Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Burning Bright

At this point in the Tiger Tiger stole I'm going to transition back into the Tiger Eye pattern. But, it occurs to me that if I had made 2-3 more repeats wide, and if I had worked it in crochet cotton, I could now work a row a lace holes, bind off, and I would have a very pretty cafe curtain.
Maybe one less repeat of the Tiger Eye at the bottom, and a couple more repeats of the top pattern for proportions sake...

I'm just sayin......

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Biting the Beta Bullet

OK, I finally switched to Beta version of Blogger, and now I'm trying to make it do what I want it to do. So far, this has taken about half the day- no knitting this afternoon :(

The sidebar still needs some reorganizing... I want to get to actually assigning labels to posts...

Bear with me, I may come up with a post that is potentially interesting before the week is done.

Edited on Nov. 29 to add:

OK I've spent much of the morning messing around with organizing the side bar. Links to my free patterns/knitting recipes are now in their own section down toward the bottom. Ditto links to other online resources. Archives come last of all.

I can't figure why some links show in a colored font and some don't, but they should all work.

Oh cool, the archives can be expanded/collapsed by clicking on the little arrows.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tiger, Tiger

Generally speaking, these two don't settle down in the same room, much less within three feet of each other, but it's a rainy day and for now they are peaceable kingdom tigers.

The other tiger in the house is the in-progress shawl/stole.

I'm about halfway up the first side. I'll work a few more repeats of the little design at the top, then go back to the Tiger Eye pattern. But before I do, I'll have to wind off another skein of yarn. This still feels closer to what I think of as fingering than what I think of a lace weight. I suppose I should do a WPI check just for the record. I think I'm going to like this, but I think I would like it even better in a lighter yarn. (I also think just one panel would make a dandy scarf.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Since we will be having dinner here for about 12, I have spent much of the last two days in housework. Trying to cram 6 months remedial cleaning into 2 days has left me frazzled and somewhat grouchy. So I thought it would be a good time to sit down and list ten things that I am thankful for.

1) a warm house

2) enough food to eat

3) family near and far

4) friends: online and face to face

5) the companionship of small animals

6) the ability to see and to hear

7) the public library

8) the Bill of Rights

9) cardinals, for their song in the summer and their color in the winter

10) teachers of all sorts

That's the short list. It could go on, but I'd better get back to cleaning..... Special gratitude to DH and SIL, who will be doing the actual cooking for Thursday's feast. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Swatching Again

The rummage through the stash did turn up 1) The Bryspun circs I hadn't seen in a few months and 2) a Blackberry Ridge shawl kit I bought 3-4 years ago. The pattern with the kit is a nice Two Old Bags pattern to be worked as either a triangle or a square. The yarn is a two ply wool in natural cream. The skeins weren't individually labeled. I'm assuming it is the regular BR lace weight. It seems a little on the heavy side for lace, but it's not real tightly spun, so maybe it's just "lofty".

When I initially bought this, I thought it would be my first shawl, but obviously that's not how it turned out. I want to stress that the pattern is very nice. I'm just not interested in knitting it right now. I have the Kerry Blue for a square shawl in natural wool, and I have my own Progressive* for a triangle shawl in natural wool. So now I'm thinking rectangle.

The Tiger Eye pattern has appealed to me for a long time, so that's what I'm messing around with. Of course I could just line up a few repeats across and go, and it would probably be very pretty. But I want to do something with a little bit of variation/design progression.

After knitting and picking out, and knitting and picking out (and believe me it feels as if I've picked out more stitches than I ever knit), here's what I have so far...

I think I just about have my motifs worked out to where I like them, now it's a question of proportions/arrangement.

*and speaking of the Progressive, a wonderfully generous, knowledgable test knitter/tech editor (you know who you are) is working through the pattern now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bailing Twine and Plungers

I love it. A resourceful knitter indeed. Just go to Pickin' and Throwin': Finally, some knitting content! and click on the link that says "here".

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Performance report, odds and ends

Well, I wore the heel patched socks, and here's my evaluation so far: In general the concept worked. I think I'll sew down the sides, after all, as they gapped when worn. I don't know if the extra thickness would be a problem when worn with regular shoes; I only wear clogs. At first, the extra thickness under the heel was noticeable (though not unpleasant). As the day went on I stopped noticing it. I think it was a combination of just getting used to it and the garter stitch mashing down with being walked on. Overall, would I use this approach again? So far, yes I think I would.


Sunday afternoon was spent sorting through books, magazines, patterns and stash trying to reduce and organize.

Loose paper first: things I had printed off the internet got put into the 3-ring binders. Slow but not painful. (of course the binders themselves need to be better organized, but I'm leaving that for another day.)

Magazines next: I have stacks, and many of them have exactly one article or pattern I am really interested in. So I started copying the items of interest. To even get to this point I had to flip through the magazines to find what I wanted to copy. Then back to the binders to file the copies. As you can imagine this took some time.... In the end I actually eliminated only about ten issues. Still, that's a few inches on the bookshelf. OK, get real, that's a few inches of floor space because the shelves were full to start with.

Books: Give up any knitting books? You will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers, after driving a knitting needle through my heart. I'm a serious collector. OK, even the Met de-acquisitions. I found two I was willing to part with.

Stash: It was easiest to part with old swatches. These were either unsuccessful stitch combo experiments or made from yarns I hated. I used them as dust rags before I threw them away and thus discovered that a swatch of fun fur is very effective for dusting. This one was only about 1" x 5", so not worth saving, but what if I took some of that ugly Kelly green wool and some of the gigantic eyelash stash and made a bag/mitten thing and felted it? Effective dust mitt or total waste of time? I haven't decided yet.

Odd balls and leftovers... Aargh, every one of these might come in handy sometime. It might be just the thing I need for an accent, it might make a hat, or at the very least be used to tie up a package.... And I might live to be 105, but I don't think so. Just because I can think of a use for it doesn't mean I ever will use it. Two plastic grocery bags worth out the door (or at least in the thrift store box ready to go out the door).

Sock yarn - I'm sorry, can't give it up. Same for anything wool. Sigh, this is getting overwhelming...

At the end of the day I have to admit I didn't really get rid of that much. But I did get rid of some, and that's something, I guess.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thanks for the responses

to the sock heel fix. I still need to see if it will hold up to a trip through the washer and dryer (the socks are in the hamper now.) Got to say, I like kmkat's definition of elegant. Also the fun "Which American Accent?" link she has at her blog. (I came out as "Inland North", and yes I did grow up calling fizzy drinks "pop")

Friday, November 10, 2006

To Mend or Not to Mend, (updated)

socks, that is.

In the far off days when I actually got my socks from a store, they always wore out first at the toe. Now that I can control the length of the foot, this is no longer a problem. Instead they always seem to give out right under the heel. (Do I grind my heels when I walk? Or is it just that the knitting is looser where I work back and forth for the heel turn? I suspect the latter.) So what are the options?

a) Retire the socks. Notice I do not say "throw away". There were a few early pairs that did end up as dust rags. But when I have put the time and effort into a nice pair; and more importantly have become attached to them through frequent, close contact; and when 90% of the knitting is still perfectly good; I am not going to throw them away. If they are truly beyond repair, or have been repaired and worn ragged again, I retire them to the "old socks home", which at this point is a nice wooden box my father made me. What my heirs do with this collection when I die is their problem.

b) Cut them off at the ankle, add ribbing to the bottom and turn them into legwarmers. I've done it with a pair of knee socks, and it worked nicely (I'm wearing them at the moment, as a matter of fact.) These are not "fashion statement" legwarmers. They go under my jeans to ward off drafts. The pair in question is shorter, though, and not really a candidate for this treatment.

c) Unravel from the toe and reknit the foot. Or just cut them off at the ankle and reknit the foot, assuming I have more of the same yarn (which I don't) or something reasonably coordinating. This is a lot of work for results that might or might not look like "I meant to do that." Wouldn't I rather just knit a new pair altogether?

d) Darn. Believe me, I've tried. I end up with a misshapen mess. Same goes for Swiss Darning a/k/a duplicate stitch. For smaller holes than this one, maybe, but not here.

e) Carefully cut out the entire heel, pick up stitches and reknit the heel. Are you kidding?

f) Knit patches, which is what I actually intend to do. This will probably offend purists of all stripes. It will transform the socks from modestly elegant to everyday somewhat broken down workhorses. But what the heck, it works for me.

Two little patches. (Hey, that second sock is going to go soon - might as well do both while I'm at it.) I used garter stitch to avoid fighting curly edges when I sew them on. I left long yarn tails for sewing.

First I sewed the shaped lower edge of the patch to the bottom of the heel flap, then I sewed the live stitches off the needle to the foot. I could have bound then off and then sewn them down, but this would have made a thicker and less elastic seam.

At this point there is a little unsewn gap at each side (pencil for demonstration purposes only). I am going to leave it unsewn on the theory that a little more elasticity here will encourage the patch not to rip out.

Final result, not pretty, but I hope servicable. And in our throwaway world, there is something endearing about that. How long will it last? Good question. I hope for a while. At any rate, this pair will know I did what I could to delay the trip to the old socks home.

The Law of Entropy and the First Noble Truth alike remind us that nothing is permanent, but I like to try to keep things going when I can.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Went to vote around 11 this morning. Voting here in B-ville has always been a joy. You walk into the library, you know the poll workers names, exchange pleasantries and vote. There is almost never a line. It feels like democracy in action. And one of the things I always loved best was the fact that you get an honest to God paper ballot that you mark with a pencil and there is no question of who you have voted for and since I trust our local workers I believe there is no question of whether your vote will be counted. It is simple, straightforward and transparent.

I am happy to report that there was no electioneering near the polls, no "poll watchers" lurking around to try to challenge voters. There was one of those electronic machines, and, sadly, people had been using it. But I was offered the choice of a paper ballot and of course took it.

So now it's been a long day, just waiting. I went out and pulled weeds for awhile because it was a lovely day and I find pulling weeds and spreading mulch to be soothing to the soul. Given the recent direction of the country, and the closeness of the elections, my soul needs soothing. I don't know if I will stay up and watch returns, or cower in bed with the blanket over my head.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Garter Cuff Hat - The Rest of the Story

....and round, and round. I really would rather be throwing in some sort of pattern, but 1) most of the middle will be covered by the cuff and 2) this is for a boy who has reached the age where he probably would not wear anything that drew attention to itself, so forget the idea of bobbles, thank you very much. Finally the decreases (about which more below).

Finished, washed and drying.

Done. Plain, but serviceable.

Now about the decreases. I wanted a nicely rounded top: not pointy, not gathered. So I used a formula I first found in Knitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind (wonderful book).

She says to divide into 10 or 12 parts, but since I had 66 sts I divided into 11 parts of 6 sts each; and from there it went like this:
(k4, k2tog) 11 times
Knit 4 rounds plain.
(k3, k2tog) 11 times
Knit 3 rounds plain.
(k2, k2tog) 11 times.
Knit 2 rounds plain.
(k1, k2tog) 11 times.
Knit 1 round plain.
(k2tog) 11 times.
Since I still had 11 sts at this point I did and additional round of K1, k2tog 5 times, but I could have just gathered up the 11 sts.

This can work with anywhere from 8 to 12 sections. The fewer the sections, the more elongated the top will be.

And while I'm on the subject of hats, Jeri has a neat little measuring trick on her Dollar Hat post.