Friday, June 25, 2010

Lazy Daze of Summer

This laundry is a clear indicator that summer is here - both by the calendar and by the thermometer.  I already had to wash the sleeveless gear and am tempted to get out the hair dryer to speed the process!

Look at that photo.  Those stripes on the Maggie Mae are straight in the wearing, but my I did a horrid job at laying it out!  However, the shaping on the tank looks might fine.  Mighty fine indeed.

Summer is for finding time to laze about.  Some times whole blocks of time can be devoted to vacation and relaxing.  Other times or situations require finding snippets of laziness.

I found a enough snippets of time in the evenings to finish the socks.  Socks are a great summer project.  Small and portable and one is never more than a few stitches from a good stopping point so it is easy to interrupt the knitting for a sip of ice cold lemonade on the porch.  The bamboo worked up really well.  I confess that the longevity and hard wearing still has me worried a bit.    And for the record - the Monkey Socks have never showed up!  Anywhere.  We are not amused.     I am so upset about those socks that I even took out the computer bag thinking that maybe, on some spring travel adventure, that I put the socks down amongst the peripherals.  But alas, still no blue Monkey socks.  

Now that the socks are finished, more small summer projects are required.  I started this:
It does not look like much now.  One day this wad of a rectangle will be something that I adore.  For now, it follows me around and makes an appearance any time that a desire to work on unending seed stitch rares up and overtakes my common sense.  Frankly, I hate the working of seed stitch.  Total yuck.  But, it is predictable, sturdy and keeps its shape.  So, I trudge on with the making and envision the final product.

And, with visions of a future chilly morning in my mind's eye, I started this bit of cashmere.  This is not total yuck.  This is pure joy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Button Hole Dilemma

Ah, the age old dilemma of how to place the button holes in hand knit fabric.  Many have fretted.  Many have researched.  Many have compared.  And still, each and every opportunity to place the button holes is another moment of angst.

Please understand that I am not referring to making button holes.  As in making a purposeful hole in knitted fabric through which a button easily passes and still holds firm.  Nay.  I refer to the actual holes in a button - - specifically a non-shank button where the stitching that holds said button firmly in place will show on the public side of the garment/object and thus the stitches through the button holes will compete with the knit stitches.  What to do?  How to minimize or maximize the impact to satisfy the wearer and not cause the public to question simple sewing skills.

My current dilemma is buttons for the cardigan.  You are welcome to weigh in with a thought.  But my mind is almost made up.

Here the button is placed in a traditional manner such that the holes make a lovely little square.  This presents, at minimum, three sewing options.
#1.  Sew in a vertical manner from the top left to bottom left and then from top right to bottom right, resulting in two vertical lines to mimic the vertical nature of stockinette and neckline ribbing.
#2.  Sew in horizontal manner from top right to top left and bottom right to bottom left, resulting in two horizontal lines to mimic the horizontal nature of the front ribbing through which the button shall eventually pass and upon which it lies.
#3.  Sew in an X pattern from the top right to bottom left and top left to bottom right, resulting in a cross pattern that mimics the leaning psso of the lace pattern.

In this second photo, the button is rotated so that the holes are in a diamond pattern.  Again, this presents, at minimum, three sewing options.
#1.  Sew in a + sign pattern from top to bottom and side to side so that the button has security no matter which direction it is yanked during a fit of frustration.
#2.  Sew in a diagonal pattern from center top to left side and from center bottom to right side, resulting in two parallel lines that oppose the psso slant of the lace pattern.
#3.  Sew in a diagonal pattern from center top to right side and from center bottom to left side, resulting in two parallel lines that mimic the psso slant of the lace pattern.

By now you understand this button hole dilemma.  I personally think that several of these options are totally wrong simply because the result would offend my personal sense of style.  Two of the options are clearly superior. 

I keep for getting.  Is it God or the Devil who is in the details? 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Distracted Sock Knitting Snafu

The socks are zipping along.  Finished sock #1 this weekend and immediately and Magically cast on #2.  If you are a sock knitter you know that the toe takes almost no time at all.   It does not matter if you end with decreases and Kitchener or work toe up or even work short row decreases and increase to graft to the sole.  Those few stitches take no time at all.

Then comes the flying along in pattern.  I am making Sunrise Socks from Wendy Knits.  Easy peasy knitting for  one so quickly distracted as this old Cajun.  Let it be known that there is a hand written note - penned by yours truly - indicating the exact number of pattern repeats to work before commencing on the gusset.  An actual note written down on the pattern.  After all, I might want to use this pattern again and why should I fret over measuring my foot when a simple read of the personal note will suffice.

Yes, that note will suffice in the future.  Today the note was useless.  Entirely useless because a certain conversation became all consuming and the knitting was relegated to mere back story.  Round and round on the sock whilst I listened intently to the fore story of conversation.  Luckily, the easiness of the pattern requires very little notice during the working.  My eyes were fixated upon the speaker, my ears intent upon each nuance and my fingers doing the knitting.

And then it happened.  The old brain kicked in with a rational moment.  Me thought that surely, by this time and amount of knitting, it is soon time to attend to the gusset and not the flow of words.   I forced myself to attend to counting of pattern repeats.  One, two, three, four, etc., until I reached eighteen.

Bummer.   It is sing along time!

A frogging I shall go.  

A frogging I shall go.  

What Ho? 

And shucky darn.  

A frogging I shall go. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

But It Is Cashmere!

And so I had to have it.   It being  a mere 25 g of Filatura Di Crosa  Superior.  And, if you are not familiar with this lace weight, it has 30% silk.   Yes, it is a bit dear to the pocket, but only one ball is needed for the intended usage.   You can read a review here, so no additional words from me.

I succumbed.  Yarn stores that have many samples for touching and fondling are my favorite type of stores.  It does not matter if the sample is of a pattern for sale, class being offered or simply gauge swatches of each yarn available.  I love a good sample of the merchandise.

Actually, I only bought the lace weight cashmere because of a pattern sample.  It's a lovely serpentine scarf pattern from Lyn Perkins who is local to Huntington Beach, CA.   The sample was on display at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, where one can enjoy knittin' on the dock of the bay - - literally.  This sea kissed store is packed with samples, enthusiasm and lots of opportunity for building your yarn experiences. 
This smooshed together two inches is the first fourteen rows of Ms. Perkin's serpentine scarf.  This will be mine - all mine with no thought of gifting it away.  Already I am happy with my ability to work a 12-stitch cable.  No thanks to any grand perfection on my part, but wholly due to the Addi lace points.

So, with this new narcissistic project added to the cardigan, socks, blanket and a sampler scarf, my knitting life is getting a bit hectic.  To top it all off, tomorrow brings a class on reading Japanese knit patterns.  My head is spinning and my fingers are knitting.   It is a good thing that the summer evenings are long lighted.  More time to get it all done.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One Day......

One day I will chain up for this crochet afghan.  A friend has is as a hand written pattern that came from someone who......  Well, you understand how these patterns get passed around.  Notes are added by one maker, copied by another and told to someone else.  Before you know it, the project is completed in every color way imaginable. 

I have seen this made up in greens.  That version is stunning.  The wild Caribbean  shades of one crib sized version are too wild for my sensibilities.  None the less, the pattern still rings true.

The title on the poorly faded copy that my friend has is "Indian Blanket"  Something about this geometry is soothing.  Perhaps it is the repetitive stitch, the sequence of color change or just the mystique of the hand written pattern.  I love it.  

If you are interested in learning more about it, give a call to this store.  I think they even offer a class.  

My biggest worry is selecting two contrasting colors and then the shades/tints needed to repeat the pattern.  It would be stunning in Cardinal & Gold!   This brown & blue scheme is peaceful, so it is an option.  

Yes, one day I am going to decide on color and get a chain going to make this pattern.  

But not during a desert summer - so maybe next winter.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rae Wears Rae

The new pattern is actually wearable!  

And even better, Rae wears Rae and it fits. 

This designer is proud.

This knitter is proud.

This mother is proud.   

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ruffled Mini Shawl

What does forty-eight hours of Holiday eating, sleeping, shopping and knitting equal?  It equals this.

A ruffled version of the Weavers Wool Mini Shawl that can be had in it's unruffled form here.  I've already made two previous version of this quick knit.  This one still needs to be blocked and embellished - but 'tis done.

I cast on for this on Saturday afternoon and was finished with the knitting by Monday noon.  The ruffled edge was just a whim and a bit of girly girl to change the plain garter.  And to top it off, there are beads yet to be added.
For the first row of ruffle, all that I did was increase every second stitch.  Three or four rows later I increased every fourth stitch just because it needed a bit more.  Don't even ask how many stitches that made.  I never did count it up.  If I had, the BO would have seemed too daunting to tackle.

When working the ruffle, the increase lines (YO, K1, YO) were maintained and so that pattern runs right through the ruffle.

I like the way this turned out and the impact of the YO holes within the ruffle is tres chic!  After all, it is the detail work that makes or breaks the final result.

Still looking for the beads for the edge.  And how best to apply.  I am torn between crocheting on single beads so that the exact spacing is controlled.  But then, the option to purchase beaded fringe and sew it on sure would be quick! 

Perhaps, while I watch this Plymouth Mushishi dry, the bead dilemma will be solved.