Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Good and Bad

I know my faults (all to well!) I know I am not perfect; that I can be obstinate, and irritable, self centered, and hard-hearted. I know, all too well, I can be very difficult person. (My sister, M, called me on some of these failing Saturday, and I owned them) I know, I try to be better, I am better—(but I still fail) A saving grace is I don't live in a state of denial. It's not much (giving all my failings) but its a start. Owning my bad behaviors allows me to begin to change them. And I do work hard at changing them.

B, was discharged last Tuesday from the Hospital, only to end up back there Wednesday—with some serious complications. He spend another 6 days in the hospital, before heading to a more intensive after care facility. I have be doing my best to be supportive--(visiting, running errands, and so on). It's exhausting at times. B has all the same faults as me--(amazing how we attract people who are us, people who also have our own worst fault isn't it?) and one more: He still practices denial.

I know I am progressing in being a better person—every year, I find new wonderful people in my life who are, people who are more like the person I want to be, the person I work hard to be. —In short, a better person. I hope at some point, I can be that better person for B--and that he doesn't drive me out of his life, too. He talks openly about his terrible friends who have all abandon him in the past 20 years—but it's never his fault. He just has bad luck with friends....

Hmm, —Every one from his past is gone.... his circle of friend and relatives dwindle each year. (and I sometimes feel on the precipice of abandoning him, too!)Still  B maintains he is blameless—He asserts again and again what a good friend he has always been, and lauds his perfection.  

Being ill, makes things worse. He is angry at his health problems. HE maintains has always eaten healthy foods, and he has always exercised and it's so not fair that he he is ill. All the while he conveniently forgets entirely how he has also ignored medical advise, refused to take medications, and denied diagnosis (of poor circulation) till he nearly lost his leg to an infection! 

I have been with him when health professional are there, and I have heard him argue and disagree with them, and tell them the current state of affairs is so wrong, because he has always been so right!  He speaks of running marathons (something he hasn't done in over 25 years) as if he did them yesterday--and as if this past activity should some how prevented what is happening to him today.  He acts as if the state of his health today is a 180° turn--and one  that happened overnight--instead of being something that has been going on for years.

Truthfully, I have some compassion. He is right now, so seriously ill—it doesn't matter the reason. All that matters is working to being better.  And it is scary to get older, and to feel more alone and vulnerable. While he has had health issues for years—for years there haven't been any noticeable consequences. To have all the worst case scenarios come to pass in a few months is hard to deal with.

I often mentally offer thanks for him in my life—He serves as a wonderful bad example—and constantly reminds me—I DON'T Want to be like that! (and I have been, and I can be like that with out making an effort to be different!) He reminds me to pay attention to my own health—and reminds me taking shortcuts with my health is like skating on thin ice—I can get away with it sometimes-- but it's not a good thing to make a habit of skating on thin ice. Eventually it will crack—and... I don't want that! 

With all the trips I have been making to visit B, My knitting has taken a hit—Yes, I got some done going to Manhattan to visit B in hospital—but coming home? Cold weather, snow and a broken rail made a 45 minute trip into a 2 and half hour ordeal—of waiting, rerouting, (me, that is, being rerouted)—taking trains south (when I want to go east) to transfer (several flights of stairs later) to a train that would head back north –and eventually and east. But that train didn't actually go where I wanted to go.

So there were more transfers, and more going past my destination and then more doubling back. And all of it, standing on jam packed trains.-- Partly because so many people were being rerouted (I was not alone in my misery!) and the partly because the delays move my trip into rush hour. (Oh I could complain forever!) Needless to say, with all the changing trains,and standing like a sardine tightly packed in a can, there was no opportunity to knit! Which only served to make the trip seem longer than it was.

Things are more or less settled for the moment with B—I have a schedule for visiting him, and good hopes that things will go well. He is settled for the moment in a Rehab facility with more services—one designed to deal with people who have  multiple health problems. He is, I think overly optimistic about his recovery time--but that's better than giving up. 

The only problem is, the facility is at  the end of the earth.  Well, maybe not the end of the earth, but  it's in an other borough—and at the western and northern edges of the borough, to boot).  Only about 20 miles away as the crow flies—but the better part of hour away, when –lacking as I do, the crows ability—I am forced to stick to streets and highways. Thankfully, I have his car to use, because the trip would be 3 times as long taking public transportation. (3 trains, a bus, and an 8 block walk!--about a 3 hour trip door to door).  Some of his (few)  relatives have announced, he is too far away to visit-even though they are half the distance away--which is a sad thing. I am not going to visit daily--but I am not going to abandon him either. 

Hopefully, I'll be on track with my knitting, my blog and my life—and work in some sewing (last weeks good intentions where interrupted by unplanned hospital visits), too.

So, when last seen, my lacy mohair cowl was a scant 20 inch—and I had just completed 2 skeins. And I had reported on frogging most of the rows knit with skein 2 –and re-knitting them.

Now I have finished skein 4—and have 37 inches done. Now comes a big decision (which I have been tossing about in my head) Do I work another full skein? Or use the partial skein? I think I am better off with the full skein—even if I don't use all of it. I want a cowl that will comfortable twist and be long enough to be double looped. I want more than 40 inches.. maybe as much as 45 inches.

I'll still have left over skeins of the mohair if I use a full skein. And I haven't decided what to do with them!--Or even --what I could do with them. But I don't want to short change this project.

I have some solid peach wool--Paton Classic wool,--left overs from my Peachy version of the Lady February sweater—I could make some fingerless gloves with mohair trim.. or... Well something!

The days are getting longer, the dark days of winter are falling away—Hope springs eternal—and eternally, spring bring hope of new better days—Days when I am a better person and B is a healthier one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

1 Skein—Here and Gone, and Back Again

I usually write a post, edit it, and then take the photos-- When I did this on Wednesday, I discovered a major mistake in my mohair cowl-- Some where along the way, I had “lost” the edge stitches! The result was noticeable when I went to take the photo—Some how, I failed to see it (or recognize) my mistake till then.

I didn't rewrite the post.. but I did, that afternoon, frog the cowl.. all the way back to the mistake. (about 3 rows into the 2nd skein!)

Since then, I have been busy (and will be for the next few days/weeks) so trust me when I say today the cowl looks almost the same—it's at the end of the second skein, --or about 19 inches long—again. Only now, all 19 inches have a garter stitch edge.

I am late—and I still need to spend some time bundling up—the weather is frightful—I would just as soon not be out in it... but off I go! The only good news, it I will have lots of waiting time, (and some subway time) so I will get some knitting done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Winter has come to NY with a vengeance. For weeks, shorter days have hinted at winter, but we mostly have had cool weather—not cold (and not too much snow either) But yesterday? In the teens, with a wicked wind—there was no doubt about it.. It was a wintery day. And Friday—snow. OK just a few inches in NYC (some of the suburbs can expect more) –and the snow will be light and fluffy as really cold weather snow is. But for sure, there is no mistake it's winter time this week.

These are the kind of days that knitter can rejoice in. Me, yesterday? Hat, fingerless gloves (over real one –but not hand knit) a scarf (out side my coat) a lacy bit of wool (a decorative scarf) inside my coat, and wool socks.

I could have worn a sweater (or vest, or a shrug) instead of the decorative scarf, and arm warmers, too, or added leg warmers to the outfit. What ever you style, yesterday, and today and tomorrow are days to show off and adorn yourself with warm and cozy hand knit things. (I wished I could knit something for my eyes! They were so cold! )

So I never did finish my socks last night—But I did make short work of weaving in the end this morning—So they are now in the finished pile. Mostly what I worked on was my lacy mohair cowl. Skein 2 has bit the dust, and I am sure I will make quick work of skeins 3 and 4 and the partial skein. It won't take long to make this a yarn into a cowl.

I am not sure what will become of the 3 remaining skeins after the cowl is finished, (or what to do with the cowl either)—The colors aren't really me. Maybe I'll pack it and send it back to my sister in Japan!
I am guessing she like the colors. She is near Tokyo—and the weather is generally milder there, but a pretty cowl can be decorative as well as functional. She has always been more sensitive to the cold than I am—so she'll get use out of it even if it is not so cold there.

I didn't get sewing done yesterday—I preceded knit night with a visit to R—who is doing remarkable well. He looks rested, his vital sign are good and he wound (his 3 foot long Frankenstein scar!) is healing well. Today he gets transferred to rehab—and will be a miles away (2 local stops, transfer to the F (which becomes a local at that point) and another 5 stops. I am familiar with the facility—It has parking, too, so maybe I will drive sometimes.

I have the dishwasher to empty (and to refill too!) and then this afternoon a bit of sewing.--I get back to work on the cowl tonight. It doesn't take long to knit up a 25 g skeins. I want to finish this before I start on my next pair of secret socks, and on my bottom up shawl.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All Knit Up

Last night; but I still have a half dozen or so ends to weave in, so not quite done. I plan to do the weaving in tonight at Knit night—a bit of vanity on my part—this way, I get to show them off.

I worked the toe is a 3 pointed star--(from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks)It's a new toe for me, and it's Meh. I think I'd like a 4 point or 5 point star better.

There is nothing wrong with the toe shaping, and I sort of like how the star shape is defined by working P2tog's instead of K2tog's. But there is nothing special about it either. I'll likely try this idea out again—with a sock knit with a number divisible by 4. I had started the sock with 64 stitches—I needed a multiple of 8 for the color work part, but when I worked the gussets, I decreased one set (2 stitches) on the instep, and one extra set on the gusset to bring the count down to 60—64 stitches would have been too many for a snug comfortable foot.

I think I'd like the star effect with a 4 pointed star—I don't have any nautical themed socks in my queue(and I think of 4 pointed stars as directions/compass points)--nor do I have any travel themed socks. Maybe I need to put something like this on the list—even if I don't get around to knitting them this year. 

It could be another pair of blue socks, with constellations, (in purls? In lace? In contrasting color?) And a 4 pointed compass star for the toe. Maybe 2 shades of blue.. one for the sky, and one for the sea. Oh, the ideas are coming fast and furious! They could be Masefield sock's (I must go down to the seas again, to lonely sea and sky...)

Getting back to the toe--Nancy's version of the star toe –based on patterns for 100+ years ago—has been modified. As she points out, sock were knit to a finer gauge—and 80 (or more stitches) where the norm for the star toe shaping. I have some Serenity sock yarn---in my queue. Actually, its beyond queue and into one of my home made sock kit bags! It not up next—but soon.

It's much finer than the Kroy—I usually work sock with it on size 1(2.25mm) vs size 2 (2.75mm) that I use for the Kroy. And at the same time, I usually work with 64 stitches. --which will work well for a 4 pointed star. So I will try this toe shaping out again—if not this year, than next.

I have done several different toe shapes, Round, Swirled, Flat (French), Flat (spade), Pointed, 3 spokes --and I really don't have a favorite—in terms of fit. I like the flat—French style-- and use it most often for no other reason than its easy to do. It works well with any stitch count (even odd numbers) and its pretty conventional looking. But I love trying out all the different methods for shaping heels and toes. With so many choices—direction, cast on, toe, heel, stitch pattern, color—It's easy to knit a hundred pair of socks and not have any 2 pairs the same. (If I wanted to have identical socks, I could just go to the store and buy a dozen!)

Weaving in won't take long, and I have an extra bit of commuting--(I am doing the good deed and visiting R today at hospital) so I will also take along my mohair cowl to work on. It's quick work—even if I make it over sized—and at this point I haven't decided on just how bit it will be—but I know  I want to finish it before starting the bottom up blue sparkle shawl.

My next socks are going to be secret ones.. If I am diligent, I can have them finished before the end of the month. (Well a girl can dream, can't she?) I need to keep some notes on these, so that will slow the progress a bit—but... I did finish up these Sanquhar inspired socks in just a week and day--and I also worked on my leafy shell (at the same time) an I have gotten a few (OK just 3 or 4) rows done on the mohair too.. It is possible to knock out a pair of socks in a week!

Monday, January 21, 2013

They Aren't Socks Yet

But close to it. Another inch (today) and toe (maybe today--maybe tomorrow morning) and they will be done. The top part of the sock is a bit shorter than my average sock (just a ½ inch) and the wool feels so big; it is so plump and thick --but I am getting just over (fractionally) 8 stitches to the inch—so its partly just an illusion. The gauge is slightly larger on the color work part of the sock— but sock are always knit with negative ease, so I don't mind a slight change in gauge between the solid blue and color work. It's quite visible when the sock is flat—but not at all noticeable when the sock is on( me) . Even on LEGS the socks look fine—though the color work is clearly loose on LEGS- (but then so is the foot part of the sock.)

After I finish these, it's off to do other stuff! But I do so love these socks—so much much so, I rummaged, through some boxes (still unpacked from 10 years ago) because I knew I had some navy twill—and I was right. I remembered having 2 lengths--(I do) but both are shorter than I remembered--(each less than 2 yards)--so my plans for an other 3 piece set (skirt/vest/jumper) aren't going to pan out. I have way more than I need for a skirt and vest.. but not enough for 2 skirts... Now I remember why I didn't do anything with these pieces before this!--Well-- I will make a skirt and vest—to start, and see what I can do with the rest!--maybe a second vest. (or half of second vest... Um, there is an idea.)

I haven't touch my sewing machine in weeks—but clearly—it's time. I will have to set aside at least one day each week to sew. First I need to finish the shirt I started before Christmas. Then, I still have a pretty blue print to make into a skirt, (and maybe half a vest, too—combined with the navy--I don't have enough make a full vest--but maybe the print in front, and the solid blue in the back and front facing.)  There is also another good length of mostly brown, (with blue and white) print—enough for a skirt, vest, and jumper –And I got a big piece of brown craft paper—I am going to make a new pattern for a jumper. Still a simple pull over dress, but I will move the darts, and make some other changes.

I have the fabric, I have the skill. I have the creative juices!--All I need to do is to get to work.

Meanwhile-- I still have the brick red, and plum lengths from several years ago (I have already knit sock to go with these fabrics!) and I have even more fabric in other boxes! Green is the color of year—and I have a good 6 yards of some green stuff.. (60 inches wide!) --and some pretty grey stuff, —a light grey length of wool, and a dark shale grey length of corduroy(another 6 yards or so) —Oh and wait—I have grey socks and a grey shawl in my queue—grey, grey, and grey—sounds like overkill—but so what! Grey is a nice neutral.

I also want to do some machine embroidery on some one of my plain jane solid T shirt tops. I am thinking of appliqueing some flowers/paisleys/geometric stuff on—at least one shirt—to start.. I have 3 or so solid black tops.. and 3 navy--(there was a sale, and I got there late--all that was left was black and blue...)

It would mean the top would really only go with the matching skirt/jumper—and I am not sure how much I want to limit the use of long sleeved T shirt top. But on the other hand.... it would be a nice touch. And beside, I am going to wear something with a skirt and vest.. Why not have at least 1 matched up top. My sewing machine is equipped with 30 or so fancy stitches—and I hardly ever make use of any of them.

So my plate is full. A lace mohair cowl to work on. A sparkly blue shawl to cast on...Sewing to do.
(and as always--as soon as finish the Sanquhar socks, MORE socks to knit!)   Every day is getting longer—It's so lovely to be out all day—and head home at dinner time—and to do so by failing light (and not in true darkness!)-- It is energizing---But I have to make good use of my time.. I am going to be busy in the coming months.

My Friend R had his surgery last week and all went well. But now he faces a few weeks in a rehab facility, and a some months of out patient visits for more rehab. For the first few weeks I will likely be playing chauffeur--(and waiting for him) Thankfully, knitting is portable! But when I am home, I need to be busy with my sewing.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flapped and Turned

and stitches picked up for the gusset.

Does the progress seem slower to you? It does to me. Honestly I feel I knit twice as fast when I am doing color work. Then the needles just fly!  Or maybe its just that I find working the flaps and heel turning slow and tedious.  Who knows.  It's some progress.

But with the heel mostly done—I back to knitting in the round-- and I have passed the half way point in the sock. From now on its just round and round we go, till we get to the toe. I will alternately work on these and on the mohair cowl—It's past the midway point of the month—and I want to have these socks finished before the end of the month—and another pair started!

I got off to an early start today—I was up and out of the house by 6:30—(I took R to NY Hospital for scheduled surgery)On the way home I popped in to the grocery store too, but I had forgotten to take my list and forget to get half the things I need.

I have more or less completed my list of goals for knitting this year—My public sock list has 14 pairs--a bakers dozen plus one more worth of ideas.  All of them are my own designs—Some are toe up, some are cuff down, all have details that I haven't included--
  1. Striped Socks –candy apple (Lion Brand sock yarn solid/ and the multi tone Sock Ease)
  2. Lion Brand Sock Ease-Sno-Cone blue—with beads(These are carried over from last year's list)
  3. Dragon socks (These are carried over from last year's list, too.)
  4. Self Striping socks (blue's)
  5. Rubeckia stranded color work socks (home dyed yarn/ LB Sock Ease)(also from last years list)
  6. Tiger Stripe Sock (self striping yarn in a tiger stripe pattern)
  7. Spats—side ways knit socks with purl buttons—Likely white and some other color.
  8. Puffy socks in yellow/orange/browns (I have puffy socks in red/white/grey/black—I like them!)
  9. Sparkle Socks (to match shawl in same yarn)
  10. Spiral socks (made from left overs)
  11. Navy and White Sanquhar socks (On the needle right now!)
  12. Pinks—Lace laces.
  13. Patchwork sock—another design to use up left over sock yarn
  14. Grey--simple socks in a solid grey.

That's a pretty ambitious list, I know—but I don't might carrying over sock ideas from one year to the next—For me, the key thing is to have new ideas every year!I won't be knitting them in the order they are listed in.... Order is whim.

I have another list of non sock ideas—which is 16 items long—but it includes several hats—and while I love hats, and love designing them, and knitting them, they are quick to knit projects. There are also some lace shawls—which are a bit more complex and time consuming, and 4 garments—1 full sized sweater,(a heavy weight coat like one), a cardigan in alpaca (pink) a small sweater (cropped and with short sleeves—in blue sock yarn) and tabbard style vest—likely one with color work. I also have a bunch of potholders (double knit ones) I want to make, too.

I figure I can do one big project each quarter—and still have plenty of time to fit in the other stuff.  I might not get everything on my lists knit--but I still think its a good idea to plan.  I get more knit when I have a plan--for sure!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stranded Color Work—and Sanquhar

Stranded color work knitting is a big topic. And while I have been doing stranded color work knitting almost from the moment I could knit, I am no expert—though I can skillfully execute most styles.

I know there are different flavors: Generic stranded work, Turkish work, Scandinavian stranded work (old) or Bohus (new), Fair Isle, (a term often used for generic stranded work) and Sanquhar –or if you prefer, Sandquhar, or ... (there are lots of different spelling.)

Every different style of stranded color work has rules—or if not written rules, then rather strong traditions. Generic stranded color work might look like Fair Isle knitting to the untrained eye—but proper Fair Isle, has several distinguishing characteristics. (for more information see AliceStarmore's book on Knitting Fair Isle, and others)

Sanquhar stranded work has distinct characteristics, too. I don't know them all, but some are quite evident to the eye—Like: generally 2 colors (sometimes a third color is uses as an accent)--Most often black and white. Motifs are tile like; each is a square and patterns are simple repeated (a single tile pattern) or some times 2 or more patterned tiles are arranged in a checker board type pattern. The patterns within the tiles are very geometrical—squares, rectangles, diamonds, triangles and stars motifs predominate. Whether the overall design uses one tile design, or many, the tiles are neatly lined up in a grid work Often the grid work is outlined in black. For small spaces that are needed to fill in a shape (like say a thumb gusset) a simple birds eye stitch is used—but the same birds eye stitch pattern is also used inside of tiles

The tiles motifs are worked plain and inverted (that is one tile might have black background and a white diamond design, and another will have a white background with a black Diamond). The patterns are also rotated—the simplest example would be stripes or rectangles designs: first worked as horizontal stripes, then as vertical ones. There are a few patterns that are used over and over again—but the range patterns  is actually quite extensive—easily dozens of patterns are traditional.

The work is fine—16 to 20 stitches per inch is, I think the 'normal gauge'-- and with this fine gauge is common to have 5 to 6 large (10 or more stitch) tiles on the front of a glove. Typically Sanquhar work is used for gloves. The gloves are knit on size 17 (old UK sizing)--equal to about a 4 zero/0000(US Sizing) or 0 .75 mm or so needles (not the honky big 2.75mm needles I am using). And while gloves are the most common example of this kind of work, scarves and hats are not unknown

There might be other characteristics that make up the rules of Sanquhar work—but these rules are immediately evident—and just knowing them allows you to identify Sanquhar style work.

My socks are not Sanquhar work. But they are inspired by Sanquhar work. They have some of the elements of Sanquhar work—but not all of them by any means.

I broke a number of the rules. First Navy (not black)--and white. Second gauge: my sock are done in Kroy sock yarn (4 Ply) and it's a pretty heavy weight sock yarn. I am getting just about 8 stitches to the inch. With fewer stitches to work with—my tiles are at once bigger and the designs in my tiles are cruder. But—I am not calling my work Sanquhar work—just Sanquhar inspired. Close, but not the real thing. Through out this post, every time the word Sanquhar is a link, it is to a different example—so you can see the real stuff for your self (before you Oh and Ah over my crude copy, see the real stuff).

I made a lot of progress on them yesterday—I was  jone'n to knit socks, and after a eon of ribbing,  (the shell) making my finger do the 2 yarn color dance was a joy. I am almost done with the color work part. The heel, foot and toe are just going to be plain navy stocking knit.  But even plain knitting will be a joy.

Speaking of color work—Today's mail (well actually yesterday's—but I just checked the box today) brought me this colorful yarn! Home spun loveliness. A beautiful blend of merino, angora, alapac and more...Thank you again,Laura—It's just beautiful! The label is from the batt--and there is a pattern for the yarn too (and a bonus mitten pattern.)--I don't spin--but I know lots of knitters who do--so I thought you might be interested in seeing the origin. 
Finally—I finished my leaf green shell yesterday, and bound off. It's perfectly lovely and fit like a dream. I love the length—and I am so glad I bit the bullet and started the fourth skein—its a perfect length—and anything less would have been too short--the only thing that is going to make it better is washing it.  Lion Brand sock yarn is OK soft--until the first washing--then the yarn has a slight bloom and becomes so soft and lovely (but it still wears like iron!) Right now it just so-so against my skin--but soon enough it will be lovely and soft. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Squee! Joy! Yowza!

Can you tell I am happy? No--I didn't finish every last row and bind off my Shell –that's what I am doing today. 4 more rounds are needed—or at least that is what I decided last night. But by then, I was tired, and just couldn't face another round. The shell is is another inch and then some longer than when last seen—a hardly visible difference. I am not going to bother with another image. You can see it tomorrow when it's done.

I had hoped to finish, but no matter how many round I knit, it never seemed to get longer. (It still hasn't reached the magic measurement of 24 inches!) The light was low—though adequate—but I like strong light—especially with dark work. I found it tiring to knit. But as always the food was good—and so was the talk.

Liz—one of the new members didn't make it—but Monica—a member from long ago did. And bonus (for us, but not so much for her) she's moved nearby and will be coming more often. Tracy came by, too, another treat. It was a small group—but made better by Monica and Tracy's presence.

But wait there is more! Last week I won a blog contest sponsored by Laura Toomey Smoot—So yesterday I checked my mail box hoping my skein of home spun would be there waiting for me. It wasn't—You--and me--both will have to wait a few more days. Sure, you can run over to her blog, and see her photo... but I will feature a photo too.

What I found in my mailbox  instead was a souvenir package—My sister in Japan took a holiday trip to warmer weather—South to New Zealand. She got a tan and rest, I got Wool. Lovely wool! (OK so some of it is actually Australian wool, and not New Zealand wool—but let's not focus on that)

First 4 skeins of this 100% merino—What a beautiful turquoise—Yet another shade of this color that I love. It's only 200g and 300 meters—so it's not a lot.. But enough to make a scarf—especially if I pair it something else--or make it a lacy one.

Next is this 80% merino and 20% possum wool—New Zealand possum is nothing like the scraggly water logged marsupial of North America, and it's fur added to wool is lovely. Soft merino yarn made softer. I think yarn is so special it's going to stand on its own.

But this second multi-color wool? It is a good match for the solid turquoise—maybe stripes? Or something double knit? Or something on its own? A hat maybe? It has a lovely hand—so it will become some wonderful.

Multi color yarns like this last 2 are not usually a favorite—but the possum wool is predominantly blues—and I am sure I can find something I want to knit with it.  It is a small skein but there is  enough for a pair of fingerless gloves—I don't NEED another pair of fingerless gloves but I enjoy knitting them, and they might just be the perfect thing to do with yarn. Warm and soft and colorful. The other brighter more colorful yarn? I don't know just yet.

Finally,  when I got home, I could have picked up my Shell and finished it (or at least knit another round or two). But I didn't. On the way to knit night, I worked on my socks--the shell is just too big and awkward to work on when on the subway—especially when the trip is broken up. It's six stops on the R train, another half dozen on the 7.  And the transfer point has several flights of stairs--Plus an escalator ride.  The trip  is too broken up to do much except for some rounds on a small project.

So a few more round got done on the socks going to knit night. And another half dozen got done once I got home. Look! See how pretty they are already? The dark navy and white make a crisp design. As always, I like high contrast—and navy is nicer than black to knit with, though black (and white) is more traditional-- Who knows, maybe there are pair of black and white Sanquhar socks in my future too? Generally speaking, plain black is not fun to knit with. But if half the sock is pattern work—maybe a pair of black footed socks are possible.

Smiley's is having a sale this week, and I had planned to get there and maybe buy some yarn. But with yesterday's treat, and another one to come—I think I have enough new wool!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It Should Be Done

I used up all the yarn. Isn't that one definition of done? But it is not done. I put point protectors on the needle tips, and tried it on. I LOVE it. But it was too short. What a difference and inch or two can make!

I knew if I let it go, and bound it off, every time I wore it, it would be an endless struggle, with me, constantly pulling it down, try to make it long enough, to make it fit they way I wanted. And while I might temporarily pull it out of shape, I knew it would rebound, and be too short again.

I had no choice. I trudged over to the closest store (and then ended up going a few more blocks to the next closest!) and bought another skein (There is a god, and god loves me.. I was able to get the same dye lot). So the last inch/inch and half will be knit with skein 4—later the bulk of this skein will become a pair of arm warmers.. separate sleeves for the shell--something I have thought about--and now that I have the yarn--will do. (But nor right away!)

But... before I left, I was just sitting there.... waiting.. and thinking.. I am done—Well almost done. And I can't do anything else just this minute. (and I had things going on that I wanted finished before I left the house) . And if the shell was done..I could do other things.

I cast on. Mind you--I was just going to do that-- the cast ona little bit of fancy work-- for the socks.
It took me two goes to get the cast on done right (I dropped—and was unable to retrieve before it unraveled--one stitch in each cast on!) First-- Judy's Magic cast on –In navy, and then 1 round in navy.
Then I cut the navy yarn and went to the white. The two edges of the work were joined—and I knit 1 row of ribbing. Then I joined into a round (again) , and continued with more ribbing. What I did was create a pretty little tubular edge in a contrasting color.  I've woven in the white tail--but not the navy ones--they are just tucked inside the cuff to hide them.  The line is so crisp—the edge is just perfect.

The newest socks have been inspired by Tom of Holland Sanquhar inspired socks. Will they be authentic Sanquhar socks? No—just inspired ones. I started with the navy, changed to white to make the cuff. I was supposed to stop there—as soon as I had joined the cuff into the round. I didn't. I didn't finish the cuff--but it did some how acquire a few more rounds. It needs many more—I want a nice deep cuff –not my standard inch and half, but likely a full 2 inches. Then the fun begins!

The bulk of the sock will be navy—after a bit of fancy work after at the top of the leg . I am so excited about these sock.. and, really, they are just sock. But are hand knit socks ever just socks?

Last night before bedtime, I went back to the shell and worked the first round with the new skein.  I still need a dozen or so more rounds (1 or 2 repeats of the 8R pattern)--and maybe even 3 or 4 repeats since I have the yarn. But no more! I want to be done with this. I want it finished (because it is so close to being finished!) and I want to go back to my socks. I want it long enough to fit—but not tunic length—just long enough to come past my waist, and settle nicely on the top of my hip.

Last week at this time, I proposed the theory the shell would be done by today. It isn't. BUT I have knit up all the yarn I had on hand last week. So I wasn't far from the mark. I am not going to promise I will have it done tomorrow.. Tonight is knit night—and in theory I should get a lot of knitting done—but in reality we haven't been together for 3 weeks—and there will be almost as much socializing (and eating) as there will be knitting. But soon!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Anemic-- No More

The 3rd skein, anemic on Friday morning is now thread bare. It is quite clearing nearing its end.

As it stands now, length of the shell  is just past 21 inches, and it seems unlikely I will get a full 22 inches. But it will be  close. My thinking was that at the lower edge, there would be garter—just as there is at the top. But I am rethinking—and considering just working in the ribbing till the end. Well—at any rate, the last few remaining yards of the skein will continue the rib pattern.

To finish, I have another 10 g mini skein. It will—based on my experiences with the previous one—yield another inch. So my final result should be 22 + inches or so, maybe even 23 inches. A bit short of the ideal 24 inches—but still a decent length.

I am so pleased with shell. I knit a lot—fingerless gloves, and socks and hats.. but so little clothing—I think I need to do more—not less. For now, I do need a break from doing such a big project on such small needles—mostly because I want a quick to finish project (I have been working on this shell for a month now!),

While I have been whining about the work of knitting it-- (not much, but) --I am so in love with the results. It has not really taken that long either. The shell is 3 full skeins (and little bit more) of sock yarn. I would be pleases as Punch to have knit 3 pairs of socks in 6 weeks—and this top is MORE than the same work as 3 pairs of sock (they would have each had a bit of yarn left over!)--and yet, it really hasn't seemed onerous to knit (as sweater sometimes can)--after all it not much more work than 3 pairs of socks!

This top is going to be the start of a trend. I think I need a brown top and well as the teal blue cropped sweater, and maybe a rusty red/orange something, too. The yarn also comes in lovely purple (and I love purple!). Plus—white--and white could end up being any color I want. I could knit a simple top, sleeveless or short sleeveled, or cropped, every year for the next 5! I could have a full wardrobe of pretty little tops.

If I end up making a cardigan from the semi solid Pink alpaca yarn I have--(This is something in my queue) then, maybe next year-- a solid pink top from the pink Sock Ease, for not quite matching sweater set. (WAIT 2 pink sweaters? For me? The world must be coming to an end!)

PINK—is not one of my favorite colors-- and a set of pink sweaters? And one in alpaca –a fiber renowned for its warmth (for me? A person who is never cold?--well never normally cold—I do feel cold once in awhile (its usually a sign that I am coming down with something)). Do I ever feel so cold that I need a set of pink sweaters? When is ever going to be so cold that I will need to layer sweaters? (Not yesterday—or today—the weather has been distinctly spring like!)

As I have been making list and planning my projects for the year,I have also been casting about for the best yarns. For some project, I know just the yarn I want. But for others, I have been rooting through my stash. Along the way, I have re-discovered more alpaca—in a blue and green mix— very similar to the semi solid pink (but not as much) I have no idea of what to do with it! Not quite enough for a top –but a lot for a shawl. It's mostly a sky blue, but not entirely, it has some olive mixed in, too. The green is a good match to the green of the shell. So, likely at some point, it will be made into yet another scarf.

I also unearthed 4 solid skeins of alpaca—2 in soft buttery yellow, the other, a similar color to green wool I have been using for the shell—but darker. In some light, it looks green, in other light, it looks brown—but I noticed that the green shell sometimes looks brownish in the photos (I usually try to get a better-truer color image—but..)

LAST year one of my plans was to turn the green/brown alpaca  into Annie Modesitt's Backyard Leaves Scarf—and it will someday become just that... but NOT now. My mini obsession with leafy patterns is beginning to abate—and I want to knit with any color that is not green!--A pair of socks, and arm warmers, 2 hats and shell are enough green for a while.  (the link above is a Ravely link and might not work if you aren't on Ravelry)

But the yellow? It's speaking to me.. I don't quite understand what it is saying--which is good thing, too. I already have plans for the sparkly blue shawl, and I only have enough of these alpaca's to make a mini shawl or lacy scarf— but it's not going to jump the queue and be up next.

I'll have to check my list and see what else I have planned—and what is suitable for this so, so soft yarn. A warm scarf or mini shawl is not too much of a good (and warm) thing. I don't need to dress as warming as many do—but two week ago when the temperatures never broke above freezing—I did wear hats, and gloves, and layered fingerless gloves over them, and scarf. I wore less warm clothing than many others, but I do make use of my knitting.

More often than not—I like scarves for style, rather than for warmth. But there are cold days when a nice soft scarf around my neck feels lovely and cozy. It's always a bonus when a soft warm scarf is also one that   looks special!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back On Track

First—Yesterday: 2 rounds and the count was 17 inches—another dozen rounds and I was on track with 18 inches. But I didn't stop there—I added yet another few rounds. 

 Today: I am on track to get another inch, and a bit more done today. With a little bit of luck, I'll end the day with at least 20 inches. Who knows maybe even 20 plus inches.   I am already past the 3/4th done mark, and on my way to finishing up.

With every round I add to the shell, and continue to hollow out the skein. And while the knitting is getting heavy in hand—it is, really, relatively light weight.

300 grams is just 10.5 or so ounces. Even with the two mini balls, it's less than 11 oz. Worsted sweaters are much heavier and bulkier. There really is something to be said for knitting with fingering yarn. Light weight to hold while knitting, light weight to carry round, and light weight to wear. But I suspect, given how warm socks are—it will still be a nice warm comfortable shell to wear. I think I might wear it as a tunic/vest over a long sleeved cotton T-shirt in the winter (that's what I tried it on over) as well as a light weight shell. I like vests as a general rule—and this will be a pretty one.

I have in my queue, another sweater—a short sleeved, cropped, top down little sweater in a dark teal/Prussian blue—a color that will go well in my wardrobe—with socks to match too, naturally.--Another shade of Lion Brand's Sock Ease. It won't be next or even next again—It might not even get started till September but I think it will be a nice addition to my wardrobe and sweater I will wear a lot. I know I l like the fabric I am getting with this sock yarn-- and I am pretty sure I will like the resulting fabric in the same yarn—different color. I also know that a small shrug like sweater is something I will get a lot of use from.

I like this shell so much, that I have been thinking; I might make another pair of sleeves/arm warmers in this same stitch pattern—and in the same yarn. I have the heavier (sports weight!) ones—but I think maybe a perfect match (same color/same stitch/same yarn) might be even nicer. And not to much to knit—less than a pair of socks and simpler—no heel, no toe—just an open ended tube. I don't have the yarn—and they might end up being a different dye lot.. but that wouldn't matter much. I'll keep a look out for a coupon/sale and hope they have another skein in stock for me.

But not immediately! Immediately after finishing this shell, Socks-- and shawl. The socks in navy blue (and white) the shawl in sparkly light blue. I can hardly wait! I will still have the lacy mohair cowl in the mix—the hat? It won't take long to finish... I am a knitting machine!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


 Kicked down the doors and put theory in cuffs, and dragged it away.

I failed to get a full (or even a scant ) inch of work done on the Green Leafy Shell, Tuesday. I almost caught up yesterday—I added enough rounds, that,  instead of 15 inches, the length is now almost 17 inches—that is, it's more than 16.5—but it is a round or two short of a proper 17 inches.

It seems like it should be longer, I really knit a lot of rounds yesterday, and the skein of yarn is significantly lighter, (and noticeable hollow)--Enough progress has been made that I took a picture—It does look longer. Which is a bit encouraging. But, at times I can knit round and round and round—and measure it, and it's the same length—It's one of the projects that just doesn't want to go through progresses checks.

I keep getting compliments on it—every where I take it out to work on it. That's one of the good things about this project. It really is pretty. Everyone has something nice to say about the color—It is a pretty green—I don't agree with the color name (green apple) but I do like the color(today's image doesn't do justice to the real color).    And everyone has something nice to say about the pattern. I think I mentioned—I tried it on a few days ago—and its fits and feels nice on, too. It's a bit clingy—ribbing will be that way—but it's soft and stretchy—and isn't tight at all. It might be wider than it needs to be—but better too big than too small. I just need to just keep working at it.. getting my inch a day done.

On the other hand, I haven't been a total slacker. I got some work done on the Mohair cowl—I finished up the first skein of yarn. Now that I have finished 1 full ball—I find I have a 10 full inches of knitting. And has me rethinking this project.

Should I frog—and make the cowl wider? Currently it's just 18 inches. Deep cowls are so much nicer. Maybe I should cast on more stitches, and it would be better—and it would end up being shorter (that is I wouldn't have 10 inches of work per ball...)

Or—being a knitter who hates to frog—maybe--I could turn the work done so far into a hat. And then start again with a new ball and make a bigger matching cowl. The stitch has a lot of stretch—Oh but wait—those edges... no way I can sew up an invisible seam.

On the other hand, I could knit a long scarf.. 7 skeins at 10 inches a skein would make a long scarf...
Hell, no-- there is no way I am making a 70+ inch long scarf!

Other options? Lots....—Well I will have to think about what I will do.

Another distraction that kept me from the Green Leafy Shell was working on version 2 of the Square Peg hat—It still needs a bind off/brim—but the bulk of the hat has been knit—this time in Paton's SWS—I know that this is a discontinued yarn—but it was very popular—and there are tons of it stashed. Discount stores like Smiley's Yarn still have a stock (and its one of the yarns on a supersale next week—just $1.99 for a ball.)   The hat only requires 1 ball—or at least I am hoping it does! I want the pattern to be one that works in a number of yarns.. with 2 examples of how it looks—before I post it.

So—really I have gotten a lot of knitting done... Even if I didn't get a full inch done each day on the shell these past 2 days.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


I can have the Leafy Shell done by this time next week. It will be (fingers crossed!) about 23 inches long finished... a bit sort of the optimal 24 inches.. but OK.

Yesterday I finished off the mini skein-- it worked out to almost 1 full inch--(bringing the total to 15 inches).

I am tired off weaving in ends (I tend to do this as I go along, so that I don't have a lot of finishing to do at the end)--So I started in with the full skein—and I am now 4 rounds in. I haven't bothered to take a photo--1 inch  and a bit longer doesn't really look any different.

If I keep up at this rate –hardly a back breaking rate—of about 1 inch a day—in seven days—I'll have knit up the entire skein. Then--the shell will be finished. Well that's the theory—All I have to do is remind myself to get an inch/inch and half done every day! 

 I think I will. I want this sweater, I like this sweater--I have tried on the sweater, and I love how it fits and looks. Plus--I want so much to get started on knitting something from my every growing list of projects. My queue grows daily—Yesterday I added on the idea of sweater in the pink alpaca—and I've added 2 more ideas for socks to my sock queue—As it stands now, there are 17 ideas listed for general knitting—and 18 socks ideas!

When I am not knitting, I am reading, and writing, and planning—and doing my good works (on today's agenda is a trip with R for medical help). All is good.

I have some errands to run--(don't I always?) prescriptions to pick-up, and a new phone to purchase—my old cel phone, going on 2 years old—and it's dropped a few times—is—at the most inconvenient times—not working. The battery dies in a heart beat, and sometimes half the screen goes blank. I have some Christmas gifts (money and gift cards) and well, it's time. I have to get to the management office too—my rent (maintenance) is do (LATE)--well not so late that late fee's kick in (YET) but...

Monday, January 07, 2013

For a Smart Person

I am a slow learner. Once I get something, I devour knowledge whole—but boy, oh boy, it takes me a long time to get it!

But at least—I do learn. I have been lucky enough to have had good and patience teachers come into my life—And now, I too, have learned to be more patience with other slow learners.

I have learned to be more open too, to learning.... I no longer fight tooth and nail against knowledge I don't like. Life has blessed me by bringing Nancy into my life—who reminds me, with her own little mantra—You can be right, or you can be happy. Rarely—do you get to be both.

More and more, I am choosing to be happy. I count, among my blessing, knowing some people who are slower learners than I am. They remind, me, daily—I do have have a choice, and that I can chose happiness. Oh, I still want to be right—I haven't learned yet to let go of that desire.. but...One step at a time.

So I got a little bit of the Leafy Green shell knit over the weekend—progress seems so slow. But I have finished up both skein 1 and skein 2--and the result was 14 inches knitting. Right now, I am working with one of the 10g mini skeins left over from the socks (of the same stitch pattern). When it's finished, I will start in with skein 3. If (logically speaking) 2 skeins yielded 14 inches—skein 3 will add another 7—for a total of 21. 3 inches short of the desired 24 inches. I don't know if the mini skeins will be enough to add a full 3 inches—but I think they will add at least 2 inches.

Close—and likely close enough. Now all I need to do, is actually do the knitting. It is slow going knitting a shell on size 2 needles—but I do really like the fine texture of the fabric. I should do more fine knitting (and less of sweaters on size 8/5mm needles.)  I have some lovely alpaca—in a sports weight—thicker than sock yarn, but a lot finer than worsted—I have been thinking about making a sweater from this yarn for years. 

Maybe I should add a pink (I know, PINK!) cardigan to my queue. I don't have a lot of pink in my wardrobe. But...Its not a solid pink but a intentionally unevenly dyed yarn that ranges from the palest pink to a deep rose.  It's really very pretty.  

I haven't finished the Square Peg hat (version 2) or done any work on the lacy mohair cowl, or any other knitting—I have a bad case of startitis—I want to start on the bottom up shawl in the sparkly blue yarn—and I want to start some socks (Oh how I want to start socks—and I know just the ones I want to start!--Look (scroll down) at theses lovely socks.--Just the kind of color work I like--(all in the leg, none in the foot. ) and I like the colors too-Blue is always a good choice-- and Oh, please, can't I just cast on?! I have already started to plot out the designs and placements, I know what kind of cast on I am going to use, and have the yarn at the ready...

I want to start.... A million projects!--And there is white yarn calling out to be dyed, too. (and there will be more after the blue and white socks!)

Friday, January 04, 2013

Uh oh—A Distraction.

Many years ago I made a new years resolution that I have kept—well more or less kept. I decide I was wasting too much time watching junk on TV and then reading junk, too.

I resolved to watch more serious TV (like many—but not all)—of the shows on PBS—and to read 1 piece of non-fiction for ever 2 pieces of fiction. It's not that I still don't watch junk--(Like Big Bang Theory last night)--but I temper my TV watching with shows like NOVA, or Nature or real history or science, or other stuff.

Like wise, I wasted time (and it truly was a waste of time) this past summer reading junk like the Shades of Gray trilogy. (I didn't even think them particularly erotic—and the writing was pedestrian at best) and while my light reading has been magazines like Discover, I haven't really done any serious reading--(well there have been knitting books.. and they count as non fiction, right?) in a long while

But a Christmas present (it's still the Christmas season—and while this wasn't a real present—I can call it one) of a new book—Jared Diamond's The World Until Yesterday is a wonderful distraction and just the thing I need right now. Well, that is--what I need intellectually. Though, reading this 450 page tome is going to cut into my knitting time, though!

The subject s a topic I often think about. I am a city dweller—and I truly love living in NYC. Some cities (and NY is one) are very livable. I am surrounds by parks (like Flushing Meadow Park and Forest Park) and park like lands. My coop has 6 tall building—each surround by greenscape. There are treasures, too, in the greenscape; A peach tree, an apple tree, a cherry tree—crab apples too, and if you know were to look, wild strawberries, and mint, and basil. There are daylilies too, (but not near enough of the common ones to pluck off buds and make a meal of them) and I wouldn't dare pick off buds from fancy day lilies. There are and other edible flowers and weeds--(I do pick the weeds)). And there are the greens on my terrace and window boxes. Some herbs, and some flowers.. Hardly enough to feed me.. but.

I wish there were more delights like this—in every garden, on every terrace, in every apartment. I think cities could be (would be) better places to live with more parks, and park like land. With more community gardens and planters, too. Children would be healthier eating more fresh foods, too.

I have no desire to go back to the farm or even further back and to become a hunter/gatherer.. (But I never turn down venison, or other wild game when its offered!) I like city living and modern society—but I sometimes think we through out the baby with the bath water over time.

There are thing we can do—small every day things, and big urban projects, too, that can make city's better places. I really hate our throw it away thinking.. there are so many excess. But.... nothing is without cost. It will be interesting to see the ideas in this book—and to debunk some of the myths of simpler living (and perhaps learn some ways to have the best of both worlds.)

I am going to finish the second version of the Square Peg hat—before I start to read--well get to serious reading. (I have already started to read the introduction)  The pattern for the Square Peg hat  has been proofed--(and OH, so many errors!) and it's ready to go—I just want to have a second hat to show as a sample. I've just finished the crown of version 2—and will finish the rest of the hat later today.


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Here They Are

A quick and easy set of arm warmers—making the matching vest more versitile. I still have some yarn left—so likely one of my planned hats for the coming year will be made from the remaining yarn.  Something simple--a bit of a rib, and then mostly stocking knit like the vest. But it's day 3 of the new year, and I have an FO.

I am still working on my list of goals for the coming years—and have already gone off on a tangent.
The mohair that I showed yesterday, that I was sure was to become a scarf—a ripple knit one? Well it's going to be a cowl, and a lace one, but not a ripple stitch. I consulted a book to be sure of the stitch count for the old shale pattern cast on and tripped over another pattern that called out to me.. And so it begins!

One disadvantage to unknown yarn (and this yarn isn't one listed on Ravelry—making it really an unknown quantity) is: How much knitting will I get from a skein. Will there be enough for a scarf? Or will I end up with a small cowl? 

Since I have 7 full skeins (plus a partial)--and I have 4 inches knit already—and haven't come to the end of the first skein yet--it would seem I have plenty of yarn. I'll re-asses my options as I come to the last few inches of yarn in the first skein.

If I get 6 inches (of knitting)  times 7 skeins that will equal  42 inches—a generous cowl. But if if I manage 7 inches—or more? 49 or more inches in total. That's getting to be a big cowl. In that case, maybe I'll end up making a cowl and hat--(6 skeins for a cowl, and 1 and the partial for the hat.) Who knows? I enjoy this random element of knitting with unknown yarn. 

I started with a provisional cast on—this way I can have a neat grafted seam for the cowl. And I like how the yarn is knitting up. Little puddles of color—but not great big ponds. I like the diagonal stripes this pattern creates—with straight knitting—and not a bias fabric. I think this is going to make a very pretty cowl.

I am off today (mid afternoon) to take R to hospital (using the UK vernacular)--Another test, and maybe (if all goes well) he stays and gets the less invasive procedure. If things don't go well—then the plan is to schedule--at some future date—(a soon one) a more invasive procedure. The more invasive procedure will involve a longer stay and recovery time for him. (It also has more risks) So say a little prayer things go well.

It's still not certain if he wants me to wait—or to drop him off and come back latter and pick him up.
I don't mind either way—but I hope I don't miss The Big Bang Theory.--It's one of the few television shows I really enjoy—wait--make that commercial shows I still enjoy. I love and regularly watch lots of PBS broadcast.  In NYC—we are lucky enough to have Channel 13 (WNET)—a station that originates and co-produces many wonderful shows, and Channel 50 (WNJT) New Jersey's PBS station—It also originates  some award winning shows—(but most of them are local (i.e. about NJ))--but it also rebroadcast many of my favorite shows at different times than Channel 13.

My daughter occasionally suggest I get cable (and a tivo) and join the 21st century—but I remain steadfast in my decision not to pay for TV. I will likely at some point--(especially now with the news that INTEL is going to be offering channels over the internet—allowing you to select a single channel (the DYI channel say, and watch Knitting Daily) with out having dozens of other channels that you don't want (like say the Learning Channel—which once was nice and now is home to shows like toddlers and tiara's (it sad that I know this stuff.) set up a computer to watch Netflics or Hulu or other stuff on the internet on my TV. But not just yet. I just don't have enough desire to make the effort to all the research and work needed.  

I have my leafy green shell packed as knitting to go.... a few hours of waiting while R's procedure is done will see another inch or more  to this project.  I might even do some work on it before I head out.  It's time.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 in Review –Knitting

At the beginning of last year, I wrote a list of knitting plans--. (20 Entries! Not counting a separate list for socks with 24 entries) It was pretty ambitious list.

I get some of the list done-- And some things done that weren't on the list.. Most notable was the shawl I wore to my daughters wedding. It was a big project—and ate into knitting time.

Still I managed to get a lot of knitting done.

I planned 24 socks. Even as I planned them, I knew I was unlikely to get them all knit. My best year ever for socks, I knit 19 pairs. But I did get 16 pairs of socks knit.. so not to shabby. 11 were public socks, 6 pairs were for a semi secret project.--17 pairs of socks! Not bad, not bad at all.

I planned 3 small sweaters—all either cropped or sleeveless vest. And 1 big sweater (a big, loose, almost coat like sweater) I got 2.5 knit. My grey short sleeved sweater, my spice vest, and half of my leafy green shell. Not bad.

I planned several scarves and or shawls. One of my planned scarves got knit.. and another  4 other scarves-not planned- got knit, too. I got one shawl knit—but Oh, my! What a shawl it was.

I didn't plan any hats—but got 3 knit.

31 (well 31.5) projects in all---Not a bad showing for the year. One project--my Leafy Cowl/collar was document, the pattern added to my collection—two more patterns are near completion-- they will count as 2013 projects, but the bulk of the work was done last year. There are others patterns tha have been documented –but not released-- as well.

I made 200 blog posts, too—a bit short of my goal (250—which is not quite 5 posts a week) I didn't get any YouTube tutorial videos made, but I did make improvements to my web page.

It's day 2 of the new year, and by the end of the day, I'll have a project finished. I started these arm warmers in October 2011—and they sat untouched till yesterday—with a scant inch knit. They are being made with the left over LB Amazing yarn I used to knit my shaped front vest—The plan all along was to have separate sleeves for this vest.

Now they are 10 inches long, on the way to being 14 inches long, and done—almost certainly before I go to bed. I have some errands and shopping to do today (and some laundry (done Christmas week) to put away) but I have tasked myself today with working on a list of projects for the coming year. Like last year, I likely will make an ambitious list, and not finish all that I have planned  for... but I still like the idea of a plan. A flawed plan is better than none at all!

There will be some carry overs from 2012—Half a dozen ideas for socks to start, and plans for a heavy winter sweater coat too. And shawl and scarf patterns make up the next part of the list.

I have some beautiful yarns from my sister (Japanese yarns)--One--150g of a mohair is first up, with a simple scarf—I'll start with a provisional cast on, and if it ends up being too short—well it will be finished by grafting cast on to last row—and become a cowl. I think I will use a simple feather and fan (or is it old shale that I like?)—one of these ripple stitch patterns—just enough of a pattern to keep it interesting. I have seven skeins of this yarn-- but each skein is only is only 25g. Still, that's 175 g.  I have no idea of the yardage--if it written on the label, it in Japanese.. and I don't even know the characters for 1 to 12 (as might be found on an analog clock!). This is not a carry over from last year project--its just the yarn talking to me and telling me what to knit.

It will be a quick lacy knitand this yarn is bulky—I'll knit it up on size 9 (5.5mm) needles and make fast work of it. Mohair is warm, and even loosely knit and lacy, it will be useful.

Socks then—I need to get started on socks! I have more secret socks to knit, and public ones, too, and then on to another shawl—my bottom up one that I just need to start. Starting will be the worst—and every row after the start will be easier and easier.. I just need to start!

And there are hats to knit, and patterns to proof read and fully document—My head is spinning with ideas.

Later—as the weather gets warmer, there will be more scarves from the lace weight yarns my sister sent me.

Later this month—I will write up a list of sewing projects... I got a lot of sewing done last year—but I also got rid of lots and lots of old (oversized!) clothes too. For sure I got rid of more clothes than I have sewn up.  I still need some additions to my wardrobe. (My turquoise man tailored shirt sits half finished for a few weeks now.. collection dust... I must get back to it!)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Year, a New Hat!

I hardly knit any hats at all in 2012—but in the dying days of the year—2 got knit, other cast on, and now for the new year, more are planned.

My leafy green shell is sitting, forlornly un-knit for the past week. But it won't be for long. I am pleased with the progress and look, and I want to move this from the UFO to FO pile quickly.

This is my newest hat—a Serendipitous Cable Hat. I am not much for cables—but I like this one.

The hat –in someways is a failure—I was aiming for a slightly slouched hat—and this hat has no slouch at all.

 Maybe I'll start the new year off by reworking the pattern and getting a slouch version--But first—I am working on knitting another version of the Square Peg Hat—and a double checking the directions. I am using a different yarn, too.

I'll likely need to do a double check on the directions for the Serendipitous Cable hat, too. Lots of typing, lots of proof reading, lots of work making charts. A little bit of knitting thrown in, too.

I hoped to have the pattern for the Square Peg Hat available today—but—a few more tweaks are needed to the pattern to have it just right.

One tweak was a video for the suggested cast on. A video I had to create (done!). And I added the video to my YouTube channel, and to my Web page. And then while I was there, (that is—editing my web page to include the video) I did some more (much needed) editing on my web page (which I have really neglected these past few months—I have to get back to it!)

I was sure I had a video to the Emily Ocker cast on.. (Only I can't find it—so will likely make a new one) and these  new video's were supposed to be method 2 and method 3 (Emily Ocker being method 1).

That the way it is, isn't it? You start with A (an idea, an inspiration) and before you know it, you have to do everything from A to Z!

Well I suppose you don't have to. There are lots of patterns that are out there that don't have charts (or don't have text) and more that don't have glossaries. There are patterns that just say “cast on”--and that's OK—but I think that sometimes, a special cast on is needed. YOU can always substitute the cast on you like or want—but you should at least know which cast on I USED—and why—and how to do it. I want to give you the option of learning a new cast on, and having the exact same effect that I have--or going off and making the pattern your own by using which ever cast on you want.  

I also want to start the New Year off with thank you's to all of my faithful (and occasional) readers. You bring me joy each day and time you stop by to read my blog. Your support encourages me and lifts me up. Every year, I resolve to do a better job on this blog—and I think it is better  and better, year by year. With out, though, it would be nothing.

I am off to do a self review of my goals for 2012, and my actual achievements.. I know I fell short in some areas—but all in all--2012 was a good year.--Here's hoping 2013 is better.