Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pretty Good Looking, Isn't It?

Especially, for a Failure, don't you think? I sewed down the life stitches all along the edge (all 145 of them!) and it's finished and looks remarkable good, but I don't like it. (I am so damn picky!)

It's functional—and can be folded up to less than 6 inches (will I make a small pouch for it? --Maybe but not a knit one! ) But it want to pop open--immediately.

So with new needles (well, actually needle—a single circ) and new yarn. Patons Grace, I started again.

And so cocks-sure of what I was doing, I just went to work. By the end of the first set of beading? Well, the count was off-- big time!

I can't just knit it once, write it down, and KNOW it. Well maybe I could if I did that in the morning-- but well, the damage is done!

So now the first dozen rounds are being re-written. And since the count is total different—every row will have to be rewriten!

So, this patterns is about to become version2.0—in blue. Aren't you glad you didn't buy version 1.0? ( I know, version 1.0 isn't for sale, but!) Only to find it to be replaced almost immediately with a new improved version?

I might end up packaging the two patterns together--(small/fine yarn version 1.0, large/not so fine yarn version 2. ) Or version 1 might wait for a while and be reworked.

In addition to being larger, version 2.0 is going to be slightly different in several other ways. I had already decided I didn't like the point mountain peak “petals”--so they are changing shape. (and so are the spaces between the petals) The side 'walls' of the hat will have a VERTICAL not a horizontal design element. The band will be different, and so will the brim. Well, actually, the plan for the brim is almost unchanged--except it will have the reshaped (and less pointy) petals, but it will be a bit deeper—and the hem will be slightly different too. (It was too tedious sewing down the hem!)

And, d'oh, the color—but I think sun hats can be knit in almost any color—and if version 2.0 works out—it will likely be re-knit (a third time!) in an other color—White, maybe. Or a sky blue (vs this aqua blue) or a soft, pastel shade of purple--(lilac--but not really), or spring green or (I know I have some Grace yarn in the above mentioned colors—and many more—but I can't remember what colors!

I made a fair isle sweater for my granddaughter when she was an infant—in a half dozen colors--(yes, a cotton, FAIR ISLE (the real thing!)) but I am not sure if I have enough of any one color left for a hat.

So far version 2.0 is working out better—softer (partly the yarn/partly the gauge) and flatter. The next few pattern motifs will have fewer increases, and the hat will slowly take on a more dome like shape—but it will be bigger (and better fitting). And quickly finished. And the pattern will be ready too, so you can make one of your own!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fail (again)

Well, not a total fail. But I don't like the results.
  1. I've decided I don't like the horizontal beading lace motif on the sides of the hat
  2. I think its too snug (I should have increased more. It will fit someone, but not me!)
  3. The casing for the band—is bust. This style worked in finer cotton—but I think its too bulky for this yarn.
BUT I am about to bind off and fit in the wire—and finish it off.

I have a small stash (20 some odd balls, but only one 1 or 2 in any color) of Paton's 'Grace'--and will make another hat, and refine the details I don't like—and (HOPEFULLY!) end up with a better hat. The Grace is a bit thicker, and some of the fit problems will be resolved by gauge alone!

Meanwhile—I got a skein of white dyed a toasty brown—not a perfect toast (it's a bit too orange—but the dye bath looked a bit too blue—so I don't know what happed) but its close enough. It's already dark enough—I don't want to fool around with it, and make it darker.

See—toasty brown crust and spice orange brown pumpkin custard—won't these yarns work up into luscious socks?

And the blue and white swirl sock (version 3!) with beads? I thought about over dying and trying for a darker blue—but look—beads in the perfect blue! Much easier to buy a tube of new blue beads than to try and match the blue beads I have (I'll find a use for them—easily!)

-I went all out and bought 2 tubes—one called opaque sapphire (left)–the other Aqua mixed. (right) I still haven't decided which ones I'll use.

There won't be too many beads in the sock—just some that echo the swirl pattern of the first 20 or so rounds. And I'll be re-stringing the beads.

I've done both methods (pre-stringing and picking up with a crochet hook and adding as I go) and I think, for me, pre-stringing is easier.

Especially since the POOL is now open! And with summer like weather arriving with the traditional beginning of summer (Memorial day weekend)--I'll be spending more time at the pool.

The work on the terraces is progressing--they haven't started on my 'line”--that will be in a week or two—but its noisy enough that I will be spending more time at the pool than home—and it will be much easier to work with prestrung beads when knitting in public.

But socks will have to wait till next week—First the second version of the lace hat—and then June's socks. And maybe a bonus pair of socks sometime in the summer (4 pairs in the 3 month span of June, July and August)--
What socks will it be? Maybe some simple ones—top down, self striping yarn—mostly generic--(maybe a frill or two at the top)--Plus I want to get the Italian Ices done, too. Then Beaded Blue Swirls for July—and Pumpkin Pie in August--(so I have time to enjoy them before they become seasonal!)

I still have some red yarn and some grey, and another pair of bluish socks set up in my sock kits... But I don't think I'll get to them till autumn!

Besides the socks, some hats and scarves, and fingerless gloves, too. And Sewing... I am endlessly ambitious—but not nearly as productive!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not A Silk Purse

But its definitely not a sows ear!
This new version is most definitely a pretty, lacy crown to a hat!
The yarn is a not too soft (and not at all silky) blend of acrylic and rayon—and while peachy bits predominate (it looks peachy doesn't it? ) there are scattered bits of lime green, too, in the white background. They are harder to see, but there, all the same.

I am so glad I frogged and started again! And gladder still that I have been documenting the pattern. This version of the crown is a 1000 times nicer than the first, isn't it?

—It's simple (well, I think its simple), because it is VERY REGULAR--make a INCREASE? (YO)/Make a DECREASE (either a K2tog or a SSK). The YO's are, for the most part, very closely paired to the decreases. This is regular pairing of increases and decreases is a big factor in a making a lace easy to knit, in my opinion.

OK, OK, there are a few rounds where there are some YO and NO matching decreases --but –I've been keeping track of the stitch count in each round--(an other detail I like to find in a pattern). So you know before you knit a stitch in these rounds—INCREASES be here. There are just a few rounds--(in the Beading pattern, mostly) that pair lace (YO/and decreases) with an INCREASE (a YO and NO decrease).

I don't think it's too hard (and remember, I am designing it as I knit it!) a pattern to knit –It is positively easy if you are skilled at reading your knitting.

There is nothing extremely original about the pattern (pointed petal like motifs) –but the way they are laid out is totally original—and (this sounds scary if you don't knit a lot of lace)--every other round is a new set of instructions—even when there are no increases involved.

For the most part, alternate rounds are your basic Knit every stitch. But—just to be interesting—this is generally, but not completely true. Sometimes, there are 2 pattern rows together, and sometimes 2 plain rows together.
Still-- there are only 50 rounds or so in the crown and about half are plain knitting. Then a few inches of very simple knitting till the brim.

At that point—the increases for the crown are finished, and it's easy street for twenty something rounds or so.

I got to that point last night—a good thing too-- since my brain was down shifting into low gear. It's a pretty common feature of a hat –start with X, increase till its Y (inches or stitches depending on the pattern) then continue working even (a tube) till the hat is deep enough.

I like a deep hat—one that covers most of my bowling ball head-- but there will be an option or a shallower version--(the last set of increases can also be eliminated for smaller heads too)—and some invisible increases (to correct the count for the brim) worked into the first round or 2 of the brim. It looks deep enough now, on HEAD-but HEAD is a scant 19 inches--and my head almost 22.

The brim will be narrow—One problem I have with the Lacy blue hat—is the broad brim (even though its very open and lacy) catches the wind—The hat wants to become a Frisbee! This hat will have a narrower brim (maybe 20 rounds in all) and should be less prone to want to take flight!

I love this kind of knitting—making up patterns as I go—In some ways it's simpler design than I first envisioned—in other ways—more complex—some increase rounds are a few as 4 stitches, many are 6, some are 8, one is 10! My calculator is at hand—and in constant use.

I know some knitters claim to hate math (not me!). To me, it's like a puzzle—How many stitches do I have? How many do I need? -Where can I get (make!) more—with out messing up the basic symmetry of the design? --How many do I need to keep the hat flat –but not too flat (a hat needs to cup a bit).

It is a play between pattern and gauge, form and function.. Math as a magic wand that makes it work.

Friday, May 27, 2011


And Back again.

I do it, again and again.
Get what I think is a good idea--(after dark) I try and work it out, and tell myself, this imperfection, but the imperfection will work out.

I persist—even in the light of day, trying to convince myself, that, some how, this pig's ear is going to evolve into a silk purse.

Enough—This morning, I frogged the 8 inches of mess, and started over.

Already, a neater tighter eyelet.
Already a smooth flat disk--(not a ruffled one)
Already a pretty pattern (a six pointed star)
Already the same 5 inches I had yesterday at this time.
Perhaps not a silk purse—but definitely not a sow's ear either!
I think--this time as I have begun , I will continue.
Neater, smoother, prettier.

Here look side by side--on the left, yesterday mess, on the right, todays much improved effort.

It's so clear I was fooling myself yesterday when I thought I could make things work out.

Maybe, now that I am on the right path—I'll make some real progress.

It's always a bit risky knitting with out a pattern. And trying to develop one as you go. Letting years of knitting and experimenting be your guide. But I almost always think the risk is worth the reward!

There are 22 rounds worked at this point--about 60 stitches to the crown of the hat.
And every one has been documented--(with stitch counts for every round!) I think (still) that I will need about 120 stitches before it will be be big enough around to stop increasing.
I got that many stitches yesterday, at it was about right(the diameter was about the only thing right at that point!--So I am off to work--knitting, documenting, knitting.
Watching a pretty hat take shape in my fingers. What fun!

The yarn is a oner—(well maybe not if you live in Japan!) but there are lots of other yarns (Paton's Grace cotton, I suspect) that will knit up to a similar gauge.

I don't get yarn support and write patterns for specific yarn. I knit with what I have .

But I think there are lots of yarns that will be quite suitable a summer hat in in almost everyones stash—and if not, many inexpensive cottons that can be readily found will work!

Hats (in general) are quick knits, and this lace hat is no exception.. I'll try to finish (before Tuesday)—and get fully written up and documented by mid June—plenty of time for you to knit one of your own before July 4th!--so you, too can have a lacy summer hat to knit and wear,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Socks? Done!

Pattern? Done! Supporting Video tutorials? Not started!

But it's OK—since my local Michaels doesn't yet carry the complete line of Loop & Thread (their own) brand yet--and my semi secret socks are designed using the Loop & Thread sock yarn.

Now what? Other pair of socks? No way! I already have knit 6 pairs this year, and summer is good sock time, so I know there will be at least 3, if not 4 knit by summers end.

My cashmere gloves? Well--. but it was 80° (plus) yesterday, with high humidity, and cashmere is so warm in hand. I just couldn't bring my self to pick up the mini skeins and cast on.

A hat –There's an idea! A hat—and here is the yarn—acrylic and rayon—not too warm. A lacy summer hat. A free style hat.

So now 2.5 (or 5 inches--depending on how you measure) later—a beginning of a hat—a lacy brimmed summer hat.

There are 90 stitches now and I think the crown will be maxed out at 120—then the sides (with no increases) will be knit. The band is likely to be a simple set of beading—with a cord threaded through latter.

I just cast on and started—with a vague plan in mind for the stitch pattern-something flower like. I am making an effort to document--so if you like, you might end up with a chance to knit one just like it for your self.

I increased too rapidly--(is was beginning to ripple) so a few rounds on no increases, and then a pattern element (the lace so far isn't so much real lace (ie, a specific pattern) as it is just regular increases--(orderly)--and somewhat open.

But there is a pattern(a stitch pattern) to come. Not much of a pattern—a fast easy design—with luck—it will be done by the beginning of next week when the pool opens. I wish the pool was open NOW (and for the holiday weekend—but it doesn't open till June 1. The 5 day forecast is for warm, sunny, humid days—till Wednesday, when we are likely to get some rain!

My knitting (and blogging, and readership) falls off every year in the heat of summer- I guess I am not the only one who doesn't knit much, and instead spends daylight hours enjoying the out doors.

I got my sewing machine out—and got some mending done yesterday too. I still have a ton of other projects (some UFO, some just lengths of fabric I image to be skirts—one day)

I've been mending and altering (OK just replacing stretched out elastic) with smaller bits—I've been loosing weigh--(on a glacial scale, and haven't be influenced by global warming!) but skirts are looser and some things need to be taken in—or to have some elastic added in the back or at the sides to make them fit my slighly smaller waist(and not fall low on my slightly smaller hips)

Clothes that have been too tight for the past 10 years, once again fit. I am no lightweight, (nor am I sporting a svelte figure)—but there is a bit less of me. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beautiful Blue

But—not the right shade. (to the right)

Here is the yarn (to the left) I picked in January—The Calzetteria is almost a sports weigh-the Red Heart is a real light weight—but I do have some heavier (almost sport weight white I can/will sub) The real issue I have with the Calzetteria is the weight--threading the beads on will be a real PITA. And well the color (a lovely shade of navy) is nice--but its much darker than the beads.

The beads are a beautiful dark blue. But my newly dyed skeins are just medium dark blue--(not dark, dark blue)
The first try at a dark blue was too light, and these skeins are darker—but still too light.

The color I really want is this more like this --The small painted box in between the two yarns and behind the beads. (too bad is spray paint and not yarn!) lighter than navy (yarn) but darker than the newly dyed skeins--its a bit too dark, but its still closer to what I want.

So I have a few choices.. I can re-dye (again!) the blue, and try for a darker shade—maybe add a bit of black to the blue dye—maybe a bit more purple, too.

Or I can be on the lookout for some blue in the right color (What buy more sock yarn! Oh vey! I have so much sock yarn already!*)
Or maybe I can check out the hobby stores and find a pack of beads in the RIGHT shade (or closer to the right shade of blue!
Or I could skip the beads all together, and just make the socks with out them.

Decisions, decisions!

I have some other sock yarn—and a set of beads that is much closer match—so maybe I should just wait, (and think about it). The other sock yarn is not a solid, (nor are the matching beads a single color). There are lots of ways I can use beads in socks, but this other set of yarn and beads in not really suitable for the Swirl sock I envisioned with beads.

I have choices.. Lots of choices! Especially since (see that * above?) I was forced (by way of a coupon sale) to buy some (Um it really doesn't count as stash, right?) sock yarn yesterday. One set (2 skeins) are a great match for lots of wardrobe items (and really just beautiful!) the other skein (a 100gm double skien) is just the right color for an other pair of socks that was added to the list.

An idea—based on a pair I knit years and years ago—Pekoe (as in tea) Socks—orange (pekoe) black (pekoe) brownish (oolong) taupe (English tea with milk) with smidges of white (sugar!) The sock yarn is multi colored--but not really self striping (and definitely not a self patterning yarn)

Orange Pekoe socks were one of the first REAL socks I designed --before that, my socks were plain generic (stocking knit) socks or generic ribbed socks.

Some where (in the 3 different computers I've had since I knit and documented them) I've lost the documentation (I know I wrote the socks up!)or mis filed it. --and want to re-knit them (and re- document!)

And while I have some new home made sock club sock kits made up—one sock idea has been nagging me--Crazy Eights-- a pattern which is morphing and changing (slightly), becoming more specific and detailed--and will likely have a name change as a result.

I love how I imagine it.. and many, many years ago, I did something similar (Jump rope socks) Tese socks are going to take a bit of planning--finding the right scraps, the right mix of solids, semi solids and patterning yarns. And Really 8 colors in a row? Insane!

But... I really think they could be pretty and fun (and a great way to use up scraps and partial balls of yarn.)

In the end, knitting socks is so much easier than
1) working out the design details
2) documenting all of the details to make them repeatable!

Hat idea are peculating too.. Cotton hats, and lace hats, shaped hats and felted hats. Some have spawned ideas for matching fingerless gloves, others for scarves (What an other scarf?) and well what can I say? I've been ill (not seriously) and fevered—and getting a fever is like lighting a fire—my brain cooks up ideas 1000 times faster than I could ever hope to knit!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's Up?

Well I am finishing the secret socks today—the tube like body of the sock is knit, and two mini skeins are set aside for the heels. Next up is doing all the documenting; this will include some short videos of the details.

Making the videos is going to be difficult. As any home owner knows, MAINTANANCE is forever! It's no different when your home is an apartments in a 15 story building!

Since I've lived here (10 YEARS) the ongoing maintenance has included: — redoing the roof (a flat roof, that needed to be striped, a new waterproof membrane, new flashing (and new parapets)and finally new roofing material), Re-pointing all of the bricks on all of the building, (local law 11 compliance), and at the same time installing new supports for the window AC units, upgrading all the furnaces --they now can burn oil (expensive at the moment) or natural gas (cheaper!), just finished, the renovating all of the elevators (2 per building, 12 in all).

And now, new railing on all the terraces (every apartment has a terrace, there are over 1,100 apartments!) There is actually many more items on the “done list”—but some just didn't personally effect me! Like the total renovated of the pool, (ok that effected me in a possitive way) oh, yeah the building lobbies too, (I tend to enter and exit the back door, not the front—so it was't too much of a problem)

The good news, is: the buildings are in better condition, and look better too!--and will better still with new railings.
The bad new is: Disruption and noise! Inconvenience and mess! (and to a much less degree than expected, but still; increased costs (for all this work!))

The railing project includes (as needed) resurfacing (or totally replacing) the concrete deck of the terrace. So (right now!) there is banging and jack hammering! The din is intermittent, (but does go on for hours!) and it interferes with with making home videos-- I never know when the noise will start, or when it will end (well, never before 8:30 AM and always by 5:30 PM) but for me, mornings are better (the light is better, I AM better, too!) But I didn't get started early enough—so no videos today. Just some still shots.

So today, I am making up some new sock kits: Pumpkin pie socks (I still need some 'pastry brown” yarn), Italian ice socks (Lemon, pineapple, orange, raspberry and cherry, with chocolate ice feet!) and a third version of my swirl socks –this pair blue with white swirls (and beads, too!)

The last pair I had sort of set up—but I really didn't like the blue yarn--(an almost navy blue) I wanted a dark blue.. but not so dark as navy.. So today I am mixing up some dyes (food coloring ones(easter egg dye tabs) and making some blue yarn and some toasty “pastry brown” too. Yarns are not all effected by the noise.

Here is the first go at getting a nice deep blue—that is blue—not navy. –No more easter egg dye tabs—I am adding some bottled food coloring to the bath—40 drops of blue, 4 of neon purple—to make the blue just a bit warmer—and more intense.

These new sock kits will be added to the 4 remaining sock kits (from the 8 set up in January) These kits sort of insure me the the ideas I think up for socks actually get knit up as socks.

Of course there are diversions (the semi secret ones for a proposed class)--but fewer. And there is flexibility, too. I get to pick which sock to knit next--from a selection of ideas I know I like.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Racing To The Finish

6 inches of sock knit by dinner time, Saturday, foot finished (and then some) by bedtime.

Well that's a bit of a stretch—the socks will have after thought heels (to keep the stripes all matching and the foot is only 7.75 with out the heel--)But I did had knit almost 9 inches by bed time

Sunday I had plans—but life interfered—but I did get some knitting done instead—and by last night, there are almost 13 inches of the leg knit. More this AM. (as i resolved petty software problems that prevented me from uploading photo's and making this post.

Pretty soon, the cuff and cast off!

The yarn is behaving very nicely—by inch 6, it was about 6 stitches out of perfect alignment.
I could claim this as testament to me, and my knitting---but any one who has knit socks knows—even the best sock yarns rarely stay even (Yarn Harlot, a few years ago, devoted a whole post to the first pair of socks she knit that stayed perfectly matched!--and I really think she knit more socks than I do).

So while I'd love to take credit—I think credit is due on the manufacturing end.
(This yarn is made in Turkey—I am so glad it's there, and not made in China) There are quite a few yarns that come from Turkey. I wish more were made locally—but its nice to see this quality—where ever it is from.

Think about it—my gauge is about spot on (43 rows per 4 inches (suggested gauge on the label is 42) --6 inches = about 64 rows(round)--if the spacing of the color changes was off by just 1 stitch per round—by now I would be a full round 'off'--instead, I am about 6 stitches off, (1 stitch or about 6mm deviation every inch of knitting.) Nicely done! Though I suspect—I am just lucky—because I am knitting so close to gauge—but a quick glance are other FO's (socks in particular), made with yarn, show most of them are very similar (that is—the stripes stay even in both socks.)

At this rate, I'll be less than ½ of a rounds deviations by the the time the sock is 16 or so inches long--(a quesstimate number for finished length. —9 inches total for foot, 9 inches for leg and cuff—but since 2 inches of those are heels—the instep side (and current tube) will are/will be shorter.

No one is going to notice a less than a half round of difference in stripe—certainly not at 5 feet—and since my feet are usually on the ground, and most peoples eyes are on there head—there is about 5 feet from eyeballs to heels!

Here are slices—(Interesting how the patterning changes, isn't it?)—but it does pattern—its not just tweedy patches. I am not sure I like the stripe pattern/color way as it knits up. Well, its not so much that I dislike it –it's just not something I particularly like. It looked more interesting in the skein.

And I am thinking—these socks don't really count—I'll be using them for display and demo's—And June is just around the corner.. Another pair of simple socks? Or Something special?

I have Pie on my mind—and italian ices. (but neither is idea is packed up ready to go.) It might be time to repack the empty sock project bags (from the socks I've already knit so far this year) and put up a pie mix, and scoops of ices.

There are some beaded socks to come to.. (and I have to find my list--I don't remember all the ideas I had at the beginning of they year.--and I've had other ideas since then....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Up Next?

Another Pair of Socks—IMMEDIATELY!

These are going to be simple generic toe up socks--and semi secret.

I want to prepare them for a class (that I haven't yet won the right to teach!) on learning to knit socks 2 at a time—toe up, using Judy's magic cast on. They will be mostly stocking knit—letting the self striping and patterning elements of the yarn provide all the interest. A key element of the proposal is the yarn—Oh,yeah, it's new –to the market, and to me.

I am hoping they knit up as pretty as the yarn in the skein looks (so far, so good) —the color way is called Canyon (which might be enough of a hint for some of you to guess the label/brand of sock yarn.)

Stripes of yellow and orange, green and deep, deep purple, with self patterning bits in plum and cream and grape and cream.

I started them yesterday afternoon—and will just knit them up quick as I can, and put together a proposal for a class. So far I've just gotten the toe knit—3 inches worth actually. I am just to the point of seeing how all the colors play—and I am happy so far with the 'self patterning' element—and the size of the stripes. But I must say—the yarn is being marketed as a luxury sock yarn—and it is exceptionally soft and lovely in hand.

Of course, the decision had already been made for the next sock in

the rotation to be a plain generic sock—the only real issues are:

1—This yarn wasn't the yarn that I planned to use—but I am flexible!

2—I hadn't planned to start another pair of socks quite so soon—but hey, socks are a quick knits.

3—While I love the color way—it's um, not going to match much of my wardrobe.

But-- I now have a bunch of socks that are good matches—and the color way does have a good deal of purple—and I do have a few purple skirts—so I suppose they won't be too out of place.

I might start the fingers of the gloves too. The first inch or so are going to be plain knitting—that will slowly evolve into lace—with more lace on th back of the hand (and less –well actually none!) on the palm of the hand.

Or—if not the gloves—the Leaf project. I see the completed leaves and the yarn for the rest of them, sitting there, patiently waiting for me come back to them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rivets and Belts--

Those are the over the top details that still need to be completed –but with patch pockets sew on an trimmed out—the socks are really just about done.
The belt is likely going to be some red and black--(a folded bandanna look)-I have some left over (a very small scrap) of LB magic stripe 'lumberjack' color way. But they could be worn as is.

They won't be--worn that is--—partly because we are slowly, but surely approaching summer (and I go sock less most of the summer) and secondly, I tend to keep special socks for a while before wearing.

I just last week, for the first time, wore my peach socks (knit in December) I still haven't worn my monkey socks—and really they are just not that special—its just happenstance. I haven't even thought of wearing the new Garnets in Granite socks—they are way to new, and way to special to wear right away--(I NEED to keep them pristine and cuddle able for a while yet!)

The ho-hum side cable socks (almost generic) have been worn (twice) and the puffy socks (which are a repeat pattern) have been worn (once).

These socks will be saved for something/someday special—If it were mid winter, a special day would be with in the month—but since there are fewer sock days in summer, these denim socks might not get their first wearing till labor day. But I am labeling them done on Ravelry!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Is when ideas work out even better than you hoped!
No pockets yet (not even cast on)--and just one sock trimmed so far-- but I am so happy with the result, I couldn't wait till tomorrow to share it.
(The weather co-operated--high, thin cloud cover softened the direct afternoon sun light into softness.)

I'll continue trimming sock 2 at the board meeting tonight --and maybe even start the pockets.
But I am happy, happy.  (I know, I am so easy to please!)

The seams look better stretched out more--fortunately they will be stretched out more when I wear them.

Aren't they fun?  I've resolved to have socks that match my clothes--and these denim, with the 'welted' seam detail will match lots of my denim skirts-- Can you tell I am happy?

Down To The Toe

But there is still plenty more to go --on these socks.

First—a pair of patch pockets, and with them, some golden top stitching—down each side of the socks, to make pseudo seams; top stitch on the patch pocket, too. Each pocket will have a pair of small copper rivets (well mock rivets) at the top corners, as well. These details (especially the top stitching) will take some time. But they will be fun, authentic looking details. The kind of details that will make the socks special.

My next pair of socks will be a self patterning stripe—and pretty generic! Enough with fancy socks for while—a short while—but a bit of a break.
Especially if I am going to be knitting lace gloves.

Look at these—10 little butterfly skeins--1 per finger –It's not much progress towards
gloves, but it's something. I haven't made skeins for the hand or cuffs yet—those will be wound on my ball winder—the gloves are going to have deep cuffs I think (lace ones!)but even with deep cuffs, gloves (after the fingers) are only about half the size of socks. I have plenty of yarn (as you see!) that's a 6 oz cone—one of 5 small cones of cashmere in my stash.

The other something is all the fan are clean and have fresh batteries in the clickers and are ready to go –not that they are needed now—Now is cool and grey and damp—As it has been since Saturday.

Central Queens is a bit higher than sea level--not much-- but enough that flooding isn't a problem.  Every one thinks of LI as being flat, (nothing but a big sand bar) but there are 2 terminal moraines and lots of hill. I used to live on one of the higher hills--(perhaps 400 feet high) –now I live on a rise—Not high enough to even be called a hill.

You'd only notice the rise if you were on a bike—or were handicapped. It's maybe 20 higher than the surrounding area –(and less than a half mile away, and down hill, is a meadow –what used to be a wet land, became a field of ashes, and then got “improved” again, and is now a park) So all the rain (it's been raining on and off, yesterday more on than off) runs off except for a few puddles. There is local flooding in the NYC area—but not any where near me!

But I am ready if the sun ever decides to make an appearance—Fans clean, clickers working, windows coated with UV film, ice cube trays at the ready.

Tonight is a co-op board meeting--and a  raffle (a free raffle) for a free pool membership(s)--there are 10 up for grabs. Maybe this will be the year I will win a free pool membership (the pool opens for the holiday weekend)--It's almost summer already! Where does time go?

The first few weeks of the season, the water is positively frigid--(and I have the pool to my self!) What a sight I will be—going from icy pool water to warm deck and knitting cashmere gloves!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gloves—My way--101

Jelly Donut (and her sticky fingers) want to know more about gloves.
I've only ever knit one pair—so I am not much of an authority—But I will share what I know.

Gloves, like socks are knit with negative ease.

Conventionally, they are knit from cuff to finger tip. (mittens like socks have cuff to finger and finger to cuff traditions, in various parts of the world, just like socks)

I plan to start at the finger (the most tedious part, I think) get them done, an out of the way, FIRST, then continue onto the larger (about the same size as a sock) hand, and finish with the cuff.

I also will be doing the gloves 2 at time—just as I do socks--on 2 circ's. So first—10 fingers to knit!

The fingers, have as many things do, have a 'rule of thumb' (and index and pointer, and ring and pinky!)
--Knowing it is VERY HELPFUL. While fingers are knit in the round, you should think of them as rectangles—and the rule is 1/3 for front, 1/3 for back, 1/3 divided—for each side.

So the stitch count has to be a number that has both 2 and 3 as a factor. First one? 6 –no good.
Second? 12. (maybe workable with DK weight yarn.) Next? 18 -- next again?  24, but there is no way I am knitting 10 fingers at that gauge! But many old gloves were knit at 48 stitches per finger!--Yowza!

OK so my fingers (well my index finger) is 2 inches at the top joint –(fudging here, its really 1 7/8th inches) 2 inches in middle joint (fudged again--really 2 1/18th) and 2 ½ at the base of the finger.

I could shape the tubes I am going to knit, (well I will a bit!) but for most of the length, the tube will be just just about 2 inches.

I using a fingering weight yarn, (I have swatched) and get 8 stitches to the inches (not perfectly, but close enough) So I need about 16 stitches for each finger. The closest number with the 2 and 3 factors? 18.

So 18 it is. Likely I will cast on 6, increase almost immediately to 12, (for my smaller finger tip) and about 1 inch down increase again, (3 stitches) and a few row latter, 3 more. So my tubes will be slightly tapered, and snuggest at the tip, and just snug at the base.

It's also easy to plan the increases, -since 12 is easily divided by 3 (1 increase ever 4th stitch!) and again by 15 (also divisible by 3) .
These increases will likely be lifted ones (which are least visible increase I know) –to keep a smooth surface.

Once all the fingers are knit, how do they get joined, and does the stitch count work?
--One question at at time!
How do the 18 stitches of each finger  get divided set up as stitches for the hand?

Well 1/3rd, (6 for front) 1/3rd (6 ) for back, and 1/3rd—divided (3 and 3) for each 'side--with an exception for the side stitches on the outside of both the pinky and the thumb.  With these fingers, the side stitches merge with front an back.

Between the other fingers—index to middle finger, (middle to ring, ring to pinky) the 3 'side stitches' on each finger END where the fingers join the hand portion of the glove, (They are are sewn—or better, grafted shut.)  In conventional gloves, stitches are cast on for these finger sides.

So does the math work for the hand? 4(Fingers) X 6(stitches) , +3 more(stitches)
The 3 stitches are I/2 of the 2 sets of 3 side stitches from the both pinky and the index finger—conveniently, the total for the 2 side stitches is 6,--a number easily divided by 2!

OR: 24 + 3=27 stitches (a ball park number for ½ of a sock and equally good for about half of the hand! )   The other side of the glove will have an equal number.

I like to plan gloves as Hand (back of hand) and Palm—because like a sock, they often have different stitch patterning.

It's easy to add a few more stitches--by placing make ones at each finger join-or to decrease at the same places for fewer.  In the unlikely event you need increase or decrease more, 2 more stitches can be slipped in,   (or out) at the sides. These extra (or fewer) stitches can be very useful for getting a the desired  number for stitches for  a stitch  pattern, as well as being a way to customize the fit.

There are other ways to fudge the fit: Cables (to make finger tubes tighter) or lace (looser) or ribbing --work the 3 side stitches as all purls, or in work them in  a , P1, K1, P1 rib, and the fronts and back as K6.

Since the 6 front and back stitch continue into the hand, it's not too hard to have patterns continue into the hand (and palm area) as well.

OK enough –I'll add more if (or when) I have my 10 fingers knit!

The Denim sock's  foot is just about half done (about 4.5 inches) so progress has been made—but it doesn't look much different than yesterday--even though the gusset is now (finally!) finished, and I'm back to just 61 stitches in total.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

That's Some Big Heel!

So I had frogged back the flap to about where I thought it should be.. Then worked the turning ( a V or handkerchief one). I started with *31 stitches and ended with 17. (*see below)
I pick up stitches for the gusset, and counted them, but didn't think about it--I ended up picking up
20 stitches on each side of the flap.

That's 20 +20 +17—or 57 stitches on the heel side of a nominally 60 stitch sock! Madonna! That's a lot of stitches!

I thought about it last night when it seemed I was knitting and knitting and knitting and not making much progress with the gussets.

(I still have 47 stitches left on the heel side!-- that would be an other 16 rounds to be completed! So a change is in the works—for the next 8 rounds I will be doing double increase (2 increase per round, every round) and in 8 rounds I will be done with the gussets.)

The extra ease (and 57 stitches in a gusset is extra ease) will be fine—I have a high instep and socks are often snugger than I'd like on the upper part of the foot (these won't be!) and I have a wide foot (EEE) so 60 stitches /size 2.75 (US 2)/ 8.10 stitch to the inch) is usually a fairly snug sock—but the oblique rib works to a looser gauge—so its not too snug. (My foot measures 9.25 inches around, but its almost 13 inches at the fullest part of the heel)--unlike my LEG--which is slender with a narrow size 6 (not size 9!) foot.  Socks often look baggy on LEG--(and are baggy!) but not so on my tree trunks and gunboats!)

I'm liking these socks—but the urge for knitting lace is strong --I was playing with a swatch on with yet another yarn—and thinking? Why a shawl? Why a scarf? Why not gloves? Lacey gloves! Few stitches in total, and something I do wear (albeit just seasonally).. But there are all the fingers to knit (and I have 10 of them!)

So I think a pair of gloves are in the works... Reverse engineered gloves (the fingers (the tedious part) knit first, and the thumb, too) and then continue to hand and cuff (and a deep cuff at that!) A nice warm fiber (Cashmere) -so the gloves will still be warm with all the lace.

*The oblique rib works best with an odd number, when its worked in the round, so I started with 60 (for even ribbing) and round one of the pattern, added 1 stitch. But I don't need an odd number when working just the instep.
I'll correct the count just before I start the toe --but I have worked grafting with 10/11 stitches or other odd numbered pairs—I just have to be sure to start the first stitch on the larger number side.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cuff? Leg? Flap?

Complete, complete, complete and then some!

1.5 inches of cuff, 5.5 inches of leg, for a total of 7 inches before the flap was started.
The flaps aren't being worked in heel stitch, but a modified eye of partridge stitch. Which sort of continues a diagonal—and the /twill look to the fabric. These details will hardly be evident when I am wearing them—Unless I have my feet up—But I KNOW.
The pattern is:
R1: Slip 1, K1 (repeat across row)
R2: (and all even rows) S1, Purl all remaining stitches
R3: Slip 1, K1, *K1, Slip 1
A true eye of partridge stitch would have slipped stitches on the purl side--and a much more distinctive pattern.

As for the flaps, I fell into knitting them, and just knit and knit, and knit. A smooth rhythmic K1, S1, Purl back.
And then suddenly, I looked—and I had a 3 inch flap!

So I tinked back a few rows, and put them aside—it was too late to start the turning—especially when I knew my cognitive skills are in low gear! (Ii'll be starting the turns soon--First--Laundry!

Tomorrow, some spring and summer cleaning. Last year, we had a prolonged cool spring—that spronged into non-stop 90° weather—and I was caught with my fan's down.

 This year, I will have them pull out (of the back of the closet) cleaned and the clickers ready with fresh batteries, now while the weather is still comfortable.

When summer hits, they will be all ready to go!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Post Contains Knitting Content

So I have been knitting again—and accomplished something—2- 2.5 (almost) inches more added to my indigo blue denim socks. I have the bluish finger tip to prove it! --Indigo is never color fast—the dye will rub off onto needles and your fingers as you work. In my case, it's also not even.  But its OK, since I  like the slight irregularities of the color—small patches are almost white, other are much darker—the knit socks have a worn (stone washed) look to them- already.

They are pretty plain looking now—and will remain so until I start adding some contrasting 'top stitching' –the patch pocket, will come last—but just getting some rounds added is some progress.

I've been writing too—stuff that will show up in a week or so on my web page. It's still being edited,  formated, and completed.

As a child, I thought that would be my life's ambitions—not just to write, but to be a to be a famous writer. I had now idea what I would write about, but what ever it was, it was going to make me rich! Certainly there would be books of poetry (and while I do occasionally write a poem, but there isn't enough for a booklet, let alone a book!) and fiction, and learned tomes.

I envisioned my self in a high mountain aerie—in splendid isolations—I think, I could live alone in a mountain area—though I have never done it. But my high rise apartment is something of an aerie—and the NYC skyline is different,  but as majestic as a mountain range.

At that point in my life, I had never seen real mountains—even as a child I knew the mountains I saw (from Bear Mountain, to other unnamed peaks in the Appalachian chain) were not quite up to par with the rockies.

As an adult, having traveled cross country, I am still, a dozen years later, in slight awe in the memories of west. There is so much I love about NYC, I really don't think I would want to live anywhere else—but it would be wonderful to be able to spend time in Wyoming—in real mountains—on a regular basis.

I think about 'monetizing' this blog—and would in a heart beat if I thought it would provide me with a mountain hide away in Jasper! Childish dreams aside, I am quite happy just to look over my left shoulder as I sit here, and catch sight of distant glimmering lights, that wash out all but the brightest stars in the sky, and write, not to be rich and famous, but to my hearts content.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Friday the 13th

--here's hoping you don't suffer from trixadexaphobia.
 I don't –while the button on the elevator says 14—It goes from 12 to 14 –so really, I live on the (misnamed) 13th floor.

This subject (superstitions) is just a distraction from the main subject (KNITTING) because I haven't been doing much of it (or much of anything else).

The Denim socks have about an inch of the leg done—virtually no progress at all and all of made with in the past 12 hours. Maybe tomorrow I'll have something to show.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Real. Is it? Really?

What makes something real? Is it real hand knitting if its done on a machine? Or if its done on a loom?
Is it real lace if knit? Or if the knitting is worked with YO's and togethers on only one side?
Is is a real moebius if it is knit flat, twisted and grafted into a loop?

I am all for clear terminology—I know how confusing it can be—what is a YRN? (or worse, WRN?)-- nothing more than Yarn Round Needle, (or wool round needle) which is just another way of saying YO! (Yarn Over (implied—needle))

I know that there are frequently, many different, some local, some general, terms for almost every cast on. I know Fair Isle (with capitals!) is just one style of color stranded work—and I also know, fair isle (no cap's!) is a frequently used term for color stranded work (it's shorter and easier to type for one!)

Some distinctions are good, they clarify, some distinctions are petty, and used to put down others.

So what is a real moebius? (A single sided (ie 1 dimensional) 2 dimensional figure.)

The basic directions for making one, suggest, take a strip of paper, about 1 inch wide and 11 inches long, make a single twist in the strip of paper and then join the edges.
How about a moebius scarf? Can you do the same? Sure!
It works best with a stitch pattern that is the same on both sides (seed stitch, ribbing, etc)
EZ suggested this method for making a moebius: Use a provisional cast on (or maybe a simple one) knit a strip, give it a single twist, and then finish by grafting the cast off stitches to the cast on, being sure to join so the pattern is continuous.

Its one way to knit a moebius. Not the only way, but its a real moebius!

The other way, perhaps a bit more elegant, is to start with an invisible cast on, and a single twist in the knitting, and to knit the moebius, form a center point (lets call it a spline) knitting in a twisted loop.

Worked this way, each ROUND (1 pass of all the stitches) makes the moebius 2 rows wider.

It's not that hard to do--in fact its easier to do than to explain! There are books on the process (notable Cat Borhdi's!) but in the end, both processes end in a REAL moebius.

One is a more elegant design, the other? Simpler, but just as real.

My moebius is a few years old now (5? 6? more?) and needs to be washed –or rinsed – and blocked –(It's a real PITA to block a moebius—now matter how its been knit!) So if you look, you'll see I've pinned out the points for my photos.)

My moebius is knit in the slightly harder to start, slightly more elegant style, in a simple seed stitch, with a garter stitch simple (alternate rows are plain knitting) lace edge, that was knit and place and used to bind off the main body of the knitting. It's easy to see where the direction of the work changes in this image, but almost impossible to see other wise.
(some of you might recognize this scarf from my You Tube avatar—where I am masquerading as a very old lady!)

Some knitters think only one style is real –but really, isn't that just a way of demeaning another's style? And really what does that accomplish? Mathematically both styles end up with the same result!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The cliché about LA is “there is no there, there”--If its true, it's because all the there's are here in Queens!

NYC, unlike many east coast cities is physically huge-it annexed acrage—LOTS OF IT.
The 5 boro's all have different characteristic—and Queens is, well, the most mixed bag!

It large (110 square miles), At parts, it's the most urban (with skycrapers), in other parts, the most rural, there is, --abeit a very small one-- a working farm, and a farm museum. At no point is it suburban—but lots of parts are small town-ish.

I live in central Queens, but I have lived in 3 part of Queens over my lifetime.

Weekly, I travel a few miles (and world away!) from my multi ethnic neighborhood to join a group of knitters in LIC (Long Island City).
LIC is technically a huge chunk of Queens, but it is subdivided into other neighborhoods, like Astoria,  Ravenswood, Queensboro Plaza, Dutch Kills (kills is an obsolete Dutch work for a spring or small water way) and other neighborhoods

The part of LIC that is called LIC is neighborhood in transition. Changing from small row homes, small walk up apartments (many with 12 foot ceiling!) and light industry, to a much more upscale area. With luxury apartments that sell for $500,000 and up (for a 1 bedroom apartment!)

Along the way, Artist have lead the change. They moved in (starting with sculptor Nuguchi, more than 30 years ago) and opened studios and galleries. Collectors came, and found the neighborhood, and the rebuild started. Industries moved out, and industrial space became more studio's. Some old warehouses and manufacturing got torn down, more luxury housing went in.

Now, older residents, live in small neat houses, cheek by jowl next to over sized luxury housing.
The good new is Change! The bad new is Change!

LIC is home to the Silvercup studios—so its not unusual to see celebrities in the neighborhood--
and many of the local residents are support staff to TV and movies productions –providing the prop's, or costumes, or other stuff (electrical work, set painting, and so on)

For the next 10 days, LIC will be home to the LIC ARTS OPEN—A 3 square (well no, not square, triangular really!) mile Arts extravaganza.

I plan to participate as I love(and do) best—as audience—there's a lot of places just waiting for me to show up!

If you are in the NYMetro area, why don't you come join me?

LIC is not just an arts community—its slowly becoming one of the greener areas of NYC.
There are parks, and community gardens, and kayaking, and bike paths—there is the water front (and great view of the Manhattan skyline), there is history—Lots of history—LIC was the home to the Borden Farm (as in Borden MILK) and it's home to the Newton Pippin (an excellent archival apple), and lots more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More (on Socks)

Joined into rounds, all neat on 2 needles, a bit of the cuff done, with little belt loops knit in place. (and definitely a “belt” to come! The loops are very hard to see.. but a belt will make them much more evident. In this image, a DPN is filling in the role of a belt.
You might be wondering how I work the magic of a single needle cast on, (twice) and then work my way into 2 on 2 socks.

I have a video (here), on my FaceBook Fan page,  and an explanation:

1—Cast on desired number of stitches onto a circ. (repeat, with second circ.) -Needles 1 and 2.

2—Take needle 1 and move stitches to center of cord, divide, fold cord and pull out a loop.

3—Move the group of stitches that starts with first stitch cast on to tip of needle, (reposition stitches if that is part of how you close a round) Join, (being careful not to twist) and work this group (group 1-1) of stitches, from needle 1 onto needle 1.

4--Take needle 2 and move stitches to center of cord, divide, fold cord and pull out a loop.

5--Move the group of stitches that starts with first stitch cast on to tip of needle, (reposition stitches if that is part of how you close a round) Then working with needle 1, in Right hand , and needle 2 in left hand, join and knit this group(2-1) From needle 2 onto needle 1.

6—At this point, needle 1 has 3 groups of stitches
-----Group 1-1 (worked)
-----Group 2-1 (worked)
-----Group 1-2 (unworked)
-----Needle 2 has one group of stitches, (group 2-2) (unworked)

7—Turn work. (This will “feel” like flat knitting, the groups of stitches just worked will be facing away from you. The yarn will be in last stitch worked—and a right –ready to be used on stitches in front of you.)

8--With Needle 2, work the stitches on needle 2 (group 2-2)These stitches are worked from needle 2, onto needle 2.

9—Holding needle 2 in right hand, work the last group of stitches, (group 1-2) from needle 1, to needle 2.

Stitches are now organized onto 2 needles, and joined onto rounds, (1 round on each sock has been knit.

10—Turn work, and Begin Round 2.

End—The tail of yarn can be used to as a beginning of round marker.

For me, Needle 1 (beginning of the round) holds the back/heel sole of the socks.
Needle 2 holds the front/top/instep.

The beginning of the round is on the side (not center back) This make almost no difference.

It makes heels easy--(start the heel stitch at the beginning of a round (stitch 1 of needle 1))
It makes turnings different—slightly. But if you have knit more than 1 pair of socks, it's not a problem.
It might seem so, reading it, but once you are knitting, it's very easy to understand.

I use a marker to keep track of the center of the heel, (a fake beginning of round marker).
When I pick up stitches for the gussets, they all go onto needle 1 (its a bit crowded and awkward for the first few rounds, but with ever set of decreases, it gets easier.)
Toes are super simple—especial flat (aka French) ones.. but swirl and star are simple too!

I like my method because it make it easy to do fancy cast ons (or edgings like a latvian twist) and to join the work into a round with out the need to slip or repositon any stitches.

There are other methods (most involve casting onto 2 needles, and or reposition stitches (slipping them with out knitting them) or... I like my method, it works for me!

Monday, May 09, 2011


Perfectly simple (not!)

I don't often knit socks from other knitters patterns—but when I do, its because I like the simple (not so simple!) details that go into them. Like Ribbing that is variable in the cuff, but works perfectly into the pattern that follows.

So, for my denim socks, I want some simple details. Like mock belt loops on the top edge (there might be a mock rope belt (I-cord) to go through the belt loops). Simple really; but I messed up twice before getting them right (that's what I get for A: not thinking about the details, B: working late at night.)

The loops are not divided perfectly evenly—just almost-- (issue 1) and the first set would have been fine—if I knit on DPN's.(obviously I still THINK sock knitting as if I do!)

I wanted 5 loops (over 60 stitches--perfect! 1 loop every 12 stitches). But, but, that really didn't get it right.
I wanted 1 loop at the center back , and the front loops to have a slightly wider gap at center front.
Added to the mix, I don't start my socks Center back (as most patterns for DPN's do)—instead my Stitch 1 is “the first stitch on needle 4”.

Let me make sense of that. MOST top down patterns are worked on sets of 4 or 5 needles. My sock designs are always worked as if I were using a set of 5.

MOST sock pattern have the Beginning of Round center back . So Needle 1 is back, needles 2 and 3 are front, and needle 4 is back. Stitch 1 of needle 1 is begnning of the round.

But I set up my socks with the Beginning of the Round on the side. Needle 1 (of 2) holds the back stitches (needle 4 and needle 1 stitches)

Needle 2 (of 2) hold the front stitches.

This way the heel (what ever heel I do) is worked on all the stitches on Needle 1. I usually mark the center point of the stitches (on each needle) so with 60 stitches, I place a marker between stitch 15 and 16. I refer to the marker when turning the heel.

So in setting up the cast on and knitting the belt loops, I had to remember: back first, (and where is the first loop? Well I wanted the center back to have a loop so, counting back 12, (from 15, and the loop needed to come at stitch 3 (or to be precises, after stitch 3).

The belt loops are simple; cast on, and then knit back, to make cast off “tails” (they will get caught into the knitting an inch down, and become loops) So I needed a single yarn cast on. I used the russian style double knot cast on.

The white stitch marker marks center front, the marked loop, center back, the blue marker, the 'side seam” (half way point)

Simple really—but it took me three tries to get to here! I am only showing 1 sock, but both have been cast on. As I join them into rounds, I will knit them into position, with the back half of both socks on one needle, and the front half of both socks on the other needle.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Like Coals to Newcastle!

What else but a gift of yarn? Birthday presents, large, small, tangible and intangible keep coming in!

This yarn (a bit of mystery!) is from my sister in Japan—It's super fine and put up in 25gm balls (but there are 4.5 of them)—and each has 165 meters—so its a lot of yarn!

I think these will become a hat—a soft lacy hat, like my blue lace one.

I have the wire, and I like the blue one (but the brim is a bit too big) so a smaller lacy hat.

It's not a wool, nor cotton; likely a acrylic or some blend of synthetics fibers. The blue lace hat didn't use a full 400 yds.; I think I can double up this yarn and have plenty for a similar, but smaller hat.

As for the lace scarf—well, it's not to be. I love the yarn, I love the improved pattern, but, but, but. I was just not loving it as it was. So it's been frogged again.

It will re-emerge—better. But not right away. It still needs some planning.

So it's off to socks, sure, fail-safe socks.

Indigo socks, with a denim (read twill) theme.
Will they have 'belt loops”? Sure, why not!
And patch pockets? Well, there is an idea!
And a zipper?–No, no zippers!
No flat felled seams either, but there will be mock top stitching, and other fun details.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Caught M Y Nose

Between the covers of a book--I'll get back to knitting in a day or two.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Back to Where I Want To Be

Or at least back to center of the cake of yarn.

When I frogged the shawl, I just loosely wrapped the yarn around the ball. And I've been knitting with this outer wrapped yarn. Last night, I used up the last wrap, and now the yarn is once again coming from the center of the soft cushy cake.

About 4 inches once again— pinned out and stretched--looking as it will once it has been blocked, the ribs are hardly noticable. The plain rib spacer is narrower, and the berry motif is more prominent—and this is better. It's better (less rib like) too, just as it is on the needles.

The stitch pattern is fine, (see it with proverbial coin for scale)I am knitting on a size 2 (2.75mm) needle. And while I like the yarn, and the stitch pattern and I am likely to grow bored of this scarf all too soon.

This month socks are going to be a pretty simple pair—(well there will be some fun details, but not hard ones) and I can always work on both at the same time to keep interest up.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Or more accurately; here yesterday, gone today.

By inch 4—I was unhappy—TOO linear. TOO rib like. Then, a mistake made it, TOO much.

So, a frog party—and a new start. And it's better already. There's not as much—but sometimes less is more—and I am liking this version better.

Some times no matter how much you want to like something, you cut your loses, and give up. It's a lesson learned over and over again.

I like the 2 stitch spacer column much better—especially in this yarn -(it gets increased by 2 every other row, and decreased back to 2 on the alternate rows.) It looks braided --or perhaps more like a furrow. The uneven lace (row count on the stitches changes every other row, too) is more sinuous too, and I like that too. Finally, the column don't overwhelm the small berry motif. All in all, a better pattern.

1 Stitch difference!—sometimes it's a small thing that makes or breaks a pattern.
Now all I have to do is keep it mistake free!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Socks—Details, Details

So the Garnets in Granite socks are done—finished up in the last hours, of the last day, of April. (And likely to remain in the to be admired, not worn pile, till the fall!)

I might have finished them earlier—but Friday night I got no knitting done—instead I had an early birthday dinner with my daughter—I could tell you all about it—but since she reviewed the restaurant back in October August —why not read her review –if you care.

I mean, how many of you are going to come to NYC—and then go to a restaurant in downtown Flushing?

Not that Flushing isn't with out its merit—it does have historic sights—and it's Chinatown twice the size of Manhattan's Chinatown—though its more a PanAsia town—since there are lots of Korean, and other Asian groups (from Pakistan--> east!) represented, not just Chinese from every province. But maybe you like reading reviews. (I do, sometimes.) Or maybe you come to Flushing for the US Tennis Open --and want to do something different--It just about a mile from the stadium-and open 24 hours day.

I ended the stitch pattern about mid instep of the sock—(and the beads inches before that) since I don't much like fancy stitches in my shoe. I finished with different toe—it's not really that different—but it's not common either (I can't believe I am the only one who uses this style—but I haven't really seen anyone else use it either!)

It ends up being shaped sort of like a flat/aka French toe—a standard sort of sock toe (that is a toe with this sort of pattern:
K2, SSK, knit till 4 from end, K2tog, K2 (on each side of the sock (top and sole))

But the decreases are moved—I knit X (about 1/3rd of the stitches) K2tog, K center, SSK, knit last third—the decreases are in the outer section –the outer third of the toe is whittled away until only the center stitches remain, and then these are grafted for the bind off.

Folded (as might be for slipping on a sock blocker)—toe looks like a standard flat toe looks--when folded flat the other way.

The center section is larger than the side 'strip' found on standard toe shaping--(it has 8 stitches, not 4 as would be more common.)

It fits about the same as a flat toe shape—it just give the sock a different look—it's a change up—and I like change ups.

For me—it's all the fun details of sock— that I really like.
Which cast on? (there are good dozen choices that are really super stretchy)
Which ribbing? Or if not ribbing—what?
What pattern for the leg?—Solid yarn are best, I think, for fancy stitches—fancy yarns (even a simple self stripe) are better suited for simpler knitting (mostly stocking knit).

Then the heel! So many choices—so many details to consider—Fit—first and foremost, but not just fit. The shape, the stitches, the yarn—a fancy heel for back less shoes (to show off) or a sturdy heel for good wearing properties for more conventional shoes (and, for want of a better term)—sneakers.
Simple gussets? Or should I move them—to the instep, to the sole?
How far down the instep of the sock does the design continue, and finally the shape of the toe—Flat or round or star or pointed. Or something else entirely! All of these options--and how they are combined make sock knitting fun.

Well-- one more pair off the list of 14 ideas for socks (that list has grown to 20 in the meanwhile)—but well—there is no end to good ideas is there?

As for my lace—here's peek—it's much more liniar with the bands of stocking knit between the (shell, berry/leaf) motifs—Strawberries in bed perhaps!

It's pretty fine (these are little wild strawberries)--not the monster sized one I had the other day--just look a the size of this strawberry--(that is an egg (a large egg)) there for comparison --Yohza! A strawberry on steriods!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

It's My Birthday--(again)

And there have been a lot of again's—years and years of them!

Last October I noted I was closing in on 50 years of knitting.

My birthday marks that especially. One birthday gift—50 years ago—was a partial roll of coins—8 shiny new quarters from my fathers much older brother—Uncle Andy. He worked at the Chase Manhattan bank and we (me and siblings) always got money as a present. It was always special money—a $2 bill, or a mini roll of quarters, or something.

I took my new found fortune to my LYS--Goldman Yarns (now defunct) then on the Grand Concourse (Bronx 10458) and invested in my first knitting tools-- A set of DPN's (size 3) and two small balls of fingering yarn (from the clearance basket) one a light blue—one a light pink (white was the other choice)--I planned my purchases well (I had a few cents of change left to spend on candy—most candy bars (Snicker, Milky Way and the like), were 5¢ then—and 15¢ was a generous amount of money to spend on candy! 2 sweet delights—knitting and candy from $2!

Then I taught my self to knit on DPN's. I had seen it done. My mother didn't often knit in the round—and when she did, she had some circ's to work with but there were other knitters in my life (and in the neighborhood) and I had seen people knit with DPN's -- and seeing that others could do it was enough for me.

Like most knitters I struggled. My join was a jump—and the knitting had a ladder that tapered up to round 3 or 4.

Next try? I had a twist--(and still had a jump—but a smaller one)

Again? Better. Again, and again, and again. Eventually—I got it! But even 50 years later, I can remember the not so neat cast on edge, and gap in the join--(no ladder though!)

Along the way, I was learning to manage the dpn's in hand—these were lovely anodized aluminum ones—colorful—but slick. And the wool –it was wool—which then, in the infancy of synthetics was cheaper choice—was fine (fingering/baby weight) I didn't know of any other needles than aluminum ones-- I am sure that they existed-- but not in my world.

Next lesson (after successfully casting on,and joining into an untwisted round) was twisted stitches.

I was (still am for the most part) a combo knitter—and quickly it became apparent—my stitches were twisted and biased. My normal process of knitting into the back (but leading edge) of the loop didn't work anymore. It was start again time.

The poor wool was looking pretty shopworn by then. I cut it, and started again, yards into the skein.
This 3rd (in reality more like the 13th!) time was the charm.

OK, so the cast on wasn't perfect, and the join wasn't as tight as I would have liked, but finally I was doing it—knitting smoothly, in the round, with no twisted stitches.

And an inch or so into my little tube? Color work!

It was a little tube—I don't remember how many stitches I cast on, or my gauge (I never checked it) It was slightly too big for a sock or glove (not that I thought to knit a sock or glove) –it became--as it evolved-- a dolls skirt--for a Shirley Temple doll—an 18 inch doll—very similar to today's American girl dolls. A skirt with a bib top (a pinafore) So it was likely 10 to 12 inches around—bigger than a sock—but not much.

The color work was pretty simple—what I would call today a perie—and while, well done—(no puckering) I hadn't thought of repeats (or stitch counts) when I started—so there was a definite 'back seam'—where the pattern jogged, (some thing I still don't mind) –but also failed--I didn't have enough stitches for a full repeat of the pattern.

It had taken me so many tries to get the join, and the basic knitting done—there was no way I was going to rip the work out and start yet again! It would be the back seam, and my doll wouldn't care.

I can remember some other projects (and unfinished projects)--most didn't amount to much till I was in my teens (my first pair of sock—also a fail!)

A really collection of presentable finished objects didn't start till almost 10 years later, when I was in my very early 20's. But that still leaves a long history of knitting—with beginnings that I can trace to a birthday! Naturally, I am going to spend today knitting!

PS—Sock finished last night—before 10PM—photo's tomorrow.