Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some of the Best Things in Life

are Books!

Earlier this, I was talking to some one about an unpleasant experience I had with an on-line bookstore—some 3 or 4 years ago.  It’s wasn’t horrid—just annoying.

I ordered a book—The Vogue Knitting Book—(along with some other books) –but the other books were go alongs.

The book I wanted was the Vogue book--24 hours or so later, I got email feed back… my books were on the way, here is the shipping information...

Oh, and by the way, the Vogue book is temporally out of stock-- It will be shipped (at NO additional charge) in a few days.

A week passes (the other books arrived) and I get a second email.. there is still no Vogue in stock. Do I want to continue to wait or a refund?

I opted to continue to wait—again, and again.  Until finally they sent me a notice, about being unable to fulfill my order, and sent me a refund.

I was happy that I didn’t lose my money, but I really wanted the book.

Soon after that, my finances changed (for the worse) and while I wasn’t living in poverty, I was more conscious of spending money-- and well, I wanted the Vogue book, but with 45 + years of knitting, and over 50 knitting books on the shelf, I hardly needed it.

In the past few years, I received some Barnes & Noble gift cards (usually a $25 one)--and when I had some extra money (to pay for the $40 book) they didn't have it stock. So I've bought other books.

What a surprise then—to unwrap an unexpected Christmas present—and find Vogue Knitting!

I am a bit tired today—I stayed up long past my bed time, looking at the detail.

It’s a wonderful book—and as much as I know about knitting, I know it still has things to teach me. 

(and while I know she doesn’t read this blog, Thank You, Joan!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A double knit hat for the boyfriend.

Not mine, but my daughters boyfriend.
He’s a graduate of SUNY Albany, --and goes to school alumni functions (something I don’t do, my ex-husband never did, and my son doesn’t do..)

So a hat in school colors will be worn a few times a year –stash yarn, and no real pattern, just some stripes and chevrons…the sort of thing I can almost knit in my sleep –but not quite—and its just enough of a gift.

I started the chevron pattern at night—and was reminded, that I can’t count to eight, eight times in a row after sun set. (I am most definitely a morning person!)

I was 3 rounds into the chevron before I realized one group of 8 was really a group of 7, and other group of 8 was a group of 9.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with double knitting.. you can read my eight part tutorial all about it. (see the list of links at end of the post)
I don’t have any project patterns—unless you consider the over sized swatches that I call pot holders.

But I do have several stitch patterns.(not the chevron)
Once you get double knitting, its not hard to use any charted or written out pattern –somethings, (lace and cables) are a Major PITA—but who needs cables or lace with color work?
And double knitting color work is much easier than almost any other kind of color work.

There is a double knitting group on Ravelry, and several free patterns for hats, scarves and other items—should you want. (there are plenty of patterns for sale, too.

The lack of patterns (even with Ravelry, there just aren’t that many) and the somewhat rarity of double knitting has interesting repercussions.

Every knitter who want to double knit, find a just a little info.. and works out many of the details for them selves.

So there are lots of idea on how to cast on.. (I listed 3 in my tutorial, but since Ravelry, I ‘learned’ a dozen more ideas (most double knit cast ons are just modified versions of conventional cast on’s.

Like my hat..First I tried something I thought would work… I tied 2 yarns together, and then used Judy’s magic cast on.
After the cast, I held both circ’s in one hand, and tried to work 1 stitch from front needle (in color A) and one stitch from back needle (color B)

It can be done.. but UGH!

I undid it, and then did an “Italian cast on” using both colors of yarn (as I do in my YouTube Video) –but after the cast, I continued to work with both yarns.

Very easy!
A nice neat edge—with plenty of stretch.
Knitting in the round, I didn’t have to think about selvage edges.. but likewise, there are many ideas for selvages on Ravelry, too.

It seems every one who has learned double knitting has worked out method for neat edges.

Its fun to learn all these tricks—some work better than others,but all have there uses.

Links to double knitting tutorial:
Part 1 Simple Double Knitting

Part 2: Double Knitting Other types of knitting sometimes called double knitting

Part 3—Casting On for Jacquard Double knitting

Part 4— Getting Started with Jacquard Double knitting

Part 5— Knits and Purls on each side

Part 6-- More Pattern Ideas for Jacquard Double Knitting

Part 7—Scandinavian 2 yarn, Single Color Double Knitting.

Part 8--The Momentary end to an Obsession--tally: 18 Double Knit Potholders

Friday, December 26, 2008

On the Feast of Stephen...

Is there anything more wonderful then finding a soft brown package in the mail? 
Especially when the brown package is an unexpected and delightful gift of beautiful yarn? Yes.

The yarn is beautiful—5 skeins (each 90 meters) of thick soft wool, in deep rich red--complete with the wool mark

Plus 3 skeins of Mohair, in summer sky blue, and 1 more in the softest of lilacs.
Each skein is only 25 grams, but the mohair is soft and fine.. Not quite as soft as Rowans kid mohair, but a very close second. (The lilac yarn is 100% (something!), the sky blue, a 70%/30% blend of something--the something is in Japanese, and my kongi is.. well lacking! 
One of my Ravelry (and real life) friends spend time in Japan, perhaps she'll be able to identify/read the labels.

But as beautiful as the yarn is, it is the warm wish from sister with whom relations had become chilled that make this package even more wonderful.

The spiritual warmth is more wonderful that the physical warmth the wools will bring. 

The some of the yarn will be knit up, and returned… 

It’s only fitting. She has warmed my heart, I will warm her,  too… (likely her neck and hands with a soft neck warmer and some fingerless gloves, made from the dark red chunky wool.

(Note--this lovely surprise arrived before Christmas, but hardware (and software) problems prevented me from posting on the 24th of December)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby, its cold outside!

People who know me, know, I haven’t owned a winter coat for that past few years.

It’s not poverty—it’s a choice.
For the most part, I don’t think it gets cold enough to require a winter coat. –I have several polar fleece jackets (short one, long ones) and several knit wool jackets (not hand knits..but machine made, store bought ones) and again, I have some short ones (past the waist, but not past the hip, and some long ones (past the hips)

Once it goes below freezing, I often, but not always, wear a hat and gloves.
My gloves got a work out over the weekend.. snow and ice—and shoveling off (and out) my car (which is always parked on the street) required gloves--especially because it was either snowing or there was freezing rain. 

OK—it’s been cold enough for the past few days (to require a coat)
Temp’s have been hitting HIGH’s of 19° F—or about -5°c— and it’s been even colder at night.

The real problem hasn’t been the cold, it’s been the wind.
10 to 20 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 40mph—they are just nasty!

It’s too bad there is all this bad weather this week…(and really in NYC this is exceptional—usually its just coldish (close to freezing during the day, just below freezing at night) –because Boyfriend (daughter's boyfriend, that is) is going to be getting a really warm hat, NEXT week.

It’s a double knit one, with a deep fold back cuff (just finished) .

Eventually I’ll do some pattern work on the top--nothing to fancy.—just something to inter lock the layers.

Daughter looks at the blog—occasionaly--but I seriously doubt he does--ever.
And she won’t tell.. so you can see the progress!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fichu? I hardly know you!

A fichu (fee choo) an article of clothing...

It's what I have been knitting... and finished last night.

But is a secret project... so all you are going to get is this blurry image.  If you are a Raveler, you can check out the details  here. And  see the whole finished project!

I am working on another semi secret project--something for my daughters boyfriend--Oh the knitting I've done for all of them, over the years. 

Nothing much.. just a double knit hat, in his school colors (he went to SUNY Albany) lucky for me, I had some Paton's Classic Merino in Old Gold and Royal Purple--One boyfriend once askes for socks--I said sure.. Once you are a son-in-law.  (That never happened)  Boyfriends live in the world of knit hats (and THINGS I WANT TO KNIT (but no one in the family wants)  

I've already knit an inch.. (since 9PM or so last night.) Hats, even double knit hats, are fast work!

(I was going to write about  the Fichu last week, while it was still on the needles.. but hardware, software (and lets be honest, USER) problems all conspired to prevent that from happening!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yesterday, my plan was, after work, to drive down town and see Robyn Love's crochet pencil.

Life (life, that is, as lived in NYC ) interfered.

But fortunately, the Daily New was there.. (the NYTimes too)

In my photo's taken after 4:30 PM, you can barely make it out.. (what a shame they didn't spring for generator, or some spotlights for the night..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Almost done! (with another one)

My fingers flew, and loved every minute.

Tonight I’ll finish up the armhole bands, weave in the last thread or two, and it will be 100% done.

It looks so small compared to the sweater—but looks are deceiving.
1—It is smaller—it’s designed to have negative ease
2—the sweater is over-sized..
It’s the kind of sweater you can
easily pull your arms out of the sleeves, and cuddly yourself inside.
3—It's knit in a 2 X 1 ribbing.. and while it looks to be just 10 inches wide (on one side-it is!) it stretches to over 15 (going from about 20 inches to about 30 inches!)

Details, details...
Yet another cast on was employed, (forward and reverse, --see a two color example here)
It was knit in the round.

I never bother making any special effort for a jogless join.. I did make a point of ending each round with a purl, and the jog is mostly hidden in the recessed purl.

(That I dropped a stitch, and didn’t notice for a half dozen rounds results in the stitches in the last rib, being a bit wonky too—at least in places)

Tubular bind off--cause well, anything that hangs around your face should be pretty. (the armholes will get a tubular bind off too.

No pattern.. just a cast on (160 stitches) ribbed for 5 inches (white)
Ribbed for 3 inches color,
then divided for the front and back<>

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are you interested learning Cast on’s?

I would like to teach a class on cast on’s--and may have an opportunity.

In fact, if there is enough interest, I might have 2 classes—one in Manhattan, and one in western Suffolk County(LI).

If you are intererested, could you send me an email?
Send it to TroysGoldenApplesATgmailDOTcom—subbing an @ sign and . for the AT and DOT.

Also, if you could also answer these questions, (and add comments, too) it would help me a lot!

How many cast on’s would you like to learn?

What types of cast on’s would you like to learn? (or what particular cast on?)

How long should the class be?
A—1 and half hours
B—2 hours
C—4 hour work shop with a half hour break (4.5 hours start to finish)

When is the best time?


Would you prefer:
booklet, work sheet type hand outs,
or a CD hand out (with text you can print, and links to on-line resources)

How much would you be willing to spend?
about $25 an hour (2 hour class, $50, 4 hour work shop, $100?)
More (a little)
More (a good bit for a smaller class and more personal attention)

How big or small should the class be?
Under 10?
10 to 15?
15 to 25?

Would you be willing to pay more for a smaller (under 10) class? 

Are you in the NYC/LI area?

Any other thoughts or comments?

(if you are not really in the running (ie, you are in Califoria!) please feel free to email or comment--just be sure to let me know --i won't bother you with mailings about any classes i schedule!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not quite a pair, and not quite finished

I am not big on cutesy.  Cute is Ok once in a while, but cutesy, or twee, or what ever you call it, just isn't for me.

These are paired sweaters, clearly.  They share the same yarn, in the same colors.

They both are raglan sleeved, and both feature stripes.. 
But they are clearly siblings, (and for siblings!  But not a cutesy pair. 

 Miss B is going to get a ribbed snug fitting vest, too, because you are never too young for a sweater set.
--and some finger gloves that co-ordinate (they don't really match--the brown is lighter, the aqua is a fuzzy angora blend), too.

I've started the vest--4 inches of so of ribbing--they whole thing will be ribbed (2 X 1 ribbing) and narrow, single row stripes. (Many fewer ends to weave in.. all the yarns will be carried, not cut!) deep armholes, and a deep U shaped neck

The sweater is loose, with deep arm holes.. the kind of sweater that you can easily pull your arms out of the sleeves and  into the body --the vest will be snug fitting..  One style or the other is bound to be liked. 

Master C might end up with some brown mittens too--or modified mittens.. (a thumb, an index finger, and mittens for the rest of the fingers.)

Miss C's sweater still needs some buttons-and a good blocking, but last night all the ends were finished--finally!

Now, the hope is that they are liked.  Kids can be so picky!

Miss B was recently seen in a sweater that is several (5 or so!) years old.. it barely fit.. I doubt it could be buttoned, and the sleeves were no longer long, (they ended at the elbow!) but I am guessing Mother said "It's a bit chilly, but on a sweater" and left Miss C to her own choice.

I am happy that she chose something I knit for her... maybe the next sweater I knit for her will be an other (larger) version of the same sweater.  and maybe she'll wear it.. or mayb not!

Tonight, or maybe not, I'll get to work on the buttons--

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Details, Details

It's not finished.
But it's looking like a sweater.

There are still untold tails to weave in.. (a nice detail of the stripe on the shoulder is 3 rows of contrast, 4 rows of main color (the dark teal), and seams (under the arm) to sew up. Not to mention the plackard and neckband to knit!

It really looks nice.. it has the right balance of color.
It has tails!

Knit in the round, odd numbers in rows are fine—but intarsia is a pain.
Knit flat, the intarsia (sleeves) are snap—but 3 rows of color.. a drag!

I am toying with the placket and neck band.
At this point. The plan is to knit them as one, with mitered corners. And a tubular cast off --in brown.

But today, as I head out to West Babylon and join my friends there, the plan is to weave and seam (the underarms) and then later this week, finish up the neck edge.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Count Down is ON

The sleeves have been joined to the front and back and the front has been split for the placard.

Yes, the back looks longer than the front—and it is—I've already added the short rows that make knit this type of sweater fit better.

And Yes, it is slightly insane knitting, with 5 balls of yarn at work—2 for the front, 2 for the sleeves, and 1 more for the back—and in a round or two, it will get crazier still when I add 2 more balls of yarn to knit some stripes to the sleeves.

But I am liking how it looks, and like each row better—since each row is shorter!

I am, also (deservedly so, I think) in inordinately proud of what is not there.
Can you see what is missing?
The change in gauge!

The transition from knitting in the round to knitting flat is often marked by a change is gauge.

Most knitters purl ever so,(or marked so, or some where in between) a little looser than they knit. And changing from an all knit fabric (round) to a knit and purl fabric can be conspicuous—at least before blocking.

It used to be noticeable in my knitting too, but--I'm on my way to Carnegie Hall--
Old NY joke--Man get's in a cab, and ask the driver "Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?"
The Cabbie says "Sure! Practice, practice, practice" (and picks up a violin and bow off off the front seat)

The Mast socks haven't seen too much progress. I am past the point where I frogged them. And actually beginning to think about heel styling and shaping..
The front of the sock is worked in a lace stitch..
Can you see the design? Does the name make any sort of sense (yet)?
Are you wonder what the i-cord is for? (and the small ball of orange yarn?)

No matter! It makes sense to me!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Not Yet a Sweater

But quickly approaching that point.

The body is over 6 inches long, (and a size 3 is just 12 inches from neck to waist) so we are almost half way done with the body.

A few more inches, and the sleeves will be joined, and the raglan shaping started.

This is only my second bottom up raglan, and I like it.

The sleeves—to me the most tedious part—get knit first.

And the top yoke is all decreases—as you near the end, each row has fewer stitches to work—really when you think about it—its perfect!

The cuffs have a tubular cast on. The body, a long tail variation with a double tail—it makes a sturdy, firm but stretch edge.

The neck line will be a tubular bind off, since I really like that detail on a neck edge.

And the neck edge will be white, not brown.

My subway knitting is my Mast socks--and my plan yesterday was to work on weaving in the remaining tail of Miss B's sweater... but like many a plan, it went awry. Oh well.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Strictly Speaking,

Miss B's sweater isn't finished. There are still ends to be woven in, buttons to make and sew on.

But Master C's is started-- 9 and half inches of sleeves, (11.5 actually –when the cuffs are unfolded)--complete with a tubular cast on for the sleeve.

Yesterday, I cast on for the body. It will also have dark brown ribbing, but the light tan brown for the body-- a style not uncommon for sports shirts with dark sleeves and contrasting color body.

The top yoke will be a raglan sleeve, with simple stripes, and a henlee type front opening—I know I hate things tight (or even loose!) around my neck, and judging from photo's, my grandchildren agree. They are always runny about with jackets or sweaters undone (or half off)--the are healthy. Their parents are pretty good at finding a compromise between indifference and hovering—DIL lays down the lay—Jackets on! But doesn't fight about buttoning them up.

I think an open neckline is a good choice. Beside its easier to pull on and off--an important style factor for clothing for 3 year olds.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over the river, and through the woods

To grandmother house we go...

Well, not this grandmother! And besides, It's through the tunnel and Over the interstate (I-495!) to grandmother house we go.. that is, if anyone was coming to grandmothers house this year.

Last year I spent Thanksgiving with my son and DIL and grandchildren, but not this year.
(That's the bad new, the good news is: I don't have the time this year because I am working!)

I'm thinking of them, and while there are still ends to weave in on Miss B's sweater, I think I'll cast on Master C's sweater (as a way of thinking of him)--It's socially unacceptable to litter someone else's house with trimmed ends of wool!

My cheating heart socks are almost back to where they were before I frogged them, and much improved in design—workmanship, too.

And when no one was looking, I made this little baby hat for a friend who will soon have a need for it.

It's the Sweet Baby hat (a free pattern on Ravelry) –and is reminiscent of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 3 sided hat–(a blast from the past project.. No where near being my oldest FO, but one of the oldest I still own! (it's about 20 years old).

It works up fast, and requires just a single ball of sock yarn (or other fingering weight wool).

This yarn is Red Heart Heart & Sole sock yarn with Aloe—so it's pretty soft.
I used up the left over yarn from Miss B's ribbed knee socks--and worked in 3 solid stripes of garter stitch to add a bit of texture.. (I really just can't knit a pattern a written.. I must do something different!)

Hope your Thanksgiving is one of family and friends, and love and joy.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Knitting is done (on this sweater) but it's far from finished!

It needs to be blocked—the fair isle checkerboard patches in front are all out of shape,--but first, there are hundreds of ends to woven in.

That’s a good project of Tuesday nights SnB—the LICKnits group that

I’ve been a member of going on 5 years now!
(How time flies when you are having fun!)

I found some taupe gloves (and a spare pair of white-- not the most practical color for kids) and will soon start on Miss B’s fingerless gloves to match the sweater.. I am thinking about making her sweater into a sweaters set, with a small closely fitted vest to go along with the sweater.

The sweater is over sized and puffy. A fitted vest might be just the best thing to go with it.

I'll see where I am with the yarn after I have finished Master C’s sweater… which will be striped too, but narrow stripes, with the yarns carried up the side! (I just don’t want to face all those ends to weave in again, so soon!)--its likely to be a bottom up with a placket opening.. and a maybe even a pocket.
Boys always need pockets.

I should have finished this sweater weeks ago.. but I have been unfaithful.. and playing with a sock design.

They are tentatively called MAST—but they are not sea worthy.

On Sundays, (well most Sundays) I have the pleasure of knitting with the Tsock Tsarina. (going on 3 years now!)

I love her socks—as object de art!

But I rarely like anyone else's designs (Ms Grossman’s included!) to knit.

Vintage was wonderful… All those little leaves..Just wonderful! but there is No F’in way I will ever knit a sock like that! I just won't put that much effort into a sock!

Still the idea resonated and fermented, and now I am working on a sock with a leaf design of my own.

Each sock has 1 leaf. (or rather will have one leaf, since I haven’t knit the leaves yet!--and the leaf is a tree leaf-- not a vine. It's nothing at all like Vintage.. Oh wait it is--it has a leaf!--

The design is still being worked out.. Some elements are locked in—but —I am only showing you the edge.. (Since the photo was taken, (7AM this morning)
I have frogged back to this point!)

If (when!)I get stuck, again, on how to make things work—(and I am likely too!)or when I frog again,I’ll start up with the fingerless gloves (and maybe even the next sweater!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Down to cuff…

Well-- not quite yet to the cuff. But the sleeves are moving along. )One more compete set of stripes and they will be done.

They would be progressing faster, but I’ve been cheating—with socks.

Oh and what fun socks they are!

I’ve just done the cast on and a few rounds—and have been searching for the right pattern for the sock /colorway. The cast on is a fun one... and it has all sorts of quirky stuff.

(I am down to 2 patterns to use for the leg and instep—and will have to decide soon if I am going to continue.)
I have tentatively named the sock MAST. (and no, its not a blue sock or one that is boat or sea faring related... and YES, Mast is just the right name for it.)
And I’ve been buying sock yarn.

First, I went to the preview of the new Lion Brand Studio/store here in NYC.

First impression? Great!

The Studio is the ground/first floor of a 'brownstone' type building. About 25 feet wide, and 100 feet deep . They stock/sell every color/every style of LB yarn—but it fosters a Studio, not a Store feel.

Sales are sort of an “Oh yeah, you can buy that here”—but the focus doesn’t seem to be on selling—(well not initially--)

—They have baskets of swatches.. Every LB yarn knit up.. into an 8 inch square.. tagged/labeled with Yarn, Needle, gauge info--and other basket with everything crocheted..

--They have color sticks—flat weaving bobbins labeled and wrapped with swatches.. So you can see every color of every yarn—even if they are out of stock.

--They have great samples of FO’s—mostly afghans it seemed –but really beautiful ones. Kaffe Fassitt's tumbling blocks afghan for example, not wishy washy stuff!

--They have tables and ottomans to sit and knit, and computer terminals and printers to print out LB patterns (the computers only have LB info)

--They have great customer service—if you want a yarn (a single ball or enough for an afghan!) and they don’t have it stock (and they seem to have a HUGE stock room in the basement) they will ship it for free--and they promise to have yarn promotions (and discounts) too.

--Unseen—(but there) is a meeting/classroom space-- that is on the second floor—and looks to be as large as the ground/retail floor –and it has a private elevator (love it when things are handicapped accessable!)

I had to buy something--of course—and, what else but sock yarn?

I like the new LB sock yarn better than the old yarn (and I liked the old yarn enough, that I once found it on sale ($0.50 a ball) and bought $20 worth!) The new LB sock yarn is fine (sock yarn weight, not sports weight)

The colors --I got Toffee(brownish) and Taffy(blue colorway—2 of the ‘drabber’ colors--are nicer than the old line. The other colors are brighter with out being gaudy. Nice yardage too, (circa 440 yards (I don’t have the balls with me, and can’t be bothered to look up exact yardage))

I also lucked into a bargain yesterday at AC Moore--an errant skein of Kroy sock yarn.
It amazing how a sock knitter can spot a skein of sock yarn from across the room!

ACMoore hasn’t carried solid colored Kroy in over 2 years—and the last time I checked Patons home page, they no longer had a solid orange sock yarn either!--so this poor skein has been lost somewhere for a while.

But there it was--with out a band—but pretty much intact. It forced its way into my shopping cart (and came home with me for $0.50)

It's only a single 50gm skein. But I LOVE having single skeins to mix and match with left over yarns—especially at next to nothing costs!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Body Finished

On to the sleeves.
Yesterday morning I took a photo.. I still had an inch ribbing to work.

That got done last night at my Tuesday knitting at LICKnits..

The stitches for the sleeve are on the needle—but I haven’t knit a stitch yet.

This past weekend, when I should have been knitting, I spend some time making skeins of wool.

1 cone of lace weight wool (from scotland) got made into 5 skeins(this is brown is just on of the 5 skeins) (about 1000 yards in all) and washed –to remove the sizing added for machine knitting) This super fine yarn will be doubled for Miss B’s fingerless gloves. (I doubt they will use more than 200 yards of the yarn)

Another 1000 yards or so of lace weight cashmere was skeined and dyed--
Rocket fire—Deep rich red, and flame yellow, with smoke and smoky reds, yellows and oranges. Other cashmere (cones) are patiently waiting their turn to be skeined (likely overdyed) and balled up.

At this point I have:
The Rocket fire cashmere, (circa 1000 yards)
The Big ball of Peachy merino/silk ( over 8 ounces—1500 yards?)
A big ball of Silvery pink (another 8 ounce ball)
Another ball (never photographed) of Red Cashmere (over 6 ounces of lace weight yarn)
and no current plans for a shawl!—of scarf)

I know eventually, I will knit these yarns up--but first:
Finish Miss B’s sweater
Then make Master C’s.
Then a set of finger less gloves for Miss C
(double knit with the brown wool above-- and lined with a wool/angora blend)
and a set of fingerless gloves (and matching hat—or will it be a scarf?) for me

Fermenting is an idea for a knit puppet.. (will it be a bat? with a flowery (echolocations) nose? or a fantasy creature?

And I am in total denial about the sock yarn… Really… (sock yarn doesn’t count, right?)—and the socks I started last night? Let’s pretend I didn’t!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Not quite half way done..

I haven’t been working hard at this sweater--but its moving along nicely.

Yesterday I reached the first big landmark—and the stitches for the sleeves are now on holders, and I am a few rows past—working down to the waist.
Sleeves are about 1/3 of sweater, (and part of the sleeves are, in effect knit.)

The body is not quite half done; but close—I guess I am 5/8th done (or 62%) in total. Not bad for a week’s worth.

I’ve been thinking about the buttons.
And I have come up with 2 options.

1—get a kit to make a set of covered buttons, and knit some birds eye checks and some small checkerboard swatches, and make matching knit buttons.
2—get some polymer clay and make some checker board buttons in the same shades/colors.

We’ll see—maybe I won’t be able to find good polymer colors—more likely I won’t make good buttons! (I am not very skillful with polymer clay!)

I also realized I have some fingering weight brown wool (a cone!) and some wool/angora in a shade close to the light aqua (2 orphan skeins) … Miss B might find herself the owner of some mittens (or fingerless gloves) double knit –with angora (all soft and fluffy) inside, and plain brown wool (suitable for making snowballs!) outside.

Fingerless gloves are very grown up—and might get more use—worn as a fashion items.

Maybe I’ll look for some teal gloves (machine made) to pair with the fingerless gloves.
Real gloves are needed for camping (something the family does)—but aren’t often needed in SF proper.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Miss B’s Sweater First…

Then one for her brother—it will be the same colors--but arranged differently (I am not going to put white cuffs on sweater sleeve for a little boy who love playing in the dirt.. He has dinosaurs attacking his Tonka trucks—and other adventures that involve playing in the dirt.

He needs something that won’t be be obviously filthy in 5 seconds!
Likely stripes-- but other ideas are still floating round in my head!

Miss B’s is a basic top down seamless raglan.
You can duplicate with any basic sweater pattern generator.

The Details...

1—A tubular cast on—my favorite for a top down sweater!

A knit in place button band
Intarsia style, with half ribbing.

3—Stripes-- in this case:
2 rows of A,
4 rows of B,
2 rows of A,
6 Rows of C,
2 rows of A,
8 rows of D. (repeat)—I am about half way through the second repeat)

4—The stripe detail
On the first row of the color change, K2, P1
(on subsequent changes, keep the pattern in line--all the P1 are in single column)

5—the Increase—a center stitch was selected for increase:
R1: K, YO, K into center stitch
R2: P
R3: Lifted increase, K1, Lifted increase
R4: P

6—Some color work in the front.
A broken pattern of birds eye check and a small checkerboard

There are only a few more rows till its time to separate the sleeves.

The bottom ribbing, like the top and button band will be white.I am looking for buttons. So far nothing has been quite right--but eventually something will be!

You Don't Need a Weatherman....

Rosa Sat
Martin Walked
Obama Ran
Our Children can learn to fly.

If McCain had run his campaign, as he the man he was last night at his concession speech, --and not as the GOP wanted (and he obviously acceded to) it would have been a much closer election.

The boo's (that he time and time again) tried to quiet, came from the mean-spirited part of the GOP--they distracted --and clearly saddened Mr. McCain as much, or more than loss of the election.

No matter what your politics, it is an honor to live at time, and be part of the electorate that made this monumental change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Done and Finished—times 2!

Yesterday on the subway, I finished up the toe of the Patons Stretch socks…All but the drawstring bind off and finishing--and I finished that once I was home.

Then, as a reward to myself for good work, I finished off the toe of the Snow Drop socks—and finished that pair of socks too!

I had been holding off, waiting till I finished the tube socks to finish these socks.. I love them--simple, pretty and fun to knit.

The skein where a bit small, --I finished with only a few yarns left over--enough, but just!

So this morning I grabbed 5 balls of yarn, (white, taupe, cocoa brown, aqua and teal) and a pattern (as a guide for cast on) and will start the first of two grand children sweaters.

The yarn is Moda Dea’s Washable Wool—nice cabled worsted weight 100% wool.

Miss B’s will be white, and taupe, aqua, teal, with just a bit of brown.

Master C’s will be taupe and brown teal, aqua, with just a bit of white.

Not quite matching, but coordinated, and gender neutral—But-- what does that mean?

My grandchildren are growing up in the Castro district of SF—and are as likely to thing that pink and lace and ruffles are part of the normal range of attire for guys!

---When I was in 3rd grade –same age as my granddaughter, my teacher was Miss Mahon-(flattened to a single syllable, “Mann”)—who was, as we kids knew, mannish.

She wore skirts, (but then in 1950’s parochial school, skirts were, if not required, the generally accepted garment --once in a while, say on a snow day, she’s wear pants.. but..) but we kids all knew, Miss Mahon wanted to be a man. We didn’t know the name for such behavior, be we recognized it.

It wasn’t spoken about—but it wasn’t mocked or ridiculed either. It was just part of the normal range of human experience.

I am sure our parents and our teachers had their opinion about Miss Mahon, but presumed we kids were oblivious. We weren’t –but we accepted Miss Mahon as she was.

It was a good lesson in tolerance and acceptance.

But back to the sweaters, or I should say, cardigans—both will be top down, raglan sleeve—with buttoned closures.

Striped, with some sort of Fair Isle element--because I get bored easily and want something to make the sweaters more interesting!

Ideally, both sweaters will be finished before Christmas—and will be tucked into the Christmas box of goodies—my son & dil and family enjoy winter camping—and extra sweaters are always put to good use.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Every knitter has experienced it..
You are knitting something (usually, but not always, something tedious)

You measure it.

You knit some more, and measure again—only to find NO PROGRESS

Then you knit some more, and IT'S STILL THE SAME LENGTH!
Finally after rows and rows, more rows, Progress-movement!

These socks—are exhibiting this.
It took forever to get to 10 inches. and then, no matter how many rows I knit, they were 10 inches.
Finally –overnight, they are 12.5 inches!

Yeah! Now only another 2.5 inches and I can work on the toe.

I’ve made this tube sock before—in a green and grey wool—and they didn’t stall. (You can have the pattern --it a free!)
(these socks are slight variation, with both left hand and right hand spirals--most knitter can figure out the changes--mostly its swapping the decrease--SSK vs.K2tog)

I think the tediousness of these socks is a form of second sock syndrome.

Another aspect is they are designed planned for use next summer –tube socks are perfect for pulling on at the pool –when you just need something between your feet and croc’s—and there is no pressing need to finish.

But finish them I will—and as soon as I do, I’ll finish the toes on the snow drop socks.
And then,onto something more interesting!

I have a list—(there are still things to knit on the list I made last January!) and its growing—all the time..

A hat, another hat, and matching fingerless gloves, 2 sweaters (these must be first!) for my grandchildren, more socks, a shrug.. (oh, I have a great idea for a shrug.. I hope it knit up half as nice as I imagine!) and I have all this lovely lace weight yarn, and some mohair, and cashmere—each and every skein crying out to be knit up!—Oh and I want a new vest for myself.. some long and a bit lacy…

But First, these damn socks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pill Poppin' Mama

Generally speaking, I don’t do drugs…

I tend to get by with out prescription (or non prescription drugs)

I was crazy, but got better (OK, better but not 100%!) with a ‘talking cure’.

I don’t have allergies (I lie—I do have some allergies—but they don’t cause serious reactions-and packages of Benadryl go bad before they get used up)

I’ve inhaled, in the past, but by and large, I am too cheap to spend money on recreational drugs… (I tend to factor in the cost of use, not just the cost of purchase—and dang—the USAGE cost can be expensive!)

Lately, I have become a pill poppin’ mama.

First, the multi-vitamin…a big name brand one and big is both literal and figuratively.
That multi vitamin is so big its hard to swallow!

But it doesn’t have enough Vitamin D or calcium
(It’s not just that I live in too far north—I hate to walk or sit or be in the sun.. (it bothers my eyes!) So I get little enough sunshine, and less of it on my skin)

And if you take calcium; well it just doesn’t make your bones hard…
So I take fiber.

Then, there is the Omega3 oils—and Omega 6, and some other number.
I eat fish, but not enough—not that anyone knows what enough is!

I take extra vitamin C too. Lots of small (60 to 250 mg) doses—because it’s more effective to take small doses every few hours, than 1 mega dose a day.

Finally, there are the ‘anti Aging factor’ pill that a friend convinced me to try.
Don’t know if I’ll stick with them.. they are way to expensive. (and I haven’t noticed a difference –half way through the months supply)

I do notice a difference when I forget to take my Vitamin C or Omega3—(my hair and skin loose luster—and I don’t feel as peppy.)

Lastly there is the daily dose—or frequent daily dose of an NSAID—Arthritis has been a companion for more than 30 years—a chronic condition, with acute attacks… (and lately, it seems I am always suffering somewhere. (today, its my thumbs.)

I look at the pile of pills, and I am always slightly amazed!

Mentally I feel like a teen--No better than that, I was unhappy most of my teen years--physically, well I recognize I have less energy--but I stay up latter, and rise earlier than I did when I was younger.. There are consequences to burning the candle at both ends!

But all these pills everyday--They make me feel old! (but I feel older when I don't take them!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rhinebeck Goodies.

I window shopped more than really shopping..

It's wonderful to see everything (and to want most everything!)

The alpacas—were beautiful..But alpaca is such a warm fiber.. I just don't want that much warmth in clothing. I would I am sure if I lived a bit more to the north.. I go hatless most of the winter, but winter trips to Boston require hats. (and further north, I am sure, I too, would be knitting with alpaca.)

But some colors/fibers reached out and forced me to take them home.

First a fingerless glove and hat set.. (I know they just look like skeins of yarn now, but.. I see fingerless
gloves and a soft lacy hat!)

And some ruby red Linen.--a set of kitchen towels! (I have some black and some white linen to add some decorative details, but the towels will be mostly plain, (textured, but plain) and just a touch of contrast.

A bought a silk cap. too--I keep thinking about spinning—maybe with some silk to add to my wool, I will actually spin up some of the roving.

Two HiyaHiya size 00 needles found there way to home too.. I have straight and DPN's 00's, but I didn't have circ's. I don't knit much with 00's –but having a nice set of needles will be an incentive.. I think!

I also finally balled up the Peachy goodness from early this summer—That's a full 9 ounces!
Meanwhile, I trudge away on the pink tube socks.. I photographed them last week, with thoughts of posting about them.. and even that is dreary.--

And like all dreary projects, they seem to make no progress at all. They stubbornly remain 10 inches long.. and Really, i knit a few rounds every day!

I'll measure them again tomorrow, and if they have cooperated and gotten longer, I''ll take yet another photo, and post about them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thinking about knitting

Yet another image of the one of the beautiful maples at Rhinebeck!

Are you a production knitter.. Do you knit to have sweaters or hats or socks for yourself for family?

Or are you a process knitter.. Do you knit to relax, or to learn new techniques, or to try out new yarns?
Or are you a bit of both?

I am MOSTLY a process knitter.

I love to knit--but I don’t wear sweaters much, or hats, or gloves or scarves.
I give them away, or store them—I keep them as samples (of my original designs, or as samples to show a technique, or…)

I would be more of process knitter than I already am –except for socks—I love hand knit socks, and they are one of the few items I knit for myself, and wear all the time!

I love thinking about knitting-and often mentally knit an item, working out the details in my head long before I pick up needles—Sometime with great results, but not always!

Have you ever thought about knitting? And what it means to you? Then you might enjoy some of the articles here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I’ve not been knitting much…
Partly because the Pink socks are boring me.

The yarn is nice, the pattern is OK, but I just don’t feel the love.

(I've stuck a bottle into one sock to open up the pattern and make it more evident)

They are twice the length they were last week.. but really, they should be finished already!

They're not because I’ve been cheating on them..

I tend to only work on the pink socks on my commute home (a scant 40 minutes or so on the subway).

At home, I’ve been knitting these socks—made from another Patons yarn.. the Kroy Sock (4 Ply) Jacquard in the summer moss color way.

With a simple lace pattern centered on the front and back (the lace continues right down into heel flap) –I’ve outpaced the pink socks.

The lace is being worked upside down--the lace pattern is designed for bottom up, not top down—but I like it better upside down. I think, upside down it sort of looks like snow drops—making these socks a spring fling.

I tend, with all knitting, to let it ripen.

Some knitters can’t wait to wear a newly finished object..
Me, I am the opposite. I like to keep my knit pristine an unworn for a few day, (weeks!, months!) before I wear them. I will finish these socks and put them away for the spring—I’ll pet them, and admire them—enjoy them in all sorts of ways (except wearing them!)
I keep them for some bright day(or perhaps some rainy day-- when I need cheering up!) in February or March!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not Knitting Much…

So there is not much to blog about..

I could blog about politics—but then I would just get more aggravated than I am already am.
(It seems every election since I have been voting, has been a case ‘the lesser of 2 evils’-- One party has an abysmal choice, and the other, just an inferior one.)

Same goes for the financial mess.
Yes, something needs to be done, but why should I reward those that got us into this mess? (but doing nothing is only going to make it worse)
Why the bail out NOW, and the regulations LATER?—that’s backwards!

So onto more important things..

I am thinking about the sweaters I want to knit for grandchildren.. And haven’t found a pattern I like.. (For that matter, I am still not sure if I want to knit sweaters or cardigans—though I am leaning toward cardigans--Soon tho...)

In the meanwhile, I am slowing working on these socks—they are a variation of my Barley Sugar tube socks. In this case, each sock has a different spiral—(a minor PITA to do!)

The yarn is Patons Stretch Sock -- Cotton (31%)/Wool 39%)/Nylon (13%)/ Elastic (7%) blend. The white/pink/ black combo reminds me of Good ’n Plenty’s—and the jury is still out on whether these will be tube socks or heeled.

I started them a week ago, at the Stitch n Pitch, and made a mistake (that I missed until I was a dozen rows away.) I frog back and now am just about where I was Sunday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Under the Weather....

I've been sick all week. Nothing special, just a garden variety cold. (I am still sneezing and snuffling a bit.. but I am mostly better)

I've gone to work every day (and looked bad enough on Wednesday, that I got offered a seat on the subway!)

Came home from work (and I just work a 5.5 hour day!) and napped—got up and ate some dinner, and vegetated for the rest of the evening before going to sleep early. I had finished the socks on Sunday, and didn't cast on anything all week.

I did the right thing (for me) – drank plenty of fluids, took plenty of Vitamin C, (and cold ease—there really does seem to be something about C + zinc that works)and rested as much as possible.
(<--that's Let's Knit2gether filming for a pod cast)
By Thursday, I was beginning to feel like I might live.

Which was a good thing...I had tickets for the Stitch n Pitch at Shea.

Now, I am not a big sports fan—I basically know the rules of baseball now, and understand the game, but I not a fan. If I were a fan, I would be a Yankee fan. But Stitch n Pitch was at a Met's game... and well, I had never been to Shea, (not for a ball game, or for the Beatles, or for the Pope, or for anything.) and it is going a way.. and well, I supposed I should go there at least once.
The seats were in the nose bleed area (top deck) –which, for me personally is a problem.

I am, um, 47 (it's a nice number for an age and I am sticking with it!)--but unlike some of my cohort, I haven't yet succumbed, as many do, to presbyopia.. I don't wear bi focals, or invisalines, or other special lenses. I just take my eyeglasses off—and I see fine—for close up work.

Problem is, I can't see the big E on the eye chart with out glasses.

I am fine in the nosebleed area (I have no fear of height) and I was fine with section.. (we were half way between home plate and first base.. really a fine place to sit.) and I am fine watching a ball game (though, in general not very interested in doing so)

But I can't do close up work, (knitting)—and look at it, (sans eye glasses) and watch distance work-a ball game many feet below me, and see it (unless I have my glasses on!)

But I wasn't much worried about that--I saw Stitch n Pitch as a social get together. A chance to be with some other knitters, to share an experience, to be part of a group, doing something I enjoyed, (knitting) and well, the ball game was the excuse to get together.

And I was disappointed.

1—The Stitch N Pitch web site, made mention, you could by Stitch n Pitch tickets (a day that was named as a theme day on the Mets schedule) at the Mets Box office.

But—if you did.. well you weren't part of the TNNA sponsered fun. No goody bags, no entry in the raffle--you weren't really part of the Stitch n Pitch group.

2—Only 2 yarn stores (both in Manhattan) were Stitch n Pitch “partners'”--no stores in Brooklyn, Queens, or LI (Not even the Big Box Stores were involved--you'd think they would be interested--) So this made it easier for some of us NON Manhattanites to get tickets at the box office. The problem with this ? see above-- #1!)

3—The seats were spread out.
Over 3 stair ways, Over 17 rows. (Rows A to R)
I had friends in Row A (I was in row J)(that's Monica)
I had friends in Row R(I was in Row J)

And as it happened, 3 others in my group ended up canceling—so I was sitting in Row J by my lonesome--well-- there were some guys 4 seats over, filling up the other end of the row, but they weren't knitters.

I was at the end of aisle-- and could have just as easily interacted with those across the aisle –but they too, were non knitters.
With empty seats next to me, it wasn't hard for me to turn, and interact with the folks behind me, but behind me were non knitters, too.

I had friends in front of me, (but their heads were below the level of my knees.--and every seat in their row was taken (so I couldn't just switch seats—and they didn't have room to turn readily.)

I was alone. Yes, I was in a stadium filled with people, and there were knitters near by, but I didn't feel like I was with them. They were over there, or the other side, or way behind me, or way in front of me.
Most of the people near me, were non knitters.

It wasn't as if everyone who bought box office seats were in one group..and everyone who got seats from Yarn store A were in a bunch, and everyone who got tickets from yarn store B were in another bunch.

It was just a bunch of knitters—groups from 2 to 4, to 10 (who purchased tickets together) got one row, and the next bunch (of how ever many) got another row. (3 or 4 or 10 rows away from the first bunch!) or up another staircase, (to the right and to the left of the stair case I went up)--and who knows perhaps even in sections even further away.

The rain started as a sprinkle by the fourth inning, and I left. Alone.

Stitch n Pitch is a nice idea
But I for one didn't feel like was part of a group event.
I wasn't part of the group that got goody bags.
I wasn't part of the group that got raffle prizes.
and I wasn't sitting with a group. There were mini groups here, and there, but there wasn't a big section of knitters in one group. We didn't fill rows, or sections.. We were scattered here and there over a rather large area.

I did walk up and down the stairs, and visit some friends, but I felt alone.
I was alone.
I don't need to spend 45 minutes traveling to someplace to be alone--I wasn't feeling the best (physically) and I went to feel better, to be part of something social.

If Stitch n Pitch is supposed to be a group knitting event, well it fell short for me.