Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Progress Report

My green rudbeckia socks have another 3 rounds complete—I worked on them Sunday when I trucked a few miles north to baby sit my grand daughters.

I got nothing done once I arrived—the girls are a full time (time and half!) job. Such different personalities and temperaments! Miss J is all determination. She locks her jaw and set to work at what she wants. It's hard to distract or deter her—but so worth the effort because she has such a winning smile. Miss C, is a charmer. She already knows her winning smile will soften the hardest hearts. And she flashes all the time. She too is determined to get what she wants—and so much energy...she is a motorized whirl a gig!

Baby sitting was exhausting. They are both so filled with energy and curiosity, and determination. And I am a morning person—by 8 O'clock in the evening, I have no energy—Unlike these night owls.

My plan was to watch the PBS show The Roosevelt's—and I did catch most of it. (In NYC, they did an immediate repeat. First broadcast at 8PM to 10, then rebroadcast from 10 till midnight.) by 10 both girls were asleep (well, one woke up at 11:40 PM) and I was able to see most of it—uninterupted.

It was on again last night (new episode) and again tonight, (and again, and again for the week)--

Last night as I watched, I worked on my SIL's grey ribbed socks. Just past 7 inches now—and if they were for me, time to start the heel flap. But SIL is taller—so an other inch/inch and half before I start the flaps. I feel like I am eating up yarn--(I do have a third skein) but I am refusing to worry about running out. I have several skeins of Kroy yarn is solid grey, (light, medium and dark greys) any of which will go well with the grey marl if I need to find yarn to finish the toes.

It's a bit easier to see the 3 X 1 rib pattern with the socks stretched out a bit. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cracking the WIP's

I have been making these socks forever—or at least all summer. I have stopped, and knit another pair of socks, and then gone back to them. I am bored with them. The idea is to knit a flower sock—specifically, a black eyed suzy's (rudbeckias) I like the idea, I dyed the yarn, I created a stitch pattern to work them in, and now, I can barely stand to knit them. I get a scant round or 2 done each week on the bus—a kind of forced knitting. I'm almost to the point of knitting the flowers for the top. There is the row of “bobble' buds, shown, (more to come on back of sock) and next, semi opened buds... and then finally flowers.

The thought of picking them up drove me to start a new project (the Mint Pi)--which is also on hold. I am now at 256 stitches—and I KNOW the pattern I want to work next . I just have to find the stitch dictionary that has it—and say a prayer that it has a stitch count that works. Actually, I have several stitches I want to incorporate, and it's just a matter of finding one that has the right stitch count for a repeat. There are many option, factors in 256 include, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and others.--and many stitch dictionaries on my shelves to search through.

So—to avoid working on the dredded flower socks, I started another pair. These are for my totally knit-worthy SIL—who like wool socks, and spends $$ to buy them. He and my DD have already gone camping with my darling gran's (who will also have wool socks or legging next year—they near wore their sweaters out in a 4 day camping weekend this year!)-- and come this winter he will once again head north and spend a long weekend hunting...(and hopefully come home again with meat).

Any one who is stomping round in woods in November needs wool socks. Even though this could pass for dress sock, (and be at home in an office in the downtown financial district)--they will also work for warmth inside outdoor boots.

This pair is plain jane—I know his foot size, but knitting socks with out fitting socks is always a bit risky—so I opted for ribbing. 

Since Thursday night? Cast (again and again—I really have trouble counting after the sun sets!) and started with 1.75 inches of 1 X 1 ribbing. Now I have changed to 3 X 1, and knit another 2+ inches. The plan is for about 9 inches of leg. I am a few rows away from the half way point of the leg at 4.5 inches. Followed by a 3 inch heel flap, for a total of 12 inches for the leg length. The foot will be almost equal length. (or close, I have to check and see how big a foot is needed for a men's size 12 shoe) It's some nice progress—especially when you consider, these are large men's socks (72 stitches cast on, not the more usual 60).

These Oh, so plain socks in a grey marl are so much more fun to knit. I LIKE the IDEA of richly patterned socks, with interesting details... but I really don't like knitting them. The few pairs I have knit? I rarely wear. I like plain socks. Or simple self striping patterns or even socks with beaded elements. I even enjoy socks worked in stranded color work . Though I confess, I rarely do a whole sock in stranded color work..I love how they look, but they don't fit into most of my shoes, and so they rarely get worn! Still I have a number of pairs with fancy tops and toes. And I like these ribbed socks, since I am vain—and I love my neat columns of ribs. Sometimes it's the plainest of features that best showcase a knitters skill.

I'll see how the plain jane ribbed sock fit my SIL , and then maybe plan another pair—goodness knows, I have more than enough socks for me! (and I still want to knit socks)—and sometime before the end of world, I will finish my rudbeckia socks.

But I think the Mint Pi might be finished first!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Not Much Knitting Going On

 My knitting slump continues... Socks started at the beginning of the summer, still aren't finished. I like the design, but I am just not interested in knitting them. Nothing else either.

So, of course my response was to start something new.. And while it is pretty, it really won't be a successful FO.

I started a pi shawl—EZ's misnamed basic pattern. It's really a Bi shawl, since it follows a binary progression.. Every time you double the row count, (from row 1 (cast on) to 2, or from row 2 to 4, and 4 to 8, (and so on, in simple binary progression) you double the stitch count, (from 4 stitches (cast on) to 8, then from 8 stitches to 16, followed by an increase of 16 to 32, (and so on) in a secondary binary progression. I am half way through a 32 row section—with 128 stitches in each round.. (It's still doily sized--about 8 inches or so)

The yarn is a soft wool and silk blend, (no name/no label, bargain cone)--home dyed a mint green.

Every new group in the progression is getting a new stitch pattern.

At first, almost no pattern, then a simple mesh, followed by a set leaves, and now, diamonds...

Un stretched 
Like all lace it doesn't look like much unless its heavily blocked.. Just compare when I finished the leaves.. (un stretched) with the same bit stretched out on the needle and pinned.

Gently stretched
I am now ¼ (8 rows) through the 32 row section, and I won't really be able to stretch out the knitting anymore—even just gently (vs hard blocking) stretched, it fill my circ.

I mentioned above, that this will be somewhat unsuccessful FO. I don't really have enough yarn for a big circular shawl. Just 4 oz or so, (and no idea how many yards)....So I am likely to run out of yarn when the circle is just 20 inches or so.. 

But it's fun to play with new patterns as I progress—its almost going to be a stitch sampler as much as anything else. I suppose it will be a small neck wrap in the end.
A needle full of stitches.

I have also been pigging out on TV—I got hooked on Orange is the New Black-- and now I am eagerly waiting for season 3 with thousand of others. Mad Men is on my Netflix queue, too.

My baby granddaughters are growing like weeds—and I see them at least weekly—and sometimes 2 or 3 times in a week—what with babysitting, and doctors appointments, and just helping out (library trips). They see their other grand parents on a regular schedule, too. They have a packed social life for infants—DD want to make sure they are not shortchanged in attention or stimulation.

Friday, August 15, 2014

As Summer Draws to a Close

 I am back. It's not been the best of summers... I was sick, serious ill for 7 weeks of it. I am mostly recovered, but still not 100%, but on my way (well into the 90%). Nuf said.

It was also a bad summer for me technology wise. My 8 year old computer died.
My new dell is well, cheaper (in stated dollar amount, and most definitely in real terms) and in some ways more powerful, but came with Windows8—a OS that want to make decisions for me. Hell no! I want to make my own decisions about how I use and operate my computer.

I hate the touch screen, I home screen (and I have learn how to do most things via the desk top)

I have windows 8 because, well I hate to fall behind in technology, and more and more things (phones, tablets, etc) are organized the way 8 is organized, and I need to learn the new technology or get left behind. Since i have no plans to stop learning, I must have 8, even as I gripe about it!

One gripe I don't have is lost files... I have been pretty diligent about making backs up-and I am starting out with every file... (and have been cleaning up some files, too)  I often take a number of photo's for my block, or ravelry--(today there were 12) and end up only using a 2 or 3.  I have been organizing the photo files, and deleting the photo's that don't make the cut... (this will make back ups easier and more compact!)

I did get some knitting done...

I last posted about the light lacy summer scarf—I finally got to see Nancy and give it to her.

Then I started some socks. I had started socks with this yarn (Patons Kroy, colorway clover) months ago—I unraveled half the skein looking for a place where the two skeins matched. When I couldn't find a match point, I gave up.

This time round, I decided to let thing go—and to just knit socks and let the colors fall where they will. Half way through the socks, I looked and the ball bands, and realized I had 2 different dye lots... these sock were never going to match!

But the color ways are close enough that they look like a pair—and so they are.

After that, I decided to work on my Rudbeckia socks.... toe up (because I wasn't sure how I was going to work the flowers) I started with a stem and leaf pattern of my own making... The leaves (as leaves do) started small, and with each repeat of the pattern the leaves got bigger.

I am at the last repeat of the stem and leave pattern. In the next two repeats, the leaves will become buds, (ending flat, mid leaf) First,  there will be first tight (ball like) buds, and in the second repeat, buds that are beginning to open.

Then I will start with the flowers—and the top of the sock will be golden yellow with bits of pink/rust red, as many rudbeckia flowers are (with brown centers)

I've charted the Stem and leaf pattern  but I did it backwards.. I knit the design, and then charted what I knit. I made up the stem and leaf pattern as I went along....I might right up directions--but they will be general directions--for these socks. I think these will be very pretty when they are done.

I am still mentally working out the how to do the flowers (I have already worked out the buds!)

So that's the lowdown on my low down summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It Was a Swatch--

Then it grew and grew—and now its a short summer scarf. You know the kind a little something to wrap around your neck when you get caught in a cold down draft from an A/C vent, or at night when things cool down and there is the slightest breeze that sends chills down your spine.

It all happened by accident. It took a few inches to get the pattern just right (and I my version is actually a mirror image of the one I first saw)--and then I just wanted to do a few rows to see how it looked. The pattern works up fast, and before I knew it, I was half way through the color pattern repeat—and had 20 inches done! It just made sense to continue along, and finish up the color repeat, and now, I have a 40 inch scarf. Not a perfect one, since the first few inches at one end aren't quite perfect, but that's hardly noticeable (the dark ash tone makes it less obvious)

I plan to gift it to another knitter (one who skill level isn't quite up to lace yet) –because she always feels the cool draft, and gets cold in heart beat (I tease her, and tell her she must have been a lizard in a previous life—she still like to sit in the sun shine and soak up the suns rays--and grinds to a halt when she gets cold!)

What next?--Well there are still a bunch of UFO's—and socks head the list—but some cotton baby booties--(Mary Jane shoe style ones) are in the mix... And maybe a shell type sweater for me, and sewing, too. I have things cut, and unsewn, and baby hats to sew, and... (laundry looms large in things to do, too)  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2 Sweaters and A Swatch

Sweater 2 is done, too. Well all except for having the buttons sewn on.. That will happen tonight. It should have happened last night, but I got distracted—Some one on Ravelry had posed the question, “Do you recognise this stitch?”

The stitch in question, (this one) was just lovely..I didn't know it, (or at least, its never caught my eye before) but I had no doubt I could reproduce it. I went off to swatch, and didn't quite get it right at the first go—so slowly, I made some changes.  (I would have gotten it faster if I sat at my computer desk instead of trying to reproduce from memory!--still I didn't do to bad.)

Can you see the changes I made as I worked the swatch? The beginning of the swatch the leaf motif is 9 stitches, with 3 purls between each motif—It evolved to a 7 stitch leaf pattern, with just 2 purls between each pattern repeat.

I am using a partial ball of some left over yarn (Patons Lace, to be exact) and I have some other partial balls of this yarn. I don't know if if I am going to continue the swatch and make a scarf of it or not. I think the stitch pattern would make a very lovely sweater. For a shawl or scarf, I'd start with a provisional cast on and work both ends to keep the leaves the same in the front.

The pattern is simple, a basic leaf with a simple change: all the decrease are done on one side of the leaf, (rather than symmetrically on both sides). This change requires decreases on both the right and wrong sides of the work.
So begin with a single stitch between columns of purls, P2 YO, K1, YO, P2—followed by the second half of the leaf pattern, SSK, K5. (at the end of all the pattern repeats, add another purl border (or not)

On the wrong side row, K the border stitches, and P4, P2tog, K2, Purl 3, K2...
With each row, the one leaf motif grows with YO (either side of center stitch,) and the other tapers off, with decreases (front and back)

Finally, one leaf has grown to seven stitches, and the other leaf has been reduced to a single stitch, and the process starts over. I love how the pattern makes soft undulating waves. But I am not sure this yarn is the best choice for the pattern. Its OK, but I think a smooth yarn would be a better choice. But then, this is why we swatch, right? To learn a pattern and see how it look in a specific yarn.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Off To A Good Finish

 Yesterday, before I posted, I had already picked up underarm stitches, and worked a full round on the sleeves for sweater 2.

I didn't work on the sleeves consistently, but did a round here and there between other tasks, and after lunch and after dinner.. This morning I was surprised to learn I had done almost 4 inches! One or two more pattern repeat (2 rounds) and it will be time to start the garter stitch cuffs—and then another dozen and half rounds and the cuffs will be done.

I had already woven in most of the ends on sweater 2 as I was finishing up sweater 1. Of course since then, I have 2 new ends from starting the sleeves, and 2 more end from joining new skeins—so there is some more finishing to do—and I still have buttons to sew on. But it sure looks like I will have sweater 2 finished by my self imposed deadline. 1 month for 2 mini sweaters is certainly not workhouse pace—these are very small projects—even doubled.  But I have finished them in time for the girls to get some use out them.  They fit now, albeit loosely and will be good till the late fall.  There are plenty enough cool days and cooler nights in the summer that they will get some use from them.
There is a big project looming.. not mine, but a new luxury building 2 blocks away. It has already obliterated a good portion of my skyline view, and its getting higher and higher ever day. When I sit at my computer, instead of the 59th street bridge, and the upper portion of Manhattan skyline, I see nothing but building—from the bottom to the top of my window. The first image is from May 20th, the lower one, today.
It's less obtrusive from other angles—but I really hate how its changed my view from my computer desk. Oh progress--how I hate it sometimes.

I am also somewhat amazed at the idea of luxury housing so close to the the LIE (I-495) I am 2 blocks from the LIE, and didn't mind the muted white noise of the traffic (which I still can hear, though it is more muted)--but 1 block closer? It has to be louder and dirtier.

And while I like my neighborhood—I hardly think it is a luxurious one. The new building is 3 long blocks from the subway. (I am 2 short blocks.) The streets don't run at 90° angles in this area. The blocks are trapezoids—rather than squares. I am at the narrow end of the trapezoid, the new building at the wide end) This makes a big difference in how close I am vs how close they are to the subway. Plus, the subway stop is a local. (Premium locations are always at express stops!) A good half the apartments will have great views(my old one!) but there are other empty lots in front of these location—and their views are temporary, too. All in all, it just doesn't seem like a luxury location...

But what do I know? Housing prices in NYC are outrageous... getting a good location, at a good prices requires a good deal of insider knowledge, and a bit of luck. It is easier in Queens—but no where in NYC is housing cheap. I often think the term “Luxury” is used to warn people—EXPENSIVE.

When the building opens, I will make a point of looking to see what luxury amenities are included.
(For sure, they won't have a pool—new construction never include this anymore.)