Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finished up the Hat

And I love it! I love bright clear colors, and I love jewel tones—though I admit, I tend to the cool blues and purples and emerald greens more often than these hot colors. I stuffed the reverse stocking knit at the top and brim of the hat with some roving, and added the two small pompoms, connected by a multi color braid.. and now its finished. Won't this be just the thing to brighten up a dark winters day?

The yarn is crying, and trying to insist, I need to make some fingerless gloves to match, RIGHT NOW—but I am not listening. I already have 3 (or is it 4?) pairs of fingerless gloves, and matching ones can wait!

Right now, I have 3 projects on needles, a fourth planned, and so many things I want to knit!

First up, (putting aside the UFO sock and turquoise summery top) are some THINK PINK projects.

First (simple, simple) are some cup holders—and the directions to make them, second, some double knit pot holders, also in pink,
Second, because my gingham double knit potholder has suddenly become a Ravelry success, real directions on making one. (Previously, I have written a recipe, not a pattern.)

And none of this will get done, if I don't get off the computer, and pick up needles!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Assaulted, Commandeered, Taken Over--

Call it what you will, that is what happened to me.
I had no intention of knitting a hat--(started Monday evening)—and while still unfinished, one that is completely knit (by last night.) One that is, if not beautiful (I think it's beautiful) striking.

But I was powerless. The yarn grabbed me, and would not let go. It took over the needles and made me knit. And knit I did.

Today, I have to sew and stuff (with roving I am thinking, since the hat is wool, and while I have both some roving and some polyfill, roving seems right) the hem and the crown band, (the yellow) Then every so slightly embroider them both a braid that crosses and accents the full roll of the brim. Lastly, I will be making mini pompoms, 2 I think, that will be put on lengths of cord (or braid, or... something) so they have a bit of movement. I am thinking short tails for the pompoms, so the stay caught in the crown, but I don't know...

I have to finish it. I am enthralled till I do, but once it's done, I am done with this yarn. (for the moment!)
I have enough yarn that I might even make a set of fingerless gloves to match--(but no, not now, I refuse to put up with this abductions for another minute!)

I might even wear this hat. It's so bright and lively, it will be perfect to brighten up a dull, dreary winters day.

Today, back to the Y shaped shawl, or the socks, or.. Well no more hat knitting!

The head I model the hat on is a scant 19 inches, my head is a whopping 21--maybe when its done, I show it on my head. The hat fits me differently!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Slow Learner

I am really. I stumble along for ages, and can't seem to get an idea—and then suddenly, over night, I grok it.

This hasn't happened yet with multi color yarns. I still buy them, and hope, (stupidly) that this time will be different. That this time, I will like how they knit up. They never do.

I am not talking about self striping, or long color change yarns (like Patons Lace, or any other yarn that is similar to NORO's) I am talking about multi color balls with color changes ever 6 to 8 inches. I love how the yarn looks in the soft center pull skeins. But I always end up hating how they knit up!

At LEAST, in my old age, I have learned some tricks to working with them. Knit and purl patterns help, and do slip stitch patterns.

I like the 'Cobbled” front of these mittens much more than the stocking knit palms.

The pattern is easy enough, K1 R (round in this cast, but it could be a row)
Next row, Slip 1 with yarn on right side of work (for me working in the round that is a Purl like slip) and work 1 (for me, a Purl, but if working flat it would be a Knit)--repeat across the R.

then another R of Knits, and the next row, starts with a Worked stitch (Purl in the round, Knit if working flat) and slip one, repeated across the R.

A very simple slip stitch pattern (does it exist in some stitch dictionary or treasury? Likely, but I just made it up, I didn't look it up)

It worked great in the cuff—where I worked a whole round in pattern, but once I started on the 'hand' part of the mitten, and was working a slipped/garter stitch on the front, and plain stocking knit on the palm--(cause the back of the hand and the front of the hand are really the same thing!) there was a problem. The garter/slip stitch side compacted more (the row gauge was very different) than the palm side.

So ever 6 round or so, I worked some short rows across the back, and evened the gauge out.

The thumbs are on the palm side, so they were stocking knit, too.

The results works! The mittens lie flat, (and don't curl with the uneven gauge) and the colors are broken up in a more pleasant pattern. The bumpy ridges remind me of cobbled roads, (there are still some to be found in NYC) So they are cobbled back mittens.

Now I have done my 3 pairs. Maybe I'll do another, but I promised 3, and can deliver as I promised!--Or maybe I'll just do a pair of fingerless gloves. I have some ideas, but, if will they become reality (and in time!) is another thing!

I am bubbling with ideas of things to knit. I keep jotting down ideas so I don't forget them, and my list of ideas is like my stash--far beyond my life expectancy, even if i live to be 100!

Monday, September 27, 2010

OverLoad! Warning Overload!

I have blog fodder overload. I could write a dozen post about the Maker's Faire—but –why?
Go to Robyn's blog.. Oh, its wonderful, and nothing I could say could be better. Read todays post and a dozen previous ones!

Or go to MochiMochi land and see her knit world, (and see it in person next week at the gallery opening.) it was fun to meet her in person!

Then goto see the PseudoSod car cover, at Amy Carerina's web page, and other fiber art projects.

And that is not half of the knitting fiber arts! I got buttons (real and pin on!) from Burda Style, (and some hand outs for my daughter, who is a beginning sewer) , and taught knitting for TNNA –the members of this association were great, and very generous in their donations. (and Sherry I will get an email out to you on mathematical knitting!)

Which is a segue to math—and the MoMath--(coming soon to a city near me—namely my city!) You can read George Hart's blog—he too is a fan of mathematical knitting—and other math things, (which are also interesting, as is all math, but mathematical knitting is the best math!)

And then there is MY knitting.
The socks (untouched now for 2 weeks) I have 50 plus pairs; it was close to 90° on Saturday, and I don't feel any urgency. I like the self striping pattern, and the color, and I will get back to these one day soon. No rush!

The cotton top—a great summer top –or it will be when finished.. but even with the hot weather Saturday past, the summer is coming to an end, and well, what's the rush? It too, can sit on a back burner for a while.
The free form, free hand (no chart, no planned design, just an idea)lace scarf has been put aside for the moment-I like this, and want to finish this, but there are more pressing projects.

Its being done in Patons new Lace yarn, color way Bonfire, and it is rows away from being split (the scarf will be sort of Y shaped –the base of the Y is knit, now onto 2 arms, to wrap on the other shoulder.

See the lace tongues of fire?

One of the more pressing project is a 3rd pair of Mittens, I committed to do some mittens (at least 3 pair) and the deadline for this is fast approaching--So Saturday morning (and evening, and yesterday) I worked on a pair of mittens. Free form ones, knit in a Jewel tone color way, called Bird of Paradise, with Paton's Classic Wool.

A deep (and roomy) cuff, some ribbing, and then onto the hand. The top is a cobbled slip stitch pattern, the palm plain—and they still need 2 to 2.5 inches to be finished. I like the way the stitch pattern breaks up the short color change color way—but it plays havoc with the gauge, (it's a slip stitch garter pattern, and every few rounds, I need to add a short row to the front to keep the work even with the stocking knit back (palm). They are fast work with worsted weight yarn.

And I've also committed to designing and documenting a pattern for a cup cozy (A Breast Cancer project)--I first had to buy the pink yarn --not a lot (read none! ) pink yarn in my stash, and besides, I needed currently available yarn to make good pattern. I ended up with Bernat's Satin, in pink--and picked up a handful of their pattern sheets to add to the package (someone else is working on getting the needles and the yarn)--the pattern is for a real simple eyelash yarn for a scarf, that uses Bernat yarn, too.

I have to knit the cozy (or 2 or 3) and document the pattern, and... Yes, its a small project, but it will still take some time, to do it right.

And total off tangent, a mini-petite point pink ribbon patch for a friend who works hard for the Breast Cancer walk- yet another project--even if it is not knitting!


There is more, some of it so iffy, I don't want to talk about it, almost to not think about it, lest it doesn't work out but maybe, (Please Universe, hear me!) a job—a perfect job—one that uses my intelligent, my skills, and my personality. It won't happen right away, but I am perfectly willing to wait for a perfect job!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maker's Faire-Before

A Mercury Class Rocket. A bare rocket, almost 4 time larger, the Titan class.

It's base(almost 20 feet from ground to top of base.) A bundle of Knitting

An unfurled yarn bombing. Empty tents and empty seats.

No Makers, and no people.

Come back later, (or maybe tomorrow) and see all this space come alive

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Last Block & a Leaf Pattern

Well, the last block I am knitting! It's the 15th —a nice contribution—I know many have done more, but I am happy with my contribution to this project. It's been fun, and any day now, I'll go back and finish my socks, and work on my top, and start a pair of mittens, and ....

The list is infinite—and ever changing! Hats, I think, soon—its been a long time since I knit a hat, and I have so many ideas for some hats, and double knitting, calls to me too, and ....

Meanwhile, if you've made a rose, perhaps you'd like a leaf. Leaves are easy! I am giving you the most basic pattern, make a few, and then make some different ones.

Basic Leaf

Cast on (any method will work) 3
work a few rows of I-cord with these 3 stitches, (the stem)

The Leaf 1st half, INCREASES.
R1: K1, YO, K1, YO, K1—note the center k1 is bold.. this is the center of the leaf.
R2: (and all even rows, Purl every stitch (or don't! There is one variation!)
R3: K2, YO, K1, YO, K2
R5: K3, YO, K1, YO, K3
R7, (9, 11, 13..)Continue in pattern, making YO's either side of the Center stitch.

Leaf, 2nd half, DECREASES
R1: SSK first 2 stitches. Knit across row, till 2 remain, K2tog.
R2: (and all even rows) Purl
All remaining rows, Decrease first 2 and last 2 stitches till 3 stitches remain.
Last Row, make a centered double decrease:
slip to together (as if to knit) knit 1, Pass the 2 slipped stitches over knit 1.

Cut a long tail, and bind off last stitch.

The long tail is useful if you are sewing the leaves to something.

(1)Knit 2 identical leaves, (in the same color or coordinating colors) sew them together, and use as you might use a pompom. The second leaf doesn't need stem, start increasing right after casting on.

(2)As you work the leaf, increase 1 stitch (the first stitch in row, use a knit cast on to increase.
On the next row, decrease (one set of increase will be the knit style cast on worked as PURL cast on)
When you decrease, on second half of leaf, make decreases 1 stitch in,
Make Raised Center Decreases.
This second leaf has increases/decreases along the edge, giving it a notch look, and center decreases.

Like these ideas? Check out Nicky Epstein's new web page and blog —and find a free pattern for a knit oak leaf.. (and so much more!) Her books about flowers and knit embellishments have more leaf ideas, of every shape and varity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Astronomy, for fun! & Knit 3D Roses

I am always slightly amazed (and disappointed) by the number of seeming intelligent people who follow astrology—and know nothing about ASTRONOMY!

I confess, I don't know much. I live in NYC and the level of ambient light is HUGE. During WWII, with a partial black out in place, you could still see the glow of NYC 100 miles out at sea!-- And since then, its only gotten brighter. I could still see a hand full of constellation as a child.. Now days, its hard to see more than a dozen stars in the sky.

This is one reason I am a bit of a lunatic (Yes, I know the preferred word of us moon lovers is LUNARIAN) You can always see the moon, even if the stars aren't visible.
And, well I am crazy about the moon (just ask my kids!)so lunatic works for me!

Given that, you know, I will be out tonight to see not just the lovely moon rise of the full moon, but to catch sight of Jupiter as a companion. (The companionship is an illusion, but a pretty one)

It seems fitting, this week as I have been knitting messages to the Universe, to take a look out into the universe (or at least a small corner of it) Maybe you can too?--Impress you kids by showing off that YOU know how to find Jupiter!

Last night (even though I had a camera!) I was once again an idiot—and finished a block (seed stitch in lemon (pale) yellow, with a 3D knit rose and knit leaf.

It looked sort of like this block-->
(yeah, black is a pain to photograph)
Let me tell, the background on this block is textured, (K2/P2 then change (after 4 rows) to P2/K2). I know you can't see that!

The Rose, is quick and easy one--
cast on X (in my case, I think it was 42)
using long Tail (cast on and R zero)
Change color, work 2 rows of stocking knit,
change color work 1 row (purl row) of stocking knit, then work a Latvian twist (see this video)

Then for the next few rows, work K (or P) 2tog across the row until about 5 to 6 stitches remain.
Bind off drawstring style, leaving a LONG tail.
Weave (or just fold in) the tails from the color changes, and use the tail to sew rose onto the background-- see this video for an idea of how to do this

Roses like this are great for hats, or head bands, or embellishing lots of knit items.

I'll write up directions for leaf if you don't know how to knit one, but its simple too.
Together, they make a wonderful pair and make these dark, dull black beautiful!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I am an idiot

Last night I was at the Lion Brand offices on 15th Street for Knitting Party—and yes, it was a party. (There is another one tonight--you could go to one too!)

The party food was grown up (granola bars and fresh fruit, with bottled water) and there were goodie bags—the very best goodie bags!

The bags are the JUMBO Lion Brand bags. Made from the same non woven fiber as most grocery recycle bags. But this bag is HUGE. Most of my grocery/store recycle bags are 14 inches wide, 3 to 5 inches deep, and 12 inches high. These bags are just as wide, 4.5 inches deep and 22 inches high!
They are bigger than a big brown shopping bag--(Trader Joe brown paper shopping bag for example)

But wait, there was more! A big (2 inch) magnet, and a copy of the newest Lion Brand Catalog—and this is the best catalog ever! Great ideas, 99% of the pattern free (on web site) and each pattern has a price (this pattern in size (X) cost $X.xx to knit) –and so many of the ideas were under $20!--

I went home with more yarn. I finished one block on the way there—A black textured square; I knit and sewed on a 3D rose and leaf as embellishment at the party. Then on the way home, I finished (90% on subway/10 at home) another block (this one, too will be embellished—expect to see it tomorrow, after it has been gussied up.) and I've cast on yet another (A bakers dozen completed, and more to come!)

I don't have an image of the black square, because idiot that I am, (see post title) I totally forgot to bring my camera! So I don't have any photo's of the event (about 15 people turned out) or of my finished block (the black one).

But—I have blocks to show—these were knit by Debbie—who has been knitting just 2 months—and month 1 was just I-cord on a spool! She is making more blocks. (and more and more!) and want to run a Critter Knitter type project for the no kill shelter she does volunteer work at—so I grabbed her a pair of size 13 needles.

Lion Brand was providing NEEDLES, CROCHET HOOKS, as well as yarn, and food and goodie bags!--(can I say it again? What a great company they are!) for her—since she doesn't yet own her any needles of her own. (I loaned her a pair to work with--and her plans for buying her own were dashed with unexpected health complications--serious ones!)

I haven't spoken to Debbie today, but will and will have, by tomorrow or Wednesday, more images of the blocks she's knit.

It was so much fun to see all the blocks being knit—and to hear the wonderful messages, and to just be there and see some knitting friends I haven't seen in a while. I am looking forward to seeing all the blocks joined together.

I am doing my part and joining my dozen, plus Debbie's 2, plus 2 more from my old boss, Kimberly. into a strip--(Robyn is accepting blocks and sewing them together herself, as well as doing the Lions share of crocheting blocks.

Tonight at knit night, I expect to pick up some more finished blocks (and join them together too, if needed.)

I promise—I won't forget my camera for the installation, or for the Maker's Faire!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Block Sets.

The Blocks for the Maker's Faire will be used first to add knit graffitti to the rocket ships on display at the Flushing Meadow Park—then they will be sewn together into large scarves and wrapped.

The rocket ships are early (REAL) ones from the space program.--Titan and Mercury class. They have been a fixture of the park since the 1964 Worlds Fair.

After the Maker's Fair, they will be recycled into blankets. So it makes sense, when possible, to knit not individual blocks ( I have done some of individual blocks) but to knit the blocks together. A blanket make of 3 or 4 or strips (vs 24 individual blocks) is less work to (re) assemble and it is sturdier, too.

So yesterday—a set (well an almost set, block 3 isn't even half finished block three is now finished!)--with a knit in message of wonderful summers for children. Warm sunny days and childhood treats; Cherry Ice, Rainbow Sherbet and grape soda. Rainbow ice uses up more of the orange (and to good effect!) --interspersed with lemon, raspberry and lime stripes. (more grape soda to come!)

(Lion Brand gives these colors names based on various cities) I love so many of the colors—and doing the mix and match striped and solid stitch pattern swatches. I generally don't like chunky or heavy weight yarns (and big needles) but the bright clear colors are so much fun, I can deal.
This square has a lattice like diamond pattern (like the kind of lattice you might find supporting a grape vine!)
A good choice for a grape soda square, don't you think?

Several have admired the arch shape of the color change in 2 of the stripes squares (in previous posts) It's a mistake—a happy happenstance that worked.

There are some striped sweaters that used a seed stitch color change—intentional mixing the colors on a row, that was my plan--- But it was late, and I worked a row of not quite seed stitch (K2, P1) and forgot to change the color. (I was not going to tink or frog!)

So on the next row, with a new color, P2, (the previous knit) and K1 (the previous purl)

IF you methodically started out with a multiple of 3, it would be
R1: K2, P1
R2: with new color of yarn K1, P2.

But I had a multiple of 3 +1 and sometimes started R1with P1. K2, and other times started with K1, *P1, K2, and other times started with K2, P1.

And the number of rows of any one colors in between the changes? Sometimes an even number, sometimes an odd. (there were tails on both selvage edges!)

I was working with scraps, and sometimes I just ran out of yarn! —there was no pre-planning. it was just fun grab a color and go to work. It is a pretty simple pattern—and I suspect it would look good with other numbers (K5, P2, say) –a very successful mistake!

(edited to include the finished grape soda block of the summer set, and block.. (11? 12? I don't know, I am not keeping count!) is on needles..with luck it will be finished on subway ride into the Lion Brand block party tonight!--and it is a special one!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I hate Charity knitting.

But enough of that.

I love ART knitting. I am having so much fun with the Yarn Bombing project. I've abandon my socks. (who cares?—I have 50 pairs to wear right now.. If these are a bit late, so what)

I have abandon a fun silly lace project (already almost 1/3rd done.)It is a free from scarf..Do I need ANOTHER scarf? Of course not, it can wait.

I have abandon a summer cotton top. It was to hot to knit in the heat wave after heat wave this past summer, and now the temps are in mid 70's—who needs another cotton top? I hardly wore clothing this summer—but my 5 bathing suits got a work out. I can wait for a cotton top (for next year now) to be finished.

I have knitting I need to do (I NEED to knit another pair of mittens) and knitting I want to do (besides the projects already on needles.)

But the knitting I do is: knit a square. They are so much fun. My creativity is limited by the colors of yarn available. I think Robyn actually had, at one point, every color. Every time I have visited, there are 2 or 3 HUGE boxes of yarn sitting in her cozy living room (in her very cozy house shared with a hubby and 2 kids)--so there has always been several colors available.

So I did get a selection-- but I also got way more orange than I would want.
So there is my challenge—what can I do to make the orange more interesting? Do you think this works? The black stripes are garter/purl ridges (to help moderate stocking knits natural tendency to curl. It worked out perfectly (with no preplanning to get the stripes centered!)

And some blocks (OK not these 2 ) are going to be solid colors. Still, I have a bunch now of left over bits and pieces (in addition to full skeins) and more mixed color blocks are coming.

All the blocks have an unstated message: Creativity

And other subtle messages: Stripes of every color (or should that be people of every color?) interlocked, ONE! Not a rainbow color way—but a rainbow and then some of colors.

I think I might knit another one with a binary message too! The deadline is Friday—I don't feel my best today, so I am skipping driving out to Babylon. But I will get some more blocks made today, and more tomorrow night at the Lion Brand corporate offices (In the same building as the LB Studio)

Did you know? After the Maker's Fair, these blocks will be recycled to Warm Up America, and Art will become charity!

I guess the Universe has a message for me!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Weather—and some (blank) messages

OK—the weather—I am (and my neighborhood is) fine.

But a single subway stop away--(a half mile or so) and it's a scene of destruction. Downed trees (big old oaks—50 foot tall if they were an inch)—ripped up from the ground, and ripped to shreds. Some lucky blocks—not a car damaged.. Other blocks—not a car intact!

Worse—a tree fell on the Grand Central Parkway—and killed the driver-and left 2 passengers injured.. And 3 lanes of the parkway closed –leaving traffic backed up for miles (and till past 1 AM!)

Me? I was safe and sound in my apartment when the storm hit—Knitting--
4 more squares (for a total of 6 so far) for the Maker's Faire project.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When Last Seen...

The row of waste yarn marking the position for the future heel was barely perceptible.

Now—it's more that 2 inches away from the edge--(that white line)
So progress is being made. Not that I knit anything on the sock yesterday.
I repositioned the skirt (the background) —to show that it does, in fact, have a good deal of purplish pink—the socks are soft subtle color, the skirt is more faded still, but—a good enough match.

More will be knit tonight (its Tuesday knit night in LIC.)

Meanwhile, I have also been working on this—a top down simple (patternless) top.

In a few more R's, I separate the sleeves and continue the body—and the sleeves will be short (or simple finished) depending on how much yarn is available.

The top looks like it long enough already—but my dress form is for modeling things—it's a jr size 6--(and I am not!)--It is recycled (it was free)

So while it looks like its big enough.. (and it is for a size 6 or 8!) I need a few more rounds before its going to fit me right. But the colors sure are pretty, aren't they?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I am knitting

a sock. Well a pair of socks... (what a surprise!)

I am continuing with knitting socks that match my clothing.. this skirt in the background-- (I like it so much, and it was so inexpensive at the time I bought it, I bought 2!--and two co-ordinating tops—one a camp shirt, and the other a vest) is almost threadbare. But I keep mending it and wearing it. I love the soft denim and print--and the faded print. And theses socks? A perfect match!

The yarn is JoAnnes Sensations sock yarn—a fine weight yarn—being worked on size 1's--(my next socks will be some heavier yarn!) in a generic sock pattern. Top down, (tubular cast on) some ribbing (1 x 1) and stocking knit for the leg and foot. At the very bottom (can you see it?) a row of white waste yarn for the heel (an after thought heel, to keep the striping pattern even. And some of my small gussets –that you can't see, --they are on the front of the socks—the kind I usually do with that sort of heel.

The sock are almost knitting themselves... they are flying off the needles. In 2 days, 7 inches knit--at 9 stitches to the inch--with 68 stitches per round!

Meanwhile, if I can't find a knitter today—I will make a third square (and maybe a fourth!) for the Maker's Faire yarn bomb—I have blue, and purple and sage green to work with.

I think a nice ripple pattern in the blue (like wave on the water)--will work nicely--and a message of clear, (clean) blue water is a good message to have knit in.
Not a proper ripple (ie, feather and fan) but on done with a knit and purl stitch pattern. It will be easier to keep the square square that way! This subliminal message will be my message--I will leave it blank for others to add another message.

Purple (to my thinking!) must be mountains.. I know NYC doesn't have any (we do have some hills-impressive hill, but hills, not mountains) but when constructing messages to the universe, I don't think I should be thinking local!

The past few days have been lovely—warm sunny days, and cool nights, I am itching to knit—non stop! I have a cotton top I started back in June—the idea was a summer top.. but now I think it will be a fall top! (if I get to knitting it, and finish it before the weather turns cold!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I have thumbs!

Well, D'oh!--what I really mean, is my mittens have thumbs.. (as of yesterday morning)

And completed mittens (all the finishing work is done too). These mittens are prettier—and were made in 1/3rd the time.

And I have more of the Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn—some for me, some to share—all of it courtesy of Lion Brand itself.

I've completed my second square—no overt message on this one. But it is green and has a green message. I worked from the center out—with 4 raised leaves—each pointing to the ordinal points (North South East and West)--and between the leaves, seed stitches. It carries a message of growth and renewal, of treasuring the green earth. The raised leaf motif is a traditional pattern—one that was a classic design for counterpanes--and while this isn't the whole pattern--its is close. (I think the color (not labeled) is Oklahoma green.

Some of the other skeins are going to friends—so they too can knit a message to the universe.
(and all of them will be joined before I return them to Robyn)

These squares will be joined into a huge scarf to cover the early rockets (Titan and Mercury) that were part of the USA (NASA) space exploration. The Rockets have been a feature of the Flushing Meadow Park since the 1964 World's Fair. After the fair, they will be re-assembled into 4 X 6 blocks and made into blankets for Warm Up America.

There will be a knit night one day (or will it be different days) next week in NYC—I'll post details as soon as I get them—here and on Ravelry.

Even if you don't live in NYC –you, too can knit a message to the universe. 1 skein of Hometown makes 1 block—and the bulky yarn knits up quickly to the desired 12 inch square. You can buy the yarn, and send your block to the Lion Brand offices in NYC—The complete address is:
34 W. 15th Street
New York, NY 10011
but Lion Brand Yarns, and the zip (available on the ball wrapper) work too. We are a big city—but Lion Brand is a big company!

I know today is an anniversary (and the weather is the same clear blue sky kind of day) but I am not going to do much to mark it. Here is a back link to a previous post.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Irises Bloom in the Spring

But I'll have purple irises anytime I want..

I took off yesterday to knit a message to the universe—and it responded. Yesterday, I recorded them most visits ever to my blog—and the excess is continuing today! Today, I finished knitting the toe (I started the toe Tuesday evening at knit night) and wove in all the ends.

Later today, (this evening) I will finish the red, black and white mittens. And then, I 'll swap out my 12 by 12 knit message square for another ball of yarn, and make another. My second square will be blank—a visitor to the Maker's Faire will be able to add a message of their own.

I might even make more squares—goodness knows, I have a lot to say!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Taking a Break for Math Fun

I learned binary numbers as a child (how long ago? So long, long ago—while JFK was still a living president.) I learned Octal at the same time. I thought both were stupid ideas. (Hey, I was a kid, what did I know?)

Come 1980's—I got my first home computer.. a TI 99/4A-a 16 bit computer. It used a TI OS that was based on mainframes--(years later, my son a Unix nerd, recognized some of Unix print code commands as being identical to the TI ones) –But what mattered most—the TI didn't use DOS (the original DOS was written for an 8 bit computer. To this day, my knowledge of DOS is pretty sparse.)

One cool thing about the TI was you could design and write your own code for characters. (and there were 125 blank characters you could program!)
Each character was an 8 X 8 matrix of pixels By turning individual pixels on or off—you could make any characters desired.

After a few minutes working with character design—a light went on in my head—the code for design was EXPRESSED in HEX—which was short hand to the binary. Hex 41 (the letter A in Ascii) was
0100 0001.

All the knowledge of binary came back to me (I have close to an eidetic memory) and in no time, I was quite competent in HEX. I taught my then 10 year old son HEX and Binary, (and some octal, too, but most of the octal he learned on his own) Then I taught his 6th grade class too, as a guest--when his teacher and the school principle learned I knew and had taught my son.

And almost immediately, just as I recognized the connection between hex and bin, I recognized the connection between bin and knitting.

I CAN Think in knitting (and then translate knitting to binary) much better than I can think in binary and translate to knitting. That is because I learned knitting first. I can do simple arithmetic in binary (any single digit + any other single digit). But for most operations, I need to change Bin to Decimal (and for most numbers, (any number over 16) translating from Decimal to HEX requires a computer or calculator.)

Years later, I found this essay—and loved it.. (it was so good to know I wasn't the only crazy nerd who saw a connection between knitting and binary!)

Every since I saw the connection, I've thought it would be fun to knit a message, using binary code (0=Knit, 1=Purl) but like many an idea, its been sitting on a back (way back!) burner for years.
Well not any more!

For the Maker's Faire—coming for the first time to NYC—Robyn Love and Lion Brand are sponsoring a project—and my contribution to the project will be a binary message to the universe. (You can also find Robyn on Ravelry)

My message:
is spelled out in knits and purls.

For simplicity. The message is all cap's:
FREEDOM(8 characters/each expressed in 8 stitches (an 8 X 8 grid)
(space)beauty(space)—8 more characters—the second 8 X 8 grid
LOVE(space)AND( the next set of 8) the third 8 X 8 grid
(space)TRUTH(dot)(space) the last set of 8 characters—The final grid.

Between each grid—some plain knitting(garter) and some lines.. (to make a nicely spaced out 12 X 12 inch block.)
Each 8 X 8 grid is outlined in stocking knit (so 3 stitches in garter (edging) a single stocking knit stitch, 8 stitches of binary code, another single stocking knit stitch, 2 stitches in garter, stocking knit, 8 stitches of binary, a stocking knit stitch, and finally, an other garter stitch border. (28 stitches in each row)--just incase you want to try to read/decode the message.

Between the blocks of binary text, there some cross wise rows of stocking knit (top, middle and bottom)AKA Continuous Cross Stritch). The cast on and Cast off are my matching double chain ones.
Which also create cross wise bands of chain stitches--and a unifying design element.

For more information about this project, see Robyn's blog and web site, and Lion Brands site, too. (links above)

There is still time for you to knit a message to the universe--(even if you don't chose to do it in mathematics—which is surely the language of the Universe.)

Or to come see to the Maker's Faire and enjoy!
(PS--after the Faire, this square and all the others will be refashioned into blankets (Warm Up America volunteers)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Still No Thumbs, and now NO TOES, either!

I held off for a number of reasons from finishing the Scandinavian Style mittens on Sunday, and instead just cranked out row after row of foot.

Now, from the heel to last row is 6 inches—the total from toe to heel of the finished sock will be 9 inches—so about another inch before I start the toe shaping—and complete the pair.

There will be lots and lots of yarn left over –I am not sure if I will mix it with an solid and make another pair of mittens.. or –MORE Likely—I'll put together a pair of fingerless gloves.

I have 2 heavy sweaters that are mostly purple -both are worn as 'coats' on colder day. And I have a purple suede man tailored shirt that I wear as a jacket on milder days. (and my February Lady Jacket is mostly purple) so I have a bit of outer wear that purple fingerless gloves would work with.

I already have 3 or 4 fingerless gloves—and I really don't need more. Socks get worn (one day) and need to be washed—its good to have a bunch (OK, so 50 plus is a bit excessive) but fingerless gloves? I wear them all season before I end up washing them. They just don't get as soiled.

And I am not sure if I have any solid sock yarn that is a matching weight—I would guess more than 70% of my stash of sock yarn is a bit heavier--(size 2 needles work fine) and and 5% is heavy yarn and could be--but usually isn't—knit with size 3 needles. A scant 10% is lace weight fine-and needs a size 1 needle to get a good firm fabric, (surprisingly, the gauge changes very little (less than .5 per inch—with the 3 different needles—but the fabric changes immensely.

So that's it—watch this space for news of thumbs and toes.. News of one (or the other) will be here by the end of the week.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Can you see the change of gauge?
I went from a size 2 (2.75 mm) to a size 1 (2.25mm) –i do have 1 set of 1.5(2.5mm)needles –but I don't like them much) and besides—the fabric of the sock was too soft and drapy—I really felt I needed to go smaller—and went not 1 silly millimeter, but just a half—and up close and personal, I can see the change.

I know I will feel the change too, with sturdy sock (foot) giving way to soft drapy fabric on the leg.

There is a bit of pooling of the color way too—but I think that is mostly from the gusset--(and change of stitch count per round—the pooling seems to be less evident every round and I suspect most of the foot won't have any pooling to speak of.

I still have a few more rounds before the gusset is finished--and there is less pooling of color.

Hurricane Earl passed by—but 200 miles out to sea (from NYC) and we had nothing but a steady breeze (High presure systems have had stronger winds!) and a drop (¼ th inch!) of rain.

But it ended the last heat wave –today the sky is bright blue with a few high puffy white clouds—and lovely 80° temps. Its is a bit cool and breezy for a pool day--but the pool closes for the season on Monday--and now, every day is a must!

Friday, September 03, 2010

They're Almost Mittens--

The hand is done—but not the thumbs.

The ends are woven in—but there will be 4 new ends to weave in when the thumbs are done—2 for the start, and two for the end.

The thumbs will be done in the birds eye pattern the gussets was worked in—with a red strip up the 'side seams'--it a bit hard to see in the photo, the edges of the stitches curl up..

I've started the flap on the Purple Iris socks.. (about 1 inch done) and will continue on the socks today.. maybe tonight I'll go back to the mittens—and finish them altogether.

I like these mittens.. I think I made good choices for colors and stitch patterns (all 3 are from the Vogue Vol 3 (Color) Stitchionary).

The center motif is especially pretty --4 part symmetry, and not a snow (or anything like a snow) flake design.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Maybe It Was Just a Case of Burnout.

Because, while I am not loving these mittens--(they are OK, but not wonderful) it's easier to knit them (than the previous pair).

I keep measuring, and trying to convince myself they will be done when the motif is done.. but I can't—and they won't be. I'll need another inch after the pomegranate (that is the name of the motif) is done.

But as you see, there is significant progress in the past few days.

No new photo's of the Purple Iris socks today--(could you see the difference between not quite 6 inches of plain stocking knit and 6.5?) but maybe tomorrow—I'll be starting the heel flap today.. (and that will be a change—a noticeable change!) and then it will be no time at all till they are finished.

And as for Debbie? She is getting hooked snagged by fiber —yesterday we cast on, and she went home with a half skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease—and a half inch of garter stitch—on a mis matched pair of size 8 needles.

She actually has some experience—and for a few years made latch hook rugs (and throw pillows)
and learned to knit as a child—so its just a matter of re awaking the muscle memory. Her mother knits, too, so she has had a taste of a fiber (and is primed to become an addict!)