Monday, February 28, 2011

Yes, as a matter of fact,

There are stitches off the needle right now! (on the left side)

I had to pull them free to line up the 2 pieces, center front to center front.

And being philisophical about it—the stripes don't match—but that is way things are--Noro doesn't match up. The colors are nice, and blend nicely from one to the other, and all sorts of other nice things can be said.

When the miter is done, I think I am going to pick up a few stitches on the side and make the side panel deeper. The back will be a mirror image of the front—worked with 2 balls of yarns, a miter and interlocked “seam” at the center back.

I am pleased with the striped garter stitch—a strong, and at the same time subtle Vertical to counter the horizontal color stripe.

It's moving along nicely—which is good! But the non matching stripes means this vest will never be a show off one--rather an around the house, or under the coat warmer.

Tomorrow, I will cast on another pair of socks—Red, white and shades of grey—is the most likely contender.. but maybe, by tomorrow, I will have changed my mind!

Cousin A was pleased with her fingerless gloves—and all is right with the world.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Twice now! and More

(a short rant! Skip over if desired)

Twice this week, people have commented on old posts (one 3 years old, the other 4.5 years old!)

One asked a very specific question—only marginally related to the post –specifically how to change a simple 3 stitch 'broken rib” pattern –written for flat knitting-- into one for working in the round.

The second asked about a free pattern. She was sure the directions were wrong. (It available on Ravelry, it's been knit a half dozen times, and each time, it's worked perfectly)

Both had names that formed links—and in both cases I was willing to try and help.

But both of them had their blogger profiles blocked—so I couldn't send them an email, or a post a message on their blogs. There was no way to contact them.
REALLY? --You want my help? —ONLY you don't. (and aren't going to get it!)
Ok –end of rant!

So here are the fingerless gloves for my cousin (A) (a month late for her 88th birthday! ) All knit up—pretty plain—but pretty none the less. A bit of mock needle weaving, on the cuff and on the end near the fingers is the only special bit—but its enough I think. (real needle weaving is done with 2 strands (twinned knitting) this decoration is done with 1 strand and slip stitches.)

White wool is a good go with most any color--(but I know her coat is blue—and her hat is my 3 color Fair Isle hat (see it here on Ravlery) I didn't knit the hat specifically for A—but it fit her, and she liked it. White will match well--(I couldn't find this yarn (JoAnnes Sensations sports weigth wool) in blue—and I tried to dye blue—but I didn't like the result. So plain white it is.)

And here—a blast from the past--I might have been blogging when I knit this--but I don't remember--For sure its was made long before I started on Ravelry-- a small knit clutch.

(I had, and attached, what was once a earing—long mateless—as a bit of trim. but I don't really like it. I just have never bothered to find something better)--maybe now I will.

It's fully lined with a zipper closing, and has a cell phone pocket and a credit card pocket inside!

And here an almost complete ball of the same yarn.

Have you seen Nicky Epstein's newest project in the Winter issue of Vogue?
I-cord made into lovely ornate knots?

I think this left over yarn is going to become I-cord—and a fancy knot necklace.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cleaning Up and Finishing Up

The Noro Vest has from neck to hem done—Center front. But with a great honkying big mitered corner.. well the fronts are by no means done.

I did nothing on it yesterday –when I realized-- the month of February is almost over!--and I have a pair of fingerless gloves that are a month late.

I went to look for them—I knew I left them in a bag. Right-- like that's any help!
(I have a bunch of small clear plastic bags that I use for socks—I need more! And bigger ones,--I need every project in a clear plastic bag—so I can find and keep track of them.) Or perhaps I need to be neater and more organized. Or not have so many unfinished experimental projects hanging around! (Yup, that's the real answer!)

Well I found the gloves (and frogged) and I also found a scarf I was experimenting with—back in November—one that was 50% or so finished. I haven't finished it.. But I did finish just enough to know—It's a good idea—but this version doesn't work!

This scarf is a little, close to the neck decorative (and semi functional) style scarf.
It is fastened on the neck by interweaving some of the leaves (that are on icord stems) and it has a separate flower (not this one--maybe this one--or maybe some other one) pinned on.

Here it is:
1—the back neck band is too narrow (and not functional enough)
2—the leaves are too large and thick and overwhelm the front.
3—the leave position needs to be better thought out.
4—the leaves (or rather more of the leaves) need some I-cord stems (to hang further away)
5—the yarn needs to be softer, finer, silkier--so the leaves (MORE leaves) are smaller and finer--and to make comfort-not warmth a priority. (The wool proto-type is plenty warm, but only so-so on the comfort scale. )

1 through 4 aren't too hard to change. But number 5? I think I might have some yarn that will do--
--BUT--I sort of planned to make a fair isle trimmed vest with it. I don't think I have enough green for the body of the vest and the scarf. (If I add more colorwork, I might have enough green (2 shades of green)--since I do have 2 different greens (a medium and a dark) .

–maybe if I make the stem a third color (a grey or a brown?--do i have grey or brown in this yarn? Purple, yes, blue yes, gold and white, yes. But grey? brown? I don't think so.

--or maybe the body of the scarf (the stem) should/could be a two color stem—and add some texture? to make it more natural looking? (maybe the white could be dyed?)

Do I have enough color (and enough quanity?) to make use of the colors I have, without using up to much of any one color? To make the scarf and the vest?
So many Questions! (so few answers!)

Ok so today I will knit the fingerless gloves--(and take a photo of them) and then deliver them –1 full month late!--on Sunday. And on Sunday, I'll go back to work on the Noro vest.

And then, added to my queue—is reworking this scarf idea. The question is—do I do that first?

Or do I do the silky fair isle vest first and let the scarf be just a way of using up the left overs?

Or—do I get distracted by some other yarn in my stash, and some other idea, and let this project just wait?

Or do one of the gazzillion other ideas have? (Why aren't the days longer, and the months too? Why can't I knit faster (or think slower?) )

I have to knit some roses (soon!) for a project in March (and it's March already on Monday!)
Well, at least, yesterday and I cleaned up I found the yarn and finding needed for the roses, and have them front and center (IN a clear plastic bag!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 700 Club--& Hopelessness

No, not that one!

It's just this is my 700th post on this blog!
I'm a person who started a blog and who has kept with it—enought that I've made 700 posts.

(I usually don't notice such things.. I've forgotten the blog anniversary more often than I've remembered it, an I don't think I've marked a mile stone like this since the 100th blog post. )

I started this blog in August of 2006—almost 5 years ago. Back then, knew a little HTML, and the barest minimum about digital photos, and nothing about digital videos. But I had a driving need to write about knitting. (and me. This blog is about me as much as it is about knitting) Post were few and far between --10 posts per month were unusual. Back then—I posted once every 3 days or so. I had a half dozen or so faithful readers.

I knew I wanted to write more, and share more, and to have an opportunity to talk about knitting in depth. But it took a while to develop the habit of regular postings.

Now, I am blessed (shades of the other 700 club) with 80+ subscribers, and daily readership of about 90 a day—and while there aren't daily posts –the average is about 5 a week—I feel an obligations to my readers. I make an effort to get my 5 post a week in.

Since starting this blog, I learned to make (and have made) 30 something YouTube videos, and published almost as many patterns, and started my web page—as a central location for information.

This blog has been good for me—and I want to thank everyone of you have read, or commented, or knit one of my patterns.

The Hopelessness?
Well that lies in getting the Noro yarn (Kruyon?) to work up evenly. Hopeless.

The previous owner tried—gave up and got rid of the yarn for almos nothing.
It started out OK—but is off (Front and center!) and I'm not ripping and not trying again.

I'm going to live with it.
This image below shows what I am working with—skiens and bit of skeins, cut and tied together to get a matching balanced sequence of the colors.. and still FAIL. I think I have enough yarn for a vest. But I know I don't have the will or desire to work hard at getting the color ways to match up.

In the photo above is the square neck and and center front of a vest based on EZ's rib warmer.
In an inch or two, I'll start the mitered corner that make the sides, (and the a second mitered corner and up the back we go--If I run out of this yarn, the back shoulder will have a solid back in a similar yarn.

I needed (for the miter) some sort of garter stitch based pattern—I wanted something with a vertical element. I think I got it right.

The vertical stripe is subtle--but it can be seen.
The horizontal (un matched-grrr) stripe is still the most dominat element. But I do like the colors... (and the color way still hasn't played out entirely!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Done and Finished and GREAT

I finished up the the ribbed band last night -well late afternoon--And then I did the finishing (weaving in all the end, and sewing down a single stitch that I managed to drop (and not catch till many rows latter!)

Here on the dress form--the knitting is done, but not the finishing (weaving in of ends,etc.)
I ended up doing a few short rows at the back of the neck, and had 4.5 inches of ribbing there, and 3.75 inches everywhere else. I think I made the ribbed band deep enough.

Then I got Dana V (Dvessa on Ravelry) –one member of my Tuesday knit night group-- to modeled it.

It's a sort of one size fits all—since it does fit me (and Dana is a what a size 6? and I am far from being a 6 (or a size 16 even!)
Here is a good view of the small lace motif that runs up the sleeve.

I think I am going to get a lot of wear from this shrug! I know I love the colors and love the feel!

Now on to finishing up some finishing up of UFO's and then threading beads onto my grey yarn for my garnets in the granite socks. Plus last night I spent some time organizing my collection of Noro (the wool NORO, not silk garden), for a Vest—I want the fronts to more or less match (colorway stripe wise) as I get to sides and back, I know it won't—but I won't mind (much!)

I have 2 big 'cakes' that match to start, and then a dozen or so smaller bits of skeins. I haven't decided on a stitch yet either..I could go with a garter--but with the horizontal stripes of color--I think I want a stitch that breaks up those stripes--and adds a vertical element. I'll look through my stitch collections and see what presents its self!

I got this Noro at a garage sale—all a mess--some was crocheted into the beginning of a circular shrug that I unraveled--some in small and medium balls, and some just unraveled knotted up messes of wool -No labels, or clear idea of just how many skeins I have (I suppose I could put in on a scale and see by weight how much I have—but the whole bag (a 2 gal zip lock bag) worth of Noro for $5—well it's enough!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back Up—and Band On.

Grafted up that is... Here it is before I reworked the stitches to get perfect tension—not bad but now, looking even better. (that was yesteday—mid afternoon!)The graft is in the greenish kahki color stripe--about center back if you want to inspect!

Then the front got finished up--I had plenty of yarn in skeins 5 and 6 to work a few rows (decreasing at top for the neck and at the bottom for some matching shaping) and then some.

After that, stitches pick up for ribbed band—that was dinner time.

After dinner, rounds and rounds of ribbing. Used up skein 5 and then skein 6. Now there is not enough left of skein 6 to finish a round. The ribbing is about 2 inches. Nice, but not near enough.

There are still rounds and rounds of ribbing to go!

I think its going to need at least 2 more inches of ribbing. But I am kidding myself--I don't think I will be happy with less than 5.

But it looks like a shrug! It's very rapidly nearing completion. And I love it more every round! (at this point, the needles restrict the front/opening so much, the shrug won't even fit on my child sized dress form! So its a bit hard to see the real shape.)

I have taken some notes—and have a a recipe—not a pattern. The thing is, it's a successful design because its been designed to suite (and fit) me.

--To start –knit a swatch to find a gauge you like. I ended up using size 8 (5mm) needles for the whole thing. (not the size 9/5.5 suggested by the yarn.)

Cast on for the cuff--(for me, that was 40 stitches) and knit a deep cuff (for me, 8 inches)
change to stocking knit, and in the last round of the ribbing (to hide) increase from 40 to 48 (8 increases/space 5 stitches apart)
On the next round find the center and increase 1 more time (49)

For the first 12 rounds, increases at the rate of 2 increases for 2 R's (for rounds or row) then 1R plain. The increases are either side of the Beginning of round.

At the same time begin a lace pattern on the upper arm (centered on the last (49th ) stitch
I did a simple V lace—but any symmetrical lace pattern would work—the extra odd stitch is almost a requirement for a symmetrical lace (and means there are no K2tog's or SSK that cross from needle to needle (the whole think has been worked on 2 circ's)

After R2, change the increase to Every Other Round.

Knit till desired length (I measured from top of my shoulder to middle of my hand –23 inches)
I didn't do the math—except for some rough figuring—but this worked out fine When I had 23 inche in length, my round was about 34 inches around (or flattened, about 17 inches per side)
This worked perfectly for me—since I am long waisted, and my nape of neck to waist measurement is 18 inches! But you might go for shorter sleeves (and less depth) or you might want to change the increases (making more for a deep back on the shrug,(if you are taller, or even more long waisted) or fewer for a shorter back (if you are shorter or short waisted)

Cast on a few stitches at BoR—use a simple cast on —turn work and begin to knit flat.
At the end of the first ROW, pick up some stitches (I cast on 4) from the loose loopy edge of the cast on.
For the next 3 inches, I worked flat. From back hem to shoulder (top) and then back down to front hem.

Then I divided the work and only worked the back—
First a few decreaces for a bit of back neck shaping (2 sets of 2 decreases on each side of the neck)
And I added 2 short rows at the neck edge, and 4 short rows at the hem edge (since the sleeve—which looks like it has a straight edge—is actually curved (think of the a paren! ( ) when the sleeves gets opened (as you put your arm into the sleeve!)

so while the flat knitting looks like this: | On, the knitting fits like this: ) or the this: (
so the back actually lookes like )_|_(
--see how you'd need some short rows at the neck, and even more at the hem?
When the back is wide enough—and here is where custom fitting comes in!--graft the 2 edges together.

The front was decreased almost evenly--that is 3 decreases every row, on both the neck edge and on the hem edge making the ) ( curves of the front even more rounded.)

Finishing? Pick up stitches all round the perimmeter, and work a edging in ribbing.

Yardage ? Depends a lot on gauge and other factors—but my shrug is coming in at 1200 or so yards--or about a standard sweaters worth of yarn.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No more cold shoulders in my future

But—for now, there are still a few more inches needed to finish the back.
And then a bit more in front to shape the neck, and finally a unifying border of ribbing. So while its progressing.-- It not done (only about 80% or so done.)

I love the way the skiens blend one into another—There must be a 'repeat'--but it hasn't shown up yet! Look at the lovely changes--some where in this image--there is a change of skeins--but it's invisible!

I used up the last of skeins 3 and 4 just as the shoulders started—some time between Saturday afternoon and evening. In total 3 more inches (shoulder) were added as rounds, and then the work was split at the hem—and 4 stitches added—see the little sub of a side seam if you look closely at the most recent image. (below)

At the same time, the pieces were re oriented—now both fronts are on one needle, and both backs are on another. Not quite 6 inches (of at least 10—more likely 12 inchesz) of the back have been knit—and a few short rows have been added to refine the shape of the back.

Make that over 7 inches –since I continued knitting last night –after I started the draft of this post!
At the same time serious inroads have been made into skeins 5 and 6—making me very glad that skeins 7 and 8 are in the waiting!

I think I'll be able to finish the body of the shrug with skeins 5 and 6—but the entire edge of the shrug will be finished with ribbing (I am think a few inches!) and that will be a lot of stitches/ribbing!

The ribbing will be a full band all round the shrug—and drawing the neck edge, and hem in, as well as adding depth to the front. There will likely be some short rows involved too—to make a bit of stand for the back of the neck that will let the ribbing fold over as a collar.

So far? —Knock wood—it's all working out as I hoped--actually better than I hoped. I love the colors and I love how well they blend and work together. I am usually pleased with the value that Lion Brand Yarns offer--but yarn is well named--It is Amazing!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Inch

To go—or measured the other way—3 more inches knit!

Yes, the sleeves are now 22 inches long—and at 23inches or so—they will be done. Soon—very soon!

The first change will be an inch or so of shoulder—plus backs and fronts—these few rows—(vs rounds) will be the most critical.

I knit close to perfectly—but I know—unless I take care—I can row out just the littlest bit. Enough to change gauge by 1 stitch over 20 or 1 row over a dozen. But I can't let that happen as I change from working in the round to working flat—it will create a line as clear as day and I don't want that!

There will only be an inch or two of long rows (back to shoulder to front and reversed) and then I'll bind off for the neck and front and back will be divided. ( I'll need a third needle to re-arrange the stitches.) The fronts will stay on one circ, the backs will be worked first. (this gives me few more days to think about how I am going to shape the front, too!)

When next I post (Monday AM most likely) there will be some real changes—I know I see the progress I am making—but really all you see is a yet an other picture of a sleeve—and with out close examination of the current color (and side by side comparison of the stripes) it doesn't really look that much different day to day. But by Monday things should be looking a bit different. (though you can see the blue stitch marker-- in the first image-- close to the edge of the work yesterday is far down from it now)

I have a mental queue of other things to knit—but for now—this little shrug is keeping me fully engaged. I am itching to get to work on it—itching to start on the back--and loving how soft and unitchy the wool (well mostly wool with acrylic) is. It's hard to stop (and blog!) I just want to see it finished.

I like the bright jewel colors of the NORO in my stash—but I love the way this yarn looks and feels, too. It's a pleasure sliding through my finges—and it's going to be a pleasure to wear.

Loin Brand (via its newsletter--The Weekly Stitch) has 4 patterns for shrugs featured--The knitted versions show clearly my problems with most knitted shrugs;
1--no coverage of lower arm (when I get cold, I want my arms covered!)
2--in the rusty/orange version (Vanna's Yarn) --seams (sleeve seams) front and center. (the dressmaker in me doesn't like this)
3--in the large shrug (fisherman's wool) even the professional styled image can't completely hid the lumpy uneven hem and excess fabric--in the back for the most part, but visible in the front, too.

My shrug seeks to resolve these issues (who knows, I might end up with other ones) --long sleeves, and while 'seamless' the shaped underarm stays under arm and at the side) and lumpy back (with excess fabric) gone.

I need to learn to love muted colors in the skein--and back off from ONLY buying bright hues.
(Wait--my next few projects are from my stash--top heavy in bright colors... Oh well!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chugging Along

19 inches now! Of 23 (well maybe 23, maybe 24 inches) –before I divide the work into front and backs.

And there won't be much of either—(front or back) to knit—so gettting the sleeves done is going to be most of the shrug! (OK there will be edging, but that won't be much--not after all the other knitting)

The big blue stitch marker (right side) marks the end of skein 1 (and 2) –and I am very happy with the progress (Its a lot of knitting in each skein of yarn) I think I'll easily be able to finish the rest of the sleeve(s) and the small flat knit part of back(s) with the current skein(s)—since there just isn't that much of sleeve(s) left to knit.

I love designing my own knitwear—and document the process infrequently--(I design for me) –one disadvantage is not knowing how many skeins a project will require (I have enough—I know that now for sure!) but its always a bit of gamble.

I love the colors too. At night, they can seem dark and muddy, and not too attractive-- but in todays soft grey light (the cloud cover is high, and the day is bright—but the sky is completely covered with clouds) the colors are just wonderful.

I am often attractived to bright clear (“crayon”) colors—and they so appeal to me. But –so many of my clothes are duller—or as I was once corrected-MUTED-(sound so much nicer than muddy, doesn't it?)

Muted colors—while they aren't usually my first choice (or second, or third even!) work very well—and have a beauty of their own. I really love this colorway—I must have been in some sort of mood to chose it in the first place—and boy, oh boy, am I happy with it!

There are some bright spots (the bright rose and blue in the cuff that has just repeated narrower stripes —but over all the soft colors are just lovely. I think this shrug is going to get a lot of use!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From Zero to Five

Then from 5 to 12—and now up to 15 (inches).

It would seem progress has slowed. But not really.

The cuff was a scant 40 stitches, the sleeve started with an increase to 49—and continued to increase –so that now, each round is 103—so in terms of the number of stitches I have knit—it's really not that different—2 rounds of 2 sets of 49 stitches vs 1 round of 2 sets of 103 stitch are almost about the same number of actually stitches--so 3 inches of knitting now are close to the same number of stitches to be worked as 6 inches a few days ago.

The sleeve now measures 15 inches long, and 23 around (or about 11.5 per side.)

My center neck to waist measurement is about 18 inches—so by the time I reach my shoulder (circa 23 inches long from cuff to needle) —the sleeve will be close to that deep (or about 36 inches round, (18 per side) So the sleeve will be the full length of the shrug back.

At the shoulder, I will stop working in the round, and make a flat knit (shaped) back and neck-- and do the same for the front. The final finishing touches will be a collar (from front, around to back and then to the front again) and a hem. (from front to back and front again)

I haven't decided on the front shape—(a high neck? A V neck? A very deep V and a closure near the waist?) So far the V neck is most likely.... but –that could change. And I haven't decided if there will be an overlap (and button) or if the neck band will be extended and become a tie closure.
And --soon to be a blog topic--(Titled: I shot myself in the foot) a photo of the mystery project (in the photo, still a UFO) --missing buttons and beads.. but the general shape can be seen. A pretty capelet--lace and feathers, and glitter.. (and a pattern too.--in not to much more time.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It seems like a lot (it a lot) but there is so much more to go! From 5 inches of ribbing yesterday AM I went to 8 inches of ribbing.

At the same time, there was an increase (from 40 stitches to 49) then increases every 2 rows out of three—and a bit of lace (a simple V pattern) and 4 more inches.. (just over 12 inches right now)

The sleeves (the pair of them) are taking shape. The deep snug cuff is rapidly becoming wide--(and will become wider and fuller with each round) making a batwing shape that will define this as a shrug and not a sweater.

From the starting point (cast on) to the shoulder (sans ease, and I think I will need an inch or two of ease) measures (on me) 23 inches. So not quite half way—in length.

But since ever round is getting longer (the increases are now a simple every other R--) it's really only about 25% of the sleeve knit. So while there is progress, there is still a lot of knitting to do. The sleeves will also form part of the front and part of the back--so the sleeves --when finished will include a good part of the shrug body--

Still for 2 days effort—not a bad result. The colors are lovely and stagging and not a simplistic stripe—and even though they are same dye lot—there is a lot variety in the 2 skeins.

Last night Diane—a newish knitter (ambitious, but still new!) looked at the colors and said “amazing” and I laughed-- the yarn is AMAZING—that is Lion Brand's Amazing.

And it is pretty amazing. I am very happy with it, and how its knitting up. It was a toss up between this shrug in this yarn or a vest (a EZ rib warmer type vest) in Noro—and this yarn won out. It's lovely to knit with—and this design is more forgiving.

I will want the vest to be more or less matching (on the center fronts) and that will require more effort. (The Noro is ReCycled—and the previous knitter has problems (it was a WIP). I have a few full skeins, and may partial skeins--all use in her effort to get a neat match of colors/stripes.

A vest will be simpler to match up--but it will still be an effort. I will be knitting the vest front first, (getting as good a match in color ways as possible, and let mis matched color stripe occur on the back. )--that is --when I get around to spending time sorting what I have, and making up two sort of matching skeins to start.

I know the Noro will soften up when its washed—but for now its messy to look at (so many partial skeins) and rough in hand. But I do like the jewel tone color way!

Don't expect to see as much progress between today and tomorrow as there has been between yesterday and today—but I do expect to have this finished before the end of the month.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

They're Socks

Just 1R taller than 8 inches--I held out as long as I could but—I wasn't feeling any love and even the addition of some extra cables and a fancy cuff couldn't hold my interest.

They're casual clothes socks. They kind you wear to an activity when you don't care what you look like –I haven't vollunteered at a car wash in eons.. but well maybe helping some one move –these days—more likely helping some one after a death in the family when a house needs to be cleaned out.

They look nice—but don't really match anything in my wardrobe. Ok-- I guess with a jeans skirt--(there is the gun grey color –the sort of looks blueish) or with a olive colored top (I have a few) or maybe a peach top (I don't have much in the way of real orange (and have way too many orange socks already –plus another planned—that have will have some orange in them).

So far so good with socks—One pair in January, one pair in Februay. I am inching to start the next pair --only because I love the idea of them—Grey socks in a granite stitch-with viens of garnets (red beads) running through-- tribute to NYC—the Bronx particulary.

Most of the rock in NYC is granite—Manhattan is a grey schist (well marbled with mica and very sparkley) that lays above the (the oldest rock—in the Bronx)-- which is gniess—a greenish grey stone that is marbled with garnets. (the pressures involved to make gniess cause the chemicals that are garnets to crystalize out of the rock –that the full extent of my geological knowledge)

The top most layer of rock in NYC is a whitish sandstone--aka “Marble”. Bits and pieces are found about—Marblehead (a community just north of Manhattan in the Bronx) or Whitestone (a Queen community and bridge) and there are a few other other place names mark this otherwise nearly completely eroded strata. (It's rare enough to define a small community area—something that stood out and was noticable) Most of Queens (my borough) is terminal moraine—Sand and or stony scree. (there are some out croppings of clay, too)

Meanwhile, these are not socks –5 inches of not socks—How quick it is to knit 5 inches on a size 8 (5mm) needle than on a size 1(2.25mm)!

These are cuffs of a shrug--(I am taking notes) knit from cuff to cuff (only its not)—it will have a center back seam and some shaping in the back (and front) to provide the needed ease .

I like (so easy, so simple) the idea of shrugs that are just long scarves that have buttons (or some fasteners, or are sewn) on each end to make sleeves.

But I don't like them—not really. I don't like how the sleeves seam twists. (or worse finds its self center front on the sleeve) I don't like how the back always bunches up—as it must with out shaping.

So my shrug is starts with nice deep ribbed cuffs—another 2 inches at least—maybe 3 (I am thinking 8 inches sounds about right—and right now there are 5 inches) Then the there will be a bit of pattern on the top of the sleeve, and increases (LOTS of increases) on the bottom of the sleeve –to make almost a bat wing type sleeve.

At some point I will stop knitting in the round—one side will just stop (front) the other will have some shaping (for fit and for the neck) and the two pieces will be grafted together. Then a front and neck band, and a bottom band too.

The yarn is one with a long striping pattern—and no attempt will be made to have any sort of matching--(D'oh!) not now, and not when I change skeins (or graft, or knit on the neck and front band)

So—my granite and garnet socks will wait—but while I am knitting the shrug-- I need to get 1 (2, really) hats knit for the St Baldricks foundation, and another, (a child hat) for another charity project.

Plus a pair of fingerless gloves knit, too (I started them, and didn't get an inch done before noticing a fatal flaw—the fancy cuff? I ended up with 2 right ones—not a right and left!) I have important hats, to knit too (original designs I want to knit and document) and... well as always, my plate is overfull of ideas!

Monday, February 14, 2011

They're Almost Socks

And it's a good thing, too, because while the spirals of color are intesting, they are not enough –not even witht the small side cables, to sustain interest. I am really getting bored with these socks.

They are about 6.5 inches tall now, from the base of the heel—normally I like about 9 inches (or about an equal length from heel to toe as there is heel to cuff.) and normally I like about 1.5 inches of ribbing for a cuff.

I don't know why—I know there are some who hate knitting cuffs, and make them as short as possible to do the job—but my cuffs always end up about the same inch and half. They look too short shorter than that (and longer means at least 3 inches—because I think a deep cuff needs to be folded back.--and really it should be 3 inches (and 3 inches to fold) but I don't much wear folded cuffs.)

Picky aren't I? I demand so much from a sock. It needs to be prettty, to match my clothing, to be interesting to knit, to be functional, to be warm, to be different—and more! It's a lot to ask from something as simple as a sock--but actually it's not the sock I expect to deliver—IT'S me.

It all about me and what I expect of myself and my knitting. I am so picky (and yet, I made a mistake with the cable way down in the instep—and left it.) On one sock one cable crosses wrong. And on the other, somehow I dropped a stitch (it's being held for now on a stitch marker)—it will be sewn in when I finish the socks.

I don't demand perfection –from my self or my socks. But then why should I? I knit socks for pleasure and practicality—not for one upmanship!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Same (but Different)

Its AM and my north- west facing windows are full of lovely diffused light--(and none of the sun's glare!) and it will be easier to see the details of t he reverse engineered heel flap. And a few more round on the sock help things along, too.

Flat—the sock looks a bit weird. But let's just look at the details

The sole of the foot is socking knit. (d'oh!)

The turning part of the heel is not on the sole part of the heel, but on the back of the heel (and it works just as well!)--see the image on the left-- when the sock is on the manikin legs.

The gusset is worked in reverse socking knit—letting the small cable carry the “LINE” of the decreases alone.

The knitting above the turning, (the rows worked while working the gusset) are worked in a slip stitch –(where—in my after 7PM fried brain—I messed up) where ever row is work (not every other row) with a slip stitch –which brings me to a correction.
Heel—from yesterdays post—Correct
Eye of Partridge –from yesterdays post (WRONG—but what I actually did)

CORRECT Eye of Partridge stitch directions(if knit flat for a flap)
R1: *S1, K1
R2: S1, Purl remaining
R3: S1, K1, *K1, S1
R4: repeat row 2
(the initial slip stitch for the selvage is specific to the flap)

The slip stitch I did works great (on) even if it looks a bit weird off.
It makes the sock tight around the back of the ankle, AND it shortens the sock there too. (Ever notice how you sometimes get a wrinkle above the back of the ankle? Not with these socks! The sock really needs to be just a smidge shorter at the back of the ankle (unless you are shoeless) —and this slip stitch is shorter (row gauge) than heel or (The correct) eye of partridge stitch.

Another change to the basic structure:
The flap (on average) is usually equal in row length to the number of stitiches. (30 stitches/ 30 rows, (2 sets of 15 chains) 30 stitches picked up for gusset.

But the gusset is often much shorter in one direction than it is in the other.

After a turning you might have 10 or so stitches, then pick up a number of stitches equal to the ORIGINAL count of the flap and decrease to correct the count:
--30 flap stitches (30 rows long)
--> become 10 heel stitches after the turning
-->then 30 stitches are picked up along the flap (the slip stitch chain selvage)
--> then the gussets are created by decreasing to original number--(30).

Since there are 10 extra stitches, the gussets are shorter –in rows—than the flap.

The gusset is a right triangle--32 stitches on bottom, 12 rows tall (2 decrease, every other rows)
(The hypotinose of the gusset triangle is-- well formed with decreases—and I don't care enough about the math to do it!--not that it would be perfect anyway—Knitting (unlike real geometry) has some stretch –a fudge factor if you will!)

With a reversed F/T/G heel, about half the back of the heel is made form the turning—the rest is made from the gusset rows.
In this case, 12 stitches to decrease, 2 every other row, for a total of 12 rows.

These change the LOOK of the back of the heel- (it looks different!) but not the fit—It fits pretty much the same.

On the manikin legs (I've been corrected and told I must use the french spelling (maniquin) but the simpler version is also acceptable!) --you can see how the heel fits. With a few extra rows, it is so much easier to photograph—but as I said, the sock is still loose since the manikin is smaller than my foot or leg.
(this is much less noticeable when I photograph the finished socks).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Visual Learning

There are (or so they say) different methods of learning. Visual (see it—learn it) Aural (hear it-learn it) and Kinetic (do it-learn it)

Most of us tend to learn MIXED.--Teachers know this.. and make kids MOVE and LISTEN and LOOK. There are some concepts that are hard to understand unless you see them (or do them)

In general, I am a visual learner--It's a case of monkey see, monkey do. Knitting socks (well knitting HEELS of socks) was one of those things that I had see, and hear and do before I got it. (It took a long time for me to learn how to do heels) But then, once I got one got it –I GOT IT. For a long time I slugged away, not really being able to read a patttern and understand what kind of heel was going to be created. And then Suddenly—I Knew!

I knew the heel I was knitting, I knew other heels, I knew how 1 or 2 stitches difference here, was going to create a HUGE differences there. I got how other heels worked –and while I recommend Heels by Number all the time, for me, (now) it's totally unneeded. I can see. It was a eurika moment.

So my heel.. a reversed F/T/G heel (where F/T/G is Flapped/Turned/ Gussetted).

Last seen the sock were heel-less. Now, the sock as a sole (the flap, worked in stocking knit) and heel (the turning) and it's about to get gussets. (the stitches have been picked up, but not knit)
My 34 stitches (flap) became 20 after the turning. I picked up 36 (16 each side) to have 56 stitches. (that was last night)

Now mid morning, I am about to work the gussets. The gussets will be created with a series of decreases –22 stitches (to bring my stitch count back to 34) as 12 paired decreases spread out over 22 R's (I Like the term R—since knitting sock on 2 circs has a FEEL of knitting flap (knit, turn knit to make a round, and each side feels like flat knitting) so I THINK ROWs (and decrease ever other row, on one side (set) of the knitting!)

At the same time (Those oh so dreaded words!) I will be continuing the small cable pattern on the front of the sock—as I am once again knitting in the round.

The heel (sole/back) of the sock is divide into 3 parts (see the markers?)
the center part (34stitches) will be worked in REAL eye of partridge stitch (not half eye of partridge stitch.
The difference?
Heel stitch:
R1: S1, K1, (repeat across row--since flaps are usually knit flat)
R2: S1, P all

Eye of Partridge:
R1: *S1, K1 (repeat)
R2: *K1, S1( repeat.)

Since the back of the heel (where heel stitch is located) is being 1—knit in round, not flat and 2 doesn't need a chain stitch selvage) its just as easy to do a an eye of partridge stitch

Working flat the eye of partridge stitch requires an offset to get the slip stitches to not line up--
(think of 1 X 1 ribbing (stitches line up) vs seed stitch(stitches offset)
or in a flat knit flap (R1: S1, K1/ R2: S1(for selvage) R2: Sl 1 (again for pattern OR K2, then slip 1, K1 (ending in knit 1) )

But working in the round, eye of partridge is quite easy!

Heel stitch is useful for making the heel (back of heel, where the shoe rubs against the sock) stronger, and it also changes the gauge (making the heel fit better!) and pulls the sock tight on the back of the heel.

Finally because my little side ribs have purl ditches either side, the gusset part (the decreases) will be worked in purls. Which will make the decrease less obvious.. and let the little cable be the most interesting part of the sock--not a strong line of decreased stitches. (see below)

Another change with the reverse engineered F/T/G heel, is the turning that in a top down heel tend to be on the bottom (sole) of the sock, is with a reverse engineered heel, at the back of the heel.

(More so on the Leg's(image) than in real life..I wear a size 9/EE shoe—the legs have smaller feet (size 6/C) so my socks are always sligthly big on them as I model them.

See them now, mid afternoon--not to clearly(too much sun!) and again tomorrow in better light.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Back to the Socks

Now that my connections is working.

I woke yesterday to no cable—which--well happens.

The good news is: my telephone, cable and electric lines are under ground—and with the wind storms and downed trees last fall, I didn't have to worry about service.

The bad new is: we had a thaw this past weekend, and milder weather melted away a good percentage of the snow and ice—and all that salty, slushy water had to go somewhere. Some it went down the manholes and into the electric service tunnels. This results in small (and large) electrical fires—and sevrice disuptions, all round the city. The small shorts and fires and the problems they cause don't make the news.

Service was out till 3 PM yesterday and intermintant for hours after that. This morning is seems to be working again.

Meanwhile, I am back to the socks. I like the way this yarn is pooling. And I have been thinking about how a heel is going to change that.

I could do an after thought heel—but I'd want to add a some small gussets and since I have side cables on the front of the sock, I'd have to add the gussets on the back (or heel side) and I don't much like the look (or fit) of an afterthought heel when made extra deep with a side gussets (my red stripe socks have one—see here)

So what kind of heel then? Well with some thought, I am going to do a reverse engineered Flap/Turned/Gusseted heel.

There are two way to do this-- I am doing the simple way—in an another inch or so, I will start to knit a flap (in stocking knit) on the sole. Then I'll do a turning, pick up stitches for the gussets, and work the gussets (and back of heel) in heel stitch.

It will change the pooling—but I don't think it will matter much.

Monday, February 07, 2011

From the London Foundlings Hospital

I won't get there to see—(will you?) but look at this lovely slide show.
It's fast, but you can pause and continue it easily--I did to copy the list, and read some of the details

And look at this list—things that came with the baby-- some I know, some are strange (a forehead cloth? A long stay?) Some I can guess at--a clout is likely a diaper—since until about the 1950's diaper was a kind of cloth (used to make clouts—hemmed squares of cloth) that covered a baby's rear end and contained waste) –But what is a barrow?
Or a roller?
Is a mantle a name for a shawl/baby blanket?

And a biggin—is a cap—but what makes it special from an ordinary cap (and hand written notes some times say-A Holland Cap or an Irish cap.)

I'd love to hear about the differnce between a frock, an upper coat, a petticoat, and bodice coat and a long stay, if you know them.

Forehead cloth
Head Cloth
Long Stay
Upper Coat
Bodice Coat
Neck Cloth

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Fresh From the Oven

I was a stay at home mother when my children where young.

I knit, (d'oh) I home sewed (clothing, curtains, cushion covers, quilts) I cooked.
I rarely used commercial baby food—I had a hand mill and made my own.
And I baked. I baked when I was a stay at home mother.
I baked when I went back to work part time.
I baked when I worked full time.
My kids sometime longed for store made bread—but each time, they found it boring.
Peer pressure wasn't enough to overcome the pleasure of a home made slice of bread.

I still bake. But I'll admit, in recent years, I've baked less—baking for one means baking small quanities. And making the effort to kneed is the same for one loaf as it is for the 3 I used to bake each week. I just didn't make the effort for a single loaf.

But now I have discovered slow rise bread. It breaks all the “rules” I knew.
It uses cold water. Its not kneeded. It rises in the refrigerator, not in a warm place.
It WORKS! The slow rise changes everything. (Read about it here, if you are not familiar)

I don't really follow the recipe (find one here, or here, or here) because, well I have confidence in my abiltity to make bread; and I don't want or need as much bread as the recipe makes. (I used a total of 2.5 cups of flour--(many of the recipes call for 4 or more cups).

Last week, I made a flat bread—crisp—almost cracker like, with savory spices and sun dried tomatoes. (I still have 2 'squares' of it left-- it will be gone by dinner time tonight)

This week—sweet rolls. The dough doesn't have added sugar—I find the slow rise makes for a flavorful bread— not so much sweet as complex. I did add 1 scant teaspoon of maple sugar to the dough as mixed it--for a bit of sweet maple flavor--but not so much that the yeast feasted on the sugar and not the flour. I started with roll oats (½ cup) pulverized in the food processor till as fine as meal, in addition to the 2 cups of plain white flour. (Next week, or if not next week, next time, I plan to add some 8 grain cerial mix, some whole wheat flour, and make a health bread. Then I am going to try for an Anadama type corn bread... but I am getting ahead of myself) Oat are gluten free naturally, and make for a softer bread than one of all wheat flour. And they make a sweeter dough-naturally--the starch in oats converts more readily to maltose (malt sugur) adding an interesting complex sweet flavor, the lack of gluten makes the dough (and bread) more tender.
That was yesterday--

Today, I rolled and stretched the dough out on a 9 x 14 inch board, brushed with melted butter, and then with a mixture of maple sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. I rolled it up, and cut into 9 inch slices 1 inch slices and let rise again—and now.. 9 lovely sweet rolls for me!

Some will be breakfast rolls (with yogurt and fresh fruit) some will be come dessert—likely with a sweet fruit (baked apple or the like) to go along. All will be eaten up!--one right now, fresh and hot from the oven.

Friday, February 04, 2011


And off I go in a new direction--doing my best to go--if not forward--off on a tangent.
Since keeping moving is important.

I'll admit—the weather (so damn cold) and the outer world (too damn slippy, and hard to negociate) what with mounds of snow, and crazy, incompetent drivers—(I hear them, racing their engines, when stuck—if they ever get traction, they are going to careen off-at 60 miles an hour) and the lack of sun light (Ok yesterday the sun was visible –for a few scant hours) but the days are too short, and too grey—all of these conspire to bring me low. I know it will pass, I watch the sun sets slowly creep uptown.

My windows face south west—and I use the NYC skyline as demarker of the sun. In the winter month, the sun never gets out of Brooklyn--(mid summer, it sets north of Columbus Circle!) and while it's slowly moving north--For now, it's still stuck in the outer borough –a social outcast that doesn't have the power or prestiage of a real star.

Socks have stalled (at 6 inches) partly because I am pondering the heel.

So what to do but cut up some scraps and piece together a ... Well I don't know exactly. Not quilt (bed size) or a lap blanket—maybe a table runner? Or perhaps a peiced bit that will form the lower edge of a skirt? Or perhaps it will get folded, and become a tote (knitting) bag? Or ....

Cut and peiced some square yesterday, trimmed some this AM—soon it will be time to piece the squares together.. (but when? I am so dull and dreary, I am having problems placing the pieces out on the table.)

Well a few got done... and I still don't know what I am doing!

Pretty colors at any rate—from blue to violet to pink to rose.. .

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Get With the Program—or Get out of the Way.

A slight rant--the names have been changed to protect the guilty!

I am slightly anchronisitic. I pick and chose technology.

I am not much of a mucic person—as a teen, I didn't own 45's or albums, I was not crazy about the Beatles or other groups. I like music, but it'd doesn't move me they way it does some.
I have CD's mostly and my stereo (do they still call them that?) plays up to 5 CD's at a time—but it also has a USB port—I can play MP3's too, and my computer too, is has a MP3 player.

But I think I only have one or 2 MP3 files. I am not too interested in investing all over again in a new format for music.

(I suppose I will have to one day—but for now—its not worth the effort)

I know where I can find free on line rippers and take my CD's and make them into MP3 files. I know the technology exists—I just don't bother with it. I don't like ear buds (not any kind) and tried with a Walkman (cassette tape) and later with a Diskman, and while my phone plays MP3's--I haven't bothered. I am just not interested enough. I realize this makes me --well out of the loop--but since it doesn't really effect anyone else--what does it matter?

On the other hand--I do know my way around the internet--and while Google has templates I wrote a bunch of code (html) for my web page (and have done the same occasionally here on the blog)

I know how to use Photo soft ware (OK , i don't know Photoshop(or own) -but i can manage with photoshop light for my purposes)
I can blog and do my web page, and help friends--who call me for Mac's (and I claim to know nothing--but often know a lot more than they do.. so I guess i know something!)

But it really annoys me, when people want to use technology, (for profit) but don't want to be bothered to learn it.

They WANT to sell via the internet—They WANT web pages—They want to get into this for SALES and PROFITS but don't want to bother to really be part of it.

The kind (Harriet!) who are too busy to respond to email—and faced with 30—delete them all—because, after all people should be leaving (or responding to phone messages) –even though people contacted her via email from the web page—that said—Contact us HERE: and had a link to an email.

If some one want into the internet—great! Come on board.
If they don't, no problem, you can live with out it.

But, really if you have a web page, and it has a contact form, it should get to YOU. Either you buy in, and check your email and run your on line business, or you opt out, and stick to old technology.

But don't lure me in with internet communications, and then say, OH, call me.
Or “what? I didn't get the message (I don't check my email every day, and they there were too many, or some other excuse.)

Get with it, or get out of the way.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

In Praise of Red Heart Super Saver

Ok, so I am still knitting the socks.. Look see how much I've done—about 4. 5 inches (a bit over 10cm) It hard to see--(and it changes depending on the light) but the dark grey is a lovely gun metal grey—that looks almost blue. They're looking good, the colors pool nicely into sort of spiral stripes. I am happy with the yarn, happy with the socks.

BUT—I am still knittng (on one sock) the yarn barf that exploded out of the center of the ball when I started. 4.5 inches of knitting--and its still not all knit up!

Why? Why can I buy Red Heart Super Saver, and find on the ball band an arrow—one that says; pull this end--> and you do, and you find the center of the skein, and pull it out, and start knitting.

Why does no other yarn company do this? Why doesn't Red Heart do it for Heart and Sole, or other lines of their yarn? Why only on the cheapest line they offer, to they have the most convenience?

Why doesn't every Coats & Clarks (world wide) skein do this? Look at some some of those beautiful colors, the beautiful self patterning, the wear like iron German sock yarns—the ones we all love--They too are Coats & Clarks. Why don't they have the same easy to find the center of a center pull skein?

Why is it that the lowest of the low, the yarn every one claims to hate (and yet—I can't believe the big box craft stored give it so much shelf space it every one truly hated it) why is it this yarn has easy to use center pull skeins?

I, of course, know this (and a percentage of you do too,) because I (and you) have knit with said yarn.

I haven't bought any in years.. but stash—good stash (oh, the silk, oh the angora) and bad stash has a way of multiplying (I swear, some yarn is alive and breeds like rabbits!) and my stash of Red Heart seems undimimished—no matter how much I knit with it—and how little I buy!

Usually—on most skeins—that is non-Red Heart Super Saver skeins-- I am able to pull out a small 'hair ball' of yarn and find the center with out having 20 or 30% ball come out in a big yarn barf.
But not always—except when I go to my jumbo skeins of Red Heart. Then, I follow the directons, and start neatly.

So—Let us praise this yarn, and pray the simple convenience it offers becomes universal.