Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tempting the Gods

For a few weeks now, I've been waiting for some yarn to arrive. Consequently, I haven't wanted to start any new projects. I've been working things that can be completed in an afternoon.....in other words...nothing from thrillsville, and definitely not blog worthy. I've also been drawing and swatching, but not a lot. I know how I am. If I come up with something that excites me, I'll be jonesing to do it. I can't be in the middle of something I'm pumped about when the yarn arrives and I have a commitment to fulfil.

And speaking of commitments....yes I know, I promised a 4-patch how-to in the MD approach. Sorry I haven't posted it. To be frank, I haven't been in the best of health these past few weeks, and when I'm in that state, it's not the ideal time to be writing how-to/patterns. I KNOW it would be riddled with errors and too taxing on me physically. It will come, I promise, I'm much better now, but still playing catch up with other things that have also been neglected.

So how is it then that I am tempting the god??? I've been basically a slug of late, with "nothing" on needles or hooks, and the sketchbooks have for all practical purposes been dormant.

Here's how......



Yeah, I started a sweater today........I expect the yarn I've been waiting for to arrive later today! You guys know EXACTLY how the knitting gods behave. They can have the same sense of humor as the impish deities that make the phone/doorbell ring when you are stepping into the shower, and the gods that make the sink back up or the dishwasher flood the kitchen when you're having a dinner party. Yep, I'm ready to bet my bottom dollar that the yarn will come today or tomorrow.

The sweater that I'm making is one that I've been wanting to try. It's made in a k2p2 rib throughout with a funnel neck. I'm not following a pattern per se. A while ago (years) I purchased a Gap sweater made like this. I LOVE the way it fits me, so I decided to reverse engineer it and make another.

The one from the Gap is 100% cotton, this is...well...I'm not sure. The yarn is from an estate sale. This stuff was in the bottom of a huge box of wool. I really do like the color, but the fiber....um.....not exactly sure, but pretty sure, it's Orlon. It's definitely NOT a cotton, wool, mohair, or silk, and it doesn't burn the same as today's acrylics. So a vintage Orlon is what I think it is. It's actually working up really well and feels OK. I can't wait to see the finished product and how it washes and dries.

You might be asking yourself, why for the love of pete, am I using THIS yarn to make a sweater??? My decision is based in my deeply rooted somewhat bizarre practise of making prototype garments. I always make a new design out of some "throw away" yarn first. I respect the "good stuff" too much to put it through the rigors of drafting a garment on the needles. Especially the way I do it. LOL I'm thinking some Debbie Bliss cotton/merino is going to be used for the REAL garment.

The original sweater was made in pieces, this one is eliminating one of the side seams. I WAS going to work it in the around, but I knit in a sort of combined method. Purling in the round with the stitches backwards isn't impossible, but I just figured out how to do it, (I know, I'm a slow learner) so I'm not very fast yet. I might as well be knitting "normal" continental and purling so my stitches don't twist. But considering this is a prototype, speed is what I'm after here. After the bugs are worked out on this sweater, then I'll turn to the Bliss, work it in the round, and lose myself in knitting bliss!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

So little to do, so much time......

Wonka that.

Lots of knitting and crocheting done, but nothing to show for it. Some things I'm pleased with, some I hate, and some have sparked a multitude of other things to be added to the experiment list....those are the best ones. Perhaps not the best in the eyes of others, but it's what I do. My thrill lies in the realm of experiment. The rush that comes with a problem, challenge, or question solved. It is this that drives me. It makes for a boring a blog, but an exciting life, sorry about that. :-)

I'm off now to experiment some more, and if the powers that be are willing, to get some organization in my workroom. LOL That's a laugh. Once all is straightened it will take approximately 2 days to be in total chaos again. Chaos is a good thing right?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just for Fun

Sometimes I'm in the mood for silliness....Frankly I just need a break from all the squares and pattern writing so I've been cruising...

It cracks me up whenever I travel that people tell me I have an accent. Yes, of course I do, we ALL do. They often tell me I talk "funny". I'm not going to throw stones here, but I myself have heard some pretty funny accents from the far flung reaches of this country...nuff said...and said lovingly.

The thing that really cracks me up is that they act as if they have never heard anyone speak as I do. Makes me wonder, and often question them, as to whether they listen to the national news or not. I literally had to prove to one dear friend (a New Yorker) by comparing the commentators on her local nightly news to those of the network nightly news. I about died when she admitted she had never really heard the difference before! ROFL


What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

Philadelphia
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
Boston
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Joys of the Provo* Cast On

To continue.....

In the last few posts I showed you how to work a simple square, then two methods that could be used to make a continuous strip of squares (aka a scarf). Within those posts I pointed out the inherent troubles with working squares with either of these two methods, the uneven edges, the tedium of casting on a bazillion stitches, etc. Today's post, IMHO takes all those woes and throws them out the window! (Of course there are troubles with this method too...isn't there always???...but it's a problem that leads to MUCH neater edges, and throws open the doors of possibilities....so I guess it's not so much a problem huh. :-)

The simple solution is the almighty PROVISIONAL CAST ON.

There are several ways to do a provisional cast on, I prefer the method that uses a length of waste yarn and to make your stitches you sort of work a figure 8 around it. The crocheted chain method is a good one, and doesn't look as sloppy as the figure 8 method, but hey...I like to keep things simple as possible....I hate fiddly things and one way to use the crochet chain cast on is, well, a bit like picking up stitches and takes more time, and ya know, sometimes I'm just too dang lazy to get up off my butt and get a crochet hook!! Don't know about you, but when I want to start something I want to start it and not spend a lot of fumbling time in the set-up stage!

Here are a few links to get you familiar with the provisional cast on of your choice.


http://knittinghelp.com/dynamic/php/video/index.php?file=/cast-on/invisible-co-rds.mpg
http://www.thedietdiary.com/blog/lucia/581
http://www.knittingatknoon.com/provisional.html
http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/03/majoring_in_lace_part_iv.html


Got your choice of a provo* cast picked out??

Here we go, a MD scarf with some really nifty edges!!


So your first square is done, notice the red waste yarn along the bottom edge and the first short side of the soon to be scarf.



Here is a closer look.




The next step is to pick up that waste yarn and make some more provo casts. The number to cast on at this stage is equal to the number of stitches for one side of your square, plus one. For example if your square is 20 x 20 you'd cast on 21 stitches, if your square was 10 x 10 you'd cast on 11 stitches. In the pix I've used a square a that is 16 x 16 so I cast on 17 stitches.





Next step is to knit back across the new cast on stitches. Knit back across 16, wrap the CC yarn for neatness, then begin the first row of the new square with YO, K1, YO, K2tog, turn.





Just keep adding squares until you have reached your desired length or have run out of yarn!





Let's pretend the piece in the above pic is a long and lovely scarf...come on guys...do you have any idea how many scarves I have at this point?!? Notice the red waste yarn goes from one short side all along the bottom edge and there are live stitches all along the top edge and the other short side......Yeah, here it is, the trouble spot with this method...look at all those stitches that need to be bound off!!! Yikes!! But the HUGE benefit is that ALL your edges are going to match, so for me it's not really a problem.

PLUS.........all those live stitches....hmmmm...how about working another row right on top of this one? Or maybe underneath it?? And what about putting a nice border around the whole thing instead of just binding off??? Ohhhhh the possibilities!!!

Monika has completed an Add As You Go scarf.....check out her blog...... http://yarnloopie.blogspot.com/
She's such a sweetie, test knitting some things for me. And can I tell you the woman amazes me!! She does such lovely work AND she does it mind blowing fast too!!!!

Now I think is it's time to go back and revisit something I mentioned in another post....the 4-patch. Yep, I think we got enough of the need to know how-to's done so the 4-patch won't be as difficult to work. The 4-patch will be the next post, again for ease of searching for it at a later date.

*provo = my personal short hand for "provisional cast on"



Saturday, November 18, 2006

Plan Ahead MD Squares


Take a good look at this photo, I need to explain a couple of things.
It's a progress photo of the Plan Ahead MD Squares.

To get a photo so it's not all bunched up and can be seen, I had to remove the needle. Across the top you can see a light pink holding thread. At the bottom of the pic you can see some of my needle with a bunch of stitches on it. Notice how nice and smooth the bottom of this strip is compared to the AAYG strip in the previous post. Yeah, that's my kind of edging!! Unfortunately to get this kind of edge you'll need to do a little planning ahead and a some math. It's just a tiny bit of math I promise.

The first thing you need to decide is how big do you want your square. The Simple Single Square pattern is for a square 10 sts x 10 sts we'll use a square that size for now just to be consistent. So let's say you want to make a strip 9 squares long with 10 x 10 squares. You'll need to begin by casting on 109 sts.


Hmmm how did I get that number.....

9 squares 10 sts wide, (90) + 10 sts for the edge of the first square + one center stitch for each square (9) = 109 sts.

Or if math doesn't scare you, use the formula below.
Where:

a = number of squares

b = number of stitches wide

(a x b) + a + b = number of cast on stitches.

Now let begin our PAMDS.

Cast on 109 sts.

(note: I suggest using a knitted on cast as I did for the squares in the photo (or perhaps a long tail cast) this cast on edge will be one short side and the bottom edge of your strip. The bind off will be the other short edge and the top of your squares. Using a knitted cast or the long tail makes the top and bottom look alike.)

Knit back 98 sts, leaving 11 sts unworked.

These ll sts are your center stitch and side edge of your first square.

Begin your square using the SSS pattern Rows 1 -18 with 2 small exceptions.

Omit the "knit 11" of row 1 so it only reads " Row 1: YO,K1, YO,K2tog, turn."

and add a knit 1 to end of Row 18 so it reads " Row 18: Sl 1, Knit 19, K2tog, K2, turn.

From this point on work the SSS pattern Rows 1-18 with the changes in Rows 1 & 18, until you have worked all 9 squares.

EXTRA NOTE: If you are working a two color square, you might also want to consider employing the "Neatness Tip" from the previous post so you won't have the 1/4 inch long floats of the CC on the wrong side.

At the end of the ninth square there will only be one stitch left to knit, knit it, turn. Sl 1, and bind off all stitches.

Your strip is done!!!

Obviously the greatest advantages to using this method for making a strip of squares are once again, the only ends you have are the begin and ending ends and you didn't have to pick up any stitches! Another clear advantage is the nice smooth edge it has.

The disadvantages of this method are that you have to plan ahead, do a little math, and, I don't know about you guys, but I'm not thrilled with casting on a bazillion stitches and having them on my needle waiting to be used.

Using this PAMDS method for a strip of 9 20 x 20 squares (like the ones in the photos above) would be a nice sized scarf (about 60" x 6.75") but to start the dang thing you'd have to cast on 220 sts...um not my cup of tea....so personally I think this is an disadvantage, maybe it's not a problem for you. Being the neurotic and compulsive person I am, I have figured out the ultimate solution that will satisfy my obsession for a neat edge, my desire to just pick-up and start without much forethought, and without the tedium of casting on a bazillion stitches, plus it inherently sets a world of options at the knitter's feet.

Can you guess what the "ultimate" solution is???

Come on you sock knitters.....think about it....

Coming up next...The Joys of the ProvO

Did I just see a flash of brilliant light or do I have another migraine looming? LOL

Add As You Go MD Square

OK boys and girls, the next step from working a single square is to be able to make them in a strip. There are a several ways to do this but I'll only include the 2 methods I think are the easiest and the most versatile. "Add As You Go" and "Plan Ahead MD Strips " each of these have their own variations, benefits and pitfalls. I'll try to keep this as simple as possible.

Let's begin with the "Add As You Go MD Squares" in this post and I'll make a second posting for the "Plan Ahead MD Strips" method so it will be easier to find in the archives.

So you've finished your first square....

(To get this striped effect work the simple square by changing colors on every odd row. Cast on with MC work rows 1&2 change to CC work rows 3&4, change to MC work rows 5&6...etc do NOT cut yarn at changes.)

Now you are ready to set the stage for square number 2.
With MC using a knitted on cast make 11 new stitches.

Work square number 2 using Rows 1 - 18 of the Simple Single Square pattern.

At the end of Row 18, using a knitted cast on, cast on 11 more stitches and work another square!

Continue doing this for as many squares as your heart desires. End with Row 18, Knit 1, turn, Sl 1, bind off all stitches.

Neatness Tip:
For the sake of being tidy, and not having a quarter inch floating thread of the CC, on the wrong side of the work, after you have knit the first 11 stitches of row 1, wrap the CC around the next stitch before you work the YO, K1,YO of the row. Don't work the stitch with the CC yarn, just wrap it. You can wrap around any way you wish, the photos below are taken from the wrong side, but you can wrap from the front it doesn't matter. This photo taken from the wrong side, shows the CC yarn back and the needles are poised to slip the stitch that is on the left needle. The stitch has been slipped the CC yarn brought forward and the slipped stitch has been returned to the left needle.

Here is a photo of the "Add As You Go" strip.


The advantages to the AAYG method are that you can just pick up your sticks and yarn and start making a strip of squares. You needn't be concerned if you have enough yarn for 8 squares or 9 squares, work as many as you can and call it done when you run out! :-) Absolutely no math involved at all unless you consider counting your cast ons math! :-) And of course, the greatest advantage of all.....only 4 ends....ever....no matter how many squares long you make your strip!!!

The disadvantage of this method is that the bottom edge isn't as smooth and neat as I like. I have a solution for this but that will come with it's own post. Another pitfall of this method is that it might be difficult to maintain an even tension in your cast on edge and your bind off edge. These tension anomalies make the squaring up of the squares imperfect....that bugs me.

**Disclaimer, yes for those eagle eyes out there. The squares in the photos ARE larger than a square worked with the stitch count called for the Simple Single Square pattern. In the SSS pattern the square is worked 10 stitches wide, and 10 stitches tall with a center stitch. The squares in the pics are 20sts x 20 sts with a center stitch. (41 stitches for the initial cast on and 21 stitches cast on to set the stage for each AAYG square. Using a 20 x 20 square in worsted wt. with # 7 needle I get a 6.25" square...nice width for a scarf don't you think?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Simple Single Square

As I promised....>

Here is the pattern for a single MD square. Doesn't look like much all by itself, but this little square really packs a punch. Squares made in this manner can be worked together (not sewn together, nor with picking up stitches) to create strips, blocks, or any shape your heart desires.

How To Make A Single Square

Pattern Notes:

Slip all stitches purlwise with yarn forward.

Knit all YO’s through the back.

Cast on 22 sts.
Row 1: Knit 11, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, Knit 3, K2tog, turn. [5 working stitches] (see pattern notes)
Row 3: Sl 1, K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, K2tog, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, Knit 5, K2tog, turn. [7 working stitches]
Row 5: Sl 1, K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, K2tog, turn.
Row 6: Sl 1, Knit 7, K2tog, turn. [9 working stitches]
Row 7: Sl 1, K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, K2tog, turn.
Row 8: Sl 1, Knit 9, K2tog, turn. [11 working stitches]
Row 9: Sl 1, K4, YO, K1, YO, K4, K2tog, turn.
Row 10: Sl 1, Knit 11, K2tog, turn. [13 working stitches]
Row 11: Sl 1, K5, YO, K1, YO, K5, K2tog, turn.
Row 12: Sl 1, Knit 13, K2tog, turn. [15 working stitches]
Row 13: Sl 1, K6, YO, K1, YO, K6, K2tog, turn.
Row 14: Sl 1, Knit 15, K2tog, turn. [17 working stitches]
Row 15: Sl 1, K7, YO, K1, YO, K7, K2tog, turn.
Row 16: Sl 1, Knit 17, K2tog, turn. [19 working stitches]
Row 17: Sl 1, K8, YO, K1, YO, K8, K2tog, turn.
Row 18: Sl 1, Knit 19, K2tog, K1, turn [22 working stitches]
Row 19: Sl 1, Bind off all stitches loosely.

Tips

There will always be an odd number of working stitches.
YO’s are placed on either side of center stitch on all odd number rows
Color changes for stripes are always done on even number rows, and across a multiple of one even row and one odd row.
If you lose your place, count the number of ridges completed, including the “new” row and work that many stitches, then begin the YO, K1, YO sequence.
If you work with a tight tension, you may want the increase a stitch or two in the corner when binding off, to give it more room to square off

For those who are NOT blind followers and with a nod to EZ:


Short and “Pithy” Directions
Cast on X number of stitches equaling the number of desired stitches for each square width and height, (this must be an even number).Plus one stitch for a center stitch and one stitch for the number of squares desired.


Example:

10 sts wide…….10 sts

10 sts tall………10 sts

Center stitch…….1 st

One square………1 st

______________________
Cast on ………..22 sts

Knit across until the only remaining cast on sts to be worked is equal to the number of stitches tall plus one.
Row 1: YO, K1, YO, K2tog, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, knit across, K2 tog, turn.
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 increasing one knit stitch after the Sl 1 and before the K2tog in each odd row.
End by knitting last remaining cast on, turn, Sl 1, bind off all stitches loosely.
Remember this sweater from a few posts back?? Using this simple square (and a couple of other tricks...be patient, I'll be posting them) a sweater like this can be made. It was made in one piece with no sewing, no picked up stitches, and only the beginning and ending of each ball of yarn used. (If I remember correctly, I had 12 ends to weave in when I was done making this sweater.

I know I promised the 4-patch block next, and it will be coming, I promise, but I think the next logical thing to show you is a strip of squares, aka, a scarf. Look for it tomorrow. Hopefully the curve balls life has been tossing at me and mine these past two days, will be resolved and I'll be able to do fibery stuff, and get some patterns written up in proper form.
Soooo, next up is a scarf. So easy, sensible, and addicting, I suspect you'll be making everyone you know a scarf for the Holidays!! Go ahead and start picking out the yarn(s) you want to use (no more than 2 please) Included in the pattern will be how to make the scarf with any yarn you want, in any width and any length. I only want you think about 2 things when choosing your yarn. One, if you want to use a highly textured yarn, then you should pair it with a smooth yarn...really, cuz think about it, using 1 fluffy puffy yarn alone or 2 fluffy puffy yarns will only obscure the stitch pattern so why bother working the squares?? (fluffy, puffy stuff wouldn't be my reccomendation for your first project though. You should give youself a break and REALLY know what you're doing when making the squares cuz counting fluffy, puffy stitiches isn't fun, IMHO) And the second thing to consider when picking out your yarn is to use yarns at least simlar in weight. Granted the above pictured sweater used a sport wt. and sock wt...close but not the same. Slight differences in weight won't cuz much of a problem, but you might not like the results with 2 yarns of widely differing weights....then again, maybe you would...hey it's YOUR scarf!!!
Wishing you sweet dreams of lovely almost-mitered scarves with only 4 ends to weave and no stitches picked-up!!
PS I hope all comes through OK, and forgive me if there are spelling errors please. Every time I try to spell check, I get a lot of broken html code and lose half of what I written..............sigh...another curve ball????
BTW I do have the simple single square pattern in PDF form, but I don't know how to post it here, if anyone out there knows how could you tell me?%<>

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Single Square

Here are front and back pix of a single MD square.


Pattern will soon follow.

As well as the pattern for a 4-patch block.
Here is a peek at the front and back of the 4-patch.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Prototype MD Sock

The other day I posted that I was thinking about giving a MD sock a try. I didn't get around to doing it that day, but last night I started one and just finished it. Bear in mind, this is just another experiment so I only took the vaguest notions regarding sizing. I was after the process. I'm THRILLED!!



I worked this top down, which isn't my favorite method. I'm not thrilled with the heel and toe, but I wasn't concerned about them. Tomorrow's sock, if I don't get side tracked, is a toe up version. Then I suppose some other sock types i.e two needle socks. I'm thinking working the design down into a heel flap would be kind of nifty and down (up?) the foot. I need to see which direction the squares face looks best. Ooooh the possibilities!!


The thing that has me swinging from the chandelier is that I used nobody else's technique!!!! That's right MD fanatics, I "uninvented" my own method. Yep, I UNINVENTED it. I, for one, am NOT even going to think that what I created is unique and has never been done before.

Differences between this method and the other that can be found in a book......

It is sooooo much easier!! Don't know about you guys, but to start one of those squares with the other method always irked me. It was so fiddly with all the markers, and not easy to remember. At the start of each square I'd have to get out my notes and markers again. Frustrating for me, breaks up the rhythm and crashes the zone. :-) Once I got going I could work the square without the markers, although I usually used the center one just cuz I'd rather not have to watch for the center stitch.

With this "new" method. There aren't any fiddly parts, IMHO. There aren't any markers, and you can build the next square in 8 different directions!! Yep any of the four sides AND off any corner. You can also change the size of the square. For example, say you begin with a square that is 8 inches, the next "square" you make could be a group of 4, 4 inch squares. Yes, oh skeptical ones, you can!!! And all this can be done without picking up stitches, without cutting the yarn, and without markers. I have run into some limitations, but I'm working on them and with all the things I CAN do the few I can't don't bother me much! :-D

Other things that might keep me from the second sock tomorrow, are other shapes. Yes, a triangle can be worked in the same manner.

Oh yeah, and yet another thing that might get in the way of the second sock tomorrow is the monumental task of editing all my designs that used the old MD technique and rewriting them for this method.

Ooops, completely forgot about having to write a tutorial for this new uninvented method! Looks like that second sock is getting pushed down the list of things to do mighty fast!!!

Tomorrow I'll post some pics of close up shots. Think I'll make a few swatches up using better colors. Probably use just two contrasting solids instead of a solid and space dyed just so you can see the fabric itself and it won't look so busy.

Now I've got a question for you guys....anyone know how to put PDF downloads on my sidebar???? I'm thinking a few freebie patterns, and a tutorial.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

WOW I WON!!!

Check it out guys!!! I won Mim's blog contest!!

http://mimknits.com/wordpress/?p=90

If you have never visited this lovely lady's blog and website, run, don't walk.

Of course, who am I kidding. Puh-lease...

If you have found my insignificant blog you gotta who is Mim is.....

Icarus ring a bell??
http://www.interweave.com/knit/interweave_knits/back_issues/SU_06.asp

How about Mountain Peaks,
http://mimknits.com/shop/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=69&products_id=171

Seraphim,
http://mimknits.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=69&products_id=182

or Hidcote Garden????
http://mimknits.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=69&products_id=192

Yep, Mimknits...dang is that girl is talented!!!

Thanx Mim!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Here today...

"Silly", my youngest, was home again for another of her whirlwind weekends (Thursday to Sunday) from Savannah. A bit more hectic this time. The airlines lost her bag, which contained all of her clothes, shoes and personal sundry. The dress she was going to wear to a wedding on Saturday and the clothes on her back is all she had!! Thank the powers that be, she carried her dress on the plane. Do I have to explain the devastation a young woman feels when the perfect shoes for that perfect dress and all the appropriate foundations pieces are gone, not to mention the makeup, hair blowers, and the wedding gift?!? Naw...I didn't think so. She had flown half way across the country for the wedding of a very dear friend, planning and anticipating it for more than a year....sigh poor kid. This was the first crisis of the weekend, no wait, the first was Thursday afternoon, the bag didn't get lost until Thursday night. Thursday afternoon Joe found out he had to work all weekend.....urgh, no help from Joe for the brunch of 22 people on Sunday morning, dang.

On Friday Silly and I got up and headed to town to go grocery shopping, pick up a few things for her latest project at school and then planned to be home before 11:00AM so I could begin cooking and setting up tables, and she could do homework....ah yeah, why should those plans work??? I got a call and was asked to pickup one of the grandkids, not a problem, love the kid to pieces...although she was 150 miles away!! So across the state Silly and I went to pick up Snigglefritz. We finally got home Friday night about 9:00PM, no baking done, no tables set up, nothing accomplished on Silly's project, and no bag from the airport!!!! But we did have the groceries (after 3 menu changes because the store was out of things we needed), and 600 more miles on the car since the night before! I was pooped! Then the phone rang...Joe was going to need a ride home from work in the morning his brakes went out and he had just barely missed hitting a big buck standing in the road.....sigh

Saturday morning bright..nope still dark.... and early, picked up Joe from work. He went to bed, Silly got the run around from the airlines, again, Snigglefritz played, and I started setting up tables. The again promised bag did not arrive by noon, so into town to shop we went. Actually did find some acceptable replacement for those perfect shoes, and foundation pieces, but of course they just were merely substitutes. Left Silly in town to get ready for the wedding and stay the night with friends. Snigglefritz and I came back home just in time to give Joe my car to go to work. Another 150 miles on the car, more groceries (just in case and to cover the possible 4th menu change) and my bank account much much lighter! After Snigglefritz went to bed I baked, cooked, chopped, diced, arranged furniture, got dishes, bowls, glasses out of storage, and washed them, set up tables, counted and recounted placesettings, and crawled into bed somewhere around midnight.

Sunday, up around 8:00 and threw the last bits of the meal yet to be baked into the ovens. LOVE my double ovens!!!!! Sat down, put my feet up, waited for the ovens to ding, guest to arrive, and started a sock.

Behold. Here today, gone tomorrow.



Take a quick look, they won't be around long.....Silly wants them. Same pattern as the brown striped ones from previous post but these are worked in a tweedy olive green DK weight. Have no clue what the yarn is, got it out of a clearance bin from a LYS in Savannah about a year ago....no ball band. It's a wool blend of some sort. Did the burn test so long ago I don't remember anything other than it is wool and has something else, acrylic? Nylon? Scheesh, being DK weight I should be done by now, but the past few days have been beautiful and I've been taking it easy. Kinda tired lately! ;-) Cold and icky today, sunny and 78 degrees last few days, guess we've had our Indian Summer.

Oh yeah, in case your wonderin'.....the airport called Monday, they had her bag, should they send it to me or back to Savannah??? Yesterday bought the plane ticket for Silly to come home at X-mas....used a different airline this time. I know it doesn't matter, they all loose bags, the airlines she will fly this time is the same that lost my bags in June when Joe and I went to Savannah!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dimples

This just cracks me up!!



I found this at: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/category/personal-appearance/

Love this site...lots of giggles. Real articles published way back when, in magazine such as Modern Mechanix and Popular Science.

I had a dimpleless Aunt once who use to twist the eraser end of pencils into her cheeks. Bet she would have bought this contraption!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Things All Around

Jeepers, I finally got the timing right!!! I can publish AND upload pix!!!

We finally got around to buying a "new" car. Yep, "new" as in new to us. I've been without a car of my own since June!! Egads, that's a long time, but on the other hand, with my penchance for hermitdom...oh well. Neither Joe nor I look at cars as anything other than a mode of transportation, thus, no burning desires to have the newest model on the market. Nope, we are "throw-away-car" type people. I suppose a nicer way of putting that would be "recycled-cars". :-) The downside to buying recycled cars...well....um....aside from the lack of flash, I don't see any, and we don't care about flash. So I have a new car with 50,000 miles, it's not of this decade, no payments to go with it, dirt cheap insurance, it's spic and span clean, gets me where I'm going, and it runs like a top....what more is there to a car???

Another new addition to the hermitage, and this REALLY is new...10 weeks new......

Meet Benjamin.




And this is the reason there hasn't been much fiber stuff going on.......



Here's another pic just for scale.



Um, yeah, Benjamin is ALMOST the size as Ida's head!! Actually I'm impressed with how well IdaMae and Benny are getting along. Ida just turned a year old, and Benny came from a farm with a dog or two, so the transition hasn't been too difficult for either of them. They play all day, testing each others limits, and they test my limits when they play all night!!

So this is all the knitting I've gotten done in the last week.



It's a start. Two more pairs to go to make up for IdaMae's snacking this past month! :-)

The oatmeal colored socks are plain old St st with short row toe and heel made with Wool Ease. A quick and to the point pair of socks.

The brownish, rusty, autumn, color striped pair is made out of one of the Knit Picks sock yarns in a colorway that I didn't really like when I got it so I overdyed it. Originally it had way too much white and a light liver, almost mauve color (yuck) in some of the dots and stripes, now it's my kind of colorway. It's a simple toe-up sock with St st on the bottom of the foot and a two stitch mock cable on the top of the foot and up the leg. I like this stitch pattern, it's soooo simple and quick. Certainly works up as fast a plain old St st w/ ribbing sock but looks like it has so much more to it. A tad bit more interesting to work too.

Next on the needles are a couple more in this pattern, and an experimental pair made with the same squares used on the cropped sweater but on a much smaller scale. Haven't decided which I'll start as soon as I'm done posting this. The NEED for socks is screaming at me, but the desire to give this new idea a go is somewhat overwhelming. Maybe I'll start both, the easy ones for when IdaMae and Benjamin are around and the other for when they are both exhausted from play.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Socktober

It's nearly the third week of "Socktober" and I'd say 4 socks is a respectable number.

Problem is I didn't make them......no, to be more precise, I didn't make them this month. The problem is, IdaMae doesn't quiet understand the whole Socktober thing..........

Here are socks 1,2,and 3.



Where is sock number 4 you ask...

Not enough left to photograph.......sigh

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh Happy Day

So obviously I've been fretting over all the issues involved in the last post, and have been for a very long time....

Since posting though, I have received a multitude of emails from some truly lovely ladies that offered some wonderful advise and encouragement.

Here are just a couple of links that deal with my particular issue, as well as other issues that some of you might be interested in.

http://girlfromauntie.com/copyright/index.php/89/

and another...

http://www.purplekittyyarns.com/info/copyright.html

You can't possibly expect to hold either of these websites, nor the people behind them, responsible for dispensing any "legal advise" regarding your personal issues. You really do have to get your own atty for that. But the info they have provided, certainly has put the spring back into my step!!

All I can say is that yet again, (and at a time when most needed) the goodness of people has outshone the bad. Thank you one and all for you encouragement, and sharing of your expertise and knowledge!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Multiple Directions

Just to prove I'm still around I decided to post a couple pics of a cropped sweater/top I made a couple months ago. I had it briefly entered in a design contest this past spring. I yanked it from the competition......sigh....... I had a marvelous time designing and working this piece, but oh well. I did it for the fun of it and not the prize, so it served it's purpose.

First off, gotta tell ya, I made this sweater to fit me, not my 19 year old beautiful niece with the incredible bod!! I'm 5'6" , short waisted, and not, how shall we say it..."shapely" . Erin on the other hand is about 6 foot and a BABE! :-) So the shoulders pull and the it's a bit too short for her but you can get the idea of how the thing looks. To give you more of an idea as to how it is supposed to fit, in the second picture with the front closed asymmetrically...on me it is 3 blocks wide that line up perfectly in the front! LOL



If anyone is interested here's the low-down:

Made with Lion Brand Multi-Stripes and Wool Ease Sport
One piece construction
No Seams
Minimal ends to weave in (12 total not including ball ends)
No picked up stitches

Yes, it is made using some of "those techniques" and a few added bits from this knitter's bag o' tricks. But I'm not going any further ......I might be accused of copyright infringement.....she said I would be. How am I suppose know?? She's in the business, I'm not. It's a shame. I have some really, really cool designs using this type of technique, and they are fun to do, but I feel stifled because of her threats. All I can say right now is I'm dang glad the man/woman who came up with SSK or Ktbl or a short row heel, aren't around to stifle wanna be designers.

Here's a list of what I've actually been doing the last few days:

Made Joe a pair of sweat pants and myself a pair of yoga pants...we match ain't that sweet...barf. I picked up the material at my most favorite thrift store "The Church Mouse". I got all 5 yards for 50 cents!! I sooo love my "Mouse". It's staffed by the cutest bunch of little old ladies. I take the time to speak to "the Girls" and share what my plans are for this material, yarn, buttons, canvas, article of clothing, etc. They get a kick out of the stuff I do, so many have given up needlework because of poor eyesight or arthritic hands.

Made a couple of pillow tops..crocheted

Still working on my Fall coat...sigh....guess I could wear it in the Spring too!! But it's nearly done. Maybe a another couple of days. Most of the embellishment is done. I have the cuffs figured but not done. Still thinking about the collar/neck, and I've got to cut and sew the lining, but none of that will take too long. Like I said, another couple of days or so.

I picked up some needles on Friday and started a sweater. Was actually going to make an EZ rib warmer, but after the first short row corner it morphed. The bodice kind of meanders around ala Debbie New and EZ Badger with some gores inserted here and there. Turning out to be a nice finger tip, swing-style. Just the sleeves left to do. Selma's wearing it right now, as we try to figure out the best sleeves. I know I want the sleeves to have a tight cuff, which of course is going to look ridiculous with the volumnous body but this design is for me. I need something that is comfy and warm up in my workroom and won't both my arms. Heating the second floor of this house was not a priority for the builders in 1906 so while there are some heating ducts up there, there aren't many! Hm maybe a mutton sleeve???? Or maybe a full sleeve that can be rolled up out of the way with a tight inner cuff from the elbow down...hmmmmm

I've also been working on my "shape shifters". These are origami type sweaters (ala DN's tams and ouroborus, and EZ's ameoba-like surprises) Working on a pair of pants right now. Yeah I know knitted pants, but the mental gymnastics is what I'm after. I haven't made them full scale yet, just playing around, but considering how cold it is in my workroom right now and winter hasn't even begun...well.....don't be surprised. :-)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My ADD is geographical

I can't help it, I'm a product of my environment. An hour ago this was happening:



Yep that is SNOW!!!!! First snowfall of the season.



Yes, it is a pitiful amount, but it came down with gusto! Just a preview of things to come I imagine.

Now it looks like this out there:



Ummmm yeah.......the difference an hour can make in my world.

this vs this

OK, maybe my environment isn't the ENTIRE reason for my ADD but come on, you have to give it some credit!!

I'll blame the rest on my family.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mystery of the PK solved

I've played around with the Portuguese Knitting of the video and this is what I've learned....

In the video she is working a knit stitch. The yarn is in the back (although this is deceiving at first because the angle the working yarn has because it is around her neck.) She then inserts the needle/hook left to right, into the front loop, but then brings the needle to the front again (basically she is twisting the stitch she is going to work). Her thumb flicks the yarn counterclockwise around the tip. She snags that wrap with the hook pulling it through, and off the needle/hook......It really is NOT as "fiddly" as it looks and I was able to get a decent rhythm after the first few stitches. I think using a hook helps a bit, but it isn't necessary. In fact I found that a needle with a good point works better for me than the hooks. Especially if you are a tight knitter, getting the hook into the stitch in the first step could be problematic considering the bluntness of a hooks. And then of course we get into the whole Bates vs Boye hooks but I don't want to go there. LOL

In the picture below, the first two ridges of garter stitch were done my "normal" way, I thought a base to work off of and some comparison would be a good idea. As depicted in the photo, there was no difference in gauge nor the look of the stitches when I change the method. Let me tell ya though, working with hooks instead of needles was kinda strange...make sure the hook holding the stitches has the head facing away from you or your asking for frustration.



Next I messed around with how she prob'ly works purl stitches. It's just a guess, I can't find a video showing that.
I'm a switch-hitting knitter. In other words, sometimes I swoop, pluck, dig, snag, drag, throw, and sometimes I do any combination of them all.......NOW I have the "thumb-flick"! I really like purling in the manner I'm guessing she uses. I find it just as easy as the combined purl, but without the dreaded twist resulting!! WOO HOO

Purling "her way": With yarn in front insert needle right to left in the front loop. Thumb flick the yarn counterclockwise around the tip just like before, and pull it through. The thumb-flick makes the counterclockwise wrap so much easier that I'm not even attempted to do the Combined/Continental snag/drag that results in a twist. Plus this is sooooo much easier than the Norwegian purl!!

So wonderful to have "new" method in my arsenal!!! Of course the ease also lies in the working yarn being looped around your neck . Please don't wrap it around your neck thinking you need to tension it that way, we don't want any casualties!! :-P


Friday, October 06, 2006

Portuguese Knitting

Hmmmm verrry interesting. Gonna have to give this video some study. I have read about this type of knitting in the history books, and the fact that hooks rather than needles were used. Never knew that anyone still worked in this manner!!




If this video is truly embedded like I'm hoping it is as I write this post, be warned that there may be many more to come!! Gotta LOVE Youtube!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The koolaid day and geekdom


Sometime ago I bought 3 garbage bags full of wool from an estate sale. I wasn't thrilled with some of the colors but it was wool so what the heck. Apparently this woman was either going to make LOTS of Fair Isle sweaters or she just decided to buy 4 twin paks of every color the company offered. Here is a VERY small selection of the yarn and the colors that I didn't care for.




There are ten different shades of color here and 2 skeins each (2oz each). Um if I figure that correctly it's 40 oz. WOW...that was a lot of fiber to dye. After much debate with myself I decided the only way to do it "properly" was to dye it all at once, so maybe, just maybe, I'd be able to retain the color gradient. After deciding to dye it all at once the "proper" way of doing things flew right the window. Given the fact that I had never dyed more than 2 oz at a time, with koolaid, and in the microwave, the task seemed a bit daunting. Everything I had ever been told, read, or heard said that I HAD to use small amounts (an oz or two of fiber at most) when dyeing with koolaid in the microwave. Although it also struck me that there was never anywhere or anyone who could answer the simple question, "why not?" So being the lazy, stubborn, need to see proof, of person I am, I divided the wool into two piles of five skeins each (20 oz). I used 10 pkg of koolaide for each batch....OK, THAT is "proper" cuz my research told me so! (Although again for no factual reason I could find, thus the mega dose of koolaid in the crockpot dye job of a previuos post that worked wonderfully) So...into the microwave the fiber went, 5 skeins, 10 pkg of koolaid, 20 oz at a time. Without getting out my notes, if I remember correctly, it took three 2 minutes cycles to absorb all the dye.

I had used tropical punch and I wasn't too keen on the outcome. Not my colors, so I did the whole process again with strawberry with a couple of pkgs of grape thrown in as well. As you can see with the samples below, I lost a bit of the gradient in the second dye job, (there are only 5 now) but the colors are a bit more to my liking.







left to right: original wool, 1st dye job (tropical punch), 2nd dye job (strawberry and grape).






A beautiful day huh. And what do normal people do on a beautiful day such as this......













They dye by solar energy that's what! Doesn't everybody?!? Yep, if you haven't guessed by now, I am a GEEK.






Yes, that is a bunch of beer boxes covered in foil surrounding a coffee can containing a 4 oz ball of lace weight merino, blue dye stock, and yes that is a meat thermometer taped to the side of the can!









Wow!!! 150+ degrees!! BTW ambient temp was 82...Did I double the ambient temp.....you betcha I did, although this is the highest temp I have recorded by photo. Dang I can be such a nerd and get so excited about the strangest things. I did take copious notes though and my best estimation* of the highest temp was 177 degrees.

*estimation cuz of the thermometer, it kind of lacks calibration marks.



Internally the temps were nearly identical.

Ahhhh, I had such good fun doing this, and look forward to another day in the sun. I have about a 1000 things I can do to make this "set-up" more efficient, but alas they will have to wait until another warm day, and those are now gone, it's October and the leaves are falling. Although.....there just might be a sunny winter day coming up soon. I wonder just how high I can get the temps on a typical Midwest winter's day, bet I can triple if not quadruple the ambient temp. LOL that's not saying much.

Yes, there are no bounds to my geekdom, and while most would think doing this type of thing is absurd. And most would be incredibly embarrassed for having documented it, let alone posting it to a blog for all to see, I on the other hand had good silly fun and got some yummy yarn that matched the color of the sky that day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

WTF revised to OMG WTF

OK, fine, now it's all pretty again.....NOT A SINGLE FRICKIN' CLUE WHY

WTF

I am sooooo confused.

Don't know why the last post looks like it does. Everything was/is so nicely spaced and laid out in the dashboard. WTF is going on when it get published?!? Even looks right when I preview it, but then looks like a jumbled mess in the blog...............sigh...........IF there is someone out there that knows what I'm doing wrong, or even cares....please, please, please, tell me the secret.....Do I have to go into the "edit html" and manually enter the line breaks????? If so, how the hell do I do that?????

More Pix

Hmmmm don't really feel very wordy today, I'll just throw the pix up and just maybe I'll comment about them....or maybe not.


More purses:




Front and back of Freeform clutch.



Front and back of FF handbag.



Side and end view of felted crochet bag. Funky shape was caused by the uneven felting of the different stitches used.

Skirts and dresses:




All mine.




LOVE this dress!! I've worn it for about 6 years now!!! Not my design...vintage McCall's maybe?



Mine, with a scribble lace shawl ala Debbie New (my hero!)



Just another dress nothing special. (mine)

Tops:



Pattern from Knitty. I think "W" is the name. Fun knit, worked side to side, I'll have to do this again. I did change it a bit...I never understand why people make designs with seams when there is no reason to. I did this in one piece instead of two with a provisional cast on so I could do a two needle bind off (ala Debbie New, told you she was my hero) and avoided all seams.....I can't stand seams!!!! Prob'ly cuz I can't do them well!!!




All mine. My first attempt with a crossed stitch. Of course there is only one seam. :-)




Worked this in crochet using the knitting diagram from one of the first issues of, umm, "Knit 1." maybe. It was the cover sweater done in red if I remember correctly.



The closest thing I'll ever get to a poncho!! This was my second knitted item, I must have been crazy to work all that stockinette!!!! But of course those who know me DO in fact think I'm crazy...my first knitted item was a pair of socks on 4 dpn's!!!! Egads!!!!




This wrap was made with the koolaid/crockpot dye job.....did I mention that before?? Here's a pic of the newly dyed yarn. It's 400 yards of Knit Picks dye your own merino. I wound it into a single center pull ball and then threw it in the crock pot with just enough water to cover and 10 pkgs of grape koolaid.




In the pot!




Check this out...isn't it great!!! Look closely (if you can) there are about 1000 colors in this hank. There are even portions that are marled!!! Don't know how or why it did that cuz the fiber was 100% merino, but who cares, it's nifty!

OH!!! Speaking of NIFTY....what is that on the shoulder of that wrap????? Oh Yeah, it's a FABULOUS shawl pin made by a VERY talented glass artist........




My son Bart!!!

Yeah I know the pic sucks....I promise to get some decent photos of some of his pieces ASAP.

Thoroughly bored??? I am.

Many thanx to our wonderful model, Vivian. Yes, my dressform has a name, both of them do. Vivian as seen here and Selma who is really PO'd right now. I totally have the Tom Hanks/Wilson thing going on.