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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Done and Finished

Saturday evening, the socks were done-- That is all the knitting was done.

Yesterday afternoon, at the West Babylon Panera Knitting group, the socks got finished—all the ends got woven in..

I still need to block them—fair isle work always looks better after a blocking..

And then they are off to DS—Just in time for the new year--that is, Rosh
Hashanah... (as promised!)

The pattern that inspired this sock is the Hot Rod sock--AKA Olymic FLame Sock designed by Melanie Gibbons, published in PinklemonTwist—I saw it on Ravelry.

But as I knit it, I had earwig –Johnny Cash sing “Ring of Fire”—but my first thoughts on seeing the socks was Dante’s Inferno—the first circle of hell!

but why stop there? these could be Promethusian socks.. or Hot feet, or....burning desire....

Detail--I bound off with 2 rows of simple double knitting and a grafted bind off..

It's a nice detail the cast off is super stretchy, and virtually invisible.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Golden Apples: Cast On's-- Part 2

Golden Apples: Cast On's-- Part 2

1 step forward, 2 steps back

I have some photo’s from last week, and some photo’s from this morning, and it doesn’t seem as if much progress has been made…

Lots of knitting has been done, but not nearly as much progress as knitting!

Last weekend, I started the heel-- hoping I could get it to look right…

Not a chance.
I’m knitting with out a pattern, and knitting a different size than I normal do, I missed the landmarks—this sock is so big!

My first go at heel was hampered by a way, way too short gusset.

So that heel got ripped, (and the turning on the other heel too) and the gussets, and some of the foot—and I started again with a gusset—longer this time. The second gusset was longer, (it really should have been longer still!) but I extended the heel stitch beyond the gussets, and it looks and (and feels)—OK

So now the race is on to finish the leg, add the red stripe, a cuff, and finish off with a tubular cast off (in the orange)—my self imposed deadline is coming up fast!
Some years ago, when I had more money (than time) and a friend in need, I gave them $20 to tide them over a rough spot

I never expected the money back (I felt a bit guilty that I was buying my way out of real support)—it was a gift to a friend. It was what I could easily do, to help, then. Done, I forgot about it.

Well life goes on, and things change.

I changed jobs, and moved, (and moved again) and change from taking the RR to taking the subway, and they moved, and retired, and things changed for them, too. So what a surprise—to find a nice note, and a $20 bill!

The bill immediately started burning a hole in my pocket…

So yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Gotta Knit—it’s just a few steps out of my way from work to subway—and walked out $18 lighter, with 2 skeins of sock yarn in tow.

Yes, I know, I have other things to knit besides socks, and I have enough sock yarn to outfit a platoon, but I like the soft subtle stripes of this yarn, and I have nothing in my stash remotely like it-- It was a wonderful pleasure!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Progress on Socks--Past the ring of Fire,

I never thought I would look forward to knitting stocking knit in black. But I am pleased to be done with the ring of fire. (Dante’s first circle of hell!)--Of course, now I am entering the blackness of Hell.. but that actually looking good right now!

With almost 8 inches of sock done, they are beginning to look proportioned.. Men have such big feet, and the two previous pairs I of socks that I have knit have been super small children’s socks—which makes these socks seem even larger!

I love the orange yarn (and so did a member of my LIC knitting group—she saw the yarn in my clear “purse” that I use for socks last night and commented)

But there really isn’t enough contrast between the orange and the red, and there is too much between the orange and the yellow—I could have tried again, (and again) to get the colors perfect—but it might have taken more yarn (and time) than I was interested in investing—I want theses socks to be done in a timely manner—(in other words, they should have already been finished, and not still pre-heel turning!)

They look better in some light than in others... and the color work will looks so much better once the ends are woven in and the sock has been blocked.

Over all I am pleased with the design, even if slightly less pleased with the color balance.

In another few rows, I am going to switch to a rib, (5 X 1) –I am enjoying the plain knitting right now, and in another inch or two, will begin the gusset increases for the reverse engineered heel, which will also increase interest, but I like to knit ‘balanced socks’--that is to make the leg about equal to the foot-- And 11 5/8inches of foot, means 11 5/8 inches of leg… That a lot of leg to knit, and a rib pattern(not much of a pattern, but better than nothing) will help.

I have a small quantity of the red yarn left over, and there will be a one or two row red stripe just before I switch from 5 X 1 leg ribbing to 1 X 1 cuff ribbing--and the cuff is likely to be a deep one--most likely 2 or more inches.

The bind off will be another stripe either the orange (likely) or the yellow... Grafted—my favorite finish to a 1 X 1 cuff.

Every time I knit a scarf, I question my sanity.

I grow bored long before the scarf is finished, and I almost never wear a scarf (well--a scarf for warmth--and even scarves as accessories are only rarely worn.. Same goes for shawls... they get worn once or twice at Knit Outs (now a thing of the past in NYC) or at Sheep and Wool shows (and last year I didn’t go to a single one—this year I might make a 1 day visit to Rhinebeck..) and then almost never get worn again.

I Love knitting them-- but rarely wear them.

So it makes no sense, but I just bought --Knitting New Scarves--and I intend to knit some of the scarves in the book.

I love the interesting techniques. Some are new, some are techniques I know, used in a new way, and some are so simple—but interesting. Some of the patterns will be perfect projects for my knitting students—lots of simple garter stitch, with some interesting skill building techniques to learn. When I will get to knit one...who knows.. Soon.. but..

I have-- in my mental queue--a pair of sweaters for my grandchildren.. (And I really want to get them done—my son (and family) go camping, so wool sweaters are useful items in the kid’s wardrobes—not to mention, kids grow all the time and always need new clothes.

And I had a wonderful idea for a pair of sock last night—and I can hardly contain myself –Even though I have skeins and skeins of self striping sock yarn I want to knit up—I have to get going, and finish up a few projects before I can start them.. But I want to knit them RIGHT NOW.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

RCN ideas (not)

I tend not to use this blog a political soap box.

(I also tend to be politically liberal and fiscally conservative)

There is a lot I don’t like about Obama—but..
Watching even a small bit of the RNC…I am struck by what is being said, (and what is not being said.) I am struck by the continued lies.

Like the claim that McCain is going to end the war—with HONOR.

THE WAR? Which war?

The some what valid (but essentially stupid) war in Afghanistan?
Remember that war? We went into Afghanistan to get bin Laden

Remember bin Laden? He's the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks?
He’s still there--and so are we--but we don't seem to be doing much. (Except risking the lives of the men and women we've sent there.)

We have been unable to find a 6 foot 7 man hiding in the hills... I don’t know about you, but I think anybody 6 foot 7 inches tall stands out—in a crowd, when seated, just about anywhere!

And he is an Arab in a nation of Afghanis—(think about finding a 6 foot 7 inch Italian in Ireland… sure they are both Europeans... but even blond haired blue eyed Italians don’t look Irish!) an Arab, doesn’t look like an Afgani, either.

That war, the one in Afghanistan, that is a war on Terrorism—though you might as well launch a war on the tide—War isn’t the way to fight terrorism.

Or where the Republicans talking about the War in Iraq—(that war is a war of terrorism… and we are the terrorist)

The war in Iraq started with lies, and more lies, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (not—another set of lies)

How do we win the war in Iraq?
What are our objectives? (It seems to me, our object, now, is how to get out –with out giving up.)

The shrub claims we are not there to nation build--but having destroyed the existing government, and having made the decision that we want a say in the NEXT government...
I can only guess that we are there to nation build--unless we are there for the oil.

Is the only current object of the war to figure out a way to leave?

Certainly no one in the current administration can articulate our objective for being there.

We INVADE, We started this mess, (for no obvious reason than the Shrub wanted to show everyone he could succeed where Daddy didn't) and he toppled Saddam Hussian. Now what?

The war in Iraq is shameful. WE are shamed by what we have done there. We are shamed by how we have treated the Iraqi's, and more shamed by how we have treated our men and woman in the military--both in Iraq, and more shamefully at home.

There is no Honor in the war in Iraq, and there is no way to end in honor what we so shamefully started.

And then there is Ms Palin

It's hard to think of anything positive to say about her.

Perhaps I'll just ask her to explain how the "Abstanence ONLY" sex education works. (Since this is the only sex education she thinks is needed.)

If she can't get it work in her own family, (a place where in theory, she has the most control) how can she get it to work in families across the US?

Perhaps if her daughter had been given all the information she needed--Real information on birth control, –she might have made a better informed decisions in her personal life.

I don’t think being 17 and forced into a marriage is a good decision.
I don’t think abortion is a good decision either, for the most part.

And most of all, I don’t understand how Ms Palin’s making the decision (about sex education—for all young men and women)-- And making the decision for her daughter (and the somewhat reluctant father of the child) to marry is a good idea.

It’s difficult enough to be a teen—and to be thrust into the spotlight— and to be set up (or torn down) as an example--but I do think old enough to play, old enough to say.

Miss Bristol Palin decided to engage in sex.
She should be old enough to make decisions on the consequences of her actions.

It would have helped if she had been better informed, and understood the risks, (and what actions to take to avoid a teenage pregnancy).

But Ms Palin doesn’t think young men and woman need that information.. All they need is to be told is: Abstain!
and if they don't, Well, then what?

Clearly, for Bristol, there are no options. Ms Palin is now making the decisions for her daughter.

Miss Bristol is not going to have much say in what happens now.

She should have had the option to continue the pregnancy (now a moot point) or not.
She should have had the option to keep the child or not.
She should have had the option to marry the father of her child or not.

But instead, we are seeing the typical NeoCon reaction.. Miss Palin is not trusted to make decisions—Ms Palin doesn’t trust her daughter to make the decisions about her body or her life. Just as she doesn’t trust most of the women in this country to make the best decisions for our self.

Ms Palin wants to make the decision FOR US.

Well, she can (legally) do so for her daughter—but MORALLY she should be listening to her daughter, and letting her daughter, (and the father of the baby) be responsible—in any way that works for them.

Just as she should leave me morally responsible for my actions --and not dictate how I should live my life--(which she think I should do based on her moral beliefs.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'm on Fire!

5 inches into the foot, I am about to start the flames..
But first let me digress --or perhaps, rather, let me explain my digressions!

I made mention of the Hot Rod sock previously.. and I sort of claimed to be knitting it.
I am--sort of--but me being me, well--I made a few changes.
I am using:
different yarn
at a different gauge
in a different size
working in a different direction(toe up)
and consequently, will be working a different heel.

Oh, yeah, with all the other differences, the chart doesn't work for my stitch count, so finally,
I am using a different flame pattern.

Aside from that, IT IS The Hot Rod Sock—all my changes are immaterial! Any one looking at my sock will immediately see, for all I've changed, the basic design remains intact. And while its not the sock as designed, it's also not my design!

It isn't the same.. but the basic idea, the basic look, at the core, it's really just me finding my way to knit a pattern I really like!

But before I could start on the flame, I needes a bright flame orange yarn—Not an easy color, and not one in my stash. I could have gone shopping (I am working in Mid town these days, with in walking distance of 3 LYS, (School products, Gotta Knit and (I forget the name of the third, but.. there is one))

But...I already own so much sock yarn.. and I didn't really need a lot of the orange (or of the yellow either)

So I started with some left over white yarn. First it was too light (and peachy) I didn't bother to photograph, but immediately re-dyed. Then it was too dark and red.
It's a great color (and I'll find a use for it, I'm sure!)--but it's to red, and too solid.. Not enough contrast, not enough interest(for my purposes).

--A few yards of yellow base—and I got a great (but to solid) flame like orange—I was on the right track..

Well (is it always, or does it just seems that way?) the third time was the charm.

I started with the same yellow base yarn--Kroy 4 ply-originally a sunny yellow--color way "Mellow Yellow" (it's a few years old and this color is no longer in productions)
And I overdyed it –into a near solid, bright, firey orange. There are still hints of the original yellow, and places are as deep and as dark a red as the toe... and now its time to start working the flame.

As for the flame... It's my own pattern—I don't think its as good as the original... but it's better than my first effort.

Unlike the original 16 stitch pattern, my flame is a 24 stitch pattern (there will be 3 repeats over the 72 stitches.)--I created a table, and colored in each square--(and then moved a good three feet away from my computer, removed my glasses and squinted.) That worked--flaws became very evident—and after a few edits, I finally got a pattern that works.. (or so I think!)

Fun with Paper

I love knitting—and all textiles.. And I love paper crafts.

Here is a great site for paper craft lovers (and here is a link to a post with another paper craft site—paper dolls to print and color..)

This post has directions for the first of 2 fun paper folding tricks I know. This first one, a small booklet, is courtesy of Elizabeth C.--an on-line friend I met in person recently.

This is not Origami, It will require scissors--and it uses a "legal" (8.5 X14 inch peice of paper.)

As with all paper crafts, neat, precise folds make all the difference. Take your time, work on a smooth surface, and carefully align the corners before creasing, and make smooth, even creases.

For illustration purposes, the corners are not always aligned...But don't let this fool you.

Step 1
Start with a ‘legal’ (8.5 x 14--A12?) paper

Step 2 Fold like a “hot dog roll”, crease and unfold--1st fold

Step 3 With out turning over, Fold like a hamburger roll --crease-- do not unfold (2nd fold)

Step 4
Fold each edge again, and make 2 “hot dog rolls” folds, (or a W shape or a 2 mountain shape (when viewed from side)

First fold the side facing you: Take the top edge (the open edge) and fold it down to the meet the folded edge..

Then turn the paper over and fold the 2nd top edge down to the folded edge
(3rd and 4th folds)

The Long edge is 8.5 inches, the short edge is about 3.5 inches (14 inches folded into 4 equal parts (14/4=3.5 inches.)

Here the W is evident, but in next step, it will upside down--a double mountain shape.... with the outside flaps lifted up.

This is a double mountain shape /\/\--an upside down W.

The Hamburger fold is the V in the center. The peaks of the mountains are the 2 hot dog roll folds

Step 5
Cut along the very first fold line (the hot dog roll fold)—starting at the second fold line(the hamburger roll fold) to the 3rd and 4th fold lines! (the second set of hot dog roll folds.) Cut carefully.

Cut FROM the first Hamburger fold line, Along the First Hot dog fold line--to the second and third hot dog fold lines.
See illustration.

Step 6
Pull the cut edges apart—
Grasp at dot, and pull Out and Up..
(until the cut edge becomes horizontal and the paper has a cross (+) shape.)

See how the Dots have moved away from each other? and how the cut edge is now horizontal, and the paper has taken on the shape of a cross?

The Red lines are the Fold lines (of the Hamburger fold)

Step 7
Fold the cross into a booklet..
Turn upside down, so that there are 2 folded edges at the top of the booklet.
The 2 other folded edges are at the front of the booklet.

Add art work and messages as desired.

(Step 8--Optional-- Number booklet pages, then unfold completely.
Use the page numbers to set up a template, and print a message on a sheet of paper before folding.--You'll need to Adjust Page Set Up in Word Processor to Landscape mode (the usual default is Portrait, not landscape)

Next, a paper trick Betsy Rose knew--or so it is said.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Socks--With Pockets

Well, I may not be perfect—but I am a good nana.

Just a few weeks ago my granddaughter Miss B, requested socks with pockets... and here they are 99% complete.

A few threads still need to be woven in, and a small button or bead added (to close the pocket) –but largely, they are done!

These are free-be socks… Knit from yarn left over from other socks.

The solid blue is Patons Kroy sock yarn (the left over bits at least 3 years old!) the Brown is (I think) Cherry Tree Hill Super Merino

The Process—fairly simple.

Toe up (Magic cast on) 2 at a time on 2 circ’s.
Raised increased to shape toe.
Waste yarn to mark heel location.
More waste yarn for pocket cuff.
Pockets knit and inserted, (pocket inserts knit separately)
A few inches of leg, and 1.5 inches of 1 x 1 ribbed cuff.

Then the waste yarn was removed, and the heel knit.
The pocket ‘cuff’ was knit (from the stitches on waste yarn) and the cuff was sewn down, (and the pocket secured)
And now, I am off to... Make another pair of socks!

It’s not what I intended to do… but circumstances have forced me to knit a pair of socks.

A friend (DS) started a small project, and it snowballed into a huge undertaking—and he continued—and ended up with far more work than he intended--all to my enjoyment (and with very little work on my part.)

(How much work? How much enjoyment? Well, here to for, I've only knit socks for blood relatives, and people I've had sex with...-a rather small and select number! DS will be the first person who is a non relative, and non intimate that will receive hand knit socks)

Secondly, I saw this pattern and wanted to knit it.

Thirdly, he’s the kind of guy who will wear these socks on special occasions—like when he knows he’ll be removing his shoes (airport security say) and show them off!—or in other word, the kind of person it’s a pleasure to knit socks for.

Fourthly, he appreciates hand knit socks, (and recognizes their value--a must!)

Fifthly, there are another dozen reasons he deserves them that I am not going to list!

No photo’s yet--but—unusual for me, they are not my own design.

I am knitting (well almost knitting) the Hot Rod socks design. I say almost because the socks will look virtually identical, but I am not following the pattern..

I am just making my own copy of the design-- Right away mine are different, because I am knitting toe up! But the details I am changing don't significantly change the design.