Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Links-- to Patterns, Recipes, and Tutorials

A quick reference page to some of the more stuff of interest on my blog:
(still under constructions/not all links are active yet)

Free Patterns
My Patterns:

SWS hat

Double Delight Shawl
*Bookmarkers (also available in 2007 Pattern a Day calendar)
Indian Twist Stitch scarf
In the Pines Head band
Knit necklace
Barley sugar socks
Celular Automaton Knitting(hat)

(list under construction)

Fusion Chicken
Ground Nut Stew
Sugar Plums
Cornell Formula Bread
Curry in Hurry
Irish Brown (Soda) Bread
Steel Cut Oatmeal –how to easily prepare:

Recipes on other blogs:
the NYT refrigerator bread (Sulu Designs)
Turkey Mole(Knit Sonya)

Double knitting: Part 1
Double knitting: Part 2
Part 3 has a link to a YouTube video of one style of of double knit cast on.
Double knitting: Part 3
Double knitting: Part 4
Double knitting: Part 5
Double knitting: Part 6
Double knitting: Part 7
Double knitting: Part 8

Cast Ons

Part 1 Cast on's
Part 2--List and link to YouTube page of videos)
Part 3 --Favorites
Part 4--Links and references
Part 5 bind off's

YouTube Videos of Cast On's
Simple Cast On (aka Script Letter e)
Double Knitting/2 color Cast on
More Long Tail Variations
Channel Island

Generic Half Dome/Watch Cap
Flat Knit Hats

Basic Shapes part 1
basic shapes Part 2

Linen Stitch (tri color)
(see free patterns for Indian Cross stitch)

Golden Apples: 101 Ideas for Using Up Scraps of Sock Yarn

Stocking Knit curls

Blog I find interesting:
(list under construction)

Knitting Sites of interesting
The Walker treasure project
Home of Mathmatical knitting
Generic sock
Heels by the numbers
Encyclopedia of knitting (1894)
Knitting needles cross reference page
Lots of stitches!

other subjects:
weird and wacky
the last knit (You Tube animations)

Other on line stuff:
the Story of Stuff
A Word a Day
One Look (link to dictionaries)

Knitting BB and other places to share info:

Knitting Blogs (even if only tangentally knitting)

Language blogs:

Weird and Wacky Places

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And Now for something completely different...

Have you grown bored with the Phyllotaxis scarf?
I have! I don’t want to post anything else about it but IT IS FINISHED!

And I will l finish it --by the end of this week, and then I’ll start something new!
Yesterday, I stopped working on the scarf to make a swatch --for the planned hat to match wristlets. I decided on Linen stitch--a tricolor linen stitch--and swatched.

Amazing, isn’t it? Slip Stitch patterns are one of my favorite ways to use color--I learned this stitch 25 34 years ago! I first used it on baby clothes I knit when pregnant. Back in those day, pre-birth tests (for all sort of things) were very rare. And almost no one new ahead of time whether they were having a boy or girl--so many of the baby clothes I knit were pale (and dark) green, or pale (and bright) yellow or white. And some had all three colors! And one, I clearly remember making, had a yoke of tricolor linen stitch.

You’ll have noticed, I am sure, that the swatch is a slight rhombus in shape.
I started with size 8 needles, and the fabric was smooth and dense. But I want to full my finished hat, so half way through the swatch I switched to size 9 needles. (I might make another swatch on size 10’s, but I think that will be too loose. I don’t need a super loose drapy fabric to full, the way you do to felt. (I haven’t yet fulled my swatch)

TriColor Linen Stitch:
Cast on an even number of stitches--color A--
I used Long tail, so my first row is a wrong sided row..
Row 1: Drop color A, Pick up color B,P1 *P1, then bring yarn to back, as if to knit, Slip 1, bring yarn forward, repeat from * end with P1
Row 2: Drop color B, pick up color C, K1, *bring yarn to forward as if to purl, Slip1, bring yarn back, K1. Repeat from * end row with K1.
Row 3: At the completion of row 2, there will be 2 yarn on left edge of work, (color C, from just completed row) and color A.
Pick up color A; and P1 *P1, then bring yarn to back, as if to knit, Slip 1, bring yarn forward, repeat from * end with P1.
Row 4: At the completion of row 3, there will be 2 yarn on left edge of work, (color A, from just completed row) and color B.
Pick up color B; K1, *bring yarn to forward as if to purl, Slip1, bring yarn back, K1. Repeat from * end row with K1
Row 5: At the completion of row 4, there will be 2 yarn on left edge of work, (color B, from just completed row) and color C.
Pick up color C; and P1 *P1, then bring yarn to back, as if to knit, Slip 1, bring yarn forward, repeat from * end with P1.
Row 6: At the completion of row 5, there will be 2 yarn on left edge of work, (color C, from just completed row) and color A.
Pick up color A; K1, *bring yarn to forward as if to purl, Slip1, bring yarn back, K1. Repeat from * end row with K1

Basic Linen Stitch is a 2 row pattern, in each row, 1 stitched is worked, 1 slipped, with the bar of yarn from the slip stitch sitting on the front of the work.
The Tricolor Linen Stitch has 6 rows:
Pattern Row 1, color A
Pattern Row 2, color B
Pattern Row 1, color C
Pattern Row 2, color A
Pattern Row 1, color B
Pattern Row 2, color C

As each row is started, there will always be 2 strands/colors of yarn, the color just used, and the color dropped 2 rows previously.
The Color/strand of yarn dropped previously is always the one that will be used.

It looks good in a number of different color selections--high constrast colors look just as good as low contrast. The reverse side looks nothing like the front, but its very attractive, too!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Skein 3 bites the dust, and now the end is in sight…

Something interesting to note:
The first part of scarf (skein 1) is 16.5 inches long.
Skein 2 yielded 17 inches of scarf.
Skein 3 yielded 17.75 inches!

Now the scarf starts with 10 rounds of garter, and garter rows are tighter than stocking knit rows, so they could account for the difference between skein 1 and skein 2.
But almost another inch from skein 3? That is 4 rows of 80 stitches!
I haven’t been letting the knitting hang as I knit, it’s not stretching from the sheer weight of the knitting on needle.

Note also, I have been using a 29inch circ to work, and have a modified/half magic loop way of knitting.
I’ve joined each new skein by working 3 or 4 stitches with 2 strands (the old and the new) and will weave in the tails as part of finishing. (I don’t need to do much--the tubular design means no one will ever see the wrong side of the work and ends. )

It’s hard to know if my gauge has change slightly, as I knit faster knowing the pattern, or if the yardage of each skein is slightly different --a possibility--or what!

With 3 skeins knit, the scarf is now 51 inches long, , with another 16 inches the finished size will be close to 66 long--about 6 inches longer than the pattern suggest.

I have been mulling over ideas for a hat to match my wristlets…
I am pretty much decided on a stitch (tri colored linen) and that I will full the finished hat.

I’ve been mentally working out the pattern--it will be knit in 3 pieces, a shaped brim, a gusset, and the crown, but most likely will be knit together as I go, rather than seamed.

A classic almost medieval style pill box hat.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Socks--Swapped (part 1)

Sometime today, the US Mail delivered a tyvec envelope with 8 (count’em) 29¢ stamps to an address in the great state of Massachusetts. Inside are 1 pair of socks, (part of the coffeeshop swap) and 2 bonuses.

(And any day now, another postal employee should be delivering another pair of socks to Rego Park Queens)
Last October, in part of the great furniture exchange, I received several packets of old stamps. The stamps in some cases had stuck to the little cardboard folders (they kind they used to be packed in--How long ago was it that 1st class postage stamps became, universally, peel and stick? And how long ago was it that 1st class postage was 29cents?
They almost got thrown out. But I am way to frugal to toss stamps! (They are just another form of money!)
Well in any case.. 29*8=$2.32 and the correct postage for the package was $2.31--so 8 stamps did the trick!
Now as for the socks--(nothing will be said about the bonuses)

When making socks for someone else, its hard to know how they will fit.. You can have all the measurements in the world, but fit is fit.
So my plan to insure a good fit was to go with a ribbing.. Only plain ribbing is boring. The idea of sock exchange is fun socks. Plain ribbed socks not fun socks
So what’s the solution? A special, non boring rib.
Last year, (at about this time) I won first prize in a small (VERY, VERY SMALL) fair for a pair of socks with a twisted oblique rib. So I thought I would once again use that pattern.
The first socks were in Regia yarn, these new socks were knit in Calizetteria yarn.
The first socks were self striping, the new socks were striped from 2 different colors
And the finished look of the first pair is so different than the second, its hard to believe they are basically the same pattern!
Here there are side by side:

A second interesting aspect of the swap socks is how much the pattern does for the stripes.
The sole (not ribbed, D’oh) looks ho hum.
The striped, ribbed leg and instep--WOW.

It’s one of the things I love about knitting.. Sometimes I am still surprised by the finished object! I had an idea that I thought would look good, but was startled to find that it didn’t look good, it looks special and unique and just wonderful! And even though the ’knitting’ is just about the same in the yellow sock as in the blue, the finished socks look remarkably different!

As for the details of the socks, they were knit cuff down, with a tubular cast on to start,
Followed by a 1 X 1 ribbing for a deep cuff, (1.5 inches) then stripes of solid blue alternated with stripes of blue/lt blue/lt grey/charcoal grey color way. The color changes were short --just 3 to 5 stitches in a single color before changing.. They kind of yarn in my youth that was called variegated.

The heel is flap, turned, gusseted style, with a non traditional heel flap stitch, and a square or dutch turning. The twisted oblique ribbing continued down the instep, and the toe was a square toe to match the heel. --see the detail here.

The ribbing should provide enough snugness for a good fit--and blues? Well even I still wear denim and blue socks are a natural go with for denim.
(My eighty year old father commented recently, I still dress like I did when I was a teen--I looked at him, and said, don’t you too?)
I was very pleased with how these socks turned out.. I hope the recipient is too.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

This IS NOT a request for comments

Or is it?
I am still new to blogging--less than 1 year at it, and less than a month since I joined 2 blog rings. I have been going round the rings, and seeing what I like, (and don’t like) about various blogs.

I Don’t Like the image/button with “Would it kill you to leave a comment?”

I have sort of made it a new year’s resolution to read more blogs and to add more comments, -and have been commenting, on new (to me) and old friends blog’s more.. (not daily, but at least 2 or 3 comments a week) --(and find I get a few comments in return) I like getting comments--but I recognize, I often am not moved to make a comment, and expect lots of others feel the same, (and don’t need to be nagged, no matter how cutesy the nagging tries to be. )

I LIKE uncluttered sidebars.
I think buttons Yarn Harlots offers --to link to her bog is cute, as are many others, but some blogs are so cluttered with buttons the side bar has becomes a chore to navigate.

I might, eventually make a button for others to post on their blog.. But I don’t want to have buttons and buttons and buttons.. I want to have a single link or two (to hidden lists) --I’d rather mention a specific blog in a post, with a link, than have a meaningless list of hundred blogs or sites.

First a list of the 100 favorite books, followed by 100 movies, followed by 100 blog’s, and then by another list of another 100 odd links.

Does any one really consistently READ a hundred blog’s? Or do they just glance at them, and read occasionally? There are blog’s I check out on a regular basis, but I skip all the posts about babies, and animals. It’s not that the babies aren’t cute--but I just am not interested in reading paragraph after paragraph about babies, and I am less interested in animals.

I LOVE blogs with photo’s.
WIP, or FO, or UFO, be they knitting or other crafts, or vacation photo’s, or fun images of your wall paper or couch.. Stashes and storage solutions, (or lack there off!) are fun too. Even a photo or two of your daring (be they human or animal!)--Photos are good.
Even cliché images of sunsets, snow storms, babies or pets are better than acres and acres of plain text with no images! --Unless the text is a recipe.. I love recipes.

All this ring surfing has helped me decide what I like or dislike, and how I want to shape and manage my own blog.
I’ve been making small improvements to my blog.. I put up some crumby buttons (better ones are in the works, but these will do for now) to make it easy to find free patterns I have posted, or recipes I have posted.

I've upgraded the links to my photo gallery (photo bucket) --with links to sub albums, (quick shortcuts to Hats or Socks, or other categories.)

And some more Title Buttons to go along.. But not to many!

The plan is for Title Buttons/headers that actually make navigating the side bar easy.
As I go round the rings, I find navigating some sites to be frustrating and cumbersome. There is so much information, (calendars, lists, buttons, WIP and On the needle gauges, Knit Along’s, blog rings and what not --though I am attracted to the phases of the moon chart--some have both right and left side bars, crowding the blog text and photo’s like a vise.

My goal is to use what I need, but to be somewhat minimalist. Too much information causes overload, and is actually less helpful.

Header/Title Buttons are useful--but used to excess, they make as more problems than they solve. I am deciding what I need, headers for Recent posts, for Archives, for Favorite Links (to blog’s /and other sited I find interesting) to Rings and other blog related activities, for Free Patterns (my own), for Technical tips (I haven’t posted any yet.. but…) for Recipes, and for Patterns for sale (again, none yet, but coming soon) as well as a photo gallery link.

That is 9 already --I don’t want more than 10.. Ten is plenty!

Right now, as a work in progress, the side bar is a mix of styles, Recent, and Archives are ‘fancy script’(a template default) and free patterns and recipes are poorly done bit maps, Links is just plain text.. A real mishmash.

A single /coordinated style will be an improvement --and it’s coming. Not anytime real soon, (like a week) but eventually (by the summer) . I am sure as I work my way around the rings, I will see design elements I like, and will want to emulate, (just as I will see things I want to avoid!)
In the meanwhile, I am beginning to organize the links, so that when I find/develop the style of header/title button I like, I can just replace them. (the changes I've made to the template code is all anotated with comments so I can quickly go in and organize the template.)

I think I want to organize them in alphabetical order too, Archives, then Blog Lists, then For Sale, then Free Patterns, Photogallery links, Rings, Recipes, and ending with Technical tips.--I need to find the font size code, too, since right now, I think the text is too large.

and now, I have to get back to my knitting.

Friday, February 23, 2007

70% Give or take a percentage point or two.

Slowly, but surely, skein 3 is turning from a ball of yarn to inches of knitting.

The Orange stitch marker is round 1, the turquoise one marks the beginning of skein 3--the half way point--(both markers are just visible on left side of image) and while the skein still looks big and fluffy, it’s a hollow remnant of itself.. I am about 12 inches ‘into’ the skein --each skein yields about 16 inches of knitting.

I haven’t spoken of yarn-- it was from my stash --I am using 4 (of 10) balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease that I purchased at Smiley’s Yarn in Queens (a few years ago!) --so naturally it’s a discontinued color/style. The 10 pack (the yarn was only available as a ten pack) was $10. It’s called Hunter Green Speckle. I am pretty certain I will make the Phyllotaxis Tam/hat as well, from the same yarn.

I don’t know if the scarf recipient would wear it. (it’s shown in the book as a woman/girls hat). But it does match the scarf, which is shown as a man’s scarf. I don’t know R (DD’s current beau) well enough to know his style--and if he would wear a hat like that. Maybe my DD will. Green is a natural color for her--it contrasts lovely with her rosy skin (like mine) and her copper hair (a family feature that turns up once or twice every generation--DD is the only member of the family currently with red hair)

I am itching to have it finished, and while I have knit enough, that I have earned the right to take a short break, and knit something else, (like the hat to match the wristlets!) I haven’t decided on stitch/style for the multicolor hat, (except: not simple stripes!) so I’ll continue on the Phyllo scarf and think and know, I can, if I so chose, stop for long enough to knit a hat.
I am thinking of a slip stitch pattern, but then again, maybe colored cables, or something in fair isle.

Eventually I will settle on one of these options.. Or come up with another!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Slow Progress, and a diversion

Now that I know the pattern, Phyllotaxis has settled into being just another boring scarf to knit. Oh well.

Friday (normally a knitting day for me) I got a good 6 inches done. Since then, a scant 6 inches more! The small stitch markers are at the “new Ball of yarn” joins, and measure progress (or lack there of!)-Early Friday, I posted with some 9 inches past the first maker, 11 PM Friday, I added an edit when I joined on a new ball of yarn. Here I am Tuesday, with less progress in 3 days than I made in 1!

The length at the second marker(just barely visible at bottom of image) marks about 33 inches, and is the half way point --64 to 65 inches is not a particularly long scarf for a 6 foot + guy, but this scarf, knit in the round is double thick and doesn’t really lend it self, or require a double wrap round the neck. So 65 inches will be long enough. (about 3 to 4 inches longer than the pattern suggests!)
To give myself a break from the monotony of a memorized pattern, yesterday I made a pair of wristlets from some bulky yarn that knit up in minutes. I love the colors in this Anny Blatt, and 2 skeins (all I had) made these, and left me with some 15 to 20 yards of yarn left over in each skein.

30 yo 40 yards is really not enough to do anything with--except perhaps trim a hat or scarf.. --and I doubt I will embark on another scarf immediately! A hat is possibility.

My stash has Paton’s Classic Merino (1 full and 2 partial skeins) in colors that closely match this yarn. So there is a real possibility of a co-coordinating hat appearing. But --will pace and reward myself--No hat until I finish the current skein in the scarf, and at least 3 inches of knitting into the new one!

The Anny Blatt is bulkier, but it will still work with the worsted weight, as a trim.

Not Quite a Pattern for the Wristlets:
The wristlets are pretty simple, 32 stitches worked in a 2 X 2 rib, after 3 inches of ribbing, I ‘split a Knit rib’, (stitch 17, ) and made a lifted increase (making that rib K3) to start the thumb gusset. On succeeding alternate rounds, I continued to increase, either side of the lifted Knit stitch, till I had increased a total of 7 stitches- keeping, all the while, a single knit stitch as the center of the gusset, and working each new stitch in the established 2 X 2 rib pattern.

All the increase stitches got slipped onto a stitch holder, and I cast on 4 stitches, and returned to knitting the hand in the round (now with 36 stitches total)

The Knit rib I split before the thumb gussets was now 2 different ribs, with a set of purl stitches between them. Another 1½ inches of ribbing, and I bound off--in ribbing naturaly!

To finish the thumb, I picked up 6 stitches (1 in the base of each of the stitches I cast on, and one in each ‘side’. Round 1, the 2 side stitches got knit together with one of the picked up stitches, (1 K2tog, 1 SSK) to bringing the stitch total to 11--knit mostly in 2 by 2 rib--the center thumb stitch remained a single knit stitch--as it had been during the time the gusset was being formed.
4 rows of ribbing were all that the thumb needed, before being bound off.

From end to end, they only are 6 ½ inches, worked on size 9/5.5mm needles, one size smaller than the ball band suggests.
PS You have got to visit Maritza blog--and the Tsock Tsarina's (link above) --both have wonderful (though very different!) entries today.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Urban Gardening

It's mild today (about 35 °(f), with mild winds, so I went out to the terrace to bring in the bags of potting soil. They are now sitting near a radiator, thawing out and warming up.

As soon as the soil is warm, I’ll start some new fresh herbs..

I have some chives and parsley that have successfully wintered over, but I’m not sure that I can ever have too much in the way of either--same goes for Basil.
I start basil seeds in various pots/window boxes over a 4 month period. That way, I can harvest some, and give the plants a chance to recoup. I end up with some big plants, and some small ones--either because they are seedlings, or recently pruned. Basil is cheap enough to buy, but sometimes you just want a leaf or two RIGHT NOW--and there is nothing as wonderful as fresh basil from your windowsill!

I don’t know how much success I’ll have with the peppers, (pollinators are scare on the 14th floor--not to mention, my terrace is screened!) but maybe I can remember to pollinate them myself with Q-tips. Fresh (or dried) peppers are good to have on hand too!

I have to start checking on Hicks, too. Any day now, they will be having there Pre-season sale on summer annuals. Years ago, they use to run full page ads in the NYTimes every other week or so, but now I am forced to buy a LI paper, or just stop by.

What I love about the “pre-season” sale are the small geraniums--each plant for 49¢ --or a flat of 24 for $8--These need to sit on a sunny window for a while, and then to be hardened off in a mini greenhouse out doors (and some nights, brought in!) before they can be set out in window boxes, but they are first quality plants, and last year, gave me blooms all summer. I remember buying them after in late February, and having beautiful plants by late April (April 19th is general considered the last day of frost in NYC).

My terraces is somewhat protected, gets lots of afternoon sun, and the bricks act as a thermal mass, storing solar energy, and keeping the area slightly warmer than would otherwise be expected--so I don’t have to make a big effort to get them to grow.

By April, geraniums in the store had quadrupled in size, and in price. Mine usually aren’t quite as big, (i don't have a full sized greenhouse, and staff caring for them! But they had grown and filled out, and more than doubled in size.)
Here are just 2 of the 6 window boxes that I grew on my terrace last summer-- I always have mint plants too, and frequently other annuals from seed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Progress-- slow, but progress

Well I am chugging along, and beginning to remember just why I don’t like to knit scarves-- (See previous Post, (i.e., Slow Learner)

The scarf is too long to drape on my ottoman--(the normal place for display)--so its folded, the white stitch marker (join point for a new ball of yarn) shows the progress.

I still make a mistake or two--mostly forgetting to work the plain row of no twisted stitches. But-- I have a build in system to catch myself before I have gone to far.

The twists stitches, as the pattern is written, aren’t simple twists, (Knit stitch 2, then knit stitch 1, then let both drop off needle.

Rather they are , K2tog, then knit stitch 1, and conversely knit stitch 2, (through the back loop) then k2tog, (through the back loop) which results in the stitches in the left leaning chain being twisted, every other row.

I prefer untwisted stitches, so on the plain knit row, I make a point of working the stitches that make up the Left leaning chains ‘backwards’ so the sit on the needle like this \\ (not like this //-- this way, I can work them with out stopping and doing a SSK type maneuver.

A second advantage is, if I try to rush ahead, and work a pattern row, (skipping the plain row between) I quickly notice that the left leaning chain stitches haven’t been ‘turned’ -- and realize my mistake.

11PM update--skein 2 is finished,(50%) on to skein 3-!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Did I Mention I Am a Slow Learner?

I am smart. (vain too, but smart) but sometimes I am a slow learner.
Take Phyllotaxis. Last night a little past 7PM, I wrote this, (I was planning on taking photo’s and publishing it this AM.)
By Jove, I’ve got it.
Finally, I’ve got it! My foray into swatching inspired me to get cracking, and finish the Phyllotaxis scarf. Finally I have learned the ins and out of the pattern. I still need at this point to consult the graph, but I can ‘get it’ (understand what will happen to all 80 stitches in the row) with a glance. I hope at some point to learn it well enough that I don’t need to consult the graph at all.

Here is one side of the scarf, (as of this morning)

Last night at 7PM or so, I finished up the first ball of yarn. The pattern calls for about 1000 yards, and each ball of the yarn I am working with is about 250 yards, so I am ¼ done. The length at that point (I’ve worked a few more rounds/inches since then) was 16 inches, so the finished scarf should be about 60 to 64 inches --a nice length for man’s scarf. --Marker shows where I joined a new ball of yarn

Some one asked me why I didn’t just give up on the pattern when I was having problems.
Stubborn pride partly. I am sure I can, if I want, knit anything, from a technical point of view. And the pattern wasn’t so much hard as I wasn’t following or understanding what was needed, and why. I have designed patterns just as complex.
With my own designs, I have often worked through 2 or 3 attempts before getting the pattern to be what I want it to be. I knit lots of hats, some are OK, but very often, a hat design is worked several times, before I end up with the design I envisioned. Sometimes, the experiments along the way are quite acceptable --and can stand on there own as successful designs. But they are not what I wanted-- they are successful failures!
Each time I re-knit, learn something, and eventually, I get the final finished effect I want.

Between 7PM and 10 I finally really learned the pattern ( by then, I was on the 5 or so repeat of the pattern.)
Phyllotaxis Solved

Phyllotaxis is 2 row pattern. Round 1 is graphed, (80 stitches).
Round 2, is 81 stitches (every other round, the beginning of round position moves)
The remaining rounds of the pattern are the same as round 1, EXCEPT:
Each round starts at a different point in the graph.
Round 3 starts at stitch 33, (end at stitch 32)
Round 5 starts at stitch 65, (end at stitch 64)
Round 7 starts at stitch 17, (end at stitch 16)
Round 9 starts at stitch 49, (end at stitch 48)
Round 11 starts at stitch 11, (end at stitch 10)
Round 13 starts at stitch 33, (end at stitch 32)
Round 15 starts at stitch 65, (end at stitch 64)
Round 17 starts at stitch 17, (end at stitch 16)
Round 19 starts at stitch 49, (end at stitch 48)

You can see the how the Beginning of Round Marker moves with the pattern.


How could I have not noticed this?

A 80 Stitch, 20 row pattern is an intimidating undertaking.

An 80 stitch pattern is a bit to learn, but it is quite do-able.

Normal people can quickly master repetitive patterns, even large ones.
If asked to sort the 52 cards in a deck into suites, and to organize each suite starting at 1 (the ace) and ending at the king, most 7 year olds would be up to the task. By age 10 or so, kids would be as fast as most adults. Humans are very good at creating and recognizing patterns.
And then, there is me. A slow learner. 100 repetitions, before I realized the pattern. Maybe I am not so smart as I think I am.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If not Knitting, at least swatching

I haven’t knit since Friday. I just can’t muster the energy.

Last night, to try and change my mood, I mad a swatch the Quellón chenille, to see how it worked up. This stuff wormed in the hank--so I went with the smaller needle size, (US 6) and cast on.

Checking the gauge was part of my thinking, but which stitch to use was almost as important. I am going to wash (machine wash gentle, dry cool) to see how the yarn handle normal wear and tear, too.

I made a second swatch, double knit , one side cotton, (Pehuén, another Araucania yarn) one side the Quellón chenille, since I was thinking how these yarns would make a lovely little vest for Granddaughter. I am, though, reluctant to burden her with high maintenance clothing. I want the finished garment to be relatively easy care.

Her mother knits herself, and knows how to care for hand knits, but I remember ‘fancy clothing’ from my own childhood. I remember, wanting to be a kid, too, and getting in trouble for messing up the clothes. It’s not that I don’t knit fancy stuff for my grandchildren, it’s rather I often knit machine washable, easy care stuff. Wool is lovely to knit with… But poncho’s of Red Heart yarn are loved, and worn frequently, and thrown into washer and dryer and worn some more! There is never much of concern about them. Everyone ends up happy.

It’s interesting how the swatches worked up..
The first swatch is 30 stitches and almost as many rows of the chenille.
The firmest stitch gauge is not ribbing, or seed stitch, or even garter, but stocking knit!
The chenille has no memory, and the back and forth movement of the yarn, that normally makes seed or ribbing tight, and elastic , instead adds ease.
(Top of swatch is garter, next down, 1X1 ribbing, then stocking knit, and finally seed stitch)

The double knit swatch, 12 stitches each side, is a bit looser, but it looks good. The Pehuén and Quellón yarns are very similar in color, making it hard to see the square with in the square design in the smaller double knit swatch.. But I like how it work up.

This shows the chenille side, with a center square of the cotton boucle. The cotton square is just barely visible.

Neither yarn is very warm, but a double knit vest, with air trapping layers would make a nice thermal vest. Warm enough to make mother happy, but comfortable to play in.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

No Knitting, no photos

I am knit out for the moment.. I just have lost my knitting mojo--its been replaced by a cooking one.
Nothing special, just stock the freezer stuff: Stuffed shells, meatballs, seasoned rice, a bit of beef stew. Not frozen (and already half gone!) is a pot of old fashioned rice pudding.
Living alone, cooking is a hit or miss thing for me. I dislike having more POTS than PLATES.. So dinner for one is a bit of problem. I resolve by occationaly cooking up a mess of stuff, and freezing. Then, for dinner I can nuke food as I make a salad. (and sometimes not even have 1 pot to wash!)
Summers bounty of cooked eggplant slices is long gone, and this year, there were no great turkey sales-- It seems most years, turkey farmers breed an excess of turkeys, and late summer sell of the runts--last spring, the bird flu scare meant fewer turkeys got started. And there were no sales at all! Normally when turkey goes on sale, and I roast a whole turkey or just the breast, slice it up, and freeze.. (and have nuked turkey with roast vegetable for dinner)
Another reason for the urge to cook was the cold. And it was cold. Inside and out.
Last week, there was some basic service needed on the building boiler, and it was scheduled for 1 am. They had to turn the boiler off, so they could drain the water, do the maintenance, and get it back up to preasure -all of which, in the best of world, would be completed in an hour or so. Instead it took 3 hours, and with the wind (steady at 30 mph, with gust of 40 miles) and the artic temps that went along with the wind, the whole building got chilled.
Technically it was below the legal limit-- NYC requires a min temp of 55 overnight, my apartment (I have one of those indoor/outdoor weather stations) recorded an over night low of 53indoors, (10(f) outdoors. 2 degrees below the legal limit is hardly enough to complain about, but normally the overnight low is about 10 degrees warmer. It really felt Sunday morning, and colder still Monday --after the midnight maintanance.
All my windows were closed (which actually unusual) but my apartment it remained cool during the day. There are drafts--the windows themselves are double glazed, but there are gaps between the window frame and building structure, and there is weather striping on the terrace door, but again, its far from tight.
Normal, I like this --I like the fresh air, but it took all week before it was comfortable warm. Well warm enough to sit and knit. Instead I moved around, cut up vegetables, boiled water for cooking, and general found myself in the kitchen, next to a warm oven!
Progress on the phyllotaxis is slow--I made yet an other mistake, and this pattern is very intolerant of mistakes! At least I know what I am doing, and was able to tink to rounds, not frog rounds to get back on track. I see the pattern now, and see when I have made a mistake.. Which is some progress I guess!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Success at last!

2 full repeats of the pattern completed, perfectly.
(it is amazing what happens when you actually follow a pattern, instead of going off doing what you think should be done isn’t it?!)

It is a deceptively complex pattern, with 3 separate elements.
The design seems to be a set of chains (simple crossed stitches) that form diamonds shapes. There are 5 left leaning chains; each created with set of double twisted stitches, (these twisted stitches lengthen one edge of the pattern) and the ‘chained line’ element of this part of the design is an unbroken line.
There are 8 right leaning chains which at first appear to be the same, but in reality, are ‘broken’ every time the cross (under) the left leaning chains--a subtle element that is not immediately evident!
At first glance, the pattern seems very similar to a cabled diamond, but it is in reality, the design is not made from diamond shapes at all, but from parallelograms. Unlike a diamond pattern (argyles for example) the diamonds spiral--in fact the whole pattern spirals, moving 10 stitches to the left ever pattern repeat.
A Diamond pattern would be something like this:
(note: all the points of the diamond are on a straight line.)
But this pattern has all the diamonds on a diagonal arc -- every other row starts/completes another parallelogram!

All in all, complex, engaging pattern! Hard enough, that I wasn’t able to get it in one go, so it challenged and intrigued me. But not so hard that it is beyond my comprehension!
Still an 80 stitch 20 row pattern is one of the largest I have worked on!

2 repeats equal about 8 inches--for a finished scarf of 60 or so inches, I have another dozen or repeats to go!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Scarf--Not!

I had hoped to be photographing and showing off a good 14 inches of my phyllotaxis scarf today.. I might have been able to, if hadn’t frogged it back to the garters stitch border yesterday!
Honestly, I don’t know what is wrong with me and this pattern! I keep learning and understanding the pattern better (or so I claim!) but I keep messing up!

Yesterday, I didn’t complete a single pattern repeat.

But I did get a copy the graph, and marked it up, and maybe, now, I will really learn it, and get it right, and make some real, physical progress. And not just mental progress (allegedly!)

Actually, it's fun. It’s not that hard a pattern, I just haven’t been paying the attention to it that I should, and it does need some attention paid.

Each time I start again, I learn more of the underlying logic of the pattern, and it becomes more interesting.

I am so used to picking up patterns/knitting and working almost without thought, it’s fun to work on a pattern that doesn’t fit into my assumptions, and makes me stop, take notice and to think about what I am doing, that I am enjoying the process, even as I make mistake after mistake!