Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breaking out of the rut

For years, I have know that jacquard double knitting doesn’t have to be identical (reverse or mirror image)—I’ve even done some double knitting that isn’t (like my tic-tac-toe potholder--Side A had X winning, side B had O winning) (see May 08 archives )

One of the more well known
jacquard patterns for double knitting is a stripe pattern--Vertical stripes on side A, horizontal stripes on side B.

But all of the directions I have seen for this pattern have been done the old fashioned, slow way (work some stitches/slip some stitches, work the row again, working the slipped stitches with yarn 2, then turn the work and repeat(that is, USE 2 passes to complete each row!)

In the old fashioned process, to work all the stitches on the needle, you ‘process’ them twice—First working with yarn A, (working some stitches, and slipping others) then you REPEAT with Yarn B, working the stitches that were previously slipped, and slipping the stitches that were previously worked!(the worked stitches might be Knit or Purl).

I tried that for 1 repeat, and then started to work the improved method—
2 yarns per row, all stitches worked in a row.

At the end of a row; turn and work next row(Knit or purl all the stitches in a row, with either yarn A or Yarn B method.)

This is an unvention, as EZ would say…I doubt I am the first person to have figured this out—I am just the first person (I think!) to write the directions. )
Like other jacquard double knitting, in hand it feels like ribbing (K1, P1) and both yarn are carried together, and moved (front to back) together, but only 1 yarn is used to make a stitch.

Vertical and Horizontal Striped Double knitting:

Cast on multiple of 4 +3 (my pot holder has 37 (32+3) stitches per side.
(Total cast on of 74 stitches.)This will have the Vertical Stripe side starting and ending with the same color(in my case the tan)

R1: *Color A: K1, P1, K1, Color B: P1 (row will end with K1, P1 in color A)

R2: *Color A: K1 Color B: P1, K1, P1, (row ends with K1 color B, Purl 1 color A)

Or if you prefer:
R1: *Work 3 in color A, Work 1 in color B
R2: *Work 1 in color B, Work 3 in color A

While the pattern isn’t immediately evident (not unusual for double knitting) you do have a 3/1 pattern on your needle (and can visually check the stitches on the needle to confirm you’ve done the row correctly)

Another interesting Double knitting stitch pattern is one that uses simple double knitting (K1, Slip 1) combined with REAL slip stitches (ie, a stitch that spans 2 rows!)

The result is a Side A is has a pattern, and Side B is a solid color.(You can see the white stitches from side a on the needle, but not in the knitting)

It’s a bit slower, and it must be worked on circ or double ended needle (a long DPN or a Swing needle)

The pattern on the 2 yarn rows (the white and pink worked together) is almost identical to the Row 1 and Row 2 of the Vertical and Horizontal stripe pattern.
If you make the Vertical and Horizontal stripe pattern first, this pattern will be easy to learn.

R1: *Color A: K1, P1, K1, Color B: P1 (row will end with K1, P1 in color A)
R2 A: using only Dark (pink) K1, S1 across row.
R2 B: using only Dark (pink yarn)*K1, Slip 1… (8 times, then slip 1, slip 1) repeat.
R3: *Color A: K1 Color B: P1, K1, P1, (row ends with K1 color B, Purl 1 color A)
R4A and R4B are the same as R2A and R2B.

I’ve finish Pink Potholder 1 (well finished the knitting, I still have to weave in the tails!)

I am 4 or so rows from finishing Pink potholder 2 (the Vertical and Horizontal Stripes)

Pink 3 (one side patterned, one side solid) is started (with about 3 or so inches knit).

These potholders measure (now) about 10 inches x 11.5 inches-(or 25 c by 29c.) They are oversized! I use mine as both potholders and hot mats--especially for plates hot from the oven (microwave oven that is!)

After the first washing, they will shrink in length, and expand in width.. and will be about 10.5 X 10.5 (or about (rough in the head math!) 27c x 27c--and will still be oversized. Washing and shrinking cotton tends to cause it shrink in one direction, and expand in the other!

The Blue socks are just a few rows away from toe shaping. I might finish them tonight... (or I might not!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

I’m back…

But experiencing technical problems…

Both my computers are objecting to doing work—each in its own way!

I don’t know if it is a hardware problem (disk failure) or a software one (some virus that snuck past MacAfee)

For now, I have the use of a computer at work—but just till the end of the week—fortunately, I have my files (text, charts (excel) and images) on a separate hard drive, (and have 95% of my files backed up!—so while I might have lost a file or two--most everything is saved on a CD or server)

But files on a perfect disk drive (that is, an operation one) connected to a dead computer are not accessible! I have to physically remove the drive and install it in a new CPU!

(First, of course, I have to buy a new CPU!)

Today, I caught up on mail and other reading (blogs and Ravelry, and Facebook, and so on)--tomorrow, an update on the blue socks, and on the double knit face cloth, and on another face cloth (and some other double knitting patterns techniques!)

Tomorrow, I'll share about the wonderful weekend I had—well, wonderful except for the driving—heavy traffic and minor accidents (and the resulting rubber necking delays) turned a what should have been a 4 to 5 hour trip –NY City to DC--(well northern Virginia really) into a 7 and half hour trip.. and a seven and half hour trip became an 8 and half hour trip with the added delays of ‘tourist information’ (our euphemism for nature calls) –and at each tourist information stop, we had coffee, or other beverages, that, with the repeated delays, created another need to stop!

I took almost no photo’s (I never think to take photos!) and my only souvenir is a skinned elbow and scraped toe from a fall—But it was a wonderful weekend—in spite of the fall, and endless travel delays.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I am close to the end of my first (of 6) Pink double knit potholders.

It’s a simple pattern (easy enough to do on the subway!)
Some stripes, some birds eye (mini checkerboard) and some diagonal stripes.

Stripes and birds eye pattern are horizontal—I always do horizontal stripes with the birds eye.

Why? Habit!

But I recently saw a lovely swatch of double knitting... dark pink/birds eye/ light pink/ birds eye-- In Vertical stripes—and it looks so pretty!

Why with dozens and dozens of potholders that I have knit, in so many different patterns have I never thought to vertical stripes?

I try to be creative… but I recognize I fall into habits—I use the same colors or the same designs. Or the same stitches, I quickly fall into a habit.

Don’t we all?

I’ll be finishing this up tonight and away for a few days—and the next few potholders are going to be exercises in new double knit patterns... I am breaking my habit!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Generous! or Greedy?

A few weeks ago, Melanie commented to me about how generous I was.
I was taken aback! I am so conscious of how greedy I am, I sometimes forget, that I am, at times, as generous as I am greedy.

Yesterday, I was greedy--or perhaps just conscious of my greed.

A neighbor to the LICKknits group (a yahoo group/a Ravelry group/ a real life group), Ms Lacey, who is slowly giving up knitting and other crafts—had bags and bags of material to share. (Ms Lacey, looks in her face to be quite young (well of a certain age, but not OLD) but her arthritic hands tell a different story. Each year, she finds it harder and harder to do the handcrafts she so loves.)

Since I have a car, I am the designated ‘picker upper’ and came to the LICKnits group meeting with bags of stuff—lots of needle point stuff, some yarns, and a collection of books and magazines, that she has generously given us. (She did the same some 18 months ago, and what a joy that was, too!)

I confess--I was greedy, and when I saw Barbara G Walker’s book Mosaic Knitting, I grabbed it, and tucked it away for myself—before anyone had a chance to see it.

But I wasn’t so greedy—I didn’t pre screen all the books, and Teresa (on Ravelry) ended up with another BGW book.

After the piles had been gone through and every one claimed the books and magazines that interested them, I went back, and picked up some old issues of Knitters and Vogue knitting magazines from the mid 1990’s—a time when I was doing very little knitting, and buying almost no books or magazines.

(I also ended up being responsible for taking home (and bringing back next week) some stuffthat wasn’t claimed—Some stuff will be shared with members of the West Babylon Panera group… (since what it wants is a good home!)

I also claimed (not first and greedily--before anyone else had a
chance, but not last either) 2 Mary Thomas knitting books.

It was fun seeing how one person loved one book (Exquisite Knits) and another’s eyes lit up with glee at a book of Disney themed patterns, (two books I had no interest in at all!)

Someone else was thrilled with skeins of plain white cotton (for market bags) and someone else was happy to find 2 skeins of Red Heart yarn and cone of eyelash yarn, and someone else, thrilled with the beautiful (if orange)wools.

I recognize I am greedy--(but at the same time, I am busy at home putting together some give away prizes for next month—stay tuned for details!)

Oh, yeah, and I actually did some knitting—I’ve finished the heel flaps, and turned the heels on the Calzetteria socks… SEE! The gussets have been started.. (something is getting knit!)

I am not always a fan of mixed colorways, but so far, I like the tweedy pooling this yarn has.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(NO) Progress report…

(I am --unusually--using images from photobucket.. and I am finding them hard to edit (for size)so the images are very large!)

Nothing is finished…
Nothing has progressed.

The Pink potholder (number 1) is past the half way point, but it’s not done.

The pastel red socks are still sitting, with 1 more increase row to do before the heel.

The Calzetteria socks, that jump into my hands, are halfway through the heel flap—no pattern jumped out, so the top of the sock is 1 X 1 ribbing from cast on to…. (Midway through the instep I am imagining—I don’t like ribbing right down to the toes.)

The Teal shrug sits, untouched, the Black Pearl scarf is languishing too...

But a comment a few days ago sparked my interest.

I learned to knit socks a long time ago (the 1960’s!)
As with all things, I plowed ahead, not troubled to learn what to do, before I did it.

My first socks had short row heels—well almost—hourglass is more accurate.

I looked at some very poor directions for a flap/turned/gusseted heel, and didn’t understand what I was looking at.

So I looked at my socks (the store bought ones I was wearing) and decided I could make a ‘commercial heel’ –and did.
(in these socks, the left gussets is bit clearer.)
regia self striping

I divided the sock in half, and then decreased as I worked down—I didn’t short row, I decreased, working from 30 stitches to 29, to 28, to …..(About 10)
And then I increased till I once again had 30 stitches.
Knitting what was an hour glass shape.
As part of finishing, I sewed to small seams to make the hour glass into a shape like a short row heel.

My mother (a bone fide member of the knitting police) was aghast! This was no way to make a heel. A proper heel…(she didn’t knit socks, but she KNEW how to knit a proper heel.)

But, I was quite pleased with my socks. I HAD FIGURED out a heel of my own.
It was quite typical of how I knit!

Like many a knitter, I just do as I please. Sometimes the results are wonderful, sometimes so, so, and sometimes, awful.

But it’s only yarn, and a bit of time and I always willing to try things out.

After my ‘unvented’ heel, I learned how to do a proper flap/turned/gusseted heel.

And after learning how to do short rows for the turning, I went back to my hourglass heels, only now I did them with short rows.

There are times that I really like short row or afterthought or similar heels.

Gusset detail on sockI like self striping yarns, but I don’t like how a flapped/turned/gusseted heel disrupts the striping pattern.

On the other hand, I don’t always like how a short row style heel fits—it can be tight over the instep, and the heel can be too short.

There are several solutions to these problems—and for me; the best one is the one I devised!

(Want some other solutions? Search on Ravelry’s Tech forum!)

I have 2 solutions, and I like them, and use them about equally.
I add small gussets to the sock

A gusset, incase you didn’t know, (or only know them from F/T/G socks) is a small triangle of ‘fabric’ used to create ease. Gussets are used in both knitting and sewing.

So my gussets are pair’s small triangular increases and decreases at the point of heel. (Together they make a larger triangle)

Sometimes the gussets are on the instep (and the heel is worked over ½ of the original count of stitches), some times, the gussets are worked on the heel side, and the heel is deeper and wider because of the extra stitches--

The images in this post show some examples of the gussets.

The process I use isn’t very refined—for me, it’s ‘about’ thing.

About ¾ to 1 inch before you start the heel, start increasing (on either the instep or heel side of the sock) Ideally you’ll want at least 1 inch of ease (2 ½ inch gussets) depending on your gauge, this can be 4 sets of increases (4 pairs) or 5 pairs—(10 stitches).

If you knit your socks at 8 stitches per inch, 8 increases will provide an inch of ease, 10 stitches, and 1.25 inches of ease.

If you stitch gauge is tighter, chances are your row gauge is tighter too, and starting 1 inch before the heel might be 10 rows/rounds of increase or maybe even 12 rows/rounds—and 12 stitches (at 10 stitches per inch) is just a bit over 1 inch of ease—The idea is to have about 1 inch of ease--not 8 (4 pairs) increases) or any other specific number.

MORE is better than less (1.25 inches or even 1.5 inches of ease is better than ¾ of inch!) –and if you have a very high instep, you might want even more!

The increases are worked every other row, so the gussets is 8 to 10 rows(rounds) deep—Your row gauge is the guide to when to start!

Then work the heel (with ½ stitches, or with the increased stitch count.)—you can work the heel right away (short rows) or knit a row of waste yarn in place and come back latter and work afterthought heels)

When the heel is complete, work decreases (and in the process create a second gusset) until the stitch count is back to original number (or don’t!)

IF you are working toe up, AND you have heavy legs or ankles, you can leave 2 extra stitches in the leg—for ease, (or to correct the count for a pattern!)

IF you are working cuff down AND have narrow feet, you can decrease an extra stitch or two, and make a snugger fitting foot!
(This gussets is on the Heel side, and is a bit deeper than average)
Rag Doll Socks heel gusset and shapingThe gussets are hardly noticeable—but the fit is greatly improved!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just how many ways to Cast On are there?

Does it matter? I know LOTS of ways to cast on—depending on how you count--40 or more!

Take Long Tail--(aka Sling shot, double end cast on, or worked slightly differently, Thumb cast on.)--There are about 6 ways to do the basic Long tail cast on. Six ways, to produce the same result. Do you count this as 6 cast on’s?

Certainly, the thumb (aka English) method is a very different process than the sling shot method—but the results are identical to the sling shot method.

But what if you wrap the yarn differently around your thumb (an open U shaped loop?) The result is different—it doesn’t look exactly like long tail—does this qualify as a new cast on? (I say yes!)

So when you count cast on’s, do you count names, or processes, or results?

How much does the process have to change to make it a new cast on?

Well how ever you count—I’ve just learned a NEW cast on.

It’s a single yarn cast on.

As a general rule, I am not a big fan of single yarn cast on’s. But there are times when they are needed and useful

Many single yarn cast on’s the first half (the thumb part) of the different long tail cast on's. (The simple, the simple reversed, the simple twisted, the simple in pairs of simple and reversed)

And while Long tail cast on’s have the disadvantage of being easy to work too tight, most single yarn cast on’s have more problems with getting an even, stitches. Some end up with a cast on that is tight and inelastic, some create edges that are too loose, and worst, many are uneven—and end up looking sloppy!

But this week, a neighbor taught me a new cast on—and it really is different than any other one I’ve seen. It’s called a knotted cast on (or rather the simple knotted cast on.) and it hails from points east. (From? well pick a year—it’s one of those places that has had its borders and political affiliations changed with 2 world wars, and several peace time changes—the knitter defined herself as Jewish—and basically ignored the politics of the place!

This cast on is a bit difficult (5 to 6 on a scale of 1 to 10) but thanks to Lisa and Liz, I think I have worked out all the kinks—

It’s a great cast on for 1 X 1 ribbing –and it is, considering that it is a ‘knotted’ cast on, surprisingly stretchy—and actually suitable for socks or edges that need a good deal of stretch.

It’s pretty, too, making it suitable for an unfinished edge—or for a neck or cuff edge.
(I don’t know of any cast off that would match!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Again with the Rain!

Thursday was a monsoon (since when does NYC have monsoon season?)

Friday, mostly dry, and today, the forecast was for clouds and a chance of rain (thunderstorms) in the afternoon…But it started raining by 10 am, and its still raining, now at noon.

I had promised photo’s Thursday, but 2 problems came up--

The first, (thankfully!) was a defective SD photo card…At first it seem the camera wasn’t working, (and the focus wasn’t working).

The second was moisture. (The lens had condensation on it)

I should have reversed the order. (At first I thought the focus problem was the moisture, but even after drying the camera out, (and the SD card, too) I was still having focusing issues.

Replacing the card, (a 4 gig one!) and resetting the camera finally resolved the focus issues. (It was scary to think the camera (just about 1 year old) was broken. Its not an expensive camera, but I went and bought the docking station for this camera - and am now sort of commited to a camera that can use the docking station... (I have an older, (less features) camera that also uses the same docking station, too. But I like the features of this camera)

So, here is the first of a half dozen pink potholders. (Or rather PART of potholder.)

I’ve done another 4 rows (nothing to speak off) since this image, but since it is just more of the same stripe, is not very different.

Nothing was done on the teal shrug. (this weekend maybe)

8 rounds where done on the sock... 2 more rounds and I’ll start the heel.

The count is easy, since the 8 rounds represent 8 increases (a scant inch) 2 more increases (in the heel gusset) will be just over an inch—(I am working at 9 stitches to the inch)--enough ease to make the socks comfortable.

This time I’ve put the gusset on the heel side (not the instep side) and I will work the heel over the extra stitches making it a bit longer and wider—but I will be working the second half of the short row heel in heel stitch. (This yarn is super soft, and I think I need the extra durability on the heel.) Heel stitch is a bit more condensed than stocking knit, so the extra stitches will keep things about right.

Last night, some Cervina Calezetteria yarn jumped into my hands, and before I knew what was happening, I cast on and knit an inch of ribbing. The Calzetteria yarn is almost a sports weight, so even on size 2’s it’s a much bigger stitch than the Holiday yarn… (The skeins are small too, compared to most sock yarns, and make a slightly smaller than average sock with 100 gm.)

I have no idea what (if any) pattern will emerge on the leg and instep—right now, the 1 x 1 ribbing is holding sway (about 1.5 inches of it so far).

I’ll try and get some sock photo’s tomorrow…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dear Blog (readers),

I’m sorry; I am guilty of neglecting you.

I could offer up the same tired excuses, but the truth is:
I mostly blog about knitting, and haven’t been knitting much for these past 10 days. And of the little I have done, NOTHING is finished and nothing photographed (all these damp grey mornings are less than ideal light for indoor photography.)

When I finished my February Lady sweater 3 weeks ago, I joked it was just in time –to put it away for the season—but instead, I’ve worn it a half dozen times! This month is going on record for coldest June ever in NYC; and unless we have a 10 day heat wave (possible, but not likely) the month will end as a cool(& rainy) record breaker. (The grass found here and about in NYC is very happy about the weather—the cool moist days have created lush green lawns.) There is a spot of sunshine today, but more rain and another cool day is predicted for tomorrow!

I am happy with FL, and almost immediately started another, similar shrug.
No pattern, just an idea—a basic raglan shape, but with an open front. A ruffle on the front and hem; and the same ruffle as a cap sleeve (and if there is enough yarn, a small ruffled collar.)

I am using this yarn – (see this post for details)
I’ve used 1 skein for the body—(the basic raglan shape.) I added some short rows at the top (neck edge) for a better fit, and then some more short rows at the hem for curved shape. I separated the sleeve stitches before the body had reached the under arm—so the sleeve cap ruffle will start at the natural shoulder line.

Now, (well, sort of now, NOW if were actually knitting) I am making a ruffled edge for the front and back hem--which I expect to use up most, if not all of a skein (skein 2). Skein 3 will be used for sleeves (and any left over will become a collar)

The ruffle is deeper at the top/neck and narrower at the back—the shaping done with short rows—I knit the body in 2 days, and started the ruffle on day 3… and haven’t knit anything on it since then --15 days ago! The fact that I started with 125 stitches at the edge, and the stitch count has grown to 250, and then to 500, and now are reaching 1000 stitches per row hasn’t helped!

And I am doing this knitting (the ruffle) on trust--the stitches are crammed onto the needle, and it’s impossible to see what it actually looks like! I hope it ends up looking as I envisioned—and not as an awful rumpled mess!

Remember this? I got 3 more ‘Pearls” knit—but it too, is languishing.

So what did I do yesterday? I started something new!

Namely one of several double knit pot holders I’ve promised to my Daughter for a fund raising event she is hosting in August. She’s joined with a friend to the Avon 2 day run/walk (a marathon and half!) in October. She has committed not the minimum donation of $1800, but to almost twice that amount, ($3,300.00)

One of her planned fund raising events is tea party with some raffles—and my contribution will be some hand crafted items—wash clothes, potholders, and kitchens accessories—(including some purchased items --Farberware makes pink kitchen tools like rubber spatula’s, kitchen scissors, can openers, etc.) as raffle prizes.

I am making up 3 sets/collections of kitchen prizes—with towels, dishcloths, potholders (knit and quilted ones) aprons (embroidered and patch work quilted trim) and kitchen tools. (That’s 6 double knit potholders!) And one SPA set (hand knit wash clothes, a decorated mirror, terry cloth slippers, a scented candle, sented soap and other beauty accessories) and some other stuff-- I would like to make a 1000 things, but I ‘owe’ some friends some small tokens, and I have mending to do, and there are only 24 hours in the day, and goodness knows, these days I have been wasting way too many of them on Facebook playing Bejeweled Blitz—So I have my work cut out for me—and I better get cracking!

When DD has the time/dated/details for her fund raiser, I’ll post the information here. The location will be The Alumni Club (bar) in on Hillside Avenue in New Hyde Park (NY)—which is easy to get to, and has (free) off the street parking. I hope some of you can come.

My socks (more knitting on needles that I haven't worked on) have almost reached the heel—on the next round, I’ll started to make some increases for the small gussets I’ve learned to add to all my after thought and short row heels.. It really improves the fit. But I haven't knit the next round--

Tomorrow, I might even take some photos!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I am a master knitter.

No, I haven’t been certified by a commercial organization that offers such certifications. But I am a master knitter.

What makes me say so?

Basic knowledge to start! I have it!
I know how to knit the way I enjoy knitting, (combo) but I can knit standard continental, and English (slowly), true left handed (from right needle onto the left needle) and Portuguese/eastern style (with my thumb)--and lots of variations with in those broad range of styles.

I am firm in my belief that there is no one single correct way to knit--there are many styles and all of them are equal valid(and that i don't yet know all the styles!) I KNOW that I don’t know every style of knitting--but, its no matter, because, I am still learning!

I don’t usually knit with a needle held in the crook of my arm or in a sheath, but I know how to knit that way too.

While I claim to be a master knitter, I don’t claim to know everything about knitting—In fact, that is one of the things I enjoy about knitting… after years and years of knitting, I still have things to learn—Not a lot… but details and details. Details that make subtle differences.

I’ve tried most that knitting has to offer, cables, intarsia, fair isle, knitting flat, knitting in the round, knitting flat, steeking. Some techniques enthrall me; some like entralac leave me cold.

Same goes for my obsession(s)—do I know every cast on? Well it does depend on how you count.

I recent purchased Montse Stanley’s Reader’s Digest Knitting Handbook, and reviewed the 40 listed methods in that book. And while I know many of the cast ons by different names, there were only 2 new to me cast ons. (The twice knit one, and another, -- (which I had just seen following a link on Ravelry, called a simple Russian cast on!—which I still haven’t mastered!)—Montse counts differently (Is Long tail (sling shot) a different cast on than long tail (thumb)?
(I say no, she says yes--There are valid reasons for both positions.)

I also saw (and have been playing) with the twice knit stitch.—another sort of double knitting—and another obsession of mine!

The hand book has ideas for selvages that I haven’t considered--and I have considered and used quite a number.
( I have been know to be short with new(ish) knitters who PROCLAIM that a slip stitch (plain or twisted) is the way to finish an edge. (The slip stitch chain selvage is way, the truth and the light –they would have you believe!)

It is one option for a selvage, but too often it’s used to hide a loose edge stitch –which is something that should be resolved, not covered up! A selvage stitch should be a choice not a crutch (and yes, I do occasionally choose to use it!)

More than any particular skill –I think what makes me a master is that I am interested in, and still actively learning knitting techniques—and exploring all that knitting has to offer.

I WANT to know all I can about knitting.. I not only knit, but I am still actively learning about knitting.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I'm Alive

But under the weather....

Sidelined by a cold, (no, not the flu, even thought I live close to the epicenter of the flu outbreak in NYC)

Just coughing, and a slight temp (not quite a fever) and very tired...
No knitting, no blogging... nothing but rest (and I am beginning to feel better)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

If not knitting then, what?

Reading—(Nothing special.)

Julie and Julia, (Julie Powell) which was not what I expected—the blurbs I had heard about the book (and the movie.) made is seem light hearted and funny.

I had a problems with Julie’s tone. I don’t (and didn’t mind) that she uses the F word.. (I do, too, in real life, but I try to keep it infrequent!)

It was her, “even though I am from Nowheresville, Texas, and working as a temp (not the leading lady I should be) I am so much a New Yorker, that I can’t believe that I am forced to live in a dump in Queens” attitude that turned me off.

REAL New Yorkers live in NYC –all of it. And NYC has 5 (count them, FIVE) boroughs, (that are also 5 (state) counties) and, while there hardly breathes a NYer’s who doesn’t want to live in New York County, MILLIONS of us live in the boroughs. REAL New Yorkers live in Queens. (and Brooklyn, and Staten Island, and the Bronx. ) 

And we REAL New Yorkers don’t need instructions from NYer wannabees on how or where to live. We real New Yorkers aren’t pleased when upstarts from Nowhereville Texas cops  a dis the Bridge and Tunnel crowd attitude. (Who the hell does she think she is?)

Long Island City?  Sure it has some less than luxury housing (and perhaps, her apartment was less than luxury)—but I go to LIC all the time, and I have been in some apartments there. LIC is filled with middle/working class people, and lots of small 1 and 2 family homes, (with lots lots of pride of place --and house proud folk) It’s a nice neighborhood—it’s not a slum of sub standard housing that she makes it out to be.

There are always trade offs. (Me? I don’t live in LIC… but I do live in Queens. I live a bit further away from Manhattan, (and so it’s a bit cheaper) I traded time (commuting time) for space. My roomy 2 bedroom apartment would be twice the price in LIC—if I could find one. I LOOKED for condo’s in LIC when I was looking for apartments--and compromised.

I have great space, and a great view, (and a great price)—and door to door (from Rego Park to Midtown (5th and 31st)) is 45 minutes—about 30 minutes of that is my subway ride. Which, truthfully is about average commute--Lots of people who live up town or other parts of Manhattan, and are  further from a subway stop (longer walk/shorter ride) or who have to change trains, have just as long a commute--door to door. 

It's an exclusive few who live and work so close as to have a commute under 15 minutes.

And I have been reading John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. I like Irving. I haven’t (yet) read everything he has written, but I have liked everything of his that I have read—and this book is no exception.

And I have been knitting—a bit of an experiment—that I haven’t been talking about--til now.

I liked the February Lady—and I liked (but not as much) the Lion Brand Textured Circle Shrug KAL--from Glam Knits by Stefanie Japel)—but I didn’t like the idea of NO front at all, and all that the collar. (that is a Ravelry link above.. but you can also check out the Lion Brand Studio web site for info)

So I have been winging a bit of shrug…I started with 3 skeins (each 4 oz/unknown yardage each skein)—this lovely deep turquoise blue that I got in trade with Pam (aka mackenzieknits55)….. (on ravelry)

The shrug  has a bit of front (2 inches!). and now that I am below the armhole, it will have some short row shaping (in the back), making the back a little longer, than the front--that will give the lower hem a curved edge.  It will be ‘finished’ with some rows of garter. (This represents skein 1 of the 3)

Skein 2 will be a garter stitch lace ruffle—Worked down the front and around the back—extending the garter stitch edging. 
The ruffle will have double shaping, and will be deeper/wider at the top front, and will be shallower at the center back, as well as being ruffled.

Skein 3 will be worked from center and the outside, and be used to make ruffled cap sleeves—which again will be shaped with short rows, with more of a ruffle on the top of the sleeve, and less on the under arm.

I have, from earlier this year, some fingerless glove that work well with this color.. and I have some zepher to make a scarf (or will it be a cowl?) so I don’t need a collar on the shrug. (Remember this from last month? The tweedy wool is now the shrug, the fingerless gloves are finished, and the zepher is still waiting.)

I hate thing that are up close and snug around my neck—(which is one aspect of the Textured Circle shrug that I didn’t like) It has to be quite a few degrees below freezing before I button up a coat or jacket, and below 0° (f) before I think about wearing a scarf (for warmth!)I don’t need or want a shrug that has a big collar or high neckline. 

For now,  the sleeves are on spare circ's (I wanted to try it on, and standard stitch holders just didn't work for that!) and short rows are about to begin.  

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It’s Sad

This is supposed to be a knitting blog. All it needs to work, is for me to knit—and write about it.

But it’s pathetic! Here are the socks I started 10 days ago. Not a lot of progress.
(Sure, I also knit the February Lady sweater as I was knitting these, but that is old news)

And I have been sticking to my yarn diet, so I don’t have any stash enhancements to blog about… Well, that is not completely true—just mostly.

Yesterday, I was forced to buy a skein of Patons Kroy, (almost certainly Patons Kroy) sock yarn—it was label-less, and $0.50 and white (well, a creamy natural white).  Since Michaels carried Patons Kroy in white, (and didn’t carry Red Heart’s Heart and Sole in any solids) it’s a pretty safe bet it is Kroy.

How can anyone pass by a skein of sock yarn for fifty cents? Especially a light colored solid that has the possibility of being any color I want? (I have been known to buy sock yarn colorways I didn’t really like for that price!)

Chances are it won’t remain white-- but will be subject to an experiment with some dye stuff—and end up being some color. Which color, I am not yet sure of--but it can be put to good use, SINCE…
I was gifted with 2 skeins (in 2 different colors) of Adriafil’s Knitcol,  a self striping, superwash merino sock yarn.

(This is what happens when people know you knit. But truthfully, I give away yarn frequently too. Just yesterday I gave one of my students a nice ball of (well most of 100 gm ball) of wool to practice with.)

Each 50 gram skeins is enough for 1 sock. So do I make a pair of intentionally mismatched socks? Mismatched socks are not really my style. I don’t mind when the strips are not perfectly matched—and with subtle stripes, I sometimes don’t even try for match at all. But a pair of sock with one sock colorway A, and other sock color way B? I don’t think so.

I suppose I could do 1 repeat (or perhaps 1 and half repeats ) of the strip pattern per sock. (From what I have seen, the strip pattern has a long repeat) Socks with a cuff and foot of some solid or semi solid yarn and the leg and toe of the stripes. I will match the stripes in the leg, but the toes are likely to be mismatch stripes of the left over bits.

The repeats of the stripe pattern seems to be fairly large in this yarn—I think I’ll have to rewind it first and just how many repeats I have, and where to divide the skein. (And I’ll have to finish these socks, too, before I can start another pair!)

Monday, June 01, 2009

A good and busy weekend.

I didn’t work this weekend… Except at catching up on chores!
And there are always more of them than there is time.

Saturday was the best day—spent with friends, knitting and talking and shopping—I was a big spender and bought 7 (count them, Seven!) different tins –at 10 cents each! One or two will remain unchanged, the others will be spray painted and decorated, and go to work holding various things, from sugar to salt to pasta…

I’ve been collecting cans, and spray painting them for years—some get given away (filled with cookies or candy or other treats) some, get dented or corroded (salt is hard on tin cans) and thrown out.. (I blogged about this—some time in the past (but can’t find the post!) Its something I do—intermittantly.)

I Finished (Even got buttons) February Lady--and finished the semi sleeve.

I am quite pleased with the semi sleeve—it’s just enough to cover my fore arm.
(actually, I would have made them an inch or two longer, but… I used all but 15 inches of yarn!)

I started at the wrist, using the hand painted yarn of the yoke for the cast on, (and used the same cast on as the February Lady—Judy’s Magic Cast on, done in a reverse stocking knit. Then a row of beading, then the lace.

I didn’t use the same gull lace --which, think about it, is worked upside down (from the top to the bottom) but a similar one, --worked from the bottom (cuff) to the top (elbow) I also added columns of purls between the lace pattern to make it a bit snug at the top—(to keep the semi sleeve on). I ended with a few rounds of garter.
Here is the pattern I used:

R1: K2tog, Yo, K3, YO, SSK, P1
R3: K2, YO, K3 together (raised center decrease), YO, K2, P1
(alternate rows: Knit 7, P1)–
(remember, this pattern is worked in the round--.if you want to work flat, it would be K1, P7)!

I cast on 40 (5 repeats of the lace) but if you knit small or medium sizes of the sweater, you might find that 32 stitches are more than enought for a snug semi sleeve. (4 repeats of the lace) 
I used a size 7 (4.5mm) needle too, --the sleeve was too loose with a size 8--
(any number of combinations/4 or 5 repeats, size 7 or size 8 needles, give you the ability to fine tune the finished size!)

A simple semi sleeve doesn't really need too much of a pattern. 
Cast on (32 or 40) --use the same cast on you used for the February Lady Sweater.

Work some rounds of garter stitch, about 1 to 1.5 inches in total.  (the same as the FLS.)

OR--in my case, 3 rounds (1 garter ridge on right side) then a round of beading, (k2tog, YO) then 10 more rounds (5 more garter ridges on right side) 

Then start lace... (you can use the same gull pattern, or the pattern I provided)
Knit lace till semi sleeves is about 1 to 1.5 inches shorter than desired.
Return to garter, and work 1 to 1.5 inches  of garter stitch. 
bind off loosely.  Weave in ends of yarn.

I haven’t finished (not even the foot!) of my pastel red socks—but I am back on track. One day last week, I had managed to pull the needle out of 15 to 20 stitches on one sock, and twisted stitches took this as an opportunity to untwist and unravel—And since every row is twisted, frogging was out of the question.. (an since I was working 2 socks on Magic loop, tinking was no fun either!)

But all is resolved, all the stitches are back on the needles, all dropped stitches have been worked up, and a half dozen rounds have been completed.