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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hey Ikea, are you listening?

Do you have a web crawler searching for every post about you, IKEA?

You should—because, you need to be listening. OR are you deaf? Too bad if you are IKEA, because you are falling very short –and you really need to be paying attention.

First, let me say, I am not a contractor, never been one, and never worked for one (with one? Yes, more that one!) and IKEA, you have a problem. You need to learn the contracting business if you are going to sell it—and when you do sell it, it needs to be IKEA quality—or your brand is going to suffer.

I like your products, and I have been a customer of IKEA long before you opened you Hicksville NY store—I had friends in the Philadelphia area, and visiting them also meant, visiting (and shopping) you too.

I am a classic DYIer. Right now, my great room is a testament to my shopping habits. I have Ikea shelving, serving as a display/china cabinet. I have an Ikea dining room table too. My shelving? It is lit up like a Christmas tree, with Ikea lighting fixtures—some used exactly as you intended them, and some I put to different uses... I have a room divider, too, made from Ikea components—but one that I customized to meet my needs. I am writing this on my dell computer, which is sitting on a Ikea desk, with an IKEA file cabinet, My living room couch? An Ikea one. The artwork on my wall? Framed with Ikea frames, (same too, in my kitchen. ) There is a lot of IKEA lighting in the living room, too.

But today, I am really very unhappy with you Ikea. You have messed up, and messed up bad. You have (and are continuing to) hurt someone I love.

In your efforts to reach out to the non DYI market, you have missed your mark. Your Products are great—but your customer service? It SUCKS. And it SUCKS BIG TIME. Clearly you know how to build a great product, but in your efforts to sell this product, you have fallen short--

Leaving a family (with infant children) with out a working Kitchen, (and being totally indifferent to it) for a month is not the expected level of service I expect from IKEA. Handing out information “here, contact the Customer Service Co-ordinator” that includes a non working telephone number (and when asked again, we get the same number from another IKEA associate, and then, when the manager is asked, the same non-working number is given for the third time!) Is a major FAIL. Fail, fail and fail again!

Yes, I know contracting work is difficult, and that in any big job there are unexpected problems. That is life. What makes the difference is HOW these problems are handled, and resolved. The best cabinets in the world, (and while yours are good, I am not sure they are the best) are just one part of a kitchen—and if you want to be not just a store that sell cabinets, but one that sells KITCHENS, you had better get your act together.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Best Laid Plans...

I wrote a post for yesterday—but, well, plans changed. My DD is in her last few weeks of pregnancy--(she is due June 8th) And at the same time (words most knitting have learned to fear!) is undergoing a kitchen redo. Like me, she lives in a co-op, so there are no new walls or construction, Just the ripping out of old cabinets, and replacing with new (new appliances too). When problems cropped up late Friday, I realized that Monday could be challenging.

Grandma, too, had plans go awry, and is off in sunny CA. So Nana came to the rescue. Being the good mother I am, I arrived with a cup of hot coffee for my daughter, (No sink, no stove (well there is stove, but since its not connected to the gas line.), no counter space to set up coffee maker) makes hot coffee a major hassle. That minor job done, I was off to my main task of the day--Wrangling 2 two year olds.

Off we went—taking a leisurely walk to the library about a half mile away. We stopped, not to smell the roses, but to look at the trees, and feel the texture of their bark. There were lily's of the valley to smell and newly planted begonias, fading azalea, and giant rhododendron to as well, to smell, and touch and admire too. Most of the co-ops in Queens, are like this... tall building, (these are rather short at 6 stories) with some landscaped garden like areas—even the local public housing has some lawn area, and greenery. It not a real nature walk, but its far short of concrete jungle.

We stopped, too, at the local grocery, to admire the display of colorful annuals for sale—since this area, also has a large number of single family homes. The grocery store is in a city style shopping center.. a row of small and medium stores (fronting on the side walk) with the parking in back. Every store was interesting and commented upon. Both girls expressed an interest in visiting the bagel store—but that was postponed.

Just before we reached the library, (we were early,) we went to the park. A number of others toddles (and their parents) were assembled there, too, waiting till the library opened and the toddle class start. Non stop running, climbing, jumping, sliding and exploring—this is not the girls usual playground, and there were forgotten nooks to explore.

Miss C was happy to leave the park and join the class, but Miss J had decided it was no fun, and had a bit of hissy fit. Not a full on tantrum, but there was no happiness for her. She sat off to the side and pouted. We left the class early, but stayed in the library. The children's room has crayons and paper, and other attractions. Heading home there were more things to see. Miss J is a basketball fan, and a couple of older teens entertained for a while. She cheered every score. Miss C meanwhile was trying to sneak up of the pigeons and sparrows –quite unsuccessfully. Every corner offered a chance to re-enforce street crossing safety. Stop signs are a big hit—and the side roads had several (as did the parking lots) They live on a busy street—Commercial areas have trucks, and the main street is a feeder road to the main commercial area—4 bus routes merge on the way to down town Flushing so learning traffic safety is vital.  Buses are greatly admired—and not a single one passed with out being noted. Even bus stops, with their glass shelters required inspections.

We stopped in the bagel store on the way home, and the second half of the trip home was in their stroller, as they devoured buttered bagels.

Home was a bit hard on Nana—It wasn't a big hill but a slow steady, persistent upgrade. The library is in flood zone 1, but the coop is safely in flood zone 4—need I say more?
Our 3 hour outing left everyone exhausted! I could have done with a nap, too.

But back to knitting—I got a little more of the sock done on the way home-- and now with 7 + inches of foot, I am a few rounds away from starting the toe! The stripe sequencing failed again, and the stripes are once again a few rounds off perfect—I am not so much of a perfectionist as to do anything about it.. You can see (well I can see!) the discrepancy on LEGS, but, alas, I do not have people prostrating them selves at my feet to adore me, and from 5 or so feet away, no one will notice the imperfection.

I finished (well and truly finished) my chenille pillow. All the knitting was done, a bit of scrap cotton was sewn up into a bolster, stuffed with poly fill and the pillow cover sew on. Voila! A FO.

Minutes after that, an other UFO was picked up—and work commenced again. This UFO is being kept a bit of a secret for the moment--(here is is a misshapen mess) It too, like the pillow, will require some after work—finishing the knitting (about 15 more  rows of a 150 stitches) is only half the work needed to finish the project.

Early this year (or was it late last year?) I started to work on making some potholders—and didn't make much progress. Those are moving up to being the next project to finish. A newly renovated kitchen deserves some new matching potholders, don't you think? There will be some new kitchen towels, too. We are a family of kitchen towel, not paper towels users. Since I never got any potholders made for me, these will be an ongoing simple task for the next couple of weeks or so. These are another case of moving stash from point A to point B—but at least some of the stash will move to a new kitchen

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Progress Here, Progress There

Little bits of progress every where.

More cleaning (and then more messing up) done, with a large part of the refrigerator cleaned, and filled up with groceries—fresh fruit salad among other things. A sale on ground beef ($2 a lb!) resulted in some meatballs being made—and ground beef crumble, so naturally, a few pots and pans were dirtied.

Laundry (always and forever laundry!) sorted and done yesterday evening (dinner time--(6PM) is a great time to do wash—I planned to do this Monday—but somehow it never got done. It's folded, but I still need to put it away.

Other bits of maintenance cleaning done, floor washed, thing put away, and there was still time for knitting!
The Hill and Vale socks have gussets, ending mid peach, and  now the marigold yellow strip is more than half done. The chenille pillow cover has a few more rows done—a bit more than 75% done I am thinking, that maybe, instead of a big (16 X 16 square) I might sew up the sides, and make a neck roll. I like the idea more with each row I knit.

The pattern for the Winter Love Braid Cap is done--and a second cap is finished. The second cap is made from some stash yarn, (a single skein left over from another project)--This second version will likely get put into the charity hat pile--(as so many of my experimental hats do.) The pattern is avail now on Ravelry

A first draft of a design often yields a perfectly serviceable/wearable hat-- but sometimes, one that I often consider a design failure. Nothing really wrong with the hat, except I don't like the results. I go on from there to either rework the design (and create what I envisioned) or I abandon the design—as not worth the effort. Either way, I have a spare, expendable hat. In this case I will be keeping version 1--made with home spun yarn.  I almost never knit for a charity—but I frequently have hats (and other FO's) that become charitable donations.

And I am already thinking about what is next!

First will be some socks for my S-I-L, then some UFO's—first up, yet another G Class Star Lace hat—I have given away a few of the 6 I have knit, leaving me with just 3. I want to finish up the two that are half complete. This is the perfect time of year for these hats.. Having another two in the mix will be useful.

Another cotton mat, and some double knit pot holders are needed, too. My daughter and son-in-Law are redoing their kitchen (from the original 1950's one!) and new matching pot holder will be a nice finishing touch. I need some new potholders, too. Two of mine had a brush with death--they caught on fire. Mostly just scorched, rather than burnt, but they are looking old and shabby as a result.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Moving Stash Yarn from Point A to Point B

So the chenille yarn pillow cover is almost 2/3rds done. It has worked out perfectly! I had 2 full skeins of Carons Jewel Box chenille, in pearl, and 1 partial skein of some dark teal/turquoise chenille (no idea what brand or how many yards)

Skein 1 of the Jewel Box yielded 7 inches (by 16) the teal, 2.25 inches. Now I am on to the second skein of the Jewel Box—and the result will be an almost perfect 16 X 16 inch square. The chenille will be sewn onto some white cotton, and then made into a square pillow. Perfect! It matches (sort of) my bedroom right now, but I plan to remove the wallpaper, (a blue/green/teal print on cream) and paint the walls teal—one accent wall a dark teal, the remaining 3 a pastel.

I loved the wall paper when I first saw it.. and I bought the completed set—wallpaper, edging, sheets, comforter, shams, dust ruffle and curtains— They are not all one pattern, but several complimentary prints. One has a cream base and small print, the other a dark green background and large print. The sheets combine the two, (as does the wall paper/ and edging paper) I liked the look—for a while, but now 15 years later, I am bored with all the matchy-matchy pieces. Solid walls, and colored sheets will be much easier to accessorize and change. The comforter and curtain will work well with solid painted walls, but there will still be a big difference.

The Winter Love Braid Cap is finished, too. And the pattern is closing in on being done. I will make an other version in a commercially available worsted weight wool—just because—and then the pattern will be published. (and another little bit of stash will be moved to the FO pile.)

I got a few rounds of the sock done, too. But the yarn is still pink-but the next round will change to peach—so some, but not much progress—but any progress is progress. I will concentrate on these socks for the next few days—before working on the cap. I might even make a third cap, with another skein of home spun. Maybe a variation—same style, but change the cable and other minor changes (and bigger!) The cap just fits my bowling ball head—It would be better just a little bit larger. And there are other details that would improve the design—Tweaks—as it were. I might just bundle the 2 patterns together as an option.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

My Reward

For finishing up 2 UFO's? I started 2 more projects!

One is half done (more than half done).What's more, the pattern for it has been written up too. Just a little more work on the charts, and few details to be edited before I publish it.

It's a stash buster hat—Last year, I received several skeins of various sizes (from 100 yards to 600 yards) of home spun yarn from Robyn Love. The newest project makes use of the 100 yard skein, in a great little stash busting cap. It is an easy to knit project---that starts flat and evolves into one knit in the round (a sure fired, guarantee way to start knitting in the round for a cast on edge won't be twisted)
It is a nicely shaped hat, too. I get so bored of the limitless collections of hats that are a basic Upside down U shape... Enough already! This cap is shaped, and fits close to the head. 

 It's warm—but not overly so,  it is a small cap  The stitch pattern creates air trapping nooks and crannies—or more accurately, air trapping ridges, that increase the fine merino's natural warmth. I love the beautiful colors Robyn uses to spin this yarn up. I tend to like symmetrical regular color ways—but this yarn breaks the rules—and I love it. Here is a small peek—but you'll have to wait for the FO to see it in all its glory.

I have a few rounds before it is finished, and a few days till it has been fully edited—but watch for it... It is a winner!

Mean while, the heels are turned and the downward progression of the gussets continue. The color striping has been corrected too. It will take a while to finish the socks.. the gussets are large, and work is slow.. But once the gusset is finished, I know things will go faster.

The heel is extra thick and plush—the 4 ply Patons Kroy yarns used in the heel was substantially thicker than the main sock yarn. But I have had heels wear out, so its all good. I am so very happy with these socks, they won't languish.

The other project that is underway is a simple garter stitch pillow in some chenille yarn. A simple square, (about 16 inches) There will be a stripe—White, teal, white—the backing will be cotton (a piece of woven cotton) A small soft pillow for my bed-- a no brainer project—that will move stash yarn from point A to Point B. I already have 4 inches knit. It's my easy to do, just before bed time knitting. US size 9 needles and simple knitting make it the perfect thing to knit late at night—absolutely no thought required!

There are other things going on too... some sewing, and some embroidery, and still cleaning and sorting through clothes (laundry has settled down to a reasonable 2 loads a week--) A big bag of stuff is off to charity—and out of the house, and that feels good too!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Progress? Not So Much

The heels been done—and that is about it for knitting.

A few skeins have been made into cakes, (and one cake has been made into a skein for over-dying).

There has been writing (patterns) and editing, and designing... but actual knitting? Not that much.

I wish spring would finally arrive—I have been spring cleaning my wardrobe and household linens. Mountains of laundry; sheets (normal wash) and comforters, and light weight blankets, and shams and curtains, and seasonal laundry too. Short sleeve tee's have been pulled out and made available, the long sleeve tees and top have been clean—and almost put away—but this week has been cold.

45° in the AM and high's as low as 59° (that is under 16c!) is pretty cool for a classic NY spring. But it is part of a recent weather pattern (the effects of climate change!) With weather like that, It's hard to put away winter stuff away.

When the temps drop to 45° at night—blankets and flannel sheets are a comfort. Winter jackets are still needed when its only 53°, windy and damp—as it was yesterday. Weather wise, winter clothes are still in the mix... and I just don't have enough room for both winter and summer clothes open and in the closets and drawers!

So lots of things are being done—some even fiber related.. but knitting? Well the heels have been turned!