Wednesday, September 23, 2015


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


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.