Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sock It To Me

Given that the Monkey socks are still AWOL, it seemed appropriate to cast on for a replacement pair.  Oh, sure.  Monkeying around again was a possibility.  The pattern works, is easy to remember, fits well and ups Cookie A's count on Ravelry. 

All of those are excellent reasons to repeat the experience.  After all, one good sock deserves another!  In more ways than one, too.  Alas, the Monkey was not on my back.  Thus, here are the latest - Sunrise socks from Wendy D. Johnson.  It is such a simple repeat that when reading the pattern for the first time all that one can think is, "That's it?  That's all?  Can't be?"  

But it is indeed so simple as to be fun and elegant and fast.  Very fast.   As I am typing, it is early afternoon of a holiday weekend and all I can say is ZOOM.  It is within the realm of possibility that the three mugs of coffee this morning and the shrimp salad for lunch impacted the speed of the needles, because the gusset, turn and flap have taken very little of the day.

The specifics:

Sunrise Socks - Wendy Knits link above
Smallest size on the trusty Addi lace needles
Size 1 - pattern wants a 0 - but I know my gauge and foot, so just go with the flow.
On Your Toes bamboo from Kertzer

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What They Do Teach in Knit School

We have all heard it, read it, seen it and forgotten about it.  That brilliant concept of preparing for easy seaming by slipping the first stitch!  Yes, they do teach this in knit school.  But how often do I remember to do it?  Rarely. 

Having such success with the shoulder picot points, me thought myself on a roll and it was time to continue on and seam the sides.   To guarantee more happy stitches, I went off to visit a friend for moral support.  After all, the seam on a dress is long.  Longer than a sweater.  And multiply all those rows times two makes for some long and boring stitching.  At least that is what I thought - thus the comfort of a friend.

And when I sat to stitch, there they were.  Slipped stitches.  Now, dear reader, I knew that I had actually remembered to slip the edge stitches.  Perhaps because this had become second nature on the making of Rae, that I'd not let it sink in how brilliant this advice actually is to this average knitter.  Brilliant!  Go slip some stitches at your next edge.

The entire seaming process - and here I'm talking and entire dress with two side seams - was over in a flash.  Quicker than I can seam two sleeves, the whole dress was completed.  And, to my eternal delight with my own skill at following rows, the chevron pattern lines up quite well indeed.

Oh, the joy and success to be had when one follows what they teach in knit school.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What They Don't Teach In Knit School

It is a fact, firm and true, that my patience for research is lacking this morning.   What they don't teach in knit school is how to attach one picot hem to another picot hem in such a way that: a) the result is a series of little holes and b) it looks awesome.

For a while, I gave some thought to knitting the Rae dress in one fell swoop from hem over the shoulders and down to the other hem.  That idea was discarded simply because it was too daunting and left little room for error without resorting to tear filled frogging should something go off kilter.  In fact, I gave it so little thought that I don't think they teach that method to make a picot infused neckline  in knit school either.

First, note how lovely and perfect is the inner hem for the neckline.  I am very pleased with the flatness of the bind off that results from Lucy Neatby's Modified Conventional Bind Off.  

If you don't already have this twist on the old BO in your repertoire, I highly encourage learning it as soon as possible.   Lucy's method should be taught in all knitting schools.

So, with the knitting done to satisfaction, I had to figure out how to sew together the shoulders.  What follows is how the sewing was done.  But I sure do wish that some internet search had resulted in a better method.  Making up what you don't know is not always the wisest approach to this knitting thing.

Pay absolutely no attention to color.  I don't know what happened.  One photo is grey, one is teal, and frankly at this point I don't care.

Note the way in which I ended up sewing together the picot points.  
*  Come up on the left side of a point 
*  Go across to the matching point on the other hem and insert needle from left to right through the point
*  Come back to the first point and insert needle from right to left
*  Tug to tighten enough to close space but not so tight as to collapse the points.
*  Repeat motion on same section so as to reinforce 
*  On this second round, in order to go to the next picot point, insert needle from right side of lower picot and down between the hem layers, emerging on the left side of the next picot point.

This shows how important the tension is when wrapping the picot points.  The whole goal is to have the little spaces still evident and show a delicate join that is filled with hidden strength.

Caution:  yanking on the sewing yarn will collapse the picot points!  

Yeah, I know.  That whole color thing again.  Get over it.  I have.

A seam is complete.  Please pay more attention to the lower section where the picot "holes" are more open.  What you don't see in the photo is me tugging slightly so as to mimic a bit of blocking.    I am quite pleased with this.  The strong seam is a result of double wrapping each picot and I am convinced this will matter in the wearing.  

It is possible that there exists a better and more correct way to sew the little buggers together.  If there is, please do not berate me for lack of skill; rather  point me to a good resource and I'll go back to knitting school.

Now - off to finish sewing the sides and to recruit a model for the next photo session. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Is Missing?

Look carefully at this photo.  What is missing?  

Oh, I'll admit that when last washed, this did not hit the sock block, so the heel is warped.  But some days, I too am a bit warped.  So don't dwell on that little issue.

So what else is missing?  

Notice the well decreased toe.  That is quite fine.

An eagle eye might even marvel at the smooth right movement of that line of knit as it begins the gusset increase.  OK - that bit is probably hidden in the shadow of the folded heal - but give me a break here.

So what is missing?  Look at the shadow for a hint.  That's right.  Only one sock is casting a shadow. 

Sock # 2.  Where the bees wax is it?  That wretched panthadillo has absconded with not only the mate to this one, but also an entire pair (that is two.  two, I tell you.  two. ) of Monkey Socks.  For three mornings I have tossed an entire drawer to the winds.    I have moved laundry baskets searching for errant tosses.  Verily, I have done the laundry and put it all away.  No mate; no monkeys.

My life is a shambles.  I was wondering what next project will inspire me to cast on.  Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Garter Goodness Rocks

The basic of a knit stitch, over and over with nothing else can appear boring to a beginning knitter.  But frankly, many days the truth of this pursuit is that no other thought is needed, but to love and be loved by garter stitchery.  (pardon me EAP)    Entire garments of garter goodness made EZ a legend for all time.  Entire books have been written to praise the truth that is a good square with a true edge.   Many use it as the fall back certainty when failure looms.

I am fascinated once again with the always in style and continually surprising result of basic garter stitches. 

 This is my current on again/off again/is it too hot to knit project.  The brilliant garter workings of the Moderne Log Cabin from Mason Dixon Knitting.  Those wonderful mavens of cross-cultural interactions put together the simplicity of little loops making a square with reinterpreted history and published simple beauty in a blanket.

Mindless knitting suitable for watching a movie in the dark - sans those odd light up needles - is often just what the soul needs.  I find it healing to knit.  Just knit.  Over and over.  Nothing but knit - knitting to heal.  
Well, massive knitting results in a massive quantity of garter stitches.  Luckily, this classic pattern flips and turns just enough to provide the perfect platform for our modern(e) color changing yarns.  I am loving the way that this Plymouth Boku stripes up.  Mixed with a nice solid or two or three, the result is looking like a log cabin quilt composed from the scrap bag and worn out school clothes. 

As you can see, I am four blocks into the construction and evenings here are still cool enough for afghan knitting in the hoped for breeze.  I don't know how much longer the weather will cooperate with a lap full of wool, but while the wind blows the stitches flow and healing takes place.

I can get lazy with this simplest of things.  Note the stitch marker.  All it does is move up ten ridges every so often and that gives me the freedom, during each section, to count no farther than ten.   For huge swaths of repetition, this works.  Oh, sure I will find the energy to grumble when this section is complete and some number of stitches - much greater than ten - is needing to be picked up.  But for now, the rhythm of knitting in the cool darkness is having the desired impact.  

One day, I'll be warm and healed and thankful for the beauty that is the simple knit garter stitch.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More About Cardigan Fronts

Panic not friends.   The front of the cardigan appears somewhat "not wide enough" for my wide enough parts.  This is a trick of photography and of the rest of the pattern.

Please note that, owing to the stockinette along the sides, this cotton rolls back a fair bit.  Actually, it rolls in three stitches on the left side (of photo here) and a fair amount on the right side (the side seam).  Plus, one must consider that there is ribbing to pick up along the front sides (left as presenting in said photo).  So, taken in total, a loss for the seam plus 1.5 inches of ribbing times two fronts equal plenty of give to go around what I have to go around.

Please, no more messages thinking that this will not fit my current state.  And - - don't forget that cotton, in the wearing and washing, does tend to stretch across the width which just happens to be exactly where I stretch across.

The end.

Cardigan Fronts are Fast

The fronts of my new cardigan are moving very fast!  Almost too fast as you'll note that decreasing at the underarm is already progressing.   And given that the other front is also being worked at the same time, these will be finished toot sweet.
I am struggling with a name for this summer cardi.   The name Design 6: Linares just does not cut it at all.  Suggestions are welcome.    If it were earlier in the season, the name of this could become Digging for Spring.  That is simply because the holes are lined in rows as though waiting from someone to come along and plant seeds.  

Or perhaps the name could be Ladders of Success.  That also seems appropriate.  Another possibility is Something Softly This Way Comes - with apology for lifting that title from elsewhere.

Under any name or circumstance, I do like the simple lace columns.  Once blocked, this will look stunning.  The sleeves have the same lace running up the mid-line, so all in all this will have quite a feminine look.  Not my typical style at all.

But then, that is the point of this project.  Not my color way, not my style in patterning and totally not me.  Every now and again, it is important to branch out and try something new and atypical.  For it is only in stretching do we grow.  Only in learning to delight in the new  is one able to truly appreciate the different.  

I might be getting older, but I don't want to become a stick in the mud.  So, I keep refreshing the definition of "me."  Give it a try - - the results are enlightening.

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Stash - In the Trunk

It is not my fault.  After the gift of a shopping spree, I was forced to pitch in for gas money and trek down to Twisted Sisters warehouse for a rare sale.  Forced I tell you.  The stash runs over; the closet is bursting and needs reorganization.  And I was forced to go to the warehouse and purchase skeins and skeins of yarn for ridiculous prices.

The sale was scheduled for 10 - 2.  We arrived, a car load of determination, at 9:33 precisely.  We were not first in line.  Who knew that knitters arrive early for the sale of a life time?  At least there were only two other early souls and we added four more to the line of patience. 

Anna had graciously opened the front door early so that the cooling breeze entered the little show room and flowed into the warehouse.  We peaked in.  Often.  Stuck on the walls were the prices of everything up front.  Simple rule:  Be nice and wait to be escorted through the warehouse where everything was 20% off.  Up front - $1.50 - $10 a skein.  As in per skein!  For Twisted Sisters yarn!  Me thought I had dyed and gone to heaven.

Within seconds, the crowd began to grow and by 9:45, with a smile on her face the words every stash shopper needs to hear were uttered, "Oh, come on in."  I'll spare you a description about the jostling (all very polite, for sure) and cut to the chase.

There was a line to check out.  We were mostly nice about it.  I do confess that there was some pawing into the holdings of others.  Lots of amazement at what one did not see inside, but suddenly had a desire to own whilst waiting to pay.

What is it about yarn-aholics that we can say "no thank you" until we see someone else has succumbed?  Then the addiction comes roaring back and we covet - commandment breaking, addictive, coveting of what another has with a passion that leads to downfall.  

It is sad.  This I confess.

Don't freak out.  This lovely stuff belongs to four knitters. 

It is not all mine.  Only one section is mine.  And my stash enhancing addiction is still hiding the the trunk of my car until it can squeeze into a space not meant to hold so much.   Yep, it is still in the trunk.  I call it the cooling off period.  By the time I bring it into the house, it will be at least four days old - just some old yarn that I found in the trunk.  

Thank you Twisted Sisters!!


Friday, May 7, 2010

When Family Accepts You

My family apparently also accepts me for being me.  Check out the photo of my new pin in honor of Mother's Day.  This is the Goddess of Knitting made by Christine Olmstead.

I love her - especially her purple dress and festive attitude.  Still working out how she is knitting a bottom up raglan on straight needles - but that just makes her more of a rule-breaking-goddess-of-knitting.

If it applies - HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

OR - perhaps you are also having memories of your own mother or mother substitute.  Be thankful for the guidance, whatever the source.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When Friends Accept You

I am blessed to have a special group of friends who accept me - for the me I am.   As a team, we focus on the strengths of each other and work toward a common purpose.   Not a month goes by without  these inspirational folks teaching me something new and of value.  New is one thing.  We all need a bit of new now and again.  Ah - but new AND valuable is a treasure for sure.

Although several of these friends do in fact know an SSK from a K2tog, most have no clue about the mysteries that can be had from just manipulating the knit and the purl.  But they are a sneaky lot for certain.  Clearly there is a ring leader amongst them.   Someone lurked about on this blog and made secretive contact with my beloved Knit 'n Stitch and planned a huge surprise.  And, just to top it off, Linda and Sue at KNS never let on that something was in the works. 

Like a dream,  I was gifted a certificate that let me run wild through a yarn store!  Can you imagine? 

Look here:  two new Addi Turbo's, two new circs for hats, brand new Chibis that are not lost between the sofa cushions, a mimi yarn caddy, blocking wires with unbent t-pins, 1200+ yds of Berroco Vintage, 3 skeins of Mountain View Crazyfoot, a lovely hank of Mushishi and my very own copy of Loop-d-Loop for inspiration.

Oh my.  The eyes are still a bit misty.

Bert is also quite excited and clearly loves looking at the cover girls.

So, to my team members on the Board, thank you for accepting me - yarn and all.

Go check them out and learn about National Charity League: