Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Litmus Test(s)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dogma is my litmus test.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Skein 2

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Progress Report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Started Repeat 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks Giving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Year, for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Growing Like Kudzu

When last seen (Saturday) the Leafy Vine scarf had 3 complete repeats knit.

Now, it has 6! (and its too big to readily photograph) Doubled in length in 4 days.
I am on skein 2 now. Skein one got me to about 22 inches (totally unstretched) –so 3 skeins should yield about 66 inches... and a good hard blocking should result in another 12 (78) or more inches. A very long scarf!

It's begun to be interesting again again—how or why that happens, I don't know—I wish I did! I'd bottle it—keep handy!

The socks have been sitting untouched since the weekend.. wanting just a repeat or two and a heel. But its been 60° --who needs a sweater –or socks to match the sweater? It's not like I don't have plenty enough socks as is.. (and of the two newest ones—RoyGBiv and Raspberry swirl) are still settling in (they haven't been worn yet--they are still in the Oh how I admire them pile)

They are waiting for a special day to be worn. A special day can be a horrid one; when re-enforcement of will is needed. Hand knit wool socks (no matter what Prudence over at the Slate says) are wonderful for encouragement and re-enforcing the will (as well as being warm and comfortable!)

I am not including a link to Ask Prudence--(she dis'd hand knit sock recently) she doesn't need (or warrant) any more web traffic!

Pattern purdah continues. I have lots and lots of patterns that I have been finishing up. Ravelry is such a convenience –a free consignment shop for selling them.

The newest pattern is another one designed with scrap yarn in mind—and its a free-be!
Click the link to download now

A simple little beanie—with a small stranded work motif. Just 8 rows of patterning—if you've never done stranded work—a chance to try.

The sample is done in a classic white with red hearts—but it would work with almost any solid yarn (and a number of tweeds) –with pink or red, or even snowy white hearts.. Any little girl would like it.. but its not so cutesy that a grown woman couldn't wear it.

I am a bit hard nosed –and don't get all gushy about cutesy patterns—This hat wouldn't be a first choice for me (to wear) but I would wear it. There is something about stranded work that is slightly sophisticated, even when its a simple iconic motif.

Another (at least 1 other) pattern before tomorrows post--and any day now, a Pattern page here, to make it even easier to find the patterns!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pattern Writing Purdah Continues

As well as code writing (HTML)

Actually both are code writing.. (HTML has an advantage, its easier to view the code and see any mistakes—Pattern writing requires KNITTING!

One new pattern has been added to my Ravelry Store—an multi sized cable hat—Syncopated Rhythm.

The hat has lots of ribbing—and cables, that continue right into the crown. The pattern--unchanged--works with a number of weights of yarns. A great pattern for a family of hats.
With fingering weight yarn and size 3 needles it's a baby hat—but the same pattern, worked in worsted weight and size 7 needles fits an adult.

It's a fun hat to knit—the 11 stitch repeat, alternate 1 X 1 ribbing and 2 X 2 ribbing creates a very syncopated rhythm for your fingers to dance to. The deep folded back cuff makes it warm and attractive. The cuff can be the same yarn as the at, or you can mix it up, and use 2 yarns—another good hat for using up partial balls of yarn!

The hat shown above is a baby hat (knit with fingering yarn) but in my projects page on Ravelry, there is an other version (adult size) knit with 2 different worsted weight yarns.

Coming soon, Petal Power—another beret type hat—and another stash buster for using up bits and partial balls of yarn. There are so many charities that are looking for hats—Hats that are knit with partial balls are 'free-be's'--No new yarn needs to be purchased, and partial skeins get used up! You get to do good for others and do good for your self—and use up some of those partial balls of yarn that seem to accumulate so readily! And these are good looking hats, too!

There are 3 more hats patterns in various states of completion—some will be free patterns, some others, for sale.

One more repeat was completed yesterday on the Leafy Vines scarf—Last night, when I was supposed to be knitting, I completed (it's been about a month, so it's just about time) the Sunday NYTimes crossword puzzle.

Its time now to get back to work (knitting work, I wiled away the morning pattern writing!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slow and Steady

Well for the moment, slow and steady!--I am growing disenchanted with the Leafy Vines scarf already.
The pattern is a 16 X 16 matrix (16 stitches by 16 rows) plus a few more for an edging. (It's a knock off of the Japanese Vines pattern.) I found the stitch pattern in a book, and just reverse engineered it. My edging is a bit different, and I change a few stitches in the pattern, (so its not even the same as in the stitch pattern book,) but still almost the same.

I've gotten 3 full repeats completed, (about 14 inches by 12 inches wide, when gently stretched; ½ of the first, (of 3) balls of yarn knit. I now know the pattern by heart—and well, once that happens: Boring!

It's not boring me to tears (yet) I am hoping to keep loving it.. (and working at it) but other yarns keep calling to me!

The sock have 4 ½ l repeats of their lace done.. (about 5 inches) but they're socks! I am almost done with the leg (and will be turning the heel soon) and then well they are done!

Just when a stitch pattern begins to get boring with a pair of socks, you're done with the pattern (for a while) and get to turn the heel. The foot is just half pattern work, and with a few more repeats, the end is in sight.

Scarves.. (and I do like long scarves!) go on forever with no change. Still the pattern is a a very pretty one knit up.

On my mind to knit, (and I've already checked the gauge, and have begun to do the math) is a simple cowl for a Christmas present, and a shrug for myself. And some hats.. (Hats? Again with the hats? Yes again with hats!)

Behind the scenes, I am doing something I've talked about, but have procrastinated doing.

Part one is going through my blog, finding all the free patterns I published here, fine tuning them, turning them all into PDF's, and adding them to my Ravelry Store.

Part two is going through my files (some were zipped, and I needed to get an unzipper program to see them) and doing the same with a number of other patterns.. These are patterns I've written in the past few years, with no particular purpose. These, too, will become PDF's and go into my Ravelry store.

Part three is setting up a pattern store page here on my blog, with links to the Ravelry store--
Blogger is not too supportive of tables, so a bit of code writing is involved (I know just enough HTML to make it happen!) But part 3 can't happen till parts one and two are completed

Part four is editing and formating a third set of patterns—these I want to publish as a book—they are patterns with a unifying theme. I think success with parts one, two and three will be instrumental in making part four happen!

All that is needed is for me to do it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What? Socks Again?

Yeah well, yeah, socks—again!

A few rows were worked on my leaves on the vine scarf, and I finally dug out the Peachy sweater, and checked out the stitch pattern (and the color match)

The stitch pattern: perfect! 10 stitch repeat--(and my generic sock? 60 stitches!) I make one change—and replaced 2 of the 4 plain stocking knit stitches between each lace column,with 2 purls.

The disadvantage to the is: each “row” (2 per round) starts with a purl. It doesn't really bother me—but it might some.

The color match is good—not perfect. The sock yarn is much brighter than the sweater. It could be a problem, but my experience with Koigu--(limited, very limited I admit) is that it fades. But even it it doesn't there is a big space between the shoulder yoke of the sweater and the top of the sock! The colors are the same hue. Besides—who needs perfectly matched sweaters and socks? Closely co-ordinated color are more than enough for a good match!

There is work going on behind the scenes.. I want to make this blog better (I have every day more and more dedicated reader (and I can't tell you enough how that pleases me!) I want to please you, the reader, too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little Bit of Leafy Lace

Looking pretty!

I am still making mistakes here and there... (just frogged three rows, and reknit them)--and I've altered the stitch pattern slightly--(and I am not going back to change the first repeat!) It is pin blocked here, so you can see the pattern (since unpinned, its nothing!)

I don't (most often I don't) work with life lines-- I've knit long enough I am confident of my ability to pull off the needles and rip back (and to able to pick up)

One advantage I have is I am a combo knitter, and long (LONG,!) ago learned to knit as you golf (I don't actually golf myself) I play it as it lays. --or in knitting language, I work the stitch as it presents.
If the leading leg is in the front, I work the stitch by going into the front.
If the leading leg is in the back, I work the stitch by going into the back.

Its normal for me, when working ribbing or seed, or basket or any combination of knits and purls to have some of my stitches mounted leading leg in front, and others leading leg in back. This is because I do a combo purl and wrap my purls “eastern” so on the next row, they look are mounted with leading leg in back.

With stocking knit (all knits or all purls in a row (or round) all the stitches are mounted reversed.
But with ribbing, the Purls of R1 are the reverse mounted Knits in R2. But the Knits in R1, are western/european (standard, if you will) Purls on R2.

2 by 2 ribbing is a series of leading leg front, and leading leg back \\//\\//\\//\\//\\.
This lace has 4 parts—left leaning leaf, faggoting (8 rows) then Faggotting and right leaning leaf.
In one part the together's are all K2tog's in the other part all the together's are SSK's.

But not for me! I work the 'plain row” in standard purls or combo purls and every together is a k2tog--(a real advantage in lace, no chance of dropping a stitch as turn it!)

Another pattern repeat, and then a break, and off to my socks(still waiting for something more than a cuff!) I 'm loving this yarn.. It's a Smiley's bargain—Filatura Lanarota Fashion Toes sock yarn—I have 3 skeins-(for this scarf) at $3.50 a skein—enough for a nice sized scarf –for less than $10!

I bought over 20 skeins in the spring at sale (but really this yarn is always the same price) and resold half to friends--(at a whopping $0.50 profit) and one friend, Melainie, has made an absolutely beautiful shawl from her skeins. (which prodded me to get to work on this scarf!)

Meanwhile, I am at work on a Store page for this blog—With links to all my patterns (both free and for sale) I am slowly making them all into PDF's and available on my Ravelry store, and editing all my patterns to make them viewable to every one (not just fellow Ravelers)
but for right now, you can, if you want, purchase the pattern for Sally Lunn, from yesterday's post.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sally Lunn=Stash Busting Fun

There is hardly a knitter in the world who doesn't have an odd ball of some beautiful, or zany or interesting yarn. We buy them—because they are so beautiful—and often—a bit more than we can afford—But desire over whelms us.

Sometimes we end up with a single skein because its left over from another project, or some one who tried knitting and didn't like it,(what!?) gifts it, or it comes as a bonus in a swap--

Worst of all, the yarn is discontinued(or an antique!) —So what are you going to do? Not enough to make anything with—and no way to get more—even if you wanted too!

Somehow, we all end with a few of them-- single skeins—and then what? What to do with 100 yards of yarn!?

My stash has lots of these odd left overs. Every thing from some odd ball of Noro yarns, to antique Red Heart (so old, (30+ years) is actually wool, not synthetic!

I have been working on knitting all the odd balls in my stash—trying to figure out ways to make the most of them. Sometimes, with small skeins, this means pairing them up with an other yarn. But I don't always want to end up with stripes--and some yarns just aren't suited for color stranded work (and I don't want to do anything to complex--) BUT most of all, I want to be able to use them up.

Sally Lunn is one answer!
Sally Lunn (in case you didn't know is an English(and American ) bread. It looks like a normal loaf—but it's not—the dough is a rich eggy one. It is Broiche (the bread!).
In France, Broiche, most frequently, is baked in fluted pans, and usually has a 'top knot' --the shape of the classic bread is why the knitting stitch gets its name.

So a Sally Lunn(the bread) is a Brioche—but simpler.. and My Sally Lunn (the hat) is a simple brioche pattern—but it still packs a punch! Easy to knit, but special! Richly textured, and a totally unique looking stitch—A simple beret made better.

So it's a great way to use up small skeins. These hats require less than 100 yards—each—of two skeins. And the pattern is a simple stripe--making it suitable for an intermediate beginner. (Not the best choice for the very first hat knit in the round.. but fine for the 3rd!)

The brioche stitch breaks up the stripes, and makes an interesting tweed effect. Use 2 small skeins that compliment each other and get one look, use 2 small skeins that have a lot of contrast, and get another look--But neither looks to stripy--

Version 1—Subtle—is made with LB Fisherman's Wool (a Kool Ade dyed to a semi solid) and single ball of Classic Elites Beatrice. Both are aran weight yarns. This makes a large hat (it fits my bowling ball head great!)--flat, it's 11 inches across—It's the hat for someone with a big head (and worked in browns or blue, the hat is simple enough that it would be suitable for many men.)

Version 2 is bold –The bright colorway is an antique-Red Heart—WOOL—the solid is Patons Classic Wool. Both are worsted weight. Slight smaller (10 inches across) It will fit most women and children-(it fits me, too, but only as a beret).

While both versions are shaped as classic berets –and lie flat—the brioche stitch makes a dense, and at the same time, soft fabric, so they wear like slouch hats. The brioche stitch creates a dense, textured stitch too, so hat is warm, too.

I am working on some other swatches—to give you an ideas for other combinations. But it's easy to see in these two samples—the pattern stitch —and the yarn choices can make for some very different results. Bright yarns can be toned down, subtle yarns can be stretched with a near matching semi solid. Small amounts of home spun or hand painted yarns could be worked up into something special.

The winter is coming, it's time for hats. This Sally Lunn is just the way to make them.
Clean out your stash, use up those odd balls, and make something special at the same time!

The pattern for this hat will available for sale by tomorrow.. (Via Ravelry)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Its Been a Week

Since I hacked off (with all the finesse of 5 year old) 15 inches of my hair.

The Good News: Hair grows back—and my hair grows fast (or I think it does!)
OK, it does look a bit nicer because it is lighter and brighter (if grayer) by my face.

The Bad News: I hate it! (see good new above)
There are worse things... Like not having people notice I cut my hair, for one.

I miss brushing my hair (there is no hair to brush!) I hate how the wind catches it and blows it everywhere (but especially my face.) It seems so much thinner (IT IS SO MUCH THINNER) and its more evident --at the back, (the natural crown), it's so thin, I look like I am going bald.. (I AM GOING BALD!)--

My hair (all womens hair? All mens hair? Hair in general?) is sensitive to my hormones. When I was younger, MUCH YOUNGER) I wore my hair down to my waist, and often French braided it. The braid was a thick rope (Not quite a hawser for tying up an ocean liner, but as thick as my wrists--and I am big boned.) I loved it.

Now, I am in my second childhood—post menopausal--I have the hair of my infancy—did I mention I was bald till the age of 3? Flash bulbs from cameras would make a glare—the light bounced off my white head(scalp)that was barely coated with platinum white peach fuzz --(Did I also mention my dark haired siblings all had thick rich hair (beautifully curly for half them) as infants?)

Every year my hair got thicker (more deeply rooted) But the strands never got thick—even at its most luxurious, I had fine strands of hair—lots of them, but all of them fine. They got darker, too—from platinum, to tow, to light ash, to medium ash, to dark (dishwater) ash. Now, I have a lot less strands, and they are baby fine once again—but I like that I am returning, if not to platinum, to silver!
(my DD has very similar hair--thin and fine (but coppery red) she was 4 before there was any to cut--and then there were just a few strands to even up.)
There are worse thing.. (see the good news!)

On the knitting front:
Peach socks cast on (but I haven't started the lace leg yet—it's an easy lace—but I need a memory jog)
Blue lace scarf—frogged and restarted. (but I haven't finished a single repeat of the pattern(16 rows) so not much too see either.)
Mystery object(2) started but not at half way point (yesterday's multicolor swatch)
--but there is also Mystery Object (1) that is finished, (Sunday's swatch)--but you'll have to wait a few more days to see either.

Don't bother checking Ravelry—They're not posted there either!

Mystery object (1) is likely going to get –Other stuff... (found more of each of the yarns—new worlds of possibilities await!)
And there is also Swatch 3 to do.. (and maybe mystery object 3 to go along with the swatch!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swatches lie--sort of

The Yarn Harlot—somewhere (one of her books almost certainly, but likely her blog too)—claims that swatches lie.

She is right—well-- somewhat right. It's not so much that swatches lie, as they are loose with the truth.

Swatches give lots of information. Some of the information is not always what it seem.
Swatching for gauge is often the least useful. Gauge is an elusive characteristic.
(There are other reasons to swatch--swatching is a very good way to learn a stitch pattern (and it cuts down on frogging mistakes a good deal!)

Gauge can changes with time (we often knit looser (or tighter) as time goes by—and small gauge swatch might not always catch that.

The sheer weight of garment can change gauge. At the end of a day (or wearing) a sweater might be looser in the shoulder (stretched out) than it is at the hem.
The weight of the yarn in a sweater can pull and stretch and change things.

The fiber its self can contribute to these changes... (a silk dress can 'grow' a few inches in wearing.. becoming more form fitting at top and long with each passing minute. (Rayon can do this too.. I have a top that started out a bit snug in the underarm.. and finished the day with the armhole gaping –and almost as deep as a kimono (but since the top didn't have kimono sleeves.. it just looked awful!)It also went from ending just below the waist, to ending well below the hips!

Well here is today's swatch. Same stitch as in yesterday's post—but worked in different colors.
Not really readily accessible yarns (the multi color is RED HEART-WOOL!) the solid is some newer (3 years old perhaps, not 30 years old) Patons Classic wool.
But solids and color ways like this bright version of clown barf are still available--so it is still a useful, in a way.

How different the stitch looks in colors that offer high (vs yesterday's low contrast!) It still 'works'--it ends up NOT looking too stripy—and does have a tweed effect. The solid colors tones down the bright multi color.But it also presents very differently, too.

The swatch does more that tell us about how different colors of yarn can change the appearance of the stitch. The swatch was knit with worsted on size 7 needles. The top (stocking knit) is a smooth dense fabric. The textured stitch—is very open and almost calls for a size 6/4mm—it definitely would be better knit tighter for a garment of any size (an adult sweater vs say a baby sweater) –or even for a scarf. Knit on size 7's(4.5mm) it is a very loose open texture.

Folded, it's also clear the stitch has a total different row gauge (than stocking knit).

The selvages --the cast on/bind off edges and the side selvages of garter all constrict the swatch—but the problem isn't that the cast on or bind off aren't stretchy—they are. The stitch changed the gauge of the work so much, it just appears so.

The stitch is more stocking knit that not—and it's not reversible--(not identical or near identical on both sides)—but the reverse side is not uninteresting.

I will likely swatch again-- with other colors, other yarns. I think this stitch has 'legs' and can stand on its own with a wide variety of yarns and in a number of different applications. It won't always look the same, but there are some characteristic that transcend the yarn. I can't promise to have more than a sample or two by the end of the week—so I'll be keeping you guessing for a while--That is samples of FO's worked in this stitch, not more sample swatches!

This swatch isn't telling the whole truth yet—but with two versions, the truth is a bit closer!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whee for me!

(well, almost done—there are few ends to weave in—but all the knitting is done!) Just a pretty as I hoped for--Just enough color to make them interesting and just a little bulk (but also re-enforcement) at the toe.

I can't wait to start my next pair! (spoken like a true addict!)--Peachy I think..

I have these 2 skiens of Koigu KPM in a semi solid (very near solid) peach—and the color is a very good match to my peachy sweater (from last winter). Socks to match, pretty simple ones, with the same lace stitch as in my peachy sweater.

And some other stuff.. swatches: for gauge, for color, and for final effect --like this stitch-- (an original? Maybe, but not likely. More likely just uncommon) and hats. Oh! there are so many hats I want to knit!
(Rena's helping me out--she wants a hat or two for a charity project!)

I want to swatch this stitch again--This time, the colors are pretty close--the semi solid is some home dyed (KoolAde) LB Fisherman's wool, the tweed is Classic Elites "Beatrice". I want to see how it looks when the colors are not so close in value. I don't think the stitch swatch looks striped at all-- (it is, in 2 rows of each yarn).

Now to try another set of yarns, with a bit more contrast, and see how it looks. Right now, I really like it--but its totally un-replical.
I need to learn how it looks with available yarns, and not home dyed semi solids.

Oh there is the lace scarf to go back to work on--(two of them actually!)

A bunch of odd skeins—Noro--(from an other knitters frog pond) that keeps calling out to be made into a simple vest.. (and other skeins, of an other long color stripe yarn, whimpering, if you knit the Noro, you must knit me up too!)

And maybe another pair (or two, or three, or..) of some fingerless gloves..some short ones, and some long ones, some matching hats, and some just to use up odd, incomplete balls of yarn—at least these (unlike most of my scarves and hats) will get worn.

There a list of to do that should hold me for a while!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Happened to All of Us.

We've driven forever (or so it seems) and the hi-way sign comes along, and says Destintation: 130 miles? What? Two more hours?
And we know our destination is really in the far suburbs—another 20 miles, easily beyond the sign posts promise of being there. How could it still be so far when we've been driving this long already?

It happens in knitting, too. You knit round after round, and check your measurements, to find you are no closer to the end then you were last time you checked.

Finally last night, I have a pair of socks with 7 inches of foot knit, and its now time to shape the toe!
But it was late, and I still haven't started the toe swirl! But—today! And the swirl is just 22 rounds—and each one is progressively shorter as I decrease to shape the toe.. The socks will be done!

The other common place experience is seeing the moon in the sky. I am a bit of a lunatic—I am always looking at the moon (In the light polluted sky's of NYC—you can always see the moon—stars--are memory. It's hard to find one to wish on! (I was not just an adult, but well on before I ever saw the milky way.)

The moon was beautiful last night. Almost a half moon, it set before 11 pm.. I watched it.

The silver moon dipped low
Snagged, tilted, on a spire, its slide down
Behind the office building; changed.
A gilded, brassy bowl,
with only a peaking cusp to see.

Lower now, shining through the windows,
Gaudily illuminating the dark, empty space.
A bowl of fools gold, the false moon.
Below the horizon, now
Taking it's dreams of grandeur's far away.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wha'cha been doing?

Me? Oh this and that....

I've been knitting—the foot of the sock is now 6 (of 9) inches long.. plain grey, nothing much to see--maybe today I'll get the toe (and a second swirl) done--but it's not much to look at now.

I started (and frogged) 6 inches of a lace scarf—I was knitting it at night, one, then two, then one too many little errors crept in. I'll start again in the daytime, and maybe, (partly because I now almost know the pattern) have better success. It's one of those simple scarves--(pick a lace pattern out of stitch collection book, add a edging (a fancy selvage, and a few garter stitches) and just repeat the lace pattern till you run out of yarn (I have 575 or so yards of fingering yarn--more than enough for a long scarf!)

I haven't signed on (mentally) for the couch potato to 5K run program, but I have made a point of taking a 20 minute walk every day (well, so far, every day this week!) I can--(and do) fall into the habit of not going out of the house if I don't have anywhere to go. I am not agoraphobic, but a bit of loner. If I don't have anywhere to do, I sometimes just don't get out of the house. I do go out on my terrace for fresh air, but a short brisk walk is healthier (physically and mentally).

Today, on the last leg of my walk, I stopped at the vegetable store—and picked up some sweet and some white potatoes—and a big bag of apples--(just $1!) some are bruised or blemished. I still haven't made the chocolate volcano cake—maybe I'll make an apple cake instead! If I am going to have the oven on for the veggies anyway.

I also picked up an avocado—tonight will be sort of Tex-Mex—guacamole, salsa, yellow rice, and some spicy chicken.. (and a green salad)--lately spicy foods have been all I want to eat--last night it was chicken curry--and mix pan roasted veggies, (onions, carrots, spinach and apple)--the sweet veggies were a nice counter point to the hot and spicy gravy.

Oh—yeah-- I cut my hair off! (that's about 15 inches of hair!--it will be put aside and donated next time there is a Locks of Love drive. )

I've worn my hair long (touching my shoulder at a minimum)forever (well the better part of 50 years!) It's been shorter for the past few years (shoulder to mid back vs mid back to waist lenght) –but not short.. Now? It's not even chin length!

I'll let it grow back in-- and will likely keep it shorter than before, (shoulder length), but-- It's changed color.

The long length I cut off is more pepper (not really that dark), than salt, but now, it's more salt than pepper..I like the grey—it's brighter and lighter than my dishwater dull blond was--(dark ash blond—as per the color experts at Clairol hair color center, where I have sometimes been a test subject)

Now that it is shorter (and a more manageable length)—I might give a go at a swath of purple (not old lady bluish purple, but punk rock bright purple!)--Forget red hats--I want to wear purple hair!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Gussets and a bit

Looking more and more like socks with every rounds.

I am already itching to make another pair, and something else!

But I have been reading too. I sometimes like to read cooking books, (or Cook's Illustrated Magazine) or to watch cooking shows.

I don't do much of the fancy stuff I read about. I don't entertainment much, and I don't need to make something that serves 4, or 6.. though I confess to making up lovely curries—and other spicy stews and portioning them out and freezing the extra (lately chicken curry has been on the menu twice a week—I cheat and use prepared spice mixes.. (several different ones) and tend to add extra vegetable, (making them unauthentic stews)—but SO EASY to have meat and vegetable in one dish, and less clean up!)

I've been reading knitting books too—One of my first projects (was it my first? Or did the grey watch cap, done in Red Heart wool, come first?) was a very simple stranded doll's skirt--certainly it was one of my very early knitting projects.

My mother (and almost all of my female relatives) knit (or sewed, or did both!) --and she knit fast, demon fast, and she could do lace (but didn't often do fancy lace work) and she could cable (in the air with no cable needle (I was an adult when I learned how to use a cable needle—and thought it was so slow and cumbersome!) and churn out hats and mittens and sweaters for us (there were 5 of us) in no time at all. But she didn't do color work.

Me? I was drawn to it, right from the first, like a moth to the flame. And while I knew there were patterns for things (sweaters or hats) it never occurred to me you'd need patterns for stranded work. It seemed so self evident.

I've been reading Alice Starmore's book of Fair Isle Knitting, and while she touch on how some of the patterns evolved I think she buys into the idea that stranded color work is hard.

I've never thought it hard.. I love the regularity and symmetry--(she does cover the symmetry) but she doesn't point out—as Anne Zilboorg has done, how lovely and pleasurable some patterns are to knit. Some patterns are like dancing for your fingers.. The result is beautiful—but the work isn't work at all-- but a finger dance as pleasurable as any dance!

Some complex looking 'peries' are so rhythmic—they are just wonderful to do. And many peries (and the first pattern I did was about 7 rows—and almost identical to the first 7 row pattern in the book) (page XX) have a 4 way symmetry—which makes them even easier. R1 and R nth (the last row) are the same.. R2 and penultimate row are the same.. (making a 7 row pattern really a 4 row pattern; R1, 2, 3, C, 3, 2, 1) and a 10 stitch repeat really just a 5.. 1,2, 3, 4, 5, C, 5, 4 ,3. 2, (1) (which is really the start of the next repeat.

I think it's a bit funny—I started my knitting with stranded work—and have done all sorts of color work on and off (not nearly so exclusively as someone like Nannette, but more than most) and now, 50 years later, I've finally gotten round to reading about it, and learning about Fair Isle knitting! I know there are other kinds of stranded work—i frequently use the term fair isle (in lower case) as a synonyms for stranded work (of the non Fair Isle type. )

I doubt I will ever knit a proper Fair Isle sweater—I might, at some time, (but I don't have any plans) make a vest.. Certainly, I will do hats—Tams and other hats. And maybe even a fancy sock with a deep folded over cuff of Fair Isle.. (I don't like the fit and feel of stranded work on my foot.. and besides, the thicker stranded work socks don't fit into most of my shoes.)

But its wonderful to read about, and lovely to look at.. As appetite stimulating as a good cook book!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Every Day Things

I recognize—I am changing my way of thinking—thought not always successfully.. and changing my behavior too.

I am eating better (breakfast is a bit of starch (oatmeal or pastry) yogurt, and fruit—almost always fresh fruit, not juice, (and of course, coffee!) Not toast with butter and jam, or eggs and meat (usually sausage, but sometimes bacon) and potatoes (and sometimes toast, too)--but I do confess to eating breakfast out once a week and having eggs and potatoes (but no meat).

Same with other other meals—more veggies, and more green vegetable at that—though this week it's all roots for me. Carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips—(and I am likely going to pick up some potatoes—both white and sweet, too) plus there is an acorn squash on the menu and ginger--not quite a root. Not a green to be seen! (since I bought beets and the turnips with out tops). More fruit at lunch time--sometimes canned—because I love pineapple. (But don't be fooled, there is likely to be a chocolate volcano cake this week, too—I do eat better, but I still succumb to chocolate cake when offered! I KNOW it's not the best food (nutritionally!) but Oh, how I love it!)

When it comes to knitting, I recognize I am knitting simpler things more often than I ever used to. Last month, I made a bath mat—this weekend, I made a towel—that sort of matches.

It's another odd skein—or rather 90% or so of skein. Bernat's Gloucester—100% cotton, in a color called wheat. (a discontinued yarn) It's small (a hand towel) about 10 by 16, and cushy! Mostly seed stitch—but there is a decorative band of linen stitch, too. It used up all but 6 inches or so of the skein—I love how that works out. I would have liked it a bit bigger, but its big enough to work.

I've knit guest towels before (in a cotton/linen blend) but this towel will be an everyday hand towel. An everyday luxury in a way.

A simple thing, a hand towel. But its also a one of kind, special thing.

A simple pleasure to knit and use. It doesn't really help to knit up stash –and just, in effect, transfer yarn from 1 shelf, (stash) to another self, (linens). But it is a lovely thing.

Yesterday, at Sunday knitting, I finished the heel flaps, and turnings, and even got the gusset stitches picked up.. Now its all down hill till the toes. The second half (the foot) of a pair of socks always seems faster to knit than the cuff and leg! Maybe a photo of the progress tomorrow.. but really they are just plain socks (aside from the small design at the cast on and cuff) nothing special to see--except progress!

The collar is finished, too—but for buttons..

Friday, November 05, 2010


I am. I have so little self control. I flit off in this direction and that, I don't stick to it, I don't follow up, I don't stick to the plan or finish things.

Well that last item is not true... I finish lots of stuff.
I have a drawer full of socks, and other drawer full of hand knit scarves, and a huge storage bag of hats, that are a testament to the fact that I do, indeed finish things!

But it is true, I get distracted. Cleaning up stash and finding a 25 yards or so of silk—it sits around, homeless, wimpering to be knit up. Into what?

What can I do with 25 yards of silk??
And then there was the small skein of bamboo and silk. Maybe enough for fingerless gloves (there was 180 yards or so) but did I need/ did I want some dressy fingerless gloves? I dunno.

Then I saw, in some magazine I was looking at, a pretty, lacy victorian collar.. Oh that's nice.
But is was too lacy,too frilly for my taste.. But immediatly, I realized, done more substantial, it would still be pretty...

So I cast on with the silk—I used a bit more than half--(over 200 stitches) and then worked the bamboo in no pattern chevron--well no specific pattern--I've made over the years a number of chevrons, and just know how to do one. I added a few rows with yarn overs to make it a bit lacy; and a few rows of purl to keep it flat, and add some texture-- Just LOOK! It's almost a collar in no time at all!

A bit if ribbing now, then a row or two of the remaining silk, and finally a soft lacy ruffle to fall over the ribbing. A fancy silver button or two (the first button hole has just been made) and it will be done. The silk matches/co-ordinates well enough--and makes the plain purple bamboo and silk blend sing.

A pretty bit of collar to keep my neck warm—but not too warm. Pretty enough to wear all day, not just inside of coat.

Meanwhile, the swirl socks have 2 rows of the heel flap completed—and will be worked on intermittently as I finish this up. I have to finish them up, visions of more lacy scarves and more hats, and more fingerless gloves keep clouding my vision! It's going to be an effort to stick to just one project!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Alpha...

I don't remember when I started knitting—Well not precisely. Why would I? I didn't think it would be important at the time.

Likewise I don't remember when I learned to read. I know, before I started school I could read words (Stop, one way, sale, and a bunch of other words—street signs and store signs and other words)
At some point I learned that words could be strung into sentences, and sentences paragraphs, and together, the words and sentences made stories (or sense!)But I don't remember when that happened.

In the summer of 1960—I (along with my siblings) spend 4 months at my maternal grandparents house in Dublin Ireland. My grandfather (Poppa) had be diagnosed with a un-treatable (at the time) infection, that was life threatening, (and would be the death of him 3 years later.)

My mother wanted us to spend time with him while he still could get around and wasn't too sickly.

My grandparents had a big old fashioned radio (the PHILIPS as they called it, from the Dutch electronics giant) but no TV. Their house was a 'council house'--and they had one at the end of the row, so it was attached on only 1 side, and had a larger than average front and back yard. ( A search on Google map shows, the house they lived in, now has the only off street parking space on the block)

For entertainment on rainy days we watched the flames of the fire-- My grandmother was quite proud of the fact that GOOD ATHRACITE was burned (not peat) and it was my first introduction into different kinds of coal. We children were banned from going in the coal shed--(I had special privileges!--but that's another story!)

My memories of that summer are strong—10 years later, on a return visit, I remembered almost the entire bus route, from downtown Dublin to Drimnaugh-- and 20 years later, when watching a PBS special, I recognized country roads from my childhood visit--partly because so little had changed (especially in the country-side) and partly because, well I did!)

Much of the leisure time of my mother and grand mother and visiting aunts was spent knitting.
I watch the knitting, too. All of the women (relatives and visiting friends) knit with demon speed.

Have you seen the video some one took of the Yarn Harlot knitting? She knits so fast the small video image blurs—her knitting is faster than the camera can capture!--But to me, she knits normal.

Her speed is normal to me, since every knitter I knew in my childhood knit just as fast! I, too, knit pretty fast, but not as fast as the Yarn Harlot does, or my mother did. I don't strive for speed—but part of my introduction to knitting was fast knitting.. so I think fast knitting as normal.

That summer frequently found me sitting on the floor; alternately watching the fire, entranced by the dancing flames, or watching the knitting and flying fingers.

That fall (of 1960) I began to knit. When? I dunno.. sometime after we arrived home to NY, late fall (it was dark by dinner time) but before Thanksgiving.

But I don't (and didn't) think of what I was doing as knitting. I was casting on, I was making garter stitch and stocking knit, and even some ribbing. I was also making a lot of mistakes, and making nothing at all; just casting on, trying out stitches, unraveling and trying again. I don't remember when I “GOT IT”; when it was that I felt I had mastered the knit stitch, and could knit.

I know I took up knitting needles about 50 years ago (and have never put them down for long since then) But I do know, that by May of 1961—when I bought my first set of needles (vs using my mothers) and my first balls of yarn (MY choice of yarn! instead of left over bits in the knitting basket) I believed I could knit--And knit anything at all.

Those first needles were size 3 DPN's--(35cents!) and the yarn was 2 skeins of fingering wool 1 in pink, 1 in blue, and my first project was a skirt for doll—knit in the round, and worked in a simple stranded pattern. I didn't have a pattern to follow—I just made one up (and failed to plan well enough—there were incomplete repeats—but I didn't care! ) and plowed ahead.

That fall, fifty years ago, was the alpha of a interest that has lasted me most of my lifetime!

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Grey won the day

Several years ago, (August '06) before I started to blog, and long before I was on Ravelry, I made these sock. They are made from Paton's Kroy sock yarn—and a bit of left over baby wool (from a bag of odd balls of yarn)that was also super wash.

I like them—but...
I made the cast on too tight. The socks fit over my heel (with a struggle) –--the top edge has no stretch at all. They are shorter than my average sock—with no stretch, they had to be. I wear them--it's a testament to the sock yarn,(--and to having now 50+ pairs of sock)—that they look so good still.

Once monthly wearings, means a 4 year old pair of socks has likely only been worn 3 or 4 dozen times. I think these have been worn slightly fewer times than average—the cuff is tight, and the leg is short, so they are 2nd class socks. One reason I do wear them, is I like the design!

So, now, a new improved repeat is being knit.

A different cast on (tubular), a different rib, (1 X 1, two color) and a slightly different swirl pattern (it's longer) and I am well on my way to a new pair of socks—I am ready to start the heel flap!

I know they look mis-shappen--the fair isle swirls is less stretchy than plain knit -so there are more stitches at the top edge. And when not being super careful (and I wasn't) I tend to tighten up my gauge when working with a single color (vs my conscious effort to keep my knitting loose and stretch when doing stranded work--especially since these are a re-do of a sock design that is too tight!)
They look fine on, Iknow, because I've tried them on!)

The grey is a lighter shade, the pink is a long discontinued color (also Kroy). The fit (and stretch of cast on edge) is dramatically improved.

So sock number 1o gets crossed off the list...

But it can be replaced by an other sock (how could I have forgotten it?) Indigo blue herringbone twill stitch socks, trimmed with taupe (--Denim socks!)

And even thought I really like these socks, progress will slow down dramatical—I have 2 pieces of fabric crying for attention—a chocolate brown twill and a brick-red even weave.

So some new skirts will be heading my way—I think it's the colors more than anything that has me listening to the fabric. I like dark brown (it's a becoming color on me) and it seems so fall like. Same goes for the red—and while I have lots and lots of clothes (and did make 4 skirts this summer!) I haven't bought much in the way of new clothes in a few years now.. The summer of '09 I splurged on 11 man tailored shirts –at $3 (yes, three, not thirty, dollars each) but new skirts—in colors (not denim blue) are something to enjoy.

And, in a bit of reverse engineering, I have several pairs of socks that are partly or predominately brown, and a few pairs of socks with just the same shade of red. So I can make skirts to match socks as well as socks to match existing clothes.

Oh, wait, I don't have a single grey skirt, ( I do have a few grey t-shirts) and less in the way of raspberry in my wardrobe...
Let's pretend, for now, that I do!