Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still Not Done—but they will be.

The foot is fast approaching 7 inches in length— When it does, it will be time to start toe shaping and in no time at all, they socks will be done.

I felt it was important to finish these socks.--I started them in November and well, it's time already! After all I didn't really knit that many pairs this year... (or so I thought)

Then I checked Ravelry.--And checked again--18 pairs of socks! These will make 19!

I forgot about the sock I knit for others (DD(3 pairs) Grandchild), and well I guess I haven't been too much of of a slouch. (I like to knit about a pair a month--sometimes an extra one, sometimes, 1 short of a dozen.)

Some of the socks almost don't count –bed socks (short ones at that) in worsted weight yarn, or the yoga socks (not toe, no heel hardly a sock at all) but then, there were the beaded socks. I think they should count double.

Still-- 19 pairs!

I wish I could say this has made a dent in my stash of sock yarn, but I know I bought some plain white sock yarn (to dye) this past year. And I bought 11 skeins of sock yarn at a Smiley's sale in the spring (actually I bought 22 skeins, but I sold 11 of them, so I only added 11 to my stash) – I did use 3 of the skeins for a scarf--but that still leaves 8 skeins (4 pairs worth) of sock yarn.
(I must have added more skeins sometimes that I have blocked from memory--cause it seems, even with knitting 19 pairs of socks, I have more sock yarn than ever!)

Also, at one point this year, collected all my sock yarn in one place—well actually 3 places—one big bag of solid color socks yarns, and another of prints/stripes/handpainted. And in a 3rd place, I have a quite large collecion of partial balls. The Roy G Biv socks barely uses a half skein of each of the colors. So I have lots of colors to use in a pair of spiral socks, or in a pair of jump rope socks or in a pair of shades of grey socks.

I have so many ideas for fun socks (and I plan to write up a few of the ideas as patterns, next year , too) and so much yarn, and there are some socks I that I have knit that I just love, and want to knit again.. (my Cascading Water socks for one!)
I want to knit my self a pair of beaded socks, for myself, too...
19 pairs of socks in one year. I must be crazy! Really crazy, cause I am still thinking of knitting more!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let them eat cake

Yesterday, The mayor of NYC suggested, Well if you can't get around YOUR neighborhood (cause it hasn't seen a plow) and if you can't get to work (because local mass transit in many parts of the outer boroughs is above ground (and not working) and buses aren't working either, ) come into Manhattan and see a show.

Because in Manhattan, not only have the streets been plowed and salted, but the snow isn't mounded up but its been put into dump trucks, hauled away and dumped in the East river. In many places, (parks excepted) you might not realize there has been a snow storm.

Right that's the idea, come into Manhattan (where all the streets are clear, and all the mass transit is subterranean, and working,)and see a B'way show.

For many, the case is: If I could get anywhere, I would go to work (because I can't afford an unpaid vacation day) and I sure can't afford to spend $50 on a B'way theater ticket! (ever!—but especially not when I am not getting paid for the day!)

The suggestion that we take in a show (in our leisure) is as helpful a suggestion as that we should each cake if we can't afford bread.

The snow removal in NYC has been (still is) a major screw up in this storm.

Shades of the snow storm that haunted John Lindsey in the 1960's (which one? 1966 when we also had the transit strike? No, I think it was the 1968 one.. well it the worst snow removal has been in 40+ years.)

My neighborhood isn't too bad –but look at this car.. its here –stuck in the middle of a T shaped intersection since SUNDAY night. Not towed, not ticketed—and at this point, not really snowbound, but still there (as of noon today.)

Mr. Bloomberg has given up any pretense of thinking of NYC and only has thoughts for NY County--The island of Manhattan is a county in NYS, as are each of the boroughs—Queens is Queens County, Brooklyn is Kings County, Staten Island is Richmond County, and the Bronx is the Bronx (county).
One reason (all those who watch Law & Order will have lightbulb's go on in there heads) there are different courts (but one city wide police force) is there are county courts in each borough!

Snow removal (or the lack of it!) is shameful. It's costing lives. Shame on you Mr. Mayor!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still a few days to go (till the New Year)

With a project or two to finish up (Peachy socks for 1!). But right now my count for FO stands at 44. This doesn't count each block made for the Maker's Faire (all 10 of them are 1 project!)

And there is a project to two that failed to photographed and added to my project pages on Ravelry (from where I got the count)--one scarf from October (blogged about) just got added to my Ravelry project page yesterday. And there were some simple hats (from my hat project from last year, that spilled over into January of this year) that didn't get photographed and added to my project page.

Not quite a project per week- 85% of a project a week-- some project took weeks (um peachy socks are going on being a month in the works already) but some got knocked out in a day or two.

I love that Ravelry helps me keep track of what I knit.. I never would have remembered all of the stuff I've knit (I would have guessed half as many (20 or so) for years total.

Yesterday, I completed another dozen rows of mystery project.. NO MORE increase now! (there are a lot of stitches—but from now on, no more!) and I cast on for a hat. A milk maids bonnet... (in a creamy white, of course!). This version is the prototype—I am sure it will work.. but for now, I am just knitting up a sample, to see how and where my 'mental' pattern will need to be tweeked to make it perfect.

A few rows got worked on Peachy, too. (but I still haven't finished the gusset!) But the gusset is an extra deep one. And I only have 6 more decreases/ rows. Of course, I'd have made more progress if I had actually knit any in the past few days, but I've been taking time off, (and reading).

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Holiday Star

Here is a fun project to make –use colored paper or left over scraps of wrapping paper.

It's a bit tricky.. but not all that hard. Start with paper close to a golden ratio— I use 8.5 X 11, (which isn't really a golden ratio.. but its close enough. 8 X 10 will work too.

There is a lot of waste paper..but the perfect 5 pointed stars are so worth it!
Step 1

Start with a peice of paper, fold it in half, (so it sort of looks like a book)
Keep the fold to the left.

Step 2
First, fold top edge of the book to find the center, JUST Pinch the center, don't fold.

The take lower corner of the book edge fold, and bring it up to the center top (the pinch mark

Step 3 Smooth the fold making a crisp crease.

This crisp crease is going to be folded next. It will be brought up to the book edge fold--be careful 1) to not let the book edge fold slip as you make the third fold, and 2) make a sure it lines up starting at the lower point.. You'll want a crisp hard point.

Step 4Again smooth and crisp up the edges of the this fold.

Until now, the paper has been folded but not moved.. Now you turn it over and make the last fold. the top book edge fold s folded back and, if you've been careful up until now, the this fold will align on both edges, and yeild a sort of ice cream cone shape (a lopsided ice cream cone.

Step 5Now its time to cut.
The cut line should be more or less parallel to the LONG edge of the top of the ice cream cone. A STEEPER line is better. Cut, starting at the top of the book fold, going down. (its 10 layers of paper so a sharp scissors are needed!)

Unfold! Then take a minute to correct the folds, making all the long folds (the star tips) into MOUNTAIN (upward folds) and all short ones into Valley folds.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Skein 5

Is about to bite the dust. (There isn't enough left to complete a row) After this, it's time to start the final skein. All but one end (the cast on end) is woven in, and its looking good.

It should be finished some time tomorrow—maybe by then, I'll have unearthed the DK yarns that I have in a similar color way--I'll take a photo of the yarn, when I do find it.

I don't think I am going to start the fingerless gloves immediately, I want to get some more work done on the mystery project, and I will finish the peachy socks, and....

Oh wait--it will be completed (the knitting) but not finished. This scarf will need 3 special buttons--so it won't be finished--just yet. I'll have to find buttons to finish it!

It's been fun this past month or two knitting up odd and ends and odd balls of yarn. It's gotten the creative juices flowing--(and made room for new yarns!)--not that I plan to buy any. But it is more room to put away some of the other odd balls, and handling them is bound to lead to knitting them up!

I am continuing to try to make sense and order of my files, to find,, edit and organize a bunch of patterns—and to work on new ones.

And I've been organizing (and coding) information for a bigger and better digital presence.

Its been a wonderful year in so many ways—if I focus on the good, and downplay the bad. I just need to be open to the good, and focus on it, and focus on the things I can do (and not moan and groan about all the things out of my control!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back to knitting

It's not Malabrigo (see page 4 and 5). It's not as soft, nor are the colors as rich, but some one on Ravelry asked if I was wiling to sell my stash of the now discontinued Landscapes yarn, and it got me thinking about it. Then I saw the Malabrigo wrap/shawl, and now, this scarf is half finished.

It's really pretty... simple and easy to knit, and finished I think it will be lovely. A good choice of yarn for the project (and it will clear out my 6 skeins!) And while not as soft as Malabrigo, it is soft and plush, and the colors are soft and muted and don't pool at all. All good things!

It would have been better knit on larger needles, looser and drapier, but... It will be warmer with the dense seed stitch. I am more than half done with skein 3 (of 6) and I think it will be soft enough when done.

I sometimes feel Lion Brand has the most wonderful ideas for yarns (and discontinues them too soon!) --just as they are on the cusp of being really popular, they are gone--and other more expensive yarn companies bring out virtually the same yarn.

I have a single ball of some DK yarn in with similar colors—but a self striping color way—this scarf is likely to be paired with a quick pair of fingerless gloves. And both are going to be gifted, too. (but not till little Christmas in January.)

It's been cold (again and again)-- Last summer was hotter than average, and so far –if December is any indication--this winter will be colder than average. My sweaters are getting used—and I am so thankful for my collection of wool socks! The Peachy socks haven't been touched in a week. It's hard to be interested in these lacy socks.. I find myself looking at and thinking about stranded color work socks--with double and triples layers of wool to keep my toes cozy!

After this wrap, I need to get back to my mystery lace project, (it has a deadline!) and ....

I almost never stop knitting—on a monthy, yearly basis, there hasn't been a time in my life that I haven't knit—but on a daily-- weekly basis—I do take time off.

I read, or cook, or (rarely!) clean or decorate. I stop knitting to sew (haven't really done that, but I keep intending to). I do plan to make a gift bag for my DD's gift—so much more practical than gift wrapping paper.

This past week was a virtually no knitting week.. but I feel the pressure to knit building.
I've made lists, and sketched out some ideas, and the yarn keeps calling out to me...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Petty annoyances and soothing soup.

I am not feeling well (a rather bad attach of the rheumatics as used to say—pain and fever) I get short tempered when I don't feel well. I know it. So this is a bit of rant.

Well you are going to have to use your imagination. (10 paragraphs of pettiness deleted!)

OK—meanwhile Theresa asked:Recipes for the soup, please.

I don't really have one. I just sort of wing my soups.(I found a few recipes(on line) for the chicken/sweet potato/coconut soup, and just sort of winged that too, after reading the ones I found)

Russian Borscht.
Some meat (about ¼ to ½ lb of pork (I used ends of a pork loin) cut into small cubes (chill in freezer for about 30 minutes to make the cutting up easier—you could add more, but less is better!)
Broth (I used low fat/low sodium beef broth (cause it was what I had,) and water.
The veggies.
3 parts beets (I use smallish ones, quartered)
1 part onion chopped (not too finely)
1 part carrot (chunked into mouth size pieces)
1 part potato (large dice—cause that is the easiest way to cut up a potato!)
1 part parsnips (cause I really like parsnips in soup!--cut in chunks like the carrots)
The parts are about a volume measurement (so 3 cups of beets, and 1 cup or so of the other vegetables)
Some garlic (I use the pre- chopped kind, about 1 teaspoon) but not too much-- 1 clove maybe?
Some sour salt (citric acid) because other wise it's too sweet, but lemon or cider vinegar would work—this is a taste thing. I like beets and carrots and parsnips, but all of them are very sweet—and I don't much like a too sweet soup! About ½ teaspoon of sour salt, or about ½ to 1 cup of vinegar) Start with less, add more to taste—or don't! But a little (a ¼ cup maybe) does improve the flavor, even if you like your borscht sweet.

Salt/pepper/ bay leaf.. and other seasonings.. I like a sprig of rosemary, (but didn't have any sprigs, and I don't like the fine leaves in soup!) You could cheat and add a capful of Mrs. Dash seasons, too, if you wanted more flavor-- but I think the vegetables add enough on their own)

Brown meat (in a small amount of oil) add garlic, onions and brown them too. Then add all the other veggies. I tend to add them as I go (chop one and add to pot, give the pot a stir.)
I use a 6 qt dutch oven/stock pot to cook in.

After all the vegetables have been added, add broth and water, (or sometimes all water) to cover, and about half of desired seasoning (salt/pepper/sour salt) add all the herbs (bay leaf/rosemary)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and cook about 40 minutes over low heat till the vegetables are all cooked. Taste and correct the seasonings.

The beets turn the broth a deep rosy red, (the other vegetables tend to become pinkish, too!)

I suppose you could make with no meat, and no meat broth—but I like the flavor it adds.

For sure, you could sub a ham bone and chunks of ham (but I don't much like ham—so I never do!) But add less salt, (and less sour salt or vinegar) and use water for broth.

For me, the ratios (enough beets to they predominate!) is more important than the actual measurements
You could (again to taste) sub turnips or kohlrabi for the parsnips--or just skip altogether.

You get the quantity you make—a small pot (6 small beets, 2 small onions, 2 small carrots, 1 large potato) or more of everything (a dozen small beets, or 6 huge ones, cut into 8 or more pieces) and a large pot of soup!

A small pot is about 2 quarts, or 4 MEAL size servings of soup.(1 pint)
(if served as a first course, 2 quarts makes about 8 servings. )

The soup is made with beets, and other root vegetables as might be found in a Russian farm house—simple stuff. But so pretty! All of the vegetables are ones that can survive a frost (if left in the ground) --and get sweeter if they are left!
I keep it to root vegetables, and mild flavored ones at that—but I am sure you could add other vegetables--one you like are always a good addition!

If you feel the need for a green vegetables to go with, cole slaw is a good idea--since the Russians--along with the Irish-- have a diet based on cabbage! Or serve the soup as a first course and serve sausage and sour kraut as the entreĆ©- Vegetables (as soup!) is one good way to get kids to eat them. A sweet(ish) vegetables soup –a pretty red one at that—is an easy sell to kids. (and as bonus, they get to have pink pee--eating fresh cooked beets can do that!)

Chicken, sweet potato soup:

2 smallish breasts of chicken, cut into a dice
2 red (skinned, white flesh) sweet potatoes-1/2 inch dice (or standard yellow ones.)
1 med carrot (smaller, 1/4 inch dice)
3 smallish onions, diced
a knob of ginger (about the size of your thumb (if your thumb is large!), Minced fine
1 clove of garlic (crushed, and minced or put through a garlic crusher)
1 teaspoon of mild curry powder.
1/2 of of 14 oz can of diced tomato*
about 1 cup of spinach leaved coarsely chopped.
1 small lime (juiced), some chopped cilantro or chopped green onion (garnish)

chicken broth (low sodium) (about 1 qt/30 oz.)
1 can (14 oz of coconut milk
water 14 oz (rinse the coconut milk can!
a bit of oil

*First: Drain the tomatoes and rinse off any remaining liquid(let them drain again )
you want the meat of the tomato, but none of the juice/liquid.
(the tomato juice can be mixed back in with the remaining tomato, or discarded)

Cut up the chicken and heat oil in a dutch oven over hot burner. Brown the chicken (do in batches if needed) The chicken doesn't have to be cooked or browned on all sides--but a little browning add flavor.

Remove chicken from pan, add onions and cook till wilted and golden.
Add minced ginger and garlic, cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
Add curry powder and cook another minute, stirring constantly for that minute.
Add remaining vegetable, (except for the spinach)and chicken, and liquid.
Bring to a boil, (just) and then reduce heat to a low simmer.

Cook about 30 minutes till sweet potatoes and carrots are just almost tender.
Add spinach and cook another 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste-- not much is needed.
Add the juice of the lime, and garnish with chopped greens.

So now, I have a selection of home made soups... Onion, ginger carrot, borscht and a mild curry soup. Good eating for cold weather, (and the predicted snow this week!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Been Cold

In the north east. We had a long hot summer, and a warm but oh so windy fall, and now, cold snap after cold snap (with gusty winds.)

It's been good weather for knitters. Wool socks, wool gloves and fingerless gloves, wool scarfs and hats, wool sweaters are just the thing (inside and out!) for weather like this. And I of course, have a ready supply!

My wools have been getting a work out—so I really don't really have to much to complain about.
But what I've missed is soup. I have some (and have eaten some of what I've made, but I haven't made enough (quanity or varieties!)

Yesterday I stopped off at the local library—for it's hour long knitting group (they are all beginners, and whiles the individual are interesting, the knitting is a bit boring). On the way home, I stopped at one of the bigger of the several local vegetable store, and managed, in short order, to buy $10 worth of veggies. A neat feat when the prices are so low.

My haul includes 5 lb of potatoes (Idaho russets, my favorite)3 red (Korean style) medioum sweet potatoes, half a dozen beets, a medium sized butternut squash, a 1lb. pack of spinach, 4 lb of sweet red peppers, and 2 large Haas avocados—oh yeah, and a dozen eggs.

The local green grocers are very competitive—and the prices are 50% to 70% less than major food chains. The 4lbs of peppers (way to many really!) were $2! but they were package a bag, and it was all or nothing.. so I bought them all.
The avocados, HUGE ones, were $1 each –I think a chicken fajitas dinner is coming one day this weekend...Onions, peppers and fajitas seasoned chicken and a big side salads (more peppers!) with guacamole.

A good portion of the veggies are destined to be made into soup.

First a Russian style borscht; Beets mostly, but also some onions, parsnips, carrots and potatoes, and a small quantity of slivered lean roast pork. There used to be (maybe there still is) a lovely little Estonian restaurant in the east village – I first had Russian style borscht there—Unlike vegetarian borscht, this soup is a winter soup served hot.

Most of the spinach will be used with curried chicken—one of my favorite combinations—but that will be as an entree, not a soup. Some of the spinach will be reserved for a chicken/sweet potato/coconut milk curried soup.

I haven't make the chicken sweet potato soup yet. I don't usually make curry with a prepared curry powder, but I will need get some for the soup. (DID!) I have some pompadoms in the pantry, and mmm, they will be nice with the soup!)

I have one left over container of Onion soup, and 2 of carrot ginger, and some canned soups, too. So I am not soup less, though canned soups don't compare with home made soups.

I also have some bacon and navy beans—I am not much of a bean fan.. (Well, I like black bean soup, and lentil soup--but not bean salad, or baked beans, very much) But I make a big exception for US Senate navy bean soup—I don't much like ham, so I never have a handy ham bone or left over ham or shank bones—so I sub smoked bacon--even with the substitute of bacon for ham, it's a great soup.

I think the bean soup will have to wait till the new year..My freezer will be full with the other soups.
Maybe New Years Day—a good day for been soup!--and navy bean soup is a good substitute for hopping john.

Well I better get cooking!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Not Too Late

To make a pretty little shawl pin, or 2, (or 3 or a whole bouquet of them! )

And it's not too hard either, though it does require a Latvian twist. (I have a video demonstrating the technique—it's a rather easy technique—seen—but a hard one to explain in text!)

This knitted flower stick pin was made to match the welted wimple I made for my DD—but this style of knit flower is suitable for shawl, or mounted on jewelry finding pin base, instead of on a stick pin, it could be worn on a hat (and change a simple knit hat into a fancy one!) or on a coat lapel, or pinned onto a knit (or even a fabric) bag.

The flower can be knit in a variety of yarns, (it only requires 10 to 15 yards-or less) and gauge is not a major factor –Just knit it in a way to create a firm fabric. Go down a size or two from the suggested size needle—this sample was knit with a worsted weight yarn on size 6 /4.25 mm needles, not the suggested size 8/5mm normal used with a worsted weight yarn.

If you use a finer yarn (DK or sports weight or even fingering weight), Follower the directions, and just go down a needle size (or two) from the recommend size for that weight yarn Finer yarns will make smaller flowers. This flower, in worsted weight yarn, is about 2 inches across. (the leaf extends beyond the flower)

The directions are free—and available as a PDF file available on (the BUY button is just a link—you don't have to really buy this pattern!)

Find all those bits of yarn, those partial balls left over from other projects, and go to town! You can add knit flowers to so many things!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Knitting (past tense)

OK: the heel is turned, stitches for the gussets picked up, and a few rounds done.. Not enough to make a new photo meaningful.

But ideas are always fermenting and some ideas bubble up again and again.

Like hat ideas.
I love knitting hats, but sometimes, I am so disappointed by the latest most popular hat—its just another beanie or sort of beret (a tube that has a stretchy stitch pattern that can be stretched out to a flat beret)--Me? I love interesting hat ideas.

Start with--
What is the desired function? Warm , Style or both?
What is the desired fit? Snug or loose?
What is the desired coverage? Top of the head? Head and ears? Head, ears and neck? Head and neck?

Style is a whole other issue.
Some styles are deemed feminine, some masculine, some gender neutral, some juvenile, some mature, some classic, (timeless) some retro (from a previous time period)
Lot's of time these style designations are not very strict--

Sometimes, a single hat style can be, depending on the yarn and other factors, multi purpose!

Take my pleated Kitty.
I first made it in a tweed—and it reminded me of a style of US Army cap—the official name? I forget—but the slang name is extremely vulgar term. (think of a kitty, it could be a cat, or it could be a pussy(cat) but pussy could also be mildly vulgar term, and there is another very vulgar term—moving away from the cat meaning and more to the vulgar-- (and this is what is used for the army caps.) I worked backwards, from the very vulgar, to the mildly vulgar, to the innocent kitty when I named this hat.

But the same basic design, with different wools, and you end up with a very Russian looking hat, (think Dr Zhivago.)

Do it again, in a tweed, and felt it, and now the hat looks like a Scottish hat! (or at least, sort of like one used by the Scottish military units)--a Glen Garry bonnet—Not exactly alike, but similar, all the same--especial in this untrimmed version.
Add a red and white ribbon, a cockade and a toorie (a small pompom) and it would be much more like the Glen Garry bonnet.

The Russian version I think is very masculine, but the other two versions? I think these are gender neutral!

Hat come in so many shapes and styles. I wish more knitters were adventurous and knit fewer half dome hats, and more stylish ones!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


But not turned or gusseted. With textured nylon re-enforcement.. (I think I need it.)--the nylon I ended up with looks a bit more orange rather than coral or peachy, but you can't see it at all in the flap!

These will be my 3rd pair of socks knit with Koigu (it's usually a bit to expensive a yarn for my budget) PPM or the kind with more P's and more M's!

One pair has held up fine,--except that they have faded-- the second pair (from an exchange, where the recipient got a pair of very well knit socks, made a with bargain yarn and I got OK workmanship pair of socks with expensive yarn) are not holding up so well

I've only worn these exchange socks 3 or 4 times. (The first time I wore them I nearly lost a toe—the toe shaping was so –lets say, unique—it cut off circulation! )

Since then, I have frogged the toe and re knit it, (adding in some co-ordinating yarn to make the toes wider, longer and flatter (the original toe was almost gathered didn't lie flat)) and today I noticed there is a broken stitch in the heel. (I will mend before it grows so big as to require real work (aka darning) to fix.)

I started the re-enforcement 6 rounds or so before I started the actual flap—when I stopped working the lace pattern at the back of the sock, and continued the lace in the front (and end up with about 7 full inches of leg—my standard sock top length). I've continued it in the flap and will continue it into the turning, and might even continue to work the nylon a bit on the bottom of the foot only.

To do this-- R1: work the sole portion of the sock with both strands
DO not continue nylon into gusset. (drop nylon) continue round with just sock yarn

R2 : Work till you come to the sole (for me, this is Needle 1 of 2, and this needle has gusset stitches, sole stitches and gusset stitches.)
The nylon is at the left hand side of sole (where it was dropped in R1.
I spool out some nylon, (about 3 times the width of the stitches in sole) and bring a loop of the nylon to right side of work.
This will make a big loop of loose nylon. I hold the loop and sock yarn together, and knit the loop.
this leaves the 'ball' (or rather spool) end of the nylon on the right edge of the sole.

If I have underestimated, the last stitch or two of the sole does not get re-enforced, (and there is a dash of nylon on the inside. Even done with the right sized loop, the last stitch or two is awkward to work.

On the next round, the nylon is just where it is needed.

It's a bit of PITA—but I will only do it for a half dozen or so rounds –not the full length of the gusset, but just a half inch or so of the bottom of the heel (just exactly where I have found a broken thread in my other Kougi socks!) should be enough.

I have done intartia in the round this same way--but intartia is less forgiving!

I have done intarsia in the round by knitting (standard) all of color A, and slipping color B stitches, , then working in a true left hand style knit all of color B, (and slipped the already knit color A stitches.)

Then continued (on the next needle) using color A only...

And I have done intaria by looping the yarn into position. I've gotten pretty good and figuring out how big a loop is needed-- but not in any way I can explain scientifically!

My red and white mittens knit this fall had a continuous pattern on palm, but 4 (spaced out) plain rows on the front –Not something you'd notice unless you thought to look for it! and the rows were worked both ways (it depended on my mood and where I was knitting.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


A bit behind—and not exactly where I hoped to be at this point.
(and this post, that got lost the AM is a bit behind, too!)

1—Peachy socks—have 2 3 more lace repeats—and I think I am going to look for some wooly nylon for the heels (flaps and turnings) since the Koigu doesn't have any nylon content at all. So I stopped. Looked for woolly nylon, didn't find, but did find some other nylon that I think will work.. good color match too!

The Mystery project (here a jumble so you can't really see any details) is moving along—slowly.

I am still on the first skeins finished off the first skeins--each one is 200 yards. I am working with 2 strands held together and worked as one, and I am still on my first pair now on my second pair of skeins. I think (project? Guess?) I am going to need close to 8 (4 pairs/or about 800 yards. So I am still not even 25% done.

The Youch in the title is because Thursday when I was cleaning and organizing some holiday decorations, I washed a crystal candle holder (the kind that sits on a table) It's actually somewhat small, but crystal (cut or not) is heavy. (Its about 7 inches square, and weighs close to 5 lbs.(just a bit over 2Kilos)

It slipped as I was washing it, and sliced open my thumb. Not very deep, nor very long. I butterflied the edges and its healing nicely(after washing and cleaning, the wound.)) and have been keeping it clean and dry, and checking it (for infection). But the cut is in the inside of the joint, and it makes flexing the joint or trying to holding anything (from a knitting needle to a glass of water) uncomfortable.

I am a great believer in the value of pain.

If it hurts, it your body's way of saying, “SLOW DOWN, don't stress, I need some TLC.”
I don't stop (movement is good) —but less movement, , and less stress, and less use is in order. So I have been doing less--and it's feeling and looking better and better with each passing day.

So hears the scant progress—Peachy now at 6 inches, (and maybe 1 more repeat before the flap)

Mystery (as a balled up mess!) is about 6 inches long now (of about 20 ) but right now, it is still in being shaped and increased, so each row is getting longer and longer.

Reading now, and thinking I wonder if I might have underestimated the yardage.. if 2 skeins make 6 inches, will 8 skeins be enough for 20? I am about 75% done with the increases..hmm. Well we'll see.

I have a bit over 6.5 inches done--and I am coming to the end of the increases.. I think I should just make it fine with my 8 skeins!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Look at That!

A completed (knit and finished!) hat!

It looks a bit goofy on this head—but thats because the head is too small (19 inches) on a full size (real) head, it looks fine.

I really like the blue/green/purple/brown tweed. Soft muted colors, dark enough to be thought of as a man's hat, but still a bit brighter and more colorful than any solid blue or brown, or green.

And look at this detail (one I often forget to add, but so worthwhile) a small hanging loop.

For hanging up in the closet, or on a hook, or to loop to one of those (senior moment, what are they called?) thing that were designed for rock climbing but are used for keys and on belt loops? The thing that you often find on ski jackets (or ski type jackets)

A quick easy way detail, that allows you to remove your hat, and not loose it! Good for men and women, and children of all ages.(and hidden inside, cause out side it would look dorky!)

It's been cold, and while I haven't been out much, I got a chill, and did nothing last evening but huddle under the covers and try to warm up.. (I did eventually!)

This AM, the somewhat secret, contest project got cast on.. And I completed the lace repeat on Peachy socks.. Now its time for the heel flap and then turning and gusset, (and then a photo) and then its going to be getting late--and the time sensitive list of things to knit becomes a bit oppressive!

But the main holiday knitting is done. And after that, its just bonus time.--Even the contest project has till February (OK the first week in February) to be completed.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward

Or in my case, half a hat! One skein down, and likely (because I am just beginning the shaping) not even a full skien to go-- Shaping is done with decreases, and even if I have only half the rows knit, the future row (or more correctly rounds) will have few stitches, and will need less yarn.

A helmet hat for DD's current boyfriend. (The default gift for boyfriends!)
I like this hat (and have done it several times, once long cap style (as Elizabeth Zimmerman first designed it,--and knit very long ago!) and several other versions (Sweet Baby, Tulip hat, helmet hat)

I've modified the pattern a bit (again) this time to make the front less pointy—but it still has some of the best features of any hat I know. Long in back (so it covers the back of head and top of the neck) shaped (so it covers the ears but not too much of the forehead) –close fitting (which tends to be warmer), easy (different , but really not a hard hat to knit)--a nice blend of features.

The yarn is Beatrice (now discontinued) a some what chunky yarn—the color way is a number, but its a nice blend of blues, drab purples, (some pretty light, and almost pink) browns and greens.

Definitely a masculine color, but not drab or boring. And its a very soft plushy 100% merino. I am using a size 8 (5mm) needle (not the recommended size 9(5.5mm) to make a nice tight fabric.

It looks like (modeled) it is more than half done—but that is only because the head model is so small! There are still a number of rows to go to make a full sized adult male hat.

I expect to be done (and finished!) tomorrow, and to have done some other finishing too!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

An Other NOT Finished Object

I started to write yesterday about being down to the last 2 welts, bind off and finishing.

But I kept knitting instead of taking photographs..

Last night, at Tuesday Knit Night, (at Cranky's--) I finished completed the knitting part of the Welted Wimple. There is still finishing work (ends to be woven in).

It looks good (I have managed, for the most part to hid the 20 or so ends that still need to be woven in!)

It's a head and neck wrap, (the bottom, round the neck certainly looks wimple ish!)

Or a bulky turban (it's less bulky on BIG Heads like I have, and like my daughter has; (Diane from Knit Night like the turban idea best—but here, it's well, not a good look on the small head I have as a prop)

If you prefer, it can be a scarf—warm over the chest, filling in the neck of a open coat.
I plan to include a shawl pin, since I think worn this way, its needs one.

My daughter has a leather/fur lined coat that fastens with just one waist button—so this is great for the neck (there is actually a small hook at the neck of the coat, but she almost never hooks it closed.)
So a deep warm scarf to fill in the neck is a good idea.

It could also be pulled up and around the shoulders and upper chest and back but it would be less round the back (or front) of the neck then. (not shown)

Then again, it could be worn as a a shrug, too.. see here, what I mean, with views of the front and back.

I don't know it this style will work for my daughter, she has broad shoulders and it might be too small for her to wear it this way—But she's lost weight, and, well ,maybe.

So now I have 2 knit but not finished objects (Leafy Vines and this Welted wimple) and today I will cast on for the boyfriend (DD's boyfriend) hat.

And almost immediately, likely before I finish the hat, I will cast on for the Contest project. Then I'll need to finish the peachy socks, and start some quick knit (worsted weight yarn) bed socks, (in superwash wool of course!) and... (hats, socks, shrugs and various other things are in the queue!)

I need to clean (organize and get rid of!) stuff—there is a real possibility of a WONDERFUL thing.. but I need to find room for it (it's a BIG thing –literaly and figuratively!)

That's really a shameful statement in the paragraph above. I have a huge amount of space for a single person-- but I tend to be a horder (no where near the TV professional level horders!) but I do have a lot of stuff.

Some of it is easy to deal with (HANG the art work!) Throw out the Junk--a pretty lamp, that is so simple to fix, (but I haven't in a year, and I am not sure I REALLY NEED another table lamp.)

I am keeping the wire frame for a lamp shade, and I will knit a pretty little shade—but maybe I can put it away (and not leave it out on dispay!)

Knitting the shade is so far down the to do list, this is the first time I mentioned it..(of course the shade was destined for the pretty lamp.. it's so easy to horde!)

There is a pile of photos and a pile of frames need to be matched up and hung, too. (and so the list goes)

The clutter isn't things that are useless, but more half finished projects. Ideas that once seemed promising.. but that ones that I have lost interest in.

Monday, December 06, 2010


And 7 down... and a whole bunch (but not all) of the ends woven in.

It's big enough now to get a glimpse of what it will look like in a day or two.. and it will be a day or two, because is already almost 3/4th's done. (20 proposed welts, 14 completed, (15 welt will be exactly 3/4ths)

And that's it!

Haven't woven in the ends on the leafy vine, haven't blocked.. have picked up and knit a stitch on my Peach Socks, haven't....
Haven't done laundry either, now that I am making lists.. It's that time(again--seriously, this habit I have of wearing clean clothes...)

And I think I will clean the inside of the living room window today (it's way to cold and windy to do anything out side) and get the inside light hung. It gets so dark, so early, I need a bit of festive lights come evening. I can wait a week or so till I put up my tree—my TREE is an outside one of lights--that gets set up on my terrace.
I love how it shines in the window—doing double duty as a outside decorations, and an inside one.

Indoors, I have a glass arboretum— some where close to 20 glass trees of various sizes and colors—some that get mounted on fancy little bases that light up (these are designed for paper weights) and some that get centered on small mirrors. A few years ago I painted a bunch of yarn cones green, and these too get placed with the glass ones.. I don't think the arboretum is going to get set up today.. (First I have to clear the table, (and find temporary homes for everything already there!) ) but time is coming quickly!

I don't do much in the way of holiday decoration, I am a bit of a curmudgeon. More and more, Christmas is defined as Shopping season, and there is less and less of a focus on the religious aspects. More and more I am a Deist and less and less of a Christian, so the religious aspects have less and less meaning to me.

But who doesn't like festive lights? And fragrant aromas of fir trees, and baking cookies?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

When Last Seen

The Leafy Vines Scarf was still on needles
It's off now—but still waiting to be finished and blocked. (no image)

The Welted Wimple? When it was last seen, one side had 4 welts (the Blue/Green side)

Today it has 6 welts.

The other side had 3 welts; Today there are 5 White and Grey welts.

It's now past the half way point—With 11 welts, it's one short of three complete color pattern repeats.

For the green, grey and blue welts,Ball 1 has been used up and Ball 2 is now the working yarn. The next welt, (white) the last in the color way pattern will use up the last bit of yarn in of its ball 1.

But I was able to work over 2.5 welt with each ball, so I know I will be able to work 2 complete color repeats, with no danger of running out of yarn.

So I can safely say, the final project will have 10 welts on each side.

Twisted up (all 40 inches of it, on a 32 inch needle,) it looks like this.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


On Monday, I thought (for sure!) I'd be finished with the leafy vine scarf on Tuesday.

Here it Saturday, and –um, well it's almost done! See—here, when last seen --the tails of the right side? The right side image was close to the start of ball 3—and look where the yarn tails are now (on the left side image) Much further from the needle!

Not far enough, but definitely further.

Actually I am on the last pattern repeat –Row 16 (of 32) on the last repeat (the 4th) of this skein.

I was able to knit about (not quite) 4.5 repeats with skein 1. I want to end the scarf with a full repeat of the pattern, and not with just half a leaf knit.

I'd rather have a bit of left over yarn than not have enough yarn, and have to frog.

So 16 more pattern rows, and a few rows of garter as an edging, and the knitting will be done.
The finished unblocked scarf will be about 64 inches long- A rather long scarf!

Then comes Part 2 of the work—weaving in (easy enough) and blocking—the hard part of blocking will be finding a long flat space! (likely the couch) But I have blocking wires (a big help!) and the pattern has, on the side, a lace and garter treatment. The wires will be threaded into the column of lace and it will be pretty quick to pin out.

The reason I haven't made more progress?

I was distracted by the Welted Wimple--perhaps not a wimple, perhaps a cowl of sorts--Welted for sure! (but I like alliteration almost as much as I like symmetry!)

Green, grey, blue, white.. (repeat) 6 Rounds of each color, stocking knit and reverse. A loop of about 40 inches, loosely knit on the recommended size 8 (5mm) needles.

Soft and cushy—what else would expect from a blend of Merino and Cashmere? 1 ball of each color will be enough for 2 repeats of the color way, --but I have 2 balls of each color, and will get at least 4 repeats -about 8 inches bunched up—twice that stretched out,--as it might be pulled over the head and twisted round the neck, or twisted and wrapped turban like round the head.

And I will have enough left over to make a similar pair of fingerless gloves. (2 rows per welt, on the fingerless gloves, not 6)

I like how, not stretched, one side is Slate and Snow, and the other sides is Water and Grassland..

This is pretty fast knitting—changing color and directions –to keep all the rounds a knits and not half of them as purls—adds interest to other wise very plain knitting--and plain knitting, after rows and rows of patterned lace is a nice change. (I have already woven in about half the tails.. so when the knitting is done, most of the finishing will be too!)

It's one (of 2) holiday presents still to be knit

The second one is less important –it's for my DD's current boyfriend –and the default gift is a hat.. Often a nice one, (wool) but really nothing special. (Stash yarn, and a pattern I want to knit—because it interests me. But not a hat I am not interested enough to want to own it.

Likely I won't actually see him Christmas day --and will have a few days after the actual holiday to finish up if needed. But hats are quick to knit, and the yarn is thick and will work up fast.

I have some blue tweedy sort of yarn--2 skeins of Beatrice in a blue and brown color way. The color is masculine, the price is right. The yarn was gifted to me, so not only is it stash, its free (to me) yarn--just the right amount to spend on a boy friend who may (or may not) be here next year. With the bonus--MORE yarn gets knit up and out of the house!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Coming down the home stretch

1 full repeat of skein 3 complete--(3.5 more to go—and then I'll be out of yarn and done!)

Maybe I'll get it finished by end of day today.

Then immediately onto a cashmere blend cowl—pretty simple—4 colors, knit in welts. (5 rows/rounds of stocking knit, 5 of reverse stocking knit.. The welt will bunch up like ribs—and will be striped.
One side blue and green stripes, the other side, grey and white stripes.---its a holiday present.

Of course when it stretches out, you'll end up seeing all 4 colors.. but one side will be predominantly blue/green (with recessed white/grey) and the other side white/grey with recessed blue/green.

And I should get back to working on my peachy socks.. (haven't touched them now in 2 weeks!) and then, the contest project, (since that has a dead line!) and then hats, and fingerless gloves, and more patterning writing, and—More tutorials..

I've touch on some of my knitting philosophy—I should put my money (or effort!) where my mouth is (considering this blog to be a mouth piece!)

The Leafy Vines (like it? Don't know how to find the stitch pattern or reverse engineer it? Find it here. ($5) –Yeah, well the stitch pattern is 32 rows. Half-16 are plain (knit the knits, purl the purls)

The 16 pattern rows? Half are faggoting lace (K2tog/ YO) and half are a leaf (with a single K2tog) motif.
--Oh wait—that's not quite right. 8 rows are done with K2tog, (faggoting and leaf) and 8 rows are done with SSK and an other leaf.
All K2tog's would cause a bias—by alternating groups of K2tog rows and SSK row, the unblocked knit is a soft zig-zag, that blocking makes straight. You can see the soft zig zag clearly in the unblocked knitting.

But for me, there are NO SSK's.

For the first half of the pattern on the “plain rows” I make sure to knit Standard European style purls.
And all my stitches line up ready to be knit together and lean Right.

For the second half of the pattern, I work the purls in my standardcombo” (aka eastern) purls, and my stitches all line up on the needle reversed—so when it comes to a decrease I already have the SS part of an SSK done.. and I have to do is K2tog.

A neat trick that makes knitting a bit faster!

If I were working in the round—like say, my peachy socks..with its much simpler lace that also has 50% right leaning and 50% left leaning decreases, (and the purls—there are purls—are part of the rib, but not part of the lace) This trick wouldn't work.

Since I don't turn the work, and the plain rows between the pattern rows are mostly KNIT (not purled as they would be if worked flat) So I use the same sort of trick—I make Eastern style KNIT stitches (which are reverse mounted.)

So I can K2tog (standard European knitting) and get a left leaning decrease, and a stitch or two later, K2tog (EASTERN Style knits) and get a right leaning decrease. (I never have to SS!)

It make lace easier (especially if you do things like knit lace on the subway, at rush hour!)

Wait let me correct that—it changes how I knit lace. It is physically easier and I am less likely to drop a stitch as I slip them, BUT it does require a bit MORE THINKING on the plain rows.. [How am I working this stitch? As European purl? (flat knitting) or as an Eastern Knit? (working in the round)]

To me, the mental effort is easier than the physical!

I have to make a bit of effort with the European purl..(I tend to work it looser, and can, if I am not careful, row out) The Eastern knit is a no brainer—and has no effect on my gauge at all. I could do rows and rows of them, with no effort at all (well I would have to make the mental effort to remember!)

I think it was, perhaps (and in some cases definitely!) true 100 years ago, that everyone in a community knit the same. (and it was also largely true—everyone one was related!) and that changes to styles of knitting (from color work to lace work, to cable work, to..) were infrequent.. but they did happen, and sometimes abruptly—seemingly over night, Shetland islander's change from color work to lace work (and they still are famous for their lace)--If Alice Stamore is to be believed—and I think she is. And almost at the same time, Fair Isler's took over the work of color knitting. (and they have kept it!)

Part of this slow (or radical) change was based on island culture... but even in non island populations—people often remained settled, and didn't travel very far from home very often.
A set of human remains (some 300 years old) found in Cheshire England had a DNA test done—and its clear from the genetic markers, he is related to about 50% of current day residents of Cheshire!(and can if find the link to back this up? No of course not!)

People MOVED out of Cheshire (to London, to Canada, to US, to India or Australia or other part of the empire) but many fewer new comers moved in—and it's far more likely that any newcomer adapted local styles—(and didn't changed them)—even if they did mix up the DNA markers!)

But—in US, (or Canada or Australia, or..) where the population is made up in large part, of immigrants, these immigrants brought with them their home town styles of knitting.

As a small example, I have, as neighbors, a vast array of ethnic groups and populations—there are 12 apartments on my floor (with 14 floors per building, and 6 buildings in my co-op, [Its a small town of 1100 apartments,and likely 3000 to 4000 individuals, in a very small (2 acre) space]) My neighbors (on my floor, alone) are Chinese, Russian, South American, Israeli, Pakistani, Italian, Irish, and Korean (with some doubles!)

There is more diversity in the complex as a whole, then there is on my floor alone—The Indian subcontinent alone provided Hindi's, Jain's, Sieks, Muslims, and Buddhist, (from Pakistan, India, Goa, Bangladesh, and Tibet, and at least one Nepal!--(and truth be told, I only know a fraction of my neighbors! So there is likely also some one from Sri Lanka--(who may or may not be a Timorian!)

The knitting groups I belong to have the same multi ethnic mix. And knitting styles,too, are varied.

Not everyone in any of the groups I belong to is a multi-”lingual” knitter.

Many can just knit in one style, but several can knit in 2 (2 versions of European being the most common--for 2 handed color work) and knitting in 3 styles (2 styles of European, and true left handed, (for entralac!)) is not a unique skill.

A few Knit combo, that can (if pushed) knit standard European, and at least one Knitter, in each group knits Eastern--(tensioning the yarn round the neck, working mostly in purls, and using the left thumb to form the stitches.) Others knit using a Norwegian style purl—one churns out color work (of various styles) like a professional, (but has a hard time with cables!) Each group has at least one other knitter (some 2, some more!) who designs.

And I think my groups are just a year or two ahead of any group of knitters everywhere across the NA continent for the diversity of knitting styles to be found.

Every day, more and more knitters are learning to knit in a different way—English and Continental, or True Left handed, or combo (which is really for the most part, ONE HALF of a combo set, (European knits, Eastern purls, with very few also knowing Eastern knits and European purls!!)

And other knitters-- in other less diverse populations, in even the most remote parts of the world are connected (to some degree) to each other via the Internet. And these knitters are learning about, and how to do, other styles of knitting, too.

40 years ago, I was a closet knitter. Every time I knit in public, I got corrected --because other were sure I was knitting WRONG. Now days, I am admired—because I can help almost any knitter, because no matter what their personal style, I know it!

But I know from many posts on Ravelry, I am hardy special... LOTS and LOTS of other knitters have my skill set (and more!) The idea that there is one way to knit is fast disappearing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Litmus Test(s)

There are all kinds—and few of them are good (well the REAL one, used to quickly determine if something is acid or base/and how much so...well that's a great use!)

There are some of the other kinds metaphorical litmus tests—(shibboleths (3rd meaning), if you prefer); the all or nothing kind of test exist that everywhere—in religion (the ONLY way to get to heaven is to believe THIS) in politics (the only view to hold on this topic is this or I WILL NEVER Vote or support you) and in Knitting (THIS IS THE WAY TO DO DO—Everything else is wrong!) I don't like this sort of thing.

There a some knitting knottsies out there—who say: MY way is the only way!
Me? I try to be open minded—though today, I am not being so.

To me—the correct way to do something is the way that ends up with the correct result. (Are there better or worse ways—yeah, sure sometimes. But better isn't always the RIGHT way—and for sure not the only way!)

Going for garters stitch? Knit Every stitch, in every row--It's the most the common way to do it.

But if you want to purl every stitch, in every row, go right ahead!

And if you want to knit a row (conventionally) and then work a row of purls –in a true left-handed way (from left needle onto right)—well it's not my choice, but I agree, that would result in a fabric that looks likes (that IS,) garter stitch.

That last method wouldn't be my first choice (or second!) style to use, but if it works for you? Do it.
Any of these methods results in a fabric that IS garter stitch. (And there are others methods that would work too!)

I Judge the results, not the process. Are there processes that are speedier? Sure (And do I knit using one? YES) but do I think knitting fast is a superior way to knitting? NO!

To me the only litmus test in knitting is the result. IF it looks right, It is right. The method or process used doesn't matter. There are ways to make mistakes in knitting, but there is no WRONG way to knit.

And to be honest, I use that as a sort of litmus test.

I don't mind in the least if a KNITTER has a strong opinion (I THINK THIS IS BEST PROCESS, and here is why; or I ONLY KNIT THIS WAY—(I acknowledge other processing or styles exist, and they might have some value for others, but I DON'T use any process but mine!)

Strong opinions are welcome. But I don't like DOGMA: I knit this way, and this is the only way to knit. I DON'T CARE that you get the same results doing something else; if you don't work in the same style as me, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Dogma is my litmus test.

So last night I went to see Debbie Stoller at the Brooklyn public library.. and when some one asked “What's next?” She said—“I don't know!” (what a wonderful refreshing answer!)

I suggested she could do a book about knitting styles--since one point that I was really bothered by, in her first book, was a bit of dogma about right and wrong (stitch mounts). (There was other dogma, that I didn't like—but since I am a combo knitter, this little bit of dogma bothered me especially.)

Debbie went into an fun little skit explaining why EASTERN CROSSED knitting wasn't the same as standard stocking knit--and then went on to say: “Sure, I have talked to Anne Modiset, and others, but other styles of knitting, (besides European);I know about working with yarn tensioned round your neck, or working in a style that keeps the yarn always in front of the work (as to purl) –but they Are wrong.

She went on further to say—It's a shame these styles of knitting will likely die out--(but, then, they are wrong).

And with that bit of dogma, (and another: “There is a design section in my newest book—it covers the 4 styles of sleeves” ) she lost me.

Let's come back to that second bit of dogma. THE 4 styles? Wait, since when are there only 4 styles?! --the 4 styles she acknowledges are Raglan, drop (no armhole shaping at all) simple (a decrease at under arm, but not much more) and set in (and she couldn't ever remember the term set in!) and apparently nothing else.

I guess we no longer have kimono sleeves, or dolman sleeves, or gathered sleeves, or leg o' mutton sleeves, or bat wing, or .. (I know about 40 different styles of sleeves—some only sort of—I don't know the official names of the styles—I just know they exist-- There are sleeves that are different front and back, (and I haven't a clue what they are called!) or ones that that use gussets,(gusseted sleeves?) or that ...

Well WAY more than 4! (even as basic styles!) And yes, there are some styles I don't like (dolman, and to a lesser degree, batwing—a style that can resemble a moo-moo!) but just because I don't like them, or use them much, doesn't mean they don't exist!

And then, almost as a kicker-- while spouting dogma of her own, she noted that her first book was 'rewriten' when it got translated into Danish –and any mention of holding the yarn in the Right hand –(commonly called English style) was omitted. She was sort of amazed that this could happen. Apparently she is such an authority on knitting,(not!) only she allow is allowed to dogma.

So, my un-comfort with her dogma in Book 1—a bit of dogma I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on—wasn't a mistake. She doesn't say “FOR ME, and the books I write, I am only going to discuss and use European style knitting—other styles exist, but I never use them, and especially, never will advocate any of them, for any reason. (a perfectly valid point of view) –

What she instead says is: THE ONLY WAY TO KNIT IS THE WAY I WAS TAUGHT, the way my mother knit, the way my grandmother knit. Any other way to knit is wrong. End of discussion.

I think its sad. And while I am not going to toss out my copies of Stitch n' Bitch, or Stitch n' Bitch Nation—I am never going to buy any other books by her. I went to the talk with an open mind. I excused her bit of dogma as editorializing. But she opened her mouth, and made her views clear.

I think its sad. She has done much for knitting. But for me, she has failed the litmus test—She want to make up the rules for knitting, and for her, the first rule is: MY way is the only way.

And I totally disagree. I think all methods and styles of knitting are valid.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Skein 2

is holding on like grim death. It would be finished –but for a mistake and frogging a few rows.
Maybe I'll make some progress today—I'll be knitting on my way too, (and home from) the Brooklyn Public Library—The Brooklyn Fiber Arts Guild is presenting Debbie Stoller tonight there – And while she is not my favorite author, I like the yarn line that is out in her name, (and have knit a few things with it) And I have a lot of friends in Brooklyn and it's a good opportunity to see them too.

The Thistle Down hat pattern is completed. And now up for sale.

There are other reasons that the Leafy Vine scarf hasn't progressed—Reading--(Eat Pray Love, and the 100th anniversary issue of Knitters), Swatching (a project that I design a few years ago, and am going re-knitting for the Micheal's/Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Yarn Contest ) Cooking (soup) and editing other patterns that I have written (and plan to whip into shape and offer for sale)

And pondering.. Christmas is fast approching and I still have holiday knitting to do! When will I find the time?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Progress Report:

Scarf= 0(zero) progress to report
Hats= 1(one) completed
Pattern Proofing= 1(one) 97% completed

There has been zero work done on the scarf since the holiday—Skein 2 is still nearing an end—but has not yet been finished up. I'll return to it today.

But—LOOK a new hat (actually an OLD hat, Knit anew!) and the pattern was proofed. (and found wanting and edited, and a few more details need to be added.)

This is the Thistle Down Hat—Isn't it pretty? I know, I know, in this country (US) thistles are considered weeds--(Oh what fools we be!) but in Scotland, its the national flower! Thistles motifs are found in jewelry, on the money, on china and porcelain, and it's considered beautiful—and I agree!

This hat is a lot smoother and softer (the sample is knit in a wool/silk/alpaca blend and is super soft and squishy!) than a real thistle. And I went for the leafier look--(not the spikier look!) with better stitch definition. I bet this pattern would look good in some soft textured yarn --a mohair blend of some sort--that would create more texture on the surface--as a real thistle has! (Way softer texture, but texture all the same!)

This version, done in a DK weight yarn (the child's/small)) size, fits my wig form head perfectly--(the head is about 19 inches) but the same hat (wait for it!) done in worsted yarn is that much bigger again (sized to fit a 22 inch head)-- and fits most adults (well most adult women—maybe without the fun fur, this could be a guy's hat. I don't think many guys would wear it with the fun fur trim—though maybe a reversed stocking knit or garter brim of a pretty violet yarn wouldn't be out of place.

It's a bit of a challenge too, just 8o something rounds, (half of them all knits) but the other 40? NO 2 rows alike! It's one of those get out your row counter patterns and keep track ! (Actually this is my favorite sort of thing to knit, (and knit again!) it's interesting! )

Actually the last 10 rounds are pretty much the same (stocking knit and reversed stocking knit)--but they are rounds 80 to 90. The first few rounds (the stem) don't change much either--but the stem is Round 1: Knit every stitch, (repeat R1 8 times!) and the pattern starts on R2.

Some adults might want to shorten the stem –(I love the inch long stem) but I wouldn't.
I think, at some point, I might make a very long stem version, with a long (6? 8? 10 inches long) stem that is like a tassel, with some small leaflets on the stem. (and totally out of nature, a mini thistle at the end, instead of a root!)

It will be a day or two (Monday? Tuesday?) before this hat is up for sale—but that's fine. This is a hat for your post holiday queue. Knit yourself one in time for Robert Burns birthday, (Jan. 25th). Wouldn't a thistle hat be just the thing for a Bobby Burns birthday bash? (Better than haggis, for sure!)

And keep it handy to wear to the Scottish games. (May, I think, in Old Westbury Gardens (NY) , but at different times of the year in different places.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Started Repeat 9

And at the same time, almost done with skein 2! Skein 1 gave out in the middle of repeat 4—so it's just about right!

No new patterns today—editing and tweaking continue on 2 more hat patterns, and both these hats really need to be reknit--(one is already half knit) --I gave away the prototypes! And don't have good images of them. But hats are quick knits!

There are some sweater patterns and some other stuff that is being gone over, too—edited to make the patterns clearer, or easier to do, or to include stitch counts. I love it when a complex pattern has stitch counts after each set of increases or decreases, and it's a detail I like to include when I write a pattern.

My Ravelry pattern store now has 18 patterns --about half are free—so don't let lack of funds stop you from shopping! My goal is to have it up to 24 by the end of the year. That's a lot of work--6 patterns in 5 weeks.

And all you down loader's? Get Knitting! I want to see your work! (and I want others to see your projects too, when they shop my store.)

A good percentage my patterns at the Ravelry Store are, and will continue to be, hat patterns. But there are some sock patterns coming too! And maybe a scarf or shawl one, or even a fingerless glove (to match one or more of the hats!)--Maybe a muff, pattern too. Some more color work—and other fun stuff.

And behind the scenes, there is code writing--and file management. One problem is I have patterns scattered over 2 drives, a half dozen folders and mixed in with other files. And on my blog. All of these are going to be consolidated and made into easy to use PDF's.

I am working to organize the mess, and keep track of what is what, where it is, and back it all up!
My photo files are worse-- I lost a bunch of original files a few years ago with a computer crash—and now I have to retrieve them from some on-line sources
I should update those same sources—since many of my newest photo's haven't been stored on line, and I am setting myself up for a disaster with out a back up!. (most, but not all, are burned to CD's)

I am one busy knitter! (coder!) (organizer!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks Giving

It's an interesting thing—Studies have been done, and its been found, people who describe them selves as tough, no nonsense, hard headed and hard hearted—are!
They have hardened arteries—in their heads (carotid arteries) and in their hearts.. Their tough stance has made their arteries tough. Being a block head—makes you a block head—and you stroke out. It shortens their lives.

Being a soft touch, being nonsensical, and soft hearted—well it does just the opposite. Its keeps your arteries soft, and flexible (as they should be) Its lengthens lives.

All those hard closed feeling we are prone to, (and we are all prone to them) are bad for us.
Good health comes from good food, and good practices, and good thinking.

Gratitude is one of those good thought.
Everyday should be a day of thanksgiving; not just Thanksgiving Day.

Like most, I often fall short, and fail to count my blessing, and give thanks for all that I have—I, too, need a special day to remind me, yearly, how blessed I am. To take stock, and not think about what I want, or think about what I think I need, but to look around and be thankful for all I have.

It not uncommon for me to remark, that every day, I am happier in my life—that this year, is the best year ever--(and it is, it is!) but its also not uncommon for me to dwell on those things I don't have (as if things mattered). I have to fight the impulse to be hard hearted—I have to work against the urge to be greedy and self centered. I have to work at appreciating and being thankful for all that I have (and I have, really, so many blessing!)

I hope each of you have a blessed day of thanksgiving-and can, for a while, realize how wonderful it is to have so much. Alone, or with family, be one with the world and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Year, for Christmas

I am asking Santa (by way of my son, the web page guru) for a 1 years worth of servers fees for a web page-- (and maybe the cost of registering a site name.)

I've wanted one (aren't they the thing to have?) for a few years... but really—I didn't need one.
But I've been working hard; writing patterns, making videos, faithfully making blog posts (and developing readership) It's time now. I need a central location to unify all my work.

I'm doing things that don't really fit on a blog—and I have the skills to manage a simple but good web page—Though, really now days, it's not that hard to have the skills.

There are so many photo storage sites—and they have built in software to make photo arrays, and slide shows—and all of these come with code to copy and paste. Take some photo's, upload and bingo you have a great visual element for a web page.
Word processing programs allow you to write in plain text—and easily create links and effects, and then save the document as HTML—90% of the code writing is done! So simple web pages aren't much harder than writing a letter.

And I know a smattering of HTML (a pretty big smattering) and a thimble full of Java scrip--(I resolved last year to learn more, and well I didn't.. but I could.. it won't take much time, especially if I have a need to know it!) Java scrip will help me add some nice details.

Besides all my friends have web pages and I want one too.. Well that's not really true. But increasingly more do; It helps that I hang out with people who are both crafty and technical. Smart women the lot of them! (Some smart guys, too.)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Leafy vines now has 7 repeats—and I am almost half way through skein 2. At this point, I want to rush through it. The list of things I want to knit keeps growing---and growing and growing!
There is a contest (Lion Brand Yarn) I want to enter, I have a great idea—but I need to knit it up! And there Christmas gifts to knit, and hat designs that need to be knit. (Ideas for hats are spring up in my brain like toadstools in a lawn after a rainstorm. )

My list of sock ideas has grown from 10, to 12, to 15. Its been joined by a list of hats ideas, and another list of knitting ideas and projects, and I have some odd balls of yarn calling out to be knit up into fingerless gloves, and....

None of this includes the pile of fabric that wants to be made into skirts and tops—sure I have lots of clothes—but so few are new, and I am growing tired of the old ones.

I need more work—and if I can't find a job that pays, I need to make work for myself—and make it pay. (Thank you dear readers for all your recent pattern purchases.. (4 in 7 days!)-hardly enough to do anything with-(a whopping $12!) but 1 purchase is a million ego points, so I am feeling at the top of the world!) And to further full you shopping spree--another hat pattern!

Petal Power –a lovely flowery beret hat went up for sale yesterday-- It's yet another way to use up small bits of yarns--a particularly pretty way! The petal part requires the most of any one color, and only about 100 yards at that.
I've made 2—one with a brown center and yellow petals, a second with a yellow center and white petals.. (both with green stem like under brims.) But I can think of so many other color combination that would work—daisy like flowers come in so many different colors.. and there are always imaginary flowers.