Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Fun

The pool is open, the weather has been hot (near 90° today) and I have been immersed.  I plan to be again within the hour.

A little bit of knitting done, a bunch more sewing (and cutting), too.  At some point I'll take some photo's of the new dress (casual) and matching jackets (cut but not yet sewn)--that jacket also goes well with a third wrap skirt, which has a cotton Tee shirt (one of woven cloth, not knit) to match.    A black linen casual dress has also been cut, and the natural linen jacket --disassembled--is still waiting to be sewn up too.

Feed back from my biopsy last week (10 days ago) good--my boobs are getting old--and lumpy with age--and there is nothing seriously wrong with them (aside from some post op bruises that has  left one of them a rainbow of unattractive colors)

I will be busy all week--exercising at the pool, or sewing up so new clothes--but you can expect to see me (and latter hear about) NYC/Met's Stitch & Pitch next week--since it seems I'll be going!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

So—Let's Tally Up

In the past month—I've been sewing--
3 skirts altered (each taken in over 5 inches)
3 shirt dresses altered (again, taken in—one with sleeves, 2 sleeveless)
2 new skirts made
2 tops (OK, 1 top made, one top cut, and on deck to be made)

It's a nice start to a wardrobe—I still have lots of fabric—and plans. I also have a bunch of clothes that I made last year (several of which were very snug last year) that also fit—or at least aren't so baggy and over-sized that I worry about them falling to the floor if I put something in the pockets!

I have a bigger pile of clothes to be taken to goodwill or St Vincent dePaul society for recycling.

Some of my tee shirts (sizes xxl and xl) are going to be cut down and made into—well different tops—some are going to become rags. And the next time the local store has color Tees on sale 4 for $10 I am going to stock up on some smaller (well size L, but that's 2 sizes smaller than XXL!) ones.

Pretty impressive? I guess—but not really. My DIL—a consummate fiber artist has also been sewing—She engaged in a year long project to sew up 100 things—and is photo documenting the project.  

So far, 30 projects—it makes my list of 10 seem pretty insignificant. Especially because I am not also juggling a family (2 kids!) as well.

She's not just sewing (and let's be honest, 30 projects in 3 months is a lot of work)--but she is also documenting, and recently was at the Maker's Faire (SF) with a display! She's making a project of her sewing—I am just a clothes horse—and just making clothes! She blogs about it, too, and has a face book page--(MORE WORK!)

So the buttonholes on the navy shirt? A snap—my new machine has the easiest buttonholer I have ever used. So buttonholes are made & buttons sewn on, and the first shirt is made. Today, shirt 2-- in light blue, and maybe an other re-do will get started.

I have 2 really nice linen jackets—one casual (un-constructed) in natural linen, and one white one (a bit more formal—with collar and lapels) that are on my list of clothes to alter (and 2 more linen skirts), and more fabric to cut, and more skirts to sew, and knitting is just going to have to wait! It's another cool damp rainy day—just perfect for sewing!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Camp shirts

While Zippiknits, knew exactly what I was talking about, when I said camp shirt-- Jessica (a real life friend—and many years younger) looked quizzical--Oh, how things have changed.

Back in the day (so long!/not so long ago) when T-shirts were undershirts (and came in white only and you'd never think to wear them out of doors—and hated when you mother made you wear one over your swimsuit—which often happened in those pre effective sunscreen days)--camp shirts were what passed for casual summer clothing for girls.  Casual, simple blouses, (with no shaping or darts) and a pocket, too.  A simple notched collar, paired with short sleeves--a basic shirt--(you went to camp with a dozen or more) and wore one almost every day from about age 7 or 8 till, well, in my case, for-ever!

Paired with shorts, or pedal pushers (knee length pants) or even sporty skirts, (since skirts were still the order of the day for girls!) they were a staple of a summer wardrobe. They came in solid colors, and calico prints, and special ones, in madras plaids. They were dressy enough that you could head to church on Saturday wearing one (provided you changed from shorts to a skirt) for confession, but until I was a teen (and standards relaxed a bit more) a bit too casual, and not acceptable for church on Sunday morning--which still required a proper dress, and stockings, and white gloves--even on a scorching 90° day.

Mostly they were cotton—and like all cotton, needed to be ironed! Unlike my newest version—in poly/cotton.

The navy one is just about finished—Still needs some buttonholes and buttons, too, but the bulk of the sewing is done. I have to re-read the directions for buttonholes on this new sewing machine—Others swear they are easy as pie—but the technique is different—and I haven't mastered it yet. I can knock out one buttonhole easy—but a nice set of six or seven? First a mock up, then buttonholes for real.
Oh—I found some turquoise buttons (recycles)not a perfect match—but a 99% one—fine for a casual top--so that will take care of shirt number 3.  Maybe for the purple--I'll do something different.  

I think I am going to sew up both of the linen shirt dresses before I go to work on the light blue shirt--I just undid the seams and binding on the second one.  The first is natural linen color—the second a light lavender. Both are cool comfortable cover-ups—the armholes are a little large (and I almost always were a tee shirt underneath) except when I wear them as pool cover ups—I don't much care about gapping armholes when I have a swimsuit underneath. They both need to be shortened too—but simple sewn hems, not invisible ones. The bulk of the time will be spend making up a bobbin and threading the machine!

Not Knitting, Not Sewing, Either!

So I made some progress on one camp shirt one--(navy blue) until I ran out of navy blue thread, too!

So with a growing list of notions, and Tuesday night knitting cancelled-- I headed out shopping—and got some of what I set out for, and made some un-planned purchases, too.

1st—2 more cuts of cotton forced there way into my shopping—I just love the colors of both of these prints. One will become another wrap skirt, the second—an other style I think—because as much as like the wrap skirt—well, 3 of them are enough, don't you think?

And, of course, some matching poly/cottons joined in the fray—both of these selection of cuts were further reduced (or I wouldn't have even looked at them) so these skirts & shirt sets are going to be even cheaper--(under $20 for each set!)--included a bag of mixed buttons—I wanted to buy more (there were so many prints that were just so pretty!) but the tight rein I keep on my purse won out over my heart.

These jewel-tone colors have been part of my wardrobe staples forever. I always maintain, I don't have a favorite color—but I am a sucker for blues, purples, and turquoise—especially in the summer.   Plus, the purple solid will also match the black calico skirt, and the solid turquoise goes well with both of the new prints.

As a bonus, all of these colors match my current bathing suits—so I can look co-ordinated as well as casual. They also go well with several of the  G-class Sun hats I knit last year.  I will look positively put together as walk to and from the pool this year! (A second bonus, is, come the fall, when I go back to wearing socks, I have LOTS of socks that will go well with these prints, too)

I got my interfacing, too, and black thread (I went for 2 spools—I have 2 more black skirts to alter, and a piece of black linen to sew up as well) and some turquoise to match both the print and the poly cotton—since I knew I didn't have any matching thread at home--afterwards, I realized, I should have pick up a bag of turquoise buttons, too.  

And from the clearance bin, some short (and not so short) bits of elastic--a small bag of assorted widths and lenghts—great for adding to too loose waist bands. I meandered a bit--doing a bit of window shopping, too.  and got home late—and was treated to a lovely sight along the way.

The mornings rain had given way to cloud cover—that was breaking up—some clouds were low, and dark (a deep prussian blue) and the dusk sky, a dark royal—pretty looking just for the play of colors. And then there in a break between the clouds—a sliver of moon. It only lasted a few minutes—the clouds moved, and the break closed, and the moon continued its downward way—but for a minute—It was just breathtakingly lovely.

It was a good thing the apparition only lasted a minute or two—I was headed home, and traveling on the LIE (I-495), doing 60PMH or so, at the time, and taking my eyes off the road, wasn't really a good thing!

So—some more sewing today—at least to finish the navy camp shirt-- and then some knitting—the shawl is crying its eyes out (Oh so many eyes!), over being abandon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday Was for Sewing--

 Turns out, Monday was too!

First—a lovely lavender linen skirt that had been taken apart got put back together—6 or so inches narrower –but still pretty loose and comfy. With short sleeves, too. Since day one, the long sleeves had been too long—now they are just right!

Then on a roll, I cut some fabric—a grey paisley, and a bit of navy poly/cotton, and made a wrap around skirt—this skirt is going to be made again and again—in various fabrics—and become a wardrobe staple for this summer. The first version—done in a cotton “cut” was OK

(A cut are precut lengths of fabric—It's a fixed length (a bit too much actually, for the skirt) but often (and definitely, in this case) cheaper than getting the exact length needed cut from a bolt)

The finished skirt wasn't perfect—I cut the pattern size based on my hips—but my waist is not as small proportionally as the pattern suggests—so its a bit snug (for now)--but it doesn't matter as much in a wrap around skirt. The plan is to be able to move the buttons and make the skirt 'smaller' with out much real altering—so for now its a bit bigger (and doesn't over lap as much as the pattern plans for) but hopefully as the summer progresses, that will change.
(and, no the grey skirt doesn't actually have buttons--I didn't have any handy, so I used some hooks and eyes that I did have.  

Version 2—Done today—is a black background calico—with a light blue lining panel.

The pattern doesn't call for the lining—but I like the idea—I think it makes the skirt look- Oh, so much more finished—and there is enough of the poly cotton left over (both the navy and the light blue) to make a matching camp shirts —which will end up being quite a nice looking outfit—though yesterday, I wore the grey paisley with a grey t shirt. But I could have worn a navy one—or even a dark blue twill shirt from a few years ago (or for that matter a black or white twill shirt)--I have enough stuff that goes with grey (included easily, half a dozen pairs of socks!) The same goes for the black calico—there are several shade of blue, green and purple in the print—and I have T's (and socks!) in most of these colors.

Today's version is better in a half dozen small ways—the pockets are deeper, and there is a back patch pocket too. The shaped  waist band narrower--(so it's not so tight) The front has the it has the same poly/cotton lining. And the same easier to do (and faster, too) finishing on the waist band. It's a classic “stitch in the ditch” finish (vs hand sewing of the waist band, as suggested by the pattern instructions.)
The very front edge has a little nicer finish--(also machine done) 

The pattern is a McCalls one—Labeled “1 Hour”--which is a total lie. I am pretty efficient—and this skirt took me 4 hour to make (and I still haven't made the buttonholes, or sewn on the buttons). My changes (the front panel lining) didn't really add much time (folding, pressing and making a rolled edge would have required 1 seam, the lining required 2—but both were fast and easy straight seams (and rolling an edge is a bit slow going) The binding on the waist band took some time—but a lot less than neat,  hand sewing the waist band would have!--the other major change I made was to make the waist band simple (and not to include the self tie) I think the tie might be nice on a very soft and drapy fabric, but my cotton was a bit heavy—and I thought the tie would be too bulky.

The cost—about $25—but this includes the still uncut left over poly cotton for a matching camp shirt.
The camp shirts will be perfect matches for skirts (well-- perfect matches to inside lining) —but useful on their own too.  A navy blue camp shirt will look great with a white or natural linen skirt (and I have!) the light blue will look great with the black linen skirt--(last week's sewing project!).  And both with look good with denim skirts.  

I suspect, if I spend 4 hours looking—just locally, where I have a choice of Kohl's, Century 21, Burlington Coat's, Marshall's Old Navy and a Sears—I could have found something I liked and that met my exacting requirements (POCKETS! I will not buy casual clothes without pockets) for about the same amount of money (for the skirt alone).

But I know any $25 skirt I might have found, wouldn't be as nicely made or finished. And certainly, I wouldn't get a skirt and shirt for $25-- OK the buttons for shirt will add another few dollars—but not much—and the $25 includes interfacing and thread. Well I had thread—but I used up all of my black spool—so I need a new spool. I am not including the cost of the pattern—partly because it gets, in effect, cheaper every time I make another skirt!

I think I am going to keep up sewing for a day or two—I like how I look in better fitting clothes, and goodness know, I have a ton of fabric available to me to sew--(I am thinking of the 4 cuts of fabric I planned to sew last year and never got to, and some others that I got when IKEA had its $2 a yard sale a few weeks ago. And there are linen dresses to take in, and---camp shirts to make --to match the skirts.

Secret socks are 5 inches tall—but they are going to be boot tall (or about 12 inches, not my usual 9 inches) so there is still plenty to. I haven't done a single round of the shawl—but now that I have finished sewing for the day—maybe I'll get a round or two done.   

Friday, May 18, 2012

4 More Round, Again Today

 And now the count is 20R's (or more than 1/3rd ) of chart 3. The stitch count is getting up there, too, 930—and if I keep up and get 4 more rounds done today, then, tomorrow-AAGH! (Aagh is official when the stitch count tops 1,000)

But I will—if I can! A round takes 45 minutes right now—the “plain round” just a little less—It's the same actually because after a 45 minute round, my hands begin to cramp up, and I need to take a 5 to 10 minute break. I just don't know how I'll feel latter—Likely fine—but maybe I just won't have 3 hours of daylight to knit 4 rounds.

Here's an other close up of repeat—and clearly the base of the central eye motif is evident. The right half is still “stem”—but not for long—I'll be starting the stocking knit segment for this feather as I work the eye on the left feather. Which means, in addition to adding a bunch of stitches for the “eye”, there will be increases for the base of the right feather.

Here's what the shawl looks like—the near thousand stitches easily fit on the 40 inch needle. It doesn't look like much at all, does it?

There is not a chance of spreading out much of the shawl—A complete spread is impossible even if I divided the work onto 2 or 3 needles. —the blue life line is smaller than the circumference and gathers the shawl in. But lightly stretched, (not hard blocked) its seems to be about 34 inch across right now. I am guessing finished it will be bigger than 48 inches—but not (likely) bigger than 60 inches.
May's socks got worked on, too –see All Done! (but not finished—there are still ends to weave in)--here photographed flat—the change in gauge is, maybe, evident! The leg is loose enough, and the socks easily go over my heels—so a snug, firmly knit foot is not a major issue. They aren't so tight as to be uncomfortable. Can you see the how, on the folded sock, the edges of the leg extend from underneath? It's really very obvious in person—but hard to photograph.

They fit LEGS perfectly—no ripples to try to hide!--Unlike most socks that are really too loose for LEGS.

No sewing got done—The doctors appointment was fast and efficient (I didn't finish knitting the toes there, but at home late last night). Still--it was such a lovely day—I took a walk and loitered in the sun shine for a while on my way home.

Last night, today's appointment time got “corrected”--from 8 AM to 10:30AM—much nicer not being part of rush hour on the subway. And a chance for me to take some photographs in good morning light—and get this posted. But with a three hour procedure, followed by another monogram (which technically is another procedure, in another floor/room (and wait) – can see this whole deal as taking up a good part of the day. I'm planning ahead and packing a light lunch—and a big bottle of water.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Round and Round, Round and Round

 Rounds 13, 14, 15, 16—All done! --Enough done that it's beginning to look different. See? A noticeable change since it was last seen!

The stitches between each blue strand are a single repeat of the pattern/chart. Each pattern repeat will be two 2 feathers—a taller larger one (right side) and a short, smaller one (left side). The right(taller) feather is still getting “stem” work lace (columns of eyelets)

The shorter feather is beginning to have the stocking knit base to the “eye”--if you can't seen the difference yet—don't worry—it will be visible different in just another few rounds/days. The detail that is clearest and easiest to make out, is the column of stocking knit stitches (2 for the most part) that divide the 2 feather motifs.

The chart has 54 R's—Plus-- I added 4 extra, so 16 R (completed) aren't even 1/3rd of the chart. But 16 R's in 3 days, is nice steady progress. The round are once again getting longer --and feeling longer—I feel like it takes forever to complete a full round!  Almost 200 stitches have been added already, (900 something stitches per round) and more to come, and then the eye! Any day now, it's going to be a project to just knit a single round in a day—forget doing 4!  Yesterday, I got cramps in my arm as I finished up round 16--something that rarely happens.  

What pleases me most? 99.9 percent error free! There have been one or two missed (but picked up in the next round) yarn overs, but no major mistakes. Not a lot of tinking either. With 30 repeats in a round, it's easy to learn the pattern!

I think once I have completed this chart, I'll be about half way done. It will be more than half of the total rounds (151rounds out of a total of 235 (likely to be 231—when I skip some stem rounds in chart 4) will leave 84 (80) or so rounds to go. Of course those last rounds will have the most stitches—but
I am getting ahead of myself! For now, its just work on chart 3, and don't make a mistake.

No toe on the socks yet—I went to pick up my car yesterday after noon, and went shopping on the way home. Nothing much, just a zipper or two, and notion or two—Oh, and beautiful black linen remnant jumped out and demanded to be taken home—It might turn into a skirt –or if I can swing it—a dress. But all the shopping time cut into my knitting time.

I also got a linen tunic/shirt disassembled—It was in the ironing basket, and I thought why iron it as is? It was way to big—so a cut down is on the way—With 3 skirts already cut down, the fourth and fifth can wait a day or two. Even cut down, the shirt will be over sized—but it will work as a light weight jacket—or even a a cover up for the pool.  I am not going to shorten it--It's rather long for a shirt--if i were thinner, it could be/would be long enough to function as a mini dress!  

I am off to the doctors again today and tomorrow—Today's appointment should be relatively fast and easy-I'll bring May's socks with me to finish up the toe  And an other sock kit, too. I am sure if I don't, I will end up having enough time to finish May's socks--and have time left over!  If I bring along extra knitting, I'll be in and out, before I can finish. 

I know, I know, that is a sort of magically thinking.. but sock yarn is light weight—having some handy--(even if I end up not needing it) is worth the effort.

I've been pretty smug, and proud of myself for getting 2 socks knit every month (for the past 5 months!) but reading about the knitting effort for the US Civil war in Knitting Traditions, —many knitters managed (somehow!) to knit a pair of socks a day (and not skippy little ones—but men's socks with 13 inch tall legs, and almost as long feet!) and some manage more than a pair a day! Amazing what you can do if you don't spent time writing a blog, or reading others blogs, or haunting Ravelry and other sites on line, isn't it? It sort of puts me in my place.  

I'll get a lot done on Friday—I have already been warned to expect the 15 minute procedure to take 3 hours from beginning to end—this will, no doubt, include lots of time to knit.  My plan is to write up a short post tonight to publish tomorrow--If nothing else, there should be completed socks to showcase.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Progress Here, Progress There,

A little progress, everywhere!

Where do I start? With the Peacock shawl? 3 more rounds worked yesterday—bringing  it up to a an even dozen round (of chart 3).   Today I'll  finish the “stem” part of the chart 3 and begin the base of the feather eye. First lace, (and some increases), then some stocking knit, (and some more increases), then the eye, (and the dreaded 9 stitch increases!) There are decreases after the eye--but there is a net gain in the stitch count, too.  

The next 2 rounds are the last rounds of the (extended) stem-- the last easy rounds for this chart. I didn't take a photo graph (since three rounds in the same pattern don't really change the look) But maybe by tomorrow, there will be some interesting new parts of the design to look at.

The socks? Are taking forever! Remember how I noticed the gauge was tighter? Not so tight they didn't fit. But certainly if I had knit the legs as tight as knit the foot, getting the socks over the heels would have been an issue. The socks look great on LEGS narrower feet--(none of the usually ripples or bagginess)--but they don't stretch out too much on my gunboat sized feet.

With a tighter gauge, I need to increase the length of the foot for ease. Last night I stopped at 7.75 inches of foot—which in most cases, would be a tad bit too long. But not with these socks. When I tried them on, they foot portion of the sock was still not long enough. This morning another 6 rounds were needed (over 0.5 inch) and finally--- the foot is done! Well, the foot sans the toe.

But working the toe is fast—what with every round being shorter, and no color work. Here's how they look now—tomorrow expect to see a finished object!

My next socks (secret socks for May) are going to be a single color, with a simple stitch pattern—I have more color work socks planned (for ME!)later this year--and while I love everything about these socks, it will be nice to have a simpler pattern to work on, for a while. Especially as the shawl pattern requires concentration. Mindless knitting is a pleasant task--and at this point, that is what I am looking for in socks.

Finally sewing—This white skirt once again has a waist band, (and button hole, but no button yet)
When I tried it on, I decided it was still too long. So another trim to the hem edge—taking off another 2 inches or so. Followed by a quick, rolled and sewn hem. Then a final pressing, and trimming all the loose thread and other minor finishing details--like sewing on the waist band button. White is a somewhat impractical color for casual clothes—but it's what I have to work with. The embroidery detail on the pocket is one I like—it make the skirt fun.

Sometime today (or maybe not till early tomorrow) it will be time to pick up my car. A tune up, a wire harness and a spark plug will resolve most of the issues.. some clamps and hoses, the rest. Now it' s all set for the summer (and for the year I hope!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

9 More Rounds--

An inch more added--(the shawl is about 15 inches in diameter now) And yet, it seems like hardly no noticeable progress.

There's a new life line, and a bunch of new markers—one every pattern repeat, too, so I guess there is some progress. Chart 1 had 10 repeats, chart 2, 3 repeats for every one of chart 1. Chart 3 has 1 repeat per repeat of chart 2 (still 30 repeats)--but chart 3 is a double feather—so there will be 60 feathers in this go round.
I decided to change this chart—slightly-- and make the stems portion a few rounds longer. The chart calls for 4 pattern rounds (each identical, making this an easy portion to knit!)--I am going to expand it to 6 pattern rounds. (In the image, I have just completed 3 of the charted 4 rounds of the feather stems.)   There are more than enough stitches to support a few rounds with just lace for ease, and not a increases.

With 30 repeats of each motif per round, and a double increase coming up in the motif—that's a 60 stitches increase—followed, 2 rounds later, by another 60 stitch increase (120 stitches added in a half dozen rounds!)

That loads of stitches! Really 10 to 12 increase every other round is plenty to keep enough ease in the design. With 120 stitch increase coming up, (and soon after that, the peacock feather eye with its massive 9 stitch increase (X 30 motifs!) there are plenty of stitches to go round! A extra rounds with just lace (which is amazingly stretchy) won't interfere with the ability of the shawl to lie flat.

Besides I think these feathers should be longer stemmed than the previous set (chart 2). I also plan to shorten the stems of the last set of feathers (chart 4)--so a few more 'smaller' (if you can call 570 stitches smaller!) rounds now, to add to the diameter, and few less rounds of stem length later (when the rounds are an obscene 900+ stitches per round!)

Of the 235 rounds, Chart 1 was the first 43 (44) rounds, Chart 2 took me to round 95, and then I added an extra plain round before stating Chart 3.

As written, chart 3 ends with round 151 (152 after the plain round) , leaving 85 rounds in the last chart. My revision will increase rounds in chart 3 (by about 4, (2 pattern/2plain) and shorten Chart 4 by 8--(4 pattern/4 plain) the same. Not a huge change in the total number of rounds. When I get to Chart 4 —should I discover that the shawl isn't big enough-- there are directions for adding extra rounds--both in pattern and just plain rounds as an edging. 

I got some sewing done yesterday, too. The white skirt got it's pockets sewn on, and the side seams done, (edges finished and seams sewn) Now needs a light pressing before I continue with replacing the waist band—and then finally, the hem, since this skirt too, was too long and dowdy looking. Likely I'll get the ironing done, (and some other ironing that accumulated) but I don't think I'll finish the skirt today.

Partly because I hope to get a few round of lace worked today, before I head off to Tuesday knitting—where I'll go back to the socks. (The light is OK at Manducatis—but the lace needs GREAT light.) There be a bit of extra knitting—with out a car, it's 2 subways to get to LIC. Or one subway and a long walk—Wait maybe I'll do that, and get some exercising in, too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Saturday is for Sewing

Or rather was for sewing.

First, I made do with the zipper I removed when I disassembled the black linen skirt— It is a bit of a PITA to do that when reworking a fly front closure. But with out a new one handy—and not wanting to wait, what other choice did I have? So now, it's been reassembled—6 inches narrower, and almost as much shorter. (I didn't get the waist band perfect—but...

It's a lovely handkerchief weight linen—and so worth the effort of remaking. And looks good in spite of the less than perfect waist band. I have another skirt just like this one—in a bleached white linen.

Then, on a roll, and with black thread already threaded in the machine, I disassembled a shirt dress—This too, is now 6 inches narrower, and almost the same shorter. The sleeves got removed and reshaped, too— making the shoulder a bit narrower, too. But the collar and neckline are intact. Later I can add to the existing back darts, and incorporate some front darts, and make this dress another size smaller with not too much effort.
The dress is a heavy weight linen and after decades of wearing has reached that wonderful soft state—it gets machine washed and dried, and ends up not smooth and crisp, but not a mass of wrinkles, either—perfectly wearable, casual softness. I added new buttons to it a few years ago, to dress it up and change the look—and now its been changed again.

So now I have a few pieces of clothing that fit better—coming up next up are 2 more linen shirt dresses—sleeveless ones. But first a linen/rayon blend skirt, in white, with pretty (machine) embroidery on the patch pockets. It's been disassembled already--there are a few more linen skirts after the embroidered pocket one, (like the white one mentioned above) to also redo.  The zipper will stay intact in the embroidery pocket skirt--this one I am taking in at the sides.  I had to remove (and will replace the pockets) and the waist band, but the zipper will remain untouched.  

Maybe, while I am at it,  a linen jacket, will be reworked, too.  If not completely redone, at least partially reshaped. Likely the collar and neckline remaining unchanged—I'll just remove the sleeves, cut down both the side and shoulder/armhole, as well as the sleeves. I have both natural linen ones, and bleached/white linen jackets—and currently no light weight summer jackets that fit. Most of my other jackets are nice, but not worth altering to fit the trimmer me.

It just makes sense to work on the nicest of my over--sized clothes—and not the cheapest. Some of the cheapest skirts will just have some elastic sew in—not even inside the waist band—just on the inside edge to let me get a few more months of additional wear out of them. Pretty fancy duds for not doing much of anything special.

I really need to keep up sewing—and get the fabric I have cut and sewn. I don't look thin(ner) and better wearing baggy shapeless clothes—and I garnered a few compliments today—several people finally noticed that I was thinner is my better fitting dress. I am still stuck at the same weight—but I have been exercising more, and I am trimmer and fitter looking-more muscle, less fat, and better looking.

I got another inch of the socks done, too, and the last 2 rounds of chart 2 (pattern round and plain round) on the shawl—well those 2 rounds got done this AM. One more inch of the sock before I can start the toe—so its not quite done yet—but closer! The next round on the shawl will take a bit of time, too. It's time to add a new life line and some more stitch markers. Chart 3 is smaller (printed in a smaller grid) and will be a bit harder to read. But I need to get back to work on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Breakfast Treat—Eggs Florentine

An easy elegant breakfast treat for mothers day (or any day) that is also a healthy choice. The recipe is for 1, but its easy to double, or even increase to 4 servings.  (I made it for myself yesterday, but forgot to take a photo before I ate it.. but it does look pretty on the plate--the bright green of the spinach and the pure white of the egg--lovely contrast!)

This recipe makes use of frozen and prepared foods-but could easily be adapted to a fresher, more labor involved version—but I love how quick and easy it is to prepare with frozen vegetables—especial when making for 1 person. And there is almost no loss of vitamins with frozen vegetables.

One exception--I strongly recommend the real bacon bits from a jar—not only are these are easy, but they have less fat (and calories) than home cooked bacon. They also make portion control easy, too. There is just enough bacon to add flavor, with out addding too much saturated fat (and calories.

You should start with the best eggs—organic, or something like Egglands Best—with more omega 3's than run of the mill grocery store eggs, and better flavor, too. Fresh eggs are going to fit into the nests better too.

 Eggs Florentine (amounts for 1 serving—increase for more servings)

¼ to ½ cup chopped/diced onion (fresh or frozen)--I like onion and always use the greater amount.
1 cup frozen chopped spinach (2 to 3 time that amount by volume of fresh, chopped spinach)
1 tbsp. bacon bits—Use Real bacon bits--not fake soy bits.—the kind sold for/with salad fixing.
2 eggs
1 slice of whole wheat bread, toasted, and cut into points
 (or whole wheat melba toast, or whole wheat english muffin, toasted)
Pepper, vegetable spray 

Heat sauté/fry pan,(medium sized for 1, large or extra large for more servings)
Spray pan with vegetable spray and begin to sauté onions over medium high heat.
Add bacon bits, and cook till onion is just beginning to brown/caramelize, and bacon become fragrant. Meanwhile, defrost spinach in microwave (about ½ minute)
(Or microwave steam fresh, chopped spinach to wilt—1 to 2 minutes, depending on quantity)
Squeeze out excess moisture from spinach. Add spinach to onion/bacon mixture and stir well.
Form spinach mixture into a mound, then with the back of spoon or fork, hollow out two 'nests'

 –The mixture should look like a figure 8. (For more servings, make 1 nest per egg)
 Reduce heat to medium, and crack an egg into each nest.
 Cover, and cook till whites are just set—or till cook as you like them.
 (I like set whites, with slightly runny yolks)about 3 to 5 minutes.
But you can cook less, or more –depending on how well done you like your eggs.
Season with fresh ground pepper, serve with toast points, or on toasted English muffin.
No salt is required—the bacon has plenty.

Nutritional information per serving;  based on package info/approximately, and     Eggland Best eggs:

Calories: Eggs(2) -140, Vegetables- 5, Bacon-- 25; Total: 170
Carb's:  Eggs—0, Vegetables-2 +3 =5g, Bacon--0;Total: 5g
Fiber:  Eggs—0, Vegetables—15+ 25=40,Bacon—0; Total: 40gs
Calories from fat: Eggs(2)70,Vegetables—0 ,Bacon—15;Total: 85

Bread/English muffin (see package for details)
It's a little high in fat, but good eggs provide some Omega 3 fats.

Mid Way—A Change

Yesterday's jaunt to run some errands—and buy a zipper started out right—and then changed. My car started misbehaving—and since I was closer to the garage mechanic than home—I ended up there.

Perfect timing. Now the hope and prayers are that the problems are minor. My car is old (20 years old!) and well while in good shape (mechanically) it's a POS with dents and dings and other physical flaws.  So far, its be reliable cheap transportation.  And like most Americans, I love the freedom and convenience a car offers.  

Part of what keeps it running is a great repair garage. Patrick and his brother John love cars, and love working on them, and are honest as the day is long. I hear what other people pay for things--like a catalytic convector—and know replacing the one in my car, cost half that amount—(and they are making money!) John doesn't have a new car—he has several muscle cars—that he's rebuilt—not a cheap hobby! Still what better quality in a mechanic than one who also does it for a hobby.

Moreover, I like being treated like a intelligent human being, too, and not a dumb chick. It's so worth schlepping to a garage 15 miles from home to get that kind of service. I don't know much about car repair—but I am not completely ignorant of the working of a car (I've had jobs in the past fixing rather large machines.. and have a good understanding of mechanics) –I impressed a cousin a few years ago (he is an automotive engineer) by just knowing the basics of internal combustion--(intake, compression, explosion, exhaust)--Though why he ever thought I wouldn't have at least a basic (theoretical, rather than practical) understanding of cars is well, boggling.

So car less--(and zipper less) I headed home. First a pleasant mile's walk to Hillside Avenue, then a 20 minute wait for a bus, and a longish bus ride. The bus ride ended at the subway terminal—and was followed by a short subway ride home. 15 miles is a quick 20 minute drive—but an hours trip on public transportation. Still with the cost of gas, It might be cheaper—I get about 29 miles to the gallon—so 15 miles is a half gallon trip--or $2 in gas alone. Public transportation, while slower is just $2.25.

Well at least I got my exercise for the day! I wished I had my knitting with me—I could have completed most of the sock foot! I didn't have any knitting, or for that matter, anything to read—so I just looked out the window at semi urban main street—for most of the trip --from Nassau county to Queens county--Hillside is a major commercial strip.

Nothing is going to be done to it till Monday. Well they did open the hood and find the first problem when I arrived—but there were hints of a worse one that remained unseen.
I didn't do any knitting when I got home either... But today I will be more productive!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Well The Good News

Search as they might, I am internal sound—at least in the nether regions--No polyps or other worrisome findings.

Bad News? They were too damn efficient. I had a scant 15 minutes in the waiting room, and just got a few rounds of the sock knit—I couldn't take my knitting into the pre-op waiting area (an other short but boring wait), and didn't have them in the recovery area (I had a mild anesthetic)

I recovered quickly—and entertained myself. I worked first on bring my blood oxygen level to 100—it was fine at 95 to 97--but hey, why not get it to 100?  Slow controlled breathing, and soon it was at 100 and staying there. That slowed my pulse a bit, and my next attempt at self entertainment was to slow my pulse.

I have a slow resting pulse--(55 or so) and deep breath relaxation brought it to 51/52. But I went meditative and worked on slowing it down even more.   Trouble was, once I got it below 50, the alarms went off, and they distracted me enough that I couldn't sustain the low level--47 was consistently achievable, but 45 took a real effort –at being relaxed—(a bit of an oxymoron!)    At one point the nurse came over to check on me (the repeated short alarms tones  caught her interest) and I told her I was having fun, trying to slow my pulse. She looked skeptical.. So I did it again. She wasn't happy with my behavior.

Well what was I suppose to do? I bore easily. I need to keep my mind engaged, and with out knitting or anything to read, and being forced to sit back and relax, well I went to town, and relaxed—aggressively! It was something to do.

A friend of mine is positively jealous of my slow pulse, and low blood pressure--(remember how I said, I am generally in good health?)--All the exercise in the world, and he can't control his BP—and has a faster resting pulse.

Getting back to the little knitting I did--Here is a bottom view of the socks. See the lovely birds eye pattern?, See the center sole gusset? See how few R's were knit after the gusset? 

 But it's OK—the sole is about 5 inches now—another 2 inches or so, and it's time for the toe, and then these socks will be done!

My gauge has change slightly—the foot of sock is less stretch than the leg --where, I have learned, the hard way-- to work extra hard at keeping the knitting loose. I work diligently to keep the floats loose, and the knitting stretchy when I start--but not so much in the foot area.

It's not so tight as to be a problem—Just enough that I notice it. But the loose leg work means the sock easily pulls over my heel—and I can make the knit the foot portion of the sock an extra round or two longer, to make sure the negative ease in width is balanced by some positive ease in length.

I didn't get anything done on the shawl, and this AM I am off to get some sewing notions—and then, likely, this afternoon, to sew. I have some vague plans for Saturday, if they pan out, I won't have much time for sewing -even though, Saturday is supposed to be for sewing.  

Sunday is open, though. My daughter and I have long made it a habit to celebrate mothers day when we want—and that is rarely on the official Sunday—but her M-I-L to be is coming to queens, so I might spend a few hours with them both—Since I am not sure if Sunday knitting is on at Panera's.   Besides, it stays bright so late, I likely will have time to do both—visit with my DD, her fiancé, and his mother as well as spend some time knitting.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Been Working On the Socks

I wanted to get the heel done, turned, gusseted—and I did. The upper (instep) continues in the slices/stripes/streaks. I haven't really decided what to call the stitch pattern --Or the whole sock either. May's socks doesn't quite do them justice, does it?  Maybe Maypole?

 The sole is in a simpler pattern a basic birds eye pattern.  The gusset, which is unseen, is on the sole. I love both stitch patterns but that's partly because I love the yarns.  I think I'd like these yarns in a basic horizontal stripe. 

I'll work on the socks again to day—at home and while waiting at the doctors--my appointment is at 1 this afternoon.   I don't want to bring fancy lace with me—I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it any way. If I feel up to it, I'll get back to the shawl early this evening—or at the latest, tomorrow. The sock pattern is just complex enough to be fun, but simple enough to do out while waiting—especially now that I just have to work on the stitches, and not also remember to decrease.

Friday-- I also need to get out to a fabric store, I need some black interfacing for the next skirt—and a zipper too.  And I still need to get to Home Depot for the lattice, and other stuff.  That's it....

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Bread Cast Upon Water

 Last week I had a give away—this week, my bread is returning! Kimberly (aka “ the boss”, even though I am no longer regularly working for her) returned from a 2 week vacation in Lisbon and rural Portugal. She had been saving up (that is she had been avoiding Knitting City) for some weeks before her trip, and 'budgeted' $400 for yarn. She came home slightly disappointed—She wanted to only by local or small brands—stuff that couldn't be found locally—but yarn, like McDonalds, is an international commodity- frequently made by large companies. There are so many yarns from so many countries, that are distributed internationally—it was hard to find something special and only available in Portugal.

But when she did, she went to town—and look at this lovely 3 ply yarn she gifted to me! (She bought several skeins of this for herself)

White, so I can dye it any color I want, and beautifully plied so it has a cord like texture—I want to find something that really shows of the crisp texture of this yarn! I suspect it's not superwash—but since I tend to wait till I have enough dirty socks to make a full load of wash, and then machine wash in cool water, with a gently cycle—I think even regular wool will be OK.

I'd write about the progress I've made knitting, but half a heel flap and a single round of a shawl are hardly news worthy.

But I did take the linen skirt I disassembled last week, and trim 6 inches off it (Center front and center back because redoing the pockets was too much hassle) and re-assemble it. It still needs the waist button replaced, done --all the seams have been sewn, and it's been shortened and re-hemmed. In short, its a new skirt, ready to wear. To bad the super warm days of March, when there was an early spring, have been replaced with cool damp weather! 

 It's rained almost every day (well part of every day) since May has started (we do need the rain!) and the weather feels cold. It's not really that cold at 62°/16°--but the dampness makes it feel so. But when there is a nice warm day, I have a great new, (well sort of) properly fitting skirt to wear.

I think I did a nice job on the front fly placket—I didn't make double sewn flat felled seams again on the front or back, and I make the back kick pleat a just as long (3 inches higher as 3 inches had been trimmed from the hem) The skirt came with belt loops, (and well as the drawstring on the waist band)—I haven't decided yet if I am going to replace them. I rarely wear belts (and own only a very few).  And I have dis-assembled another linen skirt (a black one) to be cut down and re-assembled.  I have a few more to do after  that one--

So with my walk and and sewing, and a few errands on my way to knitting at Manducatis, not much actually knitting got done—and once there, we all feasted at knitting.  Erica—a former member was back for a visit (she's moved to Denver). We each order something different, and sampled each others choices—Everything was delicious—but Dana's choice of the veal tortellini  were the best.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Not Much to Report

Yesterday knitting a Panera's was great—but I didn't get much knitting done!
Just a few rows of the flap—But I helped Nancy get some skeins of yarn wound into balls, and helped set Debbie right (She's been so slow working on her sock heel, she'd forgotten to go back to knitting in the round!) Jessica got help tinking—but she is close to finishing her hat She'd started the decreases for the crown.

Carolyn came by too, bring our number up to 5. Slowly the group is growing!--Carolyn is another expert knitter--I loved her sweater in Madeline Tosh fingering weight yarn.. Nancy and Debbie were amazed I could recognize the yarn at a glance and a touch—but some yarns are like that, aren't they?

This AM I got my exercise—2 blocks East to pay my over due unmaintainable, then 6 blocks west, and 4 blocks north to the post office to mail off the prized from last weeks blog contest, and then 4 blocks south, and some more blocks west to library--and then 6 block east again and home. In this part of Queens (as in most of Queens), there isn't a neat grid work of streets as found in most of Manhattan—blocks are often trapezoids, and parallelograms, and not square or rectangles.. I can walk 4 + 4 blocks west—on my circuitous route to the library, but taking by another route home, 6 blocks east will get me home.

And this week is easier than planned—I have only one Dr's appointment. I had confused my rescheduled April 10th (a Tuesday) with my May 10th appointment--(a Thursday) and have only the one,
Thursday May 10th--(not Tuesday and May 10th!) Too many doctors appointments!

This after noon I will go back to finishing chart 2--(the last 4 rounds) of the peacock shawl. One side trip on this morning's walk was to Staples—I wanted some clear colored hi-lighting tape to keep track of the rows in chart 3—which is the most difficult chart in the series--(it has lots of “no stitch” spaces, and some long (35 stitch) repeats. I'll be adding a other life line too, and some more stitch markers (1 per repeat till I get the pattern established) So this will eat up some time. (but will save time in long run!) I haven't had to frog at all, and just had to tink a little bit. Using markers to “reset” the count every repeat is one way to insure I don't mess up. With tomorrow a free day, I'll have the chance to do another few rounds then, and get started with Chart 3!

What might eat into knitting time is a side trip I want to take—to a spice store. I'd love to get a jar of grated ginger (not dried, but all juicy) and a jar of tamarind sauce, and maybe some other spices. For years I have seen the HOUSE of SPICES store (well a warehouse really, with a small retail outlet) from the highway—and lately the urge to find it (it's in mess of barely paved streets in an industrial section just east of CitiField) has been growing. I also need to plan a side trip to Home Depot and get my lattice, too.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

2 Rounds

One patterned, one plain, take about 1 hour. That is 740 X 2 or 1480 stitches, divided by 60 (minutes) or 24.6 --lets say 25--stitches per minute. Or a bit over 2 seconds per stitch. Some rounds in the near future are going to take twice as long! Good thing I got another 6 rounds done yesterday!--Especially since its not likely I'll get any done today--and both Tuesday and Friday are busy days, too and likely will be sock only knitting.  Both days are busy enough that I also, likely won't being posting anything (so this Sunday post instead).

Of course, some of the time is wasted pulling out yarn (next time I'll do a quick and dirty measurement of how many yards per round) and moving the stitches on the left closer to the tip of the needle, and stitches on the right away from the tip. And there are moments of hesitation as I think about where I am (in the pattern) and what comes next..

Lace knitting is never the fastest endeavor—good old plain knit (garter) or stocking knit is always faster, and I am, I  am, I think, (and others, too) a reasonable fast knitter. Not that I am going for speed—it's just habit and preference. But at 1 hour for a pair of round NOW—and bigger rounds to come, this shawl is going to need hours and hours of work to complete!

So, here is a wedge of the shawl again—the feather eye is knit, but there are still 2 more lacy rounds (and 2 plain rounds) to trim out the tip of the feather with some lacy bits--just as there are lacy bits on the side. And then, a new life line, and some new stitch markers, and a new chart! (and more stitches per round!)

Here is a view of a neighboring building, with the old terrace railing. Not bad looking—but not good either. Rusty stains run down onto the white, and the whole look, is well, old.

Here is my run (the side, not front of the building) of terraces—the concrete slabs have been trimmed out, and painted, and paint goes well with the brushed steel finish and blue/grey glass. The contrast is quite evident—the new railings do look sleek and more modern and dress up the building considerable.

The front of my building is still being worked on—but the scaffolding is going up on other buildings.
(I still haven't got the lattice or done any work on my terrace!) The work moves on.    

Saturday, May 05, 2012

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe..

81- 82, 83- 84, 85- 86—Done, done and done!

The good news about this shawl, is the pattern is very regular—it has mirror symmetry, and each repeat is pretty easy to learn. Some times, I don't even have to check the chart for the next row. This is especially true now, in the shaping of the tips of the feather “eyes” .

At this point, the pattern is 3 columns of eyelets (that start at stitch 1, and move inward every pattern row) and center decreases on the feather, above the eye.the second half, (after the center decrease) is the mirror image of the first half.
That is:
R X: YO, tog, YO, Tog, YO, knit some, center decrease, and then reverse—knit some, YO, tog, YO, tog, YO, divider between motifs stitch
Then a plain round, and then
R X+2: K1, YO, tog, YO, Tog, YO, knit some (1 fewer), center decrease, and then reverse—knit some, YO, tog, YO, tog, YO, K1, divider between motifs stitches

Repeat again and K1, becomes K2, and again the “knit some” is minus 2.
Repeat again and K2 becomes K3, (and the “knit some” is minus 3)
Keep repeating till the YO's meet the center decrease--(all the “knits” have been minus'd away)
Then check the chart-- because there is a change. (DECREASES!Yeah!)

The knit 'some' stitches started out as 9 (either side of the Center decrease) and are now down to 2...
And I'll stretch out a wedge and take a photograph as the feather comes to a tip... 

The Ktog's all line up too, making strong left or right leaning lines. These are strong visual clues that are easy to read—and make it easy to check the pattern every round—and to learn it (and know what is coming on the next round.

Not that I haven't make a mistake or two—and found myself short stitch (a missed yarn over) or over by a stitch (and extra yarn over)I just correct these miscounts when I find them. With 30 feathers in this tier of the shawl alone, not one is going to notice an extra knit two together in a single motif.. (nor the invisible make one to correct for a missed yarn over several rows back!)

I try (but sometimes get distracted, and don't) to count the stitches in each motif as I work the plain row—if not a proper count, at least, I count out the pattern-- K x, Yo, knit 1 (a decrease on previous round) YO, knit 1, YO, and to compare the number of knits in the knit “some” section... So 99% of the errors are caught before they have a chance to mess the pattern up too much.

It's very easy to pick up an extra forgotten YO, or to double up on stitches that should have been (but weren't) knit together, on the very next row. It's much harder to correct mistakes a few rounds back.

But I also realize, this is daytime, early evening knitting—and as it gets later, I need to put it down.
I sometimes don't see mistakes when I am tired!

R 91 is the change (decrease) round--and then, in a hop, skip and a jump, chart 2 will bite the dust....

Its really just a small part of the shawl--rounds are still relatively short, and only an ounce of yarn has been used so far--(likely I will need over 6 oz. before I am done) But its an accomplishment.

So late last night (late=after 9 pm!) it was time to go back to the socks. And here they are-- ready for a heel flap. Then, well everyone knows, once the heel is done, there hardly anything left to knit on a sock. That will be slightly less true for these socks, since the stranded work will continue in the foot, but they are so much fun to knit--it's still half true!

I hope to get another 4 rounds of the shawl done today--and reach the point where the knit "some" equal 0!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Round and Round I Go

R75—a pattern round was were I stopped.
I picked up again, and did R76, a plain round,
and R77 a patterned round,
followed by another plain, 
and R79 another patterned, 
before ending with an other round of plain knitting.

R81 is next, and it's followed by 10 more rounds of 720 stitches till I finally get to R91 and start the minuscule number of decreases.  I've moved onto a longer circular needle, a 40 inch—vs the previous 29 inch one, so for the moment, it's possible,  once again, to see a wedge of the pattern--and clearly, feather are emerging.  

I am going to need a ton of new markers to start the next chart. For every feather motif in chart 2, there are 2 in chart 3--by the end of chart 3 the stitch count hasn't increased that much, but there are some big increases in some of the rows. Those beautiful eyes—are a hateful 9 stitch increase! And there are 60 feathers, with 60 eyes in chart 3 section of the shawl. A good percentage of the following rounds have net decrease... but 60 X 9!!! 540 increases! That will just about double the stitch count for a while (and the count will be up from the 540—the very first round of chart 3 comes with 30 increases! (and there are several more before the eyes!)

Still I want to race to get it done. The rounds will be come more tedious (and less enjoyable) as the shawl gets bigger and bigger, and it will be harder to work those round in the heat of summer. Every extra bit I get done, is done. There are about 150 days between May 1st and October 1st –(and some time has to be allowed for hand painting and blocking) and now, there are more rounds to knit than there are days to knit them. (If I knit at the rate of a single round a day) I have to complete at LEAST a round per day—and really 2 or even 4 rounds. Especially now while the shawl is relatively small—I don't want to think about the future rounds—where the stitch count is over 1000 tiny stitches of YO's and K2tog's!

And I am giving NO THOUGHT to the idea of frogging a single round. There has been some tinking, and some fudging (a YO or two has been missed, and pull out of the air) but (knock wood) so far the work is going well.

One compensation is—It really is, even in its ghostly white, a beautiful design. I think I could wear a rag, and drape this shawl over it, and no one would notice anything besides the shawl. It will be a stunning part of my outfit. I won't put it on till after the ceremony—I have no desire to steal the attention from my DD (who has picked out really beautiful dress, and will easily be the star attraction) but I suspect the mother of groom will be a bit put out. 

I know the rules of wedding etiquette--the mother of the groom is supposed to take the lead from the mother of the bride--but L is all excited--this is her first born getting married (and the first wedding in the family of this generation) and she is super excited.  She's  selected half a dozen dresses already--(some of which she has gone so far as to purchase!) and my DD feel it likely she will find a half dozen more.  I haven't even started looking --except in the most casual way--(window shopping)! 

No matter what dress she decides on, nothing will hold a candle the shawl!  I am thinking a rather simple, plain dress--something to act as a simple back drop to the shawl.  I have decided I want a fancy purse--one decorated with peacock feathers--another simple detail--that will be drop dead gorgeous.  I am  thinking-- maybe a knit bag, (felted) with one side a lace overlay (the same peacock lace as shawl) and the other side, decorated with sewn on peacock feathers.  I want to knit a small patch of lace anyway --to test paint before I start to paint the whole shawl--and this swatch would be perfect for purse cover.  

Today, I'll get my shawl rounds in early—because I want some time to work on my socks—Not a single round was knit on them yesterday. And yeah, I have yet another detail exam of another part of my body on Tuesday next, and there will be, no doubt some hours of waiting, and plenty of time to knit socks. But they are lovely too, in a totally different way, and a nice mental change to go to a simple 1, 2, CHANGE stitch count for a pattern.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

And the Winners Are

(Drum Roll)

The method I used to select the winner:
I first copied all of the email/blog post entries into a spread sheet.
Then I sorted them alphabetically, (which changed the order in a non-random way) then put them through a randomizer.... and the top four entries are:


2--Beth W

3—Red Emma


If possible (that is, if you have a Ravelry ID or a mail to feature on your blog) I have also sent you a email notification. (BethW—I hope you are reading this blog and checking back—You have 1 week from today to send me a notice—you can send me an email via Ravelry, (oftroy) or send a comment to my blog (I won't post your address!), or go to my web page and find a mail to link there.

Kangath—you have first choice of the prizes, and first choice of yarn and needles:

Prize 1—deluxe project bag, notion bag, with notions (folding scissor, tape measure, 2 beginning of round markers, a tapestry needle), yarn and needles. (Plus bonuses)
Prize 2-- simple project bag, some useful notions (folding scissor, tape measure and tapestry needle, yarn and needles. (plus bonuses)
Prize 3—Wendy Johnson's Socks Toe Up Socks (book in a box), yarn and needles (a bonus)
Prize 4—White yarn for dyeing (made into a hand) a microway safe dye pot, food coloring for dyeing, disposable non latex gloves (a bonus)

Choices are Yarns
Deborah Norvilles 50%wool/25%bamboo/25% nylon in self striping color way Teal Tease (2 50gm skeins))
Paton's Kroy (80% wool/20% nylon in self striping color way Sweet Stripes (2 50g skeins))
Lion Brand Sock Ease, 80% wool/20%nylon in solid Pink, color way Cotton Candy, 1 100g skein
(The white yarn is reserved for the dye kit, and is not in play)

2 Inox circulars 16 inches long/size 2/2.75m
3 Susan Bates circulars, 1 16 inch, 1 24 inch, 1 29 inch, all 3, size 2/2.75m
1 Clover Bamboo needles, +1 bonus (a set of 6 needles,not 5 needles!) size 2/2.75m
(because it's so damn easy to break a size 2 bamboo needle!)

BethW, be sure to give a first and second choice—since Kangath gets first choice.
Red Emma, a first, second and third choice, from you too, please... (You never know—the heart wants what it wants, and you might end up with what you want too!)
JWGH—alas, alack, you get Hobson's choice*! (Hobson's choice is no choice at all!) but you'll still get something—making you luckier than many others!

In other news, a few more (oh, so long!) rounds of my Peacock shawl knit... and I realized I miscounted the stitches in each repeat—there are 24, not 22 (I was knitting the correct number, just not counting correct)and 30 X 24 equal 720 stitches per round! So, while completing 4 rounds doesn't at first sound like much—It's a mountain of stitches knit!

There are still many rounds to go before I finish chart 2—but I get a break and will be decreasing in the last dozen rounds. Not a lot, but any number smaller than 720 is an improvement! The chart ends at 18 stitches per repeat—a mere 540 stitches—piece of cake after way to many rounds of 720!

I moved onto a longer needle—I was working on a 29inch circ—now I am onto a 40 inch (1 m) one. Things are bit less crowded.

Progress—Visible Progress.

I am (I think) a generally healthy person—OK, some aches and pains that I try not to dwell on, and some problems that are readily treatable/fixable--(like being overweight, and associated side effects) I also have some mixed feeling about modern medical care.

Right now, my doctors (a collection of them) are trying very hard to prove me wrong. They look harder and harder to find problems. (And if you look hard enough, you'll find things.)

So lately, it's been all appointments, and tests, examinations--Done with more and more equipment, because machines are able to find stuff that a simple physical exam can't—and goodness knows, they have been feeling me up and down, looking with their fingers to find SOMETHING.

So a good part of yesterday was more doctors, who, having worked hard looking, they have found something--not something they can feel (try as they might) but something a machine can see.  And now,  of course want to use another machine to look at what they found --and then exam it further with still more machines, on an even finer scale. Not that they have actually found a lump—no, just a pre-lump thickening!

I am (let me repeat my self) a generally healthy person. I will placate the doctors, and let them look closer at my not quite yet a lump, closer, with another piece of equipment that will exam it at yet a finer,  more detailed, microscopic scale. I am sure the result will be nothing—except now they will have an excuse to look again and again, waiting, HOPING to find something wrong. I am not sure how compliant I will be with their repeated desires to look again and again. I am humoring them to let them look as much as they have.

But at least, while waiting for them to feel me up and down, and peer at me with instruments, each of which work at an every finer scale, I can knit.

So another inch added to May's socks—almost 6 inches now of leg. Another inch and it will be time for a heel flap. These socks are a joy to knit. I just love the colors, and the subtle color changes—It's a bit easier to see how the green and purple shades spiral round (sort of pooling) in the light color, but the same thing is happening with the dark blue/teal/plum color way. Plus there is a stitch pattern –that spirals, too. Lots of movement—on several levels going on at once. They are lively—in a very subtle way. Generally speaking, I am not a subtle person—but I do like these subtle details.

And the Peacock shawl? Round 75 completed--(Chart 2 covers R's 45 to 95) and a thousand eyes are staring at me—OK, not a thousand, but 30--(plus the 10 from chart 1).

There are now 660 stitches in a round, and while there will be some decreases over the next 20 rounds, it will  not near as many as the increases—so the net count will only go down 100 stitches or so.. (to a mere 500 and something stitches per round).

These are long rounds, even for me, and even on the alternate rounds—Which in theory are plain knit, but in reality are plain knit for the first half of the motif (in the pattern round there are frequent pairs of YO's and K2tog).

Then I work  EASTERN wrapped knits for the second half of the motif—so that instead of SSK's, I can do reversed k2tog's. The knit stitches created with the EASTERN wrap are pre “turned” (no need to slip to re-orient the stitch position).

It makes the plain row a bit slower, but I think it also make the left leaning decreases neater, and for sure, easier. I think the slip slip is the time when it's mostly likely to drop a stitch--(well it is for me, for sure) and by eliminating that step, I am more confident in my knitting—something that is important is this super fine, loosely knit item.

The stitches are beginning to bunch up on the needle—but not so much that I feel the need to move to a longer one, (I think I have a longer one—but I am not quite certain—I haven't really looked yet) or to divide the stitches onto 2 needles.

But it is getting harder and harder to stretch out even a small segment to see the design.  A quick check of the gently stretch work measure 10 inches or so (a radial, not diameter) so the shawl is the size of a small round table top. Eventually, it will be as bit as a medium sized area rug... 

My blog contest is closed—this afternoon, some small work to assign numbers to all the posts, and find a random number generator and pick the winners.

Thank you all for joining, and for all your kind wishes. I hope a percentage of you continue to visit my blog, and become regulars (as I have visited your blogs)-- With 4 prizes, and 40 entrants, you all have remarkable good odds at winning something.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A 1,000 Posts! And It's My Birthday, Too!

And Best of All for you, dear reader—a Blog Give Away!

I started this blog with good intentions—and hoped one day to have a reader or two. I have been blessed with hundreds of readers. So its only fitting as I reach this milestone, I reward my readers, new and old.

I've always thought of myself as a writer, and have written technical manuals, and short columns for small magazines, but this blog is the most consistent, longest running work I have done. I not only think of myself as a writer, I AM a WRITER.

1000 posts in 6 years averages about one post every 3 days for the past 6 years—but in reality, at first, my post were inconsistent, and there were gaps of weeks and days between postings.  

This past year, (actually the last eighteen months or so) I have tried especially diligently to post 5 times a week—most often Monday to Friday; occasionally when I miss a weekday post, I'll  fill in on the weekend. Daily or near daily posts, month in and month out. It's work, (not that I get paid for it) but it's work I like.

I like reading blogs, too—and the blogs I like best are the ones that are most frequently updated. I hope that you like my effort. (I am guessing you do!)

This past month, I have worked hard to make these two days (my birthday and my 1000 post) coincide. It's a birthday present to myself to reach this milestone.  (It's also somewhat of a milestone of birthdays—I am Year of the Dragon in the Asian astrology—so it could be I am 12—or 24, or 36. Or another  multiple of 12—could it be I am turning 72, or 84, or 96.. I'm not saying, but it's a big deal of day.)

And my present to you dear readers-- Well, it's not with out work on your part.
  1. Post a link to this blog -TODAY-on your blog or your favorite knitting forum or networking site and mention this give away. (NOT on the big 6 of Ravelry though).
  1. Post a comment on this blog and mention where you've posted your link.
  1. Wish me a happy birthday, too, when you post.
First Prize
Your reward? You'll be entered in a raffle to one of 4 great prizes.  You'll have 1 extra day to post--and to wish belated birthday greetings. 

And then its done!  A fast contest--just 2 days to post a link and make a comment. And be sure to check back when I post winners later this week--so you can claim your prize.

Second Prize
First: A deluxe project bag, complete with needles, sock yarn, a matching  notions bag—filled with notions, like a tape measure, a folding scissor, and other notions and bonuses.

Second: A project bag, with needles, and sock yarn, and some notions.

Third: A book in a box (Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up), sock yarn and needles.

Third Prize 
Fourth: A hank of white sock yarn, a small plastic pan for a dye pot, and 2 sets of food coloring for dye matter, so you can make your own hand painted sock color way.
I always have fun dyeing my own sock yarn (I'll tuck in a pair of disposable non latex gloves, too) 

Well that's how I think of them, but the first place winner gets first choice, and second place winner get to pick from remaining choices, and so on (The fourth place gets what ever hasn't been chosen.) 

Fourth Prize 

The first place winner also gets first choice of the sock yarns (Deborah Norville's (50% merino, 25 Bamboo, 25% nylon), or Paton's Kroy, or Lion Brand Sock Ease) and the needles  (2 Inox circs, or 3 Susan Bates circ's, or a set of Clover DPN's)  that they would like in their kit. The 3rd place winner gets what ever hasn't been chosen.

Each prize is, I think, first quality. And there are lots of patterns for sock and small shawl made from sock yarn, that even the non sock knitters will be happy.

It's a 2 day only contest—so get started!