Thursday, May 28, 2009

Done! (not finished)

All the knitting is done! There are still a few (5!) ends to weave in, and buttons to purchase and sew on.

And the gods of knitting have smiled on me… (More on that later)

Basically it is the February Lady as written... but not quite.

1—I used an inverted Magic (Judy’s) Cast On.
I cast on the correct count, over 2 needles, using the solid purple yarn. Then I worked 2 R’s of Purl stitch. Finally, working with 2 needles in my left hand, and with my right hand, and the hand painted yarn, I Purled 1 from back needle, 1 from front, until all the stitches were on single needle
This gave me a tubular edge (in reverse stocking knit) in the solid purple, and put the color change row on the inside.
I let the tubular cast on count for 2 of the 4 rows to be worked before the increases began.

The tubular cast on is stretchy, but it isn’t… One problem I noted with many of the February Lady sweaters I’ve seen is the cast on edge stretches out.

A simple cast on of any sort will work for most sweaters, (and would most definitely work for any baby sweater.)  But for a 24 inch long full sized adult sweater, the entire weight of the sweater is hanging from the cast on edge!  The tubular cast on is a bit sturdier.. and a bit less likely to stretch out of shape.

2—I cast on 4 extra stitches (No, I didn’t/Yes, I did) and use them in pairs, at either edge to make a 3 stitch reversed (purl) I-cord at the edge.
2 extra stitches, plus the 1 stitch that most knitters slipped (for the slipped chain edge)

Again, a slip stitch edge is fine for a baby sweater, but a full size sweater needs something more to support the front edge. Right now, the edge is a bit short.. but after a few wearings, as it stretches, it will be just fine (unlike many February Lady sweaters that have stretched and sagging fronts.)

3—I cast on 8 fewer stitches (No, I didn’t) I cast on 4 fewer stitches, plus and the 4 stitches “stolen"  in step 2!) So  the sweater  was, at the time I placed the markers,  8  stitches less  than needed for my size.  I made up for difference at the end. 

For the last 4 R’s, I increased EVERY ROW not every other row.
This did 2 things:
1—it changed the shape of the armhole
2-And it made the armhole shorter (tighter)
To the left, a standard raglan slope, to the right, a gambrel one.

A general problems with raglan sweater shaping is it too big for most women (it’s great for women (or men) with broad shoulders. but not so good for woman with narrow shoulders.

By changing the shape of the raglan ‘seam line’ from a simple slope to an upside down gambrelled one, there is less bulk under the arm, and neater fit. 
In many parts of the US,  barn roofs have gambrel shaping... most of you might know the term (and the shape!) from that usage. It's less common in NE, where steep peeked roofs are common for barns

The armhole is a little tight, and it is 2 row shorter than it would be with convention raglan increase. 2 rows don't seem like much, but they make a small but significant change.  The Garter is stretchy--it will be fine. (So far, many have complained about too deep armholes, and no one about to shallow ones--2 fewer rows in the armhole should be just about right!)

4—I ran out of hand painted yarn before I finished the yoke and raglan shaping. And switched to the solid purple I was planning to use for lace portion of the sweater.

Since I had (mentally) designated the purple for the lace-I started with lace.

I worked 2 rows of eyelets, (K2tog, YO) –a pattern I know by the name of BEADING (simple beading!) I used the beading hid the final increases.
So I have Two full row of eyelets, not a eyelet increases spaced out over a single row.

5—At the hem of the sleeve and the hem of the body, I added another row of beading, to echo the beading at the top.

6—Remember how I mentioned the gods of knitting smiled on me?
I had a few yards (not quite enough to do a whole row) of the hand painted yarn left.

I used this to for a cast on –and cast on for a pair of semi sleeves—and had just enough. (OK so I have 6 inches tails, (to start/to end) so it’s a no stress amount.) and then switched to the solid purple. This is sort of mirror image of the sweater cast on.

Semi-sleeves are a bit more than wrist warmers; I plan to make them long enough to cover from wrist to elbow (but nothing on the fingers). And to use the same gull lace –and to knit in a tube. They will be enough to cover, for those odd occasions when I might need to, my lower arms—and to extend the use of the sweater. (Why hasn’t everybody done this?)

I started them last night, and this AM frogged almost back to the beginning. I hadn’t put in the row of Beading—and by the time I started the lace, this was annoying me. And I switched to size 7 needles.

I added a single purl between the lace repeats – (35 stitches was too small, 42, too big. 40, (5 lace repeats of 8 stitches each, (7 +1 purl) was better,—but it was still a bit loose. The slightly smaller gauge effected by a smaller needle will make the size just right!

Tomorrow the buttons and view of the sweater being modeled by me, not by a size 8 manikin!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Going, going, (not quite gone)

No photo’s—but I’ve finished the 22 repeats of the gull lace, and finished the skein of yarn, but haven’t finished the 7 garter ridges that make up the last inch and half of hem.
3 ridges are done.. 3 and half really, since I ended on the wrong side.
But it was midnight, and I was out of yarn, and there is tonight!

I still have yarn 2 partial skeins, left over from the sleeves—so having enough is not problem.

I will finish it tonight…and take a simple photo of it finished. But, then, of Friday, and get a friend to photograph it—on me.. (without an outstretched arm or mirror image with the camera and flash in the photo)

I still need buttons --and I doubt that I’ll have them before photoshoot 1 –Friday AM—but maybe by the afternoon I’ll have found some. –I have some plans with friends Friday evening, maybe by then, the February Lady will have buttons. and there will be a photo shoot 2. 
Finding buttons it is one of my ‘assigned’ chores for Friday.

And before I move on, I am going to make a pair of under sleeves.

Something like wrist warmers—a tube of lace (modified slightly—with a single (or double) purl between each pattern—to make it just a tad stretchy) that will serves as an under sleeves.

Kim made these stunning sleeves—and they are so practical—(Drat she doesn’t have a photo of HER version!) --which are beautiful--on her Ravelry Project page yet (that is a ravelry link, and won't work if you're not a member yet.)

Take yesterday-- In the day time, it was nice, a bit cool, but not cold. Walking about in a short sleeves shirt was possible.

But once the sun went down, and the temperature dropped a few degrees and it was too cool to be comfortable with out something on your arms.

I think the February Lady could use the same thing--something matching, something to cover your arms (something close fitting) from wrist to elbow..
I don’t have much yarn, --so they won’t be a full length sleeves—just a bit more. A bit of something to let the sweater work—on cool days, and on slightly cooler nights!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What is your Favorite Color?

It’s one of the questions Ravelry asks; but it’s a pretty common question in lots of circles. It is a question I have a hard time answering.

What is my favorite color?
For clothing? Purples.. and blues.
For traveling? Turquoise—for the summer, and teal for the winter.
For parties? Reds and coralsFor rooms? Neutrals for big rooms, Bright and dramatic for small (purple or raspberry or turquoise)
For ceilings? Pure White (icy white) or pale blue.
For writing? Peacock blue, or Bright green or Raspberry red.
For knitting?
Well bright colors for small items, and more neutral colors for big ones.. unless it’s an afghan or something really big..
I tend to like solids—but not exclusively—and tend to like hand painted (random color variation) better than more ordered colorways.. but sometimes, it’s just the combination of colors that speak to me!

I really like a lot of colors, and I like interesting combinations—
This hat (seen in this post), is the hat I wear most often in the winter—It is a rusty orange, with a dark purple and bright turquoise.. and the wrist warmers? Almost the same colorway. SO OBVIOUSLY, I am not the only person in the world who thinks these colors go together!

I don’t like every color in the rainbow—(tomato red doesn’t do much for me, for one) and there are some colors I come back to, again and again---which works for me.
Odd skeins, from sales or swaps, or where ever –that speak to me, are likely to find color mates in my stash, waiting to pair up with them and I love to mix and match up different yarns, and colors and textures.

Yesterday I blogged about the Touch me.

Here is the skein of Artful Yarns I plan to make into wrist warmers/fingerless gloves- I just have the one skein—It’s a machine washable merino.

Shown with it, are 2 skeins of yarn that I picked up,  some time in the past,  (at a clearance sale, cheap because they were missing the ball bands)  of Coats & Clarks Washable wool—one in Grape, one in Raspberry. (I have a second skein of the Grape –bought at full price (less what ever discount coupon I had!)

The plan was to cast on in color A of C& C’s Washable Wool, then work the main part in the Artful Yarns, then end with Color B of the C & C Washable wool. I still haven’t decided which would be color A and which color B, but I don’t think it matters much.

Part 2 of the plan was to leave a few yards of the Artful Yarns—just enougth to cast on and bind off a scarf (or a hat) made from stripes or some other color pattern—with what ever I made from the of the C & C wools.

Not a matching set, not dyed to match, but good go with colors.

Then in stepped Lars with his generous destash and now I have 2 skeins of Touch Me.

The color is brighter—but it matches up with the Lion Brand Lion wool—this is the color Rose –Rose more than almost any other color in the Lion Brand wool line varied—I have some skeins in this rich dark rose, and some in much lighter, much more traditional rose color.

Look at the grouping—Nothing matches, but a Hat and scarf and pair of fingerless gloves made from these yarns will look great together!  

Especially for someone who loves colors—All of them!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shudda, cudda, wudda…

Didn’t! (get much knitting done)

February Lady is on the brink of being finished—for a week now.

Repeat 19 of the gull lace is finished: 20, 21, and 22 a wait, plus a few rows of garter stitch--About 20 rows till completion. Oh yeah, and buttons. I need buttons--and so far, nothing I have seen has spoken to me.

(I did manage to get to a hardware store, and buy drain opener. Once again my bath tub drains 3 inches of water in less than 4 hours.)

The socks are 3 and half inches done –or rather were 3 and half inches done.
But a one sock somehow slipped of a needle, and I might have to frog a row or two to get all the stitches picked up and in pattern.

(All the plants on my terrace are watered and most are blooming. Since my terrace has no water, and gets LOTS of sun, AND I need over 4 gallons to water everything, this is a bigger deal than you might think: carrying gallon after gallon from kitchen through dining room and living to terrace is no small task.)

I have been organizing give away prizes for my 3 year blog anniversary... (Nice ones!) with the idea of getting rid of some stash and stuff (books, project bags, miscellanies goodies.) and then Lars goes and cleans up and organizes his stash, and now I have 2 balls Muench’s Touch Me (and visions of a hat) and, Hey wait, I am supposed to be getting rid of stuff!!! (Oh I love Touch me!)

(I suppose I should feel good about having 80% of the Sunday NYTimes crossword puzzle finished--I didn’t even start it till after I got home from my Sunday at Panera’s!—(or after 7PM)—but now I have very little to look forward too! I like it when it takes me 3 or 4 days to completely solve-- not when I can finish it in 3 or 4 hours! Oh and by finished I mean MOST of the answers. If there are one or two words that elude me, I don’t let that stand in the way of saying finished! I am not there yet (all but one or two crosswords) but close.)

I have a queue of projects as long as my arm and then some —but the Touch Me will push its way to the top quickly. I have, in a similar color (very close!), a single skein hand painted yarn wool that is destined for fingerless gloves. And some other yarn – (different brand, different wool...) that was planned to make a something to match the gloves (in a sort of set.)

Now, the hand painted DK wool will be fingerless gloves; the wool will be the crown of hat, and the Touch Me, a brim. A scarf might make an appearance, too.
I know, I know, every time I knit a scarf, I claim, it’s the last one I am ever going to knit—but there are some patterns in Knitting New Scarves that I still want to have a go at!

None of the colors are a perfect match-- but both the wool and Touch Me are colors found in the hand painted skein.—which also has a small amount of white.. (and I have a pair of plush white gloves--)

Dyed to match sets are a dime a dozen at big box stores. This set will be artfully matching--nothing will be exactly the same color—but it will all go together.

Of course, I first have to finish February Lady…

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ooh, That’s nice!

Once I decided on linear –or more accurately, a columnar design--then the rest was easy.

My gauge is just under 9 stitches per inch (36 stitches =4.12 inches—not an even 4 inches.) And the fabric is still pretty soft.

I could, if I wanted, go down to a size 0 needle, and get an even 9 stitches per inch, with a stiffer fabric. And I could have used a rib or cable that would have tightened up the ease. 

But I am happy with fabric, and 8.25 inches is still negative ease. I like 72 as a stitch count--(36/36) because 36 has a nice range of factors--2 x18, or 3 X12, or 4 X8 , or 6 X 6—so finding a stitch pattern to suit my needs is pretty easy—I had available, a large number of choices. 

OR it would have been easy if I had a stitch dictionary with me!

SoI  made a small table, and quick enough; a pattern!

It is an original? I dunno. I like it. It has a six stitch repeat—its not a rib, and its much stretchier than a standard cable. So it works for me!
This image is 6 pattern repeats (12 R's)
Spiral Columns--this pattern is designed for knitting in the round
R1: P1, K1, Twist2, K1, P1 (6 stitches)
R2: K1, Twist 2, Twist 2, K1
Repeat R1 and 2 for pattern

By Twist2 I mean a simple 2 stitch cable (twisted stitch)—
Knit into stitch 2, then into stitch 1, then let both stitches fall off the left needle.

Simple, but interesting—a twisted column 4 stitches wide--Some won't like it because alternate R's start with a P1--and some don't like starting a new needle (when knitting in the round) with a purl stitch, but its Ok for me. 

I am working today (yes, Saturday) and will be working Monday too.. And hope to get some real progress made on these socks today.

Tomorrow will be Panera’s—and a maybe the last few repeats of the lace pattern—and I still need to find the right buttons.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Proposed and Disposed

I started a flower like stitch on Wednesday.. and was uncertain by the end of R1.

By the time started R3, (R2 being one of plain knitting) I was certain… I had the wrong pattern!
So a quick rip, and I am back to square 1.   

Or rather stitch 1, or more truthfully
 stitch 37 (the first stitch in the second half of the round).  I'll be back to stitch 1 after I complete the round.  

What now? Something simple I think--linear, (a simple twisted, 2 stitch cable? ) in the light red, and then after the heel, the linear pattern can become lacy and be worked in the very light red.

Something simple to knit on the subway--and to knit quickly!

Meanwhile, the ax has fallen—the last day of my employment has been announced, (Friday June 5th.) The replacement job, (same job, same company, new locations) is still up in the air. (End of Jun? beginning of July?) Not too long a furlough I hope.

And not too bad—with so many finding the ax blade sharp and the severance permanent, a onemonth furlough is not bad at all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Starts Today

In NYC at least!

Welcome to the Fleet—right now, ( 10 AM) a flotilla of ships are heading up the North River, (aka, Hudson River)* past the Intrepid, and soon the street of NY will be away with member of the US Navy—most in dress whites.

NYC is big--and it is home to many industries.
Most of the garment factories are gone-- but there are still design centers, and jobbers, and sample makers—the Fashion industry is big in NYC
While there have been ‘resets’ in the big financial companies, NYC is still a place where money (not just making it) is a big business.

Tourism is huge, too. And Retail and wholesale marketing, TV and entertainment, publishing—the list goes on and on...NYC is anything but a one company (or one industry!) town.

There are some military bases, and installations in NYC --the largest recruiting station in US is the one in Times Square, --and other recruiting station, in the Bronx (Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse) was (don’t have current figures), for years, in the top 5. But for the most part, military bases ring the city, rather than actually being IN the city.

But we still love our men in uniform—and are glad to have them in port. 

*Traditionally, in NYC, the river discovered by Henry Hudson in 1609 is called the North River—a trivia fact that real NYer’s know--also see  Wiki

As for Knitting?
The Toe’s are complete. And it’s time to transition to a pattern.. but I am still working out the details—I want something floral.. or suggestive of flowers..

The main yarn is light brick red, --not pink, but light red!—it’s going to be paired with an even lighter red—one that could be called a pink.. but…not a conventional pink.

These sock yarn are from what was VanCalcar Acres—Now doing business as Holiday yarns—with a brick and mortar store in Syracuse NY, and on lines sales as well –it’s a super fine sock yarn being worked on size 1’s, (2.25mm) at 9 stitches to the inch—with a hand as soft as silk. It’s wonderful working with this yarn!

Last night I got 2 complete repeats done on the February Lady—That is 18 repeats done.—just 4 or 5 more repeats to go-- and it will be finished. 

And just in time--spring came in with Fleet, and our cool days with high temps below 60° (below 16°c) will be a thing of the past –the weekend predictions are for sunny and mid to high 80’s!

I won’t want to be doing much knitting with a big sweater wool sweater in my lap when it’s 80+ degrees out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Warning! This blog post contains Knitting content and photos

It’s about time isn’t it?

I, like many people, KNOW what I need to do to lose weight, to be healthy, to control my anger, to… (A very long list)

And like many people, I do what I need to do,  most of the time.
But when there are changes (out of my control changes!) I find it all too easy to do the wrong thing.  At the times when I most need to the right thing, I am MOST LIKELY to do the wrong thing!  

Yes, I know there is only a very short term pleasure from something sweet like a snack cake. And the LONG term effects are not good.

And Yes, I know there is much longer term pleasure from eating fruit—and that the LONG term effects are better.

Still when I get tense, or annoyed, or short tempered, I still turn to sweets--like cakes and not sweets like fruit. 

Likewise, I know that knitting is good for me. It helps me relax, to focus, to be come positive...

But when I am stressed, it’s hard for me to sit quietly and knit. When I need to knit the most, is when I find it hardest to do.

But I’ve resolved to work on my stress. To momentarily force myself to knit, until knitting works its magic, helps me relax and once again take pleasure in it.

Last night (only 24 hours late!) I finished off the second sleeve—I started to write LEFT SLEEVE—but at this point, I am not sure which sleeve it was, the left or the right! But no matter, the important thing is; both sleeves are finished.

I only managed 2 rows of the body, joining the new ball of yarn, (the 3rd) and completing a half finished pattern repeat. But, I also wove in almost all of the ends! The tails from starting the sleeve, and from binding the sleeves off, the tails from the change from hand painted yarn to solid, the tails from joining the second skein of yarn.

I love to finish as go… Then as the last stitch gets bound off, there is hardly any work left before the FO is really a FO!

Oh, yeah-- here are the Patons Kroy socks, (done in self striping Fruiti-tutti) –Toes grafted, and all the ends woven in. (I realized I needed a photo for Ravelry!)

On the needles are the first few rows of toe up socks--A dark pink and that will be trimmed with a pastel pink. (Does dark pink count as a pastel?) I haven’t decided on a stitch yet, but my thoughts are turning to some thing lacy and flower like--
Well brighter and more spring like than the last 2 pairs of socks!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A bit of R & R.

I didn’t do much this weekend but relax and recuperate.

But I did recuperate-- I’ve started the week feeling good --and I intend to keep up the good attitude.

I tink'd  2 rounds on the February Lady, and I am back on track.
I didn’t make much progress--only 9 lace pattern repeats completed-- not the sleeve as I had hoped, but 9 is one more than 8, so progress is being made.

Saturday, my DD Emily took me out to dinner… (We always do mothers day on some other day than Mothers Day!) She asked me where I wanted to go, and I countered she should suggest.. the first suggestion was someplace Greek—and well Greek doesn’t make my top ten list of favorite ethnic groups—(and my favorite, Chinese, doesn’t make her top 100!)

She made another suggestion (Creole) and that sounded good, but then she picked me up, and said, “Change of plans—how about southern?”

So off we went to L. L. Dent’s in Carl Place.
Great food, great atmosphere…The wait staff didn’t have fake smiles.. they giggle and danced. Happy, perhaps at the turn out (the place was full when we got there at 8:00 PM, and still busy 2 hours later.) But what ever the reason, it was nice to see genuine smiles.

The service was leisurely.. not slow, but no sense of being hustled so they could turn over the seats. Warm corn bread to start—and nicely done.. good corn flavor, but not to crumbly--with real butter.

We shared the appetizer  of Fried Green tomatoes—she had the Tilapia creole style, and I had the BBQ brisket. Both were perfect. I went with the cole slaw—and DD had the collard greens.

We passed on the desserts (we are both thinking about managing our weight better) and they all looked so good.. I don’ think we’d have been able to share or leave with out licking the plates clean!

Sunday, was, as usual, the unusual group of knitters at Panera’s West Babylon.

As always there were wheels a spinning, and curious children—but we also had Stan Newman, and when Teabird tried to stump me with the word enantiodromic and I puzzled out something close to the meaning—she was slightly annoyed (she hadn’t been able to stump me)and slightly impressed.

When I just looked it up to check the spelling, I found the only place the word is sited is on the Worthless Word of the Day.. (Hi Michael!) --In my other life (ie, non knitting life) I am a word nerd.

My experiment hat is ready to be felted.. and sitting next to me, is some pastel near solid sock yarn –for a KAL on Ravelry.. I have to get cracking—these socks need to be finished in 2 weeks!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I’ve just sewn up the toe..

But here are the before photo’s from this AM—when the knitting was finished, but the toe had not yet been grafted.  The self striping patterns is perfectly matched at the cuff, but is a row or two off by the heel, and further apart by the toe.  I don't care... I don't expect anyone to notice!
Beside, I am HAPPY--Something Finished! 

Something new started, too...An experimental hat-- One that will be knit, then fulled/felted, then decorated, and finally finished with a knit veil... A very retro (circa 1950’s) dress cocktail style hat.

If you are not old enough to know what I am talking about, think of I Love Lucy –and the fancy cocktail hats that Lucy and Ethel wore in the show--small compact hats, highly decorated, complete with veils!

In my minds eye, it looks perfect—and I know just how to knit it. But… I could be wrong! Only time and some knitting will tell! Hats are quick, too, so I will have a finished project—be it a success or failure--pretty quick!

Tonight, I will get back to the February Lady, fix the error, and finish the sleeve.

This weekend, will be wonderful—the will be a chance of showers, but mostly the weather will be classic spring. Plus there is the promise of a dinner out with my daughter, and Sunday our knitting group is going to be hosting Stan Newman, the New York Newsday crossword editor

I am a bit of word nerd, and so are some other members of the group—and several of us are crossword (and/or Scrabble fans)—and as knitters and spinners, we have a specialize vocabulary of knitting, spinning and fiber terms.
OUR GOAL? A crossword puzzle with a fiber theme. Sure, a lot of guys might have some trouble.

But then, how many times have I puzzled through crosswords devoted to the1957 Dodgers? (or some other particular team) or to one with a Tennis theme? Or last weeks Sunday NYTimes puzzle, filled with golf puns?

I know some women are sports fans, just as our group has some guys who are knitters—neither sports or textiles are exclusive to a particular gender.
But, it’s also true, that I think I know more about golf, or baseball, or woodworking, than most guys know about knitting, or sewing or textiles.

Women tend to know about things MEN are interested in, but the converse is not always as true!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hard Work.

Many people who know me, don’t know me at all.
They only see the me I have learned to show the world.

Naturally, I am overly sensitive, quick to take offence, ornery (if not down right cranky) and the kind of person who sees the worst of a situation. I am dour and down right nasty.

A long time ago, I learned –in the way Dr Phil is always asking: How’s that working for you?—that the negative energy I was sending out, was what I was getting back—and that my negativity, made me more negative.. it was bad, for me, and for everyone around me.

So I learned to work at being positive. I work hard at being Positive- but I recognize it's less hard all the time. As I act more positive, I attract more positive energy, which helps me be (and not just act) more positive.

I work on creating a positive feed back loop..
Work at thinking positive
Get positive feedback
Feel positive about things
Use this positive energy to power positive thinking –making this an easier task.

I also try to avoid negative things—since I realize my positive feedback loop is not self sustaining. I still need to work at being positive. Not a hard I used to have to work—but I haven’t changed my life enough to be happy without effort.

It’s good.
Things in my life are no better, no worse than anyone else’s. Good things happen, bad things happen. But with a bit of effort (less now than in the past, but still effort is required) I am usually happy.

Avoiding negative stuff is the problem. Sometimes, it just can’t be avoided.

The past week (7 days) have been pretty negative.
I know I will be out of work for a while –Good news—it a furlough not firing—and it’s a short term (most likely just 1 month’s furlough)—but still it is a month with no pay (and worse, with no structure, no job to help define the days, no regular schedule.. all of which are tools that help me be positive!)

I am not looking forward to the furlough –but Good News—there are some tasks that I need to get done on work days.

I need some work done in my bathroom.. a new sink, new faucets, the walls painted, and the stuff--shelves, towel rackes, and what not, bought and borrowed, and installed hodge podge, needs to be better organized –partly to look better, partly to function better.
Getting some of the work done requires me to be home in the morning ---normally work time.. The furlough will give me the chance to get it done.  
And a spiffed up Bathroom will be a nice thing, and will make me feel good!

I have some sewing to do too.. Losing weight –(another aspect of a positive feed back loop at work) means I need to take in some clothes. Other clothes need some mending, and I have other sewing projects that want to work on..

It will be nice to have a free day to sew!—and I always feel good about completing sewing projects.. (and l will love having “new” (mended clothes) to wear (again!). 
And I have some creative sewing projects to work on--I have all the tools I need-- the thread, the fabric, the zippers and other notions--Just a few hours of time, and a collection of projects can be completed! 
More things to feed the positive feed back loop.

Then there is the general organization of my stash (and reductions of the same!)
Things always get messier before they get neater.. you have to undo the current mess before you can set up shelves and reorganize neatly--ButI know I will be happy when it is done.

There is another task I have in mind, too--Hanging some lattice panels on my brick terrace. The previous owners kids spray painted graffiti on the bricks of the terrace, and while I have obscured it, it’s virtually impossible to remove spray paint from bricks.

But vinyl lattice is not expensive, and can be mounted on furring strips (and easily removed –(since co-op rules require no permanent additions) and will make the terrace brighter (by reflecting more light) and prettier—and the lattice will further obscure the spray paint.

Which, at this point, I see, but no one else notices unless I point it out.. but there it is –a negative that annoys and irritates me.. A small thing, but one that interferes with maintaining my positive feedback loop! One that I can make go away for under $100 and a few hours of time!

Sadly—at this point (and for the past 7 days) it’s been very hard for me to be positive.

The building landlord has been ‘Improving’ –the retail space that I work in (in hopes of renting to someone else at a much higher rent!)

The improvements have including a lot of sheet rocking (and dust, dust, dust)
electricity disruptions, (Oh, I am such a slave to all things electric!) and endless noise—drilling in sheet rock screws (by the thousand) was bad.. 

But that noise got replaced by drilling (with an impact drill) holes in the ceramic tiles and concrete floor (making me wish for the simpler noise of the sheet rock screws!)

It has made it hard for me to be positive. The loop is broken for the moment--and I don’t like me! I want to go back to being the me that has a positive feedback loop!

I need to knit more (knitting is an activity that helps power my positive feed back loop!) but the noise and mess leave me physically and mentally tired. And I get less knitting done (none last night!)—and Tuesday night, I messed up the lace pattern (such a simple pattern! I should be able to do it in my sleep by now)  So now I have to frog back a row –so the sleeve is hovering close to 8 repeats. (the last round of the 8th repeat is where I messed up) but not finished!

Blogging, helps too—but no knitting means nothing much to blog about!

(And I hate blog posts with out photos—and here is my second photo free post in this month (which isn’t even half over!))

Today is a bit better--Little, little things make all the difference—Even this post, (which is pretty negative!) isn’t just an endless rant. I am working on focusing on the positive—and then today, I found a penny --and picked it up.. so all the day, I’ll have good luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I worry about my stash

I mean my SABLE--because well, I think my stash has reach SABLE proportions.

This weekend, (and a few weekends back) a woman on LI had a garage sale.
Her mother had died back in December, and she was cleaning out the house, preparing to sell it.

She needed to get rid of the stuff. The Stuff is Yarn. I got some of the stuff. Like I need more stuff!

The beautiful skein that is the yoke of my February Lady? It was a skein from her SABLE..(via LICraftGirl.) Kelly went to the first sale she had a few weeks ago.

Saturday past? Liz and Rena each got a bag (a XXXL zip log bag) of yarns.
Rena got, among other things, 10 Skeins of worsted weight silk—and some other beautiful yarns.

Liz? I have to wait and see what she got—mostly washable stuff for her granddaughter. 
In addition, she got me a bag of yarns…and what beautiful yarns they are!

6 skeins of NORO--Ok some of it has been crocheted, and some was knit into a swatch, but…for $5 so what? I’ll frog it and redo the balls on my ball winder.

And look at this Patons yarn.. (9 skeins, each 153 yards) $4 for the lot—1300 yards—enough for a short sleeved shell or cardigan. (I love the  color!)

This cotton blend  is full of possibilities--2 skeins of worsted weight (maybe three) 1 skein, a different brand, but almost the same colors.. in DK weight.

These Ruby skeins?  2 skeins of wool/rayon and 3 of 100% rayon ribbon--Different brands, but almost dyed to match—Oh the possibilities!

What will happen to my SABLE?

I am making up labels for it-- so my daughter can sell it on Craig’s List, or give it away to my friends, or I better, I need to knit more—and faster!

Last night 4 lace repeats got knit on the sleeve of February Lady. Sunday I checked out Rena February Lady—I like the length of hers. She has 22 repeats for the body (I currently have 15) – I am going to have almost a full skein of yarn left when I am finished--should I make some fingerless gloves? or a hat?

I think fingerless glove might be ideal-- If they were long, they could be a separate half sleeve—making the February Lady work as a jacket, on colder days—and not just a keep warm in drafts cover up.

I have few yards of the hand painted—I’ll be able to do a hand painted cast on then lacy solid purple.  The socks will be finished tonight--and on display tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

First off… no photos!

I left my camera at work this weekend—(it was safe and sound and just were I left it this AM) but that means No Photos.

Not that I have much to show--I worked Saturday morning—and knit nothing Saturday evening!

Sunday, finished off the last row of the lace repeat (and the last of the skein) and got to work on sleeve 2 of February Lady—but I just got 2 repeats done--hardly enough progress to see!

Thanks to Liz, I got a stash enhancement.. (yeah, just what I need MORE YARN!) All of it lovely, some of it NORO. One skein is crocheted into a large circle—it will be frogged—and 4 or 5 more skeins after that—and other great yarns, too.  You’ll just have to wait till tomorrow to see!

Last week Robyn reminded me what fun a potlatch can be. So I am going to be looking for some boxes, and packing them with goodies, and getting ready for one. I KNOW me-- I need to have everything packed and ready to go (to the post office) before I start a give away. Other wise—well, it takes me forever!

Coming up (in just 11 weeks—a blink of eye time wise!)is the 3rd anniversary of this blog—I think a give away is in order—Some sock yarn, some worsted, some needles (I’ve decided I really do hate bamboo needles)—and some other goodies.

It won’t start till July –but I have to begin now!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

15 repeats—and the end of Skein..

Well, I row short of a full 15 repeats of the Gull lace The sleeve has 14 repeats, so the body is just slightly longer than the sleeve now When I finish that row, it will be time to start a new skein.

--Only I won’t—I’ll skoot off and make the second sleeve!

Looking at the first sleeve, it is amazingly obvious how much my gauge changes when I knit flat vs in the round –I should have gone up a needle size!

I don’t think it matters. (I SEE the difference, but no one but a few knitters will notice!)

15 repeats of the gull lace is over 2 inched longer in the body (knit flat) than 14 repeats in the sleeve! (In the sleeve, lace and 14 rows of garter are shorter than the 15 repeats of the same pattern worked flat for the body!)

This is all the better from me—after I finish the left sleeve, it won’t take much to finish the body!
As I work the last row of the last lace repeat, with the last bit of yarn of this skein, I am going to spread the body stitches out over 2 circs. Then when I finish the second sleeve, I’ll be able to try it on—and see how many more inches I need to work to finish the body.

I was afraid of running short of yarn.. but I have 2 full skeins left—and the first sleeve didn’t use a full skein, and I got 10 full repeats of the lace from one skein—so I will have enough and then some!

Friday, May 08, 2009

OH dear me!

What to blog about?

Should I gripe?

I could gripe about the weather --7 days of rain! (Okay, so its not 40 days and 40 nights.. but!) 

It's has been good for the grass--and yesterday, when it stopped for the count of 2, I got this picture taken of the azaleas out side my front door.

Or I could gripe about my job  
Actually it’s not the job, it’s the landlord… (Isn’t always the landlord?)

He is doing major renovations to the space we (the company that employs me) occupy. I (a peon) don’t know all the details—but the gist is, we are month to month tenants, (paying something below the  normal (outrageous!) rent.  And he (the landlord) is ‘improving the space’ (and we don’t have much say).  Their (the landlord and his intinerent construction workers) idea of notice is to arrive at the door, and say: We are doing this, OK?  (like I really  have a choice!)

Yesterday was the worst—a new curtain wall was going up. Metal studs and baseplate, --which needed to be attached to the floor. In this case, ceramic tiles set in a mud (concrete) base.

They used a nail gun. A piece of equipment that uses black powder. And fired off a dozen shots—between the noise and the gun powder residue… It was horrid.

Today they are still screwing the sheet rock.. (drill, drill, drill) and cutting a new door way out—of an existing wall--lots of work with the reciprocating saw! and hammering. They (the construction workers) just drop stuff-- as if no one minds the noise. The rest of the building is vacant, so there isn’t really anyone to mind the noise but me!

--And just now, as I was editing this page, they (for their convenience), decided to unplug the modem and router.. (I work at an internet cafe.. Do you think that having a working (plugged in, power on MODEM might be important?) Augh!

But enough with gripping!

February Lady?  Well not much progress there.  I was out Tuesday night (and did knit--and blogged about it already)  and out Wednesday knit (and didn’t knit) and out again  last night, and did knit—but not February Lady. So there isn’t much to say!

The stripy socks? Well they are coming along.. another dozen rows, and I’ll start the toes.. (likely, today on the subway, as I head home.)  Once I start with the toe decreases, I am likely to keep at them till they are done (tonight!)--I might even get a lace repeat or 2 done on the Lady.

I made a good deal of progress because I went home yesterday (after work -circa 2PM) to move my car (Alternate side of the street parking requirements).

Then headed back to Manhattan at 5PM—to see Robyn Love’s presentation at the Lion Brand Studio.   Of course, the socks came with me—they are my subway knitting project--and got worked on  both coming and going.

Next up are going to be some semi solid pastel socks (I have lots of semi solid sock yarn) for a KAL on Ravelry. Its my favorite kind of KAL--I can use any yarn, any pattern, work at any speed--all I need to do is Knit Socks--in a semi solid pastel yarn. 

I brought my camera and tripod to Robyn’s presentation—but I can now tell you with authority—a 2 gig memory card will only hold 1 full  hour of video (not the full 1.5 + hours of her presentation)--Which is a shame, because it was wonderful.

Kudo’s for Lion Brand for having her there.

I think my computer is going to choke uploading that much video, but I'll give it a try... (stay tuned!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What a fabulous swap!

I don’t do swaps often. I just know myself-- I am bad at getting things to post office--(and bad at getting things packaged, labeled, and ready to go to the post office.)--making me, in general, a bad (or potentially bad) swap partner.

But last week, I received a request from Pam Mackenzie (on Ravelry) for a swap—and the stars were perfectly aligned.
I had an envelope handy, and I knew exactly where the yarn she wanted was… And she has an allergy to wool, so the odd were stacked. I traded Lion Brand Wool Ease (25% wool) for some 100% wool. A trade that seems unfair-- (and all to my advantage!)--but since she proposed it, one to her liking!

And look what I got in exchange for my 16 oz of mostly acrylic… 3 big fat cakes of lovely wool—12 oz in all--wool that will become a short sleeved shrug—I think!(Oh, yeah and a bonus skein of Paton's Classic Merino wool!)

It's  a color I love, that is close enough in color to be a go with my fingerless gloves, and with the (still unknit) zephyr lace cowl—I can have a little keep warm ensemble.
A shrug, (for shoulders, with wooly warmth), some fingerless gloves for wrists, a soft lacy cowl for head and neck.

All co-coordinating!  Ok so I still have to knit it up, (and I have a yard long list of things to knit.. but...)

The February Lady Sweater has 11 full repeats of the gull lace.. (and likely another 3 full repeats before I finish the skein, and start the left sleeve)

I’ll take a photo at some point. But for now, I am just cranking out rows.
The sleeve has 14 repeats of the lace, (and ends just past my elbow) so 11 repeats aren’t even enough to come to my waist--  there are still lots of rows to knit.

My socks? Heels turned, gusset complete. Off we go on the race to the toe!

The heel flap is a bit of fair isle instead of heel stitch. (and I have forgotten all the table commands of HTML--so no chart today!)

The lace has two parts;
1-- The Lace Cast On:
Which is just another variation of the Tail cast on;--but requirs a tail at least 2 times longer than you normal would normally expect.
Make first stitch (slip knot or simple loop)
*Cast on 2.
Then take first cast on (not slip knot or simple loop) and pull it over the second cast on stitch (a simple bind off) snug up yarn.--Yes, this is a cast on that breaks the rule-you want to snug up the stitch, not leave it loose!
Repeat from *casting on 2 stitches, binding off one, and snugging up.

(You will cast on 2 times more stitches than you end up with—which is why you need a double long tail)

This was followed by 2 rounds of work, 1 round of knits, 1 round of purls.
2--Then by Button Hole Lace: (my own, (un)original design!)

R1: K1 (in the round, slip 1) * make a double YO, K2tog ( end the round with a double YO, K2tog, last stitch and slipped stitch.)
The first Double YO becomes 1st stitch in round.
(worked flat, end row with a K1)

R2: Knit all stitches, (let the double YO drop, and Knit 1 stitch in the Double YO).
The work will look sloppy and un attractive at the end of this R!

R3: In the first stitch *(a DYO stitch) Knit into YO—not the stitch on the needle let the stitch on the needle drop off. K1, Repeat from *

R4: Purl all stitches.

R1 to R3 create YO (holes) that are 2 rows/rounds tall.

A single instance of this pattern (1 double yarn over, 1 K2tog) is the classic 3 row button hole—which is why I call this Buttonhole Lace.

I’ve never seen the 3 row buttonhole uses as the basis for a lace pattern—so, it’s a new stitch pattern in a way—an (un) original design.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Different Senses of Æsthetic

Do you know the term brownfields? The US EPA defines it as:

Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

They are not quite toxic waste sites... Just semi toxic.
They are often areas where, there was previously commercial development of industries that create pollution—places like:
Glass manufacturing... (Not usually toxic) unless they specialize in mercury glass—and then there is often mercury contamination. Perhaps not in lethal amounts—but...
Paint manufacturing—Lead, chromium, and a plethora of heavy metals –Plus a bunch of toxic solvents—but again not lethal quantities—but more than are healthy.

NYC has  lots of these—as manufacturing leaves both NYC and the US-- what are left behind are brownfields.

Just across the road (and creek!) from the new Mets stadium, (and, actually just across the street from the stadium) –were Industrial and commercial sites.  These sites are slowly but surely being abandon by manufactoring. 

A good number  of them on the shores of Flushing Creek.
Flushing Creek is a misnomer.
Long ago (400 years) there was a meadow—the Dutch arrived and called the area near the meadow Flushing. The meadow became Flushing Meadow.

As a city kid, I was late to knowing what a meadow was.
A meadow is low lying wet land. It’s drier than a marsh— and it’s often laced with small streams. Meadows, like bottom lands are the first to flood (and flood in light rain!) but they dry out—eventually… but the grounds are soft and boggy for many months of the year

The wet ground inhibits the growth of most trees, so meadows tend to be treeless open grasslands.

I am sure you know of Flushing Meadow.

Perhaps from the Simpson’s--when Homer, in NYC, is desperately seeking the relief of a bathroom and sees (a non existent!) bus with its destination “Flushing Meadows” and imagines commodes and urinals by thousands.
Or perhaps you know it from King of Queens, (the opening credits) or from Men in Black-- the scene of a major battle for earth.
Or if you are bit older, from the Worlds Fair --both the 1963 and 1937 NY Worlds Fairs-- were at Flushing Meadows.
Both the new and old Shea stadium where at the edge of the meadow, as is the Arthur Ashe stadium.
If you have a literary bent, you might know Flushing Meadows as the field of ashes that the Great Gatsby passes through--Because for many years—before it morphed into a park, it was the city dump for coal ashes.
The Meadow was ‘improved’ by filling it up with ashes, and coxing the many springs and natural streams into a single waterway –the Flushing creek.

This is a bit of Flushing Creek, as seen from the service road of the I-495—at the junction of I-495 and I-278 (AKA the Long Island Expressway and the van Wyck Expressway.  The van Wyck is a major access road to JFK airport.) The Creek runs parallel to the van Wyck.

Flushing Creek is brackish—the water in the creek rose and fell with the tides.

For a while, (YEARS actually), raw sewerage was discharged into the creek—the theory being the tidal flow would ‘flush’ the waste out to the sea –which was not really the sea, but Long Island Sound, not far from La Guardia Airport!

When I was a child, (during those years!) parts of Flushing Creek smelled like an open sewer.

Well-- the past 20 years have been good for Flushing meadow.
NYC has build treatment plants, and all effluent from the sewers goes into a treatment plant, not into the local waterways—and a pumping station makes sure the water in the creek doesn't become stagnant.   The number of day each year that the creek stinks are fewer and fewer –and the stink is just that a stink, not a stench!  It's a huge improvement--but still less than ideal.

Manufacturing has left the city (this is a mixed blessing--when it left, it took jobs) and this source of pollution is also a thing of the past.

And at the same time, Flushing, long a shopping and transportation hub in Queens, has become home to NYC new China town --another misnomer. Flushing is really a pan Asian community--with Japanese, Korean, Thai, Laos, and Indian sub-continent nationals, as well as many Chinese—as residents. The ethnic groups change almost block by block!---and there remnants of the long established middle class that remain.  3rd and 4th generations Irish, Italian, and Germans--there are even some of the original settlers--families that have lived in Flushing going on 400 years!

But it has  changed!  In my lifetime, Flushing has gone from area with farms (as late as the 1960's!) to low rise apartment building, to high rise apartment building. 

The gracious old frame homes of my childhood, on large plots with many trees, are being replaced with 2 and 3 family row homes with 2 or 3 row homes replacing on each lot,  what was once a single family home. 

The population density is one of the highest in the city.
The good news is, there is a demand for new housing—everything from cramped studios, to luxury digs. This is a vibrant area, with lots of appeal.  
How does this all relate –the brownfield, the meadowlands, and the development?  Well...

On College Point Boulevard, just out side of Flushing Meadow park, close to central Flushing –there are new luxury building going up... Along the shores of the Flushing Creek.  
As brownfield redevelopment projects.I guess I just have a different æsthetic—to me, Brownfields (semi toxic waste lands) and luxury housing just don’t go together!

(a link to sign image) 

Monday, May 04, 2009

Chugging along.

One sleeve finished-- (it’s pretty short, just coming past the elbow—but that is just how I like my ¾ sleeves!)—and I am back to working on the body.

I ended the garter stitch hem with a row of beading (lace) –matching the beading at the top of the sleeve—it’s little details like that (repeating a motif, again and again) that make for a good design in my opinion.

(Which is why I didn’t think much of the Lion Brand sock I made last month.. there wasn’t any unifying element (except the use of contrasting yarn)—Latvian twist cast on, Latvian braid trim, but then linen stitch for the heel stitch, and stripes for the toes—a real hodgepodge of stitch work—fine for work-a-day socks, but not my best work design wise!)

But this is a sweater—and attention to detail is important!
The cast on is a reverse stocking knit tubular one—in the solid purple--(and the tails ends of the cast on got woven in this weekend, too) 

Then the yoke-- plain garter stitch, in the fancy yarn.
With the return to the solid purple yarn, a bit of lace—2 rows of beading in the garter stitch, before switching to the gull lace.

The hem is once again garter stitch—with a row of beading, introducing once again that element of design from the shoulder to the hem—and reinforcing the idea of PURPLE=lace work.

I started to look for buttons—and I think I will have to head up to the garment district (between 7th and 8th Avenues.. from 37th Street north to 42nd Street)—or maybe just take the subway an extra stop and go to my local button store. (GREAT BUTTONS) I know just how lucky I am—I have lots of resources with in walking distance!

I don’t think I want metal buttons—I haven’t fully ruled them out, but I think I want a multi color button…with mostly purple. Finding something that is just right is going to be a bit of a challenge!

(A few rounds of the gusset have been worked too.. but socks are just socks.—and I didn’t get any photo’s taken)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Thank You, thank you, thank you

Lace Detail from February Lady sweater.

It was wonderful seeing all the names, getting all the wonderful feedback yesterday.

It was a quiet day for me, I went out to dinner on Thursday, and had breakfast out this morning.. (no cake at either time, but then last Sunday I almost ate myself sick sampling cup cakes!

Slowly the sock are progressing.. the heels been turned, the gussets started, and now back to a single yarn and plain knitting (vs 4 strands of yarn and pattern work) the foot will fly along.

I am seriously thinking of joining a KAL on Ravelry for solid/semisolid sock yarn group.. I have some beautiful solids and semi solids from Holiday Yarns.. (which has just opened a brick and mortar store in Syracuse, NY.--(thankfully a good 5 hours drive away.. since it looks like the kind of rabbit hole I could fall into and shop forever.)

Unfortunately, shopping forever is not in the cards! Last summer (August) I got a part time job that was much needed.. (you know its illegal to discriminate on the basis of age.. but just go and try to prove it—getting a job in my fields (which has largely been outsourced to India ) is hard enough.. being 47, or 53 or (my real age) makes it harder.

When I was hired last summer, I was told it was a temporary position, and that the location I would be working a would disappear in January with the close of the storefront location.
In January, there was a reprieve, and I have had 4 full bonus months of work.

And more to come—since while the death knell has been sounded—my job has not quite ended yet. I have a few more weeks, possible a few months, and then perhaps a furlough, and (say a little prayer) continued employment in a new location.

Guess I won't be wearing the February Lady Sweater next year to keep warm at the old job!

I finished up the first ball of the solid purple yarn, and before continuing, I went to work on a sleeve.

I hate knitting sleeves—and I especially hate knitting sleeves last.. (all the bulk of the sweater to contend with, to knit a boring sleeve?)

I think after I finish 1 sleeve, I'll go back to the body, and then after 1 more skein of the body has been knit, I work on the second sleeve.. and then finally finish the body..

I've tried it on, and I like the fit.. the armholes are slightly snug. (but I suspect they will stretch out a bit with the weight of the body) The sweater is a bit loose.. but I like loose! The color change falls almost perfectly on the natural shoulder line—a bit of luck—and it makes the color yoke quite attractive.

Finally, I did a rare (for me) swap—and I am now looking forward to a magical mystery package in the mail.. (what fun!) --some pretty teal yarn for sure--(will it be perfect for a hat to match my fingerless gloves? Or will it open up new possibilities? And the other yarns? Oh I can hardly wait!