Friday, September 26, 2014

Gusseted and More

And still the skeins, are holding out. They are thread bare—and clearly will be all used up soon—but every round completed is an accomplishment.

The gussets felt like they took forever. The whole ratio changes... when you start with half of 72—or 36 stitches, its 6 extra stitches to start. After the turning there were 20 stitches, but then I picked up 20 on each flap. Because of how I work my heels on 2 circ's I always end up with an extra row—37, not 36, and I always pick up another extra in the corner at the start of the gusset—so, 20, 20, 20—or 60 stitches! (that's a normal sock, for me!) 24 stitches to decrease –(48 rounds of extra stitches!) Woo! That's a lot of work.

But now the gusset is done and a few more rounds. There are almost 5 inches of the foot done, too. Not quite half of the 11.75 inches needed --the foot of these socks is going to end being very close to a foot of foot!

I will really feel the end is in site when I finish up these first skeins.
I love my S-I-L--but at times like this, I wish he was a shrimp of man! and not a full sized one.

Aside from knitting, a big pot of chili got made—Simple eastern US style chili--(lots of tomato's)--but the canned tomatoes had jalapeno’s and green and other chilies, right in there with the tomatoes. Plus I added chili powder.

I sometimes go out and buy dried chilies—both mild and hot, and toast them, and roast the garlic, and then cover the lot with hot water, run them through the blender, and sieve, and do all that work... for an authentic style of chili. But more often I start with a tomato sauce base, and add dried, ground chili powder. (some time I compromise, and use whole dried, toasted, soaked and pureed in a blender chilies along with some tomatoes, too!) I like both kinds of chili.

As a first generation American, living on the east coast, mild tomato based chili was the first kind I ever had (and I didn't have that till I was an adult!) So this kind is still a comfort food. Real south western style chili wasn't part of my life till just a few years ago. I still see it a big deal to make—but then, not every local store stocks an assortment of dried chilies, so making it requires pre-planning on my part and a special trip to a store that stocks dried chilies.

On the other hand, I always have a can or two of tomatoes and green chilies, and chili powder. Yesterday I had a can of “fiesta tomatoes” with a mix of chilies added to the diced fire roasted tomatoes. These tomato products are not the base of an authentic chili, perhaps, but not insipid stuff either!

There were beans, too, of course. Dried ones, soaked and cooked in the sauce. Not the traditional kidney beans, I like little pink beans in my chili, and I find it them much easier to find dry.

The chili made a wonderful dinner—it was cool last night (in the low 60° (circa 16°c.) and it hit the spot. There is lots more—some in the fridge for later this week and more in the freezer for later next month. That's a warming thought.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Knitting Progress

 The balls of yarn are getting pretty anemic—and I will clearly need the the third. Patons Kroy sock yarn comes in various size balls. All are 50 grams, but some have more yarns, and some have fewer.

These skeins are on the small size—only 160 yards per 50g.--3 skeins are 480 yards—and about the right yardage for a pair of men's socks—I can usually get a small (shortish leg) socks for my self out of just a pair of skeins  If I add some other yarn in, as stranded work, or just as contrasting heels and toes, I can get a long legged pair.

Of course part of the reason the yardage is so short, is the yarn is thicker/heavier than average, too.
I am knitting these on a pair of size 2 needles, and getting a dense fabric with 8.5 stitches to the inch. With other sock yarns, I need to go down to size 1's (or sometimes even size 0's) to get as dense a fabric, and my gauge will change, too, going up to 9 stitch or more to an inch—which also means a change in stitch count!

As for progress, well the flap was finished, the heels turned, and gussets started –I still have many more rounds till the gussets are done (another 20 or so). I think the I will get the full gusset completed before I need to start the final skein.

My table was assembled, (it is much easier to stain and finish the top when its assemble)--but I haven't done either yet.

I have been cooking—it's been nice weather (cool) to cook. And my freezer is filling up with stews and curries, and other yummy foods. These are so nice to come home to! Especially now, when Wednesday's with the twins means coming home after dark.

The girls were sick yesterday—nothing major, no fever even—but tired and cranky and had to please. Miss J showed off her new skill—she can pull herself upright into standing position (so long as she has something to hold onto.) Miss C alleged can do the same, but I haven't seen proof. Miss C loves her bouncy seat—When she is not in it, she bounces on her own--Feeling fine, or feeling not so fine, these girls are an exhausting handful!

So that's about it..  

Monday, September 22, 2014

No Knitting –But Progress.

It's quite evident on my fingers and hands.. spots of dark royal blue paint spatter them.

When I move to my current apartment (a co-op) a dozen years ago, I first went through a massive purge... Partly because I had to move out of my house before my apartment was ready to move into, (and this meant storing everything)--and partly because I was starting a new aspect of my life, and wanted to have new furnishing to go along.

My apartment, is big and open, and for the first few years sparsely furnished. Along the way, I have added 'recycled' stuff. Like my current dining room table. Round, with chrome (pitted, not very shiny chrome) legs. The top is scuffed too, so I kept a table cloth on it all the time. It is very much so  a make do piece.

One wall of the dining room has a set of Ikea shelving--(with sets of drawers in the base, and enclosed cabinets on top, and LOTS of recessed lighting. Mostly low voltage halogen, but there are some CFB, and even some LED spots. (the image below show the shelving with all of the lights on..even hidden ones on the top shelves, that light up the ceiling for indirect general lighting.)    Its a display case—an all too often, dusty one. But I like it.

Around the corner, there is sort of matching room divider. My great room (living room/dining room/entry) has a structural pillar in it... I built the room divider (well I used some extra Ikea pieces, and made my own shelves) to section off an 8 X 12 area (yellow paint) as a my computer room. And I  even divided the divider!

The upper part is open and really oriented to the dining room.  It has a cabinet with glass doors on both sides, so while it divides physically, I can easily see through (to a window beyond!)  The lower part has solid panel on the dining room side, and is open on the other side (my computer room) where it stores paper, and some craft material: fancy paper, a paper cutter, and collection of Dover books—of computer art. There are specialty papers—blank business cards to print, cloth (on paper) for making iron on's and other stuff.

These images are from several years ago—before I had my make do table—and show the units clearly--Since then, the electric cords have been neatened up (and the displays change--some parts change seasonally--(the pumpkins will be back soon, and at later, the divider will have the glass conefir aboretum for the holidays)

Soon, the make do table will be replaced with an matching Ikea table. It started out plain, unfinished wood, and now the legs and apron of the table have been painted blue—to match the shelving units. Next up, a light sanding to the top, and a light stain. Then a good coat of wax, well buffed. Part 1 is done—legs and apron have been painted.

Next up assembling it (the leg were removed for easier painting), and getting the top finished.  Along the way, everything on the display shelves will be cleaned, polished and dusted.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Day's with my Darlings

Seriously cut into knitting time this past week. Wednesday is my usual day with them. We go to a baby and toddler program at the Queens library—singing the A, B, C song, and counting songs, and silly song like the hokey-pokey... The program is 2 half hour segments, and the girls enjoy the socializing, and singing both.

Then, Thursday, was a special day—off to the doctors office to have their ears pierced. They have matching little earrings. in different colors—little crystal daisy like flowers. Miss J was very, very sad to get her ears pierced.. but Miss was happy, but she was easily consoled (and in minutes both were totally oblivious to their new earrings)

On the way home from the doctors, we stop and I attempted to pick up my new eyeglasses. One pair was fine, the other, not so much. I want partially tinted pink/rose lenses. (Tint level 3 is “free”--or rather just included in the cost) And tint level 3 was perfect. Level 1 is almost imperceptible, level 6 is a full sun glass tint.. Level 3 definitely has color, but its not that dark.

1—The tint was the complete lens... OK I could live with that.

2—The tint was dark—if not level 6, it was way darker than 3.

3-- The tint wasn't pink/rose. (It was an orange-ish brown!)

That last bit was just too much. So they are back to where ever they go to be made, (actually that is just a few miles away (well, define a few miles: 20 or so)) to be remade. As a consolation, they new glasses will be shipped to me, I won't have to pick them up. (It is two buses to the location, an PITA)

I really like rose tinted lenses—the world truly looks prettier through rose colored glass. Dry dusty, russet weeds on the road side, become brighter, rustier reds (instead of drab brownish russets) Greens look greener, and blues bluer, and fall foliage much more vivid. I have a pair of glasses with a dark rose/grey blend tint—about a level 5—and these are my favorite sunglasses—especially for the fall and winter. 

So knitting time was  compromised this week.  I love the darlings, but they are exhausting! Wednesday night, I fell asleep watching the The Roosevelt's (Ken Burn's new documentary on PBS) –and got no knitting at all done. (Fortunately, here in NYC, our local PBS's station, WNET/13 rebroadcasts each episode, so catching up wasn't hard.) Thursday night, another inch + got added to the sock—the leg now measures 8.75. Then the heel flap started.

I am keeping the 3 X 1 ribbing pattern up as work the flap.. the right sides is K1, Slip1, Knit 1, Y forward, (as if to purl), slip 1, --repeat. It is a slight variation from k1, sl1, --but the pattern does have alternating knits and slips...At first glance it doesn't look any different from the 3 X 1 ribbing that came before. But the gauge has changed—like heel stitch—the rows are more compact.

More of the heel flap got done Friday, (along with many errands and tasks) and a little more last night.
Progress always seems slower on the flap—the slip stitches make the row gauge tighter.

I have 24 rows done on the flap 2/3rds of the 36 rows.  I need. Maybe tonight—and then the heel turn. I always feel happy once I finish the heel—I feel likes its all down hill to the toe. Partly because there is no patterning (not even a simple rib) on the sole, and partly because once I am done with the heel the sock is more than 75% finished... and there really isn't much more to do.

I am not there yet.. but.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Progress Report

My green rudbeckia socks have another 3 rounds complete—I worked on them Sunday when I trucked a few miles north to baby sit my grand daughters.

I got nothing done once I arrived—the girls are a full time (time and half!) job. Such different personalities and temperaments! Miss J is all determination. She locks her jaw and set to work at what she wants. It's hard to distract or deter her—but so worth the effort because she has such a winning smile. Miss C, is a charmer. She already knows her winning smile will soften the hardest hearts. And she flashes all the time. She too is determined to get what she wants—and so much energy...she is a motorized whirl a gig!

Baby sitting was exhausting. They are both so filled with energy and curiosity, and determination. And I am a morning person—by 8 O'clock in the evening, I have no energy—Unlike these night owls.

My plan was to watch the PBS show The Roosevelt's—and I did catch most of it. (In NYC, they did an immediate repeat. First broadcast at 8PM to 10, then rebroadcast from 10 till midnight.) by 10 both girls were asleep (well, one woke up at 11:40 PM) and I was able to see most of it—uninterupted.

It was on again last night (new episode) and again tonight, (and again, and again for the week)--

Last night as I watched, I worked on my SIL's grey ribbed socks. Just past 7 inches now—and if they were for me, time to start the heel flap. But SIL is taller—so an other inch/inch and half before I start the flaps. I feel like I am eating up yarn--(I do have a third skein) but I am refusing to worry about running out. I have several skeins of Kroy yarn is solid grey, (light, medium and dark greys) any of which will go well with the grey marl if I need to find yarn to finish the toes.

It's a bit easier to see the 3 X 1 rib pattern with the socks stretched out a bit. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cracking the WIP's

I have been making these socks forever—or at least all summer. I have stopped, and knit another pair of socks, and then gone back to them. I am bored with them. The idea is to knit a flower sock—specifically, a black eyed suzy's (rudbeckias) I like the idea, I dyed the yarn, I created a stitch pattern to work them in, and now, I can barely stand to knit them. I get a scant round or 2 done each week on the bus—a kind of forced knitting. I'm almost to the point of knitting the flowers for the top. There is the row of “bobble' buds, shown, (more to come on back of sock) and next, semi opened buds... and then finally flowers.

The thought of picking them up drove me to start a new project (the Mint Pi)--which is also on hold. I am now at 256 stitches—and I KNOW the pattern I want to work next . I just have to find the stitch dictionary that has it—and say a prayer that it has a stitch count that works. Actually, I have several stitches I want to incorporate, and it's just a matter of finding one that has the right stitch count for a repeat. There are many option, factors in 256 include, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and others.--and many stitch dictionaries on my shelves to search through.

So—to avoid working on the dredded flower socks, I started another pair. These are for my totally knit-worthy SIL—who like wool socks, and spends $$ to buy them. He and my DD have already gone camping with my darling gran's (who will also have wool socks or legging next year—they near wore their sweaters out in a 4 day camping weekend this year!)-- and come this winter he will once again head north and spend a long weekend hunting...(and hopefully come home again with meat).

Any one who is stomping round in woods in November needs wool socks. Even though this could pass for dress sock, (and be at home in an office in the downtown financial district)--they will also work for warmth inside outdoor boots.

This pair is plain jane—I know his foot size, but knitting socks with out fitting socks is always a bit risky—so I opted for ribbing. 

Since Thursday night? Cast (again and again—I really have trouble counting after the sun sets!) and started with 1.75 inches of 1 X 1 ribbing. Now I have changed to 3 X 1, and knit another 2+ inches. The plan is for about 9 inches of leg. I am a few rows away from the half way point of the leg at 4.5 inches. Followed by a 3 inch heel flap, for a total of 12 inches for the leg length. The foot will be almost equal length. (or close, I have to check and see how big a foot is needed for a men's size 12 shoe) It's some nice progress—especially when you consider, these are large men's socks (72 stitches cast on, not the more usual 60).

These Oh, so plain socks in a grey marl are so much more fun to knit. I LIKE the IDEA of richly patterned socks, with interesting details... but I really don't like knitting them. The few pairs I have knit? I rarely wear. I like plain socks. Or simple self striping patterns or even socks with beaded elements. I even enjoy socks worked in stranded color work . Though I confess, I rarely do a whole sock in stranded color work..I love how they look, but they don't fit into most of my shoes, and so they rarely get worn! Still I have a number of pairs with fancy tops and toes. And I like these ribbed socks, since I am vain—and I love my neat columns of ribs. Sometimes it's the plainest of features that best showcase a knitters skill.

I'll see how the plain jane ribbed sock fit my SIL , and then maybe plan another pair—goodness knows, I have more than enough socks for me! (and I still want to knit socks)—and sometime before the end of world, I will finish my rudbeckia socks.

But I think the Mint Pi might be finished first!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Not Much Knitting Going On

 My knitting slump continues... Socks started at the beginning of the summer, still aren't finished. I like the design, but I am just not interested in knitting them. Nothing else either.

So, of course my response was to start something new.. And while it is pretty, it really won't be a successful FO.

I started a pi shawl—EZ's misnamed basic pattern. It's really a Bi shawl, since it follows a binary progression.. Every time you double the row count, (from row 1 (cast on) to 2, or from row 2 to 4, and 4 to 8, (and so on, in simple binary progression) you double the stitch count, (from 4 stitches (cast on) to 8, then from 8 stitches to 16, followed by an increase of 16 to 32, (and so on) in a secondary binary progression. I am half way through a 32 row section—with 128 stitches in each round.. (It's still doily sized--about 8 inches or so)

The yarn is a soft wool and silk blend, (no name/no label, bargain cone)--home dyed a mint green.

Every new group in the progression is getting a new stitch pattern.

At first, almost no pattern, then a simple mesh, followed by a set leaves, and now, diamonds...

Un stretched 
Like all lace it doesn't look like much unless its heavily blocked.. Just compare when I finished the leaves.. (un stretched) with the same bit stretched out on the needle and pinned.

Gently stretched
I am now ¼ (8 rows) through the 32 row section, and I won't really be able to stretch out the knitting anymore—even just gently (vs hard blocking) stretched, it fill my circ.

I mentioned above, that this will be somewhat unsuccessful FO. I don't really have enough yarn for a big circular shawl. Just 4 oz or so, (and no idea how many yards)....So I am likely to run out of yarn when the circle is just 20 inches or so.. 

But it's fun to play with new patterns as I progress—its almost going to be a stitch sampler as much as anything else. I suppose it will be a small neck wrap in the end.
A needle full of stitches.

I have also been pigging out on TV—I got hooked on Orange is the New Black-- and now I am eagerly waiting for season 3 with thousand of others. Mad Men is on my Netflix queue, too.

My baby granddaughters are growing like weeds—and I see them at least weekly—and sometimes 2 or 3 times in a week—what with babysitting, and doctors appointments, and just helping out (library trips). They see their other grand parents on a regular schedule, too. They have a packed social life for infants—DD want to make sure they are not shortchanged in attention or stimulation.