Saturday, September 29, 2012

Water, Salt, Yeast, Flour,

(and in this case, some dehydrated chopped onion and sage). It smells very, very good. It's going to taste even better.

I hadn't baked bread in years and years, but I've taken it up again recently, thanks to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  The title is a bit of an overstatement, but the basic recipe is easy, is easy to play around with, and so far has always given good results.  Good enough that I really haven't pushed on to try the other variations in the book, but one of these days.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Miscellaneous

A really mixed bag today


From Channel 3000: Humane Societies Run Out of Space, Money 

Budgets have been tight for a lot of people, us included, but I'm going to scrape up something to send to the Iowa County shelter. We adopted our two current good cats there, and saw first hand how dedicated their volunteers are to maintaining this no kill refuge. I knew they always had to rely on donations, but until I read the story linked above I didn't know just how serious the situation is right now.

Please, if you can, donate directly to your own local shelter.Giving locally means no overhead taken out for a national organization and even "in kind" donations of food or cat litter are usually welcome. And if you have room in your house and your heart, adopt a shelter pet.


It's that season. I got a call from a polling organization this evening. First they asked if I or anyone in my family worked for a news organization or a political campaign. I said "no". Then they asked if I was registered to vote. I said "yes." Then they asked if I was 1) highly likely to vote, 2) somewhat likely to vote 3) somewhat likely not to vote or 4) highly likely not to vote in the November election.  I said I was highly likely to vote. By this time I was champing at the bit to get at the real questions. But first they asked what year I was born. I answered truthfully. Then they said "Thank you, that's all the questions we have."  I was sorry, because it sounded like a legitimate poll, and who doesn't want to have their opinion count? I assume that for their sampling they already had answers from enough people in my age demographic. But the question I want to ask them is: If you are looking for younger respondents, why are you calling a land line? 


And it's that time of year when I realize that all of my wool socks need mending. Well, OK, that's an exaggeration. I only found two actual holes, which I have rather clumsily darned.  But several pairs have worn alarmingly thin under the heel like this one.

Some of those threads are baaaarely hanging on, and probably wouldn't make it through another washing.  So I'm working away at reinforcing it and its drawer mates with Swiss Darning (aka duplicate stitch).

For me, this is easier, neater, and more pleasant than a woven darn worked after the hole has already appeared (though not necessarily faster). Two down, about six to go.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Hmmm, a little more Goth than I had anticipated

The yarn is quite a bit darker than it looks in this flash photo.

So What will it be? (Not a knitting question)

Still working on what, if anything, this blog might be going forward.

One of the reasons I stopped posting for so long was that the my attention was absorbed by (mostly state) politics for a while, and the politics and the knitting didn't feel like a good mix. And the knitting itself dropped by the wayside for almost a year.

Don't know where this is going. Will see if I figure it out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Well, it's a long way from perfection,

but I think that by breaking up the line between the patterned and the plain, the duplicate stitch is a bit of an improvement.

Sore Thumb

I finished off the fine gauge mittens this week.

As is obvious from the photo, I wimped out and did the thumb top decrease section in just one color. I think the blue would have been a better choice than the pink. I'm not going to rip back, but if I get ambitious I may  try a few stitches in duplicate stitch to break up the vast expanse of pink.

There is no change in stitch count in the cuffs. the slight flair is caused by 1) the fact that my cast-ons always tend to be a little loose 2) there is a purl row near the edge and my purling tends to be looser than my knitting  3) stranded color work tend to pull in.

I meant to do that....... Yeah, that's the ticket.

Actually, I don't mind the flair.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This is a test. Repeat, this is only a test.

About learning, there is one thing to say: it isn't easy. It is always difficult for fingers to learn to do something new. On the other hand, when they do,they learn it. They never forget it, unlike the mind which learns easily and forgets quickly.... What is needed is patience, perseverance, and kindness. Talk to your fingers as you would to a dog you were trying to train..... They'll catch on and you'll be delighted.   Anna Zilboorg, Magnificent Mittens 

I've been talking to my fingers on this swatch:

Please note that I did manage to complete a twisted purl (aka Latvian) braid at the bottom edge, with the colors of the second row twisting in the opposite direction to the first.  It was slow going, and the tension is a bit loose. I am definitely still at the talking to, or muttering at, my fingers stage.  I should probably do a swatch that is just braid after braid after braid.

The bit of corrugated ribbing above that is just playing with color. My fingers can manage corrugated ribbing without coaching.

The color pattern section was for trying out how best to work with 3 colors in one row (4 out of the 10 rounds have 3 colors). First I tried holding 2 in my left hand and 1 in my right. Then I tried carrying 1 with my left and alternating 2 with my right, picking up and dropping the least used color as needed. Both felt awkward as all get out, but I think I am favoring the latter. Again, more practice and talking to fingers needed.

The color pattern comes from this photo

It's from a pdf file I found while Googling for images of Latvian mittens.  The file contains lots and lots of photos, and appears to be a booklet or book related to the thousands of mittens that were knit for the 2006 NATO summit held in Latvia.  I wish I could read the text.

There are no charts for the mittens shown, but the photo is clear enough that I could create one, so here it is.

The basic repeat unit-outlined in black, is 8 sts and 10 row or rnds. Obviously, the mittens in the inspiration photo are worked at a much finer gauge than my swatch.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wool Weather

Yikes, the prediction is for a low of 38 degrees Tuesday night.  While the days have been sunny, they are definitely cooler, with downright chilly evenings. In July it felt as though the heat would never end, and now I'm bracing myself - not at all ready for winter yet.  All the same, it's nice to be wearing my wool socks again (perhaps not so nice to be noticing new holes that need mending).

I'm still plugging away at these, and they should be ready before the snow flies.

The main pattern is almost the same as the one I talked about a post or two back, but not exactly.  Here's the chart.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Slightly Twisted

I've finished up this pair.

At the lower edge I tried out the kind of purl braid where you alternate colors twisting the yarns every stitch as you go. I did two rounds on each edge, with the twist going in the same direction on each. It might have been prettier if I had changed direction on the second round, but the maneuver was new and awkward enough to my fingers and brain that I didn't. It isn't really all that difficult, just a little fiddly, and you have to untwist the working yarns at the end (though if I had changed direction they would have untwisted during the course of the second round).

As you can see, on the thumbs I didn't try to exactly match the underlying palm pattern.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Mitten Musings

The color pattern in this pair can be found on mittens from Estonia; and from Gotland, Sweden; from New England - and I'm sure from many other places as well. It's easy to see why it has traveled so far. It's handsome, the small repeat makes it simple to adapt to many sizes and gauges, and it is very easy to work.

Here's the chart.

The cuffs are done in a diagonal ribbing that I got from Aina Praakli's Estonian Mitten's All Around The World.  It is almost identical to the "fishtail" pattern Nancy Bush has in her book on Estonian folk knitting. The only difference is that Praakl uses a P2tog where Bush uses K2tog.

So, on a repeat of six stitches you can either *K2, yo, k2, k2tog, rep from* or *K2, yo, k2, p2tog, rep from*. If you change colors every 4 rounds or so you get a mock entrelac effect. (some self striping yarns will also work well for this).

BTW: At the Sheep & Wool Festival last Saturday I saw a cap done entirely in this stitch and it was very cute indeed. I only wish I had paid more attention to how the top decreases were worked out.

Knittin' Mittens

I've been on kind of a mitten kick lately.

It started as a project to use up some of the (many) odds and ends of non-sock yarn in my stash (the sock yarn stash is another story). And they are a fun, small, way to try out lots of different color patterns.

I have two pairs currently on the needles.

The one on the left was inspired by Lizbeth Upitis Latvian Mittens, though mine are rather stripped down in comparison with the glories in that book - only two very simple color patterns (taken from Joyce Williams' Latvian Dreams), no braid or fancy edging.

The one on the right was more inspired by Charlene Schurch's Mostly Mittens and incorporates a couple of the smaller Komi pattern charts there. I'm using a peasant/afterthough/forethought thumb, though, instead of the gusseted thumb she favors. It was just easier to knit straight up, choosing narrow bands of pattern as I went, than to sit down and chart out an increase section in advance.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

So Yeah,

I've been absent from the blog for kind of a long time.  I've been OK, just had a long bout of "knitters block" and attention that's been taken up by state politics and their personal fallout. But I've been getting jazzed about knitting ideas again lately, and that feels good.

I mentioned cutting off the bottom of the Overcoming Adversity Hat.  Here's what was left.

I really didn't want to let all that knitting to go to waste, so here's what I did with it.

Now I have two rather fraternally related hats, but that's OK, because I will give away at least one of them.

In the time I've been away, the interface for Blogger has changed considerably.  I must say, the new version seems easier to work with.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I'm calling this my "Overcoming Adversity Hat"

The top decrease section has been ripped back and re-knit, because it was too pointy the first time.

The bottom edge has been cut off, stitches picked up and re-knit, because it was too long, and to change to edge treatment.

The only part unaltered is the color work section. It was all rather a pain in the butt, but believe me, it was worth it.  The original was unwearable.