Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Hat

is on the way. It being made with the skein and half of the LLH Savanna colors yarn that I just used for the Square Peg hat. It's a bit of serendipity...

I've mentioned that I have spent several hours each week accompanying R to his doctors appointments. He's unable to drive, or for that matter walk more than a block or two. I bring my knitting, and if things go long (as they did Thursday when a 9AM appointment stretched to early afternoon) I get knitting done.

My leafy shell is pretty—I really like it, and it garners lots of compliments—especially the color... My good taste lies in choosing the color. But it does get boring. Taking it with me on these trips ensures I age a few rows done every few days.. (Another inch was added yesterday--a change so slight that it's not worth photographing)

The LLH yarn used in the Square peg hat, is in the same family of greens(as the leafy shell) —and while I have read the news and know that a bright emerald green is the color of the year for 2013—I think all greens are becoming more popular—or I hope so! I like most shades of green.

So this new hat in a cable design. I don't often work in cables—so I started the hat and it was fine till the cables (5 sets of cables, over 90 stitches) –and then it became to bunched up.. Clearly I needed to work some increases into the design—so a frogging we did go.

I left the cast on and ribbing intact. Then reworked the design an added an additional cable. What? 5 cables were too tight, so I made 6?!--Yup! But I also added 15 stitches to the 90 as I worked the cables. And away went the scrunched in look—and instead I have a nice smooth look with lots more ease.

The serendipity in this design comes from a hat I saw being worn by some one else while I sat in the waiting room of NY Hosptial (68th/70th Street & York Avenue)--the very same hospital I was born in.

My copy/version of a commercial mass produced hat is not exactly the same. For one—the commercial hat was knit with bulky yarn—and the LLH yarn is just about worsted weight. The ribbing is tight on size 7's (4.5m) and the body is softer worked on 8's (5.m))--but the hat I saw was knit much looser. I prefer worsted weight to bulky weight (and besides, I had this yarn and planned to make a hat with it!) There are lots of other suitable yarns to chose from, besides this yarn (which is I think discontinued) Similar yarns like Full O' Sheep, or Lambs Pride, or some Paton's SWS yarn (also discontinued, but there is a lot of it around in peoples stashes) would easily substitute. I am sure there are other yarns that would work, too. 

The sample hat, when off, it fell flat on itself, and looked like a beret—but on it looked more like a (not to) scrunchy hat. This hat is snugger all round on my head—but then I have a large head! (22 inches) Most women will find it fits gently. Not quite as snug as watch cap, but not as loose as most scrunch hats. Cables are very gender neutral—and this hat is big enough that it will fit many men, as well—though on a large man's head, this hat would fit snugly like a watch cap.

I've made some nice progress.. and I am thinking of writing the pattern for  this hat up too. --Wait--I have already started to write it up. Its a pretty simple basic design—but details make it special.  The pattern writing isn't that hard--but I plan on doing double duty--written directions and charted ones, too. 

So, today as the snow and wet weather come in, I will alternately be knitting and documenting my progress.

Monday I should be able to show you a finished hat.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Half Way Point

Has been reached. My leafy top now measures 12 inches.. and I still have 10 or so grams of wool left over. Will this be enough to bring the length to 16 inches? I don't think so. Close—I think. But....

I do have 2 partial skeins (left over from the matching socks) and I think 1 of them will be enough for me to reach my goal. And both partial skeins—Plus 1 more full one-- will allow me to make sure the shell reaches the desired finished length of 24 inches.

Meanwhile MORE mystery yarn has arrived from my sister in Japan—It's coming faster than I can knit it up!   I think this yarn is all synthetic.. its a beautiful wine red--and lace weight fine.  And bonus present for the holidays will be put to good use buying Principles of Knitting. I don't NEED the book—but I suspect I will enjoy reading the book—and maybe will even learn a thing or two.

I haven't DONE everything there is to do with knitting.. Never did a big project that needed to be steek'd, nor have I done thrums, and I have only done a scant row or two of twinned knitting. But I know about these techniques. But I don't know that I know everything there is to know about every technique. I still have things to learn, I am sure.

I have developed my own stitches patterns (a few simple lace patterns) and my own cast on (a double chain stitch cast on.. that has a matching selvage stitch (not my design) and a matching bind off (also my design.) And I have a new edging I just created--to be used for the bottom up shawl I have planned.
But there is always something new to be learned—and this is the book to do it for me.

My square peg hat is done... Well the knitting and most of the finishing is done.. This is a hat that will profit from a good blocking. It took, in all about 100 to 125 yards.. (or 1 full 80 m ball, and not quite half of the second.)

I continued the look of the mitered top down onto the sides of the hat. It's a short hat, pill box style—thought the way the brim stands out, it's also sort of like a pork pie hat... A bit interesting and a bit different. I have started to write up the pattern –including charts. When ever I can, I like to include both row by row (or in this case, round by round) directions, and charts. Some people love one one -or the other--so it pays to have both! I tend to prefer written directions... but I can and have knit things only using charts.

I think the yarn I am using (LLH Savanna Colors) has been discontinued, but there are many similar yarns that would work.. And to prove that, I will double check my directions (once written up) by knitting it again in a different yarn—I have already found some yarn in my stash that will be a good choice!

As for the other skein and half of LLH yarn?--I was inspired  yesterday by  knit a cabled hat.. (I am so rarely inspired by cables)--so since I have finish the square peg hat... I will next  knitting up a cabled hat--then, after that, a second square peg hat! (I have just completed the cast on for the cable hat but not a stitch more!)

So.. my queue is growing by leaps and bounds..
A light blue sparkly bottom up shawl, a cabled hat, a pattern to write up, another version of the square peg hat. Plus—I still am working on the leafy shell.. As noted, it's half done—which also means another half still needs to be knit! And then there are socks—lots of socks!

I have been working on a semi secret sock project (It's no secret I have been working on socks—the secret has been what kind of sock... and the patterns for them and the socks themselves) I have more secret socks to knit up; and to document. And I have other socks—public socks—as it were—in my queue, too. I never finished all the socks I planned to knit this year—and I have been dreaming up new ideas for next year's socks, too!(Next year? Next WEEK!)

I have plans for a lacy scarf from some of the yarn I got early this year from my sister—and now—6 new skeins of lace weight yarn... and then there was talk of a dark turquoise (teal?) little sweater, knit from sock yarn (with socks to match )--both to match my turquoise skirt and vest and jumper. Which reminds me... Sewing--I have sewing to do, too!

What am I doing here, when I have all this knitting to do!? (and a Dr. appointment this afternoon, too!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas Day.

I don't do much for on Christmas. I don't celebrate it as a religious or secular holiday. So instead, its just a quiet day for me.

My DD is off visiting family (I've been invited.. but I always pass) My son will call later in the day.. but me? I'll take an easy day—get some ironing done. A recent trip to the laundry room has left me with lots of clean clothes.. and a small pile of ironing. I love the feel of cotton—and I put up with the need to iron. I also have a pile of sock to put away!--I had a whole (albeit a small one) load of wash-just for my socks!  I hadn't come near to running out of clean socks to wear. 

The next few days will be busy—R has one appointment tomorrow, another on Thursday, and I have a general check up on Friday! I might not post anything much this week—but I am likely to get a fair amount of knitting done! He is still not up to driving--so I'll be driving him around. (When he gets  morose--and carries on, I remind him he can't die until he finds his car's title and signs it over to me!)  Friday I'll take the subway be on my own. 

As for knitting--well a start—after several false starts—to a hat. It's about half way done—and it suits me! I am a bit of square peg in round hole world—so a square hat (for a round head) seems the perfect choice.

It's a theme I have experimented with before. The yarn is lovely—It's LLH “Savanna Colors”--a very loosely spun blend of alpaca, linen, wool and nylon. I have 3 skeins of the stuff—and will likely finish the hat with just one of the three. Maybe a cowl or neck ring to go along with the hat will be produced.

I've added a few more rounds to my leafy shell—but not enough so that you'd really notice the change. But with 3 doctors offices to sit and wait in this week—I should make some real progress.

I got a big—Not bubble tea big—but bigger than average drinking straw, too. Its been cut up into a hundred odd little stitch markers for my bottom up shawl... Not that I have started knitting it yet...but I am slowly amassing all the tools I need to get started.

I hope Christmas is for you, all you hope and wish.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yes, I am Alive

And well, and I have even gotten some knitting done. I did have a bad week with almost no knitting.  I was down in the dumps (mentally) and not feeling to hot physically (arthritis flare up)  I read about knitting, and swatched a bit, but didn't really get anything knit. In addition, I have been being a good friend to R.

Until last year, R was ox, an oak tree, a veritable 100 year shay. Since then, not so much. These past few weeks, he's been running (well, shuffling—since running, even walking is out the question) from doctor to doctor... Many days, too sick to drive himself. And even when he's up to driving, this is NY. Only on TV do you find a parking space outside the door. In real life, you park 1 or 2 (if you're lucky) or more blocks away—and he's just not been up to the 3 or 4 block walk.

So I've been playing chauffeur—and shuttling him to and fro. Dropping him off at the door, and then parking the car where ever.  I wait with him, and then pick up the car and drive him home.  There are more appointments next week--and the week after, and likely early in the new year, surgery.  It's all pretty serious, and scary.  R envisions himself as a superman--invincible--and being laid low--and the prospect of surgery doesn't fit his mental image of himself--and it scares him.  

Waiting around in the doctors office is good knitting time and reading time too—I have read some magazines I don't usually buy or read—Like Discovery, the Smithsonian, and New York. It also helped take me out of my self.  My health isn't perfect--but I am blessed--most of my health problems are very manageable, and while chronic, not too debilitating.

So my leafy green shell has seen some progress.  Back and front reached about 9 inches, and then I joined them (adding a few stitches at the underarm.  So now its a round, to two sides.  An inch or so more added, too which you can just see in this image-- a full pattern repeat (8 R's)--clearer on the right hand side (where the round marker is) than on the left.  When I joined into the round, I managed to transfer all the stitches to one needle.  At some point, I'll work them back onto to circ's--since that will make it easier to see the work--but I am not in any rush. 

I am working with both skeins of yarn. One round with ball A, one round with ball B— I'll keep at it this way till one of the balls is used up, then I'll finish the other. If the gods of knitting are smiling, by then I'll have 15 to 16 inches done. I'll finish up with skein 3—and reach my goal of 23 to 24 inches, for the finished length. 

I've measured other tops—and anything shorter than 24 inches long really feels too short.  Through truthfully, 24 inches long is really just the minimum desired length.    Even with the left over bits from the socks, I don't think I'll be able to get much longer than 24 inches. The other factor will be boredom, and the desire to have the top finished.. Even if I have yarn, it will be hard to keep going and going....  I'll keep at it as long as I can--and hopefully get to a decent length with just about every inch of yarn used up! 

I don't have anything to show for my swatching... but it's been fun. I want to knit a small triangle mini shawl scarf. But I hate them! Every row is longer and more tedious. I have one shawl knit crosswise—but I want something lacier—and most definitely one with a lacy bottom edge.

Solution? Start from the bottom up, and decrease every row—making things easier and easier.

New problem-- Making a nice lacy open cast on edge.(vs a lacy bind off edge) I could knit a cross wise band of lace (7 or so stitches wide) and pick up stitches from the lace band—but... I have been thinking and trying out some other ideas.

I think I have what I want... but it's a bit scary. I'll need to cast on about 1300 stitches to start! But by row 7 the stitch count will be down to more manageable 450 or so stitches.. Still 1300+ stitches is a daunting cast on!

I still haven't decide what pattern I am going to use for the body of the shawl—one problem at a time to solve!

And then there is the matter of socks. I haven't cast on for a new pair (yet!) The question is: do I want to have a shell, a shawl and socks—all being knit on sock yarn going at the same time? I don't think so!

So do I start on the mini-shawl? Or the socks? Or bypass both and make a hat? --I have been itching to make some hats...and I have some chunky yarn—a good change from size 2 needles! Plus hats (even on small needles) are quick to knit—and my plans are for worsted weight and heavier yarns.. super quick projects

My next socks are going have beading (not quick) and the shawl—well it will be easier every row, but I still will have a lot of work to get from 1300 or so down to 450—and 450 is no small matter—even if the count does reduce by 4 per row--those first 50 rows are still going to be long ones!

See—I really have been thinking about knitting! Mentally working out the details of what I want to do, and how I am going to do it. Now all I have to do is knit. To keep plugging away on my leafy shell, and get to work on something else—and to remember to tell you all about it!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hop Scotch

Last time, the front was longer than the back, now the back is longer than the front. So it's time to work on the front again.

The back is now 7 inches, the front, just a row or two past 5inches. The next hopscotch will bring the front to 7, and then I'll continue working on the front till it's 9 inches.

Very soon—at this rate, I'll progress to working working in the round! I am quite pleased with my progress, I don't often knit clothing for myself on size 2 needles.. but I do really like the fine knitting.  It looks so lovely.

I've made some serious inroads to the 2 skeins I am working with, but I will have plenty of yarn left once I have finished the armholes. I have 3 full skeins, and 2 partial skeins left over from the socks—I suspect I won't need the partials—or at least not all of them. According to the article that inspired this shell, I should only need 800 yards or so. Each skein of the Sock Ease is over 400, (and I have 3 or about 1300 yards!) Even slightly over-sizing top, and making a the largest size, I should have more than enough

At this point, the ribbing is beginning to pull in (more with ever row I knit.) It's beginning not to look over sized at all. But it's big enough that it won't stretch out fully when I wear it, though it will be a bit clingy. The compression caused by the ribs will help make the cap sleeve, too. 

And then there are the socks! I finished them (99%) yesterday morning, when I was out and about--(which really involved a lot of sitting and waiting) –but didn't get the toes grafted to late afternoon.

But they are done! And now, ....(The king is dead, Long live the king!)I think I should get to work on my dragon socks—The year of the dragon is coming to an end very soon.

But before that—A Hat is need! Gianna, the proprietor of the restaurant we meet at for Tuesday knit night had a birthday. A present is required. It will be belated birthday gift,  but better late than never!

I have to decide if I am going to do something new, or make an new version of some pattern I done before. And I have to decide on wool (or non wool) and.... Well some decisions to made, and quickly—I need the hat by next Tuesday!

A hat is a quick to knit project—and it won't take long once I decide on yarn and pattern—It won't take much longer to come up with a new pattern, for that matter!

The problem is—Once I start looking through my stash—I get thousands of ideas for things I want to knit. I've always purchased yarn with an idea in mind—thought, I admit, I often change my mind, somewhere between the purchase and project.

Some yarn peeked out early this week—and reminded me I planned to make a turquoise sweater (a worsted weight one) and now I am thinking... A sweater of the worsted weight wool, a fingering (sock) yarn little shrug,  and another sock yarn mini-shawl scarf (these last two from these yarns, that I photographed last week, shown here again) –3 little knits to match my turquoise print co-ordinates.  And socks to match the shrug, and socks to match the shawl—since I already have several pairs of turquoise socks that will match the sweater and clothing..That is, if/when I finally knit it.  Won't that be just the thing?

That's the thing with some colors—I love them and come back to them, again and again. Having a wardrobe of turquoise clothing is a fine thing when I have a stash that includes lots of turquoise yarn.

Actually I have 2 collections of turquoise worsted weight yarn.  The bright light blue that caught my eye—but I know I also have 8 skeins of  a darker more teal like tone--(not quite as dark a the sock, but almost)  in my collection, too. --Do I need two turquoise sweaters? (Will I knit two turquoise sweaters?!) Well, I have the yarn.

And that's a lot of knitting planned, isn't it? And I am still less than 1/3rd done with the Leafy shell! And I still have several socks kit bags--that is socks I planned to knit this year (I was overly optimistic about what I could accomplish!) --And ever bigger bags that hold  my stash of sock yarn! and a hat, and....

I have lists, and lists of things to knit. I suppose the good news is, I chill easier—I am wearing my shrug from last year, (right now) and wore several other scarves and shawls (other days/times this week) . So I am getting more use out of my knits! I guess the solution is I have to knit more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Out and About.

Out for a some hours yesterday, again tonight, and again tomorrow morning. Life is keeping me busy.

In some small spaces of time, in between, some knitting got done.. Not a lot—but I am happy with the progress. The Leafy (green) shell is coming along. Now the front is more than an inch longer than the back—and more than half way to the armhole end. The Shell is wide, and the outside edges will fall off the shoulder and make a little cap sleeve.

I am once again working on back (stitch markers mark each side—peach for front, blue for the back)--I'll bring it even to the 5.5 inches of the front, and then add another inch/inch and half before I return to the front. 9 inches is about the right depth for the armhole. At that point, I'll add another rib repeat at the underarms and start the long boring slog to the hem. I'll need at least 11 inches—but I am going to try for 13. Enough to come to the waist, and go beyond it.

One special treat when I was out and about was a pretty piece of “re-cycling”(aka garbage picking—from the recycle dumpster. I love having a collection of bags and boxes and containers for my knitting notions. Clear bags are wonderful (its so easy to find tapestry needle or stitch marker hastily thrown in the bag.)

But I love tins, too. I collect tins, and use tins all the time. This tin with a window? Just about perfect as a notions box. And with its bright red color—it's hard to lose, too. And FREE?! Wow the perfecta!

I have some magnetic sheets—the kind with adhesive backing—one will be cut to make a lining for the bottom—it will help hold scissors or needles in place.

Still working (not to much) on the Take2 socks. More tonight at Tuesday night knitting—maybe even enough to finish the foot (and then the toe!)

Finally a plug. Some of the women from Tuesday night knitting belong to another group—and they have entered the MochiMochiLand photo contest. So here is a plug for their project.
There are so many wonderful projects—but consider voting for the Knitman Samper, won't you?
Vote by adding a comment, naming Knitman. You have to scroll to find Knitman—but don't just stop there, see the whole story here. (Start here first maybe--it make the project 'story'--which is as fun and whimsical as all the little characters.)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Inching Along

 A little here, a little there, and nothing really done.

My socks? At some point in the gusset, I went brain dead. I totally messed up the pattern one night, and well, come the morning, when I saw it, I decided I didn't care. So what the pattern is different? Then I messed up worse. I could have frogged.. but these are TAKE 2—they have been frogged once.

So I just gave up on the pattern.. about the point were there are 5 inches of the foot knit.--and since then, another inch as been knit. But I need yet another inch and then some, before I can start the toe.

Now its just plain knitting, and watching how the yarn pools and the colors move. I am not entirely happy about the pools. But since I really love the colors in these socks, I can live with a bit of pooling in the toe area. I am totally happy with how the colors break up in the leg of the sock. 

To cheer myself up, LOOK!  an inch here, and there.... my shell is taking shape.

At this point, it is a bit big (and it will stay a bit big) Ribbing by its nature, pulls in. So this ribbed sweater is going to be close fitting. But it's a bit lacy, and to make sure its not too see through, I want it to not be too stretched when its worn. So a bit of ease means, the ribs will stretch but won't be fully stretched (as they are on the socks) when I wear the top. It will be close fitting, but still have a lot of ease. 

Amazing enough, I actually have a bra that is just the same color. I think with a lacy open top like this, a matching bra, or one in a perfect skin tone matching color (for me, a pale pink shell color!) is the most becoming. Or, of course, I could wear a cami under it--But that's not likely to  happen. More likely is an over shirt--so it won't be so obvious how lacy it is. 

I started with a few short rows—so the back is just a little long than the front—I think this makes knit things fit better. And I am alternately working the front (4 to 8 rows at a time) and then the back. Below the armholes, the sweater will be knit in the round. Right now, there is about 1.5 inches of the ribbing done, plus the garter band on the top.. just over 2 inches total.  Which is really a lot of knitting when we are talking about sock yarn and size 2 needles!

What has otherwise kept me busy is my social life—which for months on end can be virtually non-existent—but as of late, has kept me out of the house, running round, and busy. It will slow down again—It's not really holiday stuff—so I don't expect things to settle back into slightly boring come the new year—but by the spring—yeah.

Yesterday (and today)-Cooking! I have this thing.. I really hate it when there are more POTS than people at a meal. And since most nights, its only me, that means 1 pot per meal.  It's one of the reasons I love to precook soups and stews, and other dishes. Then, I pot for protein (or for vegetable) and one prepared dish--(no pot!) and I have a nice supper.

Being busy—I have eaten up all the curries and soups I cooked 2/2andhalf weeks ago. So yesterday, some more curry—mostly protein--(I always start my curries with chopped onions and I added a can of tomatoes to the sauce—but 16 ounces of tomato spread over 6 servings hardly counts as a vegetable serving!) Today, another (bigger) pot of my sweet potato and chicken soup--which also has onions,  tomato, carrots, and kale--a nice mixture of vegetables...enough that I don't need to add more vegetable  to make a meal. 

Tomorrow, when I run some errands, I'll stock up on frozen chopped spinach—my favorite vegetable with curried chicken. My second favorite veggie (with curry)  is baked sweet potatoes --which have the advantage of baking-- often just on a double layer of aluminum foil—(No pot or pan to wash!) --but have the dis-advantage of not offering enough contrast in color--(and not being as nutritious) Some nights when I feel up to it.. I do both—a little spinach and small sweet potato.. with a rich chicken curry.. Yummy!

I also cheat --and buy prepared vegetable curries--and sometimes these are the basis for a vegetarian meal, and sometimes, I serve them with baked fish--But the best premade curried dishes are usually to hot (even when the packages says "Medium") for my palate.  Queens has a lot of DESI's(India sub continent natives) and most stores sell a nice selection of authentic pre made curries and sauces--so buying pre made really is an option.      Plus, in  last Sunday's NYTimes Mark Bittman had a bunch of easy recipes for Dal (bean ) dishes.... 

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Skirt

Well a skirt--minus a button and hook and eye at the waist band-- and a final pressing. But close enough to being a skirt as to count.

Eventually (and an not too distant eventually) there will be a man tailored shirt in the same poly cotton as the vest lining.

And likely a T-shirt will be embellished with an applique of the same fabric, and some machine embroidery. Not something I do very often but in this case, I think it's worth the effort. I have a summer wrap skirt in this fabric, a jumper and this 2 piece set—almost a complete wardrobe of mix and match separates once I add a shirt and T-shirt! This color turquoise has been one of my favorite colors for—well for-ever!

I remember clothes my mother made me, in this color, and I remember a skirt and dotted swiss blouse I made for myself a former lifetime ago.  Honeymoon co-ordinates—all easy care for a long jaunt through Europe (on $5 a day!) in this same color (paired with 2 other skirts (one white, one navy) and tops and a white jacket, it was a total mix and match wardrobe). And there have been other outfits since then, all through the years. 

Getting back to the idea of applique-- is so easy now days—there is an material (HeatnBond is one brand) , that you iron it on to fabric, cut out the shape you want, peal off the paper backing, and iron it on to what you want. Top stitching (for a decorative effect) is not really required—but I have some turquoise silky rayon thread—so you know I am going to top stitch and add some sewn on details.

Besides, my sewing machine has some pre--programned stitches—a feature I rarely use—but there are some designs that will co-ordinate nicely with this floral print. A bit of applique and machine embroidery will turn an inexpensive T shirt into a really nice looking top. 

As for knitting... well not much progress there. I had an off day on Sunday—and was for a few short hours, sick as dog. Right as rain now—I realized as I type this, I often (well not often, but...) have short transient bouts of illness—which pass—most often in a few hours. I hardly think myself to ever be sick—because I rarely feel ill 2 day (hell, rarely feel ill for 10 hours!) at a stretch.

So the socks have most of gusset (3 more rounds to go)--but it's hardly enough progress to see. Wait till tomorrow, then the sock will be inching towards the toe and look almost done. (Even with more sewing being done today) 

Speaking of socks—I already have a few pairs of socks that will go well with my new turquoise collection—and I am thinking.. maybe a small short sleeved raglan sleeve topper might be in order.. or perhaps a shawl.. Or maybe one of each! I have some Lion Brand Sock Ease—color way sno-cone that is a bit dark, but still a good color match, and some Red Heart Sparkle—mostly wool with some nylon and sparkly threads—it's a good choice for socks or for a simple shawl. The Red Heart is a bit light--but it's still a good match.  

 I know a short sleeved, simple raglan sweater would be great with jumper--sometimes it gets cool on summer evenings--and when it doesn't the A/C can make it too cold indoors. A little something over the shoulders can be a real godsend.  

Oh, my list of thing I want to knit! It grows faster than I can knit. Sewing—has a different sense of satisfaction—and certainly,  its faster!

Friday, November 30, 2012


All sewn up, but still button-less. The buttonholes are made, and a needle threaded to sew the buttons on.. so almost, but not done yet.

I'll get to the buttons later today. This is the longest (and best liked) length so far. It has welted inset pockets, (like the scarlet O'Hara one) and buttons like the dotty one. So it's the same, only different. I like the look of the inset pockets best. It's a lot of work for a simple garment, but then the devil is in the details, isn't it? Fitted, lined, with inset pockets, back ties...Lots of details. The result is still a casual little vest, but a rather nicely made one.

Right now, I am taking a break from zigzag binding the edges of the skirt pieces. This skirt is the same 6 gore skirt that has been my most frequent choice (I have also made a 4 gore A-line a few times for variety)--and it too, is slightly longer (another 3 inches). Longer is better for the winter months.

In my collection of sock kits—I have this sock yarn. I have some socks already that will go with this turquoise, but

I am on to other spool of thread, too! This is spool 3 for this color. If I follow through, and make a man-tailored shirt of the solid poly-cotton that I used for the lining.. I will likely need yet another spool. But then, I found a good use for the empty spools.

A Martha Stewart craft—perfect for me, since I have A: lots of colored paper and card stock B: a circle paper cutter, C: a bunch of empty spools!  I likely have dowels the right size too, and a glue gun... I don't think I have gold beads the right size, but—I have gold paint.. and I can find something to act as a topper.

Meanwhile Take2 socks have turned heels, and stitches for the gussets picked up, and even 2 rounds done on the gussets. I am on my way to having them finished!

Even with finishing these, and perhaps another secret pair next month—I am behind my goal of getting 24 pairs of socks knit this year. Its was an overly ambitious goal.. in my best year ever, I knit 19 socks, and those were just knit, not knit and documents, too. Documenting the details takes almost as much time as the knitting!

I am thinking too, about making a new list of things to knit for the new year. Some, like some of my sock designs, will carry over, and some new items will be added. Its as clear as day that I don't need another shawl—but I am thinking about knitting one anyway. Actually more than 1. One blue one, (in a pretty sock yarn, to match socks) one in green (once I finish the green leafy shell –the same one that I haven't knit a stitch on in the past week), and one in a peachy color. Not really a match to the Take 2 socks.. but a good go with color.

And there there is this chocolate brown wool that been making noises.... I have a chunk (8 oz or so) of fingering weight shetland wool, and another chunk (another 8 oz) in an almost perfect color match—which is somewhat amazing!--in mohair.

Plus, I am planning to do some more videos... There are cast ons I haven't documented, and techniques I want to share, and.... well I have more plans than time!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Best Laid Plans....

often go awry!

Tuesday, I had a doctors appointment--(or rather a Lab appointment) The white jacketed vampires sucked my blood (vials of it!) --and did such a good job, there wasn't even a pinprick of blood on the gauze bandage and not a hint of a bruise—which is pretty impressive since I get bruised with a hard look.

It was raining Tuesday (some parts of the area got snow, but my area of Queens didn't) and I got chilled. Partly it was all the errands I ran while I was coming back from the doctors. When  I finally got home, (early afternoon) I was chilled to the bone.

I crawled under the covers to warm up, and fell asleep. I woke up just in time to head out to Tuesday knitting—which was pretty quiet—Just 2 of us. I got home early from knitting and since I had napped, stayed up late. By the time I went to bed, I was a round short of 7 inches on my Take 2 socks.

Yesterday, it was doctors again—only not for me. A good friend , B–who is a pig headed guy—has gotten an infections (an ulcer) and it's drained all his strength—so he asked for help. I drove him to the doctor, (and then parked the car after dropping him off at the front door). Then waited with him,(his HMO is deplorable—over a 2 hour wait—past the scheduled time for the appointment!) Then I drove him round and helped him fulfill his prescriptions—which involved several stops-- when the first 2 pharmacies didn't have the drugs in stock.

B is a smart man in many respects, but he likes to maintain he has perfect health—that his real problems (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some nasty side effects from these conditions) don't exist. Which is how a small blister became a huge, open, infected wound.... I know, I too suffer from wishful thinking (it's not so bad, it will get better on its own)--but eventually I concede defeat ... I see a doctor, I get the treatment I need, and recognize, while I do have generally good health (knock wood)--I am not 20 anymore, and I need to take better care of my self, and act my age. (which while I steadfastly maintain is 47—only I know it's not.)

B (10 years my senior) is a bit pig headed. He maintains A: he is healthy (when in truth, he has some serious health concerns), and B: he is still young (not really!) Even if he did have perfect health, he is older, and some things are slower (like wound healing) and letting nature take its course, isn't going to work anymore (well not all of the time). And then there is C: his attitude that all Doctors are all idiots (an attitude that doesn't really help!)

Yes, some doctors are idiots—but it seems that his doctors weren't all wrong (and his underlying heath issue have contributed to his slow healing)—But he has fought them tooth and nail on this—Until eventually, after a million tests, it was pretty clear—B's self diagnosis of the problem (a hairline fracture in his foot) wasn't really the problem. He claimed it was a stress fracture that caused him to limp, and the slightly limp was why he got a blister... (but really couldn't explain away why the blister didn't heal, and why it got infected.)He refuses to use a cane--even though he is virtually unable to walk.  He is convinced he doesn't need one.  But other patients at the HMO thought I was his daughter... He shuffles like a much older man, and looks 90--instead of using a cane and walking like a younger 65 year old.  (Me? When my arthritis is bad, I don't hesitate to use a cane! Thankfully, I only need it a few days/times a year. but when I need it, I use it.) 

B has been good to me over the years—and while right now, he is whining and whinging (with some just cause, he is pain) just about non-stop. I try and maintain my cool and do what I can to help him—though I didn't realize that yesterday's good Samaritan effort was going to take the better part of 6 hours! I am not cut out to be a companion to a sick old man.

Late in the afternoon—when I might have been writing a blog post—I got (and took!) the opportunity to go out with a knitting friend. A light lunch, and some knitting, and some shopping, and some how, the hours flew! I didn't get home till 9 PM! I should have been tired out, but it was refreshing to do something enjoyable. 

I did get some knitting done.. My Take 2 socks have flaps (and one has a turn in the heel, but not the other!) and my turquoise print vest has been pieced together—as outside and lining.. but these two pieces haven't been joined-yet. But they are pinned and ready to go.

So today was a lazy day—putzing around doing some cleaning (well emptying the dishwasher) and paperwork (end of the month, and some bills are do, and more are do next week) And there will be knitting and sewing, too.

Monday, November 26, 2012


 To where I want to be.... That is—back to where I was!

The socks are once again about 6 inches along.. and this time, super stretchy. They are looking good—this stitch has a lot less texture, but it still does the job of breaking up the colors—in a pleasant way. Another inch or so, and it will be time to start the heel... A classic flap/turned/gusseted one I think. Its my favorite heel for top down socks—I like the way it looks, and the way it fits.

There is a chance of pooling with gussets, and after, when half the sock is simple stocking knit.. But, I'll take my chances. There is a 50% chance the pooling (if any) will form on the sole of the sock—too --but really, does it ever?)

In addition to the socks, I started a small knit top—a simple one, knit top down, with saddle shoulders in double leaf lace, and the body will be worked in the same rib as in the leafy green socks. The same yarn too! --It will be a rare occurrence of a pair of socks and matching top. Who know—maybe this will become a trend. I doubt it, personally. For the most part, when its warm enough to wear wool socks, it too cool for a sleeveless shell. Even if I do end up layering the shell under a shirt.

You'll have to trust me on the rib—I haven't gotten there yet.. just neck band and the saddle shoulders (or rather 1 full shoulder saddle and one still under construction) so far. I don't often knit clothes on size 2 needles-- there is a lot of me to cover and progress will be slow. But it was pointed out, a simple top is about equal to 2 pairs of socks.. Or, rather, in my case, since my top will be both longer and wider—about equal to 5 socks/or maybe 3 pairs (but small pairs--200 to 250 g of  sock yarn –(my sock usually only use about 90g's) But I can knock out a pair of socks in 2 weeks if I work at it, so it really shouldn't take too much time. So a big project (by stitch count) —but really not a huge one.

Bits and pieces of sewing done, too. Another jumper finished, and skirt cut. A vest was cut when the jumper was cut—well-- all but the lining--and now that's cut, too. 3 coordinating casuals. I have a wrap skirt in this print, too. But its a bit short—great for the summer, but I like my winter skirts a bit longer. Still, I might once in a while, wear the vest with the wrap skirt. After these pieces get done (the vest, then the skirt) then... Another jumper!

This next jumper will be different . One with a dropped waist (instead of raised one) and more shaping in the bodice, too. A bit more flare in the skirt, too. So just about every element of the design will be changed. I like the jumper I just made—but I now have 4 different versions of this—and well, enough is enough!

Time to make something different. I don't see much sense in making my own clothes and have total control of the design—and then just mass producing the same thing, over and over again. It is convenient to use the same pattern over and over again—and vary a detail or two. But there come a time when some real changes should be made.  And I have reached that point.

But it will still be a jumper—so not too different.. I really like jumpers.. pop on T shirt and a jumper, and I am dressed and looking neat. More casual than a proper dress—but just as convenient. No zippers to fiddle with--either while sewing or wearing—unless I want to add one as a decorative element. Just pull it over my head and be done. Something I can wear with a long sleeved shirt in winter, on its own in the summer, and with a short sleeved T in between.   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful

It's so easy- and there is so much to be thankful for.

We live in an age (anyone reading this, at leas) were we have so much beyond our basic needs.
Lights—Lovely bright lights in the evening! Glittering holiday lights. Street lights, and traffic signals—there are so many lights have become common place.
I am thankful for Windows...with glass! In the not too distant past, window were taxed (because they were a luxury item!) and glass? So expensive only the rich had glass panes. (and now, I have double panes!) I love my windows and views.... they are amazing.

Solid walls too... with insulation. And floors. Dirt floors and drafty walls that did little to keep the cold out aren't that far in the past.
Central heating! How spoiled we Americans are! We hardly recognize what a luxury it is to just have heat. Not heat hard fought for, with chopping wood, or shoveling a ton of coal (from coal shed/room into the furnace, and then shoveling and carrying out a half ton of coal ashes!) I remember coal... I never had to do the hard part—but even the easy part (laying a fire and lighting it) was a constant daily effort. We live warm and cozy lives and hardly every give a thought to how easy that is for us.

Water! Do you ever think how wonderful it is to have running water, (and drains and sewers?) Its beyond wonderful to have a shower EVERY DAY! And clean laundry, and safe to drink water all the time.

It's easy to be thankful for family and friends.. but I am thankful for strangers, too. I feel safe with strangers. I live in a society that functions well for millions and millions of people. Sure there are some inconsiderate ones.... but there are so many who are just OK. Who don't do anything special.... but just are easy. They don't threaten, they don't harm me. In some cultures, every stranger is a mortal enemy until proven otherwise.. but not strangers I come in contact with...every one is a potential friend—and dangerous ones are far and few. (and for the most part, I have avoided contact with them!)

Look around at your life, and retain the amazement!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can You See

the mini (3 stitch) cable braids? I can't. But I like the texture of the stitch-- even if it isn't as clear a pattern at I thought it might be. I think it will also break up the colors, to, and make pooling and spiraling less evident.  Its a bit to early to see if I am right about that... But time will tell.

Braiding (cable braids) are just like real braids—three strands (or stitches) first, out side right to center, then outside left to center, then repeat. Or you could do it the other way, Center to right, then center to left.

The first method results in <<<<<< the second, >>>>>>--only vertical, not horizontal...

/\ \/
/\ \/
/\ \/
I am twisting the stitches (right over center, left over center) every other round –so its not that much of task. A simple 4 R repeat—and 2 of the rounds are knit every stitch.

 I have more time to day than I realized—and less on Friday—so a post today—and likely one late on Friday--or maybe nothing till Saturday.  Today--I plan to get all of yesterday's clean clothes put away (they aren't yet)--but a percentage need some touch up ironing--including the cottons that got preshrunk.  Sewing, too-if i have enough time.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Now You See Them

Then you don't. I love the stitch pattern—I love the texture: I love how it looks, and how it breaks up the hand painted color way in an interesting way. I don't even mind than I have to work 10 rounds to have 7 complete rounds of knitting done.

What I do mind is:  while they readily slipped over my heel when they were shorter, with each round, its more difficult to slide the socks on. I want taller, not shorter socks.. and this stitch pattern, as much as I love the it  —isn't going to cut it.

So its time to frog (back to the ribbing.. there is nothing wrong with the cast on and ribbing) and start again. I am thinking of a braid like twisted stitch.. One I have used before –not quite a cable... but cable like. But so fine and over all.. it really doesn't look like a cable—though it does look rope like.  A slight variation on the stitch used for these socks.  It worked well with self striping yarn.. vaguely breaking up the stripes.  I think it will work well with this yarn, too.  

Tomorrow, I will be away (and Wednesday, and most of Thursday, too) so don't expect to see a blog post for the next few days.. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze one in.. and maybe I won't.)

But just think of all the news I'll have for you on Friday! These socks will have been transformed by then, and I plan to start my leafy rib shell tomorrow—I might have something to show you in that regard, too. I will be sewing this afternoon (right now, I have some wash going—I actually got it together, and did laundry before it became oppressive!) --included are the last of the cotton bolts..(all but 1) being prewashed and preshrunk.

They likely won't get ironed to the weekend, and who knows when I will get around to sewing something from them... Well one, a multi shade of blue in a very abstract sort of print might get made up pretty quick—I really like it. But what to make? A vest? (a waste—I will be left with a lot of fabric—but not quite enough to make anything else) A skirt? Maybe... a shirt dress? Or maybe a man tailored shirt—thought I have quite a few of those! (but none in dark blue)

Well what ever I chose, it's a ways off yet!

I am going to end with wishes that your Thanksgiving holiday is good one;  that your travel is easy, and your day a fine one. For me, its Over the river (not really a river) and through the woods (real woods) to grandmother's (not yet a grandmother) house (well, a restaurant near her house)we go   The WE being my daughter and her husband--and me too.  The perfect feast—someone else cooks and cleans up, and there are no mountain of left overs to nibble at!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Pox on Sox

 Or maybe just some pock marked socks.

I wanted something with texture... Even though this nectarine inspired color way should be knit up as smooth and glossy as that stone fruits skin.

So I went looking for texture. I didn't want cables. I wore cabled knee high sock for many years in elementary school—50 years later, I still hate them—or the idea of them—enough that I have no desire to knit any.

I've done lace, and I've done ribs, I wanted something different. Then I found this stitch. I supposed, if I skied, I might see the texture as moguls. But I don't ski, and snow doesn't come in these bright colors.

I think the texture is like a pock mark. I am old, and started to travel young—I had a “routine” small pox inoculation as an infant, and one again age 8, and again 10 years later. These were required by Health Dept. for over seas travel. (A few years later,--in the early 1970's—small pox was considered eradicated, and the inoculations were no longer required-for infants or for travel.)

I know what pock marks look like—the scars have faded—but I still can see the texture. (Should the world erupt in biological warfare, I feel safe from small pox—I might not be totally immune, but I suspect my immune system retains a vestigial memory)

Pockmarked is just the word to describe the texture of this stitch pattern. I am knitting pox marked socks.. So a Pox on Sox—to be cute. In brightly colored, hand painted yarn. (Loin Brand Sock Ease—over dyed marshmallow color—part of a group of yarns I dyed earlier this year.(see link above)) 

The cuff is a bit deeper than I usually knit (1.75 inches vs the more common 1.5) and neatly feeds into the 6 stitch repeat of the stitch pattern.--D'oh--that's why I started with 3 X 3 ribbing.
 The pattern feels a bit slow to knit.. but I have made some progress.

The texture flattens out a bit when stretched.. But it always retains some depth and texture.   A success I think--The socks don't look nectarine-ish but I still like the color way and the texture. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Twist Tail

Yesterday I mentioned how putting a twist into a long tail cast on changes it. And I promised to show you exactly what I meant. Here are 2 sets of cast on stitches. (I know, I know, not the clearest photo—but the close up details are better.)

Standard long tail cast on
First (closest to end of needle) a dozen stitches cast on using the long tail style of cast on. Nothing remarkable about them.

Long Tail Cast on with a braided effect from twisting

Followed by (closest to tip of the needle) a dozen stitches cast on using a braided/twisted long tail cast on. Notice that it's clear even in the slightly blurry image I started with, that the braid is easy to see.  
Depending on what you do next (after the cast on) the edge will be very or not very noticeable.

If R1 is all purls,  the braid will roll forward. 
If R1 is all knit the braid will roll under.
If R1 is ribbed (as my R1 is) the braided edge will be centered on top (and not very noticable).
You might ask: "WHY Bother?" (if it isn't all that noticeable)--Well I like the smooth edge it creates with the ribbing. I know a few cast ons that are great for 1 X 1 ribbing, and the open/closed (aka Estonian) cast on is great for 2 X 2 ribbing, but I don't know of any cast on that is especially suited to other rib patterns--except changing how you work the cast on (--that is working some stitches and knits, and some as purls as you cast on) but I don't like the slight uneveness to the cast on edge with that method.  I like this cast on for its very even edge.

A pretty amazing change, huh? Other perks--It's not quite a perfect match to a standard bind off—but it's close. And it's also a bit stretchier than a standard long tail cast on. It's not stretchy enough for lace--but it's great for socks.  A small change to your technique, and a big change to finished results.  An especially easy cast on to learn if you already know how to do a long tail cast on.

So once again—How to do it:
Cast on one(standard long tail cast on) Lift the thumb yarn (bringing it forward (closer to you) UP and put it on the index finger. The yarn on the index finger gets dropped (to the back) and then pulled forward to wrap around your thumb. With yarns now in a new position, you are ready to cast on one stitch (and repeat the process.)

The motion is fast and easy—the down side is the tail of the yarn gets twisted round the yarn coming from the ball (but it's not hard to slide all the twists down,--and the 2 yarns will untwist).

You can see the movement in my video on the Braided Long Tail cast on.--even though that video shows how to work a 3 strand/(3 color) braid, the twisting/rotating of the yarns is the same. At about/ just before the 3 minute mark I am very clear how to bring the thumb yarn up to index finger--(and you see how the index finger yarn naturally want to fall to back.) 

The video shows a multi-color braided long tail—but the technique also works for a single color of yarn –and just 2 strands. If anything, its easier to do with just 2 strands—and while it twists up just as the multi-color one does, it is easier to undo the twists.

The new sock—are coming along—slowly--Since apparently I can't count. Not only can't I count, but I didn't notice my count was off (even through it messed up my rib pattern) until I had knit 2 inches of ribbing worked!  So—all the progress I made last night was undone.. (and is being redone)

I've found a nice pattern stitch, too. Simple (but slow going) a mostly stocking knit stitch pattern that has a deep puffy texture. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Socks Done

Need I say more? I ended up with a light blue cuff and then 2 rows of simple double knitting before sewing a kitchenerd tubular bind off, in the dark blue. Wove in all the tails too, so they are done and finished.

And if the old socks are done, well it stands to reason, new socks started! In the bright clear colors of dawn—all rosy pink and sunshine yellow. Well--that how today dawned.  Lovely but cold.(I was awake at dawn—and admired the sky—and then rolled over pulled the covers tight, and slept for another hour and half—7:30 is not too slovenly a time to get up.)

These socks are top down, (just because the last pair I knit were toe up) with a simple cast on--a long tail with a twist. 
Not a twisted long tail but a twisted/ braided one. Start with a standard long tail. Make the tail a bit longer (an inch or two for sock—more for more stitches or thicker yarn.. NOT a lot longer.. but....)

Set up (if you use a slip knot to start, make one; if you use a twisted that) *Make one standard long tail stitch. 
Twist the yarns:  Bring the thumb yarn up and over to index finger, drop the index finger yarn down, and set it up on thumb. Repeat.

The tail yarn  and ball yarns will twist up, (and it becomes annoying by about the 40th stitch cast on!) so stop and let them untwist (slide all the twists down, and let the tail end untwist)

The difference between this version of long tail and a standard long tail is almost imperceptible—when you look at them-- Especially when working with a standard long tail set up.

It's a bit more obvious (and the braid is more noticeable) if you use two contrasting colors. Or for that matter, 3 colors, or 4 colors.

The twist –as many twists do—creates some extra slack in the yarn. So you get a firm edge that is stretchy—perfect for socks—or any edge that needs extra stretch. I have a video showing this cast on—using 3 colors.... (3 separate yarns) (if you don't under stand how I am moving the yarns) The same twist/rotate motion works for two yarns-- be they 2 separate yarns (contrasting colors) or just a standard ball and tail –(and it also works for 4 separate yarns/colors--or if you are crazy 5 or more colors)

These socks are going to have a 3 X 3 rib for the cuff. I don't much like a knit and purl cast on (be it a knit cast on, or a cable cast on, or even a knit and purl long tail cast on.) I like a smooth top edge. I like this cast on for a nice stretchy edge, that is slightly decorative and just a bit different—but very easy to work.

I'll have some good photo's to show you tomorrow.--The my photo 'studio” is getting too much sun light now (it's afternoon) for a good shot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Must Have Been Drunk

Or blind; or blind drunk. There must be some excuse. I woke up this morning and looked at the progress made on the Ocean and Sea sock. The pattern is correct—but upside down... the light color waves connect to the dark ocean, the ocean waves to the sea.

Well--I am not undoing it. Let's just call it choppy seas and let it be at that.

A few more rounds of the light blue, and then a single band of blue, ribbing and a bind off. Or maybe ribbing in the light blue, and a tubular bind off in the dark. I haven't decided yet.

 Either way, I'll actually have a bit of yarn left. But, the end is in sight. What next –well, what socks next? Another secret pair? Or something simple or something else? I am leaning to something pink and coral and golden in hue-- 5 of the last 6 pairs of socks have been shades of blues or greens—I want some thing warm and golden to knit now.

The leafy arm warmers got the last inch done, and bound off, too. So another project is done, too.  For sure, I am casting on to make another pair of these--in the left over skeins (2 almost complete skeins, and 2 skeins of just a few yards. Enough, judging by the green, to make a pair almost as long.  I just need to work out the number of stitches, and get to work.

Monday, November 12, 2012

There is Still MORE Yarn!

My arm warmers (who needs arm warmers when its 60°?) are almost done—Un-stretched, they are over 12 inches long;   though they shrink a bit in length when I stretch the ribs open. I have more than enough yarn to knit another half inch. By the time I am finished, they will be long enough to cover my arm from the elbow (actually just above the elbow) to below the wrist. I could add a thumb hole and make them more like a  fingerles gloves (opera length!) than sleeves-but I like the idea of sleeve/arm warmers better.

I am definitely knitting another pair of these! Well- not quite the same-- as much as I like the stitch pattern, one pair in this stitch pattern is enough. So, next, a different stitch pattern—or maybe two or three! First will be a pair in spicy brown to match the diamond brocade vest, then a pair to match a colorful cowl I have, then.... Well I some more of these in the future.

But before I get ahead of my self, I am going to finish the Ocean and Sea socks. Then start another pair of socks, because, I am behind on my schedule. My collection of homemade sock club kits are collecting dust! I never got to the dragon socks. (and the year of the dragon is quickly coming to a close!) and the black eyed susy socks haven't been started, (or really even planned beyond the yarn!) And there are other bags... what was the plan for them? It's been so long, I will have to find my idea book and look up my plans. Not to mention there is a skein of white sock yarn that's been made into a hank—for another custom color pair of socks sometime in the future (as if I didn't have enough patterned and painted sock yarn as is.)--or plans for that matter.  I have more ideas for socks than I have sock yarn, and if I were to knit a pair a socks a month for the next 5 years--I still would have sock yarn to knit.

Plus there is the plan for a shell with the same leafy ribbed pattern. The plans aren't much—just some numbers on a scrap of paper, plus a stitch pattern. But I have the yarn, and the needles, and what more do I need?

It is mild today, --foggy this morning when I first got up, but now mostly burnt off-- but winter is coming, and I need warm clothes. Speaking of which—a jumper won out.. in a soft overall turquoise print. A full button placket down the front-- in this version.  But otherwise no changes. The same scoop neck, the same back ties, the same hidden pockets. Just a bit difference up front where it is most noticeable to make it look different. Eventually, a skirt from this fabric, too, and vest. It's almost boring making the same thing, over and over again. But they are comfortable separates—skirts and vest that create a dress look, or that mix and match with other skirts or vests, quick and easy dressing with jumpers. And each set has small changes—longer, or with different pockets, or different front center details. And a few T shirts—long or short sleeved, and I am good to go.

And when I wasn't knitting, my other plans for the winter include soup.  A  pot of soup got made (Chicken and Sweet Potato--you can find my recipe here) An other pot (Carrot and Ginger) is on the stove.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Done! Done! Done!

 A skirt, a matching vest, and knit vest.
Not done? Socks.
Started? (and galloping along)--Arm warmers!

I had envisioned brown buttons for the vest—something to match the lining. But with out a car, my choices are limited. I could schlep around the city looking—or I could settle. I settled. Nancy thought the red buttons were the best. (I could have also gone with a creamy white, or the green).. The appeal of the red buttons is beginning to grow. They look even better when you don't see the dark brown lining fabric.

I know, I know, the pockets on the vest aren't perfectly lined up.... I worked hard on lining them up side to side—and total screwed up top to bottom. But no matter.

The skirt has a hidden button and hook and eye closure. And as all my skirts do, hidden in seam side pockets. It's only week late. Still, when I consider how many years I have talking about making some skirts, (and have even been knitting socks to match the skirts I was planning to make) Well- a week delay is small potatoes.

I have a lot of socks that will match this dotty set—Yellow one, orange ones, brown ones, red ones.. But then, I do have a lot of socks, don't I?--And the dotty vest will do double duty—since it also will pair up well with other (solid) skirts. Lined vest are comfortable layers to wear for added warmth as well as style. And the Diamond Brocade vest will pair up well with the dotty skirt, too.

So now I have 2 sets of 3 pieces—the Scarlet O'Hara blue, and this dotty set. Sometime soon, set 3. But maybe a solid jumper first... or a shirt dress, or.. another solid skirt... or the Scarlet O'Hara jacket... It's been a long times since I have been on a sewing jag like this. Its hard to chose what to sew up next.

The Diamond brocade vest is (as you can see from above) done, too. I should have made it longer. I have enough of the yarn. There is enough left over that this vest is going to have separate sleeves (arm warmers) to match. In spite of being a bit short, its warm and comfortable. Simple but not too plain.

And while I didn't knit a stitch on my Ocean and Sea socks, I did start the green Leafy Rib arm warmers. They are fast knitting compared to socks. The pattern is an easy one to knit—I know it by heart having learned it while doing the socks. And the work goes really fast on great big size 5 needles.

At this point, I am not sure that I am going to add a thumb hole even. Just long and simple arm warmers—with the emphasis on long—I am going to knit right up to the last inch of yarn and make them as long as I can.  I am guessing that will be 9 inches or so. But I won't mind if they end up even longer.
There is so much yarn in my stash,and I am busting with ideas for things to make with the yarn. Still, I am tempted today to head over to Smiley's sale and buy some yarn. Then I look at all the yarn I have, that I haven't knit yet, and say NO—It's not likely Smiley's is going to go out of business, and even if they did, they are far from the only yarn store I know or shop in. Enough! (I'll go next time there is a sale.)

Beside, while I got knitting and sewing done, there is soup to be made—I never got any cooking done.

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Little Progress Here;

A little progress there. Slowly things are coming together.

The dotty vest has buttonholes—but hasn't had the buttons sewn on yet.
The dotty skirt is together, and has a waistband –but no hook and eye or button yet, nor a hem.
The diamond brocade vest has armholes, and soon will have a bound of neckline too, but its not done yet either.
The socks? Well, not so much progress there; but I haven't forgotten about them.
Lots of work done, but nothing completed.

Wednesday—in the cold wet nor'easter, I was out and about for several hours—Not so much errands as helping a friend. And I caught a chill. One I just couldn't get rid it of it. I got home early in the afternoon (1 PM or so) chilled to the bone, and spent the rest of the day huddled under blankets, drinking hot fluids, and fitfully sleeping. I just couldn't get warm or comfortable. I was achy all over, a fevered too.

But it passed--what ever it was.  Yesterday I was feeling better. Not 100%, but good enough to get up and dressed, and do something. To start, I made soup—so next time that happens, I have soup at the ready!
Soup (chicken and sweet potato), and stew(ground nut stew)--More ready to eat quick suppers packed in the freezer in –along with my pyrex® bowls of curried chicken. Slowly but surely, I am filling my freezer with easy dinners. Next time I have a bad day, I'll at least have some comfort food ready to eat.

Gingered carrot soup next—and maybe even a second pots of carrot soup—one with ginger, and one with chestnuts. I haven't always liked chestnuts.. but my tastes have changed over the years, and this nut is the last to make the collection (I LOVE nuts!) I wish I had a source for chestnut flour—I love chestnut pasta—and I think ravioli's of chestnut pasta with pumpkin filling would be a lovely combination. One worth the effort of making fresh pasta.

I got some sewing done, too, and some knitting, and some cleaning--well not so much cleaning as putting away (and throwing away!--my sewing room waste can was overflowing and now has been emptied) Bits and pieces, here and there, nothing much, but more than I could manage Wednesday afternoon.

So today is a day for finishing.. The vest, the skirt, knit vest, too. It's for making soup-- even as the cold weather retreats again for the moment. Maybe if I am very productive—I'll even get some more work done on the Ocean and Sea socks.

I have the green DK yarn for the leafy arm warmers at the ready—and needles, and some scribbled notes to work from. I am itching to start them—but I won't—not till I finished all the things I need to finish.

By tomorrow, I should have a bunch of things finished, and ready to photograph--and arm warmers cast on!