Saturday, April 30, 2011

If Wishes Were Horses

Begger's would ride (and I'd have a stable!)

And if my feet were the size of display models (US size 6) –my socks would be past ready for toe shaping. But my size 9 gun boat feet will need a few more rounds (a bit more than half an inch—but not a full one!) before I start to shape the toe.

I discontinued the stitch pattern on the instep just after 5 inches of the foot—I find I don't like most stitch pattern inside my shoes—and these thick, plush, cushy socks are likely to be a cold day choice—and winter shoes tend to be more closed—so stocking knit is a better for the lower half of the foot—faster to knit, too. I'll finish them tonight, with time to spare.

Then tomorrow-- I'll be ready to start my next shawl/scarf. I am going to start with a provisional cast on—and leave an edging till last--since I still haven't made up my mind about what I want.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well--not today—but it's coming soon (May 1st)—but the gifts are already arriving! Wanna see?

First—Is the present I need to thank you, my readers and visitors, for—all 100,000 of you in the past 5 years.

100,000 Visitors to this blog as of 12:02PM today! It's pretty amazing—I know, I know, it's a relationship—I write and post, and you come and read.

If I stopped posting, I know readership would slowly ebb away (I have taken breaks, and it's happened) but you've all come back –again and again, and I can't thank you enough.

100,000 Visitors is a wonderful present. A really amazing one—There are so many blogs out there, so many choice for you to make—that you chose to come, and visit mine, is a gift—and I can't thank you enough. And that this total is happening within days of my birthday makes it a wonderful present!

But there is more!

Obviously, the powers that be think I need to knit a shawl, too. So there was a reason for my itch—I have another early birthday present--Look at this lovely shawl pin! Enameled copper and brass—it's so simple—and so lovely.

On its own—it's a wonderful thing—but it came with the lovely scissors, too. Can you see? They are finished with a purple coating. Silver and purple! And nice leather sheath.
A delightful gift, from a very special person--a non-knitter, but one who knows how much I love knitting. Thank you.

My gift to myself? Well, the plain white sock yarn from 2 weeks ago?—It's s now several shades of purple/violet: bluish, plumish, and dusty lilac. It's a bit darker than I hoped—but there are some lighter more pastel bits too.

Lace—I think—I guess I have lace on my mind. Some small floral motif--an all-over design—or perhaps sprays, like bunches of lilacs—Lacy lilac socks for me!

I always think of May as the month of purple flowers—the squills and purple iris, lilac's and pansies--marching soldiers of tulips in shades from cream to deep red violet, and creeping at their feet, the periwinkles. Everywhere-- every shade of purple and violet. By the end of the month—there will be red roses, and riots of color—but May starts out in purple—putting on a display, while in half mourning for the end of winter.

Meanwhile—the gussets are finished (and so are the beads) and the foot of the sock is over half done—I need 9 or so inches from base of heel and I already have over 4.5 inches. See? They looking more and more like socks every round! My feet (and ankles and legs) are bigger than the display models--the foot look 2/3rd's or more done on the Legs--but they are not--but more than half done--and today and tomorrow to finish.

I'll be ready to start my lace any day now!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Gusset Has Some Rounds Worked

But it's not yet finished. I had my head in a book and spent time reading yesterday, not knitting.

But there will be more (knitting wise and blog wise!) tomorrow and Saturday, and Sunday.
Maybe there will even be some sunshine (today is yet another grey rainy day--the grass loves it, and so do the emerging leaves on all the plants and bushes--but Ugh, grey and wet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally--

Leg done, and flap, and turning too!

I've picked up the stitches for the gussets--and worked the first round. Visible progress.

I only have 4 days left to finish them (if I want to finish them this month—and that is sort of a goal!) But—really, the rounds get easier--so it won't be much of stretch.

I'll add some beads on the upper instep—but the last of the beads will come before the gusset is finish—and this is a double statement—I never did get out to the crafts store to buy a second tube—so I only have 20 or 30 beads left. With about 4 per round (8 per pair) I will use up the remain beads very quickly. I would have ended the beading anyway--I have some shoes with high insteps, and other with mary jane straps on the instep and I wouldn't want beads in my shoe or under the strap. With the end of the beads, and half the stitches plain stocking knit, knitting will be faster.

Adding the beads does slow down the work considerable-It's hard to tell which is worse –prestringing and dealing with the beads on the yarn (round after round) or picking up and threading each bead as you go!

The answer is: Beaded socks are a lot work—no matter how you add them! But they do add a wonderful look to the sock. I have another pair of beaded socks planned for later in the year—but the next pair will have a lot fewer beads—and all will be used in the first 20-25 rounds--(and definitely prestrung!)

Lisa (aka the Tsock Tsarina) who's has not only added beads—but sets (ie, a collection of different beads) to socks—just chimed in on the pro's and con's of merino for sock yarn—and we both agree—it's plenty soft and cushy—and that's its only really great quality. She's off on a new adventure—sock wise—with a new collection of sock designs—and a new sock yarn (not merino) .

I know I haven't been happy with the wear characteristics of the Koigu I've knit socks with but then, that was 100% merino—no nylon re-enforcing--this grey yarn does have some nylon in the mix. And for this stitch pattern, the soft cushy texture is a plus--but I agree, it wouldn't be for many stitch patterns.

I have so many pairs of sock—in theory—I could—with over 52 pairs of socks wear each pair just 7 or so times in a year--(reality is, some socks get worn more than others) so while I realize the soft, cushy yarn isn't a good choice for sturdy wear--I think they will be OK.

These are special socks--(and with the warm weather coming on—sock wearing is optional) and they just won't be worn as often. Besides—I'll have left over yarn—and if push comes to shove, I might just end up darning them if needed!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Connections

Some years ago, there was a PBS show Connections—showing how ideas --like a punch card system for a Jacquard loom moved—to a machine for counting US census data, to computers.

When I watched it, I still hadn't make the connection between knitting and binary numbers (for me, that was sometime in the mid 1980's—and I wasn't alone in making that connection.)
Since then-- whole bunch of knitting/binary and knitting other mathematical connections have been made--(see the Home Page of Mathematical knitting)

Obviously—since I remember the show some 30 years later—I conneted with it!

I make a connection last night, too, again watching PBS. (NYC area viewers have 3 different PBS television channels, Channel 13 (NY) Channel 21 (LI) and Channel 50(NJ) )–I get (and have watched) Channel 50--From Montclaire, NJ--for years (for some reason I have never been able to get the LI transmissions) Last night, I got to see a broadcast of the movie Whiz Kids.--which covered one year of the Intel Science Awards (for years, these were the Westinghouse Science Awards--but change sponsorship), the kids involved and their projects.

I was reminded watching the show though a bunch of personal connections — that next year will be the year of the dragon in the Asian zodiac. And this reminded me that there is a fractal known as the Dragon Set. And further that there is, in Norah Gaughan book, Knitting Nature, a knit coat that features color work of this fractal—the Serpentine Coat (that's a Ravelry link)

It's another back burn thing. I don't think I'll knit the coat, or even a sweater, but the fractal? Yup, I want to knit the fractal-- I don't know how I will us it, but somehow!

So with all these connections (from Whiz Kids, to the Dragon Set fractal, to the Asian zodiac --and next year being the year of the Dragon, to knitting) --a pretty convoluted set of connections--Well—I think the idea of knitting the fractal has to be heated up and brought forward—Not for today, not for NEXT—but I need to be thinking about this.

Most of this is just a distraction—an interesting one, I hope, since I have no knitting to show!
The sock is at 7 inches (barely) and need a few more round before the heel flap.

And--I'm still playing with swatches.. (I tried a simple lace “line (YO/Raised Center Decrease/YO-) and it helped; but—neah—it's not enough.

Next up-- a ribbon of stocking knit.. not too wide—maybe just 5 stitches(YO/SSK/K3/K2tog/YO) or must 4--knit 2 in the center, not knit 3--(should I try 1? Is a single stitch enough?)

And I am thinking about a narrow edging too, knit crosswise as a trim—what sort? Something wavy (because it's a shell design?) or something thorny--(as would be found on briar canes?) or something leafy (like strawberries)? Choices, choices!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Cowl, A Scarf and A Swatch—

Cowl—complete.. Knit and Finished and blocked!

6 inches of Chevrons, and 6 more inches of ribbing—It's a lot of cowl—and I still have a good bit of yarn left to knit the cuffs of some fingerless glove. I'll pair with a solid colored yarn to extend the length of the gloves—there isn't enough for a decent pair—but just enough to make a cuff.

I like that the cowl can be worn so many ways—folded so no ribbing shows, or folded so it does, or worn up side down on really awful days and offer protection to my face, too.

I think the matching fingerless gloves are going to be a fancy chevron cuff in this same yarn, and then have a “hand” done in ribbing—snug ribbing, not the soft loose ribbing in the cowl. The will have a simple buttonhole for a thumb opening. Then the ribbed 'hand' can be worn on the hand (and the chevrons can be a sort of cuff) or the ribbed hand can be worn as a sleeve, and the cuff can escape from the sleeve --over a pair of real gloves. Oh, Dang! I forgot-knitting real gloves is one of those thing that is supposed to be on my to do list! Well not now, not next.

So what will be Next!? —Well, there's the question!

Maybe a small lace scarf--I've knit 10 in the past year (well since mid April of 2010) and given away 3. ( 1 is prototype—and not really exactly what I wanted—so at some time, it's back to the drawing board—or needles!) The others, have been worn once or twice each once—but you can always use another scarf, right?
(actually, I am surprised by the number—I guessed 3—but I check my projects in Ravelry—and was flabbergasted to learn it was 3 times that number! And I know—every time I knit a scarf—I say—That's it! I am never knitting another one! And then I do!)

So what pattern? Maybe this stitch pattern—but better-- A nicer edging (lower/cast on edge) and a side edge, too. It's hard to see the details in this fuzzy mohair blend yarn—I need a smooth yarn. And I think I want some space between the motifs--(shells? berries? Leaves? ) 2 stitches? 3? Some lacy faggotting? Or a solid stripe of stocking knit?

I think, I decided the motif looked like shells once, but--they also look like strawberries, and just as easily could pass for stylized leaves. This fuzzy image isn't a swatch—it's shawl/scarf dates from my pre blog/pre-Ravelry days (I knit then, too!)

So a swatch—in this yellow—which makes them look more like shells. But I was thinking of using some wine red yarn—will they then look more like berries?

I've changed the pattern round a bit in this swatch—but I need to do another-- I think a more open design—some lacy faggoting lines between the motifs to open the lace up more. The added space would be definite improvement.

Unfamiliar with the lace pattern? Of course! It's one of my own creations! (It was an easy search—this pattern uses K4tog's—and not many patterns do) But I don't might these togethers—so its fine by me!

Finally--the sock—still not ready for a heel flap. The cuff and leg are 6.5 inches, the flap will add another inch and a half (and then some) so I still need another inch before I start it. I'll take some more photo's once I've turned the heel.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Cowl Is Almost Done

And I am itching to knit some lace.
(The socks are just a row or two past 6 inches—progress—but nothting special)

I have lace weight yarn by mile, by the hundred miles—Wool and mohair, cashmere and silk,(an embarrassing richness of silk). In white(2 skeins, last week!) and cream, blues, and pinks, peach tones and greens and browns--from the palest toast, to rich dark chocolate. In solids and hand painted pastels, in gaudy red and navy (should I over dye it?)-- and yet—I hesitate.

Does any one remember Nixon's Checker's speech? (It's ancient history now—and almost funny—Tricky Dicky talks about his Republican (as in GOP) values, and Pat Nixon's “good cloth coat” (vs a mink coat). (the comment is about half way through-- few paragraphs above the Hiss link if you don't want to read it all—the video is just part of the text)

He's not the only one to value a good cloth coat. Malachi and Frank McCourt did a great skit some years ago, about old biddy's gossiping—As props, they each wrapped themselves in hand knit shawls—a few shawls—one as a head scarves and a few others over their shoulders. (I googled to see if I could find it—I was at a live performance--others were taping it—but couldn't )
As biddies, they were mocking a woman (like Angela McCourt) who was very uppity—wearing a coat out and about to the shops and other places. -(and not wrapped in a shawl)--and listening to them, was like listening to maternal aunt and other relatives gossip.

I am sort of caught in-between. My mother, or Nana, or aunts, wouldn't be caught dead in a shawl—a shawl was a mark of poverty, and being lower class. No, they thought like the Nixon's—for them, a good cloth coats was just the thing.

Sweaters, yes, but fine knit ones--(I remember a favorite sweater—soft yellow wool—knit about 8 stitches to the inch!) or maybe an Aran –after the Clancy Brother's made them so very popular—circa 1960—with their first American tour –they appeared at Fordham University—most of there concerts were at universities and colleges on that first tour.

I still have the Aran my Aunt Gay (Gabrielle) knit for me when I was 16--(I am not quite the reverse (61) but close to it!) I don't (never did) wear it much—it's too warm for me--but it, too is knit with finer weight yarn--DK --not the heavier than worsted now commonly used. My mother had an Aran coat, too, but it was a casual coat—good for taking my sister to the park, or some small (grocery) shopping and what not—but never worn to church or any place important--and even a doctors appointment rated as important.

But there weren't any shawls. No siree, we were on our way to being middle class, and we wore coats!

I am quite convinced my mother –in sort of a reverse “it you build it, they will come” magical thinking—didn't want her children to knit or sew. She wanted us to be middle class, and buy good cloth coats, and not wear home knit, or sewn clothing.

It was as if, not knowing how to knit would insulate us from having to knit. But—being perverse—I wanted to knit—and learned to knit (with almost no instruction except watching) and I learned to sew, too.

Now, it's quite popular to knit shawls—There are books, and blog's and excitement about making a shawl like the one in the movie Jane Eyre. Every week some knew pattern is released –like this one from Joyce—(Joyce used to be part of my Tuesday knitting group—but CUNY keeps scheduling her to work Tuesday evening)

I like lace, and knitting lace, and I like fine yarns, but somewhere—in the back of mind, there is an old biddy, wrapped in a hand knit shawl—who mocks me.

I am too middle class (in my demure, semi poverty); too far from the ancestors who had to wear hand knit shawls.

I don't go anywhere fancy—where a lace shawl might be considered an acceptable bit of luxury.

For every day, I do have coats (well one trench coat with a zip in liner—that's rarely worn—most coats are to warm for me!) and jackets (lots of jackets, in denim, in fleece, in suede, and cloth!)--So much more practical in the car and the subway. I even have long hooded Kinsdale cloak (rarely worn, but oh so wonderful!) I even have some sweater jackets (not hand knit). Who am I fooling wanting a shawl, wearing a shawl?

But my nose has been snooping in Knitted Lace of Estonia, and in North Sea Knits, Victorian Lace, and A Gathering of Lace. Yarn is calling out to me. My fingers are itching to knit lace.

Trouble is--I always start well--but I am not so good at creating FO's! Well maybe this time will be different.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Switching Gears--

Or, rather projects.

I got another inch (and a bit) more done on the Garnets in Granite socks—I love them more with each stitch. These could easily be tedious—but they aren't—they are supremely pleasurable to knit.

The yarn is spoiling me-- going back to soft, but not so soft, and dense, but not at all cushy, Kroy is going to be difficult after working with this yarn. I still have more to knit (lots more!) before I get to the heel--but its a pleasure (if slow going)

I think I will finish them before the end of the month--(knitting will be so much faster after the heel)—there will be fewer beads on the instep, and none at all on the sole--which will be simpler knitting (and faster).

Meanwhile, I got back to my color full cowl—Less then 1 inch of ribbing, yesteday AM is now more almost 4 inches. I didn't change needles when I started the ribbing—So its very soft and doesn't draw in too much. I don't like things tight (or even gently snug) around my neck –so I don't want tight ribbing.

The ribbing is a 4 stitch pattern, a column of knits, one of garter stitch, another of purls, and the final one, garter. --I think this is called a mock fisherman's rib—it's deep and textured, and simple as pie--K1, P3, next round P3, K1. (are you going to quibble and say that expressed that way, I won't get a deep 4 column rib?--your right, but its how I think of the pattern. Sure I have to 'correct' for the first 2 stitches of each round.. but—then the pattern is there!)

My terrace still isn't completely cleared-- I still have 2 wall hung planters--(coming in today) and a small set of shelves (my spraying platform) and I am still spray painting. (1 last kitty litter can to paint!) It's number 5—and now all my waste cans look like square waste cans (and only vaguely resemble squarish kitty little buckets.)--no more labels to be seen. The windows have been washed and the floor sweep and scrubbed—so its not too shabby.

Any day now, the scaffolding will appear—and the spray painting will come to an end. It's been nice weather—A bit windy—but the wind is from the south—and the terrace faces north by north west.. and is fairly protected—at least for now.

This past winter, the storms that came out of Canada-- were so wicked strong—they nearly blew the door in—the small slide lock (for wind, since I am not much worried about anyone coming in from the terrace—the neighborhood is nice, but not rich enough for a cat bugler—14 stories is pretty high for slim pickings! ) is mounted in the wooden trim around the door--which was almost ripped of the door frame by the force of the wind!

Of course, my riches—are all in fiber—wool and silk and what not—I joke about my flat screen TV—its almost 50% bigger than my old TV—which was a 13 inch screen—this one is a a full 19 inches! A real big TV (not!) )

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Granite is Hard

Chipping it away at it take hours--Knitting it up does too!

Just over 2 inches.. (and I underestimated— I will need more beads!) of sock--4 inches if you count the cuff) —but that still leaves at least 3 more inches(at least) before I think about a heel flap.

The stitch pattern (all those k2tog/P2tog ) aren't the stuff of fast knitting, and while is it in some ways easier to use a crochet hook to add beads as needed, it's slows down the work too. Pre string the beads puts all the time up front—Add as you go beading , makes the actual knitting slower.


I like how they look—The beads range from a tomato (orangy) red to a dark, dark tone that is almost purple-just as real garnets do. Some are clear, some have mirror like cores, and some are opaque—this add interest, too.

And I the subtle changes in the yarn--from pale, dove grey to almost charcoal—and I love the hand of the yarn, and softness of the knitted fabric. I think this super soft merino is going to wear out over night—and I am think about the construction of heel/sole and toe.. I think I should plan on having to reknit these parts—The yarn does have 20% nylon—but I am not sure how durable it is.

Yesterday—a reader asked (via an email) if I would do a video explaining a technique for using a 30 inch (or so) circular needle and knitting 20 or so inches of fabric.

Since I happen to have a cowl with less than 1 inch of ribbing worked (20 inches or so of tube on a 30 inch or so circ) I did--

You can find it here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So Soft, So Cushy!

These socks, pair 50 something (55, I think, but, who's counting really?) are coming along. An Estonian long tail cast on, (aka Open/Closed Long Tail Cast on) worked with a double strand on the thumb yarn makes a nice deep 'rough' edge—that moves beautifully into a double rib.

I tend to use a 1 X 1(my favorite) rib –but every once in a while I change up. The cuff is my default 1.5 inches. To me, that just looks right. I change this less often –and most often when I am not doing a ribbed cuff.
Then on to the pattern. I swatched the granite stitch—and well, I just didn't like it. It was to linear, (the purl row made to straight a ridge)—not to mention, purling is less fun when working in the round!

So I swatched (and swatched, and swatched) some stitch pattern from books (I HAVE LOTS and LOTS of stitch pattern books) and finally found this—it has different names in each book—And truth be told, I am not doing the stitch exactly as presented in any of the books—but basically, it's rows of twisted stitches, (K2tog, don't let the stitches drop off needle, Purl the same to stitches together, let the drop off left needle) with alternate rows are plain knitting.

In addition, a random number generator for beads—which are being added crochet hook style as I go.

The fabric is surprisingly stretchy—the result is somewhat linear, but it's also textured and knobbly—and the beads nestle into the nooks –perfectly. Little clusters, and streaky veins of garnet crystals are going to be scattered up and down the sock—and this first inch just give a hint of how this is going to look and work—and I think it looks great!

Then there is the yarn—this is Tess' Designer Sock yarn—80% merino/20% nylon—and its so soft and so plush and so cushy—I wonder how well it will wear—but I know wearing the sock is going to be wonderful! The rows of K2tog/P2tog are slow going.. but working with this lovely yarn is a pleasure. The beading is a bit tedious--But the extra effort will be worth it--they will end up being special socks!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2 Inches, 4 Inches, 6 Inches! MORE

Well, more, to come—since it's really just a scant 6 inches now. And it looks prettier with ever round! I couldn't be happier with the results! So far no massive pools. or any sort of noticeable spiral pattern. There are small splotches of color--but that's OK.

I've decreased-- (10 chevrons/originally 17 stitches in each repeat—now down to 12 in each repeat(120 stitches total)) to give it some shape. Now I am ready to change pattern—to a soft rib. I think another 4 (or maybe more) inches of ribbing are needed.

I'll write up the patten—but you'll have to take your chances and space dye a skein on your own, or find something similar or comparable –since this was just a skein of DK that I played with-- to end up with this result. The dye stuff was food coloring—but I think the pres-soak with alum effect the dye take up. There was no orange dye—just yellow—but it ended up intense –and orangey—and at other times, muted (there are some lovely shades of yellow ocher) Where the plain red overlapped the green—there is a deep rich plummy brown--(a puce really!) and I have no idea where the blue came from (and there are patches of blue) maybe at some points the green broke?

I think am going to have left over yarn—and think there will be enough for cuffs on a pair of fingerless gloves. A happy set!

And (finally!) cast on and worked a few rounds on the Garnets in Granite socks--no photo since Its not even a full (1.5 inches) of cuff.

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Is What Happens

So yesterday I took a few skeins, and made them into cakes of yarn, ready for knitting.
One skein that got caked up with this one—from January of last year.

The colors are pretty intense—and while the original plan was for socks—I was never really sure.

Well watching the colors run through my fingers as I cranked the ball winder—I though of autumn—Dark green hemlocks, blue spruces, and other conifers, set among the blazing colors of maples, oaks, ash and beech trees.

Riots of color—Autumn in the Adirondacks. And what better for autumn (even though its now spring!)but a pretty cowl.

A channel island cast on—and a bunch of stitches. When all was said and done—170 stitches—so a 17 stitch repeat—chevrons—came to mind. Partly because I though the cast on was too long (too wide) and wanted to pull it in—and chevrons will do that!

Speaking of chevrons they are named for the Cheviot Mountains in Scotland—which geologically speaking are part of the same Appalachians chain of North America—from Georgia, north to Maine, into Canada, and then-- thanks to the mid ocean rift—torn apart—but appearing once again in Scotland and even the main land of Europe—So from West Virgina, to Pennsylvania, to Nova Scotia and into Scotland and the south of the Netherlands--coal-- and coal miners! Von Gogh portrait of the potato eaters could be set in many a small coal mining town in the US as easily as it set in the Neatherlands—geological its all the same stuff!

So chevrons it is, hills and dales of color! Pretty, isn't it? The colors are bright, and rich, and look lovely knit up. (Even the patches of white!—snow and hoar frost come early in the highlands!)

That's the problem with picking up yarn—you end up wanting to knit it—RIGHT NOW! But the skein is just 100gm/less than 400 yards. This won't be a very big cowl—or take very long to knit, either!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

SIN! again! I have SINned, Again.

No, it's not a Sunday sermon, or confession--(well it is a bit of a confession) It's one of the things I have been up too—S(tash) IN(creases!)

Lovely ones! Like these 2 skeins—Henry's Attic Moriah—2250 yards of lace weight, 2 ply natural white merino. Together—almost a mile of yarn! I am working hard at not dictating to my daughter when she can get married or have a child.

A huge shawl would take a while (and besides it nor really her style), but with this much lovely lace weight –there has to be a shawl in my future! Or hers, or for a grandchild. So either, I wear it to the wedding, or she wears it, or it becomes a baby blanket. And the second skien? I just don't know! I couldn't resist it!

There is more... Sock yarn! (could I buy yarn and not buy sock yarn?) I passed over the Socketta (cotton and spandex and stuff) and went for the wool. I passed over the Kroy (OK, Kroy is my usual go to sock yarn and solids white (there were some other colors) is always a good choice--but) and went for Reynolds Swizzle. I have a skein of this yarn already in my stash—navy blue and multi stripes.. and now Grey and Forest green!--(As if I didn't already have enough socks knit and more than enough sock yarn to last my lifetime!)But I could use more dark green socks—and grey? Well it's a great neutral color—a good with anything choice!

And still more—Look at this lovely white sock yarn—waiting to be dyed—I think a soft lavender –not a deep purple (I have a few pairs of socks that are or have deep purple) but a dusty medium shade of purple—well sort of purple . Grey—but not—purple but not. Some where between the two! A soft almost neutral semi solid. A color I don't already have—in a skein or knit up!

And I got stuff, too--needles, and tape measures, and stitch markers, and stuff—some are going to be recycled in effect--(a back burner project—that is simmering along) Plus a needed good find—a super small crochet hook—now these cakes of semi solid grey yarn –can be started as socks—NO pre-stringing the red (garnet) beads! The month is half over already and I haven't started!






SINfull!

Oh yeah—these, too—a double knit pot holder, and a gathered up knit top to a kitchen towel –we (as a family) always use cloth towels to dry our hands in the kitchen (not paper towels—which have a place—but a very small one) and my daughter requested a new one.. Her kitchen is color full (Yellow (walls), green (trim), White (appliances), Red (accents))--so both of these match!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Leafing Out

Eight little leaves knit and sewn together-- and now numbers 9, 10, and 11—all slightly larger, knit too.

Each leaf is a pair (one light, one medium green) and each as a mess of tails. 2 are left over from sewing the halves together—2 are from the self-yarn EZ style provisional cast on.


When they are assembled, the tail will be pulled out, and the live stitches will be knit in place—not sewn. (and yes, the position they are photo'd in, is a hint!)

My terrace might be clear and plant free for the next few months—but I am leafing out fine!
That's it, got to go!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Quite Empty Yet

But last night a series of storms raced through—Huge bolts of lighting lit up the sky—Thunder rattled all the windows—and the wind swept rain flooded the outer edge of the terrace (almost 2 feet in!) and washed a the outer third of the almost cleared terrace floor! Thank you, mother nature!

The racks are still out there—acting as temporary shelf and painting station for a bunch of tins.

I LOVE tins—from small ones (from mints) to tall ones (originally a quart of Bacardi rum, now a nice tall tin for long pastas (not spaghetti—but spaghetti like!), big square ones (a chinese cookie tin) and little round ones-(pastelles –those lovely little french fruit flavored candies) .

The big square is empty for now-- the small rounds ones, well, since they aren't really that small-- likely hold bulky spices (like crystal ginger—a house hold staple!) All of them get a labels on the bottom—so I know what in each—but frequently—I don't need to check the label. I KNOW—the tall green tin (with the reproduction sour kraut label) is really oat meal! My small kitchen doesn't have a proper pantry—but a open shelf of pretty decorated tins is a partial solution.

I'm a little less careful spray painting now—some over spray has tinted the once white railing—but I'll have to be super careful once the new railing go in—so its smart to get as much spray painting as I can do, done now.

While I am at it, there are still 2 big plastic cat litter pails to paint—I like the square shape and easy lift lids of these pails. Once, one kitchen pail was enough—but now there is one for garbage (food stuff and the like) and one for paper waste (boxes) and one for tin cans and glass, and foil. Spray painted (and color coded) square pails are one solution. Especially with the new spray paint for plastic.

Once the tins are all painted, I'll decorate them --lost likely, with some decals—and add them to my set! I've been doing this for years—I made my first set for my first apartment—way too many years ago! That set had plastic lids—and eventually—as many tins do—the bottoms rusted out. Lucky me—I could collect more!

And I got some knitting done—not much—but 4 more leaves (of the set of 5 ) --now I need just 9 more—the plus 1 and a set of 8. The pairs still aren't sew together—but getting them knit is something done.

I'll be out tomorrow—from sun up to sundown—and no where near a computer for most of the day—so likely I won't get anything written up or posted.--but likely, I will get some knitting done—so I'll have photos to show on Friday. Maybe some leaves—or maybe something else!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not A Stitch

I wish I was speaking metaphorically—about my terrace—and could truthfully say: Nada, Nothing, Zilch—is what remains on it. But I still have a few more hours work! This for a space of 6 foot by 12!

As any home owner knows—the work never ends. Since I've move into this co-op its been nothing but repairs! The first few years it was re-pointing all the brickwork, and then repairs to the pool, next replacing all the elevators—my building is the last to be done (and the work is still in progress)—and starting next week—the terraces.

It was noted when the brick re-pointing was going on, that some of the terrace railing were very deteriorated. (They are painted iron, and haven't been repainted in all the years I've been here)

My railing seem very secure, (and doesn't show much evidence of rust.) But... the job is not being done piecemeal –all the railing are being replaced. So Everything—(there are over 1,000 units, and every one has a terrace!) Absolutely everything has to come off the terrace—(even the clock/thermometer on the wall!) then the scaffolding, removal and replacement starts--Friday--4/15 is the deadline. (But i don't know exactly when my terrace will be worked on!) The management said--the work will be done Top down (sound like knitting, huh?) and I am near the top floor--but there are terraces on 4 sides--(the building is shaped like a squat capital T--and has 6 sides) and I don't know if there will be one crew (working one side at a time) or several.

It's going to be ugly---and it will mean closed windows all summer. But it will make the building look better—it will spruce up the over all appearance, and make everything (for everyone) safer.

So, I've been cleaning up starting with the planters--I have a small low “frence bread rack' that I covered with window boxes and filled with plants, and I had a bunch of hanging baskets, and some half round baskets that I mounted on the wall.
And there are 3 resin chairs, and 2 resin tables, and yet another wire rack with more stuff (including a bunch of outdoor candles, my watering cans, and sealed containers for plant food and STUFF) And a wind chime!

And I didn't do anything last fall, so there was all the dead plants and dust and STUFF.

Yesterday started the general cleaning (getting rid of the pots (from purchased plants)) from last year and a general sweeping up. One of the resin table got washed, too. Today—the rest—the other table, the chairs. I don't have any exterior water—I have to carry buckets full from the bathroom, through the living room—or carry the stuff to the bath tub and wash them there. So washing is a bigger deal than it is in a house with an outdoor hose!

Last, I'll wash off the bread rack –its likely going into the living room for durations—I'll have to find something to put under it, Since I want to use it to hold some indoor plants. One resin chair is getting a slip cover, and will stay in the living room too. The others will be shoved into the back of my craftsworks/sewing room, along with the two small tables. Unfortunately one table is round, the other is square, so I can't stack them the way I can stack the chairs.

The other wire rack is likely going to be recycled. It was originally from my apartment (after my divorce) it got moved back into the house when I moved back, and has had a third life on my terrace. It's in pretty sad shape now.. washing isn't going to make it look better. I think its come to an end of its useful life.

The last project on the terrace is to wash the outside windows (yes, I know the work will just get them dirty again!) I want to start with clean windows—and to get up (it's a bit early, but its now or never) the anti UV film. The good news is my west by northwest windows get sun all afternoon in the summer.. (and it's bad news too! ) The UV film is clear from inside, but will provide some privacy from out side. I think of it as "sunglasses" for my living room.

I need an indoor curtain, too. I have a clear view from my terrace of over 50% of the skyline—from about 10th street to 125th street--(with a small blockage from a distant building of 42ndStreet-- I can't see the Chrysler building for the most part) With no near by buildings (and windows) around to look in, I've never had a need to block the view. But the prospect of men working on my terrace changes that! The UV film offers some privacy--but not enough!

So that's how I spent yesterday, and how I will spent part (most?) of today. I did get the ends woven in the hat, but no buttons yets.. and not a single stitch of anything else knit!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Necessary Knitting

Some things need to be knit--Every knitter know that!
Some to satisfy an desire to learn a new technique, others to satisfy an urge to conform, hats and baby blankets and squares by the hundreds to satisfy promises made.

Some are caught up in cute—I've knit small decorative eggs, from scraps of pretty colorful yarn (even done stranded color work) for fun, and other crazy cute stuff.

Yesterday, at Sunday Knitting at Paneras's—there was a knit Prince William, (from Rena), and a couple of crocheted angry birds (from Ryan). There have been beaked spring chick hats, and other whimsical items in the past. Every has there own sense of what is cute—knitter's knit some very strange stuff!

If we gave a fashion show—there would be several identical shawl, (Clapitos for one) and several identical pairs of socks (mostly designs from the Tsock Tsarina (I'd link but not now—her web page and sock club is undergoing a major overhaul—When its ready for relaunch—I'll be ready to post about it!) But there would also be bags, and sweaters too. Did every one in the group knit a version (or two) of the Lady's February Sweater? --No--but there are a number!

There are any number of one of kind items too... There are a bunch of knitters who design there own knitting--(they don't all document and sell—but they do make wonderful one of kind items.)

Yesterday for me, it was a hat—The group is committed to make a bunch of hats for yet another charity-- and I had this skein of left over yarn—What else but a hat? (and truth be told, I haven't yet balled up the skein (a 100gm) skein of my semi-solid grey yarn for my granite socks—so I couldn't start them!)

It's a simple, fun knit (it—obviously—still needs 4 buttons) Six inches of ribbing, 3 inches of stocking knit, the buttons and an I-cord drawstring.

Its a hat, its a cowl, its a combo pack! So as soon as find some buttons, and weave in the ends, it will be done!

I don't know if I'll get the grey skein caked up, and then divided into 2 cakes (so much easier than working from both ends of the skein) today (I mean to, but..) there is always other projects, other ideas—Everywhere spring is in evidence—I have new leaves to knit (I just have 3 completed ones.. and I NEED at least 5 more—Really13 more, I think.. and there are summer tops and, and, and...

When will it stop?!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Quick and Easy Hat

All done! I hope Gianna likes it—It will round out her collection, with 1, 2, 3 knit by Kimberly, and a few (not yet photographed) knit by Dana, and this one, from me. (Those links are all to Ravelry)

It's done in Moda Dea's Bamboo Wool—a single skeins –and it used all but 4 inches of a single skein--talk about cutting it close!

In keeping with Gianna's preferred style, it's a slouch hat—close too, but not a real beret. It lies flat (as a pancake) but its has no real shaping but for some decreases at the very top.

The stitch pattern is simple enough—the pattern is a multiple of 2. Cast on an even number.
R1: Knit
R2: *YO, K2tog
R3: K
R4: K
R5: *YO, SSK
R6: K

Yeah, R5 is a pain—or it could be--but I cheated!

On R4, instead of doing a standard row of knit stitches, I did a whole round of eastern Knits—so my stitches were “pre-turned” and I could skip the Slip, Slip and just knit 2 together. To make untwisted stitches with the eastern (style of knitting) mounted ones—I knit 2 tog through the back loop. So the round was no more difficult than a round of K2tog's.

By alternating the 2 together's from a Standard K2tog, to--in effect-- a SSK (left leaning decrease) I ended up with a balanced lace, (and not a strong, leftward diagonal spiral.)

The extra row (2 knit rows between each row of YO/K2tog) also change the pattern—it's still very open and lacy—but just a bit different. I like the deep ribbed band, too--it adds a special touch.

I like knowing how to do both european style knitting and eastern knitting—both for knits and purls, and to be able to knit a stitch any way I want to—to get the results I want!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Hats and other stuff

Gianna's hat has a nice deep ribbed edge--(a soft tubular cast on, followed by 1.5 inches or ribbing) and almost 3 inches of a lacy mesh—maybe I'll get a photo today—or definitely one tomorrow.

But a distraction—Maretta, (from the land of Oz) asked me about the shawl featured in the new Jane Eyre movie. I had seen the thread on Ravelry—but wasn't much impressed by the images.. But I went back and checked...(500 +posts!) but fortunately—some one finally posted a clear image--(page 3 of the thread—or just jump there-- here's the link.)

It's a pretty simple shawl (and if I plowed through the post, I might find that someone has come up with basic directions)-- but here is my take:

The shawl is knit in garter stitch, a triangle that starts on one edge increases along the top edge, (the straight line on left in the image) and has a short row ruffle on lower edge (red line) At the midpoint, the shawl shaping is done with decreases.. Or for a more refined look, the shawl is knit in two halves, and the center back is grafted, or even nicer, finished with a decorative seam. This would make both sides of the TOP edge of the shawl identical.

Basicly:
Cast on 4
R1: Knit
R2: K3, Place marker,Increases (any style) K1
R3: (all odd rows, Knit)
R5: K3, increase, K
.
.
.
R10: start ruffle—K3, increase, k to end of row
R11: K8, turn work
R12: Knit
R13: K6, turn work
R15: K4, turn work
R17: K2, turn work
R19: Knit entire row
R20 AND R21: basic pattern (increase on one edge, knit row)

Then repeat rows 11 to 21—Increasing on neck edge, making a short row ruffle on other edge.

After half way point, decrease, rather than increasing at neck edge.

BETTER:
STOP at half way point, make second identical half
Graft both sides together; for center back seam.

or consider a North Seas style graft
Hold both halves together, (in left hand as you would for a 3 needle bind off.)
In right hand hold crochet hook.
Take stitch 1/needle one onto crochet hook, then take stitch 1/needle two onto hook,
Pass stitch one/needle1 over stitch 2/needle Two.

Repeat, taking alternate stitches off needles, onto crochet hook and 'chain' bind off. Last stitche is bound in place with yarn tail.
This makes a zig zag chain stitch seam simple but decorative(and very traditional)

Another alternate: do a 3 needle bind off.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Heads Up

Finished Sea Lettuce last night—and had a little more than an inch of yarn left over!

It's a totally fun once knit (though, like any scarf, it get boring half way through)-

I ended up with a short scarf –but longer than I thought—over 24 inches long (plus 6 more inches of end ruffle!) and I have been playing with it since late last night when I finished it. Twirling it up, into a head of colorful curly lettuce, folding it and making a ruffled collar, let it twist and twirl as it will.

I don't know if I'm keeping this—or if its going to go into a gift pile. I like it.. but I have scarves and scarves that I hardly ever wear, and this is just another—fun to knit, it makes good use of the single skein of yarn, but I am not sure if I want to own this.

Next up—a hat for Gianna. NYC health regulations require food handlers to cover their hair—Not wanting to look like a school lunch lady (instead of the professionally proprietor) Gianna like to wear pretty hats in pretty colors—and lately—its been a collection of hand knit ones. They are simple enough—slouchy, and lacy, they cover her head and hair and look pretty too. Much better than a school lunch lady shapeless mob cap, and more casual than a fancy chef toque. Just the right balance between rustic and practical.

She is slowly building a wardrobe of hats—to match her clothes, or her mood, or the weather--to wear and drop in the wash, and pick up a new fresh one each day.

As the owner/head chef at Maducatis Rustica, she is also the generous host to our Tuesday night knitting group. It's a great place, with a casual dining room –lined with a huge collection of Tony Vaccaro's photos (for some years, he was my neighbor—and now lives in LIC) were we sit and knit--(there is a more formal dining room, as well. )
She's famous for her gelato—and has been feature in promo's for NY's local PBS station, Thirteen.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Toggling

Back and forth, my lettuce scarf is growing every day. From 11 inches to 13 inches and more.

The skein of yarn is keeping it's shape, but has become very lean—but counting the color changes, and making my best guesstimate, I should end up with another 4 to 5 inches of scarf. So it will end up long enough-- how ever long its ends up!

It will be a short scarf—but folded along the spine, it will be a pretty, ruffled, colorful collar. The edges can lap (or ) not in the front or to the side.

It's easy knitting—The rows are short, and I've been work back each row with out turning—From right needle to left needle, then back from left needle to right. I am still slower when doing this--knitting true left handed. Not as slow as I used to be, but a bit slower. Thankfully, maintaining tension has never been a problem.

With the scarf getting longer each row, and two lines of yarn (always ready to twist into knots!) things go easer with minimal turns to the work.

I am always terrible at estimating how far any given skein of yarn will go—Its only after I have knit a thousand things with a type of yarn, do I have any idea! And its a rare thing for me to knit time and time again with the same yarn!

My stash is made up of lots of odd and ends, lots of unnamed and unlabeled (except for fiber content) cones, and from the clearance bin label-less balls and skeins, and .... Some of these 1 off balls are lovely silks, some are pretty acrylics, some from garage sale and others from estates.

I specialize in the knitting up designs with odd balls of yarn! Socks are the general exception.

Monday's balmy weather –more March like than April like turned on a dime and the temperatures dropped 30° in 2 hours (that's about 9°C)yesterday--and the winds kicked up and the rain came down.
Sky's are clear today, but its still blustery and more like March than April. It's a good thing the tulips don't thing this way. Any day now they will be glorious for an hour.

And then squirrels will come and bite off all the heads, dang squirrels! Maybe I'll get a photo or two before they are tattered headless remains.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

3 Inches become 5 Inches

5 inches on end, and 4 inches, on the other end(which is now on its way to 6 inches)
For now, it' s 9 inches . (2 inches longer than it was yesterday)

The short end of the scarf, is now the longer end, and it's about time to switch sides again.

How can I tell which is which? One end is all green, the other is purple and green –the purple and green end is the one worked from the inside of the skein.

Yarn that seemed to be disappearing at an alarming rate, is now slowly spooling out. Maybe an 18 (or longer!) inch scarf isn't an unreasonable goal.

How and where am I measuring? The flat garter spine up the center--(the bottom curved ruffle adds another 4 inches on each end—so the pieces are actually longer but –those end ruffles don't count in my measurements.

I like the color changes, and how there is about enough of any one color to do 2 wedges, make a balanced stripe. Working each half make it seem less boring—it's like a race to see which end wins. But NORO being NORO, the yarn is sometimes as thick as worsted, and other times, it's cobweb—All well and good for a scarf, were it doesn't really matter, but I find my self annoyed at the inconsistency.

I made less progress yesterday than in previous days—but I caught up on cleaning (abandoned when I was just getting up , heating and eating soup, and returning to bed for a 3 hour nap--(followed by more liquids, and more sleep!)

The clean dishes in the dishwasher got put away, the dishwasher refilled and emptied again. Empty soup cans (I supped on both the last of my home made and Progresso), already washed out and dried, where taken to the recycle bin, (along with a bunch of empty boxes (juice boxes too!) and just emptying all the waste paper bins used up more time and energy. This simple chores left me exhausted. After a nap, a quick run to replenish supplies--(LOVELY navel oranges, big, fragrant and juicy jumped into my cart—one was an appetizers for dinner.)

It was a lovely day bright, and in the late afternoon, sunny but I still felt chilled—even though it was 60°--(circa 16° c); I am very nearly better, but still not really completely well.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Salad Days

Let us knit. Wait, I mean, Knit lettuce!

Not very much of it so far—but pretty. It's Lucy Neatby's Sea Lettuce scarf—only its not. Which is to say: I saw, and I copied. I didn't buy the pattern, but it is her pattern none the less.

There is a major disadvange to not buying the pattern —I have no idea what the results are going to be!

All of the uncertainty is compounded by: Will I have enough yarn to make a short (18 inch) scarf? Or enough for a 24 inch one? It doesn't help much to look at other scarfs on Ravelry—because 1—I have no idea (well an idea, but not an accurate one) of the yardage—(because I don't know exactly which yarn I am working with—some sort of NORO—but labelless--(I have 2 more skeins of NORO—in a bulky boucle, in my stash after this.)

And 2—since I am just copying, and not working to an exact count (stitch count) or an exact gauge (I just tried a few sizes of needle till I found one that gave me the fabric I liked) – I have only a vague idea of what my end result will be. I am am working totally blind!

So—like reckless women everywhere, who burn the candle from both ends—I am working from both ends of the skein. This way, what ever the end result, it will be matching! Currently the out side end of the skein is longer bit of the scarf--(4 inches +end ruffle) The inside end is just 3 inches long--and I am about half way done with the yarn--(I am guessing!) At this point, I will alternate, inch by inch each end of the scarf.

If I am a the half way point in the skein-- I can knit 7 more inches. Or 14 inches in all. That is way to short—but.. the end ruffles? They used up yarn with out adding inches. They have the same short row wedges.. (5 on each end) that 5 pairs (or about 4 inches.. so maybe, the 14 inches will extend to 18 inches.. short.. but OK I think. Maybe I'll knit the back few inches flat (no short row ruffled edges.. that would add an inch or two.. Maybe a 20 inch scarf.

The colors are pretty, the ruffles are pretty, the scarf—short or long will be pretty, too.

I am actally surprized at how much I have knit in the past 3 days—considering I mostly slept. I am at the back side of my cold now, and maybe the pace will pick up a bit..

Friday, April 01, 2011

Marching On

March is over, and my 3rd pair of socks for the year, slipped in, just under the wire.

All the knitting was done by 6PM—after dinner, came the work of weaving in. Normally I try to do some weaving in as I go—but not this time. 6 colors, 12 sets of ends to weave in for each pair! But it went quickly—and with hours to spare—a pair (of socks) !

I decided on a round toe—for no other reason, than-- I almost never do a round toe. Its a simple 6 armed swirl-the first few decreases were 6 per round, ever 3rd round –so just as 4 decreases ever other round requires 6 rounds (decrease 4, one round plain X 3) this was decrease 6, 2 plain rounds X 2.

When I was half done, I changed the pattern to decreases (6 per round) every other round- when 6 stitches I bound off drawstring style. The black held out-- for 1 sock 8 inches of yarn was all that was left--(the second had a whopping big 2 yards left over!) A good deal—the idea of these sock was to use up partial balls of yarn.. I still have some red, (I knew I would, I have plans for it)--the same goes for the white, I barely made a dent in the greys—so I will have to remake these sock again next year with a nice blue as the first color in the stripes.

I'm likely going to take a breather—yesterday was a rainy day—and there are threats (not likely to amount to much in the city) of snow. It's the last squalls of a long winter—and I've caught a cold. I've been feeling off for a few days—cold and tired and just well not right. Today, a scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose and coughing started. I'll keep warm, and take my vitamin C and fluids, (onion soup and chicken soup and fruit juices) and well, be as right as rain in a few days.

I'll get the grey yarn balled up and divided, and maybe work on a mindless hat –there is a always a hat needed for some project or another. But likely there is also going to be some sleeping in, and coddling too.