Monday, March 31, 2008

A Month of Socks

or at least 4 weeks worth!

With another pair on the needles (about to be bound off) and more sock yarn than is reasonable still to be knit up!

I don't know if it is that I knit too fast, or too much—For sure, I am a person who suffers from excesses!

Some of the socks have never been worn.. some are specialty ones (double thick winter weather ones, that weren't needed this winter, (and weren't available last!)) others well, their time has never come.

Some cast on's: –tubular, 2 color, long tail (variation), channel island--

Some toes—Round, flat (aka french) square, tri star.

Tomorrow: heels-- Flap/turned/gusseted ones, afterthought, peasant, and novelty.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

White Light; Fractured right, spectral delight.

What is a meme?

Noun: A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.


Shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme, from Greek mimma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate. See mimesis.


Noun: The imitation or representation of aspects of the sensible world, especially human actions, in literature and art. 2. Biology Mimicry. 3. Medicine The appearance, often caused by hysteria, of symptoms of a disease not actually present.


Greek mmsis, from mmeisthai, to imitate, from mmos, imitator, mime.

I was invited to participate in a meme.

I don't like much like meme's --as they exist in the blog-o-sphere.. and Grocho Marx like, I have anti social tendencies ( I don't want to belong to any club that invites me to be a member)

But I like TeaBird (and I like to be asked to join, (even if I don't want to be a member!)--a bit of irrational behavior, I know, but that's how it is!)
So this meme is about a 6 work memoir. Here are the directions (copied and pasted from Tea Birds blog):

Here are the directions:

  • 1. Write your own six word memoir.

  • 2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

  • 3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

  • 4. Tag five more blogs with links.

And here is a link back to the start of this meme (a ploy no doubt to increase traffic)--I refuse to tag any one person.. anyone who wants to participate in this meme can consider themselves tagged.

I don't have a photo for this meme—and if you're looking for my 6 word memoir, look to the title of the post.

Meanwhile, my not quite solid red socks are taking shape.. Now that I have completed the heel, the ribbons will work their way round the leg..

Monday, March 24, 2008

Like a note sealed in a bottle, and cast into the deep blue sea.

--that's how I feel about this blog sometimes!

I know I have readership—I know others link to me, and read my blog.

Most often, I write for me, not for my readers.

I am startled –(and pleased!) to find I have readers, to read their comments, to learn that something I have written moves them. I was gleeful when I found (as I did)links to my patterns posted on Ravelry (before I was member there).

I think, years (thousands of years!) from now, the turn of the millennium will be one of those pivotal dates. There will be the iron age, the dark ages, the age of enlightenment, the industrial age, and the –I am guessing—the information age.

How different the world is today than it was, not just in my youth, but for the past 500 years.

Long ago, Gutenberg changed the world by providing books, at first, to the wealthy(and eventally to all) --and with Martin Luther-- by advocated that each person should read scripture for themselves—together, these men changed the world in ways I think would surprise them! Today, unlike in their day, the world has become generally literate—and is rapidly moving from being a world of receivers of information, to a world of creators.

Many countries have 90% or greater literacy, but even the poor countries of the world have a greater level of literacy then was common anywhere 500 years ago. Then, perhaps many knew texts by rote, and could recite them, but few could read—today that is far less true, for many more people.

Today, I can not only read, (and write) but I can self publish!--Do you ever stop to think how remarkable that is? --I'm not alone in this-- (and at times, it seems like the din of Babylon—there are so many blogs, so much information, so much to sort through.--it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. (or should I say “information from noise”?--and abandon old idioms for new?)

This onslaught of information can be daunting, but it is also liberating.

I grew up in a age of proper, authoritarian rules for behaviors--he was only one right way to do many things.

But now days, I know many 'right ways'--some I accept, some I reject, but my world is larger.

Knitting today reflect these wider views of the world.

Some traditions knit top (cuff) down socks, others knit toe up sock. Some traditions feature solid colors, and fancy stitch work, others, simple stitches, with color work.

There are different cast on's, different heels, different details. I am heir to all of them.

Earlier this month, I was hard at work on a top down sock, plainly knit, (with the color work provided by the yarn)

Now, a toe up sock is under construction, (the yarn, Kroy sock yarn, was originally 'oatmeal'--a soft, light beige—that was over dyed with easter egg red dye) –the pattern, is another version of Barley Sugar,--I think the effect looks like red ribbons...

Today I was tagged for a meme.. I need to think about it...

Monday, March 17, 2008


My mother's been ill.. it's nothing new. I pretend to be 47, (I'm a lot older.. I am sometimes astounded at just how old I am) and my mother was 27 when I was born.

At best (if I were 47), she'd be 74—not a spring chicken by any definition—but as I said, I 'm older than 47.

She is prey to age, and all that entails; she quit smoking 20 odd years ago—after a major heart attack—but the years of smoking took their toll, and she's never fully recovered from the damage of the heart attack or the smoking.

Her breathing is poor, and her heart, was damaged back in those pre-war, pre-antibiotic days of her youth, long before she ever smoked.

She is unhappy in the hospital, and wants to go home.

I heard that, and wonder, where is home?

As a child, when my mother spoke of home, she never meant where we lived. Home was never where she lived, home was not her husband and family, or her bed or kitchen, in the apartment. Home wasn't New York--where she has lived some 60 years. Home was Ireland.

I remember how startled I was when, as a family, we went to Ireland.

I have wonderful rich memories. I love visiting Ireland, but I didn't feel at home there. Ireland was a wonderful place, but it wasn't home.

Home for me was my parents, and siblings, the apartment we lived in, my friends, my school. Home for me was New York.

Tonight, New York's Channel 13 (our PBS station) had a short film, HOME. Written and narrated by an Irish immigrant, it explored the idea of home—and the New York experience.
I realize how lucky I am to be at home. To feel at home in my city, in my apartment, in myself.

The cliché is that Home is where the heart is.

I think my mother is heart broken-- in ways beyond physically--and home, too, is a fractured place. And that, more than anything else I can say, is the saddest thing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Phooey to Fear—We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Where is FDR's good advice when we need it?

Fear mongering is the order of business these days.

It's all very non-partisan—It can't be blamed on Conservatives, (or neo-cons) or on the other side –(what passes for “Liberals” in this country.)

Everywhere there is something to fear--all our prospective leader's are campaigning about fear.

One local NY new station has regular features on the news—UNSAFE TO EAT, UNSAFE TO BREATH, UNSAFE TO DRINK—and presents lurid stories about every potential risk we face.

Is the water safe to drink? Sure –I don't remember seeing any stories about people falling down dead! Are there things we could do better? Absolutely!

But on average, the quality of water found in the average US toilet bowl is 1000 times cleaner than the local drinking water in the world--Should our water be cleaner? Yes, but it is full of unhealthy contaminants? By a world measure, not by a long shot.

Fact is, while people can and do get sick from dirty water, people also have robust immune systems to deal with most risks.

Is some drinking water contaminated with prescription drugs? YUP.

The quantities? About equal to 1 sugar cube dissolved in an Olympic sized swimming pool full of water.

Should we be aware, and take action to reduce this? Yup. But should we be afraid to drink tap water? Hardly!

Is the bottom of your purse(pocketbook) dirty? Likely.. especially if you ever put it down on the ground or floor (of the car, or of the subway, or even on the porch or floor of your own home.)

Should you think about that, and not put it onto the dining room table, or kitchen counter, or other places there might be food? Yup..

But the 'contiminates' found? Common ground mold. --the same kind you might encounter if you sat on the grass, or raked leaves, or gardened.

Ever picnic out doors? Sit down on the grass, (touch the grass) and then eat?

Oooh—look out—there could be mold, or bacteria. The same sort of mold and bacteria humans have been living with for thousands and thousands of years. (and surviving!) We humans have been living in this world, exposed to all sorts of bacteria for a long time... and we have survived.

Are there real things to fear in this world of ours? Yes. but lately its seems we are all too afraid of our fears--we are fearful of fear itself!

There are fearful knitters too..

Recently I saw a thread on a BB (which BB? Take your pick!) --someone was looking for a pattern for place mats. Huh? Place mats? What are place mats but over sized swatches?

Pick a yarn, pick a stitch, find the gauge, cast on and go.

When I posted about my face cloth knitting jag, some one wrote me asking for my “patterns”

The pattern is:

Needles: 1 set of each: size 7, size 8 and size 9 (that's 4.5mm, 5mm, and 5.25) needles.

Yarn—cotton, (plain or mercerized) linen, bamboo, soy, --or blends of these fibers, in yarns of
approximately worsted weight.

A Stitch Dictionary or two. (I personally used the Big Book of Stitches, and Vogue's Stitchionary, but any collection will work.)

Pick a yarn, and a set of needles

Make a 10 stitch by 15 row swatch (optional)in stocking knit.

Use the swatch to guesstimate the correct number of stitches to cast on.

(Finished cloths can be as small as 8 inches square or as large as 12 inches square)

Find a stitch pattern you like the look of, or one you want to learn, or suits your fancy.

Correct the count (if you guesstimate you need 48 stitches for an 8 inch cloth, and your pattern is repeat of 11 stitches +5 (44 +5 =49)—cast on 49 (or 53 if you want/need 2 selvages stitches at the edge.)

Or go with 33 (3X11) + 5 (half pattern for repeat, +6 for selvage (3, not 2 selvages stitches) for a total of 44 stitches, for a smaller cloth.

Cast on required number of stitches.

Work a row or two of selvage edge.

Work in pattern till the knitting is almost square.

Work a row or two of selvage edge.

Bind off.

If you've never done a I-cord cast on or an I-cord selvage, or an I-cord bind off, consider using all three for the selvage stitches on one face cloth. --A wash or face cloth is a good place to learn a technique.

If you've never done a simple double knit selvage, or a tubular cast on or a kitcherned bind off, consider using these techniques on a face cloth.

If you've never knit a mitered square, --a face cloth is a fine way to try this out.

Want to knit a sweater that has mitered cables as a edging? Learn the technique with some cotton and make a face cloth.

If the results aren't perfect, well, does it matter much? If you are a perfectionist, you can frog and redo, or more realistictly, you can just make another wash cloth, and try again until you do get it right!

Want to Knit a set of place mats? Or a throw pillow? You don't need a pattern. You can just knit --REALLY, you can! There might be real things to be afraid of in the world, but knitting shouldn't be one.

--Meanwhile, I am cruising along on my striped socks, --these are almost identical to previous pair.

A Different yarn, and no eyelet decreases and a different toe is planned, but its the same cast on, and the same basic reverse gussets shaping. (and I have been knitting a semi secret gift –no photo's till its done and gifted)

Finally, some photos (taken by DD) of her mostly completed bathroom (it still needs new flooring (not shown) and the steam pipe riser (all too familiar to most Nyers') can't be painted till the end of the heating season.

Not seen are either of the two bathmats I for her.. (but they are almost a perfect match for the sunny yellow walls!)

Like most NY apartment (be they rentals or co-ops) the bathroom is slightly larger than a postage stamp.

--And it's bigger than my bathroom.. (and has a window, not just a ventilation fan!) but it certainly looks better bright, white, and resurfaced!

Friday, March 07, 2008

What have I been up to?

Playing house mom.. My DD had her bathroom upgraded the week—using BF –the one day 'bath upgrade' company (the bath alone takes 1 day, the whole bath room? 2 days (Long Days!)

All the tiles (a mix of falling off, pepto bismal pink and (repaired/replaced from a long ago--before she owned the apartment leak-- bubble gum pink) have all been resurfaced, all the visible stuff (walls, shower curtains, vanity, sink, towels) covered or replace.. and a whole lot of the invisible stuff, too.

BF's work includes replacing the old knob (valves) and shower controls.. in addition, she had all the tile walls covered as well.

This required removing the old vanity/lav.. and replacing.

My DD bought a new vanity, sink (lavis the more proper plumbing term) and faucets fixtures—and the installers replaced the new lav rather than reinstalling the old. )

The unexpected –(are problems really unexpected when doing work on 50 year old plumbing?) problems resulted with a visit from the plumber (Dennis) and new drain/trap/overflow valve for the tub and and a new trap for the sink. There are still details to be done.. (like a new coat of paint on the walls (there were old “stuff' mounted on the walls,--and voids now (unpainted) left over from the removal. But the bright, clean white surfaces, make the bathroom look great already.. (the bathmats I made don't perfectly match the new towels, but are a great match with the shower curtain.--giving a co-ordinated, but not excessively so –look to the space. When the room is painted, and all the cloth accessories add, I'll post another photo.

(Already I am thinking about what I should do to upgradd my own bathroom!)

What has this to do with knitting? Not much.. (I did get about an inch of a new pair of socks started.)

I cast on using one of my most recently learned cast ons.. an Open/closed cast on that uses a doubled strand of yarn for the tail.. It looks pretty, its very stretchy, and it's easy to do.

AND I also go this--> it doesn't look like much now..
It is part of the 'waste 'acrylic tub wall line.. (these pieces were cut outs for the soffit and window ) it's about 2 mils thick--stiff, --but not rigid... and easily cut with an electric 'jig saw' (a tool I own) the larger piece is 13 inches by 30 inches.

Come the spring (I know-- it's spring like now.. but in a few weeks) it will be cut into 2 or perhaps, if I am lucky, 3 pairs of sock blockers... It cuts 'dusty' –so I want to wait till its warm enough to comfortable work outside for a while.

Oh, aren't we knitters crafty? We look at everything as a potential tool! I am looking forward to these new sock blockers.. (and wondering how much does this stuff cost? And where can I buy it? I own dozens of socks already, with more on needles...)

Before the bath work (as anyone who has checked my Ravelry projects page knows) I finished a simple ascot scarf made from several small odd balls of silk..(about 100 gms all told)

It was un-labeled, but very similar in weigh/style as Garnstudio's Silké-which I have only seen in solids.. (I haven't checked GarnStudio's web sight to see if Silké is available in colorways) There wasn't enough to make a full scarf.. but the 3 'tails' in the old shale pattern-make a pretty front.. and the back of the neck is simple double knit stocking knit..

I have more of this yarn (600+ gms) in a different ( red/blue) color way that doesn't 'send me" --so I took a bit and tried over dying.. the scrap ended up too dark--but-- I think adding more blue/purple is the way to go .

Saturday, March 01, 2008

First of the Month Free-be--Lacy edging.

For Elsie

Edging are a great way to start or finish knitting.

I love Nicky Epstein's books on edgings –Knitting on the Edge, Knitting Over the Edge and Knitting Beyond the Edge. Together these books present over a 1000 ideas for edges and edgings.

But there are hundreds of thousands of potential designs for edging. Here is one of my own designs for edging.

This pattern, like any stitch patterns, can't be copyrighted. But my words, descriptions, and photos can be, and are.

If you'd like to use this edgings, in your own design, feel free to, but it you want to use my directions for these edging in patterns you want to sell or distribute, please contact me for permission.. (there is a mail link on my about page).

If you do use them, I'd love to see how!

Large Lacy Picot

Using Long Tail method, Cast On, 18 (+1) for every 8 stitches required. (i.e. 181 stitches for 80(+1))

Row 1: K1 *K2, cast off 3, cast off 5, cast off 3, K2 Repeat from *

This results in: (selvage stitch) * 2 stitches, + gap, 1 stitch, + gap, 1 stitch, + gap, 3 stitches--for every repeat. (as seen below)

Row 2: *K1, [YO, K2 tog], 3 times, YO. Repeat from * K1

N. B.—2 of the YO's will fall 'on top' of the gaps created by the 3 stitch bind off.

Row 3: Knit every stitch

Row 4: Knit every stitch, increasing/decreasing stitches, to correct count as needed.

This edging, (Large Lacy Picot) if worked in 5, 6, or 7 repeats, and then on Rows 3 and 4, the pattern is changed to * decreases (k2tog) across the row, can easily be changed into a star like flower motif.

After row 4, the final stitches can be threaded onto a drawstring, the seam sewn, and the result is a star like flower.

I've used the large lacy picot as an edge on a simple shawl, and as an edge on a sunny pair of socks, and as a trim on a baby's bonnet. (not shown)

It would also be excellent as an edge on a sweater, (for cuffs or hems) or as an edge on a collar.