Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cooking

A new section has been added to my web page—A collections of recipes. Some are favorite recipes— that were first featured on my blog; these have been edited and improved. Others are new recipes appearing for the first time. Find them in the left hand column, Recipes and Cooking,

There are 5 recipes, so far, and many more to come. Several breads, and more soups, and a few one dish meals. Most have been published before, and some are ones I have worked out on my own, others are ones I have adapted to my taste.

I always start the fall by filling my freezer with warm savory foods—soups and stews and roasted meats, so when I come home, cold and tired, (from anywhere) I can make a quick dinner of what I have previously prepared; with just a quick reheat in oven (or micro wave oven)  These recipes are as much for me, to use, as a refresher, as they are to share.

As a child, my mother complained I was a picky eater—I was to some degree. But mostly, we just had a different sense of taste—The vegetables I liked, she didn't and her favorites, were my least favorites.

A match made in hell. And it wasn't just vegetables—I love Chinese food—she hated it. I love nuts (every sort and kind!) Nuts were another food on my mother's never to eat food. She loved cured meats (ham, brisket), and pickled pigs feet(or trotters as she called them)-- and I dislike these foods (Yes, I am Irish, and NO, don't like corned beef!)

Part of her flavor profiles of tastes, was formed in her youth—and by the depression—in general, and living in a poor country, with limited access to imported foods.  So she grew up eating a narrow range of foods. My father was more adventurous, and exposed us to a wider range of foods, but he worked full time—and rarely cooked.. so we got exposed to lots of fruits, but not a lot of cooked food—Cooking my mothers purview—And she rarely add anything she hadn't eaten in her childhood. This did change as she got older, but by then, I was off on my own, exploring new foods on my own.

In both Ireland and England, the slogan “Heinz means Beans” was a long standing advertizement, and beans feature in “full Breakfast” meals. But in our house, when I was growing up, a single small can of pork and beans (an 8oz, can) sufficed—for a family of 7. Servings of beans consisted of so few beans, you could readily count them.

And that was the only beans that were served. Over the years, I have expanded my tastes (and like pork and beans the least)--Now chick peas, (in soup, in humus, as felafel, or curried) are a regular part of my diet, and so are Black beans (mostly as soup, but occasionally as a side dish). Kidney beans, pink beans, small white beans, too, are in the mix. They show up in chili, (real made with dried chili's and no tomatoes, and eastern (US) style with chili powder and tomato), and in US Senate bean soup, or curries, too.

Lentils are in the mix, too. But they were never favorites. But I have discovered French green lentils, (about ½ the size of common green lentils, and very small black lentils (and other colors, too!)

To show the scale, here are a few lentils, (dry) nestled into the finger holes of a small scissors. Look how small those black lentils are! They cook quicker than larger lentils, and have a lovely flavor. I like these cooked with a few vegetables for lunch and in soup, and in a tomato based curry sauce (made with several spices, not with a yellow curry powder)



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's been Weeks

 Once again, its a long time since I posted here. I've been busy—New knitting videos on my web page, and more to come (very soon) and other work there, too. I've also been working on a scarf (that is about to bite the dust...6 inches in, to a complex lace, and too many errors have crept in, and I don't like the results, even where it is perfect—so I will have to rethink my plans. I spent a lot of time creating a chart for this—I'll keep the chart—it might work for socks..

It's been weeks filled with busy, work, nothing useful or accomplished. Little things like putting aside the dribs and draps of left over yarn (still in sock kit bag) and restocking the bags ( New business cards in one, hand cream in another, and so on) but I haven't packed any new kits (YARN!) I still have 1 kit to do) and 2 kit as a UFO,(the lace topped Swizzle, and Rubeckia from the spring). January might be a good time to make a set of new kits.

I did, finally, make a start on my next pair of socks, They are now just a half dozen rows short of 7 inches, (and the start of the heel). I have been thinking about making another vest/shell in sock yarn-(hot pink). The yarn is in sight, packed in a clear plastic bag, crying to be started. I have resolved not to start it thought till the current pair of socks are completed. I haven't decided on a pattern either—Lace panels? Or all over lace?

I said in my last post (almost a month ago), I was going to make a pair of stranded work socks, but there wasn't enough contrast—I had some left over KnitPicks sock yarn in Pumpkin, and a pre-divided skein of Lion Brand Sock Ease in the Red Hots color way. Both are great fall colors. The KnitPick yarn is left over from the pumpkin pie socks I knit for my grand daughter a couple of years ago.

So, I changed over to a HUGO inspired pattern Not quite HUGO, but....Partly because I hadn't planned to do Hugo after a cuff-- I tried a few rows of simple spiral pattern—and it was a flop. I didn't even bother to undo those few rows. Can you see them? It's pretty easy to see where I started the Hugo like pattern-- I switched over in the evening, which is when my brain goes into low gear—I should have divided the front stitches into more even groups but no matter. I have the key elements, with biases side panels, and the center straight.

I have gotten over my annoyance at loosing my size 1 needle—Here is the edging I worked out for the sock. The main yarn (Reynold's Swizzle) is simple sock yarn—widely space stripes.. It's not quite busy enough to NEED a plain sock, but not quite plain enough to need a fancy pattern.

The lacy cuff detail was a sort of compromise. I like the big open lacy picots—there aren't nearly enough top down picot edges. The green isn't a perfect match for the green stripe in the yarn, but it is close. I will break down and buy another size one needle--(soon) and get back to work on these socks.

I've gotten some soup made (and Monday was a soup day—36° (circa about 3 to 4°.)in the AM, and about 13°C---Low 50° in the mid afternoon. Unseasonable cold (a normal high temp is 60 to 65 (16° C or a bit more). I was out all day, taking a Historic tour of lower Manhattan with a friend, and lunching at Fraunces Tavern—Something GW did 200 years ago, or so. I had oysters for the first time in my life, too. Well, make that raw oysters—they were lovely. For most of my life, oysters were out of my price range, and I was reluctant to spend that much money to try them—Now I know they are worth the price!

.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Augh!

Worst case scenario has played out.

After a half dozen tries, I finally figured out a lace edging pattern (I have it saved somewhere, but couldn't fine it... I eventually found a swatch, re worked it, and documented it.)

First sock was cast on, and the edging work. Then I discovered I had lost one of my circular needles.. a size 1—and I don't have another one. The edging is a pretty one, but it requires 145 stitches to be cast on to yield 64.


I am putting the socks aside for the moment, and doing something else.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bath Mats and A Hand Towel

But no progress made on the socks. Not that I haven't tried. I messed up 3 times in the first few rounds (rows really because I messed up in the first round)--so they were frogged. I'll get back to them today.

Bath mat 3 was completed Saturday in the AM—I used 4 of the 5 skeins to make a square about 19 inches by 21. I won't know the actual final dimensions till I give it a wash and machine dry. It will shrink and change size but—what ever the measurements, it will be a nice size.

I took the last skein, and made a matching guest towel. Right now, it's 10 X 15—it too will change size, but the knitting is tighter to start. . This yarn was labeled “worsted” weight, but its a light weight worsted. The kit came with a pair of size 9 (5.5mm) bamboo needles (it would have taken an eternity to knit this cotton on bamboo) I make the bath mat with the yarn held doubled, and used a size 11(8mm) needle. I think I could have gone down to a size 9—seed stitch, like ribbing tends to work better knit on smaller needles. But I didn't, and the fabric is very loose, open and drapy.

I made the towel with a single strand, and a size 6 (4.25mm) needle. It's a bit firmer, but not tightly knit by any means. I am surprised sometimes that there are scores and scores of patterns and projects for wash clothes, but very few for towels.. I don't know that I would want to knit a bath sheet (an oversized bath towel) but hand towels? Why not?

So, today, I will once again cast on the socks. The yarn is Reynolds “Swizzle”-- in a light grey.
The first few times, I started with a plain edge—but I think I am going to change this time. I like thetriple edge I did last time-- This time, I will do something else. The grey color way has pink, orange and green stripes. I am sure I can find something to match—Some Lion Brand Sock Ease in the solid pink might do—but I might go with the green..(in an other sock yarn)

My S-I-L has tried on the socks, and they fit—I'm sure I will hear more about the next time I see him. I found that I have 4 skeins of Kroy sock yarn in Royal Blue in my sock stash.  The next pair I knit for him will be blue.(He as beautiful blue eyes, and wears a lot of blue to accent them--The girls have his blue eyes, too) 

The Royal Blue is a bit bright—I might take some navy or black and make stripes on the leg portion—This will darken the sock a bit, and will leave me with 2 skeins of the blue for me.  That I have 4 skeins just goes to show you that I like the blue... Besides, I wear a lot of Denim, so blue socks are always useful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bath Mat? Or Bath Runner? And More!

Yesterday morning saw bath mat 2, the striped one, done. It's more of a bath runner, than mat. About 12 inches wide, and 25 inches long...I have some yarn left over in every color—clearly, I could have made it wider, But, no matter. It is more of a runner shape than a mat shape, but it will do the job.

On my way to visit the girls yesterday (it was Library day once again for the first time in weeks) I got socks cast on, and a single row worked, but I didn't get the socks joined into rounds, and repositioned as 2 socks on 2 needles.  But I am back to down town Flushing again today--I will be picking up my daughters share from her CSA--and will get more knitting done on the bus ride to and fro.


There are several methods for casting on and setting up 2 on 2 socks—you can see my method on the Golden Apple Face book page –here is a direct link to the video.

I got nothing done on the way home—my daughter was off to end of summer get away—in NJ- and since she would be driving past my house, she dropped me home.

Once home, I should have continued with the socks but instead...

This is an unknown cotton yarn. 7 or 8 years ago, a celebrity knitter out in California—one with a yarn store for the stars—expanded and created kits for knitters. All the projects were simple ones. Knit in garter stitch, on huge needles. The kit had a project bag, some yarn, an oversized bamboo needle and directions.

This yarn is from one of these kits. The project was a simple poncho, knit on size 10(or so) needles in a very open light weight fabric. The cotton yarn is almost a boucle. The yarn is a loosely spun cotton with a heavier thread wrapped round it. If you are familiar with Lion Brand Homespun yarn, you know the type. The cotton core is less splitty than Homespun, but it has the same lightness. 

I have made shawl and blankets from LB Home Spun, and they are very light and airy—and warm too. I don't much like the yarn for clothes, it is so soft and drapy I feel it looses shape...but it is great for blankets and shawls. 

Meanwhile, theses knit kits were (to my thinking) over priced. I wasn't alone in my thinking. A year later, I found 2 in the remained bin for $5 (originally $30!) and for $5, I grabbed them. The yarn is 100% cotton (and natural fibers are always worthwhile) and the zippered plastic bag made a good project bag. The bamboo needles were gifted to a newish knitter who liked big needle projects—I had no need for another pair of largish needles (I prefer to knit finer yarns on smaller needles). The second kit had black yarn, not natural white, in a wool/synthetic blend--it became a hat for charity years ago.

So the cotton has been hanging around waiting for me to knit it up. I was worried as I started—I wasn't sure there would be enough for a bath mat. Not that I knit that densely—I usually knit a bit loose and then full by washing in hot water. But I had no label, and no idea of the yardage, and it didn't feel like much yarn by weight.

So here I am, with skeins one and two (of 5) nearing completion. The mat is 17 inches or so wide, and 9 inches knit. Finished it should be about 17 by 20 or 21 inches. Fulled it will grow to 18 inches wide, and shrink to 19 or so inches long. And almost square. I will also end up with 1 full skein of this yarn left—maybe a guest towel will be made to match .

It is, as you see, the dreaded seed stitch. But its not to bad. The cotton is light, and the work is loose Seed stitch with its k1, p1 nature is like a ribbing.. It really should be worked on a smaller needle--Its going fast—most of this was knit last night (another inched was added this morning. This bath mat should be done sometime tomorrow—and it will be the third in the set.


One rectangle(in a golden ratio) , another rectangle (almost a runner in shape) and the 3rd, a squarish shape. A small dent made in my cotton stash—and a small collection of bath mats added to my bath linens (that aren't linen at all but cottons!)  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Plan

Yesterday,  was to cast on for my next pair of socks. I have the yarn, and the needles and everything ready to go in a sock kit bag.

But, first I needed to put away the 6 oz. of cream colored cotton, into the cotton stash bag. While I was doing that, a bunch of skeins JUMP OUT and landed in my lap. The demanded to be made into a bath mat—immediately.

So, the socks were put aside, and the yarn was sorted, and this emerged

It is, (or rather will be) a smaller mat than the first one—its about 14 inches wide (and will get a little wider as shrinking cotton always results in one direction getting wider, and the other shorter) and will be shorter too. Finished size, before washing and drying will be 14 inches by 24.  Small, but my bath room is so small, it will be fine.

It's just about  half done--the pink/taupe/pink mark the mid point—the next half will repeat the first. White, brown, white and taupe/pink/taupe, white, brown will be repeated. I really like symmetry—and balance. 

The mat is shown on one of my taupe towels. A good match I think. The pink has a coral/peach tone, and none of my pink towels do, but that's OK. I like things co-coordinating more than perfectly match match.The edges aren't as uneven as the appear, the mat is draped over the towel, and is folded a bit.

I am working the ends in as I go, I noticed it was getting too bulky on the right side edge, so I started to alternate, and work some of the garter in purls—and it is looking better. Purl garter is a good way to practice purls—and to learn how to work an even tension. Working in purl garter allows me to alternately start the new colors on both right and left edges.


So that is my story and I am sticking to it. I will start the socks to night—tomorrow is Wednesday, and since the car is still pending, I will be taking the bus, and will be knitting. I think I will continue with cotton, (bath mats and potholder, and even a couple of place mats) for the rest of the month—and then take on a bigger project.. a vest, or maybe even a sweater. I have both in my queue.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Progress—to the Point of Being Done!

By dinner time Saturday, I was 12 inches on. By bed time, another 3 inches! So I started Sunday with 15 inches, and I liked the look—in effect, a 3 x 5 ratio--(a golden ratio) So I thought, well a few more rows, since the cotton is likely to shrink (row wise) and stretch width wise when it get washed, and I will be done.

So I measured a half dozen rows later, and—It was still 15 inches. Impossible, yet very common—every knitter has experienced it. Phantom progress. An other half dozen, and it was just shy of 16 inches. This mat is just refusing to add length! I added another half dozen rows and it jumped to almost 18 inches—So I bound off, late Sunday evening.

I still have a lot of the cream yarn left, (the finished mat weights 10 ounces)—So I have been thinking about the next mat—and how to use the remaining cream. I worked the mat using 2 strands held together, so about 5 oz (twice). This leaves 6 ounces—or more than enough to make a double strand mat using cream as one strands. So that is one option.

I might do simple (all cream) stripes with some alternately solid ones. And some tweeds, too. Solid cream, then a tweed of cream and a color, then a solid stripe of a color, and then back to solid cream. Or maybe solid cream, tweed, solid, tweed, solid cream.. And then repeat with a different color.

Taupe for one color, and pink for another, and blue, and magenta, then a green, and maybe a pastel pink and finish off with a chocolate brown---I'll have check my stash and see exactly how much yarn of each color I have.

The next mat will be knit starting with few stitches, (about 15 to 17 inches across) and the stripes will stack up. I'll need more rows, but the stripes will keep me moving along.

I had started out thinking about TEXTURE--A basket weave maybe—or seed stitch—though, I am not sure about a bath mat in seed stitch—that is an awful lot of seed stitch.

I have a knit towel that I did in seed stitch –its hand towel (guest towel size closer) and I remember thinking , as I was knitting it, that it was a lot of seed stitch! The cream and taupe cotton tweed I have is finer than worsted—I might make a pair of hand/guest towels out of that yarn, in a seed stitch. 3 hand knit guest towels will make a nice set.

Well, it something to think about.

Mean while—I never did the socks cast on, so that's the project for today—I might also cast on for Mat 2—It was fun to finish something in a weekend.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fast Work!

2 strands of cotton worsted, held together, worked on a size 11 (8mm) needle works up in a flash! I cast on 85, (about 25 inches) and before dinner time at all I had 25% (5 inches) done, since I expect to finish when the mat is about 20 (x 25) inches. This morning is it stands at 9 inches done—Almost half done! Even if I take out a few hours to cast on for the next pair of socks, I should have this bath mat finished by Monday!

I am making this first bath mat plain—just rows of garter stitch. It's Lily's Sugar and Cream cotton (I have a 1lb cone of it, from Tracy Schaeffer.) There is another pound of worsted cotton or two in 2 to 4 oz skeins and an other cone in a cream and taupe tweed—I have lots of cotton in my stash!

My bath room is a bit of hodge podge, with 2 inch grey tiles on the floor, and 4 inch cream tiles on the wall. This Cream (#3) is a bit brighter than the tiles, (but still a close match). I have white fixtures, and the walls, currently white, will soon be a cream to match the tiles. There are some shelves and towel racks in white, too. The shower curtain? Well, currently, it is a geometric cream and taupe—but I also have an off white (cream) picque one, and a taupe satin one with small pink ribbon roses.

I want more of the cream, and to have cream and and white predominate—the room is postage sized with ventalation fan (no window). It's only 6 foot x 7.5 foot—I have to be careful when I swing my arms to wrap the towel around me... if I am not careful, I can bump my knuckles! So light colors are best, and bits of shine, help too.

Other bits and pieces (water cup and shower rod, and curtain and hooks and such) are all shining stainless steal. The vent cover came layered with paint, but the paint was removed and then it was painted a shiny steel--(spray paint), too.

The white shelve are the kind you find in target, or bed bath and beyond.. nothing fancy. On one of shelves holds my collection of razors.. Most are safety razors(no blades) and there is a shaving cup and shaving brush, too. A fun bit of decoration for a bath room. Most are stainless, but one is sterling silver, and a few are brass. I like these bright reflective pieces to add a bit of sparkle. A bit of whimsy, too. A nice bit of decoration for a bath room.

As for splashes of color—well, I have towels in every color of the rainbow—sets of grey, and sets of blue, and bright tropical orange, often paired with dull taupe. There are green and pinks and just about every color of the rainbow—except purple.

Most are solid, but a striped towel of oranges and golds and browns, pulls together some odds and ends of various shades of taupe and brown.


My stash of cottons have all these colors and more.. So bath mat number 2 will be a more colorful one--(and who know, there might even be a bath mat #3. ) I have some hand knit towels, too.. one simple one in cotton, and 2 fancier ones in a cotton linen blend.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Done! But not Finished

All the knitting was done last night, and this AM I grafted the toes shut. But I have left a long tail, (made into a butterfly, and hidden) in case I need to undo the grafting and add a row or two—which I sincerely doubt. The foot is an even 12 inches –and is more likely to be too long rather than too short, I will leave them for Matt (S-I-L) to try on next week—to confirm the fit, and then weave in the final ends.

The toe detail is nice—I have worked toe shaping like this before, but it especially works with the center panel of stocking knit—the left side is top, the right side is the sock folded so you can see both instep and sole.

As for when Matt can try them on, (and I can get them back) I don't know exactly when that will be—the schedule has always been a bit flexible.. Most of last year –and I still think of the beginning of the school year as the beginning/end of the year—the girls were in a Library program for pre and post toddlers. It's a wonderful program—which has resulted in times, in overcrowding. The program was a bit repetitive (but anyone who knows children, knows, they like repetition!)

This fall will start with a different program, run by the Park Department--(I went to a Park's Department preschool—and 60 years later, still have fond memories of Miss Lorelei, the parkie who ran it.)   The Park program is Monday's and Fridays. Grandma, (Matt's mother) prefers Mondays—and since she come from Westchester –a significant drive—and finds Mondays have the lightest traffic,  So she gets first dibs on that day. I've had Wednesdays for most of last year—with an occasional bump to another day.

This summer, swimming was Tuesday and Thursdays—so the days 'flexed” to meet that need.

But Wednesdays are going to be music days, with Grammie, (their lovely step grandmother) joining the schedule, now that she is retired. So I am moving to Fridays—at least for a while. Change is one the constants.

A full schedule of activities. And just in time.. The girls are on the verge of being toilet trained, and have become mimics of everything they hear. They sing along now and say the letters of the alphabet of the ABC song, and have learned (but have never seen) the theme to the Mickey Mouse show--(since all the local grandmothers sing it)--and I suspect their other step grandmother also knows it—but she (and grandpa) are in Georgia. The girls have a mini (just a bit larger than choke hazard size) Mickey Mouse toy—that they both like—it's part of a jack in the box type toy. And the song just came along.

They have also learned (from me, (Nana) the Baa Black sheep song--(but their toy lamb has a blue face and white wool, and I insist it is a Blue Faced Leicester sheep) The Zoo (all the zoos in NYC) have jacobs sheep (spotted white wool, and double horns). These are the only sheep breeds I can name by sight). But knowing 2 breed of sheep isn't bad for a city girl! Other songs are being learned too. The Itsy, bitsy spider, and some very none traditional songs, too.

I almost have a car, too. After 3 years with out one, I am looking forward to once again being able to go places—It was gifted to me in will—and now its just a matter of probated court (or 60 days wait if I am lucky, or a 90 or more day wait if I am un-lucky!) I hope being gifted a car didn't use up all my luck!

So with the socks finished, I will cast on this afternoon for a new bath mat—and then I will get some more potholders knit (and re arrange the piles). Skeins of cotton will go from a shelf of stash to a pile of linens in a closet—A very small portion will become potholders that will be gifted—but most of it won't really leave my apartment—it will just move to a new location!

I might start another pair of socks (for me) a small project for the bus rides that will be a part of my life for a few more months. I have a 'sock club kit” ready to go (two of them actually)


I have, in the past,  posted about today's history, but at this point, it is becoming just that, history. I will never forget. I saw the first tower come down in front of my eyes, felt the second one. But for me part of the healing process is letting thing return to normal.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Double Post--Anti and Post Weekend

Saturday, 9AM

Half a foot Equals half a foot.

Wednesday, I had just completed the gusset and half dozen more rounds or so. Thursday, was a busy day, and I hardly got a stitch knit. Yesterday was my day with the girls, and we made a final trip to the Ft. Totten pool. Miss C loves the pool and is full of delight jumping and splashing and generally having fun, right up to the minute she realizes that we are leaving.

Then tears, and when tears don't work, a full on tantrum. Until she realizes she is outwitted by Mommy and Nana, and then grief. Sorrowful cries and wails about how unfair life is. After a bit of lunch and long nap, she is once again a loving happy child.

Both girls love to rummage in my knitting bag—so many fun things to play with, and the best thing of all is the retractable tape measure. Pulling it out is one fun thing to do, and measuring things is another bit of fun. Head, neck arms chest, back—everything is measured. And then, best of all, pushing the center button and BACK the tape snaps back into the case! And again, pull out, push the button and snap back! Could there be anything better?

Miss C cares not a wit for the knitting, but loves to pull out miles of yarn (and would gladly un ravel the whole skein) Miss J? She want to know what is being knit. I told her, Socks for Daddy, and she wanted to try them on. They were thigh high hose on her little legs, and her foot was entirely swallowed up by half foot—for indeed, in knitting nothing—a scant row or two here,a row or two there, I have managed to add slightly more than 2 inches, and now have half a foot in both meanings of the word.

6 (+a bit) inches of knitting is half a foot by measure, and 6 inches of knitting is half a foot by size--(the finished sole of the sock will be 11.75inches) So in both ways, I have reached 3/4ths of the sock done!

There are some grueling inches of plain knitting before I start on the toe... But I will be finished these in plenty of time for S-I-L's early October birthday (and the first day of hunting season.)

Tuesday 9AM
Still Not Knitting--ONLY...


Well sad to day, not much to show (knitting wise!) for a 3 day weekend. Saturday's 6 inches are now just 8 inches and a bit. Progress, but not much(especially for 3 days!) But more than I thought, because I hardly remember knitting a stitch. Less than 2 more inches to and then I can start the toes—and they will be finished!

I did lots of other stuff besides knitting; shopping, cleaning, laundry, resting, relaxing, reading, TV and Netflix watching.. but knitting? Not so much!

I cleaned out my fridge—and then refilled it with fresh foods—home prepared salads (tabbouleh) and cole slaw. I cleaned out the sink and emptied drain board, (and then refilled and emptied it again) with  precooked foods. I cleaned off the top of the refrigerator--(it is out of my sight—and easy to ignore) I purged a bunch of stuff that I really don't want (or use)--My recycle bin (5 gallon size) got filled and emptied a few times. And I rested up...

Tomorrow is going to be a long tedious one--(my daughter has tasks that will take her out of the house most of the day) in not so friendly area for babies. So some water bottles were popped into the freezer—cold water is always a must—especially when the weather man predicts 90° days with high humidity. It will be nice to come home to a ready made meal when I am hot and tired. It won't take much to turn the tabbouleh into a full meal—add some tomatoes, and hard boiled egg, and artichoke hearts—it will be ready in no time!

I also attempted to put up a shelf—but wasn't successful the first try—today's chores include a trip to the hard ware store for some screws—and a new mop head for my sponge mop. Oh the exciting life I lead!

I plan to do some knitting, too.  We'll see how that works out on Friday.




Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Hurray, Hurrah!

Really, honestly and truly, the gussets are done! So are the first 2 skeins of yarn, too!

It seemed for a while they would never be finished, but now they are done, I've even worked a few rounds of even knitting—just 4—but it is so nice to be done.  Once again, the pattern is increase on the outer edges, and decrease at the center stripe of straight stocking knit. (that is almost impossible to see, but it really happening) You can see the little puddle of yarn that is all that is left of the first skeins.

I'm definitely going with the 2 skeins to complete the pair. There might be enough in one skein, divided in 2, but I will be anxious the entire time, and I hate knitting from both ends of single skein

With 4 inches of knitting completed with the gusset, I am 1/3rd done with the foot. There is that second bit of torture with men's socks –first they are 20% bigger, (72 stitches vs. 60 stitches) and second they are longer—almost a full three inches longer in the foot (and about 2 inches longer in the leg) . Socks I knit for myself are loose on LEGS, but these socks are HUGE on LEGS. I could almost put both legs into one sock!

The heel flap is bigger (36 stitches wide, by 36 rows long (or about 3 inches)and the gusset longer too.--and the yarn--I very often only need 80gs of yarn (I end up with about 10g of yarn left over from 50g balls) --these socks are going to be 75gs of yarn(each)--If not more!


But I do like my S-I-L, and knitting for him.. He is a Renaissance man—with so many interest. He has several short stories on sale on Amazon, and he in a punk rock band. He has a white collar job--(advertizing) but is a little bit of red neck (and goes hunting ever fall) Every time I think I know him, I discover new interesting things. He likes and wears the socks I knit for him last year, and expressed interest in a new pair for this year. He is so knit worthy!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

An FO


One double knit potholder done. More to follow, but not immediately. Next up, after the S-I-L socks, is a double stranded bath mat, also in cotton. Who knows, maybe even 2 bath mats.

In addition, to finishing the potholder, I got another half dozen rounds finished on the S-I-L (Hugo) sock done. There are still more round to complete before the gusset is fully worked, but with every round, there are few stitches, and the completion nears. No photo of the sock (6 rounds isn't even an inch, and 5 stitches between the marker and the straight stocking knit doesn't really signify (vs 8) 8.5 stitches = an inch, so its less than a half inch of change. Painstakingly slow change.

I still haven't used up the first 2 skeins--(they are very anemic looking) but I think I will need more than 1 more skien to complete the sock. Thankfully, I do have 2! Currently the sole of the sock is about 3 inches long, and will be 3.5 or so when the gussets are finished. The leg portion of the sock is about 10 inches long on the instep side. Half of that is 5 inches. Plus a bit more because the leg started out with 80 stitches, and the foot will only be 72 stitches.  But there is no way I will be be able to coax almost 9 inches of foot from a single skein. For my own personal ease, I will work with 2 from the start, and not from each end of one.


There will enough left over, when I am done, to pair up with some other yarns –to make a creative design, or to re-enforce a heel and toe.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Endless Gusset

Is almost done! Well that is not quite true. But I have at least, passed the half way point. The sock just before the flap and gusset, started with s 74 stitches, 36 in back and 38 in front—so the flap was the 'standard' 36 rows—which makes for 36 stitches picked up for the gusset—Plus 1 extra stitch in the corner, (so there is no hole).

This resulted in 38 stitches picked up for the gussets—19 stitches on each side of the flap. A total if 112stitches per sock at the beginning of the gusset. Corresponding, I am working 38 decreases, spread out over 38 rounds –with 2 decreases ever other round to make the gusset. I still have some 16 stitches to decrease--(8 each side).

So I feel I have gotten a lot of work done this weekend... First the turning of the heel, followed by more than half of the gusset rows worked. The front half of the sock, (where the gusset is located) finally is beginning to feel normal length-- Even though it has 54 stitches—but it felt endless when I first started the decreases..

The gussets have been moved to the center—extending the bias panels. For the leg, to create the bias panels, there were increases along the side “seams” of the sock, and then decreases either side of the center front panel. Now, as I work the gussets, I just decrease every other round. This creates a lot of ease in the instep—and the long gusset is great for high insteps—which S-I-L has. So I know that these socks will be comfortable and well fitting. The stitch markers show how many stitches still to be worked for the gussets. When the marker reach the center front stocking knit panel, the gussets will be completed.

All in all, I love every part of this pattern—it is attractive and simple- I can't really complain about it.. Men's socks are just so much bigger, (and I have big feet!) that knitting a pair takes forever it seems.


Today, I will give my hands a rest (or rather just exercise different muscles) and work on the double knit potholder—already, ½ of a pattern set completed this AM.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Week--

So busy, that I found it hard to remember just what I did! Good stuff, bad stuff, busy stuff.
I am feeling old—The older generation, (my parents and their peers) is just about gone. My father remains, in body, but his mind is gone. He is fortunately, happy to sit and watch nature, and listen to music. He sometimes remembers he has children, and their names, but mostly he remembers Arias, oprahs and the stories behind them.

This week, he became the last of his generation alive. Getting together for a funeral of someone who is in their 90's, who had a good long, mostly healthy life—has an element of sadness, but it becomes a mini family reunion—with cousins coming from far and near, to share time together. Ginny was interred here in NY, where she lived all but the last six months of her life—with her husband and son. And we are all that closer to being the old generation.

It also makes for a long day—one that left me totally exhausted.

Another day involved taking possession of the car I hope soon to own—the car is from an almost contemporary friend—he was 12 years older. 2 other friends died in the past 3 months, and both of them were younger than me. When friends and contemporaries start dieing off, it really make you feel old—and vulnerable. (An acute attack of arthritis, leaving me limping doesn't help either)

The hold up with the car is the title—no title, no sale; no sale, no registering it in my name. So it is sitting in my garage, gathering dust...

I also took a bed from his apartment—it was bought late in his illness, and was never slept in. My old bed (just a mattress and frame) was (is) 20 + years old, so I really needed a new one. This bed has an adjustable base—No box spring, and the adjustable frame is high enough to fit those plastic  storage boxes underneath. My bed linens are stored in a storage box already—it will be nice to have them handy –I have a dust ruffle so the boxes will be hidden—and the bed will look dressy and not bare boned. I am thinking about a head board, too. And perhaps mounting some pin up lamps on the head board. I like to end my day reading or knitting in bed.. a nice lamp to do so, is almost a must.

But it will be a few days, (2 weeks or so) till I get the new bed set up. --since I really need a major reorganizing. I started out with out a real plan, when I moved in, and very little furniture. Thing were placed piece meal in my bedroom over the years, a set of drawers here, a cabinet below with a bookcase above there. No real order or organization.

Now its time to take everything out, and put back what I want, and throw out what doesn't work.
I have been having a bit of clean out for the past month—in other rooms—cleaning and more importantly, reorganizing and culling (Oh the stuff I have thrown out!) —this will just continue on a grander scale.

I saw the girls, this week too—Swimming classes are over, but we continue to go to the pool (one more visit is scheduled) Miss C started classes wary of being in the water, now she cries when its time to leave. She also started needing to be coxed into the pool—Yesterday, she was sliding off the pools edge into the water on her own—I still catch her—but she is growing more confident with each visit.

As for knitting—I've gotten a little done. I haven't finished the double knit potholder (swatch) but it is nearing completion—9 inches done, 3 more to go. That will make it 11x 12, before I wash it hot water and shrink it. It will still be a big potholder—but that's the way I like them—Oversized!

The sock legs eased past 8 inches and the heel flap is complete. (the markers are for the heel turning). The heel turning is a simple short row one (one I have never done, though) and then gussets—that are hidden in the biased bands of the leg stitch pattern. This will be a change for me—As a matter of habit, I tend to pick up all my gusset stitches on the sole side of the sock, and instep is left unchanged—but this sock requires all the gusset stitches on the instep—and it just sounds weird—and I suspect it will feel a bit weird, too.


I have my daughters old fitbit—and I almost never get in 10,000 steps a day—but this week I had 5 days in a row of 5,000, give or take a few hundred. Instead of the more usual 2 days,of 5000,   separated by a day or two) so—you know its been a busy one!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Not a Stitch

Worked on the Hugo socks. I took them to the living room to photograph, and they remain there, untouched since yesterday.

I did get a few more rows done on my double knit potholder (1)--It's a variation on a theme—interlocking diamonds. It reminds me of Easter—all sunny and yellow on one side and pinks and blues on the other. (Lily's Sugar and Creme in color ways Sunshine and Pretty Pastels) This is being made for no one in particular—just some fun pattern swatching.


I have been doing a row here, and row there, in between times.. and suddenly I have 5.5 inches and I am half way done!

I think I want to work on the bath mat next—though renovating (or perhaps, merely returning my bath room to its former state) is being postponed—yet another leak! Not a big one, but.. as Dr. Who has said—water is relentless. It always finds a way.

This, too, is an intermittent leak—and will result, I am sure, in an even bigger mess for my bathroom ceiling. I want something to feel good about—and setting up all the new stuff, Shower curtain, towels (even if not new, a new combination set), bath mat—ever thing all ready to put in place will feel like progress. Destruction is progress too, sometime.

You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Philosophically, destruction and creation are flip sides of the same coin—You destroy the skein to knit the object...and I am hell bent on destroying a bunch of skeins of cotton! Potholders use up not quite 2 skeins at once. Bath mats, knit with the yarn doubled, devour yarn!

One bit of destruction that is also planned is the inside of the bathroom cabinet. I suppose it is the “medicine” cabinet—but I never keep much medicine in it. Occasionally some common cold stuff, and antacids. Mostly its the extra refills for the electric tooth brush (and the tooth brush itself), a bit of make up (if you consider moisturizers and make up removers to be make up) and some hair care products. I want to clean it out, and fix up the inside.  Layers of clopped up paint,--will be chipped off and a new coat of paint put in its place.  It won't be new, but it will look better.

I have thought of replacing it.. but it is one of those job that is a lot bigger than it seems. They no longer make anything the same size (and yes, I have though of just swapping it out). Anything taller, and I need to call an electrician, since the light fixture is actually touching the top of the current cabinet, and would have to be moved. 

Anything that I find that is the same height, is narrower--(and consequently, smaller) I don't have one of the modern base cabinets, with a sink sunk into the Formica counter top—I have a wall hung sink. Changing that? Means replacing tiles, since there is a great big cast iron bracket that is mounted on the wall (to hang the sink from) So storage space (as in a medicine cabinet) is at a premium.

And I don't really want a base cabinet style unit. I do wish I had more counter space.. but...If I found a sink I really liked, and that would also fit into my postage stamp sized bathroom, who knowing what I would do!  One day—maybe. But not now.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 8

of the Hugo sock, and I have knit 8 inches. I am happy with the progress! Actually, I am a few rounds past 8 inches (but less than 8.25). I intend to do a few more rounds before I start the heel flap. 8 inches just doesn't look long enough.

Based on the previous socks, the foot will be 11.75 inches long, and I tend to like the leg to be equal to the foot in length—when they are folded in half, at the heel. So 8.5 inches of leg, Plus, 3 more inches in the heel flap, will make the heel turning just about mid point of the sock—and long enough for my liking.

Once again, the skeins seem to be shrinking down to nothing very fast—but I actually had 4 skeins to start –I've called this a drab color (and it is) but I rather like. So I don't have a worry in the world.

  I bought a pair of skeins, and then some months later, bought another pair (forgetting I had the first). I like and own many colorful pairs of socks.. but sometimes, I like a plain drab pair, too.

If I see this yarn again, I might end up with another 2 skeins, so I can have a pair in this color way. That won't be any time soon—I have resolved to make a dent in my sock yarn stash before buying any more sock yarn. (I justified my sock yarn purchases back in May, with the thought that the yarn could also be made into a scarf (Yeah, like I don't have enough of those either!)

At the same time, I have started with a double knit potholder 1—11 inches wide (it will shrink) and about 3 inches done. More potholders to come after this one, and a new bath mat, too. The potholders are fun little projects, but the bath mats are medium sized project. My first bath mat got put in a load of wash with some bleach—and it really weakened the fibers. At some point, it ended up being more frays and holes than knitting—so this new one will replace that one.

For the bath mat, I am thinking, cream (the wall color) and brown and taupe , and some pink—I have a shower curtain in reserve—that will replace my current shower curtain soon—that is light taupe with little pink roses. And I have lots of pink cotton, and a whole cone of cream. the current shower curtain is cream and tan and taupe and brown--a goemetric design that seems almost neutral.  

I have over the years, knit for breast cancer fund raisers—and pink is the dejur color of the day for them. I have pink towels too. For that matter, I have every color towel in creation.. but a set of cream and pink and taupe towels wouldn't be hard to put together—along with a matching shower curtain, and bath mat. A pretty set for when company comes.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Less Again

But more than expected. (but not enough to bother taking a photograph) 

The girls (my twin granddaughter)  are enrolled in a swim class—and yesterday was my day being there to help them. Its a small class, and only 4 sessions long, (yesterday was session 2). I had a brain fart—and was almost late—so I ended up taking a cab (not buses) so I go nothing knit on the way to my DD and pool, and going home, I knit a bit, but I was so tired, it was hard to keep from falling asleep, I was that tired.

The girls reaction to water is very different. Miss C doesn't like baths. Sitting in warm water getting washed is something she is not very happy about. So you can guess her reactions to a pool.

It wasn't panic or fear—partly my DD thinks because she didn't recognize the blue as water. And with steps, and walking into the water, (with clothes on) it didn't seem like a bath. But eventually she realized the similarity, and she wasn't all that happy.

Miss J on the other hand marched right in (a little fast for my liking! In effect pushing me down the steps to stay ahead of her!

We stayed in the water after the class was over.. and Miss C and I found a game she liked. One element of the class was teaching the girls how to climb out of the pool on their own. (A good skill!) and Miss C liked that. But what she ended up liking even more, was jumping back in. We spent an hour doing nothing but giving her a very little assistance climbing out, then sitting down on the pool edge and jumping in.

Up and out, and down and in, and Again. She went from reluctant to enter to the pool to having a bit of temper tantrum at the thought of leaving it!

I hope her newly learned enthusiasm last till next week. And that she be more receptive to doing other things. Blowing bubbles and putting her face under water, and learning to float on her back and all the other skills that are needed. But being happy about being in the water is a good start. 

So I knit a bit –a scant inch—going home, which is less again than previous days--but the socks are now a row or too past 6 inches!  More than I thought I would get done for the day.

On the second bus, a Russian woman stared a bit, before asking what I was doing. She was intrigued by my 2 socks at a time method. I invited her to sit next to me—and in a few stop she, got the concept of 2 socks on 2 needles and kept saying Amazing!! (I learned 2 on 2 pretty much the same way...)

I saw someone doing it, and sat down next to them and watch for a few rounds—and then I was off on my own. I had to figure out for my self how to start—and I figured out my own method that I have demo'd using 2 colors of yarn----(see it here) (i think it is a bit easier to see what is happening with 2 colors of yarn.  The video is on my Golden Apple face book page--Like it, while you are there!

I think my method  it is easier to do, and easier to get a nice edge --well it is for me.  Once I figured out  how to cast on,  I haven't looked back--all my socks are knit 2 at time, on 2 needles, with the beginning of a round on the side, not center back. (Of course I use a different method to cast on for toe up socks)

Queens is physically big, (110 square miles) and incredible diverse (the most diverse county in NY States, and the most diverse county (measure by languages spoken at home) in all the counties in all the states! My neighborhood isn't an enclave, but we do have a large percentage of Russians—some (perhaps mostly) Russian Jews (one whole town emigrated entirely!) and its not uncommon for me to see Russian lace shawls in the winter--lots of them.  But it is rare to see Russians knitting in public.


My encounters with my Russian neighbors have resulted in me learning a cast on method—and now me sharing a sock knitting method. Small cultural exchanges—in the world of knitting.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Diminishing Returns

I cast on, and started the S-I-L sock with great enthusiasm.
Day 1, 2.25 inches ribbing done.
Day 2, a solid 1.75 inches if the leg done, getting the pattern established, and visible.
Day 3, (yesterday) 1.25 inches done...

Do you see the pattern? I love knitting, but sometimes I get bored. There is hope though, I am now 5 + some inches along on a 8 inch leg—and soon there will be a changes! Most immediately, (3 rounds from now), the second decrease, and the stitch count goes down to 76!

Hardy enough to notice, but I will, just because. Then, not long after that, (just 3 inches away!) the heel flaps and then the interesting gussets! Before that, 2 more sets of decreases. The stitch count for the foot is 72 stitches—which is the same number of stitches I used in the pair of socks I knit S-I-L last year.

So I have things to look forward to, and my enthusiasm will return. And I am pleased as punch that I have passed the half way point on the leg!

I might need a to work some additional round, to make the increases work out evenly, though.

I am not using the suggested yarn—but stash yarn, and while my stitch gauge (the really important one in a sock!) is spot on, my row gauge is a bit tighter. I am supposed to be getting 50 row per 4 inches/10cm—but I am only getting 44 rows-- This really doesn't matter much—It's easy (boring, perhaps, but easy) to knit a few extra rounds to get the right length. I already did that to some degree, and have a deeper ribbed cuff than the pattern calls for. These sock do have some leg shaping, I don't have to worry much about them being too tall, or too tight at the cuff end.

I know from last year, when I knit S-I-L socks from the same yarn, on the same needles, (and got the same gauge) that the socks weren't too big—or too tight at the cuff. Yes, those socks were ribbed, and ribbing does wonders and make it easy to generate negative ease—but the bias panels, that continue right down into the toe, do the same thing. They don't generate as much negative ease as ribbing, but they do pull the knitting in.

They change the gauge in effect. When not stretched into the foam forms I used to photograph them, the socks tend to have the back (already 2 stitches smaller than the front) wrap to the front. The front fabric is tighter than the back—a good sign.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Bit of Progress


I am following the pattern. From the first repeat, I was unsure, and I continue to be, but I am following the pattern.  (Reminder, this is the HUGO sock by Stefanie Bold.) 

It's a simple one. First—the directions are needle neutral, (and presume you know how to knit in the round), and are slightly biased—in favor of magic loop/2 at at time, on 2 circ's. I love that! It will make the heel and keeping up the pattern (which morphs into the gusset) so much easier to do.

Secondly, it is slightly un-even. You start with more stitches in the back of the sock than in the front.

There is a small amount of shaping done, (8 decreases over 8 inches of the leg).  These give the sock some shape, and extra ease over the lower calf. The slightly larger back of leg to begin with makes this shaping easier. 

Those are the good things I have discovered so far. But the bias element? It is created by making increases   and decreases. M1R and M1L for the increases—and OK, I broke from the pattern here--and did my own version of a make 1--see how nice it looks? Can you see the M1 at all? Or just realize it must be there because the stocking knit is biased?  That is it.  the only change I have made. 

 But they are not the expected every other row—rather every 3rd row, (Make a “Pattern row”, work 2 rows plain) The Biased panels have a softer slope as a result. I think I would like a steeper one better.

With just a little more than 1 inch knit, it is almost impossible to really evaluate, (and the photo image does look good!) but I think I would like the socks better, with an ever other row a pattern row, better.

Still its nice to report more than an inch done—a lot more than an inch. (but I am still far short of 2 inches!) I have knit enough of the sock to see the pattern.--You'll note the markers have been removed--at this point I can see where to make the decreases, and don't need them.  that might change at some point (the heel gussets) but for now, I can manage with out them.  

Since I am making the large size, I started  with 80 stitches in a round--(a lot more than my usually 60!) so more than an inch over night is nice progress! I have made my first set of decreases—and now have a grand total of 78 stitches in each sock—Though I am never going to whittle theses socks done to my average number—big feet mean 72 stitches for the foot—which in the grand scheme of things, is still a lot more than my average.


It's a dull grey rainy day—So its a perfect day for doing laundry-- And I have plenty to do. Spring was cold, so I still haven't really completed putting away long sleeves shirts, and pulling out short sleeved ones—These loads of wash should finish up all getting all the winter stuff clean--(and relocated) but it won't be long till they are needed again.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

The King is Dead--

Long live the king. That is sort of how if feel about knitting projects. The Blue socks done.... Quick! Find some yarn and cast on, for socks again!

I decided to jump into making my S-I-L's birthday socks—and give myself lots of time to complete them (his birthday isn't till October).

First there was the yarn—I tend to buy yarn 2 skeins at a time--(and yes, I prefer 50g skeins over 100g ones) I have big feet, but I don't like my socks too tall, (never again do I want to wear knee socks!) and I find, with many yarns, I have 7 to 10g's left over from a 50g ball.. I have make striped socks out of 4 sets of left over bits--(and I will do this again, I am sure).

Some 50g skeins I do use all up, and sometimes (extremely rarely) if I use a cable or other pattern that requires extra stitches for ease, I have even run out.

But MOST of the time, (90% or more) 2 50g skeins (or 1 100g skein) is more than enough for a pair of sock—for me.

But this is not true for men's socks. My S-I-L has big feet. He isn't fat, but he is a big man. Broad shoulders—big hands.. big boned, big feet. . And to make socks for him (mid calf height/8 to 10 inches of leg) I need 3 skeins. I've have only knit him 1 pair of socks, and I did need 3 skeins, so mentally, (if not in reality) I want to start out making sure I will have enough yarn—and that means 3 skeins.

I don't have a big selection of yarn, with 3 skeins skeins in a colorway. If I limit my selection to solid, some what dark colors, the selection gets even smaller. And to be honest—I have a very limited amount of very light colors in my stash—so knitting him (or me!) a pair of lemon yellow socks is not an option! Yellow trimmed, or patterned (stranded color work patterning) YES, but yellow socks? No.

I think eventually, I will be able to make socks for him in jacquard yarns—something with stripes or stranded like designs, in blues (his favorite color) but I am breaking him in, and for now, dull, drab, solid colors are order of the day.

So with hundreds of skeins of sock yarns available to me, I was limited in my choices.

I had some Lion Brand Sock Ease—in a lovely Prussian blue(though they don't call it that!) , and in the root beer brown—but I wasn't certain a single 100g skein was enough. And then there is the yarn its self--

Sock yarn comes in a range of weights.. Best explained this way: some times 100g of sock yarn is almost 500 yards (480 or so yard), but other sock yarn? 100G is 350 or so yards. There is a range, from super fine (almost lace weight) to chunkier yarn—almost sports weight. When the yarn is spun finer, you get more yards for the same weight.

I LOVE the lace weight like Sock Ease. I slip down to a size 1 or even a size 0(zero) needle and still get soft, drapy socks. I love Sock Ease for color work socks, too. The super fine yarn knits up beautifully with out being too bulky-and my feet still fit in my shoes comfortable. With over 400 yards in 100g, it is a fine sock yarn

But, I am not interested in making over sized sock on super fine needles—Call me self centered, or selfish, or what ever, but... I want thicker yarn. Not worsted weight book socks, but on the heavier end of sock yarns.

So I was left with 3 choices:
1—4 ply Kroy—In color flax, a drab taupe color (330 yards per 100g)
2—4 ply Kroy –in a stripe of mixed greys and charcoal
3—buying new yarn.

I went with choice 1. I have a full 4 skeins of this yarn. I don't think I will need more than 3—but its nice to know I have plenty. Maybe next year it will be choice 2--(and as for choice 3, I have been vaguely on a yarn diet—but who knows, maybe in 2 or 3 years, I will be back to buying sock yarn!)
My original plan, a few months ago, was the stripe—I like stripes, simple ones and spiral ones--(naturally jogless), and I LOVE using up a few partial skeins, left over from other projects and getting “bonus socks”.

But I found a pretty pattern—a great easy, pattern.. Called Hugo, from Stefanie Bold (find her as stebo79 on Ravelry)  (her blog is in German, so I suggest you check out her Ravelry profile!)

The patten is, at once, simple and stylish. It's subtle--(and that often translates well into masculine) and works best in a solid color. (She shows a striped version, but I don't like it much).

The pattern is free, and it comes in 5 sizes—so it will fit most any one—skinny little ladies feet, or gun boat feet like mine, or men's, small or large!

So I am started. I have cast on, and started. I used a Open Closed Long Tail (aka the Estonian Long Tail)cast on, a cast on the is very suited, in my opinion, to 2 X 2 ribbing. I have just finished the 20 rounds of ribbing, put the markers in place and I am ready to get started on this new pair of socks.

At the same time, I am sorting through my cotton—I do want some new potholders, and a new bath mat, and....When I want a break from sock knitting, I want to have the cotton handy. 



Saturday, August 08, 2015

Toes—Closed Toes

The beaded blue socks are done—Finally! A week short of two months in progress. I did get a lot of other stuff done as I didn't work on these socks; pillow case embroidered, and lace added, 2 pairs of sneakers embroidered, (one pair with lots of fancy embroidery, one pair with just a touch) and other stuff done, too.

But, finally they are finished.

In many ways they are just generic socks. In a few ways, they are special.

1—The Cast On. Working flat, I used an Italian cast on, for a smooth rounded over invisible edge. I follow the cast on edge with 2 rounds of simple double knitting, to make a small tube. Then, as I joined into a round, I K2tog, and YO'ed. This created an small eyelet edge.  It was followed by 1 X 1 ribbing.

A small detail that takes the generic sock a step beyond.

2--After the 1 X 1 ribbing, some beaded decoration. No pattern, just a random number of bead, randomly placed. I used a random number generator, but a die would work, too.
To place each bead (all pre-strung) I slid the bead up to the right needle, and then pulled the bead through the stitch as I knit it. The bead sat on the right leg of stitch. In the next round, carefully working the stitch locked the bead in place.

3—I beaded every other round, and placed fewer beads each round—at first, about 1 bead every 3rd stitch, in the end one bead ever 6th stitch (on average)

After the beading, I continued in simple stocking knit.

The heel was worked in heel stitch, but with a 2 stitch selvage on each side of garter, not a chain stitch.  I like the look of the garter selvage, and it's just as easy to use to pick up stitches.

There are several different turnings—Mine started with knit to middle, +1, then 2tog, then wrap & turn. This is a somewhat pointy turning (but not quite as pointy as a handkerchief turn),

The gussets were generic, too, nothing special about decreasing every other row.

The toes are the flat (or French) style—once again, a simple basic, generic style.

I decreased from 60 stitches (to start) down to 16—or about 75% of the stitches. This too is pretty normal, then I grafted the toes closed- often end up with 8 stitches on top and bottom of the toe.

I did do one special thing on the toes. Many knitters complain that grafted toes often have “ears” --that the sides of the graft stick up, and have these little points--(mine don't) here is the secret—Make reverse decreases in the first 2 stitches of last row.

Normally, I knit 2, decrease (SSK), knit till 4 stitches are left, decrease,(K2tog) and knit 2 (on both top (instep) and bottom (sole) of the toe. --Since I work my socks 2 at a time on 2 circ's, this is exactly what I do on a single needle!--and I decrease every other round.

On the last round, I start with knit 2 tog, then knit all the stitches in the center, and end with SSK--

I have charted it—the X in the chart is any number (4 for me, most often, but sometimes 6, and sometimes as few as 2--
(NOTE: X=4, +2 stitches either side, plus the first and last stitches--a total of 8 stitches left to be grafted--
NOTE 2: the table grid didn't start with 30 stitches.)

The grey blocks are NO stitch. The G's represent the graft. The two reversed decreases on the “edge” of the toe eliminate the ears. Try it for your self!



No “Ear” toe decreases (work on instep and sole side of toe)


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