Monday, November 30, 2009

Just Peachy…

(And some new stash, which doesn’t count, cause its sock yarn!—or at least pretends to be.)

Four full repeats –of what eventually will be at least 8—are now complete. More will be done tonight, and tomorrow at LIC knits.
It looks a bit weird, (you are looking at 2 shoulders, and 2 sleeves (knit on 2 circs).

Who knows, with a small effort I might actually finish it this week!--I am still looking for buttons--(but i haven't yet decide if it will have buttons (plural) or a button (a single one) or some other closure. )

Meanwhile, there is this:
More purple sock yarn!—this color way is Iris.

I loved the Leaf Peeper color way--the rich yellows, golden oranges, crimsons, and russets of the fall, are all wonderfully captured–but I have to face it—there is scant yellow or orange in my wardrobe --and way too many sock that feature the color orange already! Meanwhile I already own lots of purple! It will be nice to have socks that have a hope of matching the rest of my clothing! (but who knows, maybe by the time I get around to knitting this yarn, I might have worn all my purple clothing out!)

Moose Manor Yarns is Betty(and that's a link to her Etsy store--which she'll be updated soon) you can also find her on Ravelry—She is a part time Vermonter(where she weekends and dyes) /part time LI’er. She makes the most wonderful roving (it's almost enough to get me spinning!) called Mystical Moose roving... It’s yarn that changes color. I don’t know how she does it, but in effect, its polarized color.

Look at it under incandescent light, it's one color, look under florescent, another, look again under natural (white) light, and it changes again... And not a little bit--it goes from maroon to olive green! (Not from pink to red to maroon!)

This yarn(um, I forget the name!--I'll have to check the label!) is in theory, sock yarn (it was labeled as such!) but at 80% wool/10% cashmere/10% nylon) it is not going to be used for socks. Cashmere is both too warm, and too soft for socks. Just what it will be is uncertain--perhaps a cowl.

The fact that it is not really a super wash is a factor, too—I don’t own a washing machine, but use ones in building laundry room—and can’t control the settings.

My purple petals socks have a nice deep 2 inch cuff, and a few rounds of leg done—maybe I’ll get them photographed today (or early tomorrow morning) They demanded a bit of fancy work on the leg ( this means fair isle) and what could I do, but listen and obey?

There will be more fancy work on the heel flaps, too, I am sure.

Waiting in the wings, some coal black Kroy, and some Kroy Jacquard sock yarn in shades of grey and black.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Working…

After a week off (when my work was done by B) I am working Saturday, B’s usual work day, and she is taking the day off.

I am still on Pacific time—I left CA about noon, spent 8 hours traveling (including car trips to and from the airports) and got home at 11PM Eastern time—and went to bed 2 hours later, (10PM/pacific/1AM/Eastern) and came to work (some what crankily!) this AM.

The Good new about NYC and its transit system, is a 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year operation.

The Bad news is NOTHING works 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
Weekends are often ‘down’ time for the system--but the $64,000 question, is what Lines? and what stations are going off line?

In theory, there are notices of schedule changes. In reality, they are so numerous, (and at times so wide scattered) they become background noise.

So this morning—my just on time (because the R was running less frequently) arrival turned into my LATE arrival –because the 1 train wasn’t making local stops—(and I didn’t get the message till the doors had closed and we were headed from 96th street (a 5 block walk—vs. my normal 2 block walk) to 157th street—(all interim the local stop were by passed)

But—157th street wasn’t much use --since there is no free transfer(from the uptown tracks to the downtown tracks) and this week, what with being away, I don’t have unlimited ride metro card-- so I had to go all the way to 168th street (about 3 miles!) out of my way, north, then cross over to the down town side and ride another 3 miles south, to get work. And things being what they are, the Uptown 1 pulled into 168th street just as a downtown 1 was pulling out.

So there was a detour and delay! (and a customer chomping at the bit waiting for me when I got to work!)

And in spite of my lofty ideals, my purple socks are not anywhere near being socks—I have very pretty, somewhat elaborate cuffs, but the prettiest of cuffs are far from being socks!

On my way to SF, I spent some time, (a good deal!) working on the Sunday NYTimes crossword, (not knitting) and on the way home, I treated myself to a book (Jill Bolte Taylor’s A Stroke of Insight. (-and read nearly non stop!)

Her TED video was nearly viral (in my set!) a few months ago—and book was as wonderful as I expected.

In some ways, nothing in the book was new—and yet everything was! I have slowly learned many of the same things that characterized her insight, but being a slow learner—I recognize I need to be reminded (and to reminded to practice), again and again—to reconnect with my right hand brain.

And, finally, because this is, in general—a knitting blog—I’ll end with a bit of knitting.

2 Feburary Ladies (sweaters!)—photographed by Benjamin. (my son)
That’s Sonya, in a green (was a total inadequate name for the color!) Malabrigo one, and me in my hand painted mystery yarn and Patons Classic Wool Merino one.

(not seen, are my feet, wearing the completed subway socks!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All

This turkey is from yesterday's repast--a community dinner at the Noe Valley Ministry--a house of prayer and community the houses a co-oprative preschooler program, (where grandson Master C is enrolled) and seniors lunch program.

The spread of food, (all donated, and prepared by the preschoolers parents) stretched beyond the range of the camera, (and latter, there was more in the way of PIE!)

The place mats and table decorations were made by the preschoolers.

There was an opening prayer, a bit of song (I love hymn singing!) and then a line formed.

As the crowd change from waiting to eating, thing quieted down--and serious inroad were made to all the worderful foods.

Today, a new turkey for the family (and some invited friends) is in the oven. The mixture of fresh vegetables and pie and some of yesterday's left overs will round out the meal.

Coming as I do from a town so nice they named it twice, I can say, this year is a Thankgiving feast that is twice as nice for being repeated!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Greeting From the City on the Bay

Were the sun is shining, and the weather is mild.

Yesterday-it off to the California Academy of Sciences--I am always a sucker for science museums. Master C wanted to see the Penguins--and had to be dragged though Jungle/rain forest and butterfly exhibit.. (where, of course he throughly enjoyed looking at frog, and snakes and all manner of other things.

I loved seeing the palm fruits almost as much as the butterflies--that were doing their best to be flutterby's--but this one posed for the camera.

On the knitting front--or should I say rear--here are the details of the subway sock heel and gussets.

When the sock are off, they have the strangest shape--but on--they feel and fit fine. the flap of heel turns under more with a Dutch or square turning, but the fit and feel are fine.

On the plane here, Purple Petals --(or are the Purple Passion Flowers? or Flower Power or ?) well-- the newest socks-- got started. A double ruffle edge, and color work, made the first few rows --and yes, I do mean rows--complex--but now--I am just ribbing, --and will end the ribbing with a simple stripe, band continue the rest of sock in socking knit. Or perhaps some combo of stocking knit and ribbin--like some fancy bits on the heel flap, too.. but nothing much.

But you'll have to wait to see them!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Osage Oranges

Lovely, aren’t they?

These are the fruits of the Osage tree. Native to North America, and most common in the south central plains of US—the Red River valley especially, but with cultivation, they are found all many places—including NYC –which is the northern most extent of their range.

You can find them ‘growing wild’ in Central park—(as if anything but weeds grow wild and the jury is still out on the weeds!) There is a magnificent specimen at the entrance to the park just south of the 96th Street transverse—on Central Park West (for 1!)

They are not poisonous, but most people find them so foul tasting they retch if they try to eat them--but the web site (link below) says the seeds are edible.

You can find more info about them here--or at wikipedia, and various other places

NYC parks, both public and private, are home to a wide variety of trees—some magnificent, some rare, some huge—and some, like the Osage, just interesting!

See you all next week!

Heading Home

Here are the subways socks (in Queens!) because with the foot over 6.5 inches long—it won’t be long before I am starting the toe.
And then it’s a hop skip and jump to being done! I expect the finished sock to be about 9 inches long.

And none too soon either, since I am heading off this holiday week end to visit family (and this blog will likely be silent—or nearly so) for a week—and these socks will be a perfect ‘go with’ one of the outfits I am packing.

Knit Kit 2 has been settled—more socks. (More Kroy) a black and white blend—it doesn’t look like it is striped-- but I plan to add stripes—solid black ones. And maybe, because I’ll have some handy, some white ones too!

I like (d’oh) Patons Kroy sock yarn—even if the Fx sock yarn skeins are too small. Kroy is generally a nice value yarn—Usually $4.95 or so a skein—and with many of the various lines, 2 balls makes a pair of socks. Not so with the Fx—you need 3 skeins --(or short sock—or small feet).

It goes on sale (not frequently but not infrequently either) and you can often find coupons for Michaels/ACMoore/JoAnnes—some of the big box craft stores that carry the Kroy lines. But when you need 3 skeins ($15) –it’s getting up there—and less of a value.

Still these coppery socks are very pretty—as is the cascade colorway (Cascading Waters Sock) and the clover colorway (the prettiest of the lot, I think!) will make some lovely socks.

But the solid color Kroy has almost 50 more yards—enough for a sock and some left over—per skein.

And I LOVE let over bits!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thing One and Thing Two

Are Finished projects!

First the Silky Blue: it didn’t take long to knit up the last few yards of the yarn—and it worked out perfectly—I ended the last row of blue yarn knitting with 6 inches left over! (A perfect amount—long enough that knitting wasn’t strained, short enough that I didn’t feel like I was wasting yarn. I hate it when I end up running short 3 or 4 stitches before the end of a row. (And feel like I am wasting a yard of yarn!)

There are a few yards of the white, cotton/silk left—but all in all-- for a pairing up of two odd balls of yarn, it’s a very successful project! The finished length is almost (but not exactly) 36 inches –a very decent length. I am glad I found and finished up this UFO!

After that, I finished of the thumb bits on Miss B’s fingerless gloves. I have a pair of those ‘1 size fits all’ stretch gloves –in a soft fuzzy chenille(—$1—reduced from $3 at the end of the season) –I like this style of glove—they are fairly thin—(and fit well under fingerless gloves) come in a range of colors—and they are cheap enough. These glove—white chenille-- are extra special (and isn’t that just what a granddaughter needs?) Finding white chenille last year at an end of season sale was a treat.

Usually dark colored ones are all that is available at the end of season sales. Colors like olive and grey and black—which are perfect foils for colorful hand knit fingerless gloves and gauntlets—but not perhaps exactly what a little girl would like. (As it is, i am counting on soft and fuzzy to comp for cinnamon toast brown!)

I am still working on the first half of the foot on subway socks—that is, still working on the pattern on the instep side of the socks. But each round brings me closer to plain (and fast!) knitting—and then the toes –when every round is shorter than the previous!

I’ve already packed up Knit Kit 1 for my trip—and I am contemplating Knit Kit 2 (another pair of socks? Or a pair of fingerless gloves? Or the color work tam from Patons blog? Or… What ever I chose, it needs to be small and light!

Knit Kit 1 is a new pair of socks—rather simple ones—once I get past the cuff-which is anything but simple!

The cuff has a bit of color work—so there are 2 full skeins of Kroy solid (purple) and 2 small balls of Kroy solid (mellow yellow ) and a skein of white—at this point, I think I could get by with a small ball of white.. But... (Who knows, I could be inspired to do something special in the heel flap!

The cuffs are also going to require an extra set of needles-- (2 pair of 2 circ’s (4 all together) so I am leaning to bringing more sock yarn.. once the cuff is completed, I’ll have spare needles, and the option of starting a second pair –Black (and white, and stripes? ) and another fancy cuff-- A way simpler one, but not a ribbed, knit in the round cuff. A girl need to have some variety in her socks doesn't she?

I am of course, visiting a fiber friendly household—there are needles and stitch books, and resources a plenty! And there are plenty of LYSs too! But—it pays to be prepared!

It's computer friendly too--but I suspect, I won't have much time to use one of the 3 household computers --even if I could pry one out of someones hands!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Silky Blue is 32!

Inches long that is! This pleases me immensely—I tend to dislike short scarves—and it’s now long enough to be—if not long, at least not short.
I am not out of yarn yet… but clearly—the end is in sight for the blue silk/wool blend.

The center of the scarf will be folded, and sewn—just the center six (or maybe eight) inches. The ends will be left open.

The scarf clearly has a right and wrong side—but the wrong side is not unattractive—but the center back seam will keep it folded, and will help keep the right side out –that’s my story, and I am sticking with it!

Subways sock are inching along to the toe-- (really they are still at the top of the instep and no where near the toe!) I really want to have these finished this week. I’d like to take them with me, (and wear them, d’oh) when I travel next week – (I am taking a few days off to visit my son, DIL and grandchildren.)

And I am itching to start the next pair of socks! (Nothing like a 4 hour plane ride to make some serious sock progress!) –and, then there is the return flight!—another big patch of knitting time!

The heel on the Subway socks looks very strange—and misshapen—but they fit fine! My son is a maniac with a camera—I’ll make sure he takes some photo’s of them on my feet.

The Penny Caplet, and the matching gauntlets are coming along too—Pretty colors for a holiday dinner attire—and SF is cool this time of year—it will be nice to have some warm layers to wear.

Peachy (remember Peachy?) got an otherfull repeat of lace done on the sleeves last night—I don’t have plans to finish Peachy before I head west—but soon! I am knitting both sleeves at once—and will make progress (as soon as I get back to working on it, and not on silky blue!)

I also have—just in case—a few dollars put aside for yarn… Last time, a trip to Imagiknits resulted in a few skeins of sock yarn—(Imagiknits is within walking distance of my son and family’s home) but there are others (lots of them!) LYS in SF—and sock yarn doesn’t count as stash, right?

Thought the Malabrigo twist is quite lovely. (my boss, Kim, just made a lovely hat with this yarn—I’d link to it—but she hasn’t posted a photo of it yet on Ravelry (kls1004) so if I (unlikely, but possible!) finish the next pair of socks sooner than expected, I can restock before the return flight--

And there is the Patons tam to knit --or should I say tams—since I think I might make more than one—there are so many color options. Besides, I haven’t knit a hat in months!
I am thinking of one for myself, and one for my granddaughter, and one for...
Ps. Patons blog requires you to register to see it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

That is so last century!

(this is on of my favorite new expressions!)
One of my goals is not to become an old biddy…

You know the type—cranky, picky, and old fashioned.

The kind of person who not just fails to embrace the new, but hates the new, and wants to turn back the hands of time.
The person who looks longingly at the good old days; who wears blinders, and forgets the bad old days!

Of course, I have some anachronisms—but those are carefully chosen!
This comes to mind, because I have finally done something so last century—

A good 10 years ago, some one gifted me some jeans—(3 pairs)—I was at my heaviest, and they were losing weight. They didn't really fit (too loose in waist and the rise, too high) Besides, I don’t much wear jeans much (yes, I am strange!)--but I do wear denim (skirts and denim dresses).

Since I received the jeans, I think I have worn them twice. For a few YEARS now, I have been thinking about refashioning them into skirts—you know the style—leg seams opened, cuff cut off and make into gores to make a skirt from what clearly was once a pair of pants.(So last century!)

Yesterday—I finally got to work—and today—a new skirt Which i am wearing today--sewing --unlike knitting doesn't need to mellow!

Now that I’ve done it—I am likely to make another skirt—(black denim) and maybe I’ll leave the last pair of jeans as they are. Who know, I might actually want to wear a pair of jeans once in a while!

As for the silky scarf? Well it will be at least 24 inches long—because last night I knit another 6 inches on it! It’s grown from 19 inches to 25 inches long! And I still haven’t run out of yarn Nor have I gotten to the point of thinking and calculating—I started the scarf with a hem, and will end it with a hem--so I do need to do a bit of planning as I reach the ends of the skeins.

I think I will end up with at least another 4 maybe 5 inches. Which will be just fine! It will be a warm scarf—but more of an accessory than winter wear. It will be fine for dressing up denim skirts and tops.

Meanwhile—in a recurring pattern—I left my camera at work-- so once again, the subway socks are being displayed on the subway map.

The flap is finished, the heel turned, and the gussets are being worked on.

About the heel.
I worked the pattern for the heel flap—looks nice, but…
Heel stitch (a slip stitch pattern) has a tighter stitch and row gauge than knitting, (and while the twisted stitches do compress the stitch gauge a bit—they don’t compress nearly as much as heel stitch)

So the flap of 33 rows (worked with 33 stitches) was huge.

To make sure the whole thing heel didn’t end up being outsized, I did a modified Dutch (aka square) turning. This style of turning a heel results in the fewest stitches at the end of the turning (in my case, 11!)--and also the smallest gussets.

I started the turning with a V (handkerchief) and after a few rows, changed over to the Dutch.

To do a Dutch heel, you knit together the last Ktog and the wrap, and then close the gap with a new wrap— vs. knit 2 tog to close the gap, then wrap--
*if you don’t understand—you haven’t knit enough socks--or enough different styles of heels.

If you want to know more about various heels, be sure to check out Heels by numbers—a great resource for any knitter who want to experiment with different heels.

The second change I am making to the heel is to move the gusset decreases to sole (a single V shaped gusset --) and I’ll be changing the stitch count, too, as I work the gusset.

I added an extra 6 stitches (66) to my basic generic stock pattern to create some ease to comp for the twisted stitches--by end of the gusset, and pattern, I will be have decreases 6 stitches— and will work the plain stocking knit part of the foot with 60 stitches..

I’ve moved the gussets in the past to the instep (Y be normal socks!) –but this sole gusset style is a first for me. I want to try it out, and see how it feels on foot.

The heel looks terrible in this image--stretched out around a jar. But I have duck feet-(narrow heels, wide at the ball of the foot) and this heel actually fits my foot rather nicely.

I'll try to get a better image as I progress--but in this image, you can see the decrease for the V shaped sole gusset.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nothing to report...

Well maybe a little something.

I tried on the subway socks (I really have to come up with a better name!) and like how tall they were (what was I thinking 8 inches? I generally like 8 or so inches from bottom of heel (flat) to cuff—and with over 6.5 inches of leg knit, and 2.5 inch heel flap—the flap is started—(and almost done)--these socks will be over 8 inches --and quite tall enough!

But that was Friday’s news—They sat untouched over the weekend--today I hope to finish the flap and turn the heels--
(this image, on my monitor) is the closest to the actual colors of the yarn--and the clearest one of the stitch detail too--Oh the joy of bright, indirect natural light!)

I’ve also been thinking about another pair of fingerless gloves for my granddaughter, (Miss B!) –and sorted through some odd balls of yarn—and found a lovely cinnamon toast brown skein of New Zealand 100% merino brushed wool.. (I have more of this in red—but I couldn’t find the red—or for that matter the label)

These aren’t finished --the thumb needs a row or two of stitching and a bind off--see the orange stitch holder (right glove).

They are simple enough 1 X 1 ribbing—the only detail—are the cast on and bind off (both are tubular) I learned to graft long ago (exactly when is lost in the mist of time) and when I do a tubular, grafted cast off—I do it right from the working needle.

Many directions start with by dividing the knit onto one needle, and the purl onto another needle, and then grafting (a standard kitchener stitch)--but that is a PITA to do.

I just graft –in what I call it 4 part harmony...
Into stitch 1 (and the very first stitch one get a marker put into it) and off with it,
Out of stitch 3 (the next knit stitch)
Into stitch 2 (a purl) and off with it (the first stitch 2 gets a marker, too)
Out of stitch 4
And again (the old stitch 3 is now the new stitch one)

At the end of the round, I go into last stitch and come out of the very first stitch (the marker in the stitch helps me find it!) and the same with the last purl.
Then the thread gets passed back into a stitch, and gets woven in.
Making a perfectly bound off tubular edge.

I know some are stumped by grafting, but I never found it that hard—and because I don’t think it is difficult, I do it frequently, and it just gets easier and easier.

A chiba (bend tip) type tapestry needle is a big help (but I’ve done it with a straight needle too)

As I was rooting around looking for the yarn, (oh the things I found that I forgot I had!—my stash is so out of control!) I stumbled upon this scarf—one that I got bored with--And put aside... (Oh some 4 or 5 years ago!)

Picking it up, I remembered why I started it…Yummy!

The ‘white’ is cotton and silk blend—and it’s not really white—the silk strands are shades of blue and pink –variegated from very pale to medium pastel—stranded with a natural white cotton. It's made from 8 super fine plys-- 4 of silk, 4 of cotton—and a yarn that knits up nicely on a size 5 needle--though it is is a bit splitty.

The blue is not a pure blue either but has a pinkish/purplish halo—and it’s a wool and silk blend—so it too has a lovely hand—I think the colors go well together—and both are silky enough to make a very elegant little scarf.

The pattern is dead simple--2 rows of stocking knit (the blue) 2 rows of garter (with the ridge on front) of the white. Gauge is about 7 stitches to the inch/8 rows to the inch. Its knit pretty dense-It might have been better knit looser and drapier... but well.. it is what it is.

It grew this weekend from less than 12 inches to 19 inches (and I think I have enough yarn for another 10 inches or so.)

Both of the yarns were single odd balls (from a bag of odd ball I purchased at a fund raising sale.) I love silk–(and silk and wool and silk and cotton-and silk and anything!)

Frequently, I've found, even single balls are great yarns for a scarfs. But these were small 50g balls. Neither was enough for scarf on their own, but paired up like this--Perfect! (The scarf is about 4 inches wide, and will be at least 24 inches long and likely closer to 30 inches—(it’s so hard to tell!) before I run out of yarn.

I think I’ll continue working on this for odd bits of time. (And finish it!)

Tuesday—knit night at LICKnits—I’ll return to Peachy—I want to finish that sweater—and knit a hat to match –but I might knit Miss B a version first—with some colors to match her new fingerless gloves! (More scrounging around in the stash!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Twist and shout

As I mentioned yesterday, the stitch pattern that is featured on my subway socks, (and on the bamboo angora gauntlets, and on the Penny for Your Thoughts caplet) is one that has 4 twisted pairs of stitches ever other R (row or round)--each sock has 4 pattern repeats, (16 twisted pair per sock!)

Half of the twisted pairs, are right twists, the other half are left twists.

Right twisted pairs are pretty easy--

First --by a twisted pair I mean a 2 stitch cable (stitches 1 and 2 get repositioned to 2 and 1) –the sort of cable that is MOST OFTEN done by first knitting stitch 2, then stitch 1, then letting both stitches the “old” stitches fall of left needle.

--these are also called Right CROSS (and Left Cross) since there is also a twist stitch can mean a stitch that is intentional knit twisted (most often by knitting though the back loop)

I learned the stitch as ‘twisted pairs’ --and well that is how I think of then!—even though many knitting book or instructions don’t use this term—and instead use the term Crossed stitches. (Right cross and left cross)

Right twisted pairs are pretty easy.

Yarn in back (as it would normally be for working a knit stitch)
Needle in front (again as it normally would be for a knit stitch)
Stick needle into stitch 2 (not stitch 1) pull a new stitch (loop forward) on to right needle)
Then pivot needle and stick it into stitch 1 and work that stitch.
Finally let both of the worked stitches fall of left needle, (snug up yarn as needed, cause working the stitches out of order can make the new stitches too loose)

Sounds hard—but try it—it’s not nearly as hard as you’d think.

But the left twisted pairs?—Well that’s another story

Yarn in back (as it would normally be for stocking knit)
Bring needle to the back (as for a purl!)
Thread the tip of the needle between stitch 1 and 2 –and then stick the tip into stitch 2
(Huh? Yup, it is knitting contortion!—oh, wait, you are not a contortionist? Too bad!)
Make a stitch(that is, bring a loop of yarn through stitch 2, back it out of the space between stitch 1 and stitch 2, (another act of contortion!)
Then bring needle to front, and knit into stitch 1

Try it... (And shout! This can not be done!) Well it can be done—but--it is a royal PITA—and doing this with size 2 needles on a moving subway?—well—nuff said!

So what do knitters(who are not knitting contortionist) do? Well lot of things! There are several tricks for working the left Twisted pair/left cross stitches.


1—Turn the stitches (as if you were doing a SSK)
Return them to left needle
Bring needle to back of work,
Knit into stitch 2 --into the back loop! Which is just sitting there! No contortions required!
Pivot needle forward, Knit into stitch 1 (again, through the back loop)
Let the 2 worked stitches fall of left needle.
A twisted pair, with no twisted stitches, and no contortions. It's almost easy!

2-- Bring needle to back of work,
Knit into stitch 2 (into the back loop—(which will twist this ‘underneath’ stitch!))
Pivot needle forward, knit into stitch 1. (Through the front loop (i.e. normally))
Let the 2 worked stitches fall of left needle.

The stitch under the cross is a twisted stitch, but since you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter! But this method is slightly tighter (tension/gauge) than a standard stitch, and if you have a lot of twisted pairs, it could effect your gauge.
And if you are a tight knitter, forgetaboutit!

3—(Norah Gaughan style—I don’t know if she conceived the idea, or just uses it—but she is the person I learned it from(not in person, alas, but from her books!)
Start by working a SSK—a standard SSK--but don’t let the worked stitches fall off left needle.
Then, knit into stitch 1 only—again. (This is top of the 2 stitches that have been worked together)
This will ‘correct count’ and position the correct stitch on top creating a look identical to a twisted pair.
Then let the worked stitches fall off left needle.

(She uses the same process for a Right Twisted pair—K2tog, then K into top stitch –only--again—to maintain correct count—then let both stitches fall of left needle)

Since none of the stitches are twisted, it doesn’t negatively impact gauge –and it looks virtually identical. Take a magnifying glass to the work and study it, and you can see the difference—but not otherwise!

Me? Well since I normally knit combo—if I am working flat, my stitches (all of them!) are in the correct position for a SSK so the left twisted pair is not too hard to work. (And the right twisted pair remains easy enough)

If I am working in the round (the gauntlets and the socks) I just work the two stitches of the twisted pair ‘wrong’ (I wrap the yarn the wrong way—purl wrap) for these two stitches on the “plain’ row. This sets them up with a reversed mount (and I don’t need to reposition them before I work a style 1 twisted pair.)

Since when knitting in the round, the right side of the work is always facing me, knowing which to stitch to work ‘wrong’ isn’t much of a challenge.

Of course, if I had planned ahead, I would have a bunch of images of all these techniques—but—I over slept this AM (just 5 minutes!) but enough to not have any spare time for taking photos!

I was a bit tired because I went swimming last night—at one of the new Park Department pools-(one that was planned and built when NYC was positioning itself as a candidate for hosting the Olympics.)

The pool and other facilities are incredible. (Not 1, but 3 Olympic size pools) there were a few hundred in the water—and the pools were empty!
There is a full size skating rink too, in the same building, and across the street, an indoor gymnasium. There is a fee to use the facilities ($75 a year--but I am old enough for senior citizen discount ($10 year!)

And I didn’t really swim, but did a water aerobics work out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inching along

Yesterday, I didn’t mention my knitting… but Tuesday evening, in addition to working with Diane, I did all of the weaving in and other finishing work on the penny for your thoughts caplet--See the pretty hook and eye clasp I've added--

I am still ho hum about it, but I am, apparently in the minority—I know what the problems is.
It’s almost, but not quite what I envisioned. It’s nice in itself, but to me, it’s a slight failure. I still need to block it, which will be an adventure--I didn’t swatch to see how much it blooms—angora –even just 10% angora does tend to bloom!

I knit on slightly smaller than suggested needles, so it’s a fairly tight fabric (but still drapy) right now. But…!

In Tuesday’s post, I mentioned, that the coppery sock in progress (the subway socks for want of a better name) had 4 inches of the leg knit. (no image though)

Yesterday dawned with 5 inches of leg knit.

This morning, I am 1 round short of having 6 inches—so they are inching along!

With a bit of luck, I’ll be ready for the heel flap by the weekend!—oh, yay, the heel!
I have some thoughts about the heel, too--Nothing to fancy, but not the standard process either--and at this point, not fully thought out. So the thoughts may or may not turn into actually knitting!

I’ll continue the pattern at least to the end of the gusset, and then likely, another full repeat of the pattern. And then things will fly!

This pattern is not hard—I had it memorized in the first repeat of the gauntlets—but it is slower than plain stocking knit. 4 twisted stitches per pattern repeat (every other round)—and 4 pattern repeats per sock (8 for the pair)—32 little tricky bits to work on a moving train! It’s enough to slow anyone down.

My next pair of socks are going to be so much simpler!—well after the fancy edging and cuff, that is!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Run, Spot. Run.

If I wrote runspotrun –it might take you a moment or two to fill in the missing spaces and punctuation, between the words, and read it. Still you’d get it, pretty quick. That’s because you know how to read (words!)

To be a good knitter, you need to know how to read knitting too!

We all learned the alphabet, and we learn to read silently and aloud, to read print and to read script, and to read numbers. We even learned to read $150.00 as One hundred, fifty dollars, even though the dollar sign comes first!

We adult (with the exception of early grade teachers) don’t think about this too often.

We don’t (well, we the dyslexic do, but MOST other don’t) confuse b and d or p and q. We don’t, like the toy store, write our R’s backwards (anymore!) But many of us once did.

There was time when we found it hard to tell a b from a d, or p from a q.

New knitters often can’t see a knit (or purl) or yarn over—or a mistake! They still confuse (as it were) the b’s and d’s, the p’s and q’s.
And some long time knitters might learn their P's and Q's--but never become fully ‘literate’ in knitting either.

Learning to read your knitting—and knitting patterns as well, is the key to both enjoyment and skill.

This was brought home to me last night, as I worked with Diane.

She was struggling with a lace pattern. I could reproduce it here with a few minutes effort—since I, with a glance, I could read it—and know it. (But chart are a PITA to program!--so I will use some symbols, and some lines from the pattern, but not full chart.)

Diane was lost in a sea of knits, purls, YO and decreases! None of it made sense to her—each stitch was a challenge, each row, a new challenge. She could see all the symbols, she could read the symbols, but she didn't see words-(pattern elements)She couldn't see the forest for all the trees. (She is not alone!)

So how do you read knitting?—Or begin to learn how?

Well the first step is to learn what a knit looks like and what a purl looks like.
(The basic alphabet of knitting) –garter, stocking knit, ribbing, seed slowly become clear to you.

Then, like basic words, you learn Slip stitches, and Yarn Over's, and other styles of increases and you learn Right leaning decreases, and left leaning decreases.

Moving along, you learn how to make double decreases (k3tog’s and the dreaded raised center double decrease) –and the (how on earth do I!?) knit purl knit into a single stitch (or the Knit, YO, Knit).

Slowly but surely, when you look at your knitting, it makes sense.

But that’s just half the work!

Learning to read charts (or instructions) is the next step! –a big part of reading charts is learning to break them up into pattern elements—the knitting equivelent of words if you will.

And here is where you need to be able to see runspotrun as “Run, spot. Run.” And not as “Runs Pot, run”!
–Or to see my on line alias –oftroy-- as of troy (as in Helen of troy) and not as Oft Roy—(tell me, do you have co workers? Or cow orkers?!) – Reading crammed together symbols (be they letters or knitting symbols) is a harder task they you might think at first!

Reading oft roy or cow orkers instead of the more common Of Troy or Co-workers is an easy mistake to make--and learning to read knitting charts can sometimes be tricky too! Don't think you can become literate in a second.

But like reading, a knitting chart can be seen as group of words (stitch patterns, or pattern elements) --and once you see the 'words' --patterns are much easier. There are tricks than can help.

First the count! (odd or even number of stitches?)
Even numbers tend to be rhythmic repeats (ribs say, K 2, P2, K2, P2--)

Odd numbers are ODD! They can be odd for several reasons and are a bit trickier to learn!

First—are they MIRRORED?
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (C), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5? (or off set?)

Lots of patterns are mirrored. The Center stitch is a point of reflection.
An example might be.. K2tog, YO, k5, YO, SSK – (this is tricky example—the C stitch is the middle one of the K5—but its easier to see as a chart.

See how this pattern would chart?
\, 0, k,k,k,k,k, 0, /
The mirror symmetry is a bit easier to see with charts (which is one reason they have become popular.)

Knit patterns often are made up of several pattern elements.
Diane’s chart was: (this is a sample row, (not row 1)
S, 0, /, P, P, \, 0, k,k,k,k,k, 0, /, P, P, \, O, K ( 21 stitches! A LONG word to read and remember!)

Can you break those directions into smaller words? Can you see--Run, Spot. Run--instead of runspotrun?

There are several short words (S (slip) which is a selvage stitch), YO, K2tog, (a 3 stitch very simple lace (R1 of a zig zag lace we old time knitters know as faggoting)
P, P is a ditch (well, what I call a ditch!) Purls (in columns like ribbing or between Knit elements) tend to recede (to make a ditch!) that causes the Knit stitches to raise up—and look sort of embossed. I always think of them as ditch stitches.(But you can call them what ever works for you!)

To me, the first 3 elements easily become 1 (edge pattern) the same way A, B, C becomes abc—(no commas, but still read as A, B, C, not as word!)

Then there is a center pattern (with mirrored symmetry), and another edge pattern (which is the mirror image of the first one)

So I don’t see a bunch of symbols—I see 3 “words’-- the edge words are pretty simple (the faggotting is a 4 row pattern, with ever other row being Knit the knits, purl the purl (as they present themselves).
With the exception of the selvage stitch—which is always slipped at beginning of the row (so on the wrong side the first stitch is slipped, and the last stitch is knit)

The center pattern is a more complex one. It is made up of 11 stitches, AND 10 pattern rows (and 10 wrong side rows—which are all purls)—a total of 20 rows!
I have just shown 1 of the 10 pattern rows.

The first row of the diamond pattern is:
k, k, k, \, O,K, O, /, K, K, K

On each successive row, the decreases move away from the center (making a \/) until they reach the outside edge(the sample row that I used above!) –and then the pattern mirrors top to bottom and the decrease move back to center (and make a /\ shape.)

The symmetry is side to side, and top to bottom—and since I could see that with a glance (and grok it!) I ‘learned the pattern’ as quick as I could read it. To me, it was an easy pattern.

In an instant, I can read (and KNOW) a chart –many stitch patterns are as obvious to me as a clever palindrome.
You might see amanaplanacanalpanama as a mess of letters—but I see
A man, a plan, a canal-Panama!—I have learned how to break up the letters into words to add the punctuation that is missing, and to turn the letters into words that make sense.

I am very good at READING knitting! (Oh! the wisdom that comes with age!)

But you can become a better reader, and a better knitter by looking at a chart, seeing if it is symmetrical, or not, and seeing if the chart is a single element or the pattern is made up of several small patterns, and learning a few small pattern (3 or 5 stitches each.)

This is way easier than learning a single 21 stitch/20 row pattern!

Tricks that will help you are HEAVY lines on your chart (you can add them!) It doesn’t matter of you see OFT ROY and I see OF TROY—what matters is being able to break the pattern up into elements that make sense to you! And then, you can add markers to your knitting (to match up the heavy lines on your chart) Some designers do this for you--but you can learn to do it for yourself!--

Then a 21 stitch chart (which is hard to read!) becomes a 5 stitch element or pattern, (not to hard), an 11 stitch element (that has mirror symmetry (so its 5 stitches, a center stitch and the 5 stitches(reversed) and a final 5 stitch pattern (which is the reverse of the first stitch pattern/element. )

Now –what is easier? Learning four different 5 stitch patterns, or learning a 21 stitch pattern? D’oh! And those 4 different patterns? Each are palindromes...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (center) 5, 4, 3, 2, 1—(see how easy it is?)

So—pick up that pattern that you love—the one that seemed way to hard, that was 20 or 30 stitches, and just too hard to learn—and see if you can’t break it down into some smaller elements. See if the pattern is a ‘stitch palindrome'.

ablewasiereisawelba—is difficult to read —but Able was I ere I saw Elba?

A second grader might not understand what the palindrome is about--but they could read the words! You, too, can read and remember those words that rather quickly, too!
But those 19 letters? all bunched up, with no spaces? Hard!

A 21 stitch pattern that (with 10 different rows!) is hard—but a pattern of:
Selvage, faggot, ditch, diamond, ditch, faggot, selvage is much more manageable!

Diamond is still a bit of challenge, but not nearly as hard when you see it as one of several small easy to learn separate elements!

Faggot lace is a 3 stitch pattern, worked over 4 rows (2 of the rows are plain!) and diamond is an 11 stitch pattern that has mirrored symmetry—OK a bit complex, but not really that hard.

(Selvage and ditch are so easy that a beginner could knit them!)

I hope this helps you--and that you are on your way to becoming a more literate knitter!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

See, See, I told you so!

3 repeats (well 2 repeats and almost (2 rounds short)3!)

Sleeves are progressing—at a snails pace it seems, at times, but progressing all same. It's such a pain right now to knit them--all of the sweater to turn every round--I sometimes think it is so much better an idea to do the sleeves first (and get them out of the way!)

Here’s the Heart and Sole—blackjack color way. Somehow the pinkish part looked redder in the store--but no matter! They will be mostly black socks, with some white and other colors.. They will match mostly black clothes (be they skirts, or jeans skirts (black not blue denim) or any of the other black that has snuck into my wardrobe and have enough color to keep them from being unbearable to knit.

And then there is this..

The color here is almost right( well on my monitor!) —but it's hard to see the lovely subtle shade and hues in this near solid.. a blend of merino and angora—its as soft as a cloud-and the lovely blue of a summers sky. It really does have hand spun look—smooth and even, but not uniform in color or spin.

A totally unexpected gift! Some one who knew I wanted to get to Rhinebeck (and didn’t) and bought it for me. It has such a lovely hand, I’d be knitting it this moment if I knew what it wanted to be—It’s already whispered lace—but what lace, and what shape the lace will take are still secret.

The socks? 4 inches (of about 8) of the leg are done—most afternoons I get another 6 to 8 rounds worked. Some days more, some days—like weekends—less! I am thinking of continuing the pattern stitch on the heel flap.

Yesterday I bought pretty pair of brown suede maryjanes- one of these new almost back less shoes (the back of the heel of the shoe is about ½ inch deep)—great for showing off fancy footwear!

I like these shoes so much, I am likely to return to Marshall’s and see if they have other colors--I tossed a pair of EasySpirit clogs (over ten years old) this weekend, and some of my other shoes are getting old (I did buy 2 new pairs of red shoes at the beginning of the summer, and some new sneakers too-- but you can never have too many pairs of shoes, can you?)

Tonight—(knit night with LICknits,) I think I’ll work on finishing (weaving in the ends, etc) on the Penny for Your Thoughts caplet—and then block it (one day soon)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Progress report

Peachy is on the way to having sleeves--Just one lace repeat’s worth of progress, but hey, progress is progress. (You'll have to trust me--I didn't take a photo!)

Subway socks are inching along, (I am getting impatient with them—I have so many socks I want to knit!)

Penny still hasn’t been finished or blocked—but I am a bit happier with it—and will finish and block it—and find a pretty clasp for the neck band. Who knows, I might find some use for it—though not today or tomorrow!

This morning, it was 50° as I left the house... (By now, 50° is the normal high for the day—today, by mid afternoon, a high of 70° is expected.)

As you might have noticed ,the same stitch pattern is used with the bronze gauntlets, the Penny caplet and the coppery subway socks. (which need a better name, since most of my socks these days are knit on the subway!)

Like many knitters, (or is it just so many of the knitters I know, channel their OCD tendencies into knitting) I tend to work the same pattern (or variations of a pattern) over and over again, till I finally get sick of it. Then I start over with another pattern!

Meanwhile, nudging its way to the top of queue is a Patons multicolor tam—(one version of tam includes the Water Chestnut and the current colors (along with a plumb-ee purple.. but I think I might sub the royal purple of my Lady February sweater—and have a hat that (sort of) matches both sweaters. Its currently being featured on the Patons blog (you have to sign up to see/read the blog--find links to it on Paton's web site or on Ravelry)

I haven’t knit a hat for a few months now—but hats are quick—even fair isle patterning won’t make this a big project.

Finally, 2 recognizable (but bandless) balls of sock yarn jumped into my stash yesterday—Red Heart’s Heart and Sole in (I had to look it up!) Blackjack color way— 1 ball is slightly damaged (and may be a few yarns short)—but I have several partial balls of Heart and Sole solid black—so if needs be, they will be completed with a solid black toe. The two balls (how had I missed this color way up till now?) were stuffed into a ziplock bag, in a clearance bin (for $1!). Great price for a pair of socks!

Black hearted person that I am, I will hold off till Valentines Day for these socks (they are mostly black with some red and white)—I have solid white (another brand!) and solid red, scraps too—so I have some options if needed to fill out the sock. (I’ll weight them first to see just how short the balls are—they might be 99% (or not) They certainly look and feel close to full.. but.. You get what you pay for—and I didn’t pay much for these!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tuesday's (images) on Thursday

Did you hear that roar last night?

No, not the collective one that started in the Bronx—but the one in Queens when I saw I had sold my first pattern! Thank You, Colette!

I noticed--when I went to do what I didn’t do the night before—upload some photos! So here on Thursday, I can show you the status of things on Tuesday.

I would show you the update (Bound Off!! all the stitches!) but—in a recurring pattern—I can’t! I left camera and memory card at work, and so, you’ll have to trust me when I say I finished the bind off. (in the ninth inning!)

The Penny for Your Thoughts caplets isn’t finished... It needs a fastener at the neck, and it needs ends woven in, and a blocking.

The 6 stitch double knit hem is a not quite enough to stop the roll—but its clear I would have run out yarn if I made it deeper (8 or 10 stitches).

That is a downfall of free hand knitting—it’s hard to plan—I am pretty good at making guestimates. I was right about “how deep and long” a hem I could knit with a single ball—but wrong about “this will be deep enough on its own”.

It is deep enough to stop the roll, but not deep enough to not fold. Blocking should do the trick—or well—I’ll think of something (I could, dressmaker style, put a fine chain in the hem as a weight!)

I stood yesterday afternoon, on a crowded subway—so not much progress on subway socks—but tonight (another busy night!) I’ll be knitting at my co-op board meeting—and will make some progress--these socks are OK. The yarn is nice, the color OK. But they are just, well socks.

When not physically knitting, (like yesterdays commute) I am mentally knitting—I have an idea for my purple Kroy—and I need to do some math—actually quite a bit of math—as this next sock is going to be a rather fancy –Well the cast on and cuff will be rather fancy.. The sock will be simple by comparison-- but some planning is need for the leg—and the Heel? Still unresolved!

Then there is this yarn (Cherry Tree Hill I think, but I have lost the label) which has been making noises—(crying out, saying “knit me, knit me!”)

The colors are bright and clear, but I don’t know… I think they are too bright!—and what should I do? Pair it black? Or with white? Or grey? Or ??
And then what?
A simple stripe? Or perhaps a slip stitch pattern? Or go all out and do a pattern? Not a proper Fair Isle pattern, but some sort of color work design.
So many questions! Ideas keep flitting in and out of my mind! Well I have time for one to take root!

This weekend, I’ll be back to Peachy—and then? Well a hat! (Paton’s blog has a lovely fair isle beret pattern—just the thing to use ups some odds and ends!)

And then? Oh, I can’t think that far ahead! There is a cacophony –all those lovely yarns in my stash: silk, and cashmere, and wools; thick yarns, thin ones... smooth ones, textured ones.
All making noise! All demanding, ME. Pick me next! What's a knitter to do?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Aaagh! (and Ah!)

A senior moment? Or just the effects of burning the candle at both ends?
(All too often, I am up both early and late—and manage by taking an afternoon nap—but not yesterday!)

Yesterday I started a post--with detail about my knitting (or lack there off) and photos—Only I had taken the photo’s with out a memory stick in the camera, and I only have a memory stick reader at work, (not a camera cable)—so I couldn’t do much.

So –the PLAN (ha!) was to upload the photos once I got home.

I downloaded the photos off the camera--but never got them uploaded anywhere.

I also, to self justify, got some coffee made (to ice) for today, and I voted, and got out to LICknits, and called my son (Yesterday was his birthday!) – Lots of things got done—(I went to work, and made dinner and all the other everyday things we all do)

So here I am again--with NO IMAGES! I hate to read knitting blogs that don’t have images. And I hate to write posts about knitting that don’t have images either!

Well, I can salvage something—I have my subway socks with me—and my camera, and memory stick (and a stick reader!)--There is the perfect background for an image of subway knitting--a NYC subway map!

And—I can repost images of my Cascading Water socks…Because--This is my first pattern for sale!

You can find them on Ravelry… I haven't configured my blog for sales (maybe, someday) but till then, you'll have to join Ravelry, to purchase.

Here, let me make it easy…Cascading Water socks. The pattern has been test knit (thanks, Rena) but Rena’s has her grandchildren visiting.

And well, given a choice of grandchildren or blogging—well, it’s no choice! You’ll have a wait a bit to see her socks (in a different wool, a different color way)--but looking lovely!

This is my first PDF. And my first pattern for sale, (I have a number of simpler
free patterns—most can be found here on my blog, some can be found on Ravelry.)

Knitting is great for keeping me young and in learning mode.

There isn’t much to learn in about knitting itself—though there is the occasional new idea.

But keeping this blog, making videos, (editing videos) making PDF’s, all these ancillary tasks that go along with knitting? All new to me—even though I have been computer savvy for many, many years. I got my first home computer before PC’s—it was a TI99-4A—that was back in the early 1980’s! The TI, if you don’t know was a 16 bit (NON-Dos) computer with a firmware OS based on main frame code—it wasn’t quite CPM or Unix, but shared a lot of code with those languages.

Now days, it’s all applications, but learning is learning!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Of cabbages and kings

Or cabbages and Queens
And how in the Bronx,
To dye up wooly things.

Yesterday (sans camera!) I headed off to Wave Hill and entered an aromatic hall of the main house and joined Robyn Love in her class on natural dying.

She had indigo (a nature powered dye, not the home fermented.) and onion skin, and tea and black walnuts pots going.

For me –she put out a red cabbage ‘soup’ –99.9% of the cabbage had been strained out.

The red cabbage yielded a purple sort of color.. (It was so lovely in the pot!)

Alum intensified the color.. . but alas, alack, a good rinse and some time in a vinegar bath (to set the color) and most of it has faded--and what I have is a soft pale rose.. (a cabbage rose!) I might end up overdying some of it.. it's a bit too pale for my tastes.

And my hands smell of vinegar and cabbage—(even after several washing!) as does the wool!

My adventures with home dyes have tended to involve easter egg dye, or kool ade, or commercial stuff.. and I've never worked with real mordants, just vinegar as a fixative. It was very interesting to see the different effects of the mordants on the colors --Onion skins turned wool gold, or marigold(deep orangy gold) or mustard depending on the mordant!

The was a real learning experience for me!
The best color was the black walnuts that resulted in a rich warm brown.
An absolutely beautiful color! (and it smelled a lot nicer than cabbages!)

All this to distract you.. No, I didn’t finish Penny for Your Thoughts.. (the hem/bind off is half done) and no I didn’t start back on Peachy—and yes, I did start yet another pair of socks. Paton’s Fx –in the copper colorway..

I want to race throught these and get to work on… (so many ideas)!

Of cabbages and kings, is from (of course!)