Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One Pot Holder, 2 Ears of Corn, Done

 And one more husk already started. The Corns Cob Pot holders will be done with time to spare. The finished potholder is 10 X 13, but cotton shrinks, in length, and tends to stretch in width, so after washing it will be close to an 11 inch square. The double knitting makes it thick enough as is, and plusher still after its been shrunk. But is really is a very large pot holder.  I like these over sized potholders as mini place mats—especially useful for those occasions when you heat up some left overs by microwave and sit on the sofa and relax. It's big enough to hold a plate and protect your lap. I have also used these as hot mats for the table, too.

There is, in the upper left hand corner, a flat loop for hanging the potholder up. There are loops in the back of the corn cob husks, for just the same thing. Living all my life in the small kitchens of NY, I long ago learned to to up and hang things, since I’ve never had enough room to put things like cutting boards or potholders away in (non-existent) drawers or cabinets.

Next up on my list are some mittens and socks for the girls... It's raining and snowing today, (but still above freezing) but tomorrow will be colder. There is a warm-up again over the weekend. Most of the really cold weather in NYC comes in January and February, and I need to be ready.

Secondly, the girls need some christmas stockings to hang—there is no mantel to hang them on, (not even a fake one, like I had as a child)--but something pretty, all the same.

Come the new year, I will do some knitting for me! Some potholders, a vest (or two!) hats, and socks and who knows what else. If this year follows as last few, I won't do much knitting in the summer (or much blogging either) Come the fall it will be time to work on new sweater and hats and gloves for the girls!.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Was Supposed to Knit

Corn husks, but got distracted. Instead I start to work on the double knit square pot holder.
The husks are so quick and easy, I could knit them on the car ride from my place to the in-laws.

This pot holder is a big one. 10 inches across (which is big!) and its going to be over 12 inches long—Since it is cotton, it will shrink, more in length, than width, (so after being washed it will be close to a square). It will still be a big square, but sometimes with heavy pots, a big potholder is a nice thing.

Big pot holders become hot mats, easily too. Come January, when all my holiday knitting is done, I will make myself some new potholders for me. My current ones are 6 to 7 years old, and have been scorched over the years, and are looking pretty sad. And besides, I am going bored with them. Not so bored I won't knit some almost identical replacements—my red and white gingham will be replaced with a black and white gingham!

So here I am with 8  of 12 inches knit. A simple design, one side a solid, one side a polychrome, and a very simple interlocking pattern. Both of the yarns are Sugar'n Creme, Painted Desert and Gently Taupe. I consider the solid taupe to be the right side...

I saw my granddaughters yesterday, and brought them some small low voltage, battery operated holiday lights. They aren't really safe for unsupervised use, but they enjoyed playing with them as I watched. Bright lights are so much fun.

We went shopping, too. And I found and bought my newest, most favorite veggies. My neighborhood is rich with vegetable stores, and the selection of veggies is massive. But.... I LOVE the big bags of Green Giant diced (cubed really)butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and yellow (rutabaga) turnips. The fresh, not frozen ones.  I wish they also had carrots and parsnips, too.

I had a mix of all 3 last night, spiced and roasted, Yum! I like curried squash, too, and mashed rutabega, and … I got some of the precooked beets, too. My daughter has been raving about these for months, and I can see why. She makes “bread” out of them (follow a banana nut bread recipe, but sub mashed/pureed beets for banana's. Healthier, and visually, prettier. You can warm them up in a microwave, or eat them cold in a salad. They taste better than canned beets, as a bonus. Those who know me well, will be surprised by my writing a rave review of vegetables.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Hard Part is Done

Three ears of corn knit—Today, the easy part, the husks will be knit. The third ear is a mostly blue Indian corn—making for a nice mix of colors. Blue corn is popular everywhere today, but it really wasn't common in the north east at the time of the first Thanksgiving. But these aren't sacred icons, but just pretty functional pot holders. 

To create the columns of kernels, is tight, hard work. The knitting is simple, basically, garter stitch, after 2 rows of stocking knit to start. 

Row 1: K3 of color A, K3 of color B, repeat, and end with color A
Row 2: K3 of color B, K3 of color A, repeat and end with color B

When you are working the Knits on the wrong side of the work, the yarns cross, and get pulled as tight as possible to make the raised ridges, and deep ditches that really contribute to the illusion of corn kernels all in neat columns. The inelastic cotton is tough work to knit, especially when when worked tight. The results are worth it, though, I think. These corns look corny.. and the raised ridges and tight knitting cause the knitting to naturally curl under—and at the same time make the pot holders functional.

Next up, some 'husks' and these are easy. First, while I will still be working with cotton, I don't have to work tight. Second, even with 3 husk leaves per ear of corn, the husk leaves are shorter and narrower than the corn, so there are a lot few stitches to knit. A bit of finishing (sewing the husks to the ears) and all three will be done.

I always like to add a bit of husk stem—and use this to hid a hanging loop, as well as make the ears of corn a bit more realistic. I've decided on a dusty olive green for the husks.. not a bright one. I toyed with the idea of tan yarn, or a pale tawny yellow one—but the husks tend to stay green when wrapped around an ear.

I will be out and about tomorrow, and likely won't post anything. You'll have to wait till Tuesday, and maybe by then, I have some progress on the double knit companion pot holder to show you!

PS--an update, Husk 1, done.  The rest will be done tonight.   I couldn't decide which image to post, --As they will be hung,  or as they grow...


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Two Ears Knit

This second ear is a little bigger, being both wider and longer. But then, ears of corn some in different sizes, don't they? The reason is I somehow miscounted..

There are different patterns for the corn cob potholders, all very similar, but with different cast on numbers. Some make the 'clumns' of kernels 3 stitches wide, others make the coumns 4 stitches wide. I like the 3 stitch rows. In both cases, there are an uneven number of columns—9, or 11, (or even 13 columns, with finer yarns.)  I PLANNED on doing 11 columns (or 33 stitches ) but for the first corn, I only cast on 18, stitches, and at row 3 increased to 27, so I only had 9 columns of kernels. That is what comes of casting on after 8.. (when I lose my ability to count!)

Corn cob 2, I cast on 22 stitches, and later increased to 33 stitches. With a wider cob, I decided to make the ear of corn a few rows longer, too.

It made from 2 very similar shades of yellow cotton. Over the years, I have bought cotton for specific projects (I've made these corn cob potholders before), and I have bought cotton (on sale) just to have for some day. I have no brand loyalty—I buy Lion Brand cotton, Lily's Sugar and Creme, Elmore-Pisgah's Peaches and Creme, Bernat's Craft cotton... and other brands. Every brand has colors I like, and occasionally, similar but different colors that work well together. I haven't noticed any huge difference is quality—I like all the brands equally. The biggest difference are the colors and sizes of the skeins.

The Peaches and Creme, called Yellow, has a subtle hint of orange—a very yellow-marigold yellow, the Sugar and Creme, called Sunshine, is a purer, buttery yellow. Together, it's hard to tell 2 colors are in play—but the result is more dimensional yellow than a single color could provide. It also makes it easy to keep track of which yarn to use. The differences are subtle, but there is a clear difference when being knit.

The third ear will be more of an Indian color.. More blues and red kernels. That ear should be finished tomorrow (I did 90% of the second yesterday, and finished up the last few rows this morning)

I might start the green husks Sunday evening, or not. But I will easily have them finished by Monday evening. Monday is once again acting like a Wednesday, and I will be with my Granddaughters, so there won't be much knitting in the day time—except for the bus ride to and fro.  The green husks are easy to knit, In some patterns the husks are crocheted, but I will knit mine.  Sewing them on is the  most time consuming part of the whole project.  I don't have any yellow-green for the husks--I haven't decided to go with a bright green or an olive one.  I won't decide till the last minute.


Then I will complete the set with a double knit potholder –or at least that is the plan. Thursday is not that far away!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cob One, Done


Well it still needs its green husks, but I will knit the husks on all three cobs at once.

This corn on the cob is just about seven inches long, and 4 inches wide, but the nature of the work causes the corn to roll under. It's just the right size for a pot or fry pan handle, but it will also work well on roast pans with handles.

The stranded work provides 2 layers and the tightly work knitting creates air pockets, too, which are in effect another layer of insulation. The air pockets also created the effect of nibbles of corn, too.

The next ear of corn will be 2 shades of yellow, a very subtle variation in color, to make a common ear of corn. The last ear will be polychrome with blue and yellow and white making another version of Indian corn. Nice bundle of corns that will look cute hung on the wall (waiting to be used).

This project is a knit a bit and rest, but all told is only a few hours of work to knit. You too could have a bundle of corns for holiday. Even if you just start today. Mine are cotton, but wool is a good choice too—just allow a day to machine wash and full them – Wool ones are bit easier to knit, since you don't need to work as tight. You can let the fulling (aka felting) do some of the work.


Just don't make from synthetics—these can melt at oven temps (acrylic starts to melt at 250°) and are a hazard. You could make non usable decorative corn on the cobs, but why bother? Get some cotton or some wool and make some thing pretty and useful. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not Finished

I have misplaced my Clover pompom tools... so while all the knitting is done, and all the ends woven in, there are no pompoms. But the girls wore the hoods yesterday, (and kept them on!) They were both unhappy with the hood at first, but we played “baby in the mirror” and they both stopped fussing with the hoods when they saw themselves. So I guess the girls like the hoods, too.

My DD first said Elf hats, and later gnome hats... but call them what you will, they fit, and they are functional. Next week footsies and mittens to match—and hopefully, some pompoms to sew on!

This week? Some quick potholders—for a hostess gift. Next week is the US Thanksgiving, and I'll be joining my DD and SIL at Grandma's—my SIL mother's house, with her husband. For us, it will be a classic trip—Over the river and through the woods—Grandma and hubby live beyond the suburbs—at the edge of the country (ie farms!)

I have already started the first pot holder—a pot handle style one that looks like corn on the cob. These are great for cast iron pot handles, and even for roasting pan handles. They are decorative too—perfect for Thanksgiving, but also great for the 4th of July—and most any time in-be-tween. They are easy—except for the tension. They are worked stranded style, (2 yarns, in 2 corny colors (yellows, creams, orange, for basic corn, but blues work too, and reds, for Indian style corn. But unlike standard stranded work, with these corns, you pull the yarns tight, and make the corn kernels pop up into rows, as they do. The fabric is more like corduroy, than flat knitting. My corns are being knit in Kitchen/Craft style cotton, and pulling the strands tight is hard on the hands.

I plan to make 3 corns, and one standard flat potholder—a double knit one of some sort. I love having decorative pot holders—I think they are fun. But potholders are practical too. And pretty ones are the best.

I will also be bringing bread, and maybe a vegetable casserole—DD is bringing Pumpkin pie, (her favorite) I might sneak in a small pecan pie. I am not much of pie fan, and tend to just eat the nuts of the top—but its our family tradition to have as many pies and we had vegetable dishes. So if I bring some veggies, I can bring a pie, too.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back Done--

Beginning the bib.. and with 50% of the stitches bound off already, the bib will knit up fast.

One hood has the back seam totally sewn up, the other hood is still just partial sewn up.

I still haven't made the pompoms.. but...


Well its not going to knit it's self up while I am on the internet...so goodbye!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lots of Progress

Finished the hood, (and even did a bit of seaming) Pick up stitches, and worked an inch of ribbing, went to a larger needle and started the bib part of the hood. I wove in a bunch of tails, too, leaving only the ones I'll use for further sewing.

It fits HEAD—but it is distorted on HEAD. The babies don't have as big a jaw, just cute little squared off faces, I am happy with the pixie point at the back of the hat, and will likely make some pompoms today, just to have them ready. The pompoms will have jingle bells, too.

So far, I have just 1.5 inches of the bib knit, and a full inch of that is the neck ribbing. I want about 2 to 3 inches in the back and 7 or more inches in the front.  So there is more to come, but the hoods are more than half done, too.

I have a Thanksgiving gift to knit (some holiday potholders) and then I will add some matching mittens and footed leg warmers to go with the hoods.

Knitting (and typing) has been tough, an acute attack of arthritis has left me limp wrist-ed—but like Monet said, the pain goes away, and the art remains. I am happy with these hoods—and look forward to seeing the girls modeling them on Wednesday. 


I took a few breaks when I was just in too much pain to knit—and continued to catch up on back episodes of Inspector Morse—I enjoyed this show when it was on PBS, but it was always scheduled at an inconvenient time. Earlier this week, I also managed to catch Endeavor—the adventures of Morse as a lowly constable. I only have a few more episodes left to watch—only 8 seasons of Inspector Morse are available on Netflix.    

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beginning to Take Shape

7 inches knit, and I've begun to bind off the back seam. The remaining stitches (about 40) will be bound off off 2 at a time, every row, to start, then 1 at time.   First on one edge, then on the other edge, until there is a nice little point.

Simple shaping, and simple peak for the back of the hood. Likely, I will bind off with a long tail left over, and use that tail to seam the back of the hood.

After that, i will pick up stitches, and begin the bib part of the hood. I am hoping to have it finished by next Wednesday visit, its cold enough today, and will be cold enough for the next few days for some warm winter wear.


The girls do have a collection of hats, but these hoods, unlike hats, will be harder for them to pull off.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Moving Along

One row short of 5 inches done. I will need about 7 inches or so before I start shaping.

There are lots of ways to shape a hood—and several ways to knit one.

Some are sort of shaped like the heel of a sock, a flap for the top of the head, some short rows to shape the back, then stitches picked up along the edges of the flap. No gusset, just knit down for the desired length. Finish with ribbing round the front to frame the face.

My methods is simpler, a half square (almost) with some simple shaping (a point), folded, and the back seamed. The point will fall to make a pixie sort of shape. (And, in my case, will have a pompom.) When folded, the hood will be about 7.5 inches X 7.5 inches, (the pointed top will be longer).

Once the hood is finished (before seaming) I will pick up stitches on bottom edge, starting from the back edge working to the front, cast on some for under the chin, then continue picking up stitches—from front to back.

Theses stitches will be worked something like a raglan sweater, with a short back, and longer front, and just enough to cover the shoulders. The long front will be V shaped, and it too, will be finished with a pompom.

And yes, Judy, this hood (or other shaped hoods) are good for children or infants who tend to pull of hats. The bit in the back can be tucked into a jacket, (or even a sweater). Kids tend to pull of hats by pulling forward, and in the case of hood, they just can't pull them off that way!

After the hood, there will be matching mittens, and matching legging—Knee socks booties, that will be hard to pull off, too. As a infant, my DD hated mittens, and pulled them off repeatedly, (and then complained her hands were cold!) I suspect at least on of the girls will do likewise, if not both!

Both of the girls are adept at pulling themselves up into a standing position, and are practicing standing with out holding on to anything..


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hoods Started

I love how one yarn knits up, but not so much the other.. Oh well.quick little hoods for winter warmth.  More than 2 inches, but less than 3 at this point.

The addition of pompoms should help—a nice solid pompom
 to brighten up the colors There will be one at the back of the hood, and another at the tip of the bib—something to play with and distract the girls from the fact that their heads are covered. Something like this shape.

They have worn hats since they were born, but they still pull them off every chance they get. Modern sensibilities require no under the chin or around the neck ribbons or ties, so removing hats is really easy –even for an infant. These hoods will be a bit harder to remove—I hope!

The shape is simple, first a the hood, knit from front to back, flat. Then I will pick up stitches for the bibs, continuing to work flat. Then the back seam will be sewn, and the pompoms added. They won't be finished by tomorrow (when I see the girls again) but maybe next week.

At this point, the hood portion looks a bit small on HEAD, but the big difference between adults and infants is in the jaw. The upper portion of their head is almost full sized age 2, but the jaw bones are slower to grow—First they need their baby teeth and molars (which don't fully come in till after age 2, and the jaw continues to grow until all the secondary teeth come in (for some, this is as late as mid 20's.) These hoods will likely stretch and will fit snuggly on HEAD when done.  


For now these hoods will be plenty big.   

Monday, November 10, 2014

Done! Soon to be Finished—Finished, too!

Last night, I went brain dead for a few minutes, and just keep working the established pattern. Row after row, not changing to a new pattern after 6 rows. It got so bad, I had to frog—it was well beyond a tink. But in spite of the lapse of brain functioning, I manage to finish the knitting.

  I have 45 inches (Yay!) and about 1 yard left over from skein 3. What remains is grafting the bind off edge, weaving in the ends, and a bit of blocking.

Just after I wrote this, I was interrupted by telephone call, and as talked, I started the finishing... 30 minutes later, the cast off was grafted, and the ends were woven in—before I had taken any photographs! So, here is the scarf done and finished.

I am pleased with the results. The fiber is warm, and the texture provided by the seed stitch and ribbing will trap air and make the scarf warmer still. 

 The ends are identical (one has marker.. can you tell if it is the cast on or bind off?) --As you see, my obsession about cast ons and bind offs is reflected in my knitting.

It's long enough to wear as an ascot, (but I personally would find that too bulky!) or as a simple chest cross. The ribs bunch together at the back of the neck (no need to fold), and they flatten out nicely on the chest.  All in all,  I am very pleased with the Finished object. In spite of being bored a bit while knitting it, I love it.  The yarn made it a real pleasure in hand to knit, and it really knit up so beautifully.  Remember, this is it as comes off the needles--I still haven't blocked it.

Later today, I will cast on for hooded dickies for the girls. I bought this yarn before they girls were born, (and I bought a package of Lion Brand BonBon yarns) The BonBon yarns will brighten up the hoods, and be used for the pompoms.

Modern car seats for infants require the seat belts straps (a 5 point safety strap) be snug, in regular clothes. No bulky clothes and loosening up the straps to get the kids in. So, with this in mind, I will make some hoods, with a short back (to cover the neck, and a V shaped bib in front, with split shoulders.  The front bib will be over, not under the strap. Then the girls can be covered with a blanket. The hoods will keep their heads warm, even if the blankets slip. 

 When the time comes to take them out of the seats,  their hoods will stay in place, and they can be wrapped in a blankets. With the hood covering head, shoulders and chest, it will be easier to wrap them up.

DD and SIL have off the street parking, just a few steps from their apartment building door, so until they walk, this will be fine. Of course, the hoods will be fine for  this winter and next. The yarn is not super girly colors—but bright pompoms and jingle bells will add interest. They hoods will have matching mittens. The mittens will have thumbs, (but will be big enough not to need them.) My DD thinks she is going to coax little thumbs into place. Sweet dreams, on that!



Sunday, November 09, 2014

A Deluge

It never rains but it pours, and I am flooded! And, Oh, what a glorious flood it is. Like a parched man stuck in a desert, I am reveling in glorious yarn that is raining down on me.

Last week, there was all the wonderful yarns from Monica, this week, I am glorying in home spun.
Back in the spring, I lent Robyn Love my (unused, and dusty) spinning wheel. Her wheel as busy supporting an art project. She offered money, but I asked instead for a single skein of some home spun—her choice of color and fiber. I love her wildly exuberant yarns.

This week end, she returned the wheel and a BAG full of skeins of wool—One for every month she borrowed it! Merino, BFL, Icelandic: single plys, 2 plys, and navaho plied skeins. Big ones, small ones, every color, every weight—What a glorious flood. I am awash in skeins of homespun, artisan yarns.

I am not sure what I will do with them—Except the grey—with 600+ yards, this is going to be a shawl/scarf of some sort... A rectangular one.. (my favorite shape)--a garter lace. The blend is Icelandic wool and alpaca—is angel soft, and lace fine, navaho plied. I'll have to wait to the new year, but....
And likely one of the skeins will be knit into a hat for my friend Debbie—but I will let her have some choice in which, and what yarn to use as a companion if one is needed.

Meanwhile, I got nothing done to the luxurious scarf on Friday, and a little more done on Saturday. Now there are 30 repeat done—and another 9 inches knit—bring the total to 40 inches or so of scarf. Just a little bit left of skein 3—with every row the skein is small is smaller and smaller...and the scarf longer and longer.. The end is in sight, but there are still yards and yarns to still be knit. Boredom is vying with excitement--I want the scarf to be finished and done, but I am losing interest in knitting it!
I want the ends to be symmetrical, too, I have decided. I will use a bit of the fourth skein, if needed, to insure this happens. Side to side, the scarf has 5 + ½ repeats, end to end I want the same thing--a half pattern repeat, so it looks the same as the cast on edge.  I like symmetry, and I think it add something.. an almost imperceptible detail. Almost imperceptible—but there, for when someone takes a closer look.

Then on to a bit of baby knitting—mitts, and booties, and hats and stuff... Stockings, too, for good measure. Winter is coming and the girls need stuff!




Thursday, November 06, 2014

Progress Halted


Last night I had a unexpected stint babysitting—and two lovely girl they were. It was a short gig, mama, my DD, had a board meeting (She is a member of her co-op board). I watched, or tried to watch Jeopardy but Miss C got so excited, she drowned out the answers with her super energetic bounce routine. I finally had to put my foot down—literally and figuratively.. I was afraid she was going to topple the floor based bouncy seat. It has a wide, weighed base, but Miss C was lifting the base as she bounced and gyrated. I add my weight (via my foot) to further stabilize the bouncy seat.

Her sister, Miss J was recklessly driving her sit in-her car shaped walker, and after crashing into the coffee table, was removing books, (childrens books), glancing at the covers, and dropping them to the floor Before the night was over , she had just about cleared everything from the cluttered table top, not once but 3 times! Nana played along by picking up the books again and again.

I got to feed them their dinner, too. While they had identical portion of identical food, each found each others food more interesting. I had left the TV on, but switched to PBS, and the both of them were fascinated by the Nature special on sloths. If I moved and blocked their view of the baby sloth, they became agitated. But it made it easy to feed them both at once—between mouthfuls of food they watched the sloth.

Still, I got some knitting done before babysitting, and more on the bus on my way there.. and Skein 2 has bit the dust! What's more, I end skein 2 with not the desired 29 inches, (14.5 +14.5) but with 29.5 inches. 3 inches isn't much progress, and certainly less than I expected, but finishing the skeins is a nice landmark, and finishing with a bonus half inch is wonderful.

Every knitter knows, (or eventually learns) that while skeins are close, (and almost never short) they do often vary—by 1% or less, though, in some places, the legal limit is up to 3% difference is allowed. So, 135 yards is 4860 inches, and 1% of that is up to 48 inches—more than a yard, and 3% is 4 yards! Plenty enough yarn to do a few rows of knitting in a narrow scarf like this.


I got a few more rows in before I hit the sack.. (a full 30 inches!) Nice progress for the week. Now with 2/3rds of the scarf knit, I am on the down hill side of knitting it. I am a bit bored, but I want to race to the finish.   

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Row by Row, Repeat by Repeat

The inches are adding up. There are twenty repeat of the pattern now, and 26 inches of the scarf knit.
There is still a shell of yarn to knit in cake/skein two, to knit, (and ideally, there will be 29 inches knit before it comes to an end) but I am pleased with this week's progress. And the bulk of today's knitting is still to come!

I've said it before (and |I'll say it again, no doubt) but I hate knitting scarves! They are so boring! Really, since yesterday, all I have done is 48 rows. Nothing really. The yarn makes this scarf more pleasurable than most. but it is still boring.    And in spite of my dislike (of scarves), I knit them again and again.. (there are a good half dozen scarf ideas in my mental queue of projects, and more if you include shawls!)

But I will reward myself when this scarf is finished, with some fun hats, and some quick and easy projects for my granddaughters, and come the new year, I will return to selfishly knitting for ME. Socks for me, Vests for me, and maybe even a sweater for me! (And, of course, a scarf for me!)

I like scarves that have interesting stitches, or techniques, but the problem is, there are very few stitches or techniques that are still interesting after a dozen repeats. Still,   I've had in my mental queue, Anne Modeisiett's Leaf scarf—I have a greenish taupe (and/or a pastel, buttery yellow) alpaca to make it with—but as interesting as looks (and that is what I like best, scarves that are more of a fashion accessory, than a warm garment) I am afraid I will grow bored.

Secondly, I have a dozen or so knit scarves that are fashion accessories.. Do I need another? Well of course not, but I must knit something with all this stash SABLE that I have!

And MORE yarn is coming—A minor favor is being repaid with a skein of homespun—a special treat. I am so excited, I can hardly wait. It is a complete surprise-I have no idea of the color, or fiber, or gauge...The spinner is an artist, and make lovely color combinations... So what ever it is, it will be wonderful.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A Third and A Half Equals A Half

One skein equaled a bit more than 14 inches, and I decided that 3 skeins (and well maybe a bit of the fourth) would be enough.

So one skein is one third of the scarf. Now, I have knit another 7 inches, (or about half ) of skein two. So I have a third (of total skeins I will use) and half of the second skein, and that equals 21 inches, or about half of the total! The stitch marker is at 10 pattern repeats, the tails are old/new skein. 

All this sound like I got a lot of knitting done, but truth is, it's just 4 more pattern repeats. But Monday was Wednesday this week, and most of yesterdays knitting was done on the bus. Wednesday, my normal day to spend with grandchildren, is pre-empted with a doctors appointment. But the library pre-pre school program runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So Monday was Wednesday.

Even the grandchildren were confused! They might not know the days of the week, but they do have some inkling of the passage of time. Last week I saw them Thursday, and they were clearly surprised to see me again so soon.

I started this scarf on Thursday, casting on, (a tubular Italian cast on, on the bus!) and I am half done before a week. Not yet bored—and I still make mistakes, especially as I change patterns (from knits to seed, or from purls to seed) and this morning I had to tink back a whole row. You'd think that after more than a dozen repeats, I would have it down pat. Think again! And it's really a simple pattern!

I measured the girls head yesterday, in preparation for new winter hats. 18.5 inches—at just nine months. Clearly these girls have inherited the family characteristic bowling ball heads. (Their head size is in the 95th percentile, but my DD's first cousin, commented about her son, (age 4), “off the charts”. Neither of my children ever ran off the charts, but both were in the 90(+) percentiles right from birth.

On the their fathers side, an aunt reported, about her son's head, the doctor said, “Very large, but not pathologically so”--so large head run on both sides of the family.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Finally, a small smug comment: I voted today. Have YOU?  

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Skein 1 Bites the Dust

Sunday at Noon:
The scarf had 11 pattern repeats, (plus a few rows of repeat 12) and was 14.5 inches. 3 times that, (3 X 14.5) will yield a 43.5 inch long scarf. So I have some options. While 43.5 is a smidgen smaller than I desire, it's so close, one option is to just leave it at that, a half inch short of my desired 44 inches.

Should I decide to use a bit of skein 4, and bring the scarf up to a full 44 (or even 45) inches, it won't take much-- leaving me with a 1 full and one 99% full skein to something else with. Whether that something else will be something striped or patterned—using up all the odd balls, or will be a head band to match the scarf still has to be decided.

But what ever I decide, I am close to being 1/3rd done! Since I hate knitting scarves--(they are so boring!) its nice to have made this much progress in this little time.

I am really very happy with stitch pattern—I like it spread out, and flat, and scrunched up and corrugated, too.

Since then, repeat 12 was finished, and 13 and, too, and the scarf is now 16 inches long.

I finally got around to looking up the yarn—Crystal Palace Yarn's Crème –But what I have doesn't match up with the yarn in Ravelry's data base. This yarn was put up in hanks, of 135 yards, (though most of the skeins have been made into cakes) and this Crème is 50/50 wool and silk, (not 60/40 wool and silk)--I suspect this yarn is even older that the Ravelry entry (which is dated 2007!) It's not a cheap yarn either—the labels (well some of the labels) have $9.60 tags on them. This is the kind of yarn I usually look at, and fantasize about, but can't afford to buy.


It is a joy to have this yarn slip between my fingers. I hope my SIL likes it too.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

2,4, 6, 8

 The repeats, (all twelve rows of them) keep coming. And skein one hasn't give out yet.

3 inches, to 6 inches, to almost 9 inches now. Every inch knit from skein one gives me confidence that I will more than enough yarn to make a decent length scarf. Who knows, maybe a head band too, to cover the ears.

But I am getting ahead of my self. I haven't finished 8 repeats, just 7. The hollowed out skein still has pretty thick walls; and I do have almost 9 inches of the scarf knit. 5 (skeins) times 9 inches (already knit) would equal a 44 inch scarf (the barest minimum size) but since I still haven't used up all of skein one, it will be no problem to get a 44 to 48 inch scarf. And I likely won't need 5 skeins.  Maybe not even 4 skeins!  (This scarf will also help me decide what to do with the other skeins, too.)

I've considered the idea of fingerles gloves—but I am not sure if my SIL would wear them. He's pretty open, but I just don't think he is that metro-sexual. Men wearing fingerles glove is still not main stream. He does wear hats—not baseball caps (but he does have one) but real hats, fedora's and the like. A pork pie hat when camping. And the occasional knit hat. But a finely knit head band that covers mostly just his ears, would fit under a fedora. (snugly perhaps, but..)

Last winter was a cold one, and the global climate change hasn't settled into a firm pattern, but we are having our first winter storm this weekend—and its only mid fall. If this kind of weather keeps up, I will be knitting warm clothing and accessories for the rest of my life.


If I finish the scarf with just 3 skeins, I will have 2 left over taupe. With 2 each of white, green, taupe, plum and blue (10 skeins) I might have enough for a striped T-shirt or shell... There's a thought.

Friday, October 31, 2014

New Yarn

Always cries the loudest to be knit first. When Monica generously shared the yarn she was gifted, one of the yarns I received was a collection of odd balls (2 of white, green and plum, 3 of red, 5 taupe, some blues (several different shades) of Crystal Palace yarn—50/50 wool and silk. Lovely yarn, in very small put ups (50 g, 135 yards.)--The ball band suggest a size US 5 or 6 needle, but I went with a smaller one.  For a scarf, a slightly denser fabric is warmer.  Not that fabric is stiff, it's still very soft and pliable.

Of all the colors, the taupe is particularly lovely.. I tend to like grey and taupe –and this yarn;  a beautiful color in a luxurious yarn? A match made in heaven.  But 650 yards of fine yarn isn't very much.  There are limited choices--something small, or something striped. I decided to go with small.

Yesterday—instead of Wednesday, was my day with the twins. On the way to Flushing, I started this scarf. An Italian (tubular cast on) and a rib, of sorts. A plain rib would have been too boring. I wanted a broken rib. There are lots of ways to break a rib—I thought about a diagonal rib, or twisted rib, or a lightly cabled rib.. and ended up with this basket weave rib. A very easy pattern to do, 10 stitches across, (5 +5) and 12 stitches tall (6 + 6) I didn't even have to read the directions for working the pattern. It's that easy. Perfect for TV (or bus!) knitting. Just enough of a pattern to keep it interesting.

I like how this  rib corrugates, (as ribs want to do) and how it will narrow across the back of the neck. The yarn is fine enough, that even corrugated, it won't be too bulky.  At the same time, it is  broken enough that it can easily be placed almost flat. 

By bedtime, I had 2 repeats, (3 inches) done. The center of the center pull skein was very empty.

This will be an inside the coat scarf—the kind that wrap round your neck, and crosses over the chest—finely knit (size 4 needles) and dressy. I would like it to be about 44 inches (my SIL is a big and tall guy, I want it about 6 inches longer than double his neck size. This way, he will have several options on how to wear the scarf. Simply (round his neck and crossed in front), or Trendy, (folded in half, with the ends through the fold), or Classically, ( tied in front, like an ascot), or.. Well any way he wants.

But in the end, what will control the length is the yardage!  By the end of skein 1, I will have a better idea of what my finished results will be. The shorter the scarf, the few options there will be about how he can wear it. But my DD says he likes scarves.. and a luxurious silky one will be appreciated. If he doesn't my daughter might.. This scarf is one that will be a pleasure to wear—soft and warm. A nice scarf to wear under a coat, especially if wearing a open neck or off the shoulder dress. 



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Bit of Luxury

Actually MORE than a bit...

 First—angora--7 lovely little skeins (each is just a third of one once!) but enough I think to make linings on 2 pretty little muffs. Not this year.. The girls are just 2 small to understand muffs, (and besides at this age (under a year) everything goes in their mouths...

But next year, a little bit of simple stranded work (blue and white) lined with the blue angora will be a pretty little accessory for the girls. I made a muff for Miss B(now a grown up teenager) when she was 3 or so, and it was a prized possession. I had a rabbits fur muff as child, and my daughter used it, too.

Soft, warm muffs are part of the family childhood memory—and the twins will share the memory.

Then there is this—Noro cotton and silk... 9 skeins in all, 8 pastel polychrome, and one solid skein for a bit of trim. When I picked them up, I focused on the mostly pink color blend, and thought they would be good for the girls.. but I have gotten greedy—I think these cotton and silk skeins are going to turn into a t shirt like top for me.

Finally, not luxury—but still shiny and luxurious, 10 skeins of silky rayon. This kind of rayon make lovely little purses--(and every little girl loves a shiny purse to put her pennies in) The green is likely going to be a yoke on a top for me. I have lots and lots of DK (and even lighter weight) cotton. A two toned  top, with lace above and solid below is a style of top I have liked all my life.

Meanwhile, I have been working on my 3 view polychrome project that consists of 3 hats and a cowl. Hat 1, (yellow)  is knit flat.  Hat 2(blue)  in the round, (with a lining) and the cowl will be double knit (and in yet another combination of solid and polychrome. )

 The lined hat was an experiment. It's too small for me, and my bowling ball head.  It fits HEAD (HEAD is just 19 inches or so) so there will be two sizes (small and large) in the pattern. This hat has a flat square top, (vs the 8 armed swirl that creates what I like to call a pagoda top—I still haven't made a tassel, (and I do think it needs a tassel!) to finish it. The tops are interchangeable--at least for an advanced knitter.

 I will start the double knit cowl today—and as soon as it is finished, start a scarf for my SIL.


It is interesting to see how using high contrast colors vs subtle colors changes the look of the stitch pattern. I tend to like high contrast colors, but sometimes, subtle is best. Which do you like?

Truthfully, I like this stitch pattern so much, I think I would like it done in knits and purls, with out any color work--but I am not sure it would work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Day Out and About.

My friend Theresa was a dedicated teacher for years—and found she just couldn't turn off, and relax watching television—so for many years, she read and did other thing—but didn't bother with the box--(an other idiom that bites the dust, like dropping a dime, TV's aren't boxes any more)
But now, some 20 years later is catching up on the Law & Order series--the original series. 

Yesterday we did a L&O walking tour. Theresa came up from Richmond, and we hit the road. First a train ride to Brooklyn, (we took the A train!) and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. Did I mention the weather was perfect? Clear sky’s, with just a few high clouds, breezy, and in the low 60°'s (circa 14 to 15°C) perfect weather for a walk.

The bridge offers views of the skyline, and it is a wonderful experience all on its own. It's a bridge that bridges building techniques.. half of the bridge is hand built –with blocks and tackle and men and ropes, and half is machine (steam engine) built. It linked what were 2 great cities, (Brooklyn and NY)
Today, each of these boroughs are still large enough, that if separated, NYC would be the US's largest city, and Brooklyn number two.

I think Theresa was a bit surprised by how busy the path way was--(and it was!) but it was still possible to stop and get great shots (not me, as always I carried my camera, and never thought to use it)

Across the bridge, we walked besides City Hall (enclosed in a park) and up to Foley Square. There they loomed—the famous court house steps, --and up we went to take photo's here too.

The huge stair case is largely closed (one of those obsessive safety detail that have sprung up all over NYC in the past dozen years) but it was still possible to get pictures of the columns at the top.

I pointed out some building (one with fancy fenestration) that are often seen in the background, and the anchor like structure (sculpture) in the park across the street--(another background feature)We walked up to Hogan Place to get some shots of the office building that houses the DA's offices, too.

Then off to Katz Deli for lunch. I have never lived, or shopped on the lower east side, and while I like NY deli food, I had never been to Katz—To me, its a tourist location. But the characters, (and the actors that played them) in L&O like it, so off we went—The food was good, the service fine, and Theresa thoroughly enjoy what she called a NY experience. It's a bit expensive—but if you think of it as half meal, and half theater, its not that expensive. You do get a lot of entertainment. We didn't look for stars (I never do) or celebrities, so we didn't see any. But one of the waiters came over and made us feel like we were celebrities—which was good-- Theresa (and I ) only had half sandwiches—She enjoyed her's—and was almost sorry she didn't go for a full one.

Late in the after noon had us at Madison Square Park and the Appellate Court –I remember there being a court room there that was used for the interior court room scenes—but either I mis- remembered, or for some reason, it wasn't open—but we did get to see the Appellate Court—a beautiful court house, and magnificent court room (and this court room was used occasionally in the series). And that was the end of our L&O tour.


I was exhausted, and my knee's cried in misery—too many subway steps for them—but the pain will pass, (has largely already) and memories of this wonderful day will remain. Next time I post, some progress on my polychrome knitting, and some photo's of my luxurious Stash EXpansion (SEX!).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Knitters are the Best

I have some friends who are new knitters, and I give them yarn all the time—I knit for them too, making socks or hats, or scarves or what ever they need or that I think they need.

I've given away needles and other stuff too. Why not? I have a huge stash—no make that,  a SABLE, I might as well share it now, and not wait. But giving away yarn is casting bread on the water—it comes back seven fold!   (a SABLE is Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectency)

Last night I was with Monica, a knitting friend from the LIC knitting group –a group she never attends anymore, (she lives across the street) and one I haven't attended in months now.

One of her friends mother, who both knit and worked in a yarn store, has now that she as given up knitting, and gave her SABLE away. So Monica ended up with boxes and boxes of yarn.(very big boxes, in a very small NYC apartment. 

She culled the yarns she wanted. And the rosewood needles, and other stuff, and made a very small dent was made in the piles of yarns.

Last night Monica invited me, and another friend over, too. And while I went home with a tall shopping bags worth of yarn, and Miss O, did the same, the yarn is still piled high. A third person is coming later in the week –She put dibs on the merino wool (I grab 1 small bag, (7 skeins/each 110 yards )in a beautiful green—not enough for a sweater, but then, I like vests better--)But there are massive piles or merino left--in sweater sizes quantities.

The best yarns I found are at the ends of the spectrum. I found a big bag of Wendy's Peter Pan yarn—a nice grade acrylic—in a real clown barf colorway..Oops, I mean a real vibrant polychrome. A project was started with the first of 9 skeins, a hat perhaps, or small sweater—and a bit of Lion Brand wool ease in there, too. The project will be frogged, and the eight + skeins will be plenty to make a pair of sweaters. for the granddaughters.   
I might pair this yarn up with Lion Brand's Bonbon mini skeins, and break the polychrome up, with  stripes of solids... I am thinking VERTICAL stripes—I-cords—similar to the ones I used to make the flower stems in this sweater.(made some years ago for another granddaughter.  Maybe ending with pompoms—or not pompoms, but something else.. I'll tell you more about the other end of the spectrum next time I post.. and other fun stuff.

Meanwhile my second little polychrome project is well underway. I know it doesn't look it from here.  This boring blue is a lining (to a hat naturally) the color work comes next. Colorwork I have already started --just a half dozen rows, but.... This is an improved project. The prototype had some flaws, (include getting moth eaten) and this hat will be an improvement.

I sew, and one of the things I like about sewing patterns is 1 pattern will often have 2 or 3 view. A basic dress might be shown with a collar, and with out, or with sleeves, or with out, or some times with 2 or 3 different sleeves.

I have an idea—1 chart, 3 projects, a simple hat, (knit flat) a lined hat, (knit in the round) and a cowl, (in double knitting) Not really as set, but 3 ideas for how to use a polychrome yarn—for 3 different skill levels.. Done in 3 different colors; different solid colors, and different polychomes. In each case, about half the directions are “follow the chart”--so making the chart (done) was the main part of the pattern writing. The other major part is knitting the samples. I am midway through sample 2, and sample 3, the cowl, has the least work required--(no top!)


But with this influx of new yarns to my SABLE, I better get my fingers working!  I have all this new fiber to knit up. And the holidays are coming--and I have nothing knit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Polychrome Yarns

Or as they are more commonly know in the knitting world, clown barf yarns.You might never have heard that name before, but you know exactly what I mean.  

And yet in spite of that name, we all once in a while fall victim to loving skeins of it. It's worse in the early years, when those bright colorful skeins look so wonderful and  we are unsure of what color we want.

There are new colors and kinds and weights of clown barf all the time. They look so pretty in the skein, all the colors in such pretty harmony. Even seasoned knitters, who have disaster after disaster with polychromes, are still sometimes suckered into buying another skein (or two, or three!) every once in a while.  If they are not suckered into buying these skeins themselves, the receive gifts of them from well meaning friends, who present them with single skeins of them as gifts.

We love they way the colors line up in the skein. We keep thinking we'll get those pretty, balanced pools of color when we knit them up.   Then when we do finally take them to the needles,  what looked so pretty in skein—the beautiful ombre, the colorful skein, becomes, in very short order, a pile of clown barf. YOU know exactly what I mean.

So what to do with those skeins? Toss them? (Never!) There are solutions. Ravelry has a group, (for everything) but one especially for these yarns. You can, depending on the color patterns and how they are printed—knit scarves or hats that self stripe, or self pattern into something like a argyle type design.
 
Sometimes, things work out--but the results often seem more suited to a child garment rather than an adults.(That is one of my darling granddaughter, when she was 6 or so, modeling a Meg Swanson design.--Knit circa 2005)

Another option is to pair with a solid color. Narrow stripes of polychrome, paired with narrow stripes of a solid can create a beautiful design. Using polychromes in stranded knitting can work, too. Though long colors runs that self stripe are more suited.

Here are some tricks for picking the solid yarn.
1—the solid yarn should not have any color in the mix. Sometimes, this means, only white or black are are available for coordinating solids.

2—the solid yarn should be about the same color value as the polychrome—Pastels match best with other pastels, mid tones match best with mid tones, dark colors match best with dark tones.

3—try for high contrast. A colorway of red violet/violet/blue violet and peach, is best matches with a yellow (yellow being the contrasting color to violet) A color way of blue, blue green, green goes best with a coral (the contrasting color for blue is orange, for green is red, for blue green, a reddish orange or coral—which can go pastel, (and still be seen as coral, or go dark, and be sort of a brick-ish red.)

Other options (and other rules!) can be found in Margaret Radcliffe's book The Essentials of Color Knitting. (a treasure trove of ideas!)

Once you have your matching solid, you have to decide: should the polychrome predominate, or should the solid? I tend to like the solid to predominate—but that is my taste and choice.


What do you think? A good use, or not? More on this bit of knitting tomorrow.