Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Wedge and Then Some

Wedge 10 is finished and 11 half done, and when the blanket is folded flat, it seems I will end up with a do-decagon (a 12 sided polygon) after all.  Wedge 11 and then some to be finished today, 12 and the grafted seam for tomorrow.

Immediately after-- blanket 2.. A basket weave it is.  Garter borders and giant squares of seed stitch and stocking knit. It might end up being a rectangle rather than a square... and blanket 3 will be a triangle.

Not to get ahead of myself, but when I have finished the blankets,  I then have 2 commissioned pieces.  DD as for so little, it's a pleasure to do what ever she asks.

First she'd like a matching sweater to this one—knit by her grandmother for one of her cousins... I bought the yarn yesterday, and we decided on the slightly darker oatmeal color—since the cream didn't match perfectly. I looked for buttons too--but didn't find any I liked--and certainly nothing that match. 

The original is wool, (and slightly fulled from years of use)--and I will read the knitting like a chart to make a duplicate--since I have no idea where the original pattern is.   I might change it a bit, and knit it in one piece to the underarms (and eliminate the side seams)--I started a swatch last night (which is why wedge 11 is only half done)--I will swatch the cable—and make sure my gauge is close enough. I might make it a bit bigger.. (and allow for a bit of fulling) –besides, twins (especially non identical ones) don't always grow at the same rate.
The second request from DD was for a set of boob hats for the babies.. I love the boob hat—and I am happy to add this to queue. Even if I also still plan to knit Valentine's day heart hats and St. Patrick shamrock hats! 

 I was at Joanne's with DD yesterday and we decided on the colors.. the selection was limited. We chose the wrong day to go. The aisles of the yarn corner were filled with boxes—and a harried (but still pleasant) clerk was busy checking invoices and trying to organize things--and getting ready to unpack..  It was hard to walk in the aisles and see anything with all the boxes.. But still, I am not unhappy with what we found... Maybe if they had a paler pink (we are both very fair) but I don't think there is a paler pink.  

Which reminds me... I placed a large ($75+tax & shipping) order to Lion Brand last week—and it didn't come packed with their new catalog! How annoying. Well maybe I'll find one in my mailbox this week.

I love my Nook, and reading books on it. (and my reading list is growing fast than even I can read!) but I don't like reading zines on the Nook. I read books in strict linear way—I rarely skip ahead, and only occasionally go back-- but magazines articles are always broken up, and have pages of ads to skip—I tend to flip through a magazine—and it's just not as comfortable on the nook. I don't know if the Lion Brand catalog is available on line.. but even if it is—I want a lovely hard copy to read and salivate over.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Three Quarters Done?

Well -- 9 wedges done. But it looks like 9 won't quite be enough. The four  skeins will be. As I have gone along, the first skein made 3 wedges and a few rows of wedge 4.

Skein 2 completed 3 wedges—and half of another. Now, 9 wedges have been knit, and there is still enough yarn for most (if not all) of wedge 10. When wedges 10, 11, and 12 have been knit there will be—for sure—enough yarn for wedge 13. I do have 2 more skeins—in case I run short.. but I don't think I will.

And likely, wedge 13 will be needed. I suppose if I were superstitious I would frog, or fudge (and have a slightly less than a flat blanket) and stop at 12. But I am not superstitious—I live on floor number 14—but the elevator skips from 12 to 14—so I am really on the 13th floor—and I know it.

I won't tell anyone—I doubt anyone will sit and count the wedges—in a single color its not immediately evident (or easy to count). My daughter isn't superstitious either—so she won't mind.
I'd rather have a slightly fuller (to the point of almost ruffled) blanket than a slightly smaller (and cupped one).

I am still deciding which square blanket to knit... A simple one—like a wash cloth starting with 3 and increasing—to the half way point and then decreasing..But I think this is better suited to the triangular blanket--(number 3)just knit and increase till I run out of yarn If seems too big—well increase and decrease and make another square blanket!

Perhaps a 9 patch—a border of garter and squares of stocking knit and reverse stocking knit.--or maybe stocking knit and seed stitch... or.. well a simple basket weave of some sort. Even just off set rows of garter would be interesting.

K for square 1, p for square 2, k for square 3.. It would break up the lines and be interesting to knit.. with out being too complicated.--I don't mind doing 4 square of purl every stitch/every row garter.

I have also considered (and rejected) a mock entralac--I'll have to come to a decision soon--this blanket is rapidly nearing completion.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Now It's Five Twelfths To Go!

Two more wedge completed—(and a few rows more of wedge 8)--along with the second skein of yarn.
No photos for the moment-- but a recipe--

Since this isn't quite a pattern
Cast on 50,
knit 1 row.
Knit the next row, too. —But stop 2 stitches short of the end of the row.
Knit back
Repeat (Knit the next row, but stop 2(more) short)
then Knit back.
Repeat 23 more times, each time knitting 2 fewer stitches.
When the last row is just the last 2 stitches-- then knit the full row, and back again-- 1 wedge completed.
Repeat—11 more times—till you come full circle.

Actually, the cast on number (should be about 20 inches) depending on your yarn, needle and gauge; with the number of steps you take (2 stitch step, or 3 stitch steps) the number (and shape) of wedges will change. But there are many different combination that will make a polygon that sort of looks like a circle.

Another version of this pattern calls for a new color of yarn as a wedge is completed.

In the end, I will half graft the last row of live stitches to the cast on edge.

Things will slow down over the weekend—there are things to do, and people to see.. and knitting won't be the top priority. But I still plan to get at least finish the partially started eight wedge, and get one more done —and be at the three quarters point on Monday.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Twelfths Done

By the end of the day, there will be at least one more wedge completed, and I will be at (or past) the half way point. This yarn, Lion Brands (discontinued) Color Waves is light and fluffy, and knit on the suggested needle is a rather open fabric. But it's warm (it's lovely and warm on my lap)--the fluffy open fabric is a therrmal trap.

At the rate I am working, the first blanket should be finished by the end of the end of this month.

It's chilly—47° out side (at 10 AM!) and cool (67°) inside, and the blanket is nice to knit. This morning it was cold enough to be a hot oatmeal and hot coffee breakfast day—The first time this season. I always cook up a full measure of oatmeal (I make steel cut oatmeal that takes ages to cook)--so I have a few more bowl tucked away in the fridge for tomorrow and other cool mornings.

The second blanket will be made in the same yarn, different color way. The lavender mix is called pebble beach, the other skeins are in the Mai Tai color way—a rosy reddish purple—with lots of other colors mixed in.
Each wedge is 22.5 inches, so the finished blanket will be a 45 inch circle. The plan is for the square one to be a 45 inch square. The 3rd, triangular blanket will be a simple knit, and make 1 every row until I run out of yarn. This is works for me.. making 2 blankets—the same except for the color would be just too boring. But 3 blankets-each different.. not a problem!

I have to work at these blankets and other baby stuff.  The babies are doing well and growing well (as they should)--they are in the top percentile for their prenatal age--and the doctors are thinking that while 40 weeks in the first week in February--these twins will be big enough to be delivered at 36 weeks. So there is not much time for knitting--especially when knitting double!  And there is a greater need for warm woollies for babies born in the dead of winter. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Well, I Have Been Knitting

 And reading, and cooking, and visiting with friends, and....

Monday I mostly finished the Syncopated Rhythm hats—I still need to make pompoms.. but I am going to make a few.... One in every color of the rainbow—and two white ones. Then my daughter can decide what color she wants (or the white)--I have to dig out my Clover pompom maker—I love the big fluffy pompoms the Clover tools make.

These hats are miniature—really home from the hospital and won't fit in month hats.. Which is fine, because when the baby's are a month old, it will be Valentines day—and I will have heart hats for them, and when they are 2 months old, they will be sporting hats with shamrocks, and the next month hats with colorful Easter eggs. Not the I am obsessed with making them hats or anything...

The first baby blanket is started, and 25% done—it will be circular—well actually a 12 sided polygon that sort of looks circular. Blanket 2 will be square—and there might be a spare—triangular-- keeping up the geometric theme. I bought 6 skeins (they were sold in lots of 3)—and I thought 3 skeins wouldn't be enough.

Good thinking--blanket 1 is likely going to need ever inch of 4 skeins—and blanket 2 the same. Then I will have 2 +2 skeins left over.. (for the spare blanket) --

There are still booties to knit, and a nice hood with dickie—scarves are out for infants, but something that covers head and neck will be useful—And I have some skeins of Paton's D├ęcor (acrylic) for baby sweaters, and I keep finding cute patterns that I want to knit! And, and, and!

I treated myself to some wool, for me, too. Lion Brand 1878 wool has been discontinued—I love this wool and at half price—well-- a few cones (each over 2000 yards) have found there way into my stash.

I love the green shell I knit for myself in the Lion Brand sock yarn last year—and I want to knit some more and I will--  But a charcoal grey sweater –knit with 2 strands held together—so it's not so fine as sock yarn—but finer than DK, will be very useful and I now have the yarn for it. I bought some cones of the white, too. No plans for the white—except that some of the yarn won't remain white!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Web Page Improvements

I have been working on my web page, on and off. It's getting better, and sometimes worse (as I improved, I broke a few links) before it got better for real.

If you haven't visited in a while, you should.

Monday, October 14, 2013

They Are Beginning to Look Like Hats.

 They got started at jury duty, and even though I have been reading, and still watching more episodes of Breaking Bad, I have a gotten some knitting done.

The cuff has 4 pattern repeats of the cable pattern—and then I reversed the work, and started again on the body of the hat. I am just about done with repeat 6 of the cable pattern A few more repeats and then I'll start the crown shaping—and another pair pair of hats will be done.

These are 'coming home from the hospital hats” they are small, and will fit for a month or two—but not next winter. Machine washable sock yarn—in this case, Red Heart's Heart & Sole.

After the hats, I'll be starting on the baby blankets—I am still unsure which pattern I will use, or if I will use 2 different patterns.. or.. But I need to get started.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Jury Duty

I just served—it was easy. Nothing like it used to be. NYState court system is a good example of people having opinions about things that, are out dated.

How does jury duty work? You get a notification—the dreaded summons.
But wait, now it has a url, as well as a phone. So much easier. I had a number, and only had to report to the courthouse when my number was up.. (Each day, about 300 or so people were called –there are 3 main courthouses—300 to to each courthouse.
I had to call starting Friday the 4th, to see if I needed to come to court, starting the 7th.

Good news for me. I didn't have to report Monday, or Tuesday for that matter—This is a wonderful improvement, and if nothing else—did a lot to make jury duty easier. Wednesday, my number was up.
Good news here—I was to report to the closest courthouse!

The jury holding area had been moved since I last served. The new room was big, with oversized comfy chairs, and dozens of flat screen TV's (with the usually morning shows on.)

Along one wall where bookcases (about a 30 foot wall !) Filled with mostly fiction—Classical stuff, (the Bronte's, Dickens) and Sci-fi (Dune and several Steven King novels), and lots of other fiction. I had brought my nook with me, so I had plenty of reading matter, but it was nice to see—I found out later, there were a few (not quite a dozen) PC's in the back of the room, too. For those who needed to check email—though many had brought along lap tops, or mico computers,--and taking advantage of the numerous outlets, where they plug in and working in one of the comfortable easy chairs.

At about 10 AM, the TV's went silent, and one of the Court officers made some announcements. Basic rules, where the rest room were, and then they were taking attendance. They put on an informational video, and collected are summons, and in 20 minutes, were done. They would have been done even faster—but some people had problems with the basic directions (Remove Juror ID and keep, pass up the rest)

The whole process was fast and easy—and compared say to the process of becoming an audience member at the Wendy William show, faster, and smoother. There was less standing, less waiting, and better organization, (and fewer people were involved!) Now, in the jury assembly room, the waiting began in earnest.

Two hours passed. I got up and walked around, and sat and read. It was reasonable quiet (aside from the TV's . No one TV was very loud, but collectively.. well they could be heard everywhere.

Just before noon, they went off, and the court officer announce some of us were going to become a jury. A cohort of 60 of us were selected... me, too.

We walked the scant block (though we did have to cross a street) from the Borohall location to main Queen's court house building. It was a case of hurry up and wait.. but not for long, and there were lots of seats. Then we were ushered into the court room.

The judge started with some information to the group, and then dismissed us to lunch. The day was cool—clear, bright, and brisk. The fresh air was welcome. There are lots of places to eat nearby—some chains--(Subway &McD) a pizzaria, some diners, and some deli's. I got a small Subway sandwich and ate at the courthouse.. (there is a nice low wall—perfect for parking your self down to eat it was the sunny side of the street, but since it was in the 50°s, the sun felt good.
Subway is one of the further choices.. so I had a nice little walk to and fro--(it's also small and was crowded—so eating there wasn't even a consideration!)

Back to the grindstone at 2PM—which turned into 2:30...But blame the judge—the asst. DA was waiting, too, (not with us, but he kept coming back to see if the doors to courtroom were open—and they weren't)

Soon enough we were back in the court room and the first 18 jurors were selected.. (that is, for Voir Dire). It was interesting to watch. The Judge handed out a sheet and said, I am going to ask each of you these questions.. (How long have you lived in queens, are you married, where do you work—a lot of simple basic stuff. ) For some, getting answers to these questions was like pulling teeth. For others, it was a long narrative!

We exited the courtroom after everyone had their go at interviewing (that is first the judge, then the DA, then the Defendants attorney.) Then they decided on who would serve on the jury.

Back in again, and some jurors were selected--(not a full compliment of 12 plus alternates,) but it was late now— (4:30)and we were all dismissed for the day.

Thursday morning started at the courthouse—there were long lines for security (the usually empty your pockets, put our bag one the machine conveyor belt stuff. But the lines moved—Fast! When I first got to the court house, the line was just extending out the door.. but they rearranged the ropes, and in we went-- weaving our way round the ropes.

The there were LOTS of stations.. and a fast efficient process. We never stood still.. the line was in constant motion.. and I was through security in less than 5 minutes. It was more like a fast moving assembly line than a standing and waiting line.

We were told to be there by 9:30—by 10 AM most everyone had arrived.
And we began again.. I was called for the Voir Dire panel (the very last name!) and I did my bit. Answered the questions in a loud clear voice (the defendants attorney, rightfully complained some of the juror spoke so softly, it was hard to hear them.. Not me!)
Again, out of the courtroom and then back in, and more jurors were selected.. (not me!)

By the end of this second panel, it was 12:55. The judge called a recess, and dismissed those who had been part of voir dire back to the jury waiting room (Boro hall building, not court house)--and we were told to report there at 2PM. I walked about.. (there is a bit of park like area behind boro hall) it had been not quite raining but damp in the morning (I took an umbrella as I left the house) but by noon it was drier.

Back to waiting. The TV had some soap opera on. At 3PM, the court officer came out, and thanked us for our service.. He had a stack of papers (letters of record of our having served) and started calling our names..

I was called second—and caught the 3:15 bus... It was that fast!

The whole process was a bit boring.. and involved a lot of “hurry up and wait” —but all in all everything was done faster, and by fewer people than the audience at the TV. We had more comfortable and attractive waiting area, nice seats, and were treated with more respect.

Government might not be perfect—but they do get things right. NYState long ago fixed up the DMV—line are fast, and its a well organized process--A license renewal, with a new photo and an vision test takes less than 15 minutes.

I am sure there are places were the government doesn't work. But clearly, the courts (at least the state courts) work as a well oiled machine.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Some Hats

The first pair of baby hats are done—in non traditional colors.. Eventually they will get solid colored pompoms--(DD will decided what colors.. (pinkish –or bluish for the paler one.. or not.. and yellow orange or navy for the darker one..or not)

These hats are the Sweet Baby hat—a free pattern on Ravelry—and they are size 6 months—but the family history is for babies with very large heads (even more so than average) they will likely fit at a few weeks.
These hats almost fit HEAD--(which is a small adult size head)--and unlike the original pattern--no ties. (which are deemed to be a choke hazard)

Started are the next pair of hats—a much more traditional set—In neutral white.. With white pompoms most likely (but little bows can be added if desired) This is my own pattern—Syncopated Rhythm—and these are being knit in a new born size.. But this ribbed hat has a lot of stretch—and will fit for a while.
This is an fun pattern—it's one that is readily adaptable to a large number of sizes—with nothing changed but the gauge—These hats are done on fine sock yarn (a 3 ply yarn vs a 4 ply) and size 2 needles. They are smaller  than the pattern suggest--to make a new born size hat.  It won't matter if they only fit for a few day.  It's so practical to NOT buy or make newborn size stuff..Babies grow so fast--(and mine? they were too big almost from day one for new born clothes) but it is nice in the beginning to have a few things that do fit.  

I have also scaled this pattern up and knit it with worsted weight and size 7 needles and it works fine—as an adults hat. Up scale the pattern further, to a aran weight wool and size 8 needles and it will fit men with large heads.
What you are seeing is the deep cuff that this hat features.  A few more rounds, and I will reverse the knitting--(turn the knitting inside out, and start the pattern all over again) to start the actual hat.  The deep cuff makes the hat nice and warm.

Then there will be some booties or some mitts—the little darlings are due in the dead of winter, and having a few hats, and mitts, and booties will be useful. I have some yarn left over from the first set of hats, and will likely have plenty of yarn from the second set (and if not, I have more of this sock yarn)

Both of these sets are mostly wool (10 to 20% nylon) machine washable sock yarn... easy care. I like the idea of wool for new born's. Wool is a much more comfortable warn-so so many reasons. But I am realistic. I have some synthetic yarns, too, (for the baby blankets and for a set of sweaters)

I would have gotten more done--but for some distractions--a bunch of new books and magazines, Breaking Bad--I am into season 3 now--far, far into it..., and jury duty--which didn't permit knitting.  

Thursday, October 03, 2013

More Cast Ons

and bind offs.. Or rather one new cast on and bind off.

Actually this isn't a new cast on.. It's one that has been on my web page since the start.

Back then, it came with a video. Then the video was deleted by the owner. I left the stub, and then yesterday added a link to a non video tutorial.

The cast on is a 2 needle version ofthe long tail. But it's not a long tail worked OVER 2 needles held together (a process that doesn't do much except make Row zero oversized) —instead, it's a Long tail cast on where each part –the thumb loop (cast on base) and the index loop (Row zero stitch) are each placed on a needle—The second needle prevents the cast on base from being pulled to snug—and it is the a snug base that makes a long tail cast on Unstretchy.  To further the ease, this variation of the long tail has an extra twist. And twists, that use up more yarn—always make a cast on stretchier.

To start, you need 2 needles. One, the desired needle –in my case, a bone needle, size US8/5mm, and a second needle, significantly smaller. I used a size US 4/3.5mm, but I think I could have used a needle as small as a size US2/2.50 or 2.75mm one. Here is a place for you to try out and swatch and find the sizes that work best for you. 

The video PRESUMES you already know how to work a long tail cast on—If you don't-- learn basic long tail first. It is demo'd using a sling shot version of the long tail, but it wouldn't be hard to convert to English/thumb version –well-- maybe the last step of rotate will be a bit awkward.

I don't knit well with a right hand yarn hold, and while its easy to visualize the long tail part (and easy to see how dividing the two loop onto 2 different needles is done), visualize the twist is a bit harder. If you try it, please let me know how it works.

After the cast on I worked some ribbing, and then followed up with a new version of the standard bind off.. One worked “out of order”--another version of the Icelandic bind off. One that is easier to do—or rather one that I THINK is easier to do.

It's pretty simple bind off: K1, *slip 1, Pass the knit one over the slipped one. Return the slipped stitch to left hand needle and work it (knit ) --repeat from the *.

A very small change in process, a huge change in appearance.

My video demo is done on a swatch worked in ribbing. And as you can see in the image to the left, it doesn't work well in ribbing. It leaves the ribbing stretched out of shape, but the bind off is a super stretchy one, and could work well on toe up socks—The bind off might look a bit stretched out when not on--but on, it would look fine. It might also be good as a bind off on a cowl collar--where you want the collar to spread out at the bind off edge. --

But worked on stocking knit? (or perhaps garter) it creates a bind off that closely (not perfectly, but very closely) matches the 2 needle Long tail cast on. It results in both a bind off and cast on that are stretchier than the knitting.

Both of the videos are available on my YouTube channel, with links to the videos already added to my web page collection, and they have been added to the list of matching cast on and bind offs, as well.  So they are easy to find.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

With Every Round

It looks (well actually both look—but I continue to just photograph one) more and more like a hat.

It's beginning to go faster—the rounds are noticeable smaller and will continue to get smaller and smaller.

I am already thinking about the next hat—a more traditional style—white, ribbed and cabled. I always make this hat--Syncopated Rhythm (one of my own designs) with a pompom—I have lots of left over sock yarns in every color of the rainbow—color coded pompoms might be used.

It will depend on my DD—I don't know what she will want. She wants gender neutral stuff.. but sometimes its nice to have a bit of blue or pink to make it easy—every one always asks ''Boy or girl?” though I suppose you could say the orange pompom is a boy, the lavender one is a girl.

I could just make white pompoms, too. After the white hats, I need to get started on the baby blankets—TWO baby blankets.. I don't even want to think about it. I haven't decided what style blanket to knit. Every time I see a new blanket... I think—That's a nice design... maybe I'll make that. The leading contender is an EZ(immerman) design.

I would have more progress to show on the hats—but I am still reading a lot... I crave reading matter like an addict. I am at page 85 or so of The Big Oyster (Mark Karlandsy) —a history of NYC based on the oyster industry. Page 85 is still in the 1600's but the tail end. There is not much of history of NY precolonial—most of the evidence is gone, and very little to none was recorded by the early Eurpopean inhabitants. I have previously read his book on the natural history of salt, and have several other of his books on my to be read list.

I have a half dozen or so books downloaded and in my nook waiting to be read. Including one classic one of baby patterns.. (so there is hope of the baby's getting little knit jackets, and hoods, and booties and what not.)