Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Progress (and Set Backs)

 So the yoke is now 7.5 inches, but I decided it needs to be longer... so a few more rows, a fifth and final buttonhole, and then the yoke will be done. Once it is, I will divide the work into front, sleeve, back, sleeve and front—and will work a few rows of stocking knit before joining the fronts and backs into a single group. The sleeves will done last. Skein 3 is almost done, and will be finished with the yoke.

At the same time (oh those dreaded words!) that I start working in stocking knit, I will start a small V shaped motif. The shell I plan to knit to match this sweater will feature chevron lace pattern, (not sure which chevron lace, but I like chevron lace, and will find one) So a knit and purl V design will be a good go with.

The grey slippers are progressing, too. You can see the boxy design more clearly now. The pattern has 8 (not clearly marked) boxes—and 5 of the 8 are finished. So more than half way done, but not quite 3/4ths done yet. I will need (and have) a 3rd skein to finish them—Since the two skeins I started with are down to the last few yards.

Progress is slowing for the moment—my hands are objecting—my right wrist is the worst, but both are achy at this point. So I will give them a rest, and get busy with other things

One other thing to keep me busy is cleaning. I think back in the days of open fire places, Spring cleaning was a must—Months of shut up tight living resulted in dust and soot every where. For me, Summer is my “Dirty” season. Months of open windows, and bright sunshine results in dust everywhere! So windows (and window sills) need cleaning, and curtains, too. It's time to wash the slip covers on the couch, too.

I have already washed most of the windows, and sills, and gotten a lot of the other washing done (like the bed pillows)—winter coverlets are out, and summer ones are washed and put away. But the there still is the couch cover, and some curtains to get done.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inching Along

Another inch completed, and the yoke is now 5.5 inches –which is where it was yesterday morning. I am almost finished (just a row or two worth of yarn, left) with skein 2—which is just another way to measure progress. I haven't bothered to take a photo—It really doesn't look very different. Maybe tomorrow, when there is a forth buttonhole to mark progress.

I was out and about yesterday (My schedule has changed—I am home today, ) so I didn't take the Pretty in Pink sweater with me, instead I took a much more portable set of slippers.

They are a large boxy design—95 stitches long, and 38 rows high—followed by 57 stitches long and an other 38 rows. I have completed 22 rows of the first 38—So a bit of math.

95 X 38=3610 Total stitches in first boxy bit
57 X 38=2116 Total stitches in second boxy bit

3610+ 2116 = 5776 Total stitches in 1 slipper

22 X 95=2090 Total number of stitches I have knit so far.

A bit over 1/3rd done—but still pretty far from half way(which is about row 30) Not bad for a days work. I did have a bit of head start, I had cast on and worked a few row Wednesday evening.

Right now the slippers are huge. Giant sized! After, the knitting is completed, a few short seams to sew, and then, off to the washer to be fulled—As they shrink, they will become nice and thick and will make cozy and sturdy slippers. This the largest pair I will make—best to get it done first, every other pair will be smaller and faster to knit. Especially the ones for the girls—they are girls size 8—I could have had a pair and half knit in the same time it took me to knit less than a half extra large adults size!

I had the idea of planning some small portable projects to take with me for a break from Pretty in Pink, but these slippers aren't much of break—except for needle size and tension-- The pink alpaca yarn suggests a size 7 (4.5) needle, which creates a very drapy fabric. I am working the garter stitch yoke on size 5 (3.5) needles because alpaca tend to stretch out, and I wanted a firm yoke. The slippers are being worked with worsted weight wool (Lion Brand Lion Wool-) on a size 10.5 needle make a very loose garter stitch fabric..

But breaking from garter to knit garter isn't much of change!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Another Inch

Yes, just an inch since I last posted. An inch and 3rd button hole. It doesn't seem like much, but the stitch count has doubled since the cast on—so each row now is equal to 2 last week—so inch is steady progress. 

And it is going to get worse (more increases!) before it gets better! There will be increases right on up till I have 7.5 inches of yoke (and now its 4.5) By the end, each row will be 4 times longer than the cast on row..

Then, a good third of the stitches will be set aside for the sleeves, and the body will be worked in stocking knit, with a very simple knit and purl pattern.

Secondly, it is pretty easy to see now the different skeins have different percentages of darker pink—the first skein was the very palest--and later skeins will have a greater percent of the darker pinks. I think this will be quite attractive. It will be as if the dark color is falling.

To take a break—I cast on, and did a few rows of Slippers #1—More garter stitch, but worked in worsted weight wool, on size 10.5 needles. Lion Brand Wool –in a dark grey. Working with the larger needles works different muscles. The fabric is soft and loose and open-- it will be fulled. Fulling is the proper term to use when changing fabric—Felting is done to fibers. Of course, fulling is changing the fibers just the same as felting.. But different—by knitting the fabric into a shape not just molding the fiber.

So the slippers are knit loose (10.5 needle—for worsted!) and large (they look like slippers for giants!) and then sewn into shape, and fulled. The fabric tightens up, and gets thicker, and shrinks a good deal too. The result is a nice dense fabric that makes a nice slipper. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lots of Progress—No Yoking About It

So I cast on Saturday, October 15th-- and here were are now, 2 days latter, with the better part of 2 skeins knit up!

This translates into 3.5 inches in front, and through the miracle of short rows, a full inch more in back (4.5 inches). There are 2 small button holes, too. I don't think I will continue the button holes past the yoke—but there will  be a third, and maybe a fourth one as well.

The sweater has a scoop neck—because I really don't like things snug about my neck—I like scoop or V necks best, and crew neck are OK—I can tolerate mock turtle necks but I really dislike a real turtle neck. Since is it not a high neck, I think 1 inch of extra length in the back is enough.

The yarn is Araucania Atacama, is 100% alpaca –so this will be a warm sweater—warm enough that a scoop neck, will still be plenty warm enough to ward off any chill. There was, some years ago, a kerfuffle with Knitting Fever Inc, (I forget most of the details except not their fault) but a result was several yarn stores stopped dealing with KFI—and one store, cleared it shelves (at a steep discount) of all of the yarns KFI distributed. I bought this yarn back then.

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of pink—I have a rosy tone to my skin, and I don't think pink is that flattering a color for me, most often.   But I do like this mottled pink. I had sorted the skeins, and I started with the lightest of the skeins-with more pale pink and less deep rose. As the sweater progresses, the skeins will get a bit darker (rosier) but even the darkest skein still has a lot of the pale pink.

I started with a single skein, but about half way through, I started to alternate 2 skeins—I have just enough for 2 more rows of skein one, and I am about half way through skein 2. I will continue to use 2 skeins at a time—just to keep things mixed up (and make each change a little less obvious.

I intend for the garter portion of the yoke to be about 7 inches (un-stretched) The weight of the sweater will tend to pull the garter stitch open. So 7 inches will over time, will grow to 9 inches.. (if not more). Alpaca is pretty well known for stretching—it just doesn't have the bounce of wool. I don't want the yoke to be too big.

So the design is a variation of the Lady's February sweater—but it deals with all the things I dislike about the original design—Upper body shaping (so it doesn't tend to ride to the front), A slightly stretchy cast on edge (so the cast on doesn't totally stretch out as it carries the full weight of the sweater), a rounded, not a square yoke (so it doesn't look too boxy) and finally a finer, lighter fiber to make it look more tailored.

There will be some more changes at the underarm, (to reduce some of the extra bulk). I love the February sweater for a baby—I think EZ was totally spot on with her design. I just don't think the design scales up to adult (and my case a extra large adult) size with out some changes.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

And Now They Are Socks

Simple socks. A Chinese Long Tail caston, followed by some 1 X 1 ribbing (my favorite), and then, inches and inches of stocking knit. A spade toe with a grafted seam—a few ends to weave in and nothing else.

Pretty yarn is a great base for plain socks.. and that is pretty much my rule... Fancy yarn, plain stitches, plain yarn, fancy stitches.

What is next? Well, lets look at my queue. I have a long list of hats to work on—part of a collection I want to make and document (4 hats are already done--of over a dozen planned hats). Socks? Not to many—I have too many socks at this point and need to stop for a while. I have one pair planned for my S-I-L but no more for me at the moment.

I have some knitting (big and small) planned for me. Like a pink shell (light weight, lace) made from Lion Brand Sock Ease—I made one shell 4 years ago, (in an olive green)  and I really like it. The next will be different (lace) but mostly the same.

To go with, I have a huge bag (20 50g skeins) of alpaca in a “kettle dyed” pink—the colors range from a pale baby pink to a deep dark rose—It is DK weight--(5 stitches to the inch on size 5 needles)—I have already made a swatch—7 inches by 4—I am more concerned about stitch gauge than row gauge.

No pattern for the sweater; just a simple cardigan knit from the top, with raglan sleeves. A variation of the Ladies February sweater—but finer. Garter stitch yoke (which will be shorter, and will feature short rows for a better fit, and staggered increases to make the yoke rounder rather than squarer. I think the there will be a very simple pattern below the yoke—a mostly stocking knit body—with just a simple knit and purl pattern.

Not quite the conventional sweater set—Since it is a rare day indeed that is cold enough for me to wear 2 sweaters! Besides, I am not the kind of gal who wears sweater sets--But I do need a warm light weight sweater –I have one (a dozen of years old). It is a cinnamon brown (a really beautiful color) done in a soft mohair-so fine, I knit it 2 strands held together and still only needed a size 5 needle. I also have 2 Lady's February sweaters (made from worsted wool) --but they feel bulky--

I also have some small knits (hats, mittens and such) planned for my grand daughters—Soft yarns will come into play—some angora, some cashmere, some mohair—pretty little things. The girls, have 3 sets of 4 grandparents--(Plus me, but I don't come as a set)--so they are inundated with things. It is fun to shop for kids, too. They are, at times, girly girls, but they are also out and about girls—They are eager to share the new word they learned for jeans—Dungarees! And when they go to Nature School (which has a motto of “no bad weather, just inappropriate clothes”) jean or dungarees are what they wear. And with grandparents buying clothes—they have a wardrobe of outer wear. Why knit an out doors sweater when a sweater will be competing with fancy coats, and fleece jackets, ponchos and puffy down (style) jackets.

This is about half my fall queue. So now the socks are finished, I have made a swatch for my sweater, and found a skein of suede(just one) so Little Ms K will end up with a pair of boots to match her big sisters Ugg style boots... (to give my self a break from miles of pink yarn) I pulled out some yarn for a quick pair of slippers, too. There are a few pairs to be knit. A few quick and easy projects to off set a large and detailed project.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Gusseted and a Bit More.

When last seen, the heel was turned. Now, the gussets are done—and the sole of the sock measures 4.5 inches. This is just about the half way point of the sock—So about 75% done. The gussets have more than average stitches, but in a few inches, I will be decreasing for the toe—and being working few than average stitches--(for this sock 60 stitches are average.)

I am pleases that the yarn continues not to pool—not even in an attractive way. It remains a heathery tweed with shades of purple and green.

I have a lot of color in my wardrobe—there is hardly a color I don't have (well yellow is often in short supply) in my wardrobe--and the same goes for my stash—but--I do need to go shopping and buy—sock yarn!

I have been knitting socks for my son-in-law(about 2 pairs a year). He is a hunter (bow and arrow!) and wool socks are a must for hunters. But since he walks close to a mile to the subway each morning on the way to work, he likes dressy wool socks too. (by dressy read—Dull, nondescript socks suitable to wear to a NYC business office.) This year, I decided to knit him a pair of football socks. Mostly dull boring (I hate to knit) black—and to make them fun for me, with red stripes—They will have a bit of stranded work, too. UGA—socks. Good for work (since they are mostly black) good for hunting (mostly wool) and good fun for a football fan (my grandchildren learned early on to cheer “Yay Georgia!”)

I have had black sock yarn in the past, and have 3 partial skeins of black, but no two the same shade, and each skein is under an ounce—so not enough to be the main color in a pair of striped socks.

I need some red yarn too—but if push comes to shove, I can dye some yarn red. I have been busy with other things, too. Knitting some hats, (documenting the details, too) home improvements, culling the things I don't need, cleaning the things I do, making some details (throw pillow, bolsters and shams) and I have become active in a civic association, too.

But these socks are coming along are almost done.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Some Socks, Some Other Stuff

I finally finished socks started in August were finally finished mid September—These are pretty generic socks, with a narrow cable down both sides front—the yarn? Label less sock yarn bought for $5 at a garage sale—I think is might be one of the German sock yarns—I like the soft muted colors—even though soft muted colors usually aren't my favorite. But I think these age good to go with washed out denim, and taupe, and some other colors that exist in my wardrobe.

Immediately—I started another pair (one on my Queue!)--Some beautiful home dyed yarn—They were started on September 21—by last week--Monday September 26th, they reached 25% done—about 4.5 inches. I tend to like the leg portion of my socks to be about 9 or so inches from bottom of the heel flap to cuff.

So now I am half done—flap is finished and the turn –now it is time to pick up stitches for the gusset and get them finished.

The yarn is Lion Brand Sock Ease—xx% wool/xx% nylon. The color way was marshmallow—but I dyed it to one of my favorite colorways—purple (several shades) and green—the green tend to a bluish teal in places. McCormick food coloring—but with a trick.

Many dyes work better (better color up take) with a mordant. Problem is, most mordants are toxic, and generally not safe at home. But there are some exceptions. I used mouth wash as a mordant. One of those “super healthy for your teeth”ones. These mouthwashes contain Stannish Floride—a salt made from tin (stannish), and florine—It is toxic--(no one should drink mouth wash, or toothpaste) but not so toxic (after all, I along with the rest of world, brush my teeth twice a day). So I first soaked the yarn in a blend of mouthwash and water—and then put the yarn in acidulated water, and added the food coloring.

The results, as you see are deep dark purples and deep dark greens. The purple “broke” and there are several different colors --- The green did, too, but not as much. I wanted clean color transitions—and as a result, I did have a narrow band of undyed yarn at places between the colors.

What I like best about this yarn is: It fails, to “spiral”--many space dyed yarns end up with a strong spiral pattern –which can be attractive—but it is not my favorite look. Somehow, I succeeded in created a color way that is mottled, with almost no pooling and no spiraling!

Sock aren't the only thing that I have been knitting. First a second copy of the Leaf Me Alone hat--(and a pattern 90% completed)—the pattern is complex—and it's a bear to write! I think it is easy to knit—the leaves increase, stabilize, then as one set decreases, a new set is established...(and then stabilized, and finally decreased—but all this increasing and decreasing means almost every row is different—there are a few repeated rows when the leaves are stabilized.—but.... It's a hat, and like all hats, a fast knit.

There is another hat-- for my new grand daughter too—a pretty little melon head hat. Notes on details on how this hat was knit also exist—it's a pretty simple pattern. I am not sure about writing it up—I am going to wait and see.

House keeping ate up a lot of my time as well—a small slow leak finally repaired, and the ceiling repaired too.
Repairing the ceiling mend taking everything--(except the fixtures!) out of the bath room—even the shower curtain rod!

Phase 2 (half done) is cleaning everything—and deciding what I want to keep--and what is being replaced. I have already tossed dozens of things. I have already replaced the shower curtain rod and put up a shower curtain (well a liner curtain) The Ugly black square is heat vent—I removed the cover, and I am striping it of layers of paint—It was a mess—paint drips painted over- and the paint glopped on. I will also clean the vent, too.--years and years of dust are collected. 5 layers of paint have already been removed—but there are still some layers to go. (I use hot water and vinegar to remove the paint—the process is slow, but safe)

Before I replace most everything else, I need the ceiling to be painted--(well actually, the whole bath room!) But for right now, getting a primer coat of paint on the ceiling above the shower is the next step. The walls and ceiling will turn a soft cream color (to match the wall tiles)--and eventually, all the painting will be done.

I have already tossed a bunch of stuff—but some wall mounted storage units will go up..and a bunch of hooks, too. I like to hang things like nail brushes and stuff-- this will help keep clutter of the small sink (lav basin for those of you who know plumbing). It will keep things handy, with out cluttering.

Saturday, August 06, 2016


Made tangible.

Almost 25 years ago, I was newly divorced,  working full time, going to school full time, and planning a trip to Japan (to see my sister, who lives there)

In addition, I was going to counseling, twice a week.  As I finished up my last  credits, I was especially anxious--School (college) had filled my life --and ease my passage from being married to being single.  What was I going to do with my life with out school to fill up all the non working hours of the day?

Well Knitting for sure.  In the last two weeks of school (finals, basically) I started this afghan--finished size is 58 inches by 78 inches (slightly larger than the top of a full sized bed) As it neared completion, I took it to my doctor, and told her, I was using knitting to deal with all the anxiety of school ending, and my upcoming trip to Tokyo-- (I finished the whole thin in under 3 weeks)

I told her, this blanket represented  is the size and scope of my anxiety.  I told her how I use knitting as a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety.

She smiled--and we agreed, I had the ability to turn my anxiety into something beautiful (and I said tangelable, too)

The knitting did its work, and I coped--I did well. I finished up and graduated with a 3.87GPA,  I also had a happy blanket to keep me warm.

Alas, times changes things..  The blanket suffered some damage,(the image is just one of several holes)  and it is no longer a thing of beauty.. I don't have any yarn left from this project, and while I could make some visible repairs, the truth is the blanket served it purpose.  I no longer need it.  I no longer need it to hold my anxiety, and keep it locked up.   I still knit--it has become a part of my life.  It still is useful for relieving anxiety--but I don't often feel as anxious as I did those many years ago.

So this is a bit of requiem for the blanket and the anxiety The transformative properties of knitting, worked there magic.  It is a tangibly  reminder of who I once was--but no longer am.  It served its purpose, and now it, (and I ) are changed.  It is time to let it go.

Good by.

Friday, July 01, 2016

I Have Been Busy

So busy, and yet, I didn't want to post anything about what I have been up to. I have posted a bit, but mostly I have been mum..

First, the simplest  Single stripes, one side horizontal, one side vertical--this isn't my design but one in the public domain, but I figured out a different method to knit it.  

At this point, I have completed 4 new potholder designs, a 5th is on the needles, about half done, and a 6th will be started before the day is done.

Next--a simple variation, double horizontal stripes, paired with single vertical ones.  

This naturally suggested the opposite, a pattern of double Vertical stripes, paired with single horizontal stripes.. This pattern has been named Awning, naturally.

Finally, for the moment, a 4th design.  Dots and Blocks, is surprisingly easy, especially considering it is a 22 row pattern!  

None of these have been blocked yet, and all will look better after blocking.  I have one more red and white design, and after that, the potholder will be a range of colors

There are at least a half dozen more designs floating round in my head—and I just can't knit fast enough (I suppose if I stopped eating, or walking or doing normal household routines, (these potholders are going to be washed and dried along with other wash later today)

My kitchen is a study in black and white, with red accents, and these potholders are all for me. The next half dozen will be a number of different colors, for friends, and at least one will be for fund raising event.

Every design I complete suggests a variation that is different—I keep adding design ideas to my knitting list!

All of these potholders are non mirror image designs. If you want to learn this advanced form of double knitting these designs are simple enough learn with, and yet offer a challenge. The first design, a simple pattern of single stripes, (one side vertical, one side horizontal) is free—even thought my directions are slightly different than most of the other versions.

I like to work in what I call “single pass” Many patterns for double knitting are two pass—They have you work in a knit/slip pattern, in a single color, and then re-knit the same row, in a slip/knit pattern. Working the same row twice—Too Slow! for me.

I like a single pass method—Knit/purl every stitch in the row, moving both yarns, as you go, to work every stitch in the row as you go.

There are occasional exceptions to this, but 99% of the time, there is no need to work a row twice.

My plan is for a bakers dozen set of designs—each building new skills, each exploring different methods (Oh the designs to come!--combinations of different techniques and double knitting! Knits and purl to the nth degree!

All of these designs are dual duty—1st Potholders—that are functional in their right, but also serve as large swatches, since the patterns (both written out and graphed) include details on repeats, so that you can readily use the patterns for make hats, scarves, mittens, or place mats, or floor mats—even simple block shaped vests from these stitch patterns.

I hope you like them, and I hope I have whetted your appetite for more non mirror imaged designs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Potholder 1 (for me!)

Done—It will even make it into the wash today, for fulling/shrinking. I have just finished weave in the ends- I have taken some before photos, (to show the shape and the unevenness of the stitching.) and will take some after photo's and show how a good soaking in hot water, with some agitation, evens out the knitting and at the same time brings the potholder closer to a square shape.

These photos are limited.. I want to have a proper launch with all the new designs at once.. so there will be just peeks.
Potholders 2 is square—but square isn't square once it has be washed and shrunk—see below. It will end up being a big one (even by my “I love oversized potholders” standards).. More of a counter mat or hot mat than a potholder. It working name is Awning...I am not sure if that will stick.

In any case, Square is 11 inches square, so I will continue till it is 14 inches or so. Small for a place mat, but actually just about the perfect size for my dinner trays. I have some real serving trays (for carrying food or plates for company) but I daily I use small trays just big enough for coffee, a small bowl of cottage cheese and another bowl for fruit.. (and a single rice cake.) Its the old dieters trick use small bowls and plates, so the food fills the plate and makes small portions look bigger.

Meanwhile, here is old old potholder.. the once dark black has faded to pale grey (this potholder might have found itself in a load of white wash, and been bleached)

It started out Taller than it was wide.. A rectangle.
But repeated washing, and with each one, the ratios changed... Its a rectangle again, but now it is way wider than it is tall. I can stretch it into an almost square shape. But it wants to squat!
Of course, seconds after potholder 1 was off the needle, potholder 4 was cast on. (3 times before I got it right!) I know it's out of order.. Potholder 3 (part of the black/white/red set) should come before potholder 4.. but potholder 3 is a design I have knit before

It's a natural part of the black/white/red set, as is pot holder 5 (if I ever get to 5) which is just going to be another window pane or gingham one.. designs I have knit so often I could do them in my sleep.

Potholder 3? Something total new (for me)--A round potholder.. Lucy Neatby's round and rounds of round double knitting is just too interesting to pass by! I am not sure that I NEED seat cushions, (and I KNOW I don't need an other lap/mid sized blanket) so what a person to do? Clearly I need to knit some round potholders, or round hot mats, or well, something of that sort.

Maybe if I like round flat double knitting, I will go all out and knit a rug—Loosely in wool, and then full it into a nice thick rug for my living room. I bought a bunch of yarn years ago, to do just that (knit a floor rug) and I have never gotten around to it... Maybe what was holding me back was the ROUND to it part.

If I hate double knitting in the round, I can always go back to my original plans for a rug knit in very uneven stripes, in garter stitch.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Lied.

Last time I posted about of my SIL's sock, I said I had 5.5 inches done. Wrong—the gussets end at 3.5 inches, and last week (on Friday) when I posted with out any photos, the socks were just 4.5 inches.

Since then? 4.5 became 5.5, and then 6.5 (Past the half way point in the foot!) and now the foot is 7.5 inches long-- 3 inches of progress in 3 days. If the sock were for me, I would be starting the toe in a row or two. But my SIL is taller than me, and well, men in general have wider feet, so 7.5 is far short of being a foot. In fact, a foot is a foot for my SIL (where as my foot is just 9.25!)

A lot of this knitting was done on buses.. going back and forth to Winthrop hospital.. Miss C and Miss J now have a new sister, Miss K. The 3 inches of sock were knit for the most part on the way to and from visiting. Miss K has been nicknamed “the Meatball” by the nurses—she is a healthy 10 lb baby, who is a newborn who wears size 1 (not size 0) pampers, and her head is too big for the hospital issued new born hats. Her mother (DD) was of a similar size--(9lb15 oz) and had a similar problem. Fortunately, DD saved some of the hats I knit for the twins—so there are hats that fit.

The girls are thrilled with new baby sister, but they have been missing mommy—who will be home from the hospital tomorrow.

At home, I am working on some potholders for me—working out new designs, and documenting them at the same time... and my mind has been working over time on ideas for more—potholder and new designs for the same. Potholder 1 is now 9 inches long (and will be continued till I run out of yarn (the black skein)) Potholders 2, the red and white one, is just past the half way point. Potholder 3 will be a simple one—worked from a stitch pattern that is in the public domain, and the partial inspiration for potholders 1 and 2) Potholder 4—will be not part of the red/black/white set, though there might be a potholder 5 in the red/black/white color ways. But first I will work out a simpler design—then I will work out the finer points for a 3 color design.

It will be a totally new design (and for me, a new shape, too!) Who knows how many other ideas there are fermenting in my brain...Certainly potholder 4 (I am hard pressed not to start it IMMEDIATELY!) is something new for me, though its not a totally new idea... just my SPIN (key word there) on what others have done.

I feel bad keeping these potholder designs secret--but trust me they are worth waiting for!

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Little Bit Here

A little bit there. And so it goes. SIL socks have another inch added to the foot (5.5 inches now) not quite half way. More to be done today, (there will be several bus rides and a hope of lots of knitting today and the next few days.

But no photo's today.

Potholder 1 for me, black and white stripes, is now half done –with 6 and bit inches. And potholder 2, red and white stripes, is still short of being half done, but it too has another inch.

I will need some more black and red cotton to finish the 4 potholders I plan to knit as a group-all variations on striped patterns Do you think I am stuck on striped patterns? I do, but each pattern is different—and stripes offer so many possibilities! Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, mitered, thick, thin, all knits, or knits and purls, multi colors (that is more than 2 colors); stripes are complex. 

 I think want some gingham potholders, for me and one for DD,  too!

I also have some red linen yarn, so I think I might end up making a towel too. (That is what i bought the linen for in the first place!)  I have made several hand towels, for my bathroom, a red linen towel might be nice for kitchen. I have some gingham towels, and some striped towel (when I like something, I like it in lots of different forms) but both are cotton. Linen towels are special though they last for ever--(one favorite is some 30 year old, and it hasn't match my kitchen in years!) But I keep it- linen towels get softer and lovelier with each washing.

I still plan to make another potholder for my DD, (even though she complained she had too many already)—but she is still holding onto 2 potholder that were damaged.

After the potholders, UFO's and hats.. (as for which UFO, well, there are still a few of them.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Late With the Update.

The second double knit potholder is big enough to be a small place mat--(9 X 12) I didn't add a hanging loop. Small mats are great for drying a single glass, or at a hot mat for something hot from the oven, or...  They have lots of uses. I will be doing laundry tomorrow, and will wash and pre-shrink this mat (and the dimpled diamond pot holder, too) eventual there will be a third potholder to finish the series. (I am also taking back one potholder from her--It is one I never added to Ravelry...and since it won't go with her new kitchen....

Meanwhile I am working on 2 different potholders for my kitchen. One is half done—the black and white stripes, (6 inches) the other red and white stripes, has 5 inches done.. I am holding off taking picture for a short while. It will be worth the wait.

My SIL's socks? Gusseted! Just 2 rounds past the last decrease, and the sole is 4 inches long. Or 1/3rd done! There will be a long stretch of just foot—since I need 12 in total, but the toe will be longer than my average (woman's sized) toe—since the socks have 72 stitches (12 more than most of my socks that are 60 stitches on average)

After the SIL socks? Well I still have some UFO's (socks, a vest, a shawl) and some plans for some hats (what more hats?!) Yes more hats. All of these are small, light weight project that are good for the summer (who wants an alpaca sweater sitting in your lap on a 90° day?

I might knit some slippers, too. My written queue is dated fall/winter, so the summer is unscheduled time for small projects and finishing UFO. I might not get them all finished, but I will make a dent in the pile of UFO's and I plan to get some sewing done too.  This week I got some mending done.. but there is still a big pile left.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

How Do You Queue?

This should have been posted Monday—there will be an update later today!

I know that Ravelry has a queue feature, but I never use it. For years I have had idea books, and these are also queue books. They are not strictly chronological, but tend to over lap. (and they are not always saved)

Sometimes they are blank paper, sometimes, lined, and there have even been books that have cross hatched graph paper. I like them all. I found a misplaced one just the other day, and I enjoyed finding queues of project ideas (and realizing I had completed many of them!) and also being reminded, there were things on these lists that I hadn't gotten to.

So, immediately, I made a new list! About half the items on the new list are ideas that had been floating round in my head—but some how, writing them down made them more real. Others are left overs from previous queues that I had sort of forgotten about.

I sometime stumble across a new pattern, or a new idea, and queue be damned—the NEW and shiny! jumps to the head of the mental list.. and then, my mind, un-moored from the list just goes out and continues to work on project that float into view.

I have 3 “homemade sock club” kits to knit, (and 2 socks kits that are UFO's!) but the SIL socks aren't one of them, and chenille neck roll wasn't on any queue either. The double knit potholders—well they were sort of planned. Never made it to a written queue, but I have needed new ones for a while. And I never just make potholders for me.

I have too much cotton, in too many colors! I love my black and white kitchen and black and white potholders—but I always want to knit with colors, too! So there are always extra ones in colors that get knit up.

Speaking of which—I have made only a little progress for a few days now on the striped potholder, but I have started a black and white one (totally different stripe pattern). The SIL socks had heel flaps by Friday evening, and now, a few rows of the gusset. Some progress but not a lot. I will be knitting in earnest again to day, and next week too.. Lots more bus rides planned.

The good news in my life is, it is getting busier—the bad news is, it is getting busier! I was off to see my DD on Tuesday, as well as the usual Friday, and then on Thursday, I went 90% of the way to her, (and saw her)when I went to the CSA pick up. And I was there again on my usual Friday visit.

Technically, I live in Flushing (as does she) —but in reality, I live in a neighborhood called Rego Park—about 4.5 miles away, she is in Flushing North—a mile or so from “downtown Flushing” (a thriving commercial area) . Should be a 10 minute drive.. On good days, it is a 20 minute one. By bus, it is a 45 minute to an hour trip. Thursday night, going to the CSA took 35 minutes (very good time!) Coming home? It took hour and half! So I am busy—but not doing much of anything, except it seems, sometimes, but riding buses.

I always knit on the bus (and on the subway when I ride it) but knitting on the buses is slow knitting. The good news is: NYC has LOTS of buses and bus routes, and most run 24 hours a day. The are often scheduled 10 to 15 minutes apart. The bad news is: there are delay, and the buses them selves are worked hard, and there shock absorbers? Always in need of repair! Hard winter freezes make pot holes, repairing and patching makes lumps, resurfacing creates delays...So bus rides are never smooth rides, or fast rides. On 3 different occasions, I dropped a stitch while knitting the heel flap. It can be that bumpy.

So some progress has been made, and my idea book, and its queue are front and center.. Who knows how long that will last?

Thursday, June 02, 2016

(2 inches) X 2

Yesterday, the potholder was 6 inches, today it is 8—and looking more and more like a potholder. The peachy yarn is coming close to the end... It was a partial skein, but I felt there was enough for my purposes, and there is still enough yarn left that I feel confident that there will be enough for at least a 10 X 10 potholder—which I realize will not be a square after fulling, but it will still be a nice comfortably large potholder. It won't take long to finish. The pot holder after this, will be a black and white one for me.. Then a 3rd for my DD, followed up by more potholders for me, and then? Well I still have lots of cotton yarn!

The socks, too have gained 2 inches and now with 9 inches of leg, I am are ready to start the heel flap.
I love working the heel—and love even more that the heel marks the half way point of the sock--

The flap will be close to 3 inches-- and this will make the floor to top of cuff about 12 inches. The foot will be 12 inches, too, so heel really is the half way point in the socks –and I have been working on them for 11 days- If I keep making progress at this rate (a rate that includes some days with no progress at all!) I should have them finished in time for father's day (my goal).

I'll make some progress on the flap today since today is first day of my CSA participation. My daughter has been doing the CSA for years—First one in Little Neck, and now a local one (both CSA are supplied by the same farm) .This year I decided to try it out. The first pick up is actually 1 week late—Spring in the north east has been especially cool, and all the crops are a week behind.

This weeks share is mostly greens—mixed spring greens, (little bits of lettuce, from thinning the plantings, pea threads, radish greens and other edible greens from thinning plants.. This is the stuff they charge a fortune for in the green grocers, some real lettuce, arugula, kale, and bok choy.

I will still end up buying some onions, (red, yellow, and spring) peppers and carrots. I like all these greens, but I often like salads that are more than just greens. I didn't sign up for the herbs (from a different farm) and I love fresh spring herbs in spring salads. I know where mint grows wild, (and a little mint goes a long way) and like a spring pesto of parsley, basil and mint. I am growing basil but it doesn't grow (in a window box) as fast as I like to use it! I'll also pick up some sprouts—bok choy, sprouts, onion and carrot make nice stir fry--.

I had hoped to have a car by now--(at it stands it will be August before that happens) so I will knit on the bus to from the CSA pick up point.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

At Sixes and Sevens

Yesterday, I got called to Nana duty—A bit of rough curb (there are way too many bits if you ask me!) snagged my DD car—and took out the tire on her car. This happened over the holiday weekend, and yesterday was repair day.

As Nana, I took the girls on a walk/ride—to a playground, as mom headed to repair shop. On the way, I made a mistake and called this a park—the girls protested that they didn't want to go to the park, they wanted to go to the playground!

This was a work out for me—2 girls each about 30lbs, a double stroller (another 30 lbs) and the 20lb back pack with snacks, spare diapers, change of clothes.. (none of which were used) in a half mile walk (mostly uphill, but not a very steep hill.

We stopped along the way to admire flowers, and comment on trucks (a mail truck and a Con Edison crew that were parked were especially popular) and feel the bark on some trees. Same thing on the way home.

At the play ground, there were swings (to push) and slides, and ladders, and water games.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted—I really don't know how my daughter does it!

So very little knitting got accomplished—the double knit potholder is 6 inches along, and will be knit till I run out of yarn, the SIL socks are at 7 inches. If they were for me, it would be time to start the heel, but for SIL I need another 2 inches or so.

But I am so happy with both projects, it won't be hard to continue working on them both till they are completed.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Inch by Inch

And now there are 6—inches that is—on the leg of my SIL socks. I am so happy, the stripes in this yarn have a very long repeat—and just by luck, I managed to start them at the same point! I do tend to like matching socks, especially when the socks are for some one else. There are several place the stripes are almost the same, and it would have been easy to not have a near perfect match up.

Since I finished pot holder one last week, I am already well into potholders 2—this one is vertical stripes—pretty simple and easy to knit. I enjoy trying out new (stitch) patterns, and I consider pot holder to be practical oversized swatches. You learn so much from a swatch—this potholder is the same pattern as the SIL socks, 6 X 2 ribbing—but DK ribbing doesn't corrugate the way normal ribbing does. Partly is it the cotton, which has so much less stretch and bounce than wool, and partly is the nature of double knitting—each column of purls is backed by another column of purls—which push against each other—and restrict the ability of the purls receding.

I ended up frogging the black and white UFO potholder, the one I was making for me—I just didn't like the way it looked, and a few errors existed... So, after I finish Pot holder 2 for DD, I will make a new potholder for me. Not sure what pattern I will do... something old or something new.

I also finished my secret project—that you won't get till see till June-- But I am happy with it—and with the whole reason it is secret.

Into the Leg

Cuff is finished, leg started, and a scant inch of the leg done. The yarn, (Red Heart Heart & Sole) had been treated with aloe, (which, by the smell, I know last through a few washes). It is not a strong aroma, and I don't mind it any way, but I do love how it feels when knitting with it.

One of wools characteristics is its ability to wick moisture.. Wool socks leave your feet feeling dry and comfortable—And its not just a feeling. You feet and sock are drier, and fresher. Wool is the natural cure to stinky feet—no moisture mean less bacterial growth—no warm wet environment for stink producing bacteria to grown in.

The bad news about this, is, as you knit, the wool wicks moisture right from you hand—leaving you with dry skin! The aloe helps. I still have to use a moisturizing cream to keep my skin from drying out, but not as much or as often. I don't have a problem with dry skin on my feet—but then, human feet are the biggest sweat producers of a human body. You can wick away the moisture forever, and not have overly dry skin.

I didn't make much progress on the socks (just an inch) but I did finish up the first potholder. This potholder, like all my potholder patterns, is for a large one. (about 10 inches by 11.5 inches, before washing in hot water to shrink. It will shrink into something closer to a square, but it won't shrink down to something small. I LIKE big (10 inch) potholders.. I feel cheated by 8 inch square ones—and wouldn't consider anything smaller.

But, then, I don't use oven mitts very often, which is likely why I like hand sized pot holders. I want a potholders the protects my hands and allows me to get a good comfortable grip. My potholders (that is to say, the ones I make for myself, and use) double as hot mats, and even place mats. I make the loops for hanging them flat, and along side, not a big corner loop.

I cast on and started the next potholder in this set—(for my daughter) but it was late last night—and I messed up, and the cast on and row one will be frogged. I might switch things up and go back to work on the black and white UFO one (for me).

The potholder bring my FO list for May up to 5.5 (the socks started in April and finished in my are the 0.5)--If I finish the UFO potholder, that will be 6 finished objects this month. I don't know if that is a record (for me) or not—but it is a lot accomplished for the month—even if several were UFO's to begin with.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Cast on to Cuff

Well, almost to cuff. If the socks were for me, the cuff would be done and then some, but men's socks are bigger, so I want a deeper cuff. It stands at 2 inches now, and I'll continue in 2 X 2 ribbing till its 2.5 inches.

The jacquard pattern is not very evident in the 2 x 2 ribbing, so the bulk of the sock will be a wider ribbing. 6 X 2 I think, which will make a nice transition. It will enough ribbing to help keep the socks up, and snug. S-I-L has stated the previous socks fit, but I sometime think he is generally happy about the fit, and just doesn't realize he could make little complaints and perfect fit. Most people don't have a lot of experience with custom fitted clothing—and just don't expect perfect fit. So a little ribbing will keep the snug and better fitting.

The first potholder have moved from half done to 2/3rds done.
Finished, the potholder will have 3 diamonds, top to bottom.
Which sounds like progress, but really is just a 8 rows. 

 By tomorrow, it should be 3/4ths done—Unless I make more progress than I expect—I don't think it will be finished, but close. I won't bring it along on Friday to knit on the bus, I will keep it, and any other ones I knit till the kitchen is finished. I might bring some Command hooks too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

With a Week to Go

Till the end of May, I took a review of this month's progress, and I am somewhat amazed at all the knitting I have done.

Sure, the Hill and Vale socks took a whole month (and then some)--They were started mid April and took 36 days from start to finish, but they are finished. I am also almost finished with writing up the pattern for the same.

I designed a cap, knit it up, wrote up the pattern, and then knit a second version. A third version is still a UFO. It's a very different version—amazing how different the cap looks in a different yarn

My secret (for another week) project is finished, too. It was a UFO, too, so it didn't take long to finish up the knitting—or the finishing.   Its nice to have another UFO become a FO.  The little chenille neck roll was started and finished, too. It was a bit of moving stash from point A to point B, but it still counts. That is 5 projects!
Here is another project half done—that will be be finished before the month is out. It's only taken a few day to get to the half way point—it won't take much more to finish.

This is first of several double knit potholders I plan on knitting. I also have a half done UFO potholder to finish (for me). This one, the first of several, is for my daughter and her new kitchen. She will also get a gingham one (one of the morning shows claimed that gingham is the latest trend this summer) and a third one is planned, too. In a new and different pattern. Nothing complicated, a variation of a design I often use. 

All of these won't be finished before June, but I expect at least this one, and the other UFO will be finished in May. 

Last night I cast on the socks for my S-I-L—Heart & Sole sock yarn in a Jacquard print of browns and blues—the color name is Toasted Almond. . I'll have to push to have them finished by Father's day—but is been a while since I have worked with a jacquard print yarn—I always like them. It.s so much fun to watch the pattern emerge—it makes them easy to knit.  

By observation, blue seems to be his favorite color—and while this yarn is mostly brown, it does have some blue. The rest of my blue sock is pretty light—I am working him into patterns and stripes, and starting with darker more masculine colors, to start. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

UFO's No More

First, (finally!) the socks are finished! The bright and cheery stripes don't match up perfectly except at a few spots, but they are not so different as to matter much. I am very happy with the soft picot bumps at the cast on edge, and welting instead of ribbing—so all over, these are a successful FO

So, of course, I am going to immediately start a new pair—not for me, but for my S-I-L, for father's day. He is going to be a father again by that time, since my daughter has a narrow window for a natural deliver before she goes in for a C section The twins were born C section, (because of medical need) and while a VBAC is desired, her doctors are watching her very carefully. She had life threatening complications with the twins—so they won't take any chances.

Meanwhile, a scheduled kitchen re-do (hers) has become a re-don't. The physical cabinets are great, but the install and general management of the project has been one problem after another. The idea of coming home to a non functioning kitchen, (no counter top=no sink, no water, no dishwasher, no refrigerator/freezer. ) with an newborn, and twins is daunting. There are work arounds, (and it is she admits, a very first world problem, the women round the world have it worse, (she does have water to wash, and drink, and a laundromat in the basement) But then, she lives in the first world, and this beyond some basic expectations.

The other UFO is not quite a FO—Knitting is finished, but there are some loose ends to weave in and a complex bind off to finish—less than an hours work. I would have done it last night, but I long ago learned not to do any thing complex after 9PM—as it always results in a bit of mess. And it will remain a secret project for an other week or two--(at this point the bind off is half done) 

The remaining current project are the potholders... One of which is going to be frogged (just 4 rows done) and restarted. There are going to be more potholders than this to be frogged one.  I plan on not starting anymore knitting projects till the S-I-L socks and the potholders are finished.

There are still more UFO's loitering—a square shawl, and black t-shirt, come to mind, and more projects planned—several non knitting ones included.. Some sheets and pillow cases that will be embellished with embroidery, and a linen runner for the dining room table, too. Knitting a bit of cotton lace for edging the sheets and pillow cases is on the list as well.. I am lazy, and like to have some fancy sheets and pillow cases for the summer—then I make my bed by just making the sheets neat—no coverlet, at all. Just pretty sheet, smoothed and neatened, showing of the handiwork.

In addition to these bits of hand sewing, there are piles of fabric waiting to be cut and sewn into clothing—and some mending as well. After months of being down in the dumps and hardly cleaning, I am now onto detailed stuff.. Washing walls and wood work, and planning jobs—a new floor for my terrace--(outdoor wood tiling that has a wood top, and snap together plastic on the underside.) Easy to put down, and almost as easy to pull up if needed. The terraces on the building were all renovated a few years ago, and tenants/owners were reminded no permanent flooring was permitted on the terrace.

Snap together tiles will be a nice option, non permanent, and will give the terrace a nice finished look.  The 10 year old resin chairs and planters on the terrace  are cracking, and need to be replaced, too. So they can be tossed, the floor installed, and then new furniture  and lattice, too,  added.. A total redo of this seasonal room.

I am also planning a bed room redo...Likely, at the pace I am moving at, that won't be till after the heat of summer.