Monday, April 30, 2012

Done, Down, More Rounds and a Bonus!

 Secret socks? Done.
Have you ever knit a pair of socks with a particular detail that impressed you? For me, it was the French Child's sock (in Knitting Vintage socks)--I loved how the sock started with a cuff in ribbing pattern that wasn't a simple 1 X 1 or 2 X 2, but was a mixture of both. Then later, the stitches used in the ribbing worked perfectly into the patterning on the sock.

The secret sock has the same sort of detail. Of course, it's much easier to do when you have an established pattern and just need to fit a ribbing pattern into the established pattern—but it does take some thought. I love the results. The leg and cuff are long, and the finished socks (slightly to big for my gun boat (size 9) feet) are big—Which really doesn't matter. These secret socks are samples. I did end up with a few yards of yarn left over, but considerable less than normal—but it's nice to know I could knit a men's sock from this pattern—there is enough yarn.
Scaffolding? Down!(well, coming down)

Look at the clean and empty terrace, awaiting decoration. Look at the new railing (the key component replaced) and newly painted floor and ceiling. Look at the once again, unobstructed view.  More photos to come as I add the lattice and planters, and furniture and lights.

Peacock Lace Shawl? Progressing

Chart 1 finished, markers added, life line, too. Chart 2 has a dozen and half rounds worked. The stitch count is getting up there now—and as I work the “eye” with 9 stitches worked in 1!--the stitch count will balloon Then there are a few rounds of decreases—but still-9 increases per motif, 30 motifs to a round—270 new stitches in just 1 round! Yowza! By the end of chart 3, there will be 540 stitches per round! And there are 2 charts to work after that! This is going to be a BIG project. Already a single round takes a good bit of time to knit—It's a good thing I have a good number of weeks to work on this project. I can easily see a single round taking almost an hour to knit in the near future!
Here's a wedge—there are 3 new feather motifs between each pink marker.
By the time I had completed chart 1, it was too big to stretch out on the 32 inch circular needle (or about 10 inches in diameter.) I am guessing that by the end of chart 2, I will need to move to a larger (40 inch or so) circ, or onto 2 32 inch long circ's. But for now, everything fits on 1 needle—but it's no longer possible to do a fast and dirty mini block to see the pattern and progress.

May's socks? Commenced. 
In the bag, and onto needles. Starting with a 2 tone cast on Open and Closed (long tail) cast on, then cuffs of dark blue. The body of the socks is streaks of light and dark (day and night), spiraling round. One clockwise, one counter clock wise. With just a few rounds done, they are already looking good. Yesterday, and Sunday knitting group, Debbie kept insisting the socks were for HER. (I might end up dyeing her some similar colors...or at least something like the lighter blue.) But these socks are keepers!

There will be a flapped, turned and gusseted heel done in the dark blue, and the gussets moved to the sole of the sock –so as not to interfere with the pattern work on the instep.

They are knitting up just a pretty as I hoped.

BONUS?--Blog Give Away! 
Tomorrow's post is already written—and scheduled to post one minute past midnight. It features a blog give away. There is a short window of opportunity to get in on this—just a day or two—and there are some great prizes. Be sure to check it out the details in tomorrow's post--and get yourself entered to one of 4 fabulous prizes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Lace Remains

for the moment, (well for the last 24 hours) pinned to the photo station. Nothing has been worked on it.

The washed laundry has been all folded and put away, or hung up (yeah!) The bathroom got hosed down (well not literately, but you know what I mean). The dishwasher filled, the sink and drain board emptied and counters in the kitchen got cleaned too. (Still to do—scouring the kettle). A favorite linen skirt got undone (seams opened) to be cut down and made smaller. Linen is so worth the effort. 

In short—stuff besides knitting got done.

Not that there wasn't knitting-- The secret socks had a good inch added, and then the ribbing got started. Less than a half inch or ribbing so far.  I got out for the evening, too.

All in all a full day—Oh yeah and I baked, too. Nothing much, just some low carb (not low fat, or low calories) brownies. LOT's of chocolate (12 oz!), lots of eggs, and a little bit of ground hazelnuts for “flour”. Yummy! More than half got given away—the rest, tucked into a bag and frozen for slow doling out over the next few weeks-(there are only 10 in the freezer but these are too rich a treat to indulge in daily)

Today the secret socks will be finished. The handy little clear bag will be re-fitted with new yarn for May's socks. (No I am not going to take one of the ready made bags!) and the peacock shawl will re-commence. (May's sock won't be far behind.)

I need to find a nice bag for the peacock project, too, and to fit it with some markers. The open lace pattern of the stem that begins the next motif is just complex enough that I want some markers. 10 I think to start. I looked closer at the charts—there will be 3 new feather motifs for every current 1--(or 30 per round) The first set feathers were divided into half--(note the marker at the point opposite the needle tips).

For lace like this, I need some long soft cotton embroider thread markers—the kind that get enmeshed into the knitting. (Slip on the needle markers are too likely to also be slip off the needle markers) and a Beginning of Round marker, (no there isn't one, yet) –the small safety pin marker will become that.

There are a lot more stitches now—180 to be precise when the motif is finished. 1 marker every third repeat of the chart/pattern should be enough to keep me on track. I am not going to think about how many stitches there will be by the end of the chart!

Well the secret sock isn't going to knit it's self—Enough time spent on the computer. It's time now to knit!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


It's a good thing I got laundry, (and a few rounds done on the secret sock) yesterday morning.

Because I am definitely a goner--yesterday afternoon, I picked up my giant ball of wool, and it got stuck in my hands.  Honestly, I was just going to cast on, and....
And, well what happened is this:
That's the first 41 rounds of the shawl. (41 of 45 R's to the first chart) I love it, I love it, I love it.

I could have stayed up half the night, and finished the last few rounds of chart 1, but some semblance of reason kicked in, and I finally put the knitting down (at about 1 AM). Gently stretched, this morning, it's about 8 inches across.  And beginning to take shape.  

Relatively speaking, it's an easy lace. Each motif is symmetrical, and there are 10 repeats per round—so, its easy to memorize—by repeat 3. 

When I finish the first the first chart, I'll likely add a life line, but I don't think I'll really need one. Chart 2 is almost the same as chart 1. It's 2 R's longer (but then, the eye has 9 stitches (vs 5) and the extra rounds are 2 pair of double decreases. 
(OK, the stem part is different, too, since the increases are spaced differently...but...)

 And there are a MILLION feather tails in the second go round. Near as I can tell, 30 repeats. And even more repeats of chart 3 and more still in chart 4! I really like how the feathers increase every repeat—so like real peacocks tails. (Peacocks are naturalized at the Bronx Zoo—and while are not quite as common as squirrels, they are common enough—I seen real peacocks all my life--something you might not expect of a City girl.)

I've made 1 or 2 mistakes—and had to tink a dozen or so stitches—but for the most part, the pattern makes sense to me, and it's easy to just knit. And knit I did. It was so easy, the mistakes were early in the process, (and still learning) not late (at night) when I was getting tired.

This morning I checked out some other FO's of this project (to check to see how many repeats of chart two there were) and found this version..(that a Ravely link—and may not work if you are not on Ravelry)

Hand painted, after it was knit—and I think all my previous experiments with dyeing were nature's way of making me ready to do this!

 That version also has beads, and I had considered adding beads, too, but I am working with almost cobweb  weight yarn, and thought beads might make it too heavy. Besides, I want the knitting to be the star. I am going to finish Chart 1 today, and then put it aside just long enough to finish the secret socks. I think I am going to have ration work on this shawl—It could easily take over my life!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Mile, and Then Some

 of yarn. It was a big hank like this, now its a neat little ball like this. (well, maybe not such a little ball)  An amazing transformation, isn't it?

Next it will be lace. A much more amazing transformation!

That's 2250 yards of Henry's Attic, Moriah, a 100% merino wool, --More than a mile (by about a third!). More than 2 kilometers, if you want to measure that way. Any way you measure it, it's a lot of yarn. (No,  it's not, it's mere ounces—just 8 ounce—a glass of water! Feather weight!) 

Soft, but tightly spun and strong. It has a lovely hand and it's going to be a pleasure to knit.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it.. turning a small ball of so may yards of string into a thing of beauty.

I always maintain that, knitting, done with a good technique, doesn't cause repetitive stress injury—but I think an exception needs to be made for using a ball winder—My wrist took quite a work out winding up that skein.

Secret socks (legs) are a round or two short of  7 inches—(already knit).  Then they will be 8 inches, and then there will be be an inch/an inch and half of ribbing, and they will be done. Can't be soon enough!

The foot ended up slightly too long (for me), but no matter, these socks, like all the secret socks, aren't going into my stash of socks. (And they will fit someone). There won't much much of the yarn left over when they are done, though.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This Year

I have been working on a secret sock project (well the sock are secret, not the project)--and have already knit 8 pairs of sock this year --4 public pairs and 4 secret pairs.  (well 8 if you count the pair I am working on now as complete—they aren't)

Some have been toe up, some cuff down, some bright colors, some subtle. My current pair (April's secret socks) are nearing completion. Not fast enough, but.... I am already lusting to start my next pair of socks, and the ones after that, and....

Part of the problem with the current pair of socks, is I don't really like cables—especially in socks, (and these socks have 6 cables (12 to a round when knitting 2 at time!) and I don't much like the color—as it looks knit up, that is. I loved how it looked in the ball.

It's Lion Brand's Sock Ease in color way toffee—which they call a deep grey with orange, yellow and white (so little white, it always looks like a mistake)--but the grey? Its more of a dark loden green, and some less dark loden, too.   These are actually colors I rather like (This is the first skein of Sock Ease I bought—at the Lion Brand Studio, where every color was available!) but I don't like how they knit up (to much orange for one).

On the other hand, I love how the heel fits, and I love how snug and comfy the ankle of sock is—this is a style of sock I will make again.. just in a brighter yarn—or at least in a brighter color way.

Here are color swatches of my 4 secret socks (in stocking knit not in stitch pattern used)--

See? These last socks are, well blah—or at least they are to me. (Top left, Paton's Fx sock yarn, (Jan), bottom left, Paton's Ragg Effects(March). Top right, Lion Brand Sock Ease, (April), bottom right, Plymouth Happy Feet.(Feb) --It took forever to get the images centered and balanced, I gave up the effort to have them in order!)

AND I am about to embark on a BIG lace shawl. The yarn is on the swift, it will be balled up today, and I will get to work—soon.

It is the (Oh, so appropriate!) WeddingPeacock shawl. (there are a few different shawls with this name. —the link is to the one I am making) I am knitting it in white merino, but it might end up in a dye bath once it has been completed. The color theme for the wedding is based on peacock feather (and peacock feather are going to be used in the decoration) but I want something simpler, and less color full—but spectacular all the same. The wedding is in October, so I have plenty of time—but a big lace shawl needs one, doesn't it?

As time come closer, and I chose a dress, I will think about what color (if any) the shawl should be. It will be easy enough to dye the whole knit shawl (I'll have to get is wet to block, anyway)--and I have more than twice as much yarn as required, so it will be easy to make up a swatch or two to test out colors first.   

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Done!

Not yesterday, but the last few rows were worked early this morning, and now it's done. Well almost done—there are still a dozen or so ends to weave in Weaving in end from a loosely spun single ply yarn like this is an easy job—the yarn is very “grabby” and ends will be easy to hide.

I love the look of it, the colors, and the movement of the colors... The yarn wasn't cheap, but it reaffirms my love of long color yarns. One of these days, some Zuberball, or some Kauni or some other long color changing yarn –a BIG ball or several, or a cone—is going to find its way home with me. That will be someday, when my ship comes in.

Meanwhile, I have a small shopping list of things to buy—first, the brick wall of my new terrace (They are still doing something, and the scaffolding hasn't come down) will be covered in lattice. Not the wood ones, but the vinyl kind.. in the same soft, beige/white as the vinyl chairs. (and table)

In spite of the power wash, (and my previous efforts) there are still bits of smeared paint on the brick walls. (Left over graffiti from the previous owners--How could they let their kids do that?) Painting the brick is not permitted, nor are permanent changes, but lattice is light weight, easy to install, and removable. It will also be brighter (than red brick) and be cooler—the red brick absorbs a good deal of heat in the late afternoon sun.

With some furring strips behind, and some planters mounted in front,(the furring strips will be the real support for planters), and a bracket for my wind chimes, and a new light—well-- it will be a lovely out door room for my enjoyment. All this (lattice work) needs to be done before the chairs and table and planters go back out there. And I can't wait to get all the planters and terrace furnature out of the living room and back on the terrace where it belongs!

A new screen is needed too, for the door—the old screening that closed in the terrace is gone, and won't be replaced. (New metal screening is out of my budget)

My whopping great yearly income (of $100) from AdSense—(my You Tube videos--are popular, but hardly viral!) is funding this little shopping spree. (Clearly, this is my dingy coming in, not my ship!) 

I've thought about doing this for years, and now is the perfect time—I have a few extra cents, and a clean and clear terrace to work with.

Next up on my shopping list is a pair or two of sneakers for the summer. I go sock-less in the summer, and extra sneakers that can be thrown in the wash are a must. I have one newish pair (purchased at the end of last season) and several old pairs (one pair is going on 14 years old—I wish I could go back in time and buy a half dozen of these long wearing sneakers!)

I've already spend some money on bathing suits. My old ones are too big—and so stretched out that they were too big last year before I lost weight. The notice came about the pool last week, but  payment isn't due till the end of May. I'll get a NYC tax rebate check will arrive before then, and it will be just about the right amount for the pool membership. Which at under $200 for the 3 months of the summer,--May 26th to Sept 3rd--is a bargain I can't pass up. I've got a brisk walk of at least 20 minutes (some days, twice that) 6 days of last week—but water aerobics is much more fun—exercise I will do, happily.

And I have nothing to report on sewing—just after I posted on Saturday, my daughter called, and we went shopping for some craft ideas for the wedding. I was a wonderful way to blow all my plans for the day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Skein 4—Now 1 More

The last few yards of skein 3 and all of skein 4 have been used. The Wavy Ribbons scarf is now about 60 inches long (59 to be precise)--one more skein and it will be over 6 feet (73/74 inches or so)--which will be a fine length I think.

The yarn is just such fun to knit—and the results are as good as I hoped.--Maybe the perfect go with for the scarf will be a thick warm pair of mittens—with lice stitch in Kaleidoscope yarn thrums. A deep sea blue for the mittens—speckled with bits of sea glass! (not the I have any deep sea blue handy.. but I have dye... and several white yarns that might do!)

I went out yesterday twice—once for quick errand, and later for a brisk walk, and both times forgot to get my secret sock project –that I knew I had left in the car. Went out a third time just before dinner, JUST to retrieve the socks, and got a scant inch of them knit after dinner.

So, today's goal is sewing—but there will be time for knitting, too. I think I am going to work mostly on the scarf, and get it finished. The socks are well—socks. I wanted to have a pair of socks with cables for my secret sock project. Lots of people love cabled socks. I am not one of them!

The cables look good, and it is a simple, easy to do one-- No cable needle required. But cable just don't do anything for me. Maybe it's my early childhood of ugly and uncomfortable cabled knee high socks that were part of my school uniform, maybe it's just that cables are OK, but just not too special to my way of thinking. I've made things with cables over the years, even some big projects, but I am some what indifferent to cables.

Color, texture and patterning have always been things I enjoy. But I enjoy the open texture of lace more than the dense texture of cables!--and simple (or not so simple) stocking knit, with color

They are still putzing around on the scaffolding, and still haven't started to disassemble it. Every little noise bothers me—I look to see if what I am hearing is the structure coming apart, and so far it seems nothing has changed. Enough already!--OH, wait, they have just removed the 2 X 4 that blocked my terrace door!  The scaffolding might not come down today... but!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Little of This, a Little of That

A little done, and a little undone.

So the secret socks are getting legs. The gusset heel that I used, is a nice deep one, and with a scant inch of leg (cable pattern) worked, I have 4 inches (measuring from bottom of heel) of the leg done.

I usually like the leg to be about as long as the foot, so another 4 inches of the cable and then some simple ribbing for the cuff and I'm done. (Then I can go onto other exciting socks!)

Yesterday, I met with Nancy—she's completed the seed stitch (Yeah!) and had evolved to one marker ever 10 stitches over the course of 4 90 stitch rows. Then, a new and different challenge—Intarsia.

She plans a baby blanket with 5 broad stripes, in 5 different pastels (OK, 4 pastels and some white), and a 6th color, (pink) as the border. So we got started, and got 2 rows worked: Work 5 (seed stitch, Pink,) work 80 (5 blocks of 16 stitches) in blue, work the last 5 in pink.

She is slightly overwhelmed with 1 giant skein (less than half a skein of Red Heart super saver) 1 small skein, (a 50 gr skein of Blue (unknown acrylic) and 1 large bobbin of pink, all connected to her knitting, but she is excited to see how it all works. (by the end of 2 rows, it was hard to see just how pretty a pink border on all 4 sides would be.)

I brought along my wavy ribbons scarf (since that's fast and easy knitting) and finished off most of skein 3—I had/have a small amount (a half dozen yards) that I broke off when I started the skein to more or less keep the color pattern.

I knit up those last few yards late last night, and made a stupid mistake.. So I ended up frogging—not too bad, to frog 6 yard or so.

I also scrounged up another few skeins, 3 skeins is too little for a scarf—and, I dunno, an extra skein might make a head band? Or a hat to go with? It's lovely yarn, but not cheap. But then, I am feeling a bit flush—My You Tube revenue is up (amazing, almost $10 every month!) and I've sold some patterns. (In 18 months, pattern sales have totaled $250 dollars) I know, I know, I shouldn't big income like this go to my head, and lead me off on wild spending, but!

So here the scarf, still a few yards short of 3 skeins. Still pretty short, but also very pretty.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Any Day Now....

The work is completed (well,  on my line) and the management has double checked, and is satisfied.

So any day now, the 2 X 4 blocking the door will come done, along with the scaffolding, and I will have a terrace once again.. A beautiful, bright terrace, with flowers (well potential flowers, nothing is big enough to bloom yet) and a place to sit and enjoy the view. (Last night, sunset was just beautiful—what a show the sky puts on for free--and almost every night, Venus is a gleaming beacon in the western sky (I wish I had bought the cheap telescope when it was available.. I hope they have them again, and I will! I'd love to be able to see detail of the planetary show.) 

If only the city inspector would come, and sign off on completion! Then the scaffolding can come down, and the terrace will be open for business. It's been unseasonable warm—all winter and spring, but especially this past few days. Everywhere, lilacs and irises are blooming—about 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and roses are setting buds, and getting ready to bloom too.  Morning will be nicer, when I can sit out doors and sip my coffee.

I got my exerciser yesterday with a subway trip—up and down stairs and walks (in between waiting)followed by more walking and more stairs. In the between time, I got the gussets finished, and one heel turned . Last night after dinner, the second heel got turned. I like this heel.

I think it's an easy one, to do, too. Yes, there are short rows, but no wraps (and no holes) And its a nice deep short row heel, and fits very comfortably on my foot (with a high instep) –and most short row heel designs don't. I don't know if this is Wendy's idea, or if it just a style of short row that has been kicking round for years, and she has just popularized it, or made some changes to, (to improve) but its one I will add to my repertoire. 

 It's not the best choice for self striping yarns, (it would definitely mess up the stripes, and even pooled a little with my random striped yarn) but it would work for solids, semi solids, and many hand painted type color ways. Now the heels are done, it won't be long till the socks are finished. And then? Oh my! I have so many choices! My home made sock club is just packed with ideas and yarns that I am itching to knit!

Later today, I will be heading out and searching for some more of the Kaleidoscope yarn—3 skeins will make a short scarf—and I'd like one a bit longer. And I'll get a walk in, too. Then, tonight is co-op board meeting, so I'll get some knitting done, but my time will be broken up I want the scarf, with its simple stocking knit, and size 8 needles to be my public project, not the socks. They are a bit too fussy with the mini cables to bring along.

I have no knitting to show, but I did remember to take some photo's on Tuesdays walk...enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So, I Didn't Get Much Knitting Done

But I found the book, Wendy D. Johnson book, Socks From the Toe Up, and found the heel I wanted to try. Its a very simple heel—I want to try it out for fit, and comfort, and for just how easy it is to knit.
 (note that's a Ravelry link, not an Amazon one)

Here's an image of the heel (page 32 of the book)—Wendy calls it a gusset heel. I like the look of it, and while it does have short rows (and I know some knitters have problems with short rows) this one look simple enough—First increase to make a gusset, then short rows and decreases to make the final shape. (There are more images to be found on Ravelry)

I haven't even finished the gusset (increases) yet, (as I said when I started: Didn't get much knitting done) –but I took a nice walk, and worked on the NYTimes (Sunday) crossword puzzle—I got the big clues (based on the puzzle theme)--its all the fill in stuff that is stumping me!

I didn't do any knitting on the wavy ribbons scarf, (it sat on the photo station till this morning when I moved it to take the photo this AM), I didn't do any of the duplicate stitch on the ski cap, I didn't do anything else of note—save this: I did take a nice brisk 30 minute walk (and minutes after I post this, I am off for this morning 30 minute walk)I am resolved to not just think about, and talk about getting more exerciser and activity, but to actually do it.

Today I am going to remember to take the camera. Who knows, I might even remember to take a photo, too. Later today, SEWING. (The plan is to have some images of some of the sewing tomorrow!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Knitting, Not Thinking

Well, first, the little bit of silk is a thing of the past. Its been frogged and put back into the 'to be thought about' pile—and maybe the next attempt will be the right thing.

But I was thinking (a little bit) about how the pattern would look in a long color stripe yarn. So out came some skeins of Thread and Loop Kaleidoscope yarn—and look what happened in a heart beat! Looks good, doesn't it? I think I might have to get some more, and make a matching hat to this scarf.
This is the sea glass color way—Not my usually choice, pastels, but I really like the results.

This is a nice simple and quick pattern to knit—based on the Summit shawl—with a change or two. The back side is very different, but I like it too.

The scarf got even more attention when I realized my secret sock was over 7 inches long—and I still hadn't started on the heel. I didn't have a handy reference/pattern handy for working the heel, (I am planning to try out a heel I have never knit before) so the sock got put aside for the moment.

I was glad I stopped and measured, for some reason, I have been just knitting, and not thinking at all about these socks. I don't love them—but they are OK. A toe up sock always seems longer to knit, and not almost done once the heel has been turned, and I am sure these will be no exception. Especially because the number of little cables (currently 3) will double and slow the work down even more.

Yesterday's Sunday's knitting at Panera's was pretty quiet... Nancy has been having problems with working seed stitch—Even sitting quietly, with no talking, she kept messing up. So I suggested markers.. In the end, we placed one every 4th stitch—A wide (bubble tea/smoothy) straw, snipped into 1/8th of inch ring—yielded a thousand markers, (we got giddy and silly about them all) and 3 more new clean straws went into Nancy's knitting bag—soon she'll have a multi color collection of pink, blue, pastel green and lilac stitch markers.

But they worked. They keep her in the present—K1, P1, K1, P1, Place marker, repeat. 20 something markers later, and she had completed a perfect row.

I often forget how hard knitting can be when you haven't mastered the ability to read your knitting—Nancy struggles to discern a knit from a purl. Her project only has 6 rows (but 90 stitches per row!) of seed stitch edging...  But till we lit upon the strategy of a marker every few stitches, going was very slow.

Now,  shes made it her goal to continue the next 3 rows with out losing a marker. (I hope she succeeds—I know I wouldn't!)--But if she get the next 3 rows knit, with out losing her way (she has already frog this project once) it won't matter how many markers she loses.  (Beside, there are plenty more marker available at moments notice!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mute and Truculant

So I knit nothing Thursday evening--(and had nothing to blog about Friday) Plus, I went Friday for an eye exam—just routine stuff (or so I thought!) I've worn glass going of forever, (since I was 15) and well time takes it toll, and I need to get my eyes checked, and new glasses ever few years.

This exam was, by far the most complete ever. My vision were tested (good old eye chart, and not much of change), and my eyes examined every way possible! I had drops (that left me with yellow rings around my eyes), a manual scan, and the new light bases (vs puff of air) test was done for glacoma (and once again, I failed, yeah me!) Plus, my retina was scanned with a lazer. The process took hours! Eventually, I got a new prescription for a pair of eye glasses, and along the way, I got about an inch of secret sock knit. Almost time for a heel. And that was it for the sock for the day.

After the appointment, an nice walk.. It was yet another beautiful day. And the end of the walk, a few veggies from the market—and bread. I don't each much bread—When ever I buy bread, I immediately freeze half the loaf—and frequently find the remaining half has gone moldy before I finish. But Aldi's had a super sale on bread—it happens when they are overstocked.

I passed on most of the bread—I just didn't need plain white bread—but a 6 pack of english muffins for 10Cents? Of course I bought some! I was tempted by the Kaiser rolls, too, but passed. But I didn't pass on the pineapple. Fresh pineapple is a wonderful indulgence—Fruit salad for breakfast in stead of my usual orange is festive too.

Once home, I didn't do any work on the ski mask—All that black has worn me out. Instead, I did what I frequently do when stuck—I cast on.

I have this silk—Oh, its beautiful-- 8 oz of hand painted luxury. I inherited in one of the SABLE's that came into my life—I was so shocked.. I wondered how anyone could have this silk and not have knit it up. (I am beginning to learn how) It was a hank, and I had it made into a skein almost immediately.

I was sure winding it up would help me decide what to do with it. Its not quite enough for a top (well maybe if I was a size petite, and even then, it would be close) but its way too much for a small scarf (I have a few small scarves knit from little itty bitty left over's of silk an ounce of silk makes a pretty big scarf.)

So far, I have tried out 3 different ideas for this silk, and nothing is right. This is the latest—the Summit Shawl/scarf from Knitty.

I like the pattern—it is entralac(ish) in nature, and if you love entralac, you should try out this pattern. I hate entralac, and I still like this. (I am wondering how this would work in a long slow color changing yarn.. it could be interesting.)

But not this silk, in this pattern. Maybe if I made the ribbons wider, (and more of them) maybe if I make the gauge tighter..I LIKE the idea, but not the actual results I am getting. And there is no clear solution to exactly what is wrong.  This bit of a scarf will be frogged, and some other idea will be tried out.

This silk is mute about what it want to be, and truculent. It lets me knit it up, knowing full well, it's not the right thing. It rare that I am so stymied by a yarn. I love this silk, but I am beginning to understand how it ended up unknit in someone else's SABLE, beautiful, but not knit.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Most of the Knitting

Is done. As is skein 1, skein 2, and most of skein 3. Still to come, is the duplicate stitch design on the back. Another few rounds, and skein 3 will be done, and so will the ski cap. I could end any time, but I might as well use up the yarn. As always, the hat looks huge on the HEAD—but S-I-L to be, is a good looking man—as defined by our family standard. That is, he too, has a giant bowling ball head, and needs an extra large hat!

The mini skeins are dry (but not make into cakes yet)—each one weights in at 37 g. Almost enough on their own for a full pair of socks! I am thinking of something like these herringbone socks (I own this book).  

Though, I have seen a simpler 2 stitch pattern—more like streaks of lightly—that is what I was originally thinking about. I'll have to check—could be I was thinking about these, and mis remembering.
 Still, these socks LOOK good—and I think my sock will look good in Day (light blue) and Night (dark) Springtime colors, don't you agree?

So that's the update... I am exhausted from a day of waiting and not going much else--I did have a few minutes between appointments and stretched my legs with a quick walk around the block.  One of today's appointment generated a slew of new appointments.  I don't think its anything serious, but everyone is being over cautious and checking everything out.  I have my work cut out for me, just keeping track.  

The Same Again, But Different

So here's a quick up date.

About the hat---the first skein gone, and inroads  made to the second. An eye slit, too. 

More on that, later today. (When, who knows, maybe skein 2 will have bite the dust, too!)

Left over partial skeins of white from Kate and Alice? Balls made into hanks, and hanks went into the dye bath-- and look at the results.

 Blue-lovely robin's egg blue, and green, and lilac purple. 

 Oh, my! These skeins, together with the dark blue, green and blue violet? Madness! Beautiful, colorful madness! I want to cast on right now! It going to take an effort not to have these yarns jump the line up and become next to be knit!

I know just the pattern I want. And I want them now. Only now, the skeins are still damp, (they will be dry tomorrow when this posts, but they aren't now as I write). 

I have secret socks to work on, and I just printed out the directions for Summit—I have some pastel (mostly yellow) silk that has been very reluctant to decide what it wants to be—and I think this shawl might be the right choice.

I have a million things to knit, and skeins and skeins of yarn clammoring to be knit.. but I am not sure I am going to be able to put off for long knitting these skeins together with the darker blues.  Oh, no, I don't think I will be able to hold off for long,  at all, at all.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back to Knitting

(And frogging.)

The crown of the hat is done—And the plan for intarsia has been scrapped. The ski hat will be be solid, and later I'll use duplicate stitch (aka swiss darning) to add the motif. So right now, it doesn't look like much but at least something has been done! (and almost as much, undone!) 

It will be better in the end--I can be sure to get the placement right, and the size (the size was one of several things wrong—too small) and the hat will be more comfortable with at least some of the cashmere/merino blend—the glow in the dark yarn is very scratchy, and uncomfortable to knit.  And while the back of the head isn't a super sensitive place, my D-I-L, to be,  is folically challenged--(and keeps what hair he has short) so he doesn't have a thick head of hair to protect him from the yarn.

I love my new blue yarn--This image (on my computer) is about the best so far for actual color.  But—it's a little dark—SO.. I am going to take the left over white (from my Kate and Alice socks--which is also the last of the white for the moment (or at least I think it is)) and dye it—but take extra care to make the mini skeins a pastel blue (also with some pink  added to make a shade of purple, and some green added to make a lighter shade of the forest green (a greenish teal) Then, work both yarns together to make a pair of striped socks! Well-- maybe some color work on the cuff and leg, but simple stripes on the foot. I like stripes, and if they are narrow enough—no end to weave in.  

I have seen a lovely  diagonal stripe, too--there's a(nother) thought!  I don't have any diagonal stripes socks.  

The dark blue skein is a full 100g's, and the left over white (the 2 balls combined)  is over 50g's—so I am going to have left overs of both—enough of the dark yarn to make another half pair of socks—or maybe a pair of spiral socks (they are on my list to knit) or maybe mix the dark blue with some other solid yarn for a second pair of striped socks. 

I have some of the Root Beer brown left over too, but not too much. I had already used the brown for the foot of last years Italian Ices socks.  The plan is get that done latter today--but--first I have to turn the balls of left over yarn into skeins... so maybe I will, or maybe I won't get it done today. 

Tomorrow-- an appointment with a nutritionist.. maybe I can get some more pointers to a healthier diet and one that will help me go back to shedding pound. Sometimes, what I need to do is just rethink my choices.

Take breakfast—the old choices included bread (buttered!) and home fried potatoes, along with eggs, over easy (and ketchup in the runny yokes) . Today I had a revised breakfast. 1 slice of toast (no butter) and eggs Florentine—spinach cooked with onion, then made into little nests—and an egg poached in each nest-just till the whites are set. A bit of grated parmigiana cheese, and cracked pepper to season. Actually quite yummy—and a good way to fill up—with healthy spinach. 

I realize, most of the time, I just don't think to add vegetables to my breakfast.  Besides,  I don't have eggs most days—most days, it's yogurt and fruit for breakfast—with a single slice of bread, or a rice cake. But, even with a dozen flavors of yogurt to chose from, it gets boring.

Another change is I now always have lettuce and tomato instead of home fries when I eat out—In NYC these are the same price as home fries. OK, so its just 2 thin slices of an often anemic tomato, and ice burg lettuce, but its more filling that passing on the home fries and getting nothing to replace them.  I don't eat out a lot--but once a week for breakfast? Even with tax and tip, it's $5--something even I feel I can afford.  

What with the nutritionist appointment, and a follow up to my mammogram, I expect most of tomorrow will be spend waiting—I'll be posting late—but with any luck, I'll have gotten a lot of knitting done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's A Body To Do?

When I get in a knitting slump?  I pull out the dye pot. --Thought I will admit, for sock yarn at least, I have just about exhausted that option.

Thank goodness I still have raw, undyed silk, and silk that I don't like the color of, and some worsted weight 'blanks” of white.

But look—I have some Blue yarn—blue with green, and forest green and blue violet. It's still wet—but isn't it pretty?

I have shiny copper and brass all around me, too.—Not all of my copper and brass is shiny yet—but I justed up all of the copper polish for the moment.  I'll buy some more polish and keep up with the effort.  

I actually took my knitting out--(and looked at it) Maybe I can work my way up to making a stitch or two.

Monday, April 09, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day

For March. Yes, I know it's April. The weather doesn't. March is usually windy (and wet) here on the east coast. This year, it was dry all over, and the mild.

April is behaving more like March—already some rain—but not enough (there are fire alerts /“red flag warnings”) and windy. Lord! Its windy. Yesterday was sunny and mild-(near to 60°/16°) but you still needed a warm jacket for the wind. Sustained winds of 20 mph, gusts up to 30 mph. So far, this April, many lovely days—not the usual sodden mass of April showers. Especially since March was so dry.

What will May be? Not as flower full--(May is usually the best month of year for flowers) So many of the trees and shrubs have already started blooming—not most of the show, but a good percentage will be on in April—Unless there is a change again and something disastrous happens. We've been know to have April snow, and the last recorded day of frost is April 19 (for NYC—and about the same for the extended area.)

All this is a distraction—because I have nothing to show. Well a few more rounds have been worked on the black ski cap, but I haven't started the intarsia work. How much different does a 3 inch black disk look from a 2 inch one? 2 inches have been added to the secret sock, too. It will be interesting soon. There are several styles of heels that I have never worked—this sock is going to have a new (to me) heel to work. I do tend to fall into habits with socks. These are a other change, too. The secret socks are cabled. I have made cabled socks before, but I don't immediately think of cables as a choice. To many cabled knee socks (that I hated) in my childhood I guess. But cables are popular for socks.. If I am going to design socks, I'll have to do a some for every taste—not just mine.

But I did get a start on sewing.. 3 fill patterns pinned out: A jumper, a skirt, and jacket. All sort of matching. The jumper has a denim front piece, the rest is red gingham. The skirt is red gingham too. The denim jacket has a gingham under collar, and gingham facing on the cuffs—deep facings, so the cuffs can be turned back. Next up after this, a solid red skirt—the jacket will match to the jumper, the wrap around and the solid red skirt. And other stuff, too. My skirt from last year that has red bandanna trim for example, and any solid denim skirt (and I have more than a few of those)

Today, a bit of knitting, a bit of sewing—well more prep work to sewing. Getting everything cut, and sorted into projects, the interfacing cut and ironed on—all the stuff I need to do before filling the bobbins and put metal to the pedal and beginning to actually sew.

And while there are tons of spring cleaning chored to do –I've been doing fluff.
The terrace construction involved a good deal of concrete work and repair—and dust came in every crack and crevice—I just can't live with ever window sealed tight all the time! While my terrace (and the whole line above and below me are done) there is still work going on on the south face of the building—and I have south facing windows.. Sometimes the dust clouds are so thick! The winds (remember the winds!) blow the dust and grit everywhere. I do attack the dust and grit. But for the moment, it's a thankless task. But I can polish copper and brass. I have a bunch of brash candle holders for the terrace—they are getting all spiffied up, and so are the copper planters. When I finally can move things out doors again, they will be all shiny and bright looking. Kitchen coppers got a polish too. Yes, polishing copper is not the heart of spring cleaning. But its something.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Time Advances

It's seems like just yesterday my daughter announce her engagement (It was back in the end of September). And didn't they pick a day a heart beat after that? (No, it wasn't till almost Thanksgiving)

Now she has ordered the dress—and everything is one step closer! If I close my eyes for a moment, it will be October and the date will be here. Where does the time go?

And now I have yet another sewing project—a wedding coat for my daughter. First a mock one, in some inexpensive fabric, then the real deal in—I don't know! White wool (I have some 4 or so yards of 60 inch white wool in my fabric stash—I one thought of making a cape) or heavy white satin? Or perhaps a silvery lame? (Her dress will have silver thread and silver beads as decoration) or....

Time will tell!

Meanwhile, I had an un-expected, (mis)adventure yesterday—I'd blog about it, but with all the names and specific details changed to protect the guilty innocent, it would bore you to tears. It was just enough to keep me out most of the afternoon and tired, not so much from doing stuff, as just loitering and waiting for things to happen. The whole thing was a case (all round) of no good deed going unpunished—and in the scope of things, I got off lightly--since none of it really involved me seriously.  I was mostly just there for moral support. My punishment was a few hours wasted, and being blamed for not making better decisions. (Not my decisions to make!) 

I brought knitting (the 4th pair of secret socks) and got a few rounds done (the toe) and nothing done on the hat, and no sewing done. So there is nothing much to report.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cast On the Ski Cap

And got the first half dozen round worked. I definitely need to cast on for socks, too. This black yarn is beautiful in hand, soft and plush, but black it so hard to work. My ott (type) light helps, but it still is tiring to work black. (Look at how my photography has improved!  You can actually see the stitches! --OK some some are partially obscured by the little butterfly of yarn from the tail—but!)

So I'll find some nice bright LIGHT colored yarn for some socks. Then alternately work the hat and socks--Pairing –large (worsted weight/size 8/5mm needles) but black yarn with fine (sock yarn, and size 2/2.5mm needles)but bright, easy to see yarn. Both are fast projects—and shouldn't take long to complete both projects.

I am determined today to finish altering  the skirt I started to work on last week--(it's will be both shorter and trimmer)--and to get something CUT from the fabric I have amassed. I have no excuses now.

Last week, I checked my list, and made sure I had on hand thread, interfacing, zippers, buttons and all the other notions needed for several projects. It's time to clear the sewing table, cut the fabric, iron on the interfacing and get once again set up the work area for sewing.

My DIL has taken up sewing with a determination-she has plans afoot to make 100 garments--and has more than 10% of her goal completed. 

What a clothes horse? Nah—it's just stash relocating.. Piles of stashed fabric, (I have boxes and boxes!) moved from one storage area to another.  They get made into tops and jumpers, skirts and jackets and hung from poles in the closet, instead of being neatly folded lengths of cloth on the shelves!

Ideally, I will get at least 1 jumper, 1 skirt and 1 small (sort of matching) jacket cut. Maybe, even 2 skirts cut. One-- an easy to alter wrap around skirt, one just a basic A line (4 gore? 6 gore or 8?) I like the 8 gore best—but it's so much more work to alter an 8 gore skirt!

On the other hand, since losing a pound 2 weeks ago, I am once again stalled weight lose wise. At this rate, it will be months before I need to alter anything I make now.

So more exersize—even the simplest of sort—like brisk walks in the afternoon sun--are in order.
It's been a while since I've set out with my camera and looked for beautiful things to photograph—I think some spring florals images are the order of the day. Well if not today, soon!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Took a Breather

I knit up a storm the last week in March—got my Kate and Alice socks knit, knit up 2 version of the Leafy Cowl and document the pattern for the same.

Yesterday, I played with yarn and sorted some Red Heart & non Red Heart acrylic to be donated to Nancy—she in the middle of a baby boom—and has 3 baby blankets to knit.  She has already completed one. 
Now, she wants to experiment with color—first up-- a simple striped blanket with a border-- Straight line intarsia! A nice way to build skills.  I have way too much acrylic--I'll let her have some and have some fun--and clear some room in my stash.

She called yesterday to ask “Can I do this? (straight line intarsia) I thought...”  and described a striped blanket with a solid border.  She had unvented intarsia all over again! We spent an hour talking about knitting.

I got some paperwork done too, updated my calendar for the next few weeks (and months)--starting with the most basic task—flipping the calendar page! (only 3 days late!)

While I was sorting through the yarn, I made up a bag for my next project—a ski hat (in black) with an intarsia motif  (which I got charted.) This is for my SIL to be. He's in a punk rock band, and performs in a ski hat. So this is something real and practical to knit for him. A super soft, luxurious merino/cashmere blend for the wool (I have to knit with black yarn there has to be something in it for me!) and the intarsia in glow in the dark yarn—'cause that seem right for a punk rocker.  It's Lion Brand's Superwash Cashmere and Merino--so it's practical as well.  

I am pondering what socks to knit next—and with what yarn! Next on  the roster is a pair of secret socks—but which ones? And what yarn to use? 

A decision made all the more difficult by 2 lovely yarns (already packed up  in "sock kit bags")  that I want to knit—but I want them for me! One is a tweedy blend of blues and violets (didn't I just do a pair of socks in blues and violets? Why yes! And the whetted my appetite for more of the same.) The other is a bright, cheerful skein of Sock That Rock--mostly primary colors. (What I really want is a skein of the yarn just like the one the Yarn Harlot is knitting--did you see her socks? I WANT a pair just like them)But failing that, some bright colorful, but non striping yarn will have to do. 

At the same time, some white skeins of sock yarn are whispering to be dyed a robin egg blue—and the pink yarn collection is making noise, too. Last week I just got some denim/twill fabric with pink and taupe stripes—(remember the $2 a yard fabric? I JUST HAD TO GET SOME—and by the time I got there--a mostly  pink fabric was one of the very limited choices left to buy). I have 2 different skeins of pink and taupe sock yarns--and only a single pair of pink sock—which are much brighter, deeper pink than the fabric. So sometime in the not to distant future, some pink socks will be thrown into the mix.

So, all in all,I have been handling yarn, and thinking about yarn, and talking about yarn and knitting,but in the past 24 hours—I haven't done anything with yarn—I haven't skeined any hanks, or divided any double skeins, or make up any hanks ready for the dye pot, or dunked any either. I haven't knit a stitch!  I have just been breathing in the fumes. And that's enough.
(And thank you, one and all for all your wonderful comments, here, on Ravelry, and on FaceBook about my cowl.)

Monday, April 02, 2012


I had an idea. (I have ideas all the time.)
I cast on. (With just the vaguest of plans.)
I place some markers and went to work knitting.
I was wowed!
The results are so much better than I envisioned—This is the nicest cowl I think I have ever knit!

Do you like it too? Well-- it will be up on Ravelry, the pattern for sale, before the day is out!

The first example (rose and green) uses a hand painted yarn from a small local vendor—There isn't any of the same available right now, but there are so many small local vendors of hand painted yarn—and this pattern would look good in many color ways. This pattern is perfect for a single skein of special yarn (what better place for a special yarn than framing your face?)

The yarn was a Peruvian wool worsted weight yarn, with 100g yielding 247 yards. The pattern didn't use all the yarn. The second example (bright pink, pale orange and taupe) was knit with a 100g skein of Paton's Classic Wool, (merino) 100g/223 yards—and there was more than enough yarn in that skein. (There were a half dozen or so yards left over—not a scary inch or two!)

I dyed the skein of Patons-- See the previous post for details. But I think this cowl/collar would look also look lovely in a semi solid yarn, or even in a simple solid. Some soft luxury yarn, that you can only afford a single skein of—for example—one that needs a special project.

I added a rose, because I thought the soft red and green color way was similar to the foliage on a rose bush—and I thought a rose was the perfect little embellishment and finishing touch. But it's optional-- I think the second example of the cowl—with out any added embellishment is lovely all on its own.

The pattern for the embellishment is not included—but I do have a free pattern for a similar rose availability on—it's shown as stick pin, but it's easy to make it into a pin on flower.
And there are several books (including this brand new one—Noni Flowers by Nora Bellows ) with ideas for knit flowers and embellishments. (see a review and previewhere)

The pattern includes both written out and charted directions for the lace, and links: to the free pattern for the knit rose, and to directions for the suggested cast on (Channel Island)--all on two pages. A third page (optional to print out)—includes 4 full color photos. There is a thumb nail image included on the first page.

Cowls are small and fast to knit, and this cowl is no exception. I think I want to knit another, or maybe 2 more. I think I could knit and embellish a half dozen before I got bored. Think how pretty it would be in a peacock blue, (a solid or a color way of the same) with a peacock feather pin added! Or in jewel tones, and a ornate piece of jewelry pinned center front. Oh, the possibilities are endless.