Thursday, July 02, 2015

All Over the Place!

 I still haven't picked my blue socks back up—but I have knit a few (unsuccessful) swatches--

And I have taken a skein of homespun (From Robyn Love) and made it into a cake for knitting up--
It is a beautiful skein—Baby Icelandic wool and baby alpaca—fine, soft and warm—and interesting. It start out a soft solid silver color, and evolves into a darker silver grey tweed. I love the evolution!

The plan (there is always a plan—even if for no other reason than to deviate from the plan!) is to start at the back, and work a medallion in the back—with silver—and then at some point, bind off some stitches, work some stitches (onto a holder) bind off more, and finally work the last quarter—turning the center squarish medallion into a rectangle.

At some later point, I will stop and work the stitches on the holder, making the starting medallion center back. I have done book markers, knit from number 3 pearl cotton this way—but never a shawl. So it will be a first—but its a good compromise—I love lace worked in the round, and I love rectangular shawls.. so this way I get both.

I've done other stuff besides knitting, too. Some of it a case of “if you say A”— It started when a light bulb failed. So I planned to change it. Finding the right bulb involved clearing and cleaning a shelf in the utility closet. Changing it meant I had to move some furniture. While the furnature was out of place, I cleaned the baseboard and floor. There were some cobwebs in the light fixture, too, so more cleaning. The table cloth (on the end table that was moved) came off, and got put in the wash, and got washed—there is always laundry to do!

While I was at it, a beautiful photograph I had received as birthday present—last year, not this one—That I had finally gotten around to framing (earlier this year) - needed to be hung up. So more stuff got moved, so I could hang it up. As I did, I couldn't help but notice how dusting the windows and window ledges looks..So out came the glass cleaner, and while cleaning the glass, it made sense to add the sun filter film—which should have been put up a month ago—but hadn't been.

So a single light bulb evolved into a day or two of chores! Worse, there is nothing like cleaning up one corner of a room to make you notice how dusting and cluttered the other corners are.. and A leads to B, and B to C, and soon, there is a whole alphabet of work done--or to be done.  No, I didn't get any knitting done.. but there was a whole lot of work going on! Nothing big or special, just a light bulb to changed, that led to a mountain of things getting done!

Meanwhile, along with all the other stuff, I did get to my sneakers. I started by adding a lightly drawn design, and to sort through my skeins and skeins of floss to make a selection for my sneaker bouquets.

The bouquets will be daisy loops, and satin centers, clusters of french knots, and bullion stitch rose buds. There will be satin stitch and herringbone stitch leaves, and stems of, (what else?) . Stem stitch. —lots of colors, and lots of flowers, in lots of different stitches. There are still holes to punch and metal eyelets to add, for the ribbons.

This design is a lot more planned and organized than the last pair I did (back in 2006,) Who knows what the next pair will look like a decade from now.. (and thinking about it, I have embroidered sneakers about once a decade since my teens--) I love the look, and they last a few years, (and I forget what a pain they are to do..)

Embroider is something that comes and goes in my life—another childhood craft that I still practice.
I suspect i will do more of it the next few years--I embroidered details on my clothes, and on my daughters clothes, and likely will do the same for my granddaughters!

Finally, I got to the main branch of the library, yesterday, and filed for my NYC ID card..It won't be here for a few weeks, but at least it is now on the way!

So--I have been busy--and I will get back to my knitting.. but not today.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Working at Knitting Work

but not really knitting.--I still haven't finished the leg, let alone the whole pair of socks I started 2 weeks ago—So I can't claim to have done much knitting.  The leg of the sock is just short ( by a row or two) of 5 inches.  I plan to start the heel flap when I get to 5.5 inches. I thought these skeins were a matching dye lot--but clearly (and even more noticable in the photo images) they are not.  I don't mind--they are close enough.  

But I have been continuing to work on my Web page—A set of instructions for decreasing for the crown of hat—a mere page (that is, about 1 page of text if printed out) when I started, has grown to about 3 pages of info, with links and images, and details. It's still mostly about shaping the crown of a hat when working from the brim to the crown—but 90% of the information will work just as well, if you want to start a hat at the crown, and work down to the brim.

This tutorial (Part 4 of Knitting in the Round) is still  just about a few styles of knitting hats—there are many more styles than hats knit in the round, (either brim up or crown down)--and more styles than domed hats, flat hats or peaked hats—but these styles of hats are very popular—and having a nicely done tutorial is helpful and important.

Other details, too—did you notice? Look up to the top of your browser—this blog now has a flavicon—a little apple (a 8 X 8 pixal image) --not the default Blogger B, and soon my web page will have a flavicon, too. A silly detail perhaps, but it pleases me.

I've continued to edit other tutorials besides Knitting in the Round—The Double Knitting tutorial has been edited up to section 4 (of 10)--and the first half of section 5 is complete, too. Section 5 starts off with a new pattern—one for simple geometric design for potholder (Steps)--previously, it was a bare bones recipe—now its a real pattern.. (It is in Ravelry, too)

Other pattern that just had some notes/ recipe will be edited and full patterns will be written up, too.

And finally a non knittting project is underway—It starts with these sneakers. The small bits of elastic (wedges) have already been removed, making way for several customized changes—with ribbons and embroidery. I have embroidered sneakers before (Way back in 2008 or so I blogged about a pair, but I did the same before I had a blog (for that matter, I did it before I had children!)

So that is it for now.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sweet Success!

One of my goals for 2015 was improving my web page. So far, I am happy with the progress I am making towards that goal.

There have been a number of behind the scenes changes (and more to come) I have linking my Google accounts.. So that Oftroys Golden Apples, (web page) is perfectly linked with Golden Apples(blog), and with Oftroy's YouTube Channel, and with and my G+ page and all these link up nicely with my Golden ApplesFaceBook page. The idea is to have seamless link up—making information sharing between them easier, and to help establish my “brand”.

Also going on behind the scenes were the creation of NEW shorter URLs. The length of a URL doesn't matter much if you are already on the internet—it's easy to make click-able links. But sharing in person? Short and snappy are good attributes. My new names aren't that short—but they are short enough for me to remember—and take up half a line, not a line and half on my business cards—So definitely a big improvement! I've upgrading each of the Google accounts, too, to make them mobile phone ready, too. I am definitely proud of the fact my web page shows up on Page 1 of a search. OK not if you just Google Helen Griffin (there is a famous UK actress who heads the list) but these improvements help (try helen griffin + knitting, or golden apple knitting.)

There have also been some hardware changes going on that have nothing to do with the software, but they are time consuming, too I really wish “Plug and Play” didn't always involve rerouting wires, and yet another transformer

I have upgraded my power strips twice, (in the past 10 years) but I think I need a new upgrade (again!) I want might also want a sets of short extension cords, that allows you to plug bulky transformers into them, and then plug simple standard plugs into the power strips. I think a 10 or 12 inch extension cords would be better—then all the transformers can be hidden out of sight, under that desk! I might make a trip to Home Depot and spend a small fortune on parts (sockets and receptacles) and make exactly what I want.

The next power strip is going to be one with 2 USB power ports—some things require 1 amp, others 1.5 amps—because that will really be useful. As it right now, I have one power stripe piggy backed into another—(transformer plugs are bulky and often blog sockets!) Both are rated for 20 amps (as is the circuit) and I have fewer than 10 amp combined on the two of them. So I am not overly worried about overpowering the circuit—but in neater organization. A saving grace is labels—every transformer and plug is labeled—So I always know what is what. It really is a smart move to label the cords (both ends sometimes!)

A few years ago, I added portholes to the desk top, to make it easier to route wires out of sight—That helped—but not enough! Oh Tesla, give me a wireless world! Where my phone is connect to my computer the same way my printer is, SANS Wires!

Getting back to software changes, some of the upfront changes I have been making are new indexes, on major pages. Breaking a long page like the List of Cast Ons, into several sub groups (single yarn cast on, double yarn cast ons, et al). No more scrolling the whole way down a long page to get to “Cast Ons good for ribbing”--now you can click on an Index list, jump to the section you want, and jump back to the Index list.

I have also been working on improving and refining style—making sure each tutorial page has forward and backward links—and that each page has the same style and lay out. Fine details, but nice ones. There are still more changes to be made—But I have made a good start, to better organization and a more uniform layout—both of which will make navigating the web site easier. Plus I have been editing out the typo's. There are always typo's!

I have been making and posting links to new videos, too. I've made 10 new videos so far this year. There are still some cast on methods that are listed and don't have a video (neither one of mine, or one from another source.) Each month though, there fewer. My goal was at least one new video each month, and I have exceeded my goal. I really needed to do this--since the list of cast on methods keeps growing!

It a Red Queen problem—(from Alice in Wonderland) –At one point, (when Alice and the Red Queen are caught on the chess board) the Red Queen keeps telling Alice to run faster and faster—Alice complains, she is running fast, but they don't seen to be getting anywhere. They are stuck in the same place. The Red Queen tell Alice, "You must run as fast as you can, just to stay in the same place and even faster than that to make progress!"  Isn't that the truth? With out constant work, you lose your place, and getting ahead? Faster than you think you can run!

The newest video, is not even a new cast on, just a new version of a cast on that has several videos already! It's the Double Chain (aka the Chinese Waitress) cast on—A cast on that has (now) 5 different methods of construction.

Yes, after doing this for years, (the list started back in 2009 on my blog, and moved to web page in 2011) I am still learning about new and different ways to cast on in knitting! I remember when I thought it was complete—at 35 methods. I've stopped counting now—but, at last count back in February, it was over 60 items on the list.

Later this year, I will be making some videos for existing tutorials—the other ones, besides the Cast on (and bind off, and selvage) tutorials. And I will be adding some new tutorials. I want my web page to be a full service Knitting site, not just one for cast ons, bind offs, and selvages—even if that is what it is most famous for.

I am determined to learn how to podcast—and do one a month, too—That might not start till next year...but soon. That will require yet another upgrade to the hardware! I don't have a headset/microphone combo (and my new computer doesn't have a place to just plug in microphone—that I do have.) It does have a built in mike and web cam, but I think I will be better off with an external mike.

Finally  after several months of a lack of interest, I am  knitting again, too.
I would show you the progress i've made with the Blue Beaded socks--with a random scattering of beads just below the cuff –and all the beading done, and a few rounds of stocking knit—but the batteries in my camera are dead—and I need to purchase more! Another case of , Running running running—as fast as I can just to stay in place!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tyger, Tyger—Done

Here they are, completed. It was a good thing I had my DD try them on—I had added a few extra rows, and the socks were just short of 8 inches when she did—and they were still a half inch too short.

8.5 inches of the foot—then another 2+ a bit for the toe shaping. They look better on LEGS than most of the socks I knit for me—but they also wrinkle a bit on the instep because they are too large for LEGS little feet.

I also got a few rows done on my beaded blue socks—but only a half dozen or so—I spent most of the weekend glued to the TV binge watching the new episodes of Orange is the New Black. The hot, hazy humid weather made that an easy thing to do.

Normally, or rather last year, I would have spent a hot, hazy, humid day at the local pool—But I didn't join this year. Last year, on July 5th, the pool was officially closed by BoH—the water was deemed to be unsafe to swim in. The operator, Aquatic Recreations, ignored the BoH ordered closure, and re-opened the pool—I was one of the unlucky patrons who went in, and got sick. I ended up with a upper respiratory infections, that before it was cured, became a case of double bronchitis—and left me sick until mid August.

I really enjoyed the pool—it was close and convenient. But I lost half the summer to being sick—and I don't want a repeat of that!

I will be getting a NYC ID card, and a NYC Parks and Recreation card (the latter is discounted by 10% if you have the first (which is free). The closest city pool is 2 short bus rides away—and free with the NYC Parks and Recreations card. My DD will be taking the girls to the city pool in Flushing Meadow park. This pook will be free with the Parks & Recreation card—including certified classes in infant swimming.

Getting the ID card has been a hang up—there are still long lines for signing up (it is free). And there are a limited number of places to apply—none in my immediate neighborhood. But one day soon...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cast On and Ribbed

Even a round or 2 of beading done!

Its hard to see, but the cast on is a bit of an edging. First an Italian (tubular) cast on, followed by 2 complete rows of simple double knitting—a complete row requires 2 passes to “work” every stitch.

Then, as I joined the edge into a round, I worked in a pattern of K2tog, YO. On the next round, the YO was purled, and a 1 X 1 ribbing was established. This created a round of eyelets—an edging--

I worked my usually 1.5 inches of ribbing (really 1.25 since the edging took up a quarter of an inch), and then worked 2 rounds with beads. Round 1 was: K1, place a bead, P1. Round 2 was: Place a bead, P1, K1.

The beading after this is going to be somewhat random-- I haven't thought out exactly what I will be doing.. Stocking knit, or seed stitch, or ribbing.. The socks are just a free for all.

Later today, an unexpected visit with the girls (a Dentist appointment for my DD). If possible, I will get her to try on the Tyger, Tyger socks. You'll have to wait to find out—Tomorrow is the Little Hatchlings program at the Queens zoo, and while I will get some knitting done on the way to the zoo, I won't have time to make a blog post.  

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Almost There.

Actually, I have met my target--(7.5 inches) but—I am not satisfied. I will do an other 2 or 3 rounds before I stop. On LEGS, the sock looks long enough to fit, but LEGS, like most display models, has small feet. For years, the display size for shoes was size 6, which was the most common size shoe for women. But people are bigger, (taller and heavier) and our feet (on average) are larger. I wear a size 9 shoe, my daughter size 10 (and her feet though only slightly swollen during her pregnancy were up to size 11!)

These socks fit LEGS snugger than my socks (which are always loose on LEGS foot) But they well be longer than my average sock and way too long for LEGS by the time they are done.

I finished the few rounds (to reach 7.5 inches ) this AM. Last night, I took a break to string the beads onto the cakes of yarn for my next pair. Every single bead in the tube fit onto the yarn—except 1, but that bead didn't really have a hole at all. So now I am ready to cast on and begin –once I am sure that the Tyger, Tyger socks are long enough.

Thursday, I will see my DD and she can try the socks on and I can double check the length. I might need a few more rounds before I start the toe.. but I don't think so.

I haven't decided on a pattern yet for the blue socks, A couple of ideas are swirling round in my head... One idea is for a a round or two of beads every other stitch, and then some beads “dripping down”, other idea is for a scattered effect with the beads here, and here all through the leg. I have even considered beaded ribbing. I decide on something—soon since I will likely be casting on tonight!

Monday, June 08, 2015


The foot of the Tyger, Tyger socks is almost 6 inches—a nice bit of progress. About 2/3rds done—but progress will halt—When I get to 7.5 inches, I am going to start on my next pair of socks, blue ones for myself. I'll bring the Tyger socks with me on Thursday, and let DD try them on, so I can make sure to get them the right size—With just the toe to do (I hope!) the socks will finish fast.

The Blue socks for me are going to be ones with beaded tops, because, why not? Or at least that is the plan right now. The yarn Filatura Lanarota's Fashion Toes, is really Plymouth's Happy Feet, and its a heavy (fingering weight vs sock weight) yarn. I might have a problem threading the beads onto the yarn.

I like this yarn, I bought 6 skeins of last month at the Smiley's close out sale, in 3 different colors, This blue sock yarn is from a previous sale—last year sometime. I have knit, easily, a half dozen pairs of socks from this yarn for me, and another 2 or 3 pairs that I have given away. I also have a scarf (knit a few years ago) in the same blue color way. 

 I had some (just 4 skeins) in my stash before last months infusion. I think there is one set of doubles (4 skeins in the same color way) I might, in the future, end up with an other set of matching socks and scarves.

This yarn bit heavier (on average) than most sock yarns—and makes slightly thicker socks, (great for the winter!) and will be a fast to knit pair, because of this. The last 2 pairs of socks I've made have been on size 1 and 1.5 needles, with fine sock yarn.

With Fashion Toe yarn, I will be back to size 2 needles. It's hard to imagine the difference that quarters and half millimeter in needle sizes make to the sock gauge, but it is there. Almost an inches difference for me, as I go from 8 stitches per inch to 9 stitches per inch.  At 8 stitches per inch, with 8 sets of 8 equal an 8 inch sock (knit with 64 stitches) With  9 stitches per inch, and the sock becomes 7 (and a bit) inches.

Smaller needles makes for a sock that is a lot smaller, and snugger. I wear WW shoes, my daughter fits fine into a standard B shoe—Her feet are longer than mine, and narrower. When I knit her socks, I have to change up a few things...a narrower, longer foot for one! This time, I did it with gauge, rather than few stitches. A nice tight gauge makes a firmer, longer lasting fabric, too. 

So, in a day or two, I will see if the beads I have will fit on the yarn.. and if they do, I will get them threaded. If no, well back to the drawing board to figure out what sort of pattern to do!