Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Hats

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blogging--What I hope to do Next Year (and a bonus)



Miss B, the beloved grandchild, got “an American Doll Girl” (as she says) for Christmas.

It's not clear how much she really wants this doll (and how much is simple peer pressure, since several friends have American Girl Dolls.)

No matter, dolls of this sort are dress up dolls. I had a Shirley Temple doll when I as the same age, and knitting doll clothes was some of the first knitting I did. (My mother bought a set of patterns to make doll clothes too.. not to many got made.. but those that did get made, matched my own clothes!)
My DIL, who I love and adore, knits and does all sorts of clever things—but I've noticed.. We work to different scales.. Her art work is HUGE. I tend to the minitures. I suspect she'll make some doll clothes, but such tiny work is not her normal mode.

So, a small amount of sock yarn (superwash, of course) and a few hours, (and a complete and total frogging of the first effort!) and here is Miss Samantha's first sweater. (Ok, it still needs buttons—but they are coming.) The T pins are marking the button hole positions.

Notice the details.. tubular cast on, and grafted cast off...

short row shaping for back and front neck edge. And now, its being

blocked into a nice shape (the button bands tended, as button bands do on stocking knit, to curl) --Oh my what a sweater!

Next up a hat and muff set.. Not exactly matching (how trite!) but the green hat will be worked with stripes of yellow and orange—so coordinating. there might even be a dress made to go along with the sweater set.

Blogging –Next year.

In addition to writing, I read blogs. Some are knitting blogs, some are nominally knitting blogs that only touch on knitting infrequently, and some have nothing to do with knitting.

Each one, has features I admire.

Some have great photography.

My photo's are better each year, but photography is not my medium—I love good photographs, but I have never developed a good eye for taking them. I could, I suppose, work at it, and become a good photographer, but that is not one of my goals. But I take better pictures today than I did as little as a year –go back 5 years, and there is a marked improvement. Partly, it's the camera. It is so much easier, with the immediate feedback a digital camera provides to just keep taking photos till, like one of million monkeys, at a million typewriters, in the course of million years...I eventually get a decent image. (or one that can be cropped into a decent image.)

Some have regular features.
Wordless Wednesday, or 9th of month, or Tuesday is for spinning..
I am going to try to have some regular features—one is 'the First of Month Freebe' –with a free pattern, and link to another free pattern.

And at least once a month, a recipe (one of my own, or a link to a special one).
*Since I now have some roving, I'm going to make an effort to document my spinning progress

And I definitely want to make some more tutorials.. and some You Tubes tutorials—on my favorites techniques.

Some are so simple, (vs my always too wordy posts!)
I am making a serious effort to recognize, Less can sometimes be more.*

Some are so well organized
And working on organization, making it easier to find information, links, free patterns, recipes, all sorts of stuff is a chore I've avoided. Its time to set up an organization to the blog, to make it more user friendly.

Some have so many comments!
I am, to some degree envious of this.. but.. I don't think this generating more comments is one of my goals.. (readership, yes, but comments no.) Readership is a comment!

*More about my wonderful swap partners, and my roving, later in the week.

*Nota Bene: this post is half the length of previous one!




Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Sunflower Tam --with Petals!

I had for a while, been thinking about a 'woodland elf' type hat.

Something like an acorn cap --a stem, a network of overlapping 'leaves', like found on an acorn cap--knit in a shape that was slightly domed, (but only slightly!) and ended in a curved under edge. Then the 'body' of the hat, like the body of an acorn, would be smooth (and almost straight).
I envisioned the top something similar to my Thistledown Hat –a lace pattern of overlapping “leaflets”. (This hat is a half dome shape, not a flat acorn cap shape)


Trouble was—it never worked out.. the pattern failed, or the shape failed, or ...**

(here is the last attempt, not yet frogged)

When I got Knitting Nature, (Norah Gaughan) I loved the Sunflower Tam, and started again with a cable/twist stitch design, (again starting from center out) and again, failure!

So, finally decided to make the sunflower tam, and learn how it 'moved' before trying again with my center out design.

But--I didn't much like the under brim of the hat.. The top was beautiful, but the under brim? Boring!

And that the part most people see (OK, basketball player are going to enjoy looking down on the top of the hat) but when looked at (face forward) the sunflower tam is well, ho hum.

Why not add petals? Petals on the brim would bring the Sunflower motif to the under brim! And so I went to work modifying the pattern.

To start, I cast on 128, provisionally, and knit the top of the hat exactly as directed in Knitting Nature. (A wonderful pattern, so intuitive, I hardly had to look at the directions!)

Then I undid the cast on, picked up the stitches and worked down, making 16 raised leaf “petals”, with 5 stitches worked in garter between each petal. (3 stitch for leaf, 5 for garter stitch spacer=8 stitches per motif, 8X 16=128!)

No increases or decreases, until the final row of the petal (where the original 3 stitches of each leaf become a single stitch via a double decrease--(16X 2=32 stitch decrease) leaving me with 96 stitches. This is a few stitches short of the original patterns 100 stitch cast on—but still not too tight.

A few rows of 1 X 1 ribbing, and a grafted cast off (since I feel strongly about the edge of hat!)

A different sunflower tam.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**One difficulty, is increases and decreases ratios...
Try it:

Start with 8 stitches, and increase 8 times EOR.
Unless a YO is used for the increase, the knitting (in stocking knit) won't quite be flat.

Start with a multiple of 8, (64 stitches, for example) and decrease 8 stitches EOR, in stocking knit—it still won't be flat. In fact, it will create the classic dome of a beanie hat!

The Sunflower Tam uses twisted stitches and decreases, (8 decreases EOR) and the twists, change the gauge just enough to make the knitting flat!

Monday, December 24, 2007

About Blogging

The is the top of Norah Gaughan "Sunflower Hat" (Knitting Nature). (a great pattern to knit!)

I am keeping the top of the pattern as written, but I started with a provisional cast on, and worked the crown. (as shown) Next I undid the cast on, picked up the stitches, and now I am going to work the brim--with some changes.

The hat will be finished by the next blog entry, I am sure.
______________________________________________

Why Do I Blog?

I blog for a number of reasons, --I love knitting, and I love sharing information about knitting -be it about what I am knitting or what others have done to inspire me--or annoy me!

To be honest, I some times knit spitefully—when someone says “these are all the ways to do this”(and shows 5 or 6 ways) I am likely to take it as a challenge, and do it some other way! Sometimes I repress that spiteful urge.. but not always.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also am somewhat of a braggart, and blogging is made for bragging!

I also blog because I am vain.
I think I have interesting things to say. (And readership validates my thinking!)

I blog because I have always thought of myself as a writer.
Don't look for an evidence that I am a writer beyond this blog.. there is some, but it's sparse (you could, with a good deal of time, and some personal info (that you likely don't have!), and google, find the 3 or 4 letters I written to the NYTimes. (about half the letters I written to the NYT have been published, not a bad ratio, but 4 letters of 30 years, is hardly an earth shattering record!)

I did, once (going on 25 years ago now!) have an article I wrote for a magazine, republished (with my permission.) The article was in a syndicated by KINGS features column--so (potentially!) hundreds of thousands might have read something I have written.(It was about shopping; in a former life, I was a coupon queen.) The column is no longer published.

Going further into the past, (30+years) I had one or two articles in The Long Island Press—defunct many years now (the DAILY Long Island Press, not the free weekly with the same name) –but all of this is a very small body of work!

I blog and write as a way of shaping my life.
I think this is a nice side effect of writing..The choices I make about subject matter, the view I present, the focus, (the lessons I've learned)--all of this is for me to chose.

I could chose to have a “half glass full” view (something I did for many years!) or to be a Polyanna, and see only the good. (a view nearly as bad as the opposite, I now think)--I know I have it in me to be mean and spiteful—but I try to keep this in check, and to aim for the “positive re-frame”.

Are you familiar with the idea of positive re-frame? Its a way of taking the facts (are the facts the truth? Sometimes) and seeing all of the facts.

Movies (some movies) do this superbly.. One is Mel Brooks version of 'Robin Hood'.

There is a scene (a memorable one to me) where Mel Brook's character (a councilor of sorts to the prince) stand at a castle window.. he looks out and sees:

a bustling market in court below the window,
boys fishing, successfully, in the moat (a bit of fantasy, but hey, it is a movie)

moving outwards, in the near, and then the far distance there are:
green fields, with grain, and cattle, and farms and men working in the fields, and all sorts of animals.
Further in the distance, forests, with all sorts of game...
Near by streams that grow to rivers, and far of ports with many white sailed ships...

Everything is idealized, everything is beautiful, everything is good.

The prince, is sitting on a chair a few feet away from the window

Once again, the scene starts at the window.. and we see:

a broken pane of glass,
rust on the window frame,
bird poop on the exterior sill

Moving inward, the curtain on the window is thread bare,
There are cobwebs in the corner of the window,
The room, is filled with faded, worn, and tarnished fixtures,
Candle wax drips are on the floor, (from the candle on the tilted wall sconce with a loose screw)

There are holes worn in the carpet.

Every detail is dull, dirty or broken.

Each character see something different.. in each case, there is a level of truth—but neither is seeing the whole.

(The whole of the movie Groundhog Day is about the same subject. When we see things differently, we are different, and our lives are different. The main character spends the entire movie learning that.)

The truth of my life is there have been hard times. (Where these of my own making? Alas, yes, all too often!--but there were others who influenced my life, in less than positive ways)

And the truth of my life is I have been blessed, with good friends, loving family, and more
things (material good) than I could dream of as child.

I can (and try to!) focus on the good, the positive—but I don't deny the bad. It's there. It has shaped me.

There are facts, and somewhere there is the truth. I am still looking for it! And blogging, I find helps!



Friday, December 21, 2007

Done!

On Sunday, these socks were less than a dozen row/rounds from being complete.
But I didn't finish them till late yesterday afternoon --and the real finishing, (weaving in all the ends) didn't get completed till early evening.
They are not every day socks.. they are thick and cushiony, --and a bit hard to put on and take off.
Worked at 9 stitches to the inch, and stranded, they are snug socks (the foot was worked over 68 stitches, the leg over 78).

They are the perfect socks for horrid days.. you know the ones.. when there is rain or snow or sleet predicted (or, as happens, all three!) and circumstances dictate being out and about all day.

NYC has one of two of these each year, and sometime, I have plans that I can't, or don't want to change. I can think of 2 that occurred in the past few years.

One was New Year's day 2001—Memorable for the cold, cold weather, and the MOUNTAIN of snow (about 2 feet!). A friend, and her family were visiting, (from the UK). and we had planned a full day of sight seeing. Including a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. We ended the day (of sightseeing) atop the WTC.he real end was back uptown, at their hotel, for dinner and alcohol.. (lots of alcohol!) which was fine, because I had taken public transportation to Manhattan (and did the same going home) and tipsy doesn't matter on trains!

The other day, not so cold, but wetter, two years later, (again taking an friend, visiting from Japan, sight seeing.) --We started down town, visiting the site of the former WTC, and ending the day uptown at Metropolitan Museum of Art (and watched the last few minutes of the St Patric's day parade.)

It's days like these that demand soft, plush, warm socks! And there are one or two every year.
And sometimes, instead of being able to avoid the weather, you need to be out and about in
it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
“and visions of sugar plums danced in their heads”
Do you know what a sugar plum is?

Actually the nearest modern equivalent would be “a sweet treat”--the term was used for a variety of treats, from small hard sugar candies, to 'sweetmeats'-- treats made from fruit or nuts.

One of my favorite 'sugar plums' are stuffed dates.

The Kid version:

Take ready made marzipan, cut into small chunks, and roll into small 'logs'.
Each log should be about the size of the last joint (tip) of your pinky finger)
Stuff these, as is, into pitted sweet dates.

OR add to the marzipan, (or roll the logs in):

chopped almonds,

chopped dried cherries,

toasted coconut,

cinnamon sugar,

chopped (finely!) crystallized ginger,

toasted sesame seeds—

or something similar before stuffing into the dates.

These are slightly more nutritious than candy or cookies—after all they are fruits and nuts and they are yummy!


For adults: (this recipe was stolen from Sulu)

Cut the dates in half, and stuff each half with a whole almond (plain or glazed)
Wrap each half date in ½ strip of bacon.(use toothpick to secure the bacon to date)
Roll the bacon wrapped dates in brown sugar.
Broil 8 to 10 minutes, (turning once) till bacon is crisp.

They shouldn't be eaten right out the oven, (they are too hot) but adults will ignore all suggestions to wait till they cool down!

Warning: no matter how many you make, it won't be enough--of either!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More socks

Since I've finished the shawl, I've been working on some UFO's (there are always UFO's!)

Not yet seen, but half done, is a second Ruffles scarf (see Scarf Style, Pam Allan/designed by Amanda Brown).
The first version I made was done in wool. This one is being worked in Mode Dea's Bamboo Wool in 2 shades of green (pale celery green, and soft sage green) –I am past (about 6 inches past) the half way point (i.e., I am now working with second balls of wool in each color)

The first 2 balls yielded about 40 inches of scarf, I expect the next 2 balls will bring the finished scarf to about 80 inches.. a nice length.
The scarf is endless.. (all those short rows!) but its does look very pretty in the two tones of green).
Secondly, I have been working on my 'free socks'. The bulk of the yarn for these socks is left over from other pairs, Plus one odd ball (in a totally different dye lot)- that I space dyed with easter egg colors.


Remember theses? (from Oct 27th?) They are more like socks now!

The colors are pretty, but there isn't enough contrast for the fair isle type patterns to really jump out –so, it was almost inevitable, that errors would creep in.. and boredom, too.

So, the errors were left, and to resolve boredom, the patterns were changed. The ocean waves gave way to a rippled shore design, and then to flights of fancy.

I am almost out of yarn, and the socks are almost finished.


They are pretty enough.. not perfect, but then, they are just everyday socks.. albeit extra warm ones!


The fabric is a nice dense 9.5 stitches to the inch, (I increased after the heel so that the leg of the socks would fit on to my fat (full sized!) ankles and would be easier to put on). The close colors make the designs elements subtle--besides they are just socks, and usually only seen from 5 (or more!) feet away.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Finished Objects and Some Yarn Pron

I really hate knitting scarves and shawls.

No matter how enjoyable they are at the beginning, at the end, they are all tedious.

Especially when the style is one that has increases, row after row, and the further along you are, the more stitches there are in a single row—add short rows to the pattern, and row after row of knitting results in what seems to be very little progress!

That said, (I am still plodding along on a second version of Amanda Brown's Ripple scarf—long and short rows both!) I am please to announce that the Noro Swirl shawl is done. Here is one image, (later this week I'll spread it out into the spiral.. (no where near 540°, but more than 360°) so you can see the shape.

It could have been bigger.. but as the end of the skein (and yes, the shawl was knit with 1 skein!) became evident, it was evident to me, I was at my end, too!

My ocean socks are anklets (waiting for me to finish them) but I have an incentive..see here:
Silk sock (and some stripes)









Fermenting, is what to do with this Classic Elite yarn (a discontinued one)

*Sonya had the one skein of peach, I had 2 of steel grey (and some mini balls of some other colors, rose and a blue, I think) the mini balls weren't enough on there own, but with the peach, I now have enough yardage to make....(a hat and small scarf?(What am I crazy? Another scarf!) or perhaps a shrug....
I haven't seen the shrug pattern I like yet.. so if a shrug, it will have to be designed!

* I told Sonya I want this yarn, --but I also offered her the 2 skeins of grey. 1 skein is so limiting, 3 opens up so many possibilities!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Food—Philosophically.... Part 1

<--This is Miss B.. on a box!
(photo has nothing to do with the rest of the post!)

This post is not about madelaines, but spareribs..

The Mole that was featured as an idea for turkey left overs on Sonya blog,was actually served as part of Thanksgiving Day dinner.. (not the next day!)

It was part of a wonderful feast of food that included home made tortilla's, fresh roasted pepitas (ie, pumpkin/squash seeds)--as a garnish for the homemade pumpkin soup, heirloom tomato salad, and black beans, and salsa. All reflective of DIL and son's philosophy about the use of fresh, local foods. It was an impressive amount of cooking (and I ate a bit of everything!) and all of it was good--and much of it was spicy, hot and flavorful.

I love spicy/flavorful foods--they are a real change from most of the foods I at as a child.

As a child, was a picky eater--made worse because I seem to like all the foods my mother disliked, and to dislike all of her favorites. The vegetables I liked rarely made it to the table, and the vegetables that did make it to the table, were ones I disliked (and for the most, part still do!)

I love onions, she hated them!
I love nuts (and seeds) and she hated them.
She loves french cut green beans. They make me gag.
The list goes on.. and only rarely is there a food that we both liked.

It was not a match made in heaven.

My mother was a picky eater, too, (she is a bit less so now, but I suspect she still is reluctant to try new foods) I am less reluctant than I was as child to try new foods, but I am hardly an adventurous eater--and of the many of the new foods I do try, there are still ones don't like--(well I don't like enough to make for myself.).

But I love spicy food.
For most of my childhood, the basic (and often only seasoning) used were salt and pepper.

One very strong memory, though, is of spicy hot bar-b-q spare ribs.

I don't know who convinced my mother to first try bar-b-q ribs. I only know she did.

She rarely tried new foods and was very skeptical about spicy ones.. but somehow, some one
convinced her, and low and behold, She loved them.

And so started the great bar-b-q bake off—since not only did she like them, but so did my dad, and so did we kids, she realize she had found a winner.. a food we all liked (which guaranteed one night with out the dreaded whine “Do I have to eat it? I don't like it!” from some child (there were 5 of us!)

Well it was off look for a recipe... I am pretty sure, the original recipe came from Redbook magazine. My mother subscribed to Redbook, and no other womans magazine. She didn't always buy Woman's Day or Family Circle—these and others womans magazine I learn to read at relatives—and she owned, as best I can recall, only 1 cook book.

The recipe, perhaps from an article labeled “bar-b-q-ing with out a grill” featured what is now called “Carolinian” style bar-b-q .. The meat is slowly braised (boiled/steamed) in a spiced, lightly sweetened vinegar, then it is removed, let cool, while the sauce is reduced, and de-fatted.

Then the meat is reheated under a broiler--it only needs to be reheatd, because it has been completely cooked in the vinegar and spice mix. While reheating, it is glazed with the 'reduced sauce'.

Because it is fully cooked, it only needs to be lightly broiled, the meat doesn't dry out and glaze doesn't burn either, but just lightly caramelizes. The braised meat is seasoned through out. The glaze just adds another layer of flavor.

The recipe she found has a huge list of, what where to her, and us, exotic spices—Most were fairly common every day items in most kitchens, but not in ours.. Items like: garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, as well as other exotic things like molasses, and corn syrup. Even apple cider vinegar was a new and different change from the standard white vinegar that was our household staple.

Each was purchased specifically for the ribs. Each was measured out.. the recipe was followed to the T—an other exceptional activity, since cooking with these spices was a totally new experience for my mother.

The meat—racks and racks of meaty spareribs (my dad was a butcher, and we never lacked for meat in my childhood) - were cooked covered, in a slow oven (about 250° F) for hours, then the sauce was poured off, chilled, de-fatted, and reheated, and reduced. As dinner time approached, the house began to smell wonderful! Under the stove broiler, the glazed meat got dark and crisp, it looked and smelled better than anything my mother had cooked before. Everyone was looking forward to the dinner.

The Ribs?
They were hotter than hellfire—especially to our palates-- so unaccustomed to spice food--but--and this is the best part--We devoured them.

With every bite, we took a swig of milk or soda or water, to help clear our palate... and then we ate some more! We complained “These are too hot to eat” and in the next breath, asked, “Can I have some more?”

The recipe was an absolute failure-- and a resounding success.
Even my mother ate them.

There were, in spite of our complaints about them being 'too hot', none left over. The bones of every rack were picked bare, the plates were wiped clean.

We sat back in our chairs at the end of them meal complaining about our seared tongues.. after having all but licked any remaining sauce of our plates!

We were bloated with food and fluid, and finally my mother spoke up.

NEXT TIME, she said, the next time, I am just going to use ¼ of the amount of spices called for!

And there was a next time, and with all the spice reduced, the ribs were flavorful, still a bit hot, but much milder.

Bar-b-q-ed ribs became one of my mothers signature dishes.. Everyone raved about them. Any time she made them, for parties or family get together's, they disappeared in seconds.

They were always flavorful, tender and moist--the meat falling of the bones. They were nicely spicy with out being searingly hot (after a while she realize it was the cayenne pepper, more than the paprika, or the chili powder that added the heat, and she used it sparingly.)

Everyone raved about my mothers recipe for ribs!

Those ribs were my first taste of hot spicy food.. and they created for me, a favorable associations.. for ever after, I felt confident saying.. “I like spicy food” and I went on from there to enjoy chili, and Indian foods, and Mexican foods, and all sort of other spice cuisines.

My palette is still tuned to milder (less heat) chilies and spices than hot ones--but good spicy food is flavorful, not just hot. And it is still a favorite!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spinning but not yet a spinster.

One of the reasons I was interested in Sonya's spinning wheel, was last May, I acquired some fleeces.

(don't bother to look, I didn't blog about it!) And I have a good hope of acquiring more fleece from the same source next May. It only made sense with all this free wool around, I would want some way of turning it from raw fleece into spun wool.

I proceeded, in the early summer to wash/scour the wool with no directions.. (except—don't agitate, Use lots of detergent, and warm, but not hot water.) I now know there are things I can do that will result in easier to spin wool--but another spinner reported that she once washed a fleece in a washing machine in a laundromat—so I wasn't obsessive about how I scoured the wool the first time I tried—my bad!

I have no idea of what breed the sheep are.. (they are just sheep)

I am a city girl, born and bred with in NYC's 5 borough's.. What do i know of sheep? Actually I know one breed.. Jacob's sheep. (a breed that looks like sheep described in the bible.) These can be found in the Children's Zoo of the Bronx Zoological Gardens.. The only sheep i know, are zoo animals!--(likewise, I only know cows)

In NY State, (both on Long Island and upstate) there are plenty of dairy farms, and there are cows..(I suppose there is an occasional bull, but mostly what you see from a car (going past fields at 60 miles an hour) are she cows.

It is udderly clear they are she cows! Same is true for most of New England, and New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Every once in a while you pass a farm that has a sign, “Angus Cattle” (they are short legged, stocky black cows) and I know Angus is a breed that is used for meat, but in NY State, herds of Angus are herds of cows!

Dairy Farmers often have Notices.. “Pure Bred Angus” on this farm,(black cows), “Pure Bred Jersey's”(reddish cows)on an other farm, or “Pure bred Holsteins” (black and white cows) elsewhere, but sheep farms are less common--and “Pure Bred X” (where X is a variety of sheep!!) are even less common!

My sheep (possessive aren't I?) are communal sheep. They live a life of leisure, eating grass, apples, (there is an old apple orchard where they live-- and they get to eat all the wind-falls) and sweet hay. There primary occupation is to entertain children. (Well they might not think so.. they think it's to eat and have fun.) When they die, they die of old age, (not at butchers!).

The down side? The pastures are sometimes weedy (there is a lot of burdock in the fleece!) and the fleece are filthy. (I easy washed several pounds of sand out of the one fleece I washed, (plus vegetable matter, and all sorts of sheepy things (lanolin, 'dandruff', etc), though the fleece were pretty well skirted (and there wasn't too much dag). (-->first attempt!)

So starting with my home scoured, and simple carded, and not the best wool in the world to work with, my first attempt at spinning is, well not very well spun!
(<--details of first attempt)

I am still learning How to:
Consistent, evenly treadle (in the right direction!)
How to adjust the tension –so the fly wheels whizzes, and the bobbin follows at a slower pace
How to draft.
Watch not only the draft, but the bobbin.

Right now, I've spun all the wool I've carded, and I have to go back and find some good lock of wool, and card them (and clean out the vegetable matter) and try again!

Come the new year, I think I'll take a spinning class--and buy some roving. I am sure better materials will help! --Not that practice isn't needed! But I suspect my home carded wool would be challenging for an advanced spinner.

In the meanwhile I have 2 more fleeces, that still need to be washed, and combed, and carded and I think I'll follow Yarn Harlot's detailed delicate process for these----I will still be working with an unknown variety of wool, but it will be easier to work with, if I treat it better!

(<--second go)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Give what you can...

Have you contributed to Doctors without Borders (via Yarn Harlot's blog) ? If not, why not?

If you are cash poor (like me) donate yarn, or pattern, or a tool...

Some lucky winner is going to get 5 skeins of Katia Ingenua.. (750 yards of a mostly mohair blend (78%mohair, 13%nylon, and 9%wool)--but even luckier winners have won even better prizes.. you should go look!

What have you donated?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Round and Round she goes...

And where she'll stop, no one knows! (well I don't know yet, for sure!)

Not quite a full circle yet--and more than a full circle will be needed! But perhaps not a full 540° of arc. The short rows are working as I hoped--the stripes remain evident.. They have changed, but the hem edge still has nice wedges of color.

As I mentioned, this scarf/shawl was inspired by one seen in a knitting magazine ad (you can see the original here—note it is a PDF—top row, right side)--I think mine is superior, (not because of anything I have done, but because of the lovely yarn-- this design makes the most of the Noro yarns long color way.)

Mine is clearly a knock off Inspired by the other... but it is different.I am not documenting the details, but basically, it's a series of short rows, to make wedges of knitting. The spacing of the short rows has changed as the number of stitches have increased, the wedges have changed shape along the way.

And at the same time, I am making a series of increases (1 increase at the hem edge every time I complete a short row wedge), with the basic knitting being done in a double garter stitch.. The fabric is soft and loosely knit.

I tend to be a process knitter.. I enjoy seeing how patterns, yarns, increases, shaping and all the other details of knitting come together to create a design. I rarely wear shawls--and I wear scarves less often.

I wear hats even less, but I continue to design and knit them.

Socks are about the only thing I both knit and wear!

And really, I've only been knitting sock in earnest for the past 5 years!--before that, I didn't know about knitting 2 on 2, and had a very bad cast of second sock syndrome.

I've been enjoying knitting this spiral shawl, (even now when the rows are getting longer and longer with each 'wedge' that is completed!)

But I had no real plans to wear it! I was enjoying the process.. (the finished product? um, i dunno...)

What I did have plans ons, was my DIL's spinning wheel. (a folding Lendrum)

I knew she was spinning less, (I am amazed she get anything done for her self!) Her teen age son is not horrid, but he is a teen ager.. and then there is Miss B, age seven, and Master C, age 2 and some, who is, a wonderful, funny, clever child, but he is a normal 2 year old.. (ie, he is a holy terror!)

Besides, she works, and does Art, (I am, at my best, an artisan, more often I am a crafts person) but Sonya is an Artist—And while my son is a pretty good guy (he cooks, he cleans, he does laundry) he also works full time, and the bulk of the daily routine seems to fall on her shoulders!

Well, as I was saying, I decided to be a good friend to Sonya, and Help her, by storing her spinning wheel for a few years! (Thankfully, she was open to this idea!)

She, in response, will HELP me, by accepting the spiral shawl once it is finished! (Isn't she wonderful? As an other knitter, I know she appreciates hand knit goods.. and she wears scarfs and shawls!--(much more than I do!) I get the fun of knitting it.. (with out the chore of storing it!)

Well, I have the wheel already.. So I have to make an effort and get this scarf/shawl finished in a timely manor!

(Some time soon, my adventures in learning to spin!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Long time, No see

When I haven't blogged in a while, (like now) it's not because I have nothing to blog about.. Rather I have too much..

I still haven't blogged about my adventure with my neighbor:
renting a truck, driving about, and transporting the new (to her) TV.
(it was a sort of a comedy routine! it could be titled: 2 fat old ladies, the truck and the TV.)

And I haven't blogged about Ravelry, or about meeting other knitters via Ravelry.


Nor did I blog about my trip to San Fransisco--This crystal pitcher (above) is a recycled memento of the trip--to visit my son and his family.

This trip could be the source of many topics, including:
Sight seeing (a very little)
Knitting, (a bit) yarn porn, (a bit) spinning, (quite a bit!)
Grandchildren (of course, mine are the best! And my stories about them are the best!)
Food (my DIL blogged a bit about the food, but she didn't brag...I could blog about all the food (it was all very good!)
--and about the philosophy of food.. (natural vs prepared, vegetarian vs ominivorian, traditional vs. new ideas)--food offers a host of blog subjects!

I could make a few blog posts just about a few of the many books of her's I skimmed, (she had, um Planned ahead, and had many of her books handy --while re-organizing the book shelves!)
I could blog even more about The History of Knitting (not a glowing review) a book I read, and have borrowed--as well as borrowing Nicky Epstein's book Barbie and Me (all the better to knit for my granddaughter)--another subject that is worth a whole blog post!

I also skimmed most of Anne Zilboorg's book the Knitting Heretic, much of the book covers things I have previously read about (or by) her, and since our philosophies are very similar, there was little in the book that I disagreed with—or failed to understand.

I could blog about Hats--I both skimming the Interweave book on hats, and Anne Zilboorg's book on hats, I feel ready to knit more hats.. and to really get to it, and write my own book about hats!

Sonya suggest that I blog more about my life.. In some ways a boring one, but in other ways, a very rich one (if not always a happy one)--but the life and times of neurotic knitter seems to fascinate her!

I don't know how many of these subjects are going to get blogged about.. some, I suppose, others will slip away...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

180 degrees.. or about 25% done!

180° done, 360° more to go...

This shawl is sort of like a capelet.

At this point, you can see the 'front'--the cast on/last row of work are about 'shoulder seams'-there is no seam, (nor will there be) but if when worn, the cast on row will sit about at the shoulder seam, and (as will the 'stripe' now being knit)

The scoop is the neckline is clearly visible.
The shape is a C (tilted over and lying on its back) --or half a 'donut' --or half a circle with the center scooped out! Which description works for YOU?

As I continue, with more short row wedges, I'll be knitting the back. Which will be the same as front, only it will continue to get longer/deeper.. (from neck edge to hem)

Eventually, I'll have a full circle. (360°) If I were knitting a caplet, I would stop at a full (or even an almost full) circle.

But for this shawl, I'll continue on, making another half circle.. (360° + another 180° for a total of 540° of knitting!)

The last half circle will be deeper (longer rows of knitting and longer from neck edge scoop to hem edge) which will UNDER lap this first half circle.

So while I have one third (180°) of the wrap done, with each segment of short rows, I am increasing, and getting longer and longer rows, (more stitch =more knitting) and only about one fourth of all the knitting done.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

100°? 110°? Well more than 90!

And more still since the photo was taken..

It's beginning to look like a collar, --and will be worn sort of like a wrap around collar..

I think I am up to at least 140° now.

I figure a clock is 360°, and from 9 to 3
(or 3 to 9 if you insist on traveling clockwise!) is 180°

But my knitting is laid out counter clockwise, so I'll proceed to go backwards.. (not that this will surprize any one who knows me!)

9 to 6 is a right angle (90°) and that can be -divided into 3 parts (9 to 8, 8 to 7, and 7 to 6)

So 'each hour' equals about 30°.... I have knit from 9 to 6 and past 5, but not to 4--

9 o'clock to 6 o'clock is 90°, to 5 o'clock is another 30°, (120°!) to 4 o'clock, 150°--but.. I am not at 4 o'clock yet.. but I am closer to it now than I was when I took the photo! I hope to be to 3 o'clock before the night is out!..

I am looking forward to see how the strip will change the rows of knitting get longer.. I think there will be, because of the short row, some stripping, right up to the end.

Then I'll continue round to till I've made a complete counter clock wise revolution --9 to 3 is the front, and 3 to 12, and back to 9 will be the back.. then again from 9 to 3 for the overlap--or rather the underlap! The start (and narrow end) will be on top... the wide end will be underneath.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I know I haven't posted anything to my blog for a few days.

I've written a few posts, but I –well I've been a sour mood, and the post went beyond acidic to positively vitriolic, and I've elected not to share them--most of them shouldn't see the light of day!

Some will be sweetened up, and appear sometime in the future. Others, I suspect will never see the light of day—the topic include knitting groups (and group behavior at its worst) TV commercials, medicine and sexism (that one will get rewritten and published) and the Pidge and the uproar about how expensive it (supposedly) is--and how impossible it is to knit (NOT!)

I've been knitting-- the Ocean wave socks have a heel (I photographed them when they only had half a heel, but the second half was finished Sunday.


The Ripple scarf plods along.. (about 20 inches now) (no photographs)



And a HUGH ball of an old NORO yarn (a mostly rayon blend) that has been sitting (not put away, but left out, in sight, for inspirations) has finally found a project.

The design I'm knitting is a rip off.. a copy of scarf/shawl that has been seen (well seen by me!) in the back of several knitting magazines.... a spiral that starts narrow, increases and turns, making a full circle, and then another half circle (540° in all) --it's as simple as can be, short rows of double garter stitch (K1, P1/P1, K1) with the yarn doing most of the work—and doing a lovely job of it!

It's going to be tedious, all those short rows.. (and it will get worse with every inch.. ) already, there are 18 inches of hem for a mere 4 inches of neck (and I am figuring, a loose neck is 18 to 20 inches, + another half neck –27 to 30 inches at neck line (which will be some 100 or more inches of length at the hem end. --I could make the hem end narrower, but I want a soft drapy fabric..and a slightly ruffled edge--Unlike the spiral wrap I've seen photographed in the ads.

So my scarf/wrap isn't attempting to be a duplicate --but it clearly takes inspiration from the one I've seen

The Noro is slightly thick and thin, and its being worked very softly on a size 5(3.75mm) needle.(and was a lovely gift from Barbara V (aka the KnitWit on several knitting boards, but blogless)
When I measured wraps per inch 1 inch =23 wraps, but 2 inches =28 wraps (or 14 per inch!)
The truth lies somewhere in between—since the thick parts of the yarn aren't to be found every other inch.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sock Stuff

Last year at this point, I'd knit 10 pairs of socks. (in total I knit 13 pairs in 2006)

This year, I've completed 5.
I didn't finish a single pair of socks from January to July!
So far, this year, there have been the Koigu socks (6months in the making!), the Autumnal socks, the Blues, (overdyed Lion Brand yarn), and the Faggoted Ribs socks.

Just finished are ho hum generic socks in a self striping yarn.
Knit top down --with a Channel Island cast on, an after-thought heel (a banded heel) and banded toe.
Nothing wrong with them, but they just don't 'sing'. The self striping pattern is almost perfectly matched, but the socks are just –socks.

Last night-- I started a new pair of socks.. they are flying off my needles.. I love them—the toe is long (almost 2 inches), and another 2 inches beyond that have been knit!

The yarn is left over Kroy sock yarn.. an incomplete ball of a medium blue, another incomplete (but less so!) of the bright blue, and the third yarn is the same bright blue that I experimented with and overdyed—in a sort of hand painted colorway. The colors move from royal blue, to bright blue, to blue green to emerald green.
They are toe up, with a magic cast on, and lifted increases. On the top (instep) the pattern is one often called 'hook' but I always see it as waves.. so these are my ocean waves sock!

The sole of the sock is worked in a simple 3/1 pattern that doesn't have a name. I like this turkish style –with different patterns for the instep and sole for socks.. .
I tend to like (as a general rule) high constrast, but these socks are subtle shades of blue.. at times there is so little contrast, its hard to see the patterns.. but the ocean is like that.. sometimes so dark as to be almost black, sometimes so clear and bright, it looks like a swimming pool—but usually its just soft subtle shade of blue. (Well that's how its is here in the NY area anyway!)

At the same time, I have an other version of the Ruffle scarf (Amanda Brown's pattern from Scarf Style working in 2 shades of Mode Dea Bamboo wool (celery and moss green) The Ruffle scarf is pretty, but with all the short row, its slow going!

(and opening up, organizing, photographing, uploading and then packing away my stash--all this done for ravelry!-- is also eating up a good deal of my time!

80 plus entries in my ravelry stash, and I am still working on the wools!--still to come are cottons, and other fibers, cones, and mohairs and, of course, sock yarn!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Face Facts!

Do I need to say this? Stocking knit curls!

It is the nature of the stitch. It's not a fault. It's not a feature. It just is. Accept it.

Stocking knit will curl both lengthwise and widthwise--a conflict will sometimes keep the corners a bit flatter.. but stocking knit curls.

I could go into the science, but she did, and she did, and so did she --and so did many others.. a google search of “Why Stockinette curls” yields 20,000 + hits! If you want to better understand knitting, and the nature of stocking knit, you can read and understand why it curls. Or you could just accept the fact that it is the nature of stocking knit to curl.

This curling nature make stocking knit sweaters (held flat by seam) drape and conform to the human body. It makes socks and other items knit in the round (tubular knitting) fit well too.

You can fight it— But you'll lose.

Several recent threads on different BB's have knitters saying “I know stocking knit curls, but..
It doesn't seem to in this photograph --but when I try to knit the same thing, the stocking knit curls!?

It can be blocked away, right? --Even thought I am knitting with an synthetic fiber that can't be steam blocked.

What if I add a twisted stitch or a few garter stitches, or something else at the edge?

It won't curl if i knit it loose enough, right?


Forget it! Stocking knit curls!

Accept the nature of the stitch, and live with it.

Do you want a stocking knit scarf (a flat one?) Double side it--Like this one

You can knit the scarf in the round, or knit it flat and seam, or double knit it.

(You can block it from now till doomsday, and while you'll get a few hours of flatness, a single layer stocking knit scarf is going to revert to curling!)

If you don't want a double layer scarf, use a stitch pattern that has a balance between knits and purls.
Ribbing is one, garter stitch is another –but there are many options besides these two!
Waffle, Flag, basket weave, any stitch dictionary or collection or treasury is going to have dozens of stitch patterns that balance knits and purls and lies flat. And many of these patterns have the virtue of being identical on each side--some are different, but equally attractive.

Once you realize that the curl of stocking knits stitch is the nature of the stitch, it's a quick and easy step to begin to seeing the Curl as a FEATURE. A feature you can work with instead of a flaw that needs to be fought. Soon after that, you'll be thinking about how to make use of this feature!

There are some techniques that USE the very nature of stocking knit to curl-- Some designs and designers that cleverly use the nature of stocking knit to curl to their advantage.

The nature of the stitch hasn't changed. It is just being worked with—good design allows stocking knits nature to curl to work for the design, instead of against it.

Here are some examples of stocking knit stitches nature being used for good --
Amanda Brown's Ruffle scarf-(well, my interpretation of it..)
from Scarf Style.

Look at the lovely curled edges of the ruffle.. Remember stocking knit curls-- See how it accentuates the ruffle, softens it, and gives it depth!

Look at the lovely curled edges on this sweater neck or on the brim of this hat... in both cases the curling nature of stocking knit is USED to soften the edges.

Here is an other example.. the nature of stocking knit to curl created deep ridges, and make the color changes more dramatic.

Stocking Knit Curls—how cool is that?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fame (a little bit) goes to my head.

Like many people, I am a mass of conflicting ideas.

I like to think I am open and accepting...(and crash head first into prejudices and misconceptions I hold all the time!)
I have to constantly work on ridding myself of prejudices I have acquired over the years.

I like to think I am creative.. (and I am constantly blown away by those more creative than myself, and shamelessly copy their ideas)
I recognize that I am a bit afraid of my own creativity, and self censor.

I like to think I am no longer the scared, insecure waif I once was, (and find my self inordinately thrilled by small accomplishments.)

At my age, I can hardly blame my childhood woes for my current state. Enough time has passed, --and I have enough self awareness to realize, much of my childhood woes were the result of my own thinking. (some were real enough... but)

I was for many years a glass half empty kind of thinker. Nowdays, I sometimes see the glass as half full; more often, as half a glass--neither half empty (negatively) or half full, (positively) but just as half a glass (realisticlly!)

Last time I posted about my 15 minutes of fame.

And since then, I have found further excitement by discovering that 2 people (well, at least 2 people!) have found my blog, and the free patterns I have posted, KNIT them, and –(incredible, unreasonable pride here) posted them in the Ravelry Pattern Library!

You can find examples of the In the Pines Headband, and the Double Delight shawl, knit by others, in the Ravelry. (links to both patterns in Left-hand column)

I can't thank LaniW and Sherilyn enough (and that some have added these patterns to their queue, and marked them as favorite? Astounding!)

LaniW doesn't have a blog, but Sherilyn does. You can see her other projects, (if you are not yet a Ravelry member) here.

I still strive to be like Keat's--

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charactry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; -- then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

--and let my desire for fame to sink to nothingness, but I am, sometimes, as much of a failure at it as Augustine was--when he prayed for patience.. NOW!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gone Long, And on to other things

I'm in Ravelry now a month –and while I've added some projects, and some photo's, I still haven't begun to add stash –and I don't know that I'll ever add anything to my queue.

I often see things that I might want to knit, but like the recent Swirl Sweater, there is often a long gap between seeing and knitting. Way too often, no matter what I think my plans are, I get distracted.

A swatch in a silk fine silk blend (pink swatch in previous post) gets me thinking:
How would that look in a different yarn?
Or in a different color?
Or striped?

Sometimes, the swatch remains a swatch..

But this week, the newest swatch became something else!

The stitch was interesting enough in the scarf... And worked just as nicely in the matching hat.

Now I want to see it in different colors.. Brighter, darker, with the relative color values reversed. How would this stitch look with a solid foreground and color stripes as a background?

I might end up playing with this for a while... and getting a few rows of my socks done in the off hours.
Speaking of socks--I wonder how it would work for socks? The result would certainly be a warm sock!

Finally, getting back to Ravelry, for the moment (i.e., my 15 minutes of fame) the editors have chosen my image of the Phyllotaxis scarf (see it here if you aren't yet part of Ravelry) to illustrate the data base entry on this pattern.

(There isn't a huge selection to chose from-- so far of the current thousands of Ravelry Beta members, there are only 4 who've cataloged this project.)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Swatching-Gone Wrong/Long

On and off in the past few weeks, I've been swatching. I have many stitch collections, and I still haven't knit them all. And really you don't know what a stitch really looks like till you've knit it up in the yarn you intend to use it for.

I had some fine, fine silk and cotton, and was thinking about what to do with it.. and a sampler of stitches swatch sort of evolved--the plan was for a diagonally shaped scarf, so the swatch is shaped the same.
I tried the simple, tried and true, stocking knit with beading..

And then, I decided I like the textured look of the purl stitch, and started playing with some slip stitch patterns, looking for something where the purl stitch is the right side of the work
along the way I made an mistake--(can you see the 'wrong' row in the center of the image?) and decided I like the mistake so much I'd repeat it for a few rows and see how it looked.

I loved the look—but realize, there was no way I was going to work this fine, fine silk in this stitch. The stitch was interesting, but not for this project. Slip stitches have compressed rows.. (more row to an inch than say stocking knit) I put the swatch aside.

But I like the stitch, and thought about how it would look in a stripe. Slip stitches often change dramatically when striped--So, another swatch, in a different yarn, striped.

Remember, I was looking for an interesting, textured purl stitch.
After a dozen rows of my new swatch, I thought about swapping the relative positions of my yarns.

The purl side was predominately green (the solid colored stripe), and the colored stripe, was too under- expressed. There wasn't enough color there.

But look at the wrong side!

Every other row of this slip stitch pattern is 1X1 ribbing.. and the wrong side does sort of looked ribbed.. but the green row of ribbing is so compressed, it hardly visible. The uneven tension creates waves—And what is not visible is how thick and plush the knitting is.

This is definitely a cold weather scarf. It's like a thermal blanket.. Not tightly knit, but dense, with lots of air-trapping spaces.

It's not what I expected, or even what I wanted, but I like what I got! And this swatch is going long.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finished (for the most part)

And like most sweaters, it won't look its best till Cyrus tries it on..

The headthingy is, I think about the right size, (and the hood looks to be a bit big) but the headthingy has a longer neck than the average 2 year old—so the shoulders are all wrong.

Oh--it hasn't been blocked! but it looks good enough..
I am still thinking of adding some ties for the hood. (I think I'll cheat.. I'll make ties, and Sonya can and them if she thinks they are needed.


I should take some inside pictures too, and show off the hems and interior zipper bands--even the cables are reversible. so the sweater looks good open and flapping.


I hated sweaters much of my childhood, even cardigans; the sleeves were always too bulky, and sweaters too warm--I still like vests better than cardigans-- and I've always tried to make my kids (when they were younger) and grandchildren, the kind of garments I wanted when I was a kid.. (don't know if it always pleases them, but it pleases me!)

My son is rather like me, (and is happier with cooler weather rather than warmer) and I think Cyrus follows suit. Enough here to keep a kid warm, (and a mom happy) with out being too much clothing to interfere with having fun.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Progress..


Steeks cut, and facings knit.. the outer one has been pinned down so you can see the striped design. They (both the visible front band and in the interior band) were knit in stocking knit. I will sew the zipper in close to cast off edge, and rely on stocking knits tendency to curl to keep the knitting free of the zipper teeth. (Zipper still needs to be sewn in.)

The hood is shaped like a giant short row sock heel and about half done.

It will lie flat (I hope!) when not on—like a large shawl collar.

The edge will be finished with the same checkerboard motif on hems. I think I am going to add some hidden buttons to help hold the finished edge of the hood neat against the neck line edge.

I have been finishing (weaving in tails, etc) as I go, so the sweater is closer to completions than it other wise might be.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Yes, I have been knitting..

Cyrus's sweater needs to be sewn and steeked, zipper plackets (and zipper) and hood still need to be added..
But the body is done--granted, hood is almost an equal amount of knitting, so it can only fairly be called half done—but there are some nice details already, hems of checkerboard. The checkerboard detail will be added to the hood too.

And there is another pair of socks in the works. These were started (with a picot hem) and frogged, months ago! I decided then I don't like to start socks with a picot hem. This new version has a vague picot from the Channel Island cast on.. The knitting is plain stocking knit (an after thought heel is planned)--I'm letting the self striping pattern do all the work

I almost feel entitled to buy some more sock yarn –seeing how my sock yarn stash is once again shrinking. (There is Rhinebeck coming up, and November will see me in San Francisco, (with a whole new bunch of LYS to explore!)

And I have been swatching.. various yarn--like this new Coat's and Clark's entry-- Bamboo Wool, 55%bamboo rayon, and 45% wool.. Very nice hand, nice stitch definition, and an OK price
It retails for $5.95 –at places like A.C. Moore, but who pays full price? There are once a month moonlight madness sales with 25 to 30% off all purchases, and 40% off coupons (go once a day for a week) or just sales. At $4 or less a skein, it's a value yarn.. too bad there is such a limited range of colors available.

Red, blue, raspberry, green, charcoal where the only shade available at my ACM--the colors are very attractive shades.. The blue, on close inspections, has shades of red, and navy, and a depth of color that is remarkable. But there are not light shades, only one shade of grey (dark) no white, cream, tan or browns.. And it is possible to do pastels blues, greens and even pinks that don't scream “baby”--but none of these colors are available!

And I've learned yet another variation of the Long Tail Cast On.. This brings me up to 36? 37? cast on's that I know. At some point I am going to put together some detailed instructions on some of these cast ons.. (there are some tutorials out there, but some of the cast on's I know don't have tutorials.)

And then there is Ravelry.. I haven't really made a dent in adding projects or stash, or all the other features.. and it still eats up time. I've added about 50% of my library.. but many of the knitting books I own aren't in the DataBase yet. But it take time to discover that.

I still have to figure out how to add a Ravelry button to the left margin of the blog.. but I am Oftroy there, too. (as I am on most knitting BB's)

Finally, stealing a good idea from, Jennifer Dickinson, I've been working on a NYC/LI LYS spread sheet.. This is a google document, (read only) every time I think I have finished it, I discover an other half dozen LYS! Still with almost 70 entries, its a good place to start if you are looking for a local yarn store in NYC area (eventually, I'll add the Westchester county stores as well.. but I draw the line a NY--Some one else can do NJ and Conn..

There has also been some mending and cleaning, and there are sewing projects awaiting my time—and a new one.. Have you seen Grossman's Gams? The Tsock Tsarina has once again done the remarkable!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If you say A...

ACH! It's been 15 day since I've posted..
I could recount all that has been going on.. but..
Do you know the expression, if you say A, you must say B, and if you say B, you must say..

Most of the alphabetic litany would be boring..
A starts with Arthritis.. I have been blessed with 3 kinds! Gout, Osteo and Rheumatic. And yes, it is a blessing of sorts-- there is some (scant, but that's enough for me) evidence that auto immune diseases like arthritis offer some protection against cancers and knock wood, there is lots of arthritis, and relatively little cancer in my family.)
B would be Banishing clutter (clutter is an every present danger! And I was loosing!) which leads into
C--post summer Cleaning... (D- a Dead toaster oven, replaced with one that had a different foot print, (and required rearranging things on the counter top (which refers back to C and B!) )

Most of the litany would be along this dull boring vein.

Let's skip to K-- there has been some knitting.

Cyrus's sweater was put done momentarily--- it is back in the cycle as of today.

One pair of socks, the the Schoeller Stahl Fortissima Colori sock have been completed. (Another pair snuck onto the needles before could pick up Cyrus's sweater, but they are now languishing.)

Worked top down, in a ribbed fagot stitch, worked on a 4 X 1 rib. With the rib continuing into the round heel, and they finished up with a square toe. I rather like the square toe. Its very similar to a flat or french toe, but the decreases have been moved. To work a Square toe, first figure out how many stitches for sole and instep (in my case 60 stitches total so 30 for each)

Then decide on how many stitches you want to decrease—or as I did, how many stitches you want to end with-- in my case, I settled on 10 stitches remaining on each side—at the tip of the toe.
So, starting on one edge of insole, Knit 9, K2tog, (place marker) K8, place marker, SSK, knit 9 --Repeat on sole.
Next round, no decreases.
Then K till 2 before marker, decrease, K to marker, decrease, knit. (repeat pattern on sole.)
(NOTE: in this toe, I used K2tog first, then a SSK, but you can also do a SSK as the first decrease, and K2tog as the second decrease)

Follow this pattern (decreasing every other round), until all the side stitches have be decreased, then kitchener remaining stitches--in my case, the 10 remaining center stitches.

Since I knit my socks on 2 circs, and all the instep (and all the sole) stitches are each all on 1 circ, and it's very easy.. but its not hard to do with DPN's, --since generally stitches are organized with all of the sole of sock on 1 or 2 DPN's, and the instep on the on the other DPN's.

This results in a center group of stitches, and two slanting sides. The end result is toe shaped very similar to the more common flat/french toe... but--just a bit different.
(note (she says pridefully) my lovely ribbing—with out the dreaded stretched out stitch next to the purl.. It's Carnegie Hall quality--from the classic answer to the question How to you get to Carnegie Hall? --Practice, Practice, Practice!)


And a knit necklace..

This is worked on DMC #5 pearl cotton with 24 gm of 6/0 seed beads --mine in a color mix called moonstone, with light grey pearl cotton. But you can choice any color combo that suits your fancy--the choice of color of the pearl cotton and seed beads is entirely up to you.
The entire thing is worked in i-cord.

First, using white glue or nail polish, stiffen the tail of the pearl cotton (about an inch or two)

Thread all of the beads onto pearl cotton (the nail polish stiffened end can be used instead of threading a needle)the single strand of cotton will easily slip through the beads.

With 2 (US size) 2 (or 3) DPN's, cast on 2 (that is 2.5 or 2.75 mm needles)
Work all R's in I-cord.
R1: K2, **bring yarn forward, (as if to purl) slide 1 bead up to last stitch knit, Slip the next stitch on needle, then bring yarn back* (as if to knit.) K2.
** this is the bead stitch*

R2: Start row with a Bead stitch, K2, Bead stitch, K1

R3: K1, Bead stitch, K2, Bead Stitch.

Repeat R's 1 to 3 until all beads have been worked –or till you have reached desired length.

Work 5 R's plain I-cord.
Next row, K1, K2tog, K2tog, (3 stitches)
Work 4 rounds of 3 stitch I-cord.
Next row, K1, K2tog, (2 stitch I-Cord)
Work 1 round, then bind off.

Finish by adding jewelry hardware, or knot tails together with a square knot, and weave tails in. A drop of white glue (a very small drop!) will secure knot and keep it from undoing.

A 24gm tube of beads will yield about 20 to 21 inches of beaded I-cord.--with the unbeaded beginning and ending rows/rounds, this will will result in 24 inch (or so) finished necklace. To make a shorter necklace, work fewer rows of plain I-cord, or fewer rows of Beaded I-cord.

PS--if you haven't done so yet, be sure to link to KnitSonya--she has posted a lovely set of photo's of Miss B modeling her Swirl sweater.