Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Putzing Around

Doing lots of little things, doing nothing.

Nothing to show you on Square 4—cause nothing got done (I will be casting on as soon as I finish this post) Did some swatching, wrote down another half dozen ideas for socks—I have more than a years worth--(and 5 years worth of yarn!) other vaguely knitting stuff (turned some skeins into balls.)

Got a little sewing done—a single medium sized tote bag. I use a lot of tote bags (Well a lot of the cotton canvas ones) It's been years since I've had groceries packed in “paper or plastic” I feel like I can't have too many—every once in a while I clean out the car, (where they are stored) and wash them all--Though sometimes an odd bag or two, sitting around waiting to be returned to the car gets tossed into a load of wash.

Keeping all but one or two of my shopping totes in the car means I have them handy when I need them. I can't tell you how many times in the past, I'd forget to take them when I stored them by the door.
Now they are stored (neatly folded) in a Master bag, in the trunk—and ready when ever I need them.

I actually got laundry done. Instead of just talking about doing a load of wash (as I have twice in the past month) I actually did 4—2 loads just of sheets and towels—and I still have a hamper full, and about 3 more loads to do.1 Full load of denim's (skirts, not jeans) and another load of linens—sheets and kitchen towels and a third of T-Shirts and tops. That's what comes of not doing laundry for 4 weeks!

A dull life, isn't it? But in light of all the local and not so local disasters caused by Irene—a dull life is a good thing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Too Bad

Here's square 3—a knit up in a single day. And definitely, there will be a square 4. Not a solid, but a narrow (2 row? 3 row? ) stripe of the rusty red and a brighter red. I don't have enough of either color for a full square, but narrow stripes--especially if they the don't have straight lines, (and they won't) blur into a single color in just a few feet's distance.

This one is done in seed stitch (red) and ribbing (rust). And it's the first (knit) one that is 20 X 20 (not 20 X 21 or 20 X 22 (as the miter corner one was before it got frogged)

I have errands and chore to do today that will cut into my knitting time, so I doubt I will finish square 4 by tomorrow—but I should make good progress.

And that's it. Nothing else to say!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Art and Charity.

I frogged and re-knit the second square for the Avenue of Tree's project. That makes 2 squares—I have some time left before Robyn returns to NYC, and a few more days before the deadline becomes hard—I've already cast on for block 3. (My mental deadline is Labor Day—a week from now) Who knows, maybe I will really be productive and make a 4th.

I have a bit of Red Heart still in my stash—and Red Heart just seems to appear out of no where. I haven't bought any in years –but skeins get foisted on me. I accept them, because there are always request for 'charity' knitting.

I am not much for charity knitting—I am poor enough, almost to be needing charity of my own, and yet I give—to so many organizations. I've given knitting, too. Hand knit socks (for a raffle), cash donations, time—and always, hats. It's been said, “the poor are always with us”. Giving more doesn't change that.

And even though I have headed up a project for knitting hats, I am not all that sure it works. Love and appreciation of hand knits comes with valuing them. I don't think hand knits are valued—in general, and especially by kids who want nothing more than to be and look like the images they see on TV and media. They want name brand baseball style caps. They aren't warm, they are very expensive, but they are worn by people they idolize.

I want to see big rap artist wearing no name jeans from Walmart, and cheap sneakers, and hand knit hats—and setting an example of “It's OK” (or even, It's Cool) -and not wearing designer jeans, and custom made footwear, and expensive baseball type hats. The standards of fashion set by performing artist are expensive ones, and the desire to emulate these fashions is incidious.

Today, Annie Modesitt has a link (its here) and a blog post about charity knitting. Again. And what she says, what Tony Sleep says, needs to be said again, and again.

I am so much happier to knit for art—for beauty, for pleasure, and for enjoyment than I am for charity (though Robyn notes, about $5 is being contributed to UNICEF for every donation to the Avenues project.) I didn't know that when I started, and it doesn't really change my mind about knitting squares for her.

Meanwhile, I like 99% of the citizens of NYC survived the hurricane. Not a bit of damage, not a problem in the world. Not even a lot of damage to the local trees.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Red Heart Yarn

Is still hiding—I am of half a mind to start knitting a different –(less yarn hogging than garter) square from the tail—frogging one square as I knit the other. I am quite sure that the errant skein will show up September 1st—moments after Robyn has stepped on to the plain taking her to Korea!

But I did do something.. Look 3 Sock Club Kit bags.

First—pumpkin pie—the toasty brown 'crust yarn' has been divide into 2 mini skeins—Undived, it wasn't quite a full 50gms—but I am sure its enough to make a crimped edge cuff, and to turn a heel and make a bottom (sole) crust too. Pumpkin Pie socks are next up in the line up.

Then, some lacy lavender socks. This is a home dyed yarn a semi-solid of blue violet, violet, and red violet—not really lavender at all! I haven't decided on the lace pattern yet—but something small, delicate and simple.

Finally—a big (1 gallon zip lock bag!)--a rainbow (and then some!) of colors. I haven't even tucked in the black skeins that will be the background to this array, and the bag is full. But –truth be told—Crazy 8's will use 8 colors—but not very much of any one color. I'll have lots of this yarn left when I am done. (and some black as well!)

But not to worry—I have plans for the left over black.

I'd tell you more—but the jackhammering that is going on is unbearable—Some residents (like my upstairs neighbor) illegally put down ceramic tiles on their terrace (instead of the default painted grey concrete.)

Any installed flooring is being removed as part of the over all improvement project . The terraces are in pairs or 3 some's, and are a pitched to a single drain (my side of the pair has the drain) Tiles and other flooring interfere with the draining—and standing water (and in the winter, sheet of ice) are not good for the concrete-(and really not neighborly at all!)

The owner's with illegal flooring are being fined; and in effect paying to have the floors broken up and removed—but we all have to suffer with the noise! The steel structure transmits the noise like a bad tunning fork. I KNOW the work is being done on the terrace above me—but in ever room it sounds like they are right above me—in the living room, in the dining room, in the computer annex (a not quite a room area) in the kitchen, in the bath, in the bedroom! Everywhere! There is no escaping.. Oh wait, I could head down stairs and do laundry—There's a plan.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I ran out of yarn—Well, what I mean is, I've used up the entire skein of Red Heart that I was using.
I have another (partial) skein. I know where it is.. Well that is, I know I have a partial skein, and I know it's in a bag with some grey and black Red Heart yarn. I just can't remember where I stuffed that bag. (I found the bag with the Christmas colors—red, green, white (and a mixed red/green/white mixed skein) and I found the rust red skein too.. Of course, I'll find the purple the very last place I look!

And I've been looking. I found about 3 WIP along the way, and a ton of yarn that I have plans for.. the lovely singles in a long color way--Gold, and corals, and rusts and brown—and a matching skein of cinnamon singles (fingerless gloves)

And I found the Silky Wool—12 skeins in 7 colors—a fair isle type vest to be. Not to forget, I also found the Silky Wool leaves (and even knit the last 5 I need)—so now I have a set of 3 small, 5 medium, and 8 large ones for a hat project I have planned.

I also found the “other” bag of left of sock yarn—and now have a choice of 10 solid colors for the Crazy 8 socks I want to knit this fall.

I have enough other left over partial balls—that I could knit a dozen bottle socks and not make a dent—but maybe I'll do an insanity blanket—and knit the left over sock yarn into mitered squares. I'll even have some solid yarns left after the Crazy 8 socks—More for the blanket!

Likely, there is even enough of some of the solids to make a pair of swirl socks (another idea on my ever growing list of ideas for socks.) I've done swirl socks in the past—but gave them away in a swap. I want a pair for myself. (and I have the yarn!)

Oh what a dangerous undertaking it is sifting though my stash!

Over on Ravelry—Owlkatt reminded me that I still need to finish documenting the Leaf Me Alone hat, and my DD's best friend is having a baby this winter—so I need to find some nice washable yarn and get something knit for her.

And then there is the Maker's Faire coming up—And my Son and his family are coming because my DIL (Sonya) will have a booth...I want to machine embroider a T-shirt or 2—for me (and maybe some for her too—cause well it will be fun to have a maker's T-Shirts)

Mine will be:
In all caps, because that's all my sewing machine will do. I've already programed the words into my machine—all I need to do is put the metal (my lead foot) to the pedal—and sew. (I've tested and double checked the programming on a scrap of cloth—every thing is OK!)

Sonya is more of a fiber artist—and I don't know if she wants a special T-Shirt—and what she would want it to say. But its not hard to program my machine --I needed to check the manual to get started—but I think I have gotten it down now—and should be able to do it again with new words with no effort.

Enough—I've got to get back to looking for the half skein of Medium Purple Red Heart and knitting!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I felt the earth move under my feet....

And my furniture shake--It felt like being in a row boat--up, down, side to side... It was a dizzying feeling.

Nothing fell (but my floor fan did rattle) no damage--Well here --at way. Hope every one else can report the same--especially those closer to epicenter.

Math—and knitting

Robyn, you just make me do it-- The math that is! My first thought about the squares was-20 X 20 inches. OK, that's do-able.
Then I thought again, and realized—20 X 20! Why that's like knitting the back of sweater! Its a lot of knitting (or crocheting, since I did do a 20 X 20 block, too).

So Block 1 (a giant granny square) is done. (no new photo—it looks just like it did a few days ago, but its a bit bigger) Block 2? not quite half done. Though at first glance it might not look it.

With block 2, instead of working from the inside out (and having more and more to do each row/round) I am working outside in. My mitered square is pretty plain—just a few slip stitches that will make subtle changes to how the light hits the square. (Will these be noticeable when driving by at 30 mph? Who knows? But even if they aren't they make the knitting of the block more interesting!)

I did a swatch—but like all swatches, it lied, and this block is slightly bloated—and will be generous (21 X 21) and a bit over sized.
I cast on 80 (for 1 side)stitches and 80 again, and a Plus 1 for the miter point.
Now the block is down to 60 (1 side) stitches and 60 again (and I lied, cause there are 3 at the miter point!)

This has created a 5 inch L shaped band. 5 inches of a 20 inch square sound like I am about 25% done, right? Wrong actually. Because I am no longer knitting a 20 inch square. I am now knitting a 15 inch square!

So let's do some simple math-- area. You remember Area= L(ength) X W(idth), right?

The area of a 20(L) X 20(W) square is 400 . (400 what? well let's just call them units!)
That's what I had to knit to start.

Now, after 5 inches of work, I have a 15 X 15 inch square left to knit.
The area left is 225! Almost half the area I need to knit has been done. I am almost half done!

Every row is getting shorter, and easier. The next 5 inches of work will make the square of 10 X 10 left to do. The area for a 10 X 10 square is 100—the square will be 75% done. With every row, the work is exponentially smaller. Each row will be shorter and shorter and progress will fly! The last 5 inches? They are a mere 3 % or so of the area. A snap!

Work the math the other way (5 X 5=25, 10 X 10=100, 15 X 15 =225, 20 X 20 =400—and you can begin to understand hurricanes or earthquakes, or tornado's--and how a level 2 (what ever) is so much worse than a level 1.

A level 1 is like the 5 X 5 square, a level 2 is like the 10 X 10 square.. and so on. (See knitting can be used to teach anything!) We all know how tedious the end rows or round of a large item can be... It's not something we imagine! Things don't just simple grow bigger--they grow bigger exponentially!

Square 3? I haven't decided. Maybe just a flat square—cast on X and knit till I have 20 inches. I don't know if there will be a square 4—we'll see (maybe... but maybe not!) There is a dead line (August 29th for me.. less if you have to mail the square)

My contribution is just a drop in the bucket of the 1500 squares Robyn needs. Let's see, 1% of 1500 is 15. (3 Squares are a lot less than 1%.) 7 and half squares are 0.5%. 3 squares are less than that! (a bit less than a puny 0.25%!).

But like any big project, every square, every 0.25% counts. There's time, you could still make a square—just one—and it would be a 0.15% of the project.
Almost nothing.
And EVERYTHING! Robyn has a Ravelry group—join and make a square. Become a drop in the bucket—until it overflows!

The thing about this project is every square matters. Like rain drops—each single drop is so inconsequential. But when they come down all together—Floods!

Oh, yeah, did I mention? Robyn is making each square contributed a raffle ticket.. You could win a skein of her homespun art yarn!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Forever—and not done yet!

That's what if feels like—that I have been crocheting forever—and I still only have 16 inches of a 20 inch square complete. Just 4 more rounds (but each round is bigger!) and it will be done.

Square 2 (and there will be a square 2!) will be done inside out.. I will cast on a million (or actually 161) and make a slightly patterned (a set of slip stitches on garter) mitered square—and every row will be shorter than the next—not longer!

It will be the same medium purple RED HEART –I had a full skein of the stuff—An 8 oz. super saver skein. I have some partial skeins, too, or other colors of Red Hear I might end up with striped square too (white and a color, or grey and color) or maybe a tweed –A tri color linen square would look great—but knitting a 20 X 20 square is like knitting (or crocheting) the back of s sweater—its a big square!

My pair of secret socks are done--(OK a hint—an obvious one at that-they are mini socks, not full sized ones)

And I did 2 more rounds on my last (and lingering) G Class Star hat (the periwinkle blue violet one)--I have a lot to do in the next ten days--but I think will get it all done!

Some good--I mean GREAT news--My son and DIL, and grandchildren are coming east this year—Sonya (aka KnitSonya on Ravelry) is going to be one of the maker's at the NYC Maker's Faire –September 17 & 18 at the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park.

Next year? ME, too. I thought about it this year, but I wasn't really ready in time—I'll be there this year—First as a knitting teacher once again for the TNNA booth—and I am sure I will help out at Sonya's display, too.

I'll keep you posted on details as I get them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another Pair-- Ready To Wear

All done, (knit and finished) by dinner time last night-(I have since cast on and knit half and then some of an other pair.. but you'll have to wait till Monday to learn about them!)These pairs will mellow out a bit before they are actually worn--(it's still too hot to wear socks in NYC)

By the time I was grafting the toe, the sock stripes, once again perfectly matched up.. So only a small portion at the top of the ankle/instep don't match. Good enough.

I did a slightly different toe. One pretty common toe is K2, SSK, (knit instep) K2tog, K2, (repeat for sole side of the sock)—For me and my side “seamed” (Beginning of Round) socks, that exactly what I do. (Sock knitters who work on DPN's start the process on Needle (last) knit to BoR, and work the decreases at the end of Needle 1--(then repeat on instep side of the sock))
This creates a strong line of decreases.

This time, I reversed the decreases, and started with K2, K2tog, and on the other side, an ended with a SSK, K2-- The out come (shape wise) is identical—but the effect on the toe is a set of feathered decreases. A subtle difference that you might not have noticed if I didn't take a close up of the effect. It's a bit easier to see the feathered effect on the left side of the image.

It's one of the things I like about sock knitting—there are so many opportunities of small, detail changes.
There are the BIG choices (yarn, gauge, direction) and then a myriad of minor details to chose.

Starting with Cast on choices—Doesn't matter if you work toe up or cuff down—there are lots of cast ons to chose from. Top down has a few more choices—but only because Top down offers so many ways to create a cuff. The default choice is ribbing—and ribbing can be 1 X 1, or 2 X1, or 2 X 2,or... well there are lots of ribbing patterns that work (including twisted and 2 color corrugated ribbing) –but ribbing is just ONE of hundreds of choices.

Chevrons, or feather and fan, or other ripple or other stitch pattern that fold and compress stitch tension are another whole set of choices. As are cross wide bands for the cuff—these can be garter stitch (and striped garter stitch is a great choice!) or seed stitch, or I-cords (cast on) or cables—there are lots of patterns that work well. The list goes on—ruffles, lace, ridges—More, too, things I've forgotten or just haven't thought of!

The legs of the sock? Plain, or ribbed, or patterned, or lace, striped (not self striping stripes) beaded,embroidered, entralac or intarsia. (Have I covered all the options? )

Well you get the point.. every aspect of sock knitting from cast on to cast off, offers a set of choices
I don't think—even with 12 pairs a year (on average) I will exhaust all the choices in my life time. I don't think I have come close to yet—with a hundred of pairs knit!

And a bonus—from back in the doldrums days a few weeks ago—another bottle sock (that brings me up to 4 of them) got knit. It's hardly counts--one of those things I can knock out in an evening--and put to use right away. This is bottle sock 4--enough I think. But I can always make more for gifts. (and I might).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Only the Toe To Go!

And I've already gotten a round or two done!

Over the past few rows, the stripes-- out of perfect match starting at the beginning of the heel flap-- have worked there way back to matching. They are about half a round out of complete sync—but then, they started that way!

(Note--most of the links in this post are to Ravelry projects--if you aren't yet a Ravelry member (WHY aren't you!?) they won't work)

Cindy, (aka Random Charm) on Ravelry, comment on my socks and asked about the clock pattern . It's a bit difficult to see the detail on LEGS—so here it is, flat, and stretched. The clock pattern consist of 3 bobbles a simple chevron of lace and a second chevron (slightly larger) that become a lace diamond, and ends right at the point where the flap begins.

I have my ideas about socks—I think self patterning and multi color/shade yarn (that doesn't stripe or spiral) looks best in simple, plain stocking knit—with just a few details (like a cuff, or a clock) Occasionally, if the stripe/self patterning is very subtle, a pattern might work. I come to think this way based on my experience—some of my yarn/stitch pattern choices have been, well, less successful.

For patterns (be they cable or lace stitch patterns) a solid, or semi solid is a much better choice.
I have tried using variegated yarns and striped yarns with patterns-- sometimes things work out OK, (like the Mast Socks) but more often-- like the Child's French Sock--not so well.

The yarn in the Child French sock just about totally obscures the pattern. And the Mast socks, show ripples—but its hard to see the acorn lace motif--the back with its applicate d oak leaf and acorn bobbles work much better.

Even the simple balloon stitch pattern on the less stripy Lion Brand Cotton Candy socks doesn't really work well.

Self striping/self patterning yarns look best when the bulk of the sock is stocking knit. Lace and fancy stitch patterns work best in semi solids. Actually semi and real solid colors work well for any pattern. The Denim socks, and the Garnets in Granite are a both knit with a pretty simple stitch –and look fine. But I don't think the fine lace of a pattern like the peachy socks would look good in stripe—the stripe would fight the lace design for dominance.

I LOVE self patterning yarns—yet--they can be boring—all that stocking knit. I love solid and semi solid yarns, too. I love the freedom they offer—all the possibilities of design! I don't know which I like best. For sure, I like alternating—fancy patterns, interesting stitches and one of kind designs (with all the planning and weaving in of ends!) and simple socks with just a few details, letting the yarn do the bulk of the work!

Crowning Achievement—is a pretty simple plain sock. It has a fancy cast on and cuff—and the small lacy clock—but the bulk of the sock is pretty generic and plain.

Next month—an other version—and a bit fancier—when I will knit up (in September, so I can savor them for a few weeks before I ever wear them) my pumpkin pie sock –for Thanksgiving weekend wear.
There will have a toasty brown crimped crust(cuff)—and then inches of smooth pumpkin custard. L-Likely, the heel and turn will be in the same beige brown (making a bottom “crust”) maybe even the whole sole.
I haven't ever knit a sock with an EZ style replaceable sole—maybe its time I did!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Repeat—Complete!

Gussets completed, too. One more repeat to go, then (and maybe even a little before) it will be time to shape the toe. And the toe(s) are nothing at all! With decreases ever other round, and each round smaller than the previous one they zip along!

I got most of it done last night--at LIC Knit night.

While it was still over-cast yesterday morning—it was cool all day, so I skipped the pool and went off to Tuesday Night Knitting at Maducatis Rustica--(our home base for knit night).

I shouldn't be telling you about Manducatis now. —they are about to close for a two week vacation—but Gianna is so good—the food and pastries and gelato are so good-- If you live in the NYC area, you really should plan a night out there one day soon.

Last night her boys (how big they have grown this summer) were being picky—and picking at, and not eating well. (it was their fourth meal of the day! And they were also sitting next to us.
As they got up and said "I'm Full!" we looked at their platters.. and Gianna invited us to pick at their left overs.

We got to pick at the plate of cauliflower—roast with a bit (actually quite a bit) of sliced garlic. You'd think we were all homeless and starving they way we all grabbed a flowerette or two (count me in, for two, and for all the extra garlic slices!) I tend to like almost all members of the cabbage family --but cauliflower is one of the few members that I really like cooked. Broccoli I will eat lightly steamed, and cabbage is best raw--though every once in a while there is a special dish that I like cooked. I like Kohlrabi best raw, too. (Brussel sprouts? Yuck!)

Generally speaking, it's out of my budget to order dinner there every week (not that its an expensive place—it's just dinner out anywhere is out of my budget!) I wish I could. I have sampled some dished, shared some, (pizza) and I have swapped a hand knit hat for meal—so I know just what is is that I am missing!

Click on the link “Mamma Gianna's Table” on the web page(link above) , and you can see Gianna wearing of the hats Kimberly (aka KLS104 on Ravelry) knit for her! The colors look different (Kim's photo is a phone camera shot, indoors, late at night—the other a professional well lit one!) but its one and the same.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Once Again—I Haven't Completed

A color way/stripe repeat. Nor have I finished the gusset.

But I have come close! One more color stripe to complete a repeat.. and 8 more rounds to finish the gusset. And to be fair, it is a big deep gusset. The socks have 64 stitches; 32 were used for the flap, and after the turning, 18 stitches remain. Mind you the flap had 34 rows (17 chains along each edge), not 32 (as you'd expect).

Then, as I picked up stitches, there were 2 bonus stitches to make tight corners.
So by the time I started the gusset, I had 19 + 19 (picked up stitches) +18 stitches from the turning or 56 stitches! 56 minus 32 = 24 stitches to whittle down (24 rounds—some of them HUGE (88 stitches to start!)

But now with just 4 more sets of decreases, (and just 70 stitches per round now, and fewer ever other round!) rounds are going faster.

There is a bonus to this—since extra round of gussets means one few round of foot.

I frequently do this--(add an extra few rows to flap/pick up extra stitches in gusset to start) I have a high instep and the long deep gussets insures a better, more comfortable fit.

And now with most of the gusset done—and the socks displayed on LEGS—you can see the bobble and lace clock—a bit of a echo of the small picot and chevron shaping of the top edge.

I first did nupps (and on the first version of the Crowning Achievement socks I did pepper stitch) and thought both textural effects were too subtle. So I went with bobbles—and now I think the bobbles are too much (aren't bobbles always too much?) I had thought about 5 bobbles (positioned at point 1, 3 (-3) and 5 (-5)) making the bobbles as wide as the lace chevron and diamond. But I am so glad I stopped at 3—3 are more then enough!

Meanwhile the rain has stopped (and I am high and dry)--with record totals-and massive flooding in low lying areas. But the sky's are still grey and overcast. I shouldn't complain (it's a love mild 74°(circa 23°c)--and really, I would much rather have cooler temps (even if it means no pool!) than the sering temps we had at the end of last month (Who can forget 106°/41° in the daytime and 90°/32° at night!) Besides—It's Tuesday! I will get to my Tuesday night knitting in LIC two weeks in a row!

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Last I Wrote

On Friday, I suggested that if I just keep to a pace of 1 color way repeat a day—why I'd have my socks done in no time.

Here I am, 3 days later—and while I have completed 1 repeat—and a bit—I haven't even come close to 2, (forget 3!)-- But there is real visible progress. The leg is complete. As I came close to the end of the leg (defined by the bit of lace clock) one of the skeins had a break—and while the yarn continued to change color in the right order—2 full round of the golden color just before the brick red were missing.

I am not (really!) anal about matching the stripes in my socks. I do like a close match—and do make an effort to start them at about the same point—but I don't go crazy. The break (and now mismatching) stripes are, well, not enough to get concerned about.

If anything—they help clarify the heel. I tend to avoid Flap/Turn/Gusset (FTG's) on socks with self striping yarn (the wider the stripes, the more I avoid them). It bothers me a bit that the gussets—with its ever changing row count, messes up the stripes. --And –inevitably, the flap and turn (since they are only half/less then half) never use up enough yarn—and the color sequence on the instep is messed up.

The broken yarn has done the same thing. The stripes are off—and while I could have cut and shortened the yarn on the second sock—I thought why bother? The stripes on the legs match—the stripes on the instep won't. And if they are not going to match anyway—go with a flapped turned gusseted heel!

I have completed the Flap. After the turn and picked up stitches of the gusset (today's goal) --well-- it's all down hill and a quick finish to the socks.

Yesterday, by virtue of not listening to the news or weather— I went out—shopping for the metal mesh I was so sure I had seen in the art supple section of Michaels. Unsuccessful.

Well not totally—I managed to avoid the worst of the flooding (In Central Park, NYC official site for weather, over 6 inches of rain!--but out on the island the further east/further south you go, the worse it got. JFK airport got over 7.5 inches of rain --it's about 5 miles south of me. (LGA got less rain--and its about 4 miles north!) Luckily—while I did go east—I turned north—and while the rain was heavy at times—I missed being washed away--er even worrying about being washed away.

While I didn't find the mesh—I did treat myself—to a new (standard base) OttLite bulb. I have an off brand Ott type light—one that is supposedly portable --but I never port it anywhere! It lives near my 'photo station' –an ottoman seat covered with a white sheet, and a small white (a sheet of Styrofoam) back drop (also covered by the same bit of sheeting), in the living room--sharing the same end table next to my couch.

The old style Ott (and Ott knock offs) had U shaped bulbs with pin connectors—and needed a special lamp to hold the bulbs.

Last year (2 years ago?) they changed—Ott bulbs now look like standard Compact Florescent bulbs (CFB) and can be screwed into any standard fixture—Well almost--They are BIG bulbs.(yes, that's an empty box—the bulb is already in use!) The bulb is actually too big for the pin up lamp I have it in (part of the bulb is exposed) but no matter.

Most of my CFB's are 10 and 20 watts bulbs—that give off the same amount of lumin's as a 40 to 60 watt bulbs, and are about the same size as a standard bulbs. (Yes, its true, incandescent bulbs do get bigger as the wattage goes up, but CFB's are always bigger than incandescent bulbs.)

And, remember watts are measure of power consumption (you buy kilowatts from you local utility)--Lumin's are a measure of light. We tend to think of a 40 or 60 or hundred watt bulb as a measure of how bright (how much light it gives) but the proper measure in to compare lumin's (1 lumin =light of 1 candle) Standard bulbs squander most of the power (watts) they use as heat—not light.

The OttLite is a 25 watt CFB—But gives off about the same amount of lumin's as a hundred watt bulb. Over 95% of the power is used to produce LIGHT--with standard incandescents, only 17% of the power used produces light--the rest of the power produces heat--not efficient use of the power. And in the summer--who needs that extra heat?

It's cool (it just never gets hot (a bit warm, but not hot)) and so much brighter than the CFB's I have been using. It was at $15 (minus the after 4PM discount sale) and so worth it. I want to go out and buy some more.

I want to upgrade a good percentage of my 20 watt CFB's (60 watt equivalents) to these super bright 25 watt (100 watt equivalents) bulbs! I don't think I need one in every lamp—but Oh, I want more! My portable ott knock off is close enough to the couch (it just needs to be turned around)so I don't need one in the living room . And my fancy table lamp has one of the few incandescent bulbs in use (also a true white light) My new bulb went into my bedside lamp. (I do tend to knit in bed before I go to sleep)

But I want another for my computer desk lamp, and one for the light fixture by my sewing machine, and... I upgraded to CFB's many years ago (long before I moved to my apartment and that's 9 years ago!) I think it's time to do second upgrade to super bright, pure white lights—in at least in some of my fixtures. These BIG bulbs won't fit in some of my fixtures—like my wall sconces—and they might not fit in my bath room fixture either (and might actually be too bright for a space that small!) but I think my entry hall would benefit. (It has 2- 10 watt CFB now—but they are getting old (9 years or so old!) I want to plan ahead and have a OttLite bulb on hand for when they give out (on average CFB last 10 years of so!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Starting Repeat 3

Of the stripe pattern and at the same time, starting a motif that echo's the chevrons of the 'crown'.

Small bobbles, (an echo of the knotted picots of the Channel Island cast on) to be followed with lace chevrons--and a lace diamond, for the clocks. I tried nupps first--but they were too subtle (for a sock).

If I keep to the reasonable goal of getting a stripe pattern (from dark brick red, to dark brick red) every day, the socks will be quickly done!

Good thing because I still need to work on squares for Robyn's Avenue project, and I am still thinking about participating in the yarn bombing of CitiField, and I want to have something special to wear for the Maker's Faire—September 17th & 18th –once again at the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park.

This will be the second Maker's Faire in NYC—and I hope it will be bigger and better than last years—and I hope it will be a nicer day—Last year was just a bit too hot! (it hit 90°!)

I toyed with getting a booth this year—but I really wasn't ready—but Look out next year—there will be a booth—with bells on! With demo's, and videos, and samples and lots of stuff!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crown—and Then Some

Not a lot of progress—3 inches in all, in the past 2 days—but some is better than none.

This is not the yarn I first planned to use for these socks. BUT—I have a student, who really wanted to knit socks—even though she is not quite ready skill wise—who has been struggling to knit a pair. And the yarn she chose was the same I had bagged up as a sock kit.

I don't want her to see my socks (in the same yarn) done up and completed (in 2 weeks) when she has just reached the half way point in 2 months.

The yarn I am using is Michael's Loop & Thread Luxury Sock yarn 60% merino/30% nylon/10% cashmere in the Balloon color way. It's a lovely soft yarn (I wonder how well it will wear—cashmere is not a durable yarn) and while I love every single color in the color way.. I am not so happy with the way it stripes. The second image is a better (well on my computer) representation of the colors.

Still—these are generic stripes stock—basic ones. And while is still haven't gotten my planned (back in January!) skirts sewn up, these will match with the brick cloth--and with some plum colored tops, and even with a print dress I have. So they will be very functional (even if not my fondest).

Yesterday, I got the chevron edge completed, and since then, a bit of the leg. And all my work documented. These socks like the original pair of Crowning Achievement, will have some lace and nubb clocks knit in at the ankle. I am hemming and hawing about the heel.. An afterthought one? (to keep the striping perfect? Or a Flap/Turned/Gusseted one (easier) I think the later, only because these socks are so ho-hum

What was not ho-hum was moon set last night. I woke –mid night (well 3:30!) and caught sight of the moon—It was a juicy golden mango in the sky. I had seen it early in day—a ghost moon in a clear blue sky—but it wasn't half as thrilling as slightly mis-shaped oval it was against the black sky.

It wasn't a harvest moon gold, or blood red moon, but a golden orange –so much like a mango (sitting on a roof top “table”). It sank out of sight by 3:40 --a few minutes before official moon set, I am sure--building make the horizon a bit higher in the city. But what a joy it was to watch for those fleeting moments.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Not much, but its a start. 2 rounds done on the periwinkle blue version of the G Class Star Hat –about 1/3 of the side wall of the hat now done. At this rate, I'll be hard pressed to have it finished by summers un-official end (Labor Day).

And a pair of socks cast on—another version of Crowning Achievement—in warm shades of reds and golden orange tones. I'd show you--but not today. But all there is to see today is the cast on—not very impressive!

But I am getting back into the grove and at least knitting—even if it is just a row or two. And not just knitting. I am documenting the details of the Crowning Achievement socks. They are just a step up from generic—the fancy cast on and cuff add a bit of oomph—but a baker dozen of rows and the sock is generic. Unless you want more—and then a set of clocks at the ankle add a bit more interest.

I'll provide directions for heel, foot and toe, but the details here are optional. I tend to like a flap/turned/gusseted heel—but not on self striping yarns (and I am using a self striping yarn)--I think I will go with a row of waste yarn, and work an after thought heel.

But I am getting ahead of my self! It's still early in the month—I expect I will have the socks finished before the end—and the hat, and a block or two for Robyn.. (but maybe I am expecting too much!)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Highways and Bi-ways, Roads old and new.

I grew up in the Bronx, and was from early childhood familiar with the Boston Post Road. One day I finally thought about the road-- The Boston Post Road? And realized just what the road was..A modern relic of an old colonial road. It continues (sometimes with the same name, sometimes as Main Street all the way to Boston. Further north, its name changes (and its called the NY Post Road.) It follows a colonial road up and down the east coast (from Maine to DC—and maybe even points further south)

For the most part, it's also called US Rte 1. It's Rte. 1 in parts of NYC , too, and in much of New Jersey. It's a road that connects and continues across state boundaries. But, no, it's not the oldest road in US. We east coasters cling to our history, (the Mayflower, the 13 original colonies and such) but there are west coast road from the Spanish colonial days that are just as old and older.

I only know (and then only know a very few) of some of the older road, like the Boston Post Road.
Broadway is an other one--(Rte 9 in most of the state.) This land mark road is build on (for the most part) an Indian trail—It's one of the few streets that isn't part of NYC famous Grid System—since the road was a well established one, long before the grid came into place.

Every read The Last of the Mohican's? The path through the forest, is for the most part, is Broadway/Rte 9. There are still to be found, landmarks (caves and glacial erratic boulders) mentioned in the book that still exist (one cave is in Inwood Park, in norther Manhattan).

Some of these old roads are crooked, some make right angle turns (Glebe Avenue in the Bronx for example) which marks the borders of St Peter's Church (Anglican) old glebe; and Minetta Lane in, down in Greenwich Village, is another example—it follows the twisting path of an old stream bed.

After WWII, was the old colonial roads and cow paths high ways were, replaced by the new interstate system. Sometimes the new highways were superimposed on or paralleled these old roads. Parts of I-80 in the mid west run parallel to the Oregon trail!

Do you know the logic behind the Interstate Highway System? First they are I-roads. One set (ending in 5's (5, 15, 25...95) run north and south.
I-5 (from souther CA to Washington state –and a Canada build a spur connecting I-5 to the Canadian highway system) on the west coast, a bunch of others, (I-15, 25, ...) till finally, I-95 (Florida to Maine (mostly!)) on the east coast.

I-roads that end in Zeros (10 in the south, and 20, 30...90(north) are East/West roads.
These 2 sets of roads are the major arteries. (There is one near you!)

And then, there are the spurs and ring. These, too, have a logic. Ring roads (DC's belt way is the best example) are road that ring major cities. These have 2,4,(and maybe 6 and 8 designations)
Depending on how far they are from the city they ring. All up and down I-95 are I-295 and I-495's rings. Few are as round and complete as DC's Beltway—The perfect ring road!

In the NYC area, I-495 in NJ is sort of C shaped and broken up. It skips over Manhattan, and it continues onto Long Island!

The Long Island Expressway is designated I-495. And while the LIE nominal goes north (as does all of Long Island)—It is hardly a ring! It mostly goes east (starting from the Queens side of the mid-town tunnel –at exit 13!) all the way out to Riverhead, and doesn't connect to I-95

I've actually never taken it to the end—since in ends in the middle (between the forks) and I've always gone north or south--Down to the Hampton's, and Montauk-- or North to the vine country and Orient Point.

There are all sorts of spurs, too, to these major roads--(to cities north & south, and east & west) and there is some sort of logic to these spurs, too, (but since I am less familiar with them, I haven't fully worked out the logic, or the numeric codes associated. (feel free to chime in!)
Though basically they too follow the same numbering logic.

One example is the Pennsylvania Turnpike(I-76) —build before the Interstate System got started, it “joined' the interstate system. But it, like the NYS Thru-Way, are older roads were, and still are, toll roads –-Some old roads were private, some regional and some state build—and these often had tolls--and tollhouse's (as in the cookie) or gates (and turn pikes to prevent access/progress until the toll for their use was paid.

Most of these roads now have I- numbers that follow the same logic of the Big I-'s—Odd numbers (I-91 for example) are north south roads, and even numbers I-76 (Pennsy Pike) are east/west routes. Many of these roads (well the east coast ones) are new enough that I remember them being built!

In Queens, remnants of some intermediate roads exist—these are newer than colonial roads—but predate most modern roads. Like the Vanderbilt Highway—an early example of a modern highway!--Much of the road is elevated on berms, and major crossroads are spanned with overpasses. This road is now to be found in parks, (as bike paths) but further east, local governments have taken over the road, and maintained, improved or extended this once private roadway. I don't know of other private highways--abandoned or still in use. But I bet they existed in many east coast cities.

On the east coast (and Chicago, too, for one) there are a bunch of state roads that date from WPA projects. - Many of which are designated as parkways. Elegant, curving (many have been “improved” over the years, with the worst of the curves removed) roads, with broad parks either side.

These roads are for passenger traffic exclusively, and were originally designed as pleasure roads—for Sunday afternoon drives. No trucks, no commercial traffic allowed. The east coast is filled with them. And some are long, and continue across state lines. NY's Hutchison River parkway seamless blends into the Merrick parkway, (CT) which at some point changes names and becomes the Wilber Cross Parkway. Its a pleasurable alternative north and east to I-91--(vs the New England Thruway as I-95 is known as).

Much of I-95 in the New York Cityis the Cross Bronx expressway—a stretch of road that almost always makes the top ten list of “worst highways in America”. It's also the road I learned to drive on! After learning to drive there, driving cross country on I-80 (which starts just past the the George Washington Bridge, in NJ) and in San Francisco (CA) was a piece of cake!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Mid Summer Burn Out

Still not knitting. I shouldn't be surprised—it happens every summer.

Instead of knitting, I have been reading.

2 new books (well new to me) and 2 books I've read before.

First the New (and bad) The Help.

On a superficial level-- a quick summer read. But give it a minute of thought, and it fails. It fails to be truthful, it fails realistic. It fails in every way a book can fail. . Its portrayal of the HELP is racist, and one dimensional.
Hilly the nemesis claims all blacks are dirty disease spreading thieves and low life. Skeeter, the heroine, then provides examples. The stories are so biased, and portray the help as helpless.
What a waste of time and effort to read.

Next the new (well new to me!) and good
The House on the Lagoon., by Rosario Ferre

A book set in Puerto Rico—and what a story! Multi-generational, historical (It reminded me of some of the little history I knew about the conflict between the differentness political parties of the island.) Vividly written, complex (thank goodness for the family tree in the front of the book its invaluable to help keep track of the players.) It is a wonderful book.

The focus of the book is the upper and upper middle class (a very small portion of the population) of Puerto Rico--not the more common (to my experience) low income peasants who make up the bulk of Puerto Rican immigratants--especially the immigrants to NYC. For most of my childhood, my own immigrant parents were just a step above as hard working blue collar class—I would have had little chance to meet ANY very rich folks anyway! The story of this other Puetro Rico gives wonderful insight to the land and culture.

This book was a gift from Linda Harrington, (owner) of the Bohemian Book Store—and it's a real gem.

Then Old—first The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Tthis was a wonderful book, and well worth the re-read. It's better than I remembered it. I suspect, when I reread it again a few years from now, its will be just as good, and it will provide new insights again.

The Old-On the still “to be read again list”
My Stoke of Insight., Jill Bolte Taylor

I just listened to the TED talk again, and look forward to reading the book again. Don't forget to check out Jill's web site too

And while I am over committed to several knitting projects (Robyn Love's Avenue of the Tree project, and the proposed yarn bombing at Citifield Stitch 'n Pitch, last week at Panera's (the new Rego Park Center one) I met Doreen, and I want to join her project—the Americana Stars Memorial.

I better get over these mid summer blues and get back to work and do something!