I’ve never had.  My usual introvert self is trying to poke through my comfortable walls and branch out a little.

My plan is to get this blog brushed off and start posting on a regular schedule.  I have knitted so many beautiful things over the past few years and I really want to share.  As you know I have several videos on YouTube and I plan on adding a lot more content for beginners and more advanced techniques.  I have new cameras and hopefully the production value will be noticeable! I have also joined the social media world and now have Twitter and Instagram pages.  What?  I know right!  HELLO?, welcome to the 21 century!



The newest and most fun addition to my online activity is a daily knitting broadcast that I started in January.  I have a live knitting show on daily from 3-5pm EST.  Typically was a place for gamers to broadcast their gameplay.  Last year, Twitch added a creative channel and there are many people broadcasting their craft.  I thought why not add a dang knitting show to the lineup! I’ve made some great friendships there with other broadcasters and my viewers.  We interact through chat and I am able to answer questions in real-time and have even had lessons from casting on, changing colors and more advanced techniques.  Please come join me!




ravelry – If you’ve never been to, you’ve got to check it out. A rich resource for knitters and crocheters. I have a picture list of all my projects that I’ve completed listed.  Of course I have a very long FAVORITE list that I hope to one day work my way through and create some new gems!






Twitter – Want to keep up to date on what I’m doing on a daily basis.  Still getting the hang of how/why people use Twitter.  I’m learning.








Instagram – my life in pictures.   Lots of Knitting, Lots of cats.








JennyKnits has a growing Video list of tips and tricks to take your knitting up a notch.  Please leave comments on the video if you have any questions or have suggestions for future videos.






JennyKnits on PinterestFinally made my way over to Pinterest and have been pinning madly!  Feel free to follow my boards!







So lets get this thing kicked off!  Please join me on any of the links above and keep in touch.  Here’s to hoping this year is 10x better than the last!



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