Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Knitting By The Numbers

Noro Taiyo is working up rather well. Perhaps it is because of the research prior to casting on. Ravelry is a miracle. Access to world wide use of a specific yarn, reading notes by knitters far and wide, checking out the photos - - it all works. I am convinced that this marvelous social community is the secret to the ease of designing my new math-terpiece.

My current worry is how much positive ease to write into the pattern. And I am thinking that finishing this first version and actually putting in on several bodies will help with the decision.

Because this v-neck will be sleeveless and the cotton content of the Taiyo makes it particularly suited to summer temperatures, the thought of zero (0) ease is winning out. Something a little snug, but not tight. Too much ease and that cotton can get rather sloppy and ill fitting.

So, the work continues. Are the needles producing what my mind's eye sees? Will anyone like it? Will I like it? Questions and worry and fret.

Pass the chocolate, please.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knitting Math

Let's just put it right out there in the open. Doing math is not my reason for loving yarn. Oh, sure. There are hooks and needles based upon ye basic 'mm'. Maybe that is what tricked me from the start. They, whomever you think they are, suck you in with a promise of little chocolate candies. Trick you into thinking this whole thing is related to the health benefits of chocolate. Not so. 'Tis a lie. Right from the start - a falsehood. Turns out that 'mm' on a hook or needle is not, I repeat, not related to a bowl of M&Ms. Bummer.

After accepting that 'mm' is actually math related, the whole thing goes deeper into the dark recesses of brain work. Convert the meters to yardage to figure out if an extra skein is needed (yeah, yeah - -adopt metric and get on with it, say some). And let us not gloss over the requirement of a measuring device so as to compare the end hope with the mid-stream reality.

Right now, the math mojo must stay with me. I have an end hope. A dream. And she just might work. It all started with following my muse to create the vest of left over Ming. Much as I love the result, and wear the result, there is still that pesky seaming at the end of a wearable worked flat. Epiphany! I do not enjoy seaming. There. It has been stated for the eternal digital world to know. I do not enjoy seaming yarn edges.

Semi - epiphany. Work the vest in the round.

Could work. Would work with the right yarn. But what if the chosen yarn would result in (gasp) horizontal stripes? Not going to happen on this squat body. Give me a lovely vertical stripe that does not resemble a circus tent and then I'll be happy.

Thus, math. And look how hard I've been working on the math. Scribbles and scrabbles and hopefulness. Some of this actually has held true in the making.

16=4" .......Check!
Chain for provisional CO on 6.5mm hook.....Check!
The mysterious 73.....Check! (at least last time I counted)

And since it just so happens that 37 +36 = 73, those also become important numbers.

Takes a whole heap of brain power to get this math thing right.

Where is that chocolate?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aestlight Delight

The Aestlight is done. Totally finished and dry.

This is just mystery stash cotton blend that seemed appropriate for something lacy. Unfortunately, this yarn was bought at an auction and there is no way to backtrack and tell the name. Does that make the better name Mysterious Morning Light? Or better yet, a simple Mysterious Morning.

The name does not matter at all. For this Aestlight is a delight.

Please notice that during blocking much attention was given to the pattern caution to pay special notice to the points of the edging. Each point was pinned tightly and with some effort at precision.

The blocking & pinning was definitely necessary on this cotton fiber. Every bit of the edging curled up and looked a mess during the making.

And here am I, proving for all that a subtle yarn with variegation or short color changes is absolutely the choice for this pattern.

FORGET THE BUMP. That's right. Pay no attention to the bump occurring on the back of my shoulder. Just poor planning when the photo was snapped. The lovely garter center triangle is perfectly blocked. I guarantee.

Thoughts on Aestlight:
Easy center garter followed by simple openwork and ending with edging that lets the mind focus.
The pattern is flexible enough for cotton - but if I do another I will definitely use something with more bounce.
The YOs at the edge of the triangle are quite fun to pick of and head off in another direction.
Actually, the pattern has one knitting in several different directions so it is a good learning project.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

There Is Something In The Air

The front is now off the needles. I had a few blessed hours alone with no commitment nor pressing 'to do' item that could interfere with the knitting.

I am always amazed that when one concentrates on only one thing at a time, it gets done with quick efficiency. So efficient was I that my first thought was to cast on for the sleeves and get the ribbing under way. After ten minutes of searching for the right needles, they were located. Naturally, the circs I need for working ribbing on two sleeves at the same time are exactly the circulars that are here on the Aestlight.

The edging is half done on the shawl, but my brain is not in gear for ending something. I need the thrill of a beginning.

At least I own marvelous red shoes! They make me happy, even when juggling needles is a pain.

Monday, December 14, 2009

French Press Slipper - NOT

And now for the rest of the story. The French Press Slippers are just wonderful. Even the light colored wool felted. Buying the stuff that has "for Felted projects" written on the label is a smart move.

A few friends have struggled with white and lack of felting. So I am extremely pleased.

Slippers should not slip. At least not slip on hard surface flooring. I have always assumed, although I have done no research to confirm my position, that slippers are so named because one's feet slip so easily into the design. Not because the soles slip while walking. There could be a long and involved history - if so, please let me languish in ignorance and carry on with my little assumption.

As a first try (and a fast no-shopping-involved solution) the puffy paint made an appearance on the soles. Go ahead and call the heart design on the heel area saccharine. Won't bother me. I was in a girly mood.

I am worried that the puffy paint will too easily flake off. It is a risk. If it happens, I'll be forced to go out and procure that sticky stuff that makes tool handles non-slip. But I am worried that the limited color range will offend my sense of style and clash with these first slippers. That has the potential to start a vicious cycle where more wool shopping - to coordinate with the sticky stuff - will be required, which means another few hours to make a new pair of slippers just so I can use the really sticky stuff so the the new slippers do not slip.

It is a never ending vicious cycle. Why do I love it so?

Friday, December 11, 2009

French Press Felted Slipper Bandwagon

Wow! Super! Voila! Amazing! I could keep going. Jump on the bandwagon and get thee to a purchase page for the French Press Felted Slippers. Click those words for the Etsy link. Purchase on Ravelry. Just get this pattern.

I have drunk the koolaid - so to speak. While her majesty Stephanie tempted all with her exploits, I just had to join the fray. Let's pause and lift a mug of mulled wine to Melynda and this pattern for a life time.

Thought #1 - gotta love a designer who encourages using coupons and sales to pad the knitting stash
Thought #2 - gotta love Melynda for admitting to purchasing her yarn at Michael's - where felting Paton's yarn is plentiful
Thought #3 - gotta love a quick to knit brilliant pattern
Thought #4 - gotta love a pattern that, owing to the final felt process, allows for sewing mishaps
Thought #5 - gotta love Melynda for admitting that stitching up holes during felting is perfectly acceptable
Thought #6 - gotta love Melynda for writing a well detailed pattern filled with tips, hints and guidelines for success

Here is my first attempt in mid-sewing process. Time line? Everyone wants the time line. I actually did check the clock and am pleased to report the following:
  • 7:45 print pattern and look for left over wool in the stash
  • 8:00 prepare coffee
  • 8:05 cast on
  • 8:15 start cooking red beans even though it is not Monday; keep knitting
  • 8:30 pause knitting to prevent boil over
  • 8:31 - 9:00 knit and stir, knit and stir - do not confuse utensils
  • 9:00 pause resulting from coffee consumption; refill mug with more coffee
  • 9:10 play with bird; prep apple for bird; stir beans; read pattern
  • 9:30 welcome house cleaners who make it easy to spend the day knitting
  • 9:35ish get back to knitting
  • 10:48 Finé! As in done. No more knitting
  • 10:49 Read pattern looking for more to knit. Flip through printed pages. Go back to Ravelry purchase and wonder what went wrong.
  • 10:55 Gloat. Admit that less than three hours of interrupted knitting can produce everything required for felted slippers. Celebrate with another mug of coffee
  • 11:00 - 1:30 Get all spiffy, put on skirt, sweater and big girl shoes; head out to holiday luncheon; celebrate
  • 1:35 Return home and gloat again; start sewing
  • 2:00 Forget all about nice seams and just get the sewing over with! Hide the ends; weave; stare in amazement
  • 2:10 Play with dog; rub dog belly; love the dog
  • 2:20 Start felting
  • 2:40 Give up on the washing machine and do the final felting to fit by hand.
  • 3:00 Gloat; gloat more than at 10:45; stare in amazement.
Set slippers and straps on counter to dry.

Forget that! Hunt up fancy rack that goes in dryer and put that machine on high for 80 minutes to speed up the drying! What is a little gas and electricity in the grand scheme of new felted slippers? I want them totally dry by the morning.

Needless to say, much of the evening has been spent in the button stash looking for the ideal match.

PS - that cotton string on the insole of the right slipper is to remind me that it is the right slipper - not the left slipper.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Needles To The Rescue

Progress on the knitting of air continues. Check out haiku knits by Tanya Alpert. This is a glorious book filled with amazing patterns, many of which offer the opportunity to knit air.

My current project is riverbed. Thus the Rowan Kidsilk Haze on 5.5mm. But I ran into a little snafu. My trusty needles, which have knit an afghan, several scarfs, hats, etc. have failed. That is right, the needles quit working effectively.

Look at this photo. You can see the wisps of yarn on the needles and two different needle tips joining in for comparison. (click to make bigger) The points on the different needles are actually quite different. Yes, both are bamboo. Yes, both are the same size. Yes, both are circular.

My trusty old needle tips just were not working. For me, the bamboo helps to hold the wispy stuff and make it easy to work only one stitch at a time without any slippage.

BUT. And this is a big but... the tips of my old faithful circs are slightly rounded and for some reason, even working each stitch at the tips, I was struggling. After completing the entire back of the sweater, it was apparent that the issue was the combination of "tip & twine" that was slowing progress.

Please understand that the working of Tanya Alpert's pattern is a joy. The Rowan is a dream. But the needle tips were a struggle. I'll not tell brands because, as mentioned up above, these are well used and trusty needles. Could it be that all the past projects have worn down something? Or, is it just that tips are different from brand to brand?

Here is a close up of the old and new needles. (Click to make bigger and come on back) The taper is different. The exact tips of the tips are different. Again, no names because this difference is totally about my fingers and the specific Kidsilk Haze. If you were working this yarn on a 5.5mm an entirely different needle might work for you.

So what it the point? The point of this story is all about finding the point (and associated needle) that fits with your fingers and feeling. Get the right tool for the job! When you find yourself struggling with a yarn, it might not be you. It just might be the combination of needle and yarn and your muscle action. Don't immediately put the blame on yourself. Don't blame the needles or yarn - consider the interplay of all factors and try to identify exactly where the problem is manifesting. On this particular project, that manifestation was right there at the tip of my fingers.

P.S Can you tell that I am in a festive mood?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Artistry in Yarn

Pure artistry. There is no other way to describe the scene that greeted me to my left. There I sat, proudly wearing my knit skirt which, owing to wearing it on the lower portion of my body, was hidden below a table.

But just look at the beauty near me.

Pretend that you are sitting down and give a glance to the left. Here you are peeking at a Swirl Shawl. Offers were made - and not necessarily in jest. Well done and lovely in jewel tones.

Check out the middle. Wrapped around that blue turtleneck is Aestlight. This blue version just happens to be the fourth incarnation by the same hands. The joke is that the knitter has made so many because she "just loves making garter triangles." I find that absolutely hilarious. Loves making garter triangles! Who says knitters don't have a sense of humor.

And then in the upper portion of the photo is a superb v-neck pullover. Check out the lovely work on the sleeves.

Pure artistry. Spending time with other yarn-a-holics is so inspiring. So absolutely inspiring that I am pleased to report that my needles also boast of a work in progress. Yep, this here is my Aestlight. You will note that the garter triangle is all finished and I am on to the better portions.

Gee, it does not look like much when it is all squished up. But it is, I assure you, artistry in yarn.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Knitted Sample Becomes Blanket

A screaming bird is not always the best sound produced by nature. And when the screams are not of joy, irritation and bafflement result. Constant screaming is exactly what this bird mother dealt with post holiday.

Upon returning home and placing Bert back in his cage, all manner of discomfort began. He was one very vocal and upset bird. Fresh food, scrubbed water bowl, light bath, free flight....all to no avail. Total misery for both of us.

What is a mother to do? In these busy and occasionally stressful weeks leading up to the big gifting, it is often appropriate to pre-gift. And that is exactly what this mom did. A quick dive into the stash of look what I knit in that class produced a lovely mitered sample just the right size to become a bird blanket.

Bert loves his new blankie. He talks to it. He hides under it. He sleeps on it.

Look carefully at this photo. Thinking me stupid, he even tried to hide the nuts and fruits so that I'll break into a fresh banana. Ah! The wonderful joys of a new knitted present.

PS - screaming has stopped.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Beagle Scarf Pattern Review

By now you may have thumbed through the Nora Gaughan Men Collection from Berroco. These designs are really nice. As in great and timeless nice. The Beagle design is presented in both a pullover and a scarf. This past football weekend I knitted up a bit of the scarf as a shop sample.

This is it here - unblocked of course.

The pattern indicated that this is an easy project. And I agree. Frankly, it would be a great teaching pattern for something to do after the ubiquitous garter knitting.

Once the knitter has worked about two inches, the instructions can be set aside and you just get on with the business of reading the stitches and repeating the work. Four rows with a bit of ribbing in the middle broken up by twisted stitches. Yep, this would be a superb second project for any beginner. And it is a quick knit for those with flying fingers!

The ribbed center section that includes the twisted stitches makes the scarf quite pliable for wrapping and twisting. The double moss panels give structure so that the whole thing does not mush down into a two inch wide tunnel of hotness whilst leaving portions of the neck exposed.

This is a great knit. So I am thinking that all of the other patterns in this collection are equally fantastic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cherry Topping Is Done

This adventure to create a color more suited to me is really a story about taking a class. Getting education. It matters not if the class is about crochet, spinning, knitting, cost analysis, marketing, cooking or eco-friendly dyeing. Just get out there and learn something new.

Ann taught a quite satisfying class to the Guild on using food safe products to dye yarn. She has taken her class on the road for weekend retreats and all manner of similar adventures. While any class will do - taking class from someone local has a special built in bonus. Whether I've happened upon this marvelous teacher at a yarn shop or at a meeting or just passing by in town, she has offered encouragement to keep me on the path to success. I've picked her brain several times and know she will always offer wisdom about color manipulation.

Since the raglan was of my own design there really is not much to say about it. For sure the detail could have been mixed up by working two repeats of patterning on the body and only one on the sleeves. Or a different stitch inserted. Or basic ribbing.

That is not the story. The real story is how seven packages of black cherry drink mix can change yarn. That is a wad of the original sitting around for comparison. I am pleased and proud.

Get out there and gift yourself a class in something new. Stretch your wings. Ask Santa to bring you knowledge.

Be Thankful that you still desire to learn.

Monday, November 23, 2009

BSJ Again

Every time that a Baby Surprise is needed, I am amazed by how quickly this Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern knits up. It is truly magic on so many dimensions. Because this new one will be used as a folding sample only it seemed appropriate to make it as plain as possible

It is an old style baby pastel color worked on 3.5mm. This is the second BSJ I have made with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. This stuff even feels like a baby's cheek. It is working up at 5 st/ 1" so this is definitely newborn size. But as we know wool can be blocked up a bit as the baby grows. Not much can be said about this perfect pattern so I have no special notes to offer. Well none other than I actually planned out the button placement in advance.

Look here. Actual stitch markers telling me where to put the button holes. Now, some would comment that perhaps buttons should be in hand prior to planning button spacing and hole size. Where is the fun in that? The right buttons are not currently in hand and this is meant as just a sample. Thus, to one way of thinking the size and location of the hole does not matter.

To another way of thinking - there is the thrill of the hunt! The actual pounding of fingers and/or feet until perfection is achieved. One could possibly look forward to such an adventure if the desire to sew up the seams ever takes place.

This folding sample will also serve as a model for doing an i-cord bind off with the buttonholes inset on that final bind off. Rather than the sweater fronts overlapping by three ribs, a little more ease across the front chest is achieved due to buttons moving out a bit.

Without a real actual button in hand, I opted for a two stitch hole. This is enough to show others how to accomplish the bind off and hole making in one fell swoop.

(And yes, that final photo is upside down. Note the neck at the bottom and the diagonal lines at the top of the photo. Live with it!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Observations on Knit & Tink

Very important observation!

One margarita = Knit
Two margaritas = Tink

One mug of coffee = Tink
Two mugs of coffee = Knit

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Branching Out

Last month I gave myself two birthday gifts. One of the precious acquisitions is Reversible Knitting from Lynne Barr. You can read all about what this great resource contains here.

I love reversible knitting. Especially when it comes to the humble scarf. When a utilitarian scarf has a definite under side - aka wrong side - it seems to cause a lot of fiddling to take place. Is the good side showing? Does it twist the wrong way? Why does this tail look different from that tail? Fiddle, adjust, flip, fix...all day long.

Don't get me wrong. When a light as air lace scarf peeks out from under suit lapels I am entranced. A bit of cashmere laying flat is beauty indeed. But I'm talking about plain every day keep my neck warm scarf making. And I like something totally reversible. Or at least great looking from both sides ala Stefanie Japel's scarf from earlier.

Thus, the purchase of Reversible Knitting and stash surfing for an appropriate fiber for the pattern Branching Ribs. This is a geometric scarf that depends on short rows for the shaping. Worked with two strands held together and 8mm needles, this still manages to look quite feminine and, given what is out there in retail land, quite cutting edge for this season. The pattern calls for cotton. But it has actually turned chilly at night, and pretends to be autumnal in the mornings. Warmth is appropriate even here in southern California.

That is Atacama alpaca that has been hiding for about two years. It was a lucky find at an out of the way store with a great sale. Such a good sale that this entire scarf cost about nine whole dollars. I love my stash. And I love Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feather And Fan Afghan

Remember the feather & fan afghan? The shades of grey were chosen to coordinate with the new bedding that daughter #1 purchased. It is finished. Off the needles, ends woven in and done! Well there is that pesky blocking thing, but that is for this weekend.

This top photo shows the true colors. The garter stitch band is knit right along because the thought of picking up that many stitches after the fact is simply out of the question. I am not that disciplined.

Here, color way off, is the final result. As you can see, the surprise twist is that the stripes are vertical. We are all familiar with the horizontal patterning of feather & fan. This trusty and ageless design, crocheted or knitted, is most often presented as worked, which is indeed horizontal.

In case you are wondering:
Size 10 circular
CO 272 (allows for 252 F&F pattern stitches with 10 st garter on each side) F&F pattern can easily be found free all over the knitting internet sites.
R 1-10 k
R 11 - ? k10, 252 F&F , k10 (this gets that garter edge and allows for 14 repeats of an 18 stitch F&F)
Repeat R 1-10

Voila! Turned on the "side" nice slimming vertical stripes. Perfect for curling up with a book or an afternoon malaise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

CrabEdge To The Rescue

Cherry Top needs a better bottom. That's right, a bottom. Funny thing about that stockinette - it curls. Why is that simple fact so easy to gloss over? It is like a test. Perhaps one day, by some miracle of the twist of yarn, no curling will occur. But alas, no matter how often that tendency is tested, that roll on the edge still happens.

Regarding Cherry Top - that curl is at the bottom where the openwork bit of 'lace' suddenly ends. No ribbing at the bottom! So what to do? Since this raglan top is not pattern based, I can't blame some other designer for poor planning. It is all my fault that there is curling.

And since it is all my fault, I get to decide how to control that bottom edge. This is an instance where a good reference book could be of help. Reference books that give stitches are fun to play around with - but that is sort of how I ended up with the curling bottom. Reference books that go beyond the how of a stitch or notes on other blogs and Ravelry are a true wealth of knowledge when the "why" of a stitch is explained. I love those knitters out there who readily admit when something did not work and then proceed in short words or long prose, to give a solution and even rate how effective that solution was on the remedy scale.

So, here is my helpful remedy of the day. A sturdy and tightly worked crab stitch around the edge. Look closely at that photo. Even without blocking the tightness and vertical inclination of the reverse stitch is making that edge lay flatter. It is a beautiful thing. I suspect that after the dye bath and blocking to size, this is going to be even better.

Yeah, it is too early to gloat - but I've got a feeling....

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Air Between The String

It is indeed air between string. Took this photo outside so that the wonderful air is visible - there between the string of cashmere.



Captured breath.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Knitting Air

That's right. I am knitting air. At least that is what it feels like. Rowan Kidsilk Haze on 5.5mm (US 9) is pure air.

First, the yarn itself is a mere wisp of a twist; barely felt as it floats across fingers and sticks. All one needs do is drop a length of the stuff and watch it waft on a current of air. And that is it. The Kidsilk Haze twines around the bigger needles and captures air. It circles around nothing and creates a whole pocket of air.

A good length, about five inches, is complete and the weight is barely discernible. These pockets of air sure are beautiful. Lace like, with out a lace pattern. Floaty, but eventually seams will give structure to all of this captured air.

This knitting of air is feeling like a suspended moment of existence. Thoughts flow and float with the mohair.

Hard to explain. What wonders are captured in the air between the string.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slogging Away At Projects

Slog - to plod (one's way) perseveringly especially against difficulty. And I am guessing that said difficulty includes boring bits on the way to a finish line.

Slogging away at the Cherry Top. Every time a project, which previously excited my creative juices, gets to the bazzillionth stitch all excitement vanishes. When that bazzillionth stitch is yet another knit stitch in an endless round of knit stitches not even mindless television can divert my mind for the boredom. For this reason alone, the hem line of most sweaters that come from my needles are not just plain sweater bottoms.

Boredom sets in and something has to give or else a catatonic state will settle in and the brain, fingers and needles will freeze into position.

Cherry Top decided not to end with ribbing. Call out the knitting police! No ribbing. Just call me a rebel. Somehow, adding in a purl was not going to break up the boredom. Hopefully, once completed, dyed and blocked, the purist police will be pleased.

Slogging away at the Mandrill socks has finally resulted in completion. Caution: personal opinion follows. The Ella Rae proved disappointing. That the socks are complete and there is still color on the yarn is a miracle. Absolutely every time I worked on the socks, color rubbed off on my fingers. While the yarn works up just fine, the color transfer has ruined it all. Don't think I'll be using that stuff again.

So, after slogging away at the socks since August, the completed pair hit the vinegar bath. Watching socks soak is really not at all exciting. No, not at all. About as much fun as watching socks dry.

Still slogging away at the feather & fan afghan that is destined to be a gift. Should have made a lap robe - it would be done!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cherry With A Twist

A little bit more on why the entire Cherry Top has to be knit prior to dunking in the dye bath. This Cotton Top yarn does not like bathing. No, it definitely does not like soaking in warm water.

Look carefully at the yarn tails in the photo. Untwisted! Going their own way for sure. As soon as this discontinued Brown Sheep yarn hit the water, the plies (sp?) gave up the love and showed just how independently minded each actually is. It's a good thing that experimentation occurred.

Notice also, the swatch. Those perky little stitches soaked up dye and still managed to keep definition and distinction. Thus the confidence that in the end, all will be well.

Had I not played around with trying to change the yarn color, this tendency to untwist would have become apparent only after dunking seven skeins into the water. Can you imagine the tears and turmoil?

Lesson learned: sometimes it pays to practice first.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cherry Topping

My new involvement with environmental and kitchen utensil friendly yarn dyeing has caused me to rethink the stash. One bag 'o stash yarn happens to be a discontinued Brown Sheep. Cotton Top is 50/50 wool & cotton in a worsted weight. The color languishing in the closet recesses is 01 which is definitely not a color for me.

Being half wool, the Cotton Top will accept food safe dye and given that eventually I will over dye, the final color is somewhat in question. Already the experimentation has occurred. Because I want consistency throughout the final product, it was easy to figure out that knitting the whole top and then dunking it in a dye bath will be best. Hopefully this will mitigate variance that might result from skein to skein. One can never be too cautious with the mystery of color absorption.

The color of the Brown Sheep (C01) tends toward a faint purple and my plan is for the final raglan top to become the shade in the sample.

Understand that this is just a prediction. A vague goal in the great scheme of life and my wardrobe needs. At least this time I do have a plan - knitting muse notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a Scooch Smaller

That was the request. Just a scooch smaller so that her's would be a tad larger. So, let me back up. Owing to the fact that this upcoming holiday season our family has an official son-in-law-to-be, I felt it important to add an adult sized stocking to the mantle. Our current inventory, all produced at various points twenty to thirty years ago by my mother, Ida Mae, includes:
  • dad stocking
  • mom stocking
  • daughter #1 stocking
  • daughter #2 stocking
  • dog stocking - hand me down from daughter #1 when daughter #2 was born and two stockings of the same size were needed
  • cat stocking - made at the last minute to keep crying daughter #2 happy when she realized that dog had a stocking but her new kitty was without a stocking
After surveying all of the "grandmommie" stockings a color scheme was determined. Hard to believe that the simple green/white combination was not represented, and thus the decision was an easy and obvious one to make. When I discussed my plan with the bride-to-be-daughter #2, she thought it a grand idea - - and here is the request - - as long as his stocking is just a scooch smaller than her stocking because, well, you know, "I am a goddess."

Next step - copy my mother's stocking but have the final product smaller. Using an H hook was too big. Down two sizes was too tight when copying the chain 1 between clusters on the original granny square. Finally, I figured out that inserting a chain 2 between clusters on rounds 1 & 2, then using her chain 1 on the third round gave the necessary definition to the granny square while producing the requisite smaller size. It took a bit of fudging to have that final round lay smooth due to the change to ch1. But a heavy book overnight worked like magic to flatten the curl enough for sewing to take place. Sometimes, old fashioned thinking beats out any hints to be found online.

As requested - just a scooch smaller.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amusing Result

It is finished. This is all that is left from the left over FLS projects. To my way of thinking, this amusing vest is a free project - as the cost of the Ming went under the lady sweater budgets.

I'm loving the v-neck on the front.

Loving, also, the dark triangle shape that slims the waist.

Totally happy with the seed stitch at arm openings and neck. No additional finishing required.

The back is also fun. That top neck line of the back is ribbed all the way across. No gaps due to mis-judging the fit. Hey, when everything is organic and made up on the fly one must use all the available stitches possible to mitigate gauge issues.

Yes, I love the Amusing result of knitting with no pattern. That Knitting Muse - she is a marvelous lady!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How To Spend Time

On how to spend my time
I pondered away an hour.

And thus, having spent all my time
I pondered on where went the hour.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Confession is Good . . . .

Confession is good for the knitterly soul.

One Monkey sock - done. It turns out that if you actually touch the needles and pet the yarn, progress is made. Do note: One Sock.

Unfortunately, this sock is too loose upon my foot. I knew it all along. Every time I tried it on, it was too loose. But I kept going. Knowing the facts did not deter my joy in the making. Working 62 stitches on US size 1 never fits moi. Should have gone down a size. The lace YOs don't help. Fret not. Daughter #2 thinks this sock not only fits her dancer feet, but also brings out her blue eyes. She has offered to take two socks to her home. Geez, now I have to finish the pair.

Feather & Fan afghan hid for quite a while simply because it was too hot to work such a large piece. Fall has arrived and, more importantly, a major gift giving opportunity is just over two months away. I must speed up. I must speed up. I must speed up. Let's hope the weather man keeps coolness in the forecast.

PS - Over the weekend I had an opportunity to see the new bedding ensemble that this afghan was designed to compliment. And it does! Sight unseen the shades of grey selected in a vacuum will work perfectly.

And, just out of boredom and to work on a middle of the gauge project, I started this familiar pattern.

Socks on a 2.25mm, the afghan on huge sticks and this surprise project on a 3.5mm. Surely that covers everything from fun to mindless, small to large and even plain to colorful.

Variety is the spice of life!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Messy Muse

The week has been quite busy and no blogging occurred. How about a catch up with the muse. She is still upon me; and making a mess. Here is the front. You will note that a soft V-neck occurred. When there is no pattern before you, beside you or under the yarn, the mind really begins to work. I can make a V-neck with no pattern. Decrease this side - decrease that side and work smoothly back.

Please know that whilst the muse is creative, she is not necessarily neat. Here is the underside of that front in mid mess. Guess I have a lot of 'post production' work yet to come! As I recall, it is Lucy Neatby who admits to major ends dangling about during the actual knitting. Nice to know that I am in good company.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whole Lot of Love

The guild meeting on last Saturday was filled with love. Love for children that we, as members, may never meet. Love for children that need to hang on to something precious during turbulent times. Witness the love from those who crochet and knit.

Over one hundred wee ones will benefit during the coming year due to the Precious Pals program. The local law enforcement representatives are now equipped to hand out a soft squishy bundle of love to children.

Get out there and find a way to share. Helmet liners, chemo caps, pink scarfs, lap robes.....all is good. Find your niche and give love.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mistake Be Gone

Lots of traveling lately. Mindful of needing a project that was simple, quick, semi-mindless and easy on the portability scale, I started a Footprints scarf. Footprints is a simple pattern by Stefanie Japel. Her patterns have produced prior success and I was hopeful of another useful accent scarf. So, I got busy knitting and traveling and stopping and starting and stopping again.

Understand, please, that the pattern choice was made because Footprints is very simple - it moves past semi-mindless and tips over into mindless knitting. Not totally mindless, just plain mindless. Plain mindless enough that it is within the realm of possibility that a purl stitch could accidentally become a knit stitch. Yes, this could possibly happen.

Further, once such a reversal switch is made, it follows that a mindless mind just might work the next row, being a 'wrong side' row with an incorrect stitch. (Even though this pattern has no official wrong side. After all, it looks quite presentable from both sides. Not the same, but perfectly presentable.) Let's just go with the flow, pretend that the mindless knitter in question is now on the wrong side row, merrily knitting/purling as each stitch presents, and so she produces a lovely purl in a certain location that should be a knit on this side. But having blown it on the 'right side' now that stitch is reversed. Do you follow - switch, boom, wrong!

And let us just say that this same mindless knitter continues her travels, starting and stopping the knitting with the flow of planes, cars, hotels and meetings and never once notices that the two edges of the scarf are no longer matchy-matchy. Then, in a dull moment of wondering if a landing strip will ever come in to view, she suddenly focuses. Focus on a scarf that looks odd. As in what is that knit stitch doing there on the right side? Should not that be a purl - like this purl over on the right?

Geez! Now the mindless knitting isn't so mindless because that one stitch must be dropped down and corrected. If the correction were 5 or 6 or even 15 rows I would have done it. Yes. I would correct my mindless mistake with grace. But when that one stitch needed to be dropped down about 30 inches I lost my cool, refused to do it and almost accepted my fate of wearing a non-symmetrical scarf.

Then it hit me. Like the proverbial flash of brilliance. Drop the offending stitch all the way down. On both sides! Result? Symmetrical scarf, wider than originally planned but nonetheless unique and brilliantly executed. Witness the result - Ladder to the Moon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do Nada

How sad for me. Nearly a month ago, a heal was in view. See here for premature thinking. I see the Monkey sock pattern to be knit in a superb blue. I envision the named Mandrill socks upon my extremities. Unfortunately, whilst I see the monkey, the monkey is not doing these socks.

Here sits sock number one. Nothing happened. I left it alone in a nice dark spot with nary an interruption for weeks and weeks. Nada. Let the statement be emphasized: nothing happened! There is not a heel in sight. No decision as to which heel is most appropriate needs to be made.

Clearly life is interrupting the stick and string thing. And to top it off, the color in the photo is so wrong, not even the sliding adjuster things in Photoshop could help. All in all - to much playing at retail store and traveling the country and volunteering and not enough progress on the projects that focus on self.

My narcissistic side is feeling neglected. So I ask, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Hmmmm. . . . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

No Knitting, Just Yarn

There might be a reason that my yarn love is limited to stashing and not retailing. Witness what I have gotten my self into.

What you see is an explosion of new yarns. This is part of the fall shipment that arrived at a favorite LYS recently. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back - even though none of this is camel hair. Where to put the new? What to put on sale? Why not move the sock yarn to there? Oops.

Have you ever noticed that once the first item is moved the whole scheme is off kilter and other items must get moved and then the furniture has to shift because there is more of this than there was of that and then men are involved because of bolts and attachments and the whole thing gets awfully close to chaos?

Chaos and I do not get along. Period. Luckily, the shop owner and her employee left town and headed to Big Bear and a yarn retreat. They were taking a group up to cool off, learn to take color out of knitted fabric and how to add color in to yarn fiber. That left only two determined women in charge. Keys to the shop and everything.

The instigator of the shop redesign in the photo trying to figure out if it was actually worth watching those men disassemble, move and reassemble the supports for the yarn cubbies. Will it work? Is it all for naught?

Wait till you see the result. I must say there is something quite trusting about a shop owner giving the keys to the kingdom to two customers and letting them 'play store.' We moved all of the Louisa Harding! We moved all of everything. We put up new displays and redressed the windows.

What will the shop owner think when she returns. How will she ever find the new yarns? Actually, that won't be an issue as all of the new stock is in one place - New Fall Yarn Section. Brilliant, don't you agree.

She might never find that silk/merino again. Well, at least she will not notice that the purple is slightly hidden from other customers until I casually stroll up to the counter with the marvelous stuff in my hands.