Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Off to a Good Start--

Now can I maintain the momentum?

The Purple Iris socks are coming close to having 6 inches of leg.. soon it will be time to start the heel flap.

The newest pair of mittens (woman's, red, black and white) have an inch or two done--ribbing and the cuff done.

I started with a tubular cast on, then a band of twin knitting chain, a diamond pattern of red and black, and another band of twin knitting chain. Next up is a red and white pattern (which? I dunno) on the back and a simple birds eye or maybe the same lattice stitch I used for the previous ones for the palm.

I am going to do the same simple gusset for the thumb—I like the look and the fit of a gusseted thumb.

Both the chain detail and the cuff design were taken from Nancy Bush's book Knitting On the Road sock book.

I haven't knit a single pair of sock from that book, but I have use elements and stitch patterns in lots of other things—like these mittens (not socks).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Scarves and Sock... (a recurring pattern!)

So I finished my little lacy scarf (and gave it away!) and started on socks—and even cast on for another pair of mittens. But since its just a cast on .... no photos of the mittens.

So here is the scarf—as a headband on a visor--
or around the neck—it finished out at 44 inches (1.05m) –long enough for such a narrow scarf—and here is the cast on and bind off together.. can you guess which is which?

I love the the double chain cast on and matching bind off--have you tried it yet?
I wore the scarf to the pool—and Debbie—a pool friend who seems likely to actually turn into a real friend—loved it, and threatened to steal it. So I gave it to her.

She kept asking--This is knitting? Not Crochet? --the lacy pattern does look more like crochet, than lace.. but knit lace it is. Lena--a lady of a certain age, looked at it, and admired the cast on/bind off, too. Lena knits eastern style (yarn round the neck) but not so much any more.

I am slowly but surely turning Debie into a knitter.. She been ill--no not the right work—suffering ill effect of a fall is more accurate--and been visiting doctors on a hourly basis--(oh yeah, her mother has been ill too (the surgical sort of ill, combined with all the ailments a person is prone to, (and more) with advancing age). I hooked her on making I cord with a spool knitter to pass the time--and I-cord is just a gate way drug to knitting.

1 skein of JoAnne's Kashmira yarn later (284 yard!)(Kashmira is a DK weight wool)--she is now sewing together a place mat (hot mat?) that will be felted, too.

And she has expressed interest in learning to make socks!

Oh yeah, socks.. I have been knitting socks, too.
These are my purple iris socks.. the cuff and hem are left over Kroy--(I now just have a few inches of this yarn left in the purple) and the body are Moose Manor Fingering Weight Sock Yarn.

Right now, Betty's (Moose Manors) etsy store is pretty empty—but I will link to it in a few days when she restocks.

The iris color way is just lovely.. and in natural light, there is less contrast between the solid purple and the MooseManor hand painted. I love the little stylized fleur-de-lis on the top cuff.

The rest of the sock will just showcase the hand painted yarn--that neither pools or stripes, but just blurs into a field of iris colors. I started with size 2 needles--but I think I will go down to size 1 for the foot--the fabric (of the leg) is just a little to soft for my liking--its fine for the leg (no wear!) but I want a firmer fabric for the heel and sole. Lets hope it doesn't change the soft blur of colors!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mittens—with thumbs!

And all the ends woven in and finished.

So now I can check out my bags of socks to be, and knit me a pair of socks!

Which ones will it be? Should I just pick up a random bag, or sort through the bags and find the yarn I like best?

Will it be a sock of my own? or Skew? or some other sock pattern or idea i like.

Until I do, this will work—a miscelanious ball of yarn—not enough to do anything with, really, is becoming a narrow lacy scarf—I sometimes use small scarves like this one will be-- to dress up visors—a fillip* of sorts. (I wear visors all summer!) I have a few—and the small scarf works to hide damp or less than neat hair (as when I come out of the pool with wet hair!)
(*see the 3rd meaning)

The lace pattern is pretty enough—and simple enough too, but not for the faint hearted--
R1—a bunch of P4 togethers (enough to scare away many)
R2—Increases to make up for decreases in the previous row

Its a triple welt—too. A simple welt is a garter ridge, a double welt is Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, , then Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, Purl 1 row.. (or 3 rows of stocking knit, 3 rows of reverse stocking knit)

The combination of all the decreases in one row and all the increases in the next creates a wavy selvage, the trile welts makes the scarf wavy all along the fabric.

I like this pattern—and I will keep it in mind for other things.

Thats it—there is no more!

Well that was it LAST night, when I wrote, but didn't get around to posting. Then the 4 inch scarf was 15 or so inches long, now, the end of the ball is in sight--and the scarf is 36 inches long (or just a few mm short of a meter, for those of you who measure in meters)--its just swatch (less!) wide (not quite 4 inches/10mm). and it is lacier than it looks. The yarn is mostly cotton, and when it hangs, it opens up.

I think I reach a meter, and maybe a little more after that--a not to long narrow scarf--but it will be big enough !

I still haven't decided which socks to knit--and a pair of fingerless gloves becken.. (how could I even think about fingerless gloves after griping about the mittens!?)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why is it that we sometimes

Like to knit top down seamless sweaters—but dislike bottom up ones?

Or that we like to knit socks on magic loop (but find 2 circulars tedious?)
(For me, it's magic loop that is tedious...)

And for me, socks are joy to knit-(I haven't knit a pair now in 2 months, and I am jones'n to start a pair ASAP)—but mittens are a chore.

I don't know why—sure these are big mittens (men's size large) but there were just 66 stitches per round—and the size 4/xxmm needles aren't big bulky ones... (which I don't much like either) They are, over all, a few stitches more than a sock (per round)—so it doesn't really make sense that I would love to knit socks, and hate to knit mittens!

But some how, working on these has been hard work. All that is left are the thumbs--(half the stitches for the thumbs are already on the needle)—just a dozen or so stitches to pick up—and a dozen or so rounds to work the thumbs.

I am resolved to do them—and PDQ—because I have resolved not to start a pair of socks till I've finished the thumbs.

AS I worked on these mittens, mistake after mistake crept in—for a while, it seemed I frogged 2 rounds for ever 4 I knit... and eventually, I stopped—trees in nature are perfectly symmetrical or matched.. and these trees aren't either. I might over work with duplicate stitch some of the worst mistakes--we'll see.

(A narrow lace scarf has snuck onto needles today—but its just a single left over ball of yarn (133M)--in a simple lace pattern--)

And there are half a dozen ideas for fingerless mittens ideas that are kicking around--(and yarn enough to knit them all!) --and fingerles gloves are a snap to knit up! But they will come after the Socks--(and this year, I want to knit some halloween socks--and have them finished before holiday--(2 years ago, my mast socks--with acorns and oak leaves were finished just in time for the spring!)

Today is a lovely day—76° (circa 21C)--still summery—but a much needed break from the hot hazy days that have predominated this summer—There will be more warm days—and some will come in September, when the pool is closed—but for now, I am sticking to small projects—and holding off on the sleeveless vests and short sleeved shrugs I want to make.

I need to get back to knitting—and blogging about what I've knit!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matched Cast Ons and Bind (Cast) Offs

Plus a BONUSA new cast on and matching bind off.

There are times when a matching cast on and bind off are a nice detail.. a scarf perhaps, where both edges are seen, or the center front of Crosswise knit jacket or vest, or both edges of a fingerless glove.

There are a 2 almost perfectly matching sets--
The Long Tail Cast On can be paired with a sewn bind off—but this can be tedious for a number of stitches.
The Crochet Cast on (and there are a few ways to do this) matches well with a Standard (again, several ways to do this) bind off.

There are other cast ons that have close matches—and now a third Cast On/Bind off pair exist.

Back in June (below, or if you prefer, the You Tube). I created this Bind off when I made a mistake when doing another bind off—and the result was my own new way to bind off--a Double Chain Bind Off—A neat, attractive, easy to do bind off. And now, there is a matching Cast On!

I was playing with a knit version of a double crochet chain (this cord can be worked with a crochet hook, or a Lucet, or over your fingers)--and along the way, created a cast on—A Double chain Knit Cast On. It's almost a perfect match for my double chain bind off—and it's not hard to do!
It is easy, attractive, and stretchy, too—making it an option for many items.

Here is a video demonstration--

and here is the matching bind off video.

I hope you enjoy these new options for creating a matching cast on bind off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Cast On Queen (from Queens) Strikes Again

I've not been knitting, and with no knitting to blog about I haven't been blogging.

But ideas have been percolating my thick skull!

I've been reading—some junk (novels) and some references books. I am always amazed that more knitters don't read their reference books like text books—There is so much information even in the least of them. So many simple questions would be avoided. And knitters could gain so much more pleasure from knitting.

Well be that as it may—here are 3 short videos –starting with my least favorite cast ons—a plain simple cast on. (well 4 variations on a simple cast on)

First the very simplest—just wrap the yarn round the needle, then the simple loop, right handed and left handed, and paired right and left handed.

Next—a fiddly variation on the simple, Cast on 2, cast off 1—this works well with a simple cast on, and it also works (but is not demonstrated) with a long tail cast on—Try the long tail variation, too—I really like it!

The buttonhole cast on is just another way to work the Russian Knotted cast on—one that Jeny over on Ravelry has also demonstrated—this is a counter intuitive cast on—each stitch is snugged up as you go—and yet the cast on is super stretchy—so stretchy, its a good choice for socks!

Finally, a version of the knit cast on that uses a twist and yarn over to create a neat attractive edge and stretchy cast on.

This is just a start to the number of single yarn cast ons—but when ever you need to cast on to work in progress—for an underarm, or a buttonhole, or lace like pattern, single yarn cast ons are needed—and depending on the application—knowing something other than the simple cast on can make all the difference to the final appearance of the project.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Many Ways to Create a Long Tail Cast On

I haven't been doing much knitting, but I have been reading (and comparing notes) in several knitting reference books--As a self proclaimed cast on Queen (I know lots and lots of cast ons) I am also looking to see which book has the best directions, and the most complete collections of cast on

How many different ways are there to cast on? --
Depends on how you count!--if you measure by RESULTS there are fewer, if measure by TECHNIQUES, there are more, (and if measure by NAMES the list is almost endless!)

I KNOW (that is I can work them with out a reference book handy) about 40 cast ons. Inspite of my vast knowledge, my default cast on--(one used about 50% of the time!) is a LONG TAIL cast on.

I don't think I am alone in making this cast on my default—Because there are, dozens and dozens of ways to work this cast on—and even more names than methods. But if you compare the results—you'll find the different techniques all create the same result or nearly the same result.

If you have steadily refused to use Long Tail, maybe its because you haven't found the variation or construction that works for you!

First lets start with a definition:
Long Tail Cast on is a 2 yarn (usually) cast on that creates a set of simple loops, that are immediately worked as a stitch.

The long tail cast on has many names; most are references to how it worked.
An old name is 'Double' –because it is worked with 2 (double) yarns
Sling Shot is an other common name (the yarns held in the hand resemble a sling shot)
Thumb (the thumb of the left hand is used almost like a needle
Finger (the index finger is used almost like a needle)
Two needle (2 yarn) cast on—a long tail worked with a second needle (and not the thumb or index finger)
the Left hand cast on (a reverse of the sling shot method)
An Open Loop 2 yarn cast on

Sometimes a Long tail technique is worked with 2 balls of yarn –for extra long cast ons--(any time the cast on edge has 100 or more stitches) this guarantees the tail will never be too short—but 2 colors can be used for a decorative effect, too.

Then there are a series of variations of the long tail
--One variation is to double wrap the first half--(the thumb in sling shot and thumb) to have a double edge.
Using three strands of yarn, 2 for the thumb, and the third for the knitted part of the cast on is an other variation. The look is similar, the execution, easier.

Twisting the thumb loops (aka Twisted, German Twisted, or Norwegian Twisted and other names) is a common variation—there are 3 or 4 methods for twisting the loop. Twisting the thumb loop by transferring the index finger is called a Maine Cast On.

Combining the Open Loop Long Tail alternately with a standard long tail gives the Estonian cast on.

(several of these long tail variation can be seen here:

Twisting the 2 strands of yarn between each cast on stitch gives a braid cast on –this is most commonly done with 2 different color strands, and can be done with multiple (up to 5) strands of yarn—or it can be done with a single color for a subtle attractive edge.

There is also a Double Row Long Tail –start with a loop or slip knot, *cast on 2, Pass first stitch over second, Repeat from *(be sure to leave a extra long tail—you'll need to cast on 2 times the desired number of stitches!)

There are (at least 3) cast ons that use 2 strands of yarn that are NOT members of the Long tail family—
One is a 2 strand tubular cast on,
the other is Judy's Magic cast on, (this is a close relation to the 2 strand tubular)
the third is the channel island cast on.
There are likely others, (and I might even know them, and have just forgetten them!)

There are almost as many single yarn cast ons--
the Simple, the simple reversed, and alternately worked pairs of the each
the Knit, (also worked as a purl, and alternately worked pairs as a ribbed cast on)
the Cable (also worked as a purl, and alternately worked pairs as a ribbed cast on)
the Knotted—which has several names depending on how it is worked—I know 4 ways—and there could be more. (Russian, Gansey and Buttonhole are the three most common alternate names)
the Chain or Crochet cast on—This cast on also has several names depending on how it worked.

There are also several (I know at least 3!) versions of the tubular cast on worked with a single strand--usually after a Provisional cast on --
Provisional cast ons come in several forms, too—The main characteristic of all provisional is the ability to undo the cast on (easily) and leave live (open) stitches

There are specialty cast ons-the Turkish, and figure 8, the twice knit cast on, and noose, pinhole or eyelet cast ons—for starting work in the round—(3 different names for 2 basic techniques!—the Emily Ocker (a knotted cast on worked over a loop), and the disappearing loop cast on (a provisional style cast on worked over a loop) are styles of noose cast ons.

There are cast ons that are edging, too—the simple picot cast on comes to mind—it's made by casting on with a knit cast on, then binding off (2 to 5 stitches) and then continuing to cast on (X + the number to be bound off)--this cast on has a matching selvage stitch, and a matching bind off--

There is a second Picot Cast On, that is a knit version of a narrow hairpin lace—which is more commonly a crochet technique—A band of lace is worked, and then stitches are picked up from the looped edges of the picot (hairpin) lace band, the other edge is an open, decorative loop.

There are several lace edging that start with casting on, and immediately casting off, (the gaps in the cast on edge making lacey loops)--but these are often worked over several rows, making them an edging more than a cast on.

I-cord cast ons are another edge technique used as a cast on.

It is possible to knit for a life time, and to always use a single cast on technique—but many of the different cast ons have different characteristics—and knowing a few creates options.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Self Definition

I haven't been knitting--(or even attending my Tuesday night knit group)—but I have been thinking a lot. Self definition is a recurring theme (maybe because I am engaged in it?)

I remember (in an other lifetime) when I used the expression (from Dickens's Bleak House) “I know nothing about it, for I am a mere child,” (slightly paraphrased)

It was in some ways, a way to justify my lack of responsibility about my (poor) life choices.
(Some one in my life at the time frequently used the line--”Don't try to confuse me with the facts—I've already made up my mind!”--What a pair we were!)

Such tag lines are interesting—some are just cliches, others, I think telling indications of our self definition.

In recent years, I have found my self often using “That is SO last century” (I am aware of getting older, and make an effort to keep up and active with what is going on in the world—I don't want to be an old fuddy duddy.--I don't want to be stuck in the last century!)

There are places I CHOSE to anachronistic--(Knitting my own socks might qualify!) —but I don't want to fall out of the times by lack of effort—I don't think much of Facebook or Twitter—but these social (not) networking sites—are I think, the crude beginnings of the future--and just as telephones have evolved --I remember when a household, had not just a single line, but a single phone-- rotary dial, (party lines existed—but I never knew anyone with one) and operator connected calls (long distance) and scheduled calls (international)--nothing at all like to today where POTS (plain old telephone service) includes caller id, 3 way calling, answering machines, (with cord-less phones the norm!)--and many have a data line, and almost everyone has a cel line, (and some still have faxes!)

I think inter-net social connectivity will evolve—and I don't want to be left behind. I want to be prepared (and have the skills) needed to move on to the next thing.

My parents learned some computer stuff while still working--(my mother worked for AT&T—and had to use a computer, back in the 1980's—when I bought my first home computer) they never pursued it.

My father doesn't use e-mail, doesn't get (or look at) on line photo's of his kids, grandkids, or great grandkids (all of whom use places like facebook to keep in touch with each other) Is it vital for me to know my niece broke and dislocated her small toe? NO. but it's interesting to be part of the small (or not so small) details of her life. I know more about her (her likes, her dislikes, her career and personal choices) since she's become my 'friend' on face book than ever before.

One thing for sure—I define myself as creative--(did I mention, the poorly fitting Black jeans have been cut down, and made into a skirts with yellow bandannas?) and still am an intellectual omnivore—with interest ranging from history, to geology, to mathematics and chemistry—and while I don't have complete and total knowledge of any of these (or even any single topic in these) fields—I do have a deeper than average understanding--(and I am often mistaken for some one might have an undergraduate degree in any of these fields-- my educations is the old-fashioned sort—I READ history, I READ math, I READ the sciences, I READ biography.)

Though with the heat—I haven't even been reading much (and its been fun (mystery and espionage) fun fiction at that.

I am still becoming.
I don't know what I will be –except I expect I will always be a person who is becoming.