Saturday, January 29, 2005

Knitter's Geek Code

Okay, I'll blushingly admit that I just spent a ridiculous amount of time figuring out my "Knitter's Geek Code" as outlined at

Now I will torture you with the results:


KER+++ Exp++ SPM++ Addi++ Syn--(++) Nov_(+) Wool++ Lux+++ Stash_ Scale+++ Fin++ Ent--- FI++ !Int Tex++ Lace+ Felt_ Flat++ Circ++ DPN- ML++ swatch++ KIP++ Blog++ SNB>+ EZ+ !FO? WIP4 GaugeF++(B++) Alt Cr+ Q- X_ Em- Sw--Wv+ Sp>+


Friday, January 28, 2005

My Corner of the World

Taking inspiration from another blogger, I have decided to show you My Little Corner of the World.

This is the main place I sit and knit. Let me give you a tour.

Of course, the most important item, the chair. This is a Dutailier Glider-Rocker with matching footstool. I am not too crazy about the print, but it is THE most comfy chair. The arm rests are at exactly the right height to support my elbows while I knit, preventing back strain.

To my right (your left) is Her Royal Highness, Miss Shelby Underfoot. She is my knitting buddy. When not hogging MY chair, she can always be found in HER chair, right beside me. Yes, my son's dog has her own chair in our living room. She deems dog baskets to be beneath her. After much struggling to keep her off my lap when I am knitting, I finally found that the solution was to provide a chair for her, so she can be beside me, at the same height, without actually sitting ON me.

On my table to my left is a heated coaster. With only the occasional sip of coffee/tea between rows, it takes me a while to finish my beverage, which in the past, was usually ice cold. Now with this great new coaster, my coffee or tea stays drinkably hot right to the last matter how long it takes.

Note also on that table, I keep my hand lotion at the ready. Is anyone else bothered by the feeling of yarn sliding between dry fingers? This is no ordinary hand lotion. This is "Merino, lanolin hand creme". It is lovely stuff that softens and moisturizes the hands without leaving a greasy residue to soil one's project.

Note in the background the 'puter. This is my connection to all you out there in Cyber-Land.

And my stash? No, no, not out has a room down the hall that is all its own. After a recent redecorating, the room has been renamed "The Studio". The Studio is where I have all my extra yarn, and growing collection of knitting books, sorted and stashed. It is also where my swift and ball winder reside. Only the current project (sometimes reprioritized twice daily) gets to come out of The Studio to sit in My Little Corner of the World.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Afternoon Delight

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Elann order that arrived yesterday afternoon.

Twelve glorious balls of sock yarn. I was at the door before the delivery woman even rang the bell. I think I scared her! I guess she isn't used to such enthusiasm.

For non-knitters and less-than-obsessed-knitters who just don't understand......never mind. I couldn't begin to explain the thrill of an Elann order to you. To those of you who DO understand, you know what I did next don't you? I cast on for a pair of socks of course!

Now comes the sadder portion of this post. Pooling. Yes, that nasty problem that sometimes arises with variegated yarns. I THOUGHT that careful matching of the start of each ball would allow me to have perfectly matching socks. It always has in the past. I made sure that I started at the EXACT same spot on each ball and I knit two at a time so there would be no variance. I'm an admitted perfectionist. I love things that come in pairs to be IDENTICAL. This is what I got:

I only got THAT far on the "pair" because I was semi-distracted by the posts on the Knitter's Review forum that I was reading at the same time I was knitting. I only looked down occasionally, when I was turning the row, and obviously I wasn't really LOOKING at the color patterns.

When I finally saw what was going on, my heart sank. I gazed at it trying to convince myself that it would not drive me crazy to wear "coordinated" socks rather than identical ones. I also sat there wondering why, with all my preparation, did this mismatching occur? Finally I figured that maybe one ball was wound in reverse of the other. I've heard this does happen. A quick test of the matching/mismatching of the color patterns in the two balls made me think I might get better results if I re-balled the yarn from the sock that was doing the pooling. To tell you the truth, even though the dye-lots are the same, the patterning of the color blotches were not identical no matter which way I held the yarn.

So anyway, this morning I dutifully frogged the pooling sock and reballed it from the other end. Then I spent a fair bit of time reknitting the nineteen rows I had frogged. All that work and guess what?

They STILL are not the same! Better perhaps, but NOT identical. I think what bugs me most is that the blending of the colors makes the pink stand out as HOT pink in the right one, but blurs it to a reddish-orange in the other. If I thought I had a chance of improving it, I would be willing to frog yet again, but knowing that the chances are slim, I am leaving it. So, now I will not only be that eccentric lady with the wildly colorful socks, I'll be that eccentric lady with the NON-matching, wildly colorful socks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Peasant Heel - Part Three

So here they are, the finished Peasant Heel socks. Because of the contrast heel and toe (not necessary to the technique) they had a few more ends than usual to weave in. Not a problem, it took only minutes.

A bit of a milestone for me in the making of these. I managed to accomplish a tubular bind off WITHOUT reading step by step along with the book or having someone read it out to me. This miracle was accomplished by finally FULLY understanding the technique (and how simple it really is). Thanks go out to "The Sweater Workshop" by Jacqueline Fee and her excellent description of grafting on pages 71 & 72, as well as Reader's Digest "Knitter's Handbook", page 88 for a bit of further understanding as to how the grafting technique applies to tubular bind off and can all be accomplished on ONE needle.

Further help (and possibly the most "ah ha" moment) was gleaned from "Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets", a quote from Montse Stanley on page 19: "It's best not to get into the habit of going twice into the first two stitches." This one little tip simplified the whole mysterious business of grafting and tubular bind off for me. Why, oh why, does nearly every knitting resource book go into great lengths to describe the complicated business of going twice into the first two stitches. Montse Stanley says it isn't necessary, and NOT doing it makes the whole process much easier to learn.

With this new skill in hand, my toe-up socks have just become better.

WHEEEEEeeee.....we interrupt this blog-post for news of a delightful delivery. Canada Post has just delivered 12 balls of "Sock It To Me" sock yarn from Elann.
Must . Go . Knit

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Grrr. Why ME?

Dang nab it. How come the BEST posts one creates are always the ones that Blogger EATS, never to be seen again?! I just spent an eternity typing a post for you. It had a photo, it had links. Not just one or two links, I really out did myself! It was witty and entertaining. And it is GONE. I am not going to mess with Blogger any further today. For one thing, my time (and patience!) for it is now GONE! I don't want to risk redoing it just to have it eaten again.

Maybe tomorrow.

EDIT: Oh yeah.....SURE....THIS one comes through!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Peasant Heels - Part Two

Presenting the completed Peasant Heels.

Odd looking things aren't they? I have the heel on the left standing straight up to show you how flat they are. They fit great though, and fold nicely. I'm still going around and around and around on the upper part of the sock. Hopefully I'll have a finished and on the foot photo for you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Peasant Heel - Part One

In preparation for a peasant heel, waste yarn is knitted over half the stitches, then the main yarn is used to re-knit those stitches. Later, usually when the sock is otherwise completely done, you come back to remove the waste yarn, pick up the "live" stitches, and re-knit those stitches into a toe-ish shaped heel.

So here we are with the waste yarn knitted in and an inch or so knitted past that point.

I decided I didn't want to wait, but started removing the waste yarn and picking up the live stitches right then.

In retrospect, and in all future endeavors, I would not do that. For one thing, having the main circular needle and the secondary one (used for picking up the live stitches and knitting the heels) that close together was a real pain. It was awkward and unnecessary. Secondly, I ended up having 4 ends of yarn all interfering with each other. There were the two from the main knitting, and also, the two from the heels. I simplified some of the problem by tucking the main balls into the socks....they weren't being used right that minute anyway.

At around midnight last night I completed the heels (can't sleep if I have a "creative problem" hanging over me). They turned our rather well. I did them just like a regular cuff-down toe, with paired decreases every other row. They are rather pointed when off the foot, but ON, they fit perfectly and don't look weird at all. This may become my favorite type of heel.

I see the potential for a modification in my next pair of socks though. I think I might try decreasing only every third row, to increase the depth of the heel. Then, once sufficient heel depth is reached I will decrease EVERY row for a more rounded heel. There is just something about pointy heels that looks so ..... wrong!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ripped and Redone

Thursday I knit quite a bit on a pair of socks. At evening's end, I noticed that they were quite a bit too wide.....but kept on knitting for awhile on Friday anyway, thinking I could do a few decreases at that point and they would be okay. I ended up with duck-feet socks and after some pondering, decided I would be happier if I frogged them.

So with the help of my handy-dandy ball winder I ripped out the socks. It wasn't so bad. I mean what is a couple of measly half-socks in the face of the Great Daugava Frogging incident hey? After THAT, I may be immune to the horrors of frogging forever.

Yesterday I went and bought one more ball of sock yarn. It is a solid, dark denim color that coordinates with the original self-patterning yarn beautifully. With that in hand, I started out once again to conquer these socks. This time I am doing the toes, heels and ribbing in the dark blue and the remainder in the self striping. Am I ever glad I frogged that original screwy pair! I knitted for quite some time yesterday and I am now at about the same point I was pre-frogging. This new attempt is turning out much better.

My plans for these socks include a "peasant" or "afterthought" heel. I am making two socks on ONE circular needle and I think this different style of heel will end the confusion of trying to turn two heels on one circular. I also hate doing short-row heels so I am hoping I will like this style better.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Going Dotty

Here is a photo of the other project I have been working on lately.

It is a thick, warm afghan......small enough to maybe be called a "lap robe". When I am sitting around knitting or watching TV.....especially in the cold basement, my feet are always freezing. Hopefully this little afghan will help warm my tootsies up. I might even fold the end under part way and seam the sides to make a pocket to stick my feet into, with the rest of the length being used to cover my lap. That way there will be no need to try to tuck it under and around my feet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Thing

Okay, here it is, the project that has been taking up much of my knitting time lately.

The front.

The back.

What IS it you say? Why it's a "Thing" of course. THE Thing in fact.

I am participating in the "Thing-a-long" at the Yahoo Group of the same name.

This "Thing" is the sweater sampler from Jacqueline Fee's book "The Sweater Workshop". In one strangely shaped, useless thing (other than as a learning tool and reference) you learn/review a multitude of techniques used in the designing and knitting of a sweater. It is really quite an interesting object to undertake. Many of the techniques were already familiar to me, I've been knitting for years, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who is new to knitting, or new to designing their own patterns. There is a lot of information and practice crammed into that one "Thing".

The above photo shows a little closer detail of the knitted belt (a new thing for me), the Sweatshirt Pocket, and the Cardigan Border, complete with Buttonhole.

The next photo shows the Fairisle Knitting, Swiss Darning, Lacing, I-cord and Hem Facing.

That is only a small selection of the things that are covered in "The Thing". Try it, you might enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Twin Quilts

I AM knitting! Really, I am. I just don't have any photos to show you. Truth is, I am waiting until I am finished one of the projects before I take any pictures. In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, another Blast From The Past.

These are matching quilts made for matching boys.....twins in fact. They were made as baby presents for my step-brother's new babies several years ago.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Not Quite As Old

Here is another quilt from my past. This one was an original I designed on graph paper. I believe it was made some where around 1993.

I don't quilt anymore, because like Michelle, I really, really, really hate sewing now. It's funny, because I used to love sewing and quilting. Between then and now, I spent a couple of years in a college Fashion Design Program. Even though I did very well, all the stress of deadlines, high expectations, and oral presentations in front of faculty and fellow classmates, sewing and STRESS has become forever linked in my mind.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

From Eons Ago

We purchased a scanner for Christmas, and I am in the process of looking through old photo albums and scanning pictures of old projects. I've decided to share some of them with you, on the days when I have little else to show.

In my distant history, I was an avid sewer and did some quilting too. Some of the photos you will see in the coming days/weeks will be from that time period. This first one is a simple quilt, strip pieced, partially machine quilted, and tied with ribbons in the center of the hearts.

I believe it dates to around 1984/5. It was given as a baby shower gift to the daughter of a friend.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Birthday Gifts

I have been a little sparce with the blog entries lately because I have been overwhelmed by an information overload! I received two fiction (but fiber related) books for Christmas, 3 knitting reference books for my birthday, and one extra knitting book that I had purchased myself. So much to read (and knit!) and so little time in each day.

I received a gift certificate from my daughter and with it I purchased these two books:

"1000 Great Knitting Motifs" is a great resource for colored pattern knitting and I will get a lot of use from it in the future. I also had enough left over to get "Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques", which is a nice compact size book full of tips for finishing all types of knitting.

I also received a gift certificate from my son, and with it I purchased "The Sweater Workshop" by Jackie Fee. I am having great fun working my way through the "Thing" (a sweater designing sampler) and participating in the "Thing-a-long".

To qualify for the free shipping, I ordered another small book along with it. I am finding interesting patterns, as well as an amusing read in "The Knitter's Almanac" by E. Zimmermann.

Thanks kids, for the wonderful birthday presents! They sure are keeping me busy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Snug As A Bug

Shelby's coat is done and she loves it.

It has the cable panel from the B&B Pullover from the Winter 2003 issue of "Interweave Knits" on the back, with the ribbing from that same sweater pattern on the rest of the body.

It fits her perfectly, thanks to the formulas and basic directions provided by Esther.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Progress Report

The Doggie B&B Pullover is coming along nicely. I am now at the point where Shelby's ribcage stops and I am to cast off the underbelly stitches and begin tapering the sides and back.

It is windy and cold out.....a great day for staying indoors and knitting and doing a bit of baking.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Doggie B&B

Way back in June I was working on the "Bed and Breakfast Pullover" from the Interweave Knits magazine. Perhaps it was the hot weather at the time, maybe common sense just kicked in, but I abandoned the project. It was going to be a very thick, hot pullover and I know I would just roast in it. It would be too hot for indoor wear, and not warm enough for outer-wear on most winter days. Add to the that the fact that when I DO choose to wear a warm sweater it is ALWAYS a cardigan that I can take off and on easily.

Anyway, that project has been reborn. Well, not completely. It is not like I am using the back piece that I had completely finished by the time I decided not to continue, but I HAVE decided to use the yarn and the graph for the intricate cable panel, to make THIS:

"What is it?" you say? It is the most fancy-schmancy doggie sweater you ever did see! Thanks to "The Original Custom-Fit Dog Sweater Pattern" I was able to plot a plain dog sweater pattern, to which I have added the cable panel (bit of complicated math there because the gauge for the under-belly ribbing pattern is NOT the same as the gauge over the cabled panel).

In a few more days, Shelby, my walking buddy, will have a lovely warm sweater for those cold morning walks. And the funny thing is, she seems to LIKE it. We have had several "fittings" as the work progresses, and she always seems proud and happy when it is ON, and disappointed and sad when I have to take it off. This dog actually seems to like clothes! She happily wore a brightly colored Christmas Ruff all through December.

Friday, January 07, 2005

First FO

Pink Purls has become my first Finished Object of 2005.

I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. It may become my favorite baby sweater pattern. It would be great if I could find, or design, a pattern for a hat/bonnet to match.

On the weather front: Brrrrr! 'Tis not fit for man or beast out there. The wind has been whistling all night to a tune beat out by the frantic tinkling of wind chimes.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Pink Purls

I have dubbed this little puzzle Pink Purls.

It is a bit of a play on words. Firstly, and quite obviously, it is pink and has a bit of an iridescence sparkle. Perhaps less obviously, it involves a LOT of purl stitches. All the wrong side rows, and most of the right side rows, involve purling, which many knitters avoid. As a European "lever" style knitter, I don't mind purling. It seems as fast and easy as the knit stitch to me.

Anyway, all this thought about purling made me come up with the name Pink Purl for the project. And what a project. In all my years of knitting I have never come across a sweater constructed quite like this one. You start at the back neck and knit to the armpits. Then you knit the sleeves separately and join them to the back, but NOT at right angles. These are joined hanging in the same direction as the back. Then, you start a series of shaped rows that takes you all the way from one front, around the back and up the other front, eventually even knitting the front button band as part of the one piece. I was almost completely finished knitting the whole piece before I understood quite how it was going to go together.

The pattern is from "Kids Kids Kids: 40 Winning Patterns from the "Knitter's Magazine" Contest, by Ann Regis.

I'll get the finishing done (sewing seams, knitting the neck band, sewing on buttons and lacing the ribbon) today, and have a finished picture for you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I bravely cast on for the Daugava body (AGAIN!) and knit one row last night. Today I am going to take a little side journey to play with something else. Thicker wool, smaller project, texture not fairisle.....and using up a bit of my stash. After yesterday's "upset" I think I deserve a break.

Depending on how it goes, I'll tell you a little more about it tomorrow. Maybe even show a picture if you are good. In the mean time, I would like to refer you to my daughter's blog. She has updated recently and this one is really worth the visit. A little knitting and a LOT of funny. GO! She'll appreciate you dropping by.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Say Goodbye

Please join me as I say a sad, sad farewell to the Daugava body as it has been knit so far.

I think my lack of tears (external ones that show anyway) and swearing (just quiet murmuring), and my commitment to continue living, shows great strength on my part.

One should always listen to that small inner voice that keeps nagging that something is not right. My little voice was whispering "better check, this seems too big". I ignored it and kept on knitting. Finally I decided to put the knitting on two circulars so that I could try it on. I didn't even get that far before I found "IT".

"IT" is the math error. I wanted to have the needles at the sideseams for trying on, so I was counting the stitches as I divided them on the circular needles. Now the little voice pretty much screamed "WHY do you have so many front stitches?!".

"Why?", I said, "Well, that would be because of the disgusting little math error that is now causing disgusting BIG problems!". You see, allowing for both a hem facing AND a front facing, required a bit of complicated figuring so that they wouldn't overlap. I calculated that the difference would be 10 stitches and intended to leave 10 stitches from each side OFF of the lower facing, then add them on when I joined it in the round. What I actually DID was start with the right amount of stitches and THEN add the additional 25 (10 for each side plus 5 for a steek). Yeah. Dumb. Even dumber was not realizing the mistake sooner.

Just on the off chance that things really weren't as bad as they seemed, I continued transferring half the stitches to a second circular needle. I didn't even have to try it on to know that it would make a nice barn cosie. Turns out it is seven inches too big! Rechecking my gauge, I found that I am getting less stitches to the inch than I originally thought.

I "get to" redo all my calculations.

On a good note (yes, there is ONE), when I re-knit this thing, I will have far fewer stitches per round. By my current, quick calculations, that should be somewhere around 58 less per round. *sheesh*

My husband just offered another "good thing" to this whole miserable mess. He said I can be thankful that I don't actually fit it as it is.

So today I take a break. I shall cast on for a swatch in the lovely "Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere" I received in my "knittable samples" subscription from Elann.