Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Eyes Have it.

Here's a bit of Halloween ghoulishness for you!

And exactly who do eye mean?

Well, eye have been busy--meet:
The monster's Green eye

Mr Blue eye

The Red eye (its special!)

The Grey eyed Queen

The Dark Cast eye

The Cock Eyed eye

The Eye with the mote in it.

(missing? The Jaundiced eye, and the Evil eye, to name two!)

Do you know the eyes favorite song? The Mexican Hat Dance!
Everyone sing along: Eye; eye, eye, ya-eye, Eye, eye, eye-ya at ya!

What do you say to eye ball soup? Or salad? Or maybe just keep an eye on (the collection.)--or should I say a collection of eyes on hand?

There is a deck of one-eyed Jacks, are storming the gates—hoping to pick up an eye, but it's an eye for eye here, they might take one of these, but I'll get an eye in return!

Thanks to MaryJane, Midge and Mink for the idea. They have a free pattern (I just winged my own)

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm all ready

For halloween! All the little candy corns have been sewn on! But you knew (perhaps) if you are on Ravelry.

Now I can go back to my regular program—and just what was that exactly? Um...

Well there is a scarf/shawl to finish.. and there is a shrug to finish, and .... (a rather long list of UFO's that should be finished or frogged!)--Oh yeah there is a scarf (almost finished) to match the Leaf Me Alone hat (and that hat, is still not fully documented ).

I want (I don't need!) to make some fingerless gloves to match my bright and colorful hat—I have, almost certainly, enough yarn left over—so they would be free--(no new yarn needs to be purchased!)

And I have 3 other projects on my mind—a fair isle vest, a Noro vest, and a green sweater (it's bulky wool so it will be a fast knit)--all ideas for stash yarns. Still fermenting is an idea for a sweater with a fair isle yoke (with a matching hat)

And I keep looking at lace scarf/shawls—I just got Knits from the North Sea-- there are so many shawls I want to knit!

Also fermenting are other hat patterns-- Lots of them. And sock patterns, too.

The ideas for socks (most of which are for personal use and won't be documented patterns) come fast and furious. I write them down, and the list grows and grows. It grows many times faster than I can knit—and I have for the past few years been knitting socks at the rate of 1 pair a month –lunar month that is, (12 to 13 pairs a year!) Not always 1 per month--but sometimes a few pairs in one month, and a month or two with no socks at all, still, I usually manage to get at least 12 pairs knit per year.

The current list looks like this-(they are numbered-- but that is just a count, not a priority)
1--Pumpkin socks (pumpkin colored yarn, with a cuff of jack o'lantern's)
2--Top down puffy socks; red, then white, then 3 shades of grey, then a black foot.
3—Crazy 8's—socks with 8 raised vertical 'stripes' –a way to use up left over sock yarns
4—Pedi socks (toe less sock for pedicures)-these are for a gift--
5—Granite socks (Kroy FX sock yarn, in shades of grey, with an intereting granite like stitch pattern)
6—Swirl(Helix) sock –another way to use up some left over sock yarns.
7—Lemon/orange/raspberry/cherry socks (gradient colors)
–a semi match to the bright winter hat—these will generate lots of left over yarns (for swirl and crazy 8 socks!)
8—Purple teal self striping socks (I have a lot of clothes in purple/teal and a goal of making socks that match clothes)
9—Peach socks with lace on leg and instep to match Peachy sweater.(I some Koigu yarn in peach!)
10—Grey socks, with a raspberry swirl—I have a pair of grey/lemon swirl socks, and I really like them, even though the cast on is a bit tight-- I want another pair, done better.
11—Another pair of my Cascading Water socks, (in another shade of blue)

Also on the list, are a few pairs of simple socks—self striping sock yarn, with nothing special about them—except maybe a bit of fanciness at the cuff—or maybe not even that! (generic socks!)

At least a baker's dozen of sock ideas.. (and I have all the yarn needed for these, and then some!)
I am running out of space to store my socks (the sock drawer is full to overflowing!) but my desire to knit socks is unabated! And before I am half way through the list, I know I'll have a dozen more ideas!

Same goes for hats.. I have dozens of hats (and rarely wear a wool hat for warmth) but an unending desire to knit hats...Last year, I gave away to charity over 20 hand knit hats.. and still there are more hats ideas fermenting in my mind!

I think I need to learn how to knit in my sleep.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Here they are, 16 kernels of candy corn ! Gleaned from left over sock yarn (the Roy G Biv's in particular!) Ready to be sewn onto my striped socks.Well, sort of--(candy corn) -- High in fiber, artifical ingredients (polyfill and nylon re-enforcement in the sock yarn) and not very sweet—I think the best thing that can be said is: No high-fructose corn syrup!

Well, maybe that is not the best thing! Today I'll get them sewn on the socks, and then the socks will be be ready for Sunday.

I got distracted, and have some other ghoulish knitting too, but, that will be my halloween treat—you'll have to go on a hunt, or wait till then.
Marta McCall (the first link (Marta) is to her web page, the second is to a Ravelry link) shared a link on FaceBook, and with out even following it, I copied the idea—good fun!

Meanwhile over in Mochimochi land, Anna Hrachovec has this-- Wow. I am impressed.

I wonder how many bags of candy corn they made! It's taken me as long to make the corn as it did to make the socks. I admit, I don't much enjoy making little things like this.

I love my little candy corns, and I think they will make the stripe socks just right for halloween, but not fun knitting for me.

I've done some miniature work in my life—but I tend to like 1's or at best 2's—doing anything 16 times in a small time frame is just not my cup of tea! (but then a cup of tea isn't my cuppa either!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pattern Purdah

That's what Lisa calls it... and its a good term (so of course, I've stolen it and made it my own!)

Purdah –a word from Urdu, means veil or curtain.. and in practice, purdah means being hidden behind a veil or curtain-In many eastern countries, it's literal—woman are hidden from strangers (especially strange men, but all strangers, even other woman, count as strangers.)

Pattern purdah—for me--(it might be something different to Lisa) is hiding behind the computer, working out the details of documenting a pattern—so that it can be shared with others. It's done in secret, it's done in private, and it's a veiled process.

New knitters often want to know how to design—and the answer is simple and complex.
Just do it. There are short cuts-- But they are few and far between--computers are the best shortcut for documenting a pattern--cut and paste editing is so much faster than retyping each line, when all you need to do is change 1 or 2 numbers.

I think (my opinion, but I am not alone) it is important to think out the overall design first.
I am annoyed by people who post on forums “I designed a hat—only I don't know how to do the decreases for the crown”
Well, um, if the hat has a crown, designing it part of designing a hat—and if you don't have a plan for shaping the crown, you haven't designed a hat, you've only done half the work.

I swatch—but for me, even more important is thinking through each element.
What cast on (and why this cast on and not another? And does it matter?)
What direction am I going to knit? Top down? Bottom up? Side to side? Front to back? Flat and seamed? In the round, seamlessly? Left as a tube? Or steaked?
What details are needed? What increases or decreases? Do I want to accent the shaping? Or hide it?
How many to cast on? Partly a function of gauge/size, but also one of pattern repeats, and are there an even number of repeats, or an odd number, with a pattern repeat centered in front?

I admit, I have my favorite cast ons, and favorite styles, and even favorite number's/gauge's—I love worsted hats with a cast on 96—what a magical number!--So many factors, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 24, 32,48—(I've forgotten some, but so what?!) It's so easy to plan things with all these choices, that will readily work!

I have a huge choice of stitch pattens, a huge choice of decrease style, a huge choice of ribbing patterns. The common denominators of 96 make changes easy.. (well they do for me!)

I also know, that for me, a driver to a new design is someone else's limits. Let some one say “there are 2 choices, for X, this way or that way” and Bam! I want to design something that is neither way!

Tell me all hats are knit either brim to crown or crown to brim” and I start knitting hats on the diagonal, or front (forehead) to back (nap of the neck) or some other direction (and there are more choices than the ones I listed!) –I am ornery that way!

Tell me mittens can be seamlessly in the round, or flat and seamed, and I am off to the races.. knitting mittens (or gloves) in a simple double knit style—working, at once, flat, and at the same time, creating seamlessly tubes.

For me, knitting is something physical—but its also a mental activity. I don't always sketch a design, and I sometimes don't swatch stitches, but I do, always mentally knit it out (or try to knit it out)a design in my head.

Frequently, by the time I pick up needles and yarn, I've mental knit a design a half dozen times I've hit problems, and worked out solution (that fails) and work out new solutions (again and again) till I get a solution that works.

And, of course, I still don't always get it right the first time. The stitch count might work out, the stitch pattern might work out, but the actually finished object –sometimes, one loved by others—is not what I had in mind.

People only see the fingers working—and don't get, I can work from mind to fingers with out any paper trail only because I have put a lot of effort into planning (and mentally knitting) a project.

By the time I get around to knitting it, it so easy to do the actually knitting, some think the whole process is effortless. It's not, it's just that I have failed to show my work!

The hardest part of design for me, is documenting. I knit way more original designs than I document.
Documenting means explaining to others all the details that have become self evident to me.

And, not often talked about, but a definitely a real part of design-- are the duds.

There isn't a designer I know who hasn't created an idea, worked out the design elements, and found, as they knit-DUD.

And then it's back to the drawing board, (the one in your head, or a real one) It's time to frog (or abandon), and start over. Good designs get reworked a number of times before they work! the above mentioned Lisa is a master at this...She gets ideas, lets them ferment, and in the end, all we end up seeing are magically creations. Only those who know her well see the seed of an idea germinating in a swatch, or stitch pattern, (or even an off handed comment!)

Behind the veil of good design, in pattern purdah, a lot is going on. And what emerges is not always what is first thought of, or what was expected, but instead, something magical.

The wizard had it right—pay no attention to what is happening behind the curtain—but the truth is, that is where all the magic, that isn't really magic at all, but just hard work and thought-- is happening.

(I've been hanging out in pattern purdah a lot lately...maybe one of these days, soon, the veil will be pulled back and you'll get to see inside)

Monday, October 25, 2010

1 Little, 2 little, 3 little kernels,

1 Little, 2 little, 3 little kernels,
4 little, 5 little, 6 little kernels,
7 little, 8 little, 9 little kernels,
10 little kernels of Indian corn!

Some progress made-- More on the needle as you are reading this, and hopefully I'll have them all done by tomorrow, and will spend Tuesday knit night sewing them in place.

--As you may (or may not know), corn is a general term for a small bit or for a grain.(cereal grain). The corn of Scotland (and Ireland) is oats, the corn of England is wheat; American or Indian corn is maize.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Trouble with Organizing Stash

Is you bring to the light of day, stuff you forgot about.

Like a big ball of some novelty yarn.. 2 strands of fine cotton(?) well cotton-ee boucle, one navy one, turquoise, together with a 3rd strand of multicolor chenille(cotton, too? I dunno, maybe cotton or maybe rayon).
All three together creating a slight bulky weight yarn. It came to me, unlabeled from the remnants of my mothers stash.. A stash that had both Noro yarn, and Red Heart –a real mixed bag of yarns!

And what to do with it?

Well this is what I did with it. A giant C shaped scarf.

It can be worn with the center in front, and the ends wrapped and pinned.

Or with the center to the side, and ends over lapped on the other side an pinned, or with the center in center back—and wrapped another way.

There is no wool in it—it might be cotton, it might be cotton and acrylic, or cotton and rayon, or who knows what! Does it matter much? Well, only when it comes to washing! It's not a scarf for warmth—but is is not un-warm.. It's more of a bit of panaché—and its another bit of stash relocated.

Oh, yeah—I got this knit.. but no candy corns!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Version 3 (4 actually)

OK so in August '08, I made Leaf Me Alone in grey. I liked it, but I thought it could be better.

This week, 3 more tries—improvement 1 of the design was green wool—a safe color.
(I like the grey version, and I think the pattern would work in a range of colors.. I don't think leaves are all green (I know they are not!) I suspect a self striping yarn would make a fabulous hat—and it could look like coleus-- or other ornamental leaves—but I don't have any that is perfect!)

OK this week's work.
The 1st version (bottom of image) is too small. The band around the head is fine,--(seen here as width, but actually a function of rows, or length) but there isn't enough of a crown -(more stitches are needed side to side to make it taller) to make it a good hat.

And it suffered from the same “leaves are too long and narrow” problem that the original design had (making 5 leaves instead of 3 didn't help)--in fact, 3 leaves look better than the 5. Scratch the first version!

Version 2 (center) is almost as long ( wide) as version 1, and has more stitches at the crown(width) , and 2 tiers of leaves. A better fit, and the leaves are clearly leaves. But.. the band is too narrow, and the shape isn't perfect.

Version 3—Smaller, rounder leaves, 3 tiers of the leaf motif, so its easy to see the leave shape, a wider band that is actually shorter --(making the hat in the folded flat view look narrower), with WAY more stitches in crown to make a fuller hat, this hat sits on the head, and feels more comfortable with a slightly snugger band.

This hat covers the ears, and the back fits snuggly at the nape of the neck--(see image below)

All three four hats are novelty construction--Not brim to crown, or crown to brim, but forehead to nape of the neck (or if you prefer, ear to ear.)--It's fun to knit hats in a totally different direction—and it opens up possibilities of stitch patterning.

I think all versions need something (I've used a ornamental resin pin (version 2)--cause it was the right color, and I had it!) in the front. In Version 3, a silver button, again, it's OK (and I had it handy)

I have thought of making small leaves (like the ones in back) or a small knit flower..but maybe a button, or pin.. SOMETHING—the perfect detail eludes me. I might go to a craft store and look for a special button, or maybe a large bead to finish the front.

All the versions end with a small tube (simple double knitting and a tubular/grafted bind off) that has been threaded with a length of I cord and has a double layer knit leaf at each end—as a sort of tassel. This provides an adjustable tie to fine tune the final fit of the hat—and is just a perfect fillup needed.

The hats are fast knits—especially if you've learned the skill of reading your knitting--size 8 needles and almost bulky yarn (the suggested needle size 9 was too soft for a warm hat) are a big part of that. And they are a bargain, too, —not even a full skein of yarn is needed.--which puts each hat under $5, (the remains of the skein, paired with another, and you have for, $10 total , enough yarn to make a pair of LONG fingerless gloves to match the hat)

Today, I am going back to candy corns, and to pattern writing purdah to document this hat.

Then Leaf Me Alone(3) is morphing into another hat: Frost Flowers—similar—but totally different!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Socks and Hats (again)

So the Halloween stripe socks are finished—all the end are woven in, and the are wearable.

I even got a another candy corn knit—so now there are 4!--only 12 more to be knit, and then all of them to be sewn on.

And I have started again with the Leaf Me Alone Hat--Version 3!
I might end up with 2 versions(with 2 sets of instructions)

Most everyone loved the hat last night at Cranky's (the new home of the LIC Tuesday Knit night that has been going strong for over 6 years. )

Last night there were 8 of us--including Manny. And Manny got his first real lesson knitting. Manny—a former para-trooper—has been kibitzing with us for a few weeks, and SAYING: Gee that looks interesting, Gee, I wish I could do that.

So last night, I brought along a partial ball of Wool (Paton's classic wool) and a pair of size 8's—and taught him the knit cast on, and had him knitting. He clearly like knitting, but is also clearly intimidated by the feminine and grand motherly rep of knitting.

He's not sure if it goes with his masculine persona—but he has real courage—he is willing to try—and to step out of his comfort zone and knit, no matter what. Go Manny!

On the other hand, he blushed more than once listening to the conversation—20 + years in the army didn't give him a lot of opportunities to be in women centered discussions. Nothing riské really, but a wide range of topics, (including breast feeding and the taste of human (vs cows) milk—though none of us are currently lactating).

Mostly diet, and food tastes, and fashion --including childrens' and christening gown fashions—the old fashioned styles (long enough to be an adult womans dress) to some of the new glitzy ones. One comment that burned my ear was “Hoochy mom christening gowns—they looked like quinceaner dresses for whores..” (What an image!)--Several member of the group have --or about to serve as godmothers--and hand knit christening things have been projects for the past few weeks.
Kimberley (everyones favorite model (see her here, or here) kindly modeled Version 2 of the Leaf me Alone. I handed it to her, and she immediately popped in on her head cross wise (what I think of as front and back over each ear!)--it looked good that way too..(drat! I didn't get a photo of her wearing it that way!)
This image is the back of her head, you can see her smiling face above.

So this AM I started with the documenting (Typing Vs scribbled notes) –Version 3!

More leaves, more selvage--but the same color (the Thyme green) –the left over from the skeins will definitely be made into a pair of matching leaf pattern fingerless gloves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No, I haven't forgotten about my Halloween socks

Any day now, I will go back to making candy corn s and finishing them.

Last year, Oops, make that 2 years ago (August '08!) I knit this hat.. (my Leaf Me Alone hat) and I liked it, but it wasn't quite perfect. I have been thinking about improvements details of construction, in fit (and in color).

This first version(the grey) is an ALMOST hat. Some like it, (I like it!) but it wasn't exactly what I envisioned. And while it looks fine modeled on my styrofoam head, the head is 19 inches.. and my head is 23! (yes, I do have a large bowling ball for a head, now that you mention it!) So the hat didn't fit as I wanted.

Then an idea presented it self...and Off I Went!

Version 1—is better than the prototype..(well for one its green!) but it's too small (well its too small for my bowling ball (23 inch) head), and, well its not leaf-ee enough. (and yes, it too will be finished the back tie needs another leaf and both leaves will need linings)5 narrow leaves are less leaf looking than 3 broad ones..

Version 2--is better still, but I am not sure if it is just what I want...
I like the cast on/start, I like the tiers of leaves.. I like the fit.

But I think the edge (selvage in this case) could be better. And that
I might look even better with 3 tiers of leaves—and with the first rows (front ) leaves having even a bit more of a 'stem' to make them leafier--which will mean a re-write of the cast on/beginning!
So there is likely to be a third prototype (this yarn is a loosely
twisted single ply and doesn't like to be frogged) tomorrow.

And them maybe a fourth in a different yarn of the same weight) and the directions finished (I've document to some degree all three prototypes) and a chart made, and a PDF!

I love leaf motifs.. and I love natural elements (flowers, acorns, etc) in fall clothing. And I like this design (not top down, not brim up, but front to back!)
Thee is one major problem with knitting this hat-- Its given me ideas for another half dozen!--and for an idea of a matching pair of fingerless gloves to go with the hat! Wouldn't your hands look lovely wrapped in leaves?

I've been writing ideas down (again) and my list of ideas grows so much faster than I can knit!
I work hard at thinking of ideas to use up the yarn I have--but it doesn't always work out that way.

Even when it does, I have half a dozen knit sweaters, and in a really cold year, I might wear a sweater a dozen times so in the fall/winter/early spring season. I have some great ideas for some sweaters.. but really?

Do I need more sweaters when I don't wear the ones I have already?

But—the bulky green wool I have would be perfect in one design, and I have an idea for a bright multi color yoked sweater, stripes and slip stitches, easy peasy color work.

And I have this silk (150 gm of lace weight hand painted silk)—it will make a beautiful scarf --Another scarf? WHOA! Why would I need another scarf?) I've swatched a few stitch patterns.. but I don't like any of them, and this knitting will be frogged.

I have a woven silk scarf from when I was 18—I still love it, and wear it (once every few years) and I have enough Other silk scarves to open a boutique—How can I think of knitting another scarf?

But what else can I do with this silk? It's not enough for a garment, I only have the 1 skein--(its a big skein!) but not big enough for a small top. But IT IS BEAUTIFUL!

I am beginning to understand now it was still in someone else's stash!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Almost Done—Time for Fun (and Jupiter, too)

The knitting is completed—on the body of the sock. There are still a set of tails to weave in, (boring) and then there are the candy corns!

I started last night (bad move)! I am not a night person, and I know I don't do my best after the sun has gone down (and the moon too!) but...

The first niblet? I knit in the round. Way too tedious!

Second one? I modified (these candy corns are still totally Anne's idea) I just have a problem following directions!

So I knit I-cord style—I cast on 13, not 14. I worked the yellow in the round I cord style, (and had a huge ladder in back.

At the end of the last row of yellow, (actually it was at the FIRST row of orange, I stopped, turned the work, and with a small crochet hook, make a loopwith cast on tail, then chained up the ladder, and put the 14th stitch on the needle.

It was immediately worked in a K2tog with the penultimate stitch, and my stitch count was 10.

Working 10 stitches in I cord (with out creating a huge ladder) is possible (work first 2 and last 2 stitches very snug!)

Niblet 3? I managed to drop a stitch (and it had major surgery as I finished it.)

At that point, I stopped. Latter this afternoon, while the sun is still high in the sky, I'll go back to work making candy corns. And then I'll finish the sock (weave in all the ends) and add the candy corns! at this point I think I will need 16 (8 corns per sock) but we'll see--If I get into a rhythm, maybe I'll make more!

I am sure they will improve with practice. And soon I'll have a serving or two to sew on my socks!

Have you seen JUPITER? Why not!?

This month show won't be as spectacular as last months, but once again, the waxing (but not yet full moon will be Jupiter's companion—Tuesday they will be closest (or rather appear to be closest) but any evening this week, at 8:30PM or so, they will be companions in the sky.

The weather forecast has rain (and that mean CLOUDS!) here in the NYC area(on Tuesday) —but the effect can be seen up and down the east coast of North America, with the best viewing, from about Philidelphia to Boston—Tonight to Wednesday. Look up, find the moon, and find Jupiter—It is so very bright, is it super shiny and bright even in the light saturerated skys of NYC (where only a half dozen or so stars are bright enough to be seen) If you think you see a headlight from a plane—close to the newly risen moon, then that's it! It is that bright!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Repeat of the Stripe Pattern Complete.

And all the new ends woven in—Well that was true last night.

Since then, a green stripe and a black one, and more ends to weave in have been created. As I get closer and closer to the cuff and having the body of the sock knit, I become more and more obsessive about weaving in the tails. If I left them all till the end, I know—I would just never would get them all woven in!

I am so looking forward to knitting the candy corn. I might very well change my mind about how much fun they are after a half dozen or so, but for now, I can hardly wait!

I think my stripes are good ones for a Halloween theme, but that the sock will benefit from more yellow and orange-the candy corn will be just the detail to make them perfect.

Should I knit some mini pumpkins too? These I would embroider and make into Jack lanterns. Would a pumpkin be too much? To big? --They would most certainly be out of scale with the candy corn!

Well I can always plan another pair of Halloween socks for next year and put pumpkins on them!
Monica gifted me some Knit Pick sock yarn in Pumpkin color--and I have more Orange (a brighter orange than the pumpkin) Kroy yarn. So Pumpkins are a possibility!

Here in NYC we are having a wind storm--(a Nor'easter) but the leaves are still green for them most part. I know, just a few mile north –Rhinebeck, say--(I am not going to Rhinebeck) many of the Maples are in full glory. But here in the city, the days are cool, the nights cooler, and the trees are still mostly green. But I have already worn my MAST socks, with the dangling little acorn!
(and would wear them to Rhinebeck if I was going!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fail—and a Fix!

I've knit a few swatches of candy corns—and I wasn't really pleased with any of them.

But I went ahead and tried it on the sock.. and well the candy corn was no better in color and smaller, in the real sock, than it was in the single color swatches (designed to manage the shape). So yesterdays knitting was undone,

So—here they are. All the ends (28 per foot!) woven in—in the foot section. There are already 6 new ends in each leg –(and many more to come). Plain stripes it will be--and now the ends are woven in, the jogs aren't too evident.

I am just going to continue the stripe pattern—and then-- a gaggle of candy corns on the cuff.. maybe even some 3D candy corns on the leg too. Anne has made it easy—she has provided a free pattern for her candy corn on her blog.

My candy corn won't be animated (no eyes!) but aren't they cute?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A particular pleasure

Of making your own stripes, is being able to have things work out just so—Perfectly matched stripes, and other details.

The heel (a short row one) has been knit in place—in the same black as the toe, and in the middle of the 5 row black stripe that fell at that point. I planned for a black toe, heel and cuff, but it was just good luck the striping worked out the way it did.

Then another 2 R's of black (so there are a full five on the instep side) and the stripe pattern continues, in perfect order. The Candy Corn motif will start a few rows after the completion of the stripe rotation (ie, with the first row of the purple stripe) , to place it just above the ankle. It will be worked semi intarsia-- the leg will be worked flat--(that is it will be worked in knit and purl rows) but there won't be an open seam. At the end of each row, the yarns will be interlocked, intarsia style, (the 'seam as it were will be the edge of the candy corn motif,) and will be worked with a separate skein (bobbin) of yarn.

I still haven't woven in any of the tails, (they are just tucked under the sock to make it look nicer).

These socks, just like my socks with afterthought heels, have a small instep gusset for ease.

The foot looks small (well it looks small to me!) but it is the standard 9 inches of foot that I need for a good fit.

I know I didn't mention it,but these are bonus socks in a way. The purple, green, orange and yellow yarns are all left over colors from my Roy G Biv socks, only a single new skein, the black.

The yellow and orange will be used again in a pair of bright socks; of lemon, orange, raspberry and cherry colors. (I have a single ball of a bright raspberry pink—Not enough for a pair of socks on its own.) These socks will match the bright sun shiny hat I knit last month. I think the idea for bright socks transmogrified into a hat when I wasn't looking. But I still like the idea of bright fruity socks

I found a list of ideas for socks that I made at the beginning of the summer.. (and was reminded about the idea I had for a pair of Crazy 8 socks.. I have to come back to that idea!) Of the dozen or so ideas, I've done 5—not bad. (of the dozen or so other knitting projects I listed, not one!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Yarn for the Halloween Socks

Demanded to know: Why did it have to wait, when clearly, the pile of UFO where not being worked on, but all sorts of other yarn was, and it wasn't!

So yesterday, Sunday knitting at Panera's was the occasion for casting on halloween socks.

I still haven't perfected the candy corn motif I want to add and besides, the idea has been enlarged, and moved.

It will be a sort of clock on the side of the leg, not a band on near the cuff. There might be some knit 3D candy corns to dangle from the cuff, too. (I took a cyber trip to MochiMochi Land, and was inspired!) Mine won't have eyes.. but aren't they adorable?

This is a pair of toe up socks (the last few socks it seems have been cuff down, and it was time for a change) –with mixed (Fibonacci's numbered rows) stripes; 8 purple, 1 green, 5 black, 2 orange, and 3 yellow. Each set of stripes-- (19 R's)-- is more or less (than) equal to 2 inches.

A black toe, (and heel and cuff) and stripes for the foot and leg. Mixed stripes mean lots of ends to weave in—but that's OK—Weaving in is an excuse used by lots of knitters for avoiding stripes.
I am (self evident if you look at my sock collection) a fan of self striping/self patterning yarns--but sometimes, the only way to get the desired effect is to stripe the socks yourself. I've done regular stripes, mix stripes and spiral/helix stripes. Stripes offer a lot of options!

I don't obsess about the jog that occurs when striping—I make a small effort to minimize it.. but for the most part, I live with it.

One trick that I use is to change the beginning of the round—this is so easy to do when working 2 socks on 2 circ's—a quick glance at the tails (they will likely be woven in tomorrow at the LIC knit night) revels how this works

You'll have to wait till some of the tails are woven in to see the change in jogs. Half the stripes start on the right, half the stripes start on the left..there is less of jog, because of this. It also make it easier to weave in the tails—since I won't end up with a bunch of tails on one side (and none on the other)--with short rows of stripes (1,2, or 3 rows) —it makes a big difference! I've tucked the tails in on the left sock—because I think they are distracting—and the sock looks better with them tucked in, but left them out on the right side to show as an explaination.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Oh—Yeah it's one of those weeks! I work on the Sunday NYTimes crossword puzzle every week—and every 9 to 10 weeks—I complete it! Tthis week is one of those half dozen times or so every year that I solve it (every cross!) --I didn't start till last night, after dinner, (after knitting!) and I had it done before bedtime!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Stash needs to be reduced to sable.

Another grand idea I have (and might act on!)

I've been cleaning--(ditching things I don't need, throwing out things I'll never use, doing laundry (endlessly--clothes are done, but curtains, and table clothes are dusty dirty, and..) ironing, mending (making) clothes (that I don't really need, just want) and cooking--oh yeah, some knitting, too.

I've found yarn I've forgotten about...
Oh, yeah, this beautiful black cotton--fine, (DK weight) and so soft and silky--wasn't I going to make a top with it?

Wow, I didn't realize I had that much alpaca—8 skeins of black, some grey, some white a single skein of wine red--and the yellow, and the olive green.. I have that pattern for Japanese Vines--(a lace scarf) --wouldn't it look pretty in the yellow?

Sock yarn! (more sock yarn! whole skeins and a bag of left over bits!) Right, this skein--all ready divided was going to be my next pair of socks.. (denim blue, they are a color that will match clothes!) How could I have forgotten them?

And then there were the odd balls...One of Merino, silk and alpaca—the other, a bit of left over mohair and silk bouclé. What a perfect match they are—A hat?
(Do I need another hat I am not going to wear?) A quick scarf!

So that's what happened last night.
This simple scarf made of rows of stocking knit (the solid merino/silk/alpaca) and rows of reverse stocking knit--(the mohair bouclé) a few final yards of the solid made a slide to hold the scarf in place.. and there it is! When it was done, there were fewer than 6 inches left over from the tails! Lucky me!--just enough, and not too little!

I have some bags of acrylic to give away—(already a big bag or two has been packed up, and home found for it.)

And some more organizing to do.. (and likely more yarn to give away) and I found MORE kitchen/craft cotton, so maybe another bath mat, and a few more double knit potholders, and definitely some towel loops.

You know, cut a tea towel (or in my case, a flour sack towel) in half, and sew a row of buttonhole stitch (with a sewing needle) in cotton yarn across the top. Then pleat the towel, and pick up stitches from the buttonhole edge. A few rows of knitting, some decreases, a tab (and buttonhole) and the towel is easily hung from a peg or cabinet nob.

Great for drying your hands (and no wasted paper towels) and pretty too.

Wait? What have I done?

Added another project to my queue? When I haven't finished the half dozen I already have on needles... and where on the queue is it?

Aaaugh! Maybe I shouldn't clean!

Friday, October 08, 2010

What I did--

Vs. what I said, or should have been doing.

It's just another thing to do with left over sock yarn—and Soles and More is a 60gm/260 yard skein of sock yarn—and I tend to like medium socks. Not anklettes, and definitely not knee socks. So there was plenty of extra yarn.

I finished it this AM, and since then, I have done 2 rows on my lace scarf--(still not enough to be noticeable different from when it was last seen)

And a new Video—which is many ways, conter-productive—because I have embarked on a project to RE-DO all of my videos, PROFESSIONALLY—new videos, that are well lit, in focus and in frame, with out distracting background noise—ones that are also organized and indexed.

The new videos will be available on CD's (look for them in January—I know, a bit late for holiday gift). But a set of 3 videos, demo'ing all the cast ons I know—one that includes several methods--so Long tail sling shot and Long tail thumb, and long tail reversed, and long tail open... and long tail right handed, before moving on to the Knit (and the purl, and the knit and purl, and the double chain knit and the K2, bind off 1) and so on. It will be a great tool for any knitter, any time.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Finished—1 Bathmat

Honestly, it's bigger, way bigger than the skein was! I am doing wash later today, and will chuck it into a load, since I knit rather loosely with cotton, and plan on a hot water wash and hot drier to shrink the cotton and make the fabric thicker. Not that it isn't thick now, but I know it will be denser once it has been washed and dried.

It's pretty , too (though, how pretty does a bath mat have to be?)--and large enough (my bathroom is close to being the minimal size you can have and still have a sink, a tub and toilet. (The sink isn't even a pedestal style, but a wall hung one..and the basin is very small (I can't use it to wash my hair, and it would be too small to wash 'smalls” (undies and such) except 1 at a time. I do hand washing in a basin in my kitchen sink (which is HUGE)--It looks strange because is draped in a fold (almost as if it was seated.

Last night I frogged 2 rows of lace, (the Y shaped scarf) and got 2 more rows knit. (the change is hardly perceptible,so no photo. I've reached the 'split'--the 2 rows were done in two parts.

The UFO? A square shawl, knit from center out, now about 30 inches square. A LEAST another 10 inches are needed (40 inch square. But really 45 or 50 inches would be so much better.) I have enough yarn (a band less brushed wool (mostly merino)) very soft, somewhat fuzzy. The question is: do I have the will? I think so! Once I finish the Y shaped shawl, I will get to work on it... (or I think I will!)

I am holding off, I want to get some work done on UFO's before I start my halloween socks—right now, the 15th (A Week!) is the target start date. Let's see how much progress I can make between now and then! I don't think I will have any difficulty finishing off a pair of socks in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cotton Won

its place in the cycle—well for 24 hours..

After yesterdays post, I started this—another bathmat—and will relocated some stash to the linen closet! Its 13 inches now--(by 28) and next up is the stripe (7 rows) and the edge—together 5 inches-- and then binding off and weaving in. It will be finished before dinner. The final size will be close to 18 X 28 inches (circa 48cm by 60cm) a nice size for my postage stamp size bathroom.

I am working with 2 strands of cotton held together (I think this is Bernat's HandCrafters cotton) and a size 11 needle and the work is going fast. I've made bathmats before --and the first time, I was sure I'd never knit another--then I used it. Wow! Knit garter stitch bathmats are so cushy underfoot—they are luxurious—and so cheap to make!

This is my 3rd (the first suffered a tragic accident, and is no more) for myself, and I've knit 2 for my daughter—and have some more cotton and will make another for myself, and likely make one for my DIL, too!

But not now! I dislike working with big needles, and cotton is not the kindest fiber to work with for any length of time.

I am lucky—my bathroom is white (painted walls) and white tile, and light grey tiles on the floor. The color is created by the towels—and I have lots of different color towels Lots of white ones, and lots of blue, and a good chunk of taupe/brown ones (the oldest) and a hand full of other colors—some gifts, some left over from a guest bath (in previous homes). So I can use up odd and ends, and almost any color cotton for a bath mat and the colors will work.

The call is out for mittens --masculine mittens—isn't that an oxymoron? So next up is mittens.. and then halloween socks, and then, back to my lace scarf, and then...

Finally, while rooting round and tidying up stash—I found a UFO—from? --a long time ago (before this blog started!) and I might take a look at it, and finish it up (or frog it!)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rainy Days

That's what we are having—and its a good thing! This summer was long, hot and dry. NYC depends on its reservoirs for water, and they were, just after labor day, 12% down.

But we had rain last week, and again this week, (yesterday, again today, and more still predicted for tomorrow—and by yesterday afternoon we were 2% above capacity. 8 million people get up and shower and make other daily absolutions, and our daytime population is 15 million--just the coffee and tea consumption of 15 million people—not to mention what happens to the liquid a few hours later—is 15 to 30 million gallons of water a day) So 1 or 2% of the reservoirs is a whole lot of water—especially when it comes in the form of rain!

Sunday, I finished these socks—but I managed to leave them in the car—and yesterday, I THOUGHT of getting them, but it was raining—REALLY RAINING—and I said to my self, forget it!

Today in a break—I went to garage and got them--and got them photographed.

Pretty simple socks. A tubular cast on (because I like that cast on) some ribbing (1 X1, cause that's my favorite ribbing) stocking knit for the legs and instep, a peasant heel, (cause I like being able to continue the self stripe uninterrupted)with my usually mini gusset at heel for improved fit--see image--finished with a band, and flat (aka French) toe. About as plain vanilla as you can get. (OK, French vanilla—seeded with real vanilla)

Saturday, I posted yet another version of my classic gingham potholder—done in double knit.
Today, there is a link (see left hand column) for Free PDF download of the pattern for this potholder.

I have a tutorial (8 blog posts!) on double knitting, and now, a complete pattern for making a potholder like this. The PDF does not have a photo—and its written out, not charted (if you like to work with charts, print out a copy of the image, and use it as a chart.)

The pattern is free—for you to download and use for personal use(or for gifts). If you want to use it for sale or fund raising, or use the pattern to teach double knitting, please contact me (my email is in the footnote) for permission--it will still be free--I just like to keep track!

Tomorrow I hope to have finished the patterns for these 3 (and a few more) cup cozies. This pattern is also free, and can be used for Breast Cancer Awareness and other non-profit Breast Cancer fund raising projects.
They are very simple--and will be used (by me) for teaching as well. If you want to use them for teaching, again, contact me for permission.

Other wise, it's Startitis-- I have lace shawls to finish, another pair of mittens have been requested (but I didn't commit to making them)

A cotton bath mat (another cotton bathmat) has been on the agenda for ages—and pulling out the cotton for potholder reminded me..(and the big bag of cotton is OUT and just sitting there!)

Yesterday I swatched a candy corn pattern (for shape) and I am not sure yet about how I like the look of the swatches... In other words, the same old project desire overload!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Double Knitting & ThinkPink!

Lately, for reasons I can't fathom, my double knit gingham potholder—a pattern of mine that was added to Ravelry before I had joined Ravely—has been generating a huge number of hits on my blog.

So, to make life easier, a new improved video, showing 2 (there are easily a half dozen) methods for casting on for double knitting, and (to follow) a new set of directions (a REAL Pattern, not a recipe) for making the a double knit, gingham pattern for a potholder, (and some ideas for changing the pot holder into a place mat, or even a floor mat--(why not have a set of matching kitchen cottons?!) The video is available now, the recipe can be found on the first link (above) , and the pattern link on Ravelry here. (in case you want to add it to your Rav favorites to find it again easily!)

This Pattern, and the patterns for some cup cozies (or bottle cozies, as seen here) are still being edited, and not yet ready—but if you are interested, be sure to check back later (next week!)-All of these patterns will be free, and with permission, can be copied and distributed to groups doing charity knitting for breast cancer fund raising—just write and ask for permission—and keep my name and email link on the print outs!

Other knitting? Well the socks, last seen here, are now 2 inches longer, and just 1 inch or so away from toe shaping. There are still heels to knit after the toes are done, but it won't take long to finish them, and finish them I must, if I am going to have my halloween socks done by the end of the month!
(Do you need a photo? Well you'll have to trust me—and wait till next week—when the socks should be/will be finished!)

I have a few ideas for halloween socks—1: candy corn, (and maybe jack-o-lantern and ghosts) stranded knitting design in cuff and leg, 2; a self striping yarn in purples, black and orange stripes, 3: pumpkin colored socks (with or with out some design element in cuff).

Halloween comes every year, and it's one of my favorite holiday, so having special socks for 1 day of the year (or 2 or 3 pairs for this one day, so I can wear different sock and only repeat ever 2 or 3 years) is not unreasonable—well not unreasonable for a person who already has over 4 dozen pairs of socks, and is still interested (an has yarn for!) as many more pairs!