I have not posted anything on my blog for over a month. I’ve been writing patterns, hand outs, chapters for my book and did not notice that maybe I should share some of it on my blog. I’m always adding new chapters for my book, because I know I have a book in me. Weather I ever publish or not does not seem to matter. I just like the writing, the research and the fantasy of seeing it in a printed book some day.


I was teaching a couple of classes at Newton’s Spring Fling, and at Studio 66 retreat. Both events were lots of fun for me and I think my students liked the classes as well. I was teaching short rowing techniques and another class all about dyeing wool with food coloring. When I first started to put the short row class together I looked around for a good pattern that utilizes lots of short rows. I found the “Wingspan” by Maylin, a very popular pattern on Ravelry.com.


I think last time I looked there has been over 7,300 projects knitted from this pattern. And by the way Ravelry.com just announced that they now have are you ready? 3,000,000 yes that is three million members world wide! Wow! Congratulations Jess and Casey!


This is a screen shot from my Ravelry.com projects page of the Winged Vest.


I jumped in and downloaded the free pattern and looked for yarn I had in my yarn cave to start this new project. Even though I have so many shawls and scarfs but the short rows looked like a lot of fun. So I guess I can always use another shawl. On Ravelry.com you can click on the number of the projects and see a whole list of projects knitted of this pattern. I love this feature of Ravelry. 



You can view what yarns other people used for the pattern and any notes or remarks about the project. So I decided that Noro Sock yarn would be the best choice. I love the long color changes and it’s sock yarn so the yardage is generous.  462 yards (422 meters) Luckily I spotted a plastic bag with two balls of Noro sock yarn. Great I thought over 900 yards should be plenty for this project. 


I cast on with excitement, the beginning was a bit tricky but once I got the hang of it, easy peasy. I progressed rather fast. The Wingspan was taking shape. Then I decided to take a closer look at just how much yarn I have left…. yes I know I should have done this in the first place but… it was late and I had two balls of Noro in a plastic bag.


I had won this at my knitting guild raffle, who would guess that somebody would put two different color ways in the same bag? What kind of trick is this “Miss Brandi”? But tricked I was and it turned out that I only had one ball of Noro Sock yarn in this color way. The other ball of yarn was a totally different color. But it looks so nice, I’m not ripping this out, I’m making it work!



I still had enough yarn of to make another piece, maybe it can become something. Let me see….



Back to the yarn cave and look for more Noro. I did not have sock yarn but I had some Noro Silk Garden in the same color way. Oh maybe I’ll add this piece that I knit a while back and put aside.




Turns out I have all kinds of Noro yarn in the same color way, it’s a slightly different gauge but who will notice? Gauge is for suckers after all. Keep knitting, more short rows, keep trying it on, keep knitting. And here is the result:




You want the recipe? 

Send me an eMail bananaknits@gmail.com






Painting Yarn Painlessly.


Let there be color!

Turn that boring shawl into something spectacular.


Non Toxic Permanent Acid Colors

Right in your kitchen

Using Food Coloring

Have you ever knit a garment and at the time the colors seemed ok but you never wear it? Maybe the color is just not right. After spending hours and hours of knitting it’s a shame to “frog” it or give it away hoping somebody else might like it. I have the solution!


Paint Your Project!

No need to worry about toxic dyes that you may have to wear your mask and dedicated utensils etc. You can easily dye or paint your yarn or project right in your kitchen. Food Coloring!


Not toxic yet it’s a permanent pigment that tints animal fibers. It is a PERMANENT dye! That is the number one question I am asked, will it wash right out? NO it’s permanent. 

Will it fade fast? Not any different than other acid dyes, some colors fade faster than others and it depends on the “wear and tear” and soaps, sun exposure and such. Some wool breeds hold color better than others and the technique you use may differ as well.


It will not work on cotton, rayon or acrylics. Only protein fibers but boy does it work on those!



The inspiration was this beautiful silk scarf I have and every time I wear it I get many compliments. Why not have a shawl with these colors! So I knit a swatch with natural wool and started painting. I left a portion un-painted so we could see the dramatic difference.

Save the date:


April 28, 2013

Where: Newton’s Spring Fling Seminar

in Anaheim, California (close to Disneyland)

Enrollment limited

call to reserve a space: 714-634-9116

Just a little humor for Friday!



I’m calling this project “Rusty Wings”. Maybe not that original but naming projects can be an art in itself. It’s another Winged Vest but in the orange & rust hues. I’m knitting this one so I can fine tune the pattern. I am determined to write this pattern for publication. I’ve had so many requests for it that this one may be worth while sharing.

I write patterns of my designs but most of the time it’s just for my own records. If in case I want to make another project I can refer back to my notes. That is why I started this blog, Ravelry.com was not available yet and I wanted access to my knitting notes online. I was tired of searching around for the bits of paper or notebook or napkin that I took notes on. Create a blog! Great idea!

They asked what I wanted to call my blog and AnaBanana was a nickname for obvious rhyming reasons so I went with BananaKnits. Some old friends still refer to me as “The Banana”. I guess no matter how old you get certain nicknames stick. Like Shrimpie in Downton Abbey, I did not like the season ending by the way but I digress…..

Often it’s just several photographs to track what I’ve done. I use the camera as a tool helping me to remember details. It’s easier to search my iPhoto library than looking for notes on paper that I may or may not have filed in the right place.  I will photograph my progress and embed texted details.

What yarn did I use? Where did I get it? In this case it was Etsy.com And what size needles I used. I have HiyaHiya.com interchangeable needles and have both metal and bamboo sets. (size 5) I discovered that I really like knitting with one bamboo needle and one metal needle. I’m not exactly sure why but it seems to feel better than bamboo against bamboo or metal on metal. Go figure. If it works I’m going with it.


When you knit like I do and design on the fly, there is a lot of experimentation involved. Not every project turns out as a WOW piece. Some projects are just one color and not very much pizzaz to them at all. It’s always easier to work on a project that I LOVE and is a bit challenging. This latest “creation” is just one of those that I’m currently in LOVE with. I was wearing it yesterday and it was warm cozy and the colors were up-lifting. 


First I want to tell you in case you have not noticed that I prefer COLOR! The bolder and brighter the better. I have my favorite color ways and I seem to pick the same colors, I think most people are the same way. There are times when I step out of my “comfort” zone but usually I gravitate towards the same hues and colors. Through the years I’ve found what looks good on me and I stick to it. 




The shawl was knitted many years ago and the whimsical squiggly “stash buster” edge was added a couple of years after the shawl was finished. When I added it together with my current “Winged Vest” they blended perfectly. Adding my Silver monkey pin for the closer it seemed to add just the right little accent. 




Made with Noro Silk Garden, wool yarn with silk from my stash. Yarn that I’ve had for a long time patiently waiting to become something. 





Love going away but sleeping in one’s own bed is really sweet. I’m not sure exactly why I decided to drive but I made it. 790 miles round trip. On the way up we stopped over at Avila Beach. One of my favorite beaches, along the California Hwy 1 route, very picturesque. 


Stitches West was a lot of fun, lots of “crazy” knitters and the market place was overwhelming. People were really helping the economy buying yarn and goodies left and right. Great classes to learn new ways to do things and after sitting around telling each other what we were learning. The lobby experience at the hotel was half the fun. 


They served french fries with “Gilmore Garlic” (Gilmore Garlic Festival) that not just smelled incredible but the taste was out of this world too. We gathered in the lobby of the hotel between activities to discuss what we bought, what we saw and learned. And a few good laughs. A good time was had by all.


On Saturday evening they had the “Student Banquet” dinner. This is the event where you can submit 2 garments to show off to the rest of the attendees and organizers your designs and knits. Sort of a “show and share” on steroids. At the end they pick the best “Editor’s Choice”. There was a lot of beautiful knitting showed I’m honored to be picked. The editor is Rick Mondragon and I was surprised he picked my two shawls as his choice for the best. Thank you Rick!








This was my second time to Stitches I was there in 2008 I won that time too with this one:




Stitch Marker Swap


When I inquired, the organizers told me that last year they had 11,000 thousand attendees! This is a knitting event! Wow. 


It’s still happening!

How does this happen?

Why has this been going ?

Where could the socks go?


I’ve been carefully collecting single socks hoping that eventually the other sock will show up. But somehow they never do show up they just disappear. I’ve made my husband take one of the old machines apart to see if all the single socks are trapped somewhere in the “insides” of the machine. No luck at all, not one sock was found. 


Store bought socks are not so painful but a pair of hand knit socks disappearing is a whole different story. Thank you for letting me vent! 


My new plan is not to make matching pairs of socks but cousins and brothers. As long as the sock is made from the same weight yarn, same size and similar color or harmonizing color. I think this is the only solution. 

Life is busy, trying to get everything done before driving up to Santa Clara is fun and exhausting. When I pack for a knitting event it’s totally different than packing for just a vacation. First I would like to be a light packer but I never accomplish this. I fall into the what if I need this or that. 


In reality I usually don’t need everything I packed but if I did not pack it I need it and wish I had it. Then it makes a difference if I’m driving or flying. When driving I’m worse I take soooo much stuff it’s comical. 



Ok I have to stop posting this because this happened and I am all shook up!


I was at my local Staples making copies for a class I was teaching on Short Rows. Just standing there stapling the pages together. BAM! BANG, CRASH, KABOOOM! 


I thought that the meteor hit us, but no it was an old lady in a Cadillac! Drove right through the wall 2 feet from where I was standing. Scared me so that I started shaking like a bowl of jello. 


When I finally went outside to see what happened this lady was just sitting there cool as a cucumber saying that her brakes did not work. Although the witnesses said that she floored it, she must have stepped on the gas not the brakes.  I guess it was my Lucky Day! Lucky that she did not run me over.