Saturday, August 06, 2016

Anxiety

Made tangible.

Almost 25 years ago, I was newly divorced,  working full time, going to school full time, and planning a trip to Japan (to see my sister, who lives there)

In addition, I was going to counseling, twice a week.  As I finished up my last  credits, I was especially anxious--School (college) had filled my life --and ease my passage from being married to being single.  What was I going to do with my life with out school to fill up all the non working hours of the day?

Well Knitting for sure.  In the last two weeks of school (finals, basically) I started this afghan--finished size is 58 inches by 78 inches (slightly larger than the top of a full sized bed) As it neared completion, I took it to my doctor, and told her, I was using knitting to deal with all the anxiety of school ending, and my upcoming trip to Tokyo-- (I finished the whole thin in under 3 weeks)

I told her, this blanket represented  is the size and scope of my anxiety.  I told her how I use knitting as a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety.

She smiled--and we agreed, I had the ability to turn my anxiety into something beautiful (and I said tangelable, too)

The knitting did its work, and I coped--I did well. I finished up and graduated with a 3.87GPA,  I also had a happy blanket to keep me warm.

Alas, times changes things..  The blanket suffered some damage,(the image is just one of several holes)  and it is no longer a thing of beauty.. I don't have any yarn left from this project, and while I could make some visible repairs, the truth is the blanket served it purpose.  I no longer need it.  I no longer need it to hold my anxiety, and keep it locked up.   I still knit--it has become a part of my life.  It still is useful for relieving anxiety--but I don't often feel as anxious as I did those many years ago.

So this is a bit of requiem for the blanket and the anxiety The transformative properties of knitting, worked there magic.  It is a tangibly  reminder of who I once was--but no longer am.  It served its purpose, and now it, (and I ) are changed.  It is time to let it go.

Good by.


Friday, July 01, 2016

I Have Been Busy

So busy, and yet, I didn't want to post anything about what I have been up to. I have posted a bit, but mostly I have been mum..

First, the simplest  Single stripes, one side horizontal, one side vertical--this isn't my design but one in the public domain, but I figured out a different method to knit it.  

At this point, I have completed 4 new potholder designs, a 5th is on the needles, about half done, and a 6th will be started before the day is done.

Next--a simple variation, double horizontal stripes, paired with single vertical ones.  

This naturally suggested the opposite, a pattern of double Vertical stripes, paired with single horizontal stripes.. This pattern has been named Awning, naturally.

Finally, for the moment, a 4th design.  Dots and Blocks, is surprisingly easy, especially considering it is a 22 row pattern!  

None of these have been blocked yet, and all will look better after blocking.  I have one more red and white design, and after that, the potholder will be a range of colors

There are at least a half dozen more designs floating round in my head—and I just can't knit fast enough (I suppose if I stopped eating, or walking or doing normal household routines, (these potholders are going to be washed and dried along with other wash later today)

My kitchen is a study in black and white, with red accents, and these potholders are all for me. The next half dozen will be a number of different colors, for friends, and at least one will be for fund raising event.

Every design I complete suggests a variation that is different—I keep adding design ideas to my knitting list!

All of these potholders are non mirror image designs. If you want to learn this advanced form of double knitting these designs are simple enough learn with, and yet offer a challenge. The first design, a simple pattern of single stripes, (one side vertical, one side horizontal) is free—even thought my directions are slightly different than most of the other versions.

I like to work in what I call “single pass” Many patterns for double knitting are two pass—They have you work in a knit/slip pattern, in a single color, and then re-knit the same row, in a slip/knit pattern. Working the same row twice—Too Slow! for me.

I like a single pass method—Knit/purl every stitch in the row, moving both yarns, as you go, to work every stitch in the row as you go.

There are occasional exceptions to this, but 99% of the time, there is no need to work a row twice.

My plan is for a bakers dozen set of designs—each building new skills, each exploring different methods (Oh the designs to come!--combinations of different techniques and double knitting! Knits and purl to the nth degree!

All of these designs are dual duty—1st Potholders—that are functional in their right, but also serve as large swatches, since the patterns (both written out and graphed) include details on repeats, so that you can readily use the patterns for make hats, scarves, mittens, or place mats, or floor mats—even simple block shaped vests from these stitch patterns.


I hope you like them, and I hope I have whetted your appetite for more non mirror imaged designs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Potholder 1 (for me!)

Done—It will even make it into the wash today, for fulling/shrinking. I have just finished weave in the ends- I have taken some before photos, (to show the shape and the unevenness of the stitching.) and will take some after photo's and show how a good soaking in hot water, with some agitation, evens out the knitting and at the same time brings the potholder closer to a square shape.

These photos are limited.. I want to have a proper launch with all the new designs at once.. so there will be just peeks.
Potholders 2 is square—but square isn't square once it has be washed and shrunk—see below. It will end up being a big one (even by my “I love oversized potholders” standards).. More of a counter mat or hot mat than a potholder. It working name is Awning...I am not sure if that will stick.

In any case, Square is 11 inches square, so I will continue till it is 14 inches or so. Small for a place mat, but actually just about the perfect size for my dinner trays. I have some real serving trays (for carrying food or plates for company) but I daily I use small trays just big enough for coffee, a small bowl of cottage cheese and another bowl for fruit.. (and a single rice cake.) Its the old dieters trick use small bowls and plates, so the food fills the plate and makes small portions look bigger.

Meanwhile, here is old old potholder.. the once dark black has faded to pale grey (this potholder might have found itself in a load of white wash, and been bleached)

It started out Taller than it was wide.. A rectangle.
But repeated washing, and with each one, the ratios changed... Its a rectangle again, but now it is way wider than it is tall. I can stretch it into an almost square shape. But it wants to squat!
Of course, seconds after potholder 1 was off the needle, potholder 4 was cast on. (3 times before I got it right!) I know it's out of order.. Potholder 3 (part of the black/white/red set) should come before potholder 4.. but potholder 3 is a design I have knit before

It's a natural part of the black/white/red set, as is pot holder 5 (if I ever get to 5) which is just going to be another window pane or gingham one.. designs I have knit so often I could do them in my sleep.

Potholder 3? Something total new (for me)--A round potholder.. Lucy Neatby's round and rounds of round double knitting is just too interesting to pass by! I am not sure that I NEED seat cushions, (and I KNOW I don't need an other lap/mid sized blanket) so what a person to do? Clearly I need to knit some round potholders, or round hot mats, or well, something of that sort.

Maybe if I like round flat double knitting, I will go all out and knit a rug—Loosely in wool, and then full it into a nice thick rug for my living room. I bought a bunch of yarn years ago, to do just that (knit a floor rug) and I have never gotten around to it... Maybe what was holding me back was the ROUND to it part.

If I hate double knitting in the round, I can always go back to my original plans for a rug knit in very uneven stripes, in garter stitch.



Monday, June 13, 2016

I Lied.

Last time I posted about of my SIL's sock, I said I had 5.5 inches done. Wrong—the gussets end at 3.5 inches, and last week (on Friday) when I posted with out any photos, the socks were just 4.5 inches.

Since then? 4.5 became 5.5, and then 6.5 (Past the half way point in the foot!) and now the foot is 7.5 inches long-- 3 inches of progress in 3 days. If the sock were for me, I would be starting the toe in a row or two. But my SIL is taller than me, and well, men in general have wider feet, so 7.5 is far short of being a foot. In fact, a foot is a foot for my SIL (where as my foot is just 9.25!)

A lot of this knitting was done on buses.. going back and forth to Winthrop hospital.. Miss C and Miss J now have a new sister, Miss K. The 3 inches of sock were knit for the most part on the way to and from visiting. Miss K has been nicknamed “the Meatball” by the nurses—she is a healthy 10 lb baby, who is a newborn who wears size 1 (not size 0) pampers, and her head is too big for the hospital issued new born hats. Her mother (DD) was of a similar size--(9lb15 oz) and had a similar problem. Fortunately, DD saved some of the hats I knit for the twins—so there are hats that fit.

The girls are thrilled with new baby sister, but they have been missing mommy—who will be home from the hospital tomorrow.

At home, I am working on some potholders for me—working out new designs, and documenting them at the same time... and my mind has been working over time on ideas for more—potholder and new designs for the same. Potholder 1 is now 9 inches long (and will be continued till I run out of yarn (the black skein)) Potholders 2, the red and white one, is just past the half way point. Potholder 3 will be a simple one—worked from a stitch pattern that is in the public domain, and the partial inspiration for potholders 1 and 2) Potholder 4—will be not part of the red/black/white set, though there might be a potholder 5 in the red/black/white color ways. But first I will work out a simpler design—then I will work out the finer points for a 3 color design.

It will be a totally new design (and for me, a new shape, too!) Who knows how many other ideas there are fermenting in my brain...Certainly potholder 4 (I am hard pressed not to start it IMMEDIATELY!) is something new for me, though its not a totally new idea... just my SPIN (key word there) on what others have done.


I feel bad keeping these potholder designs secret--but trust me they are worth waiting for!

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Little Bit Here

A little bit there. And so it goes. SIL socks have another inch added to the foot (5.5 inches now) not quite half way. More to be done today, (there will be several bus rides and a hope of lots of knitting today and the next few days.

But no photo's today.

Potholder 1 for me, black and white stripes, is now half done –with 6 and bit inches. And potholder 2, red and white stripes, is still short of being half done, but it too has another inch.

I will need some more black and red cotton to finish the 4 potholders I plan to knit as a group-all variations on striped patterns Do you think I am stuck on striped patterns? I do, but each pattern is different—and stripes offer so many possibilities! Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, mitered, thick, thin, all knits, or knits and purls, multi colors (that is more than 2 colors); stripes are complex. 

 I think want some gingham potholders, for me and one for DD,  too!

I also have some red linen yarn, so I think I might end up making a towel too. (That is what i bought the linen for in the first place!)  I have made several hand towels, for my bathroom, a red linen towel might be nice for kitchen. I have some gingham towels, and some striped towel (when I like something, I like it in lots of different forms) but both are cotton. Linen towels are special though they last for ever--(one favorite is some 30 year old, and it hasn't match my kitchen in years!) But I keep it- linen towels get softer and lovelier with each washing.

I still plan to make another potholder for my DD, (even though she complained she had too many already)—but she is still holding onto 2 potholder that were damaged.

After the potholders, UFO's and hats.. (as for which UFO, well, there are still a few of them.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Late With the Update.

The second double knit potholder is big enough to be a small place mat--(9 X 12) I didn't add a hanging loop. Small mats are great for drying a single glass, or at a hot mat for something hot from the oven, or...  They have lots of uses. I will be doing laundry tomorrow, and will wash and pre-shrink this mat (and the dimpled diamond pot holder, too) eventual there will be a third potholder to finish the series. (I am also taking back one potholder from her--It is one I never added to Ravelry...and since it won't go with her new kitchen....

Meanwhile I am working on 2 different potholders for my kitchen. One is half done—the black and white stripes, (6 inches) the other red and white stripes, has 5 inches done.. I am holding off taking picture for a short while. It will be worth the wait.

My SIL's socks? Gusseted! Just 2 rounds past the last decrease, and the sole is 4 inches long. Or 1/3rd done! There will be a long stretch of just foot—since I need 12 in total, but the toe will be longer than my average (woman's sized) toe—since the socks have 72 stitches (12 more than most of my socks that are 60 stitches on average)

After the SIL socks? Well I still have some UFO's (socks, a vest, a shawl) and some plans for some hats (what more hats?!) Yes more hats. All of these are small, light weight project that are good for the summer (who wants an alpaca sweater sitting in your lap on a 90° day?

I might knit some slippers, too. My written queue is dated fall/winter, so the summer is unscheduled time for small projects and finishing UFO. I might not get them all finished, but I will make a dent in the pile of UFO's and I plan to get some sewing done too.  This week I got some mending done.. but there is still a big pile left.



Wednesday, June 08, 2016

How Do You Queue?

This should have been posted Monday—there will be an update later today!

I know that Ravelry has a queue feature, but I never use it. For years I have had idea books, and these are also queue books. They are not strictly chronological, but tend to over lap. (and they are not always saved)

Sometimes they are blank paper, sometimes, lined, and there have even been books that have cross hatched graph paper. I like them all. I found a misplaced one just the other day, and I enjoyed finding queues of project ideas (and realizing I had completed many of them!) and also being reminded, there were things on these lists that I hadn't gotten to.

So, immediately, I made a new list! About half the items on the new list are ideas that had been floating round in my head—but some how, writing them down made them more real. Others are left overs from previous queues that I had sort of forgotten about.

I sometime stumble across a new pattern, or a new idea, and queue be damned—the NEW and shiny! jumps to the head of the mental list.. and then, my mind, un-moored from the list just goes out and continues to work on project that float into view.

I have 3 “homemade sock club” kits to knit, (and 2 socks kits that are UFO's!) but the SIL socks aren't one of them, and chenille neck roll wasn't on any queue either. The double knit potholders—well they were sort of planned. Never made it to a written queue, but I have needed new ones for a while. And I never just make potholders for me.

I have too much cotton, in too many colors! I love my black and white kitchen and black and white potholders—but I always want to knit with colors, too! So there are always extra ones in colors that get knit up.

Speaking of which—I have made only a little progress for a few days now on the striped potholder, but I have started a black and white one (totally different stripe pattern). The SIL socks had heel flaps by Friday evening, and now, a few rows of the gusset. Some progress but not a lot. I will be knitting in earnest again to day, and next week too.. Lots more bus rides planned.

The good news in my life is, it is getting busier—the bad news is, it is getting busier! I was off to see my DD on Tuesday, as well as the usual Friday, and then on Thursday, I went 90% of the way to her, (and saw her)when I went to the CSA pick up. And I was there again on my usual Friday visit.

Technically, I live in Flushing (as does she) —but in reality, I live in a neighborhood called Rego Park—about 4.5 miles away, she is in Flushing North—a mile or so from “downtown Flushing” (a thriving commercial area) . Should be a 10 minute drive.. On good days, it is a 20 minute one. By bus, it is a 45 minute to an hour trip. Thursday night, going to the CSA took 35 minutes (very good time!) Coming home? It took hour and half! So I am busy—but not doing much of anything, except it seems, sometimes, but riding buses.

I always knit on the bus (and on the subway when I ride it) but knitting on the buses is slow knitting. The good news is: NYC has LOTS of buses and bus routes, and most run 24 hours a day. The are often scheduled 10 to 15 minutes apart. The bad news is: there are delay, and the buses them selves are worked hard, and there shock absorbers? Always in need of repair! Hard winter freezes make pot holes, repairing and patching makes lumps, resurfacing creates delays...So bus rides are never smooth rides, or fast rides. On 3 different occasions, I dropped a stitch while knitting the heel flap. It can be that bumpy.


So some progress has been made, and my idea book, and its queue are front and center.. Who knows how long that will last?