Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to Work

The long weekend is done, and it's back to work for everyone. Even I have to get back to my regular routine of ignoring housework and knitting furiously for charity. What a life!

I have 3 baby hats ready for the box at the LYS. The hat on top is done in Waffle Stitch, the pastel variegated hat is in Uneven Stitch and the bottom hat is in Seeded Rib Stitch. All these stitch patterns are found in the perpetual calendar, and I've converted them to knit in the round. I posted the patterns for 5 Newborn Baby hats on my website. These are the ones I've been knitting for donating to the local hospital, compiled in one spot for convenience.

There's not much difference between Seeded Rib and Uneven Stitch. Both stitch patterns are a column of knit stitches and a column of purl stitches separated by columns of seed stitch. Like this: K, seed, P, seed, K, seed, P, seed. The only difference is in the knitting of the seed stitches. In the Seeded rib, the seed stitches are the same. One round all the seeded sts are purl, the next round all the seeded sts are knit. This gives you the k3 p1, and p3 k1 of the pattern. In the Uneven Stitch, the seeded stitches alternate. One seeded stitch is k, the other is purl. This gives you k2p2 for each round, just jogged over one stitch. Both ribs are nice and stretchy, it just depends if you don't like the p3 of the Seeded Rib you can try the p2 of Uneven Rib.

My fourth pair of socks for the Box O'Socks Challenge is coming nicely. I am knitting these socks on 60 sts, with a 3x2 rib on the instep. I have just started my gusset stitches. Look out heels, here we come!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tatted Bookmark Redux

I got a note from my friend who makes the beautiful stamped cards. Remember the five tatted bookmarks I sent in April? She sent me a scan of her first bookmark card. The card and bookmark combo is for those who are "bookmark worthy." This is beautiful! I love the colors, and am so impressed. She makes my tatting look really good! I can't wait to see the next one!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Third Pair for the Box O'Sox

I’m binding off the third pair of socks for my Box O'Sox. Knitting on 2 circs went a little quicker after the heels. I finally decided to mark my needles so I could tell at a glance which needle to pick. I am amazed at how much that helped me. The yarn and needles still twist together and I have to fiddle with that, but with my needles marked there is no more double and triple checking to make sure I am knitting onto the correct needle. It speeds things up and reduces frustration somewhat.
I resisted marking my needles for a long time. I guess I didn’t want to ‘spoil’ them. Then I realized these needles were Mine, all Mine. I'm not giving them away, no one would want them. They have a sweet little curve that fits so nicely to the shape of my hand. I grabbed the indelible marker, and put those two little lines on one of the dpns. Makes a world of difference. I highly recommend it.

Since I’ve been knitting toe-up socks, I have tried several different methods of sewing off the cuff. I'm adding a link to a Toes & Heels (and more...), a great collection of links to bind-offs, cast-ons, and various sock miscellany. I may try the Russian Bind off for the next pair, but with this pair I finished with an inch of k1p1 ribbing and grafted as if I were finishing a toe. I take care to get a good tension, i.e. not floppy, not tight, but I'm not always successful.

Last night I was taking off my socks, one of the pairs that are too tight at the top. I wasn’t careful, and I heard a tiny rip as I pulled them over my heel. Darn. I mean it. Darn. I threw them in the hamper, but I’ll check them in good light today and see if I can find the actual break that needs mending. Darn it. Darn those socks!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Update on the Box O'Sox

I finished the gussets yesterday, and turned one heel and knit up the heel flap. It's been awhile since I turned a heel for a toe-up sock (all those baby socks were top-down) and I didn't take good notes. I took detailed notes while I knitted the first sock, and I just finished turning the heel of the second sock, so I know the notes work. The sock on the right is ready to start knitting up the heel flap, the left sock is ready for the cuff.

Only 1 1/2 baby hats this week. I don't think I'll make it to the knitting social, so I can take these plus a few more for next week. I'm knitting my hat with the waffle stitch, and I like how it looks. The waffle stitch is very easy, based on k2p2 ribbing. Rnds 1&2: k2 p2. Rnds 3&4: knit. Pictures in a few days!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Progress on the Box O'Sox

I'm almost ready to start the gussets on my latest pair of kid-sized socks.
In theory, 2 sox on 2 circs is wonderful. In practice, it removes the soothing part of sock knitting and replaces it with twisting, turning needles and yarn.
I'm not giving up. I'm determined to make this work. The first time I used 2 sox/2circs I knitted past the heels, and finished the cuffs together. This was actually a good introduction to the method. The next pair I started the toes on dpns, transferred both toes to the needles and worked my way from there. This was okay, although I stressed for days over turning the heels. When I finally did them, I was amazed at how easy they were.
For this pair, I started each toe on one circ, split them up and bravely knitted on. I must be getting better at it. I've only grabbed the wrong needle once. Well, twice if you count how I got my 2nd toe on the needle backwards. Don't ask, I don't know how that happened.
I prefer my dpns for soothing sock knitting, but I can't abide the thought that the second sock might differ from the first sock. Even one round difference drives me crazy. I mark each round on a little post-it note, lines and lines of little tally marks marching across the pages.
My Pi Doily is waiting for Clue 5, the edging. I'm skipping Clue 4 and calling it done.
I've also started my Lucy Bag. I did the increases, and am in the relaxing knitting of 100 rounds. I'm keeping it on the 10" dpns. They hold 30 sts each with no problems.
Last night I finished a baby hat for the hospital, the first one this week. Whew, lots of knitting in my basket this week.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Opal Yarn from The Longest Line Contest!

My prize from the Longest Line Contest arrived today! Five skeins of Opal sock yarn in beautiful colors! Thank you, Soxie. She included a little red tote, just the right size to carry my socks in progress, a lady bug pencil, and a pair of scissors with a big red lady bug case. I am delighted!

Today has been filled with yarn. My daughter came for a visit and took me shopping at the LYS for a Mother's Day present. We found some Cascade 220 that we loved, and bought the Lucy Bag Pattern by Two Old Bags. We fell in love with the way the straps hold the bag closed, and we'll be doing our own little Knit-Along.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Time to refocus. It all came to me in the shower this morning. I realized I have too many projects going at once, and I need to organize and prioritize my knitting life. (Why is it my great ideas come while I'm in the shower? If I bathed more often, would I be a lot smarter and more organized, or just water-logged and wrinkled?)

My KYOAM Pi Doily has only 6 more rounds to go and I will be done with Clue 3. I have several problems with advancing to Clue 4. First, I will need to get a longer #1 circular needle. Next, I'm not sure any of the KYAOM Clue 4 selections are what I want to knit. They are pretty for a shawl, but not really doily-like IMO. The doily is done, and I will focus on my priorities and commitments, and that means More Socks for Charity.

The Pi Doily is waiting for the appropriate Clue 5 edging. I'll finish Clue 3, double my stitches with a longer #2 circular, and do a few rounds of stockinette in preparation for the edging.

I am committed to baby hats for the local hospital, they are simple and quick to knit. I am winding some Opal yarn gifted to me for charity purposes, and will begin filling my Box O'Sox for Pine Ridge Reservation.

I will knit for myself, too. I have some lace weight yarn, and I'm going to continue studying knitted lace and make some decisions about shape and design of a shawl.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Put your hat on, that wind is chilly!

It's time for this week's line up of baby hats! The pink and white is my adaptation of the Odessa hat by Grumperina, and the other two are done in Waving Rib Pattern, (12/30, 365 Knitting Stitches a Year).
Waving Rib is almost identical to Ladder Stitch, except Waving Rib is a multiple of 6 and Ladder Stitch is a multiple of 8. The hat done in Ladder Stitch was pretty, but there was no hint of the horizontal stretch I associate with a rib stitch. Waving Rib has the stretch I was looking for, and I'll be sure to use it again.

I continue to study lace knitting. I've done a quick read of most of 'Heirloom Knitting', now I'll settle in for a second time. I'm still trying to decide what kind of shawl I want to knit. To complicate matters further, I picked up Martha Waterman's 'Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls' from the library. I especially enjoyed her chapter about Shaping Shawls. I was pleased to see she included EZ's Pi shaping, but I wonder why she didn't include Faroese shaping in her discussion of triangle shawls. I'll read that chapter again, and see if I missed it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Heirloom Knitting

The trunk show was wonderful! Kathy Kirchner always brings wonderful threads, tools, and books. Oh, the books! You won't find these titles tucked away in the craft section of any regular book store. Kathy has a wonderful selection of books all relating to lace, knitted, tatted or bobbin.

It's nice to have the actual book in hand before you make a purchase. I passed over Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs because I paged through and saw many charts of cables. I found another book had lots of beautiful pictures, but not a lot of substance. Then I picked up Heirloom Knitting and began paging through. I saw page after page of charted patterns with pictures, and thought this might be the book I'm looking for. Then I found the chapters discussing design, and I knew this was the book for me.

I didn't buy any thread or needles, I want to read this book and then decide what I need to work through the book. My friend, Alwen, found some beautiful thread and 4-0 and 5-0 needles. I'm looking forward to seeing the wonderful lace she knits.

We wouldn't have access to Kathy's trunk show if it weren't for our lace group. The West Michigan Lace Group has grown beyond any expectations I had 9 years ago. We started in 1997, four tatters meeting bi-monthly in the public library. Now we have 25 ladies or more at our monthly meetings, and our interests include not only tatting, but knitting, crochet and bobbin lace. Our Show and Tell last night included a knitted lacey shawl, 2 knitted doilies, a vintage crocheted lace medallion, and a newbie tatter's first doily. Our members are generous with their talent, friendship, and laughter. We welcome everyone, and there is always a member willing to teach and encourage a wannabe tatter.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Baby Hats and Lace Group Meeting

Three hats to the LYS on Saturday. I especially like the one on the left. The pattern isn't new (3x1 rib), but I like the soft variegated yarn. It is Cascade, Cherub Collection Kaleidoscope D.K. There is no colorname on the band, only 1324. I love how pale the colors are, and will be sure to pick up another ball when this one is gone. The hat on the right(seeded rib) has the cuff in the other variegated yarn in that line (1323), but the yellow makes it a little brighter.

Nothing new here, same patterns. I am trying a new stitch on the baby hat currently OTN. I am using Waving Rib Pattern, December 30 from the 365 Knitting Stitch Calendar. This is very similar to the Ladder Stitch I used previously, but is a multiple of 6. The Ladder Stitch looked like a rib, but laid flat. The Waving Rib is more rib-like in appearance, I'm very happy with this one. Here's the Waving Rib Pattern, converted to the round:

Waving Rib Pattern, m6 Rnds 1 - 4: *k4, p2* Rnds 5 - 8: k1 *p2, k4* end k3.

This evening the West Michigan Lace Group has a special meeting. Kathy Kirchner is coming to town with her trunk show, and I'm looking forward to browsing books, bobbins, thread, and more lace related items than you can imagine.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Blue on Blue

I'm not blue about my Pi Doily, I simply had to get a good look. I finished round 30 of Clue 3, Selection B, and was curious to see how the Vines are working out. Yesterday I did major repairs when I tried to get a peek on the 16" circ. I lost about 9 stitches and and to rework the pattern with a crochet hook, 2 spare dpns and lots of cursing and swearing. I thought fondly of frogging tatting; this was far worse than opening a closed ring.

Then I remembered I had 2 #0 24" circs previously used for 2 socks on 2 circs. I slipped the stitches onto the needles and pinned it out on my bobbin lace pillow. The pillow is light and portable, so I took pictures with the pillow leaning against my front steps.

I'm not sure Vine is looking the way it should, but I'm going to continue and resist the urge to frog. Since it's a doily and I'm not going to wear it, I am not as concerned that it be perfect to my eyes.

This is the biggest doily I've ever made, either knitted or tatted. The Pi formula is the absolute best, as far as I'm concerned. I've tried other knitted doilies, they are languishing in the UFO drawer. The counting and increasing get too complicated for my experience level. The Pi concept limits increases to specific rounds, and allows me to knit my lace pattern and keep the number of stitches constant. Perfect for me. I love the feel of thread running through my fingers, this doily is fun to knit.

Now I'm on a quest to discover how to combine lace patterns for the best appearance. I've reserved several more lace knitting books from the library. I'm going to learn from Susanna Lewis, Mary Schiffman, Barbara Abbey, and Martha Waterman. I'm also interested in garter stitch based lace patterns for my PiR2 shawl. The shawl is no longer active, but not forgotten. I'm not going to continue that one with the KYOAM clues. I'll find my own lace patterns after I learn more about lace.

KYOAPi Doily Details: Cebelia #20, color #799, size #1 needle, 16" circ. Currently 288 stitches, about 15 1/2" diameter. Clue 1C, 3x3 Leaf; Clue 2A, Snowdrop; Clue 3B, Vine.

One last note: I finished 3 baby hats for the hospital. I'll take them to the knitting social tomorrow. No picture right now, they are in the wash.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Baby Socks and Pi Updates

The results of the Longest Line Contest are in! (drum roll) I won 3rd place with my 38 pairs of socks, that's 5 balls of Opal yarn! I think this contest was a wonderful idea. Knitters across the country created 384 pairs of socks for charity, that's a lot of warm baby toes!

The prize will replenish my stash of sock yarn set aside for charity socks. I need to work on kid-sized socks again, and fill a box for Pine Ridge Reservation. I wonder how many pairs I can finish by September. I could send a box o'socks just in time for the new school year.

I'm knitting on the 48 round section of my Pi Doily. It's on a 16" circular needle, and hard to photograph. I chose Selection B, Vine. I've finished only 13 rounds so far, and am having trouble seeing the vine. I am determined to avoid ripping this time, it is what it is.

I did start again on my PiR2. I wound up another ball of yarn, and used #7 needles. After a side by side comparison, I like the resulting fabric much better. I have knitted the 12 row section using Clue 1, Selection A, which is plain knit. Now I am thinking about the 24 row section before I begin again.

I made a small change* in EZ's PiR2 pattern. I started with 22 stitches, rather than 20. This gives the stitches in the semi-circular part of the shawl multiples of 2 and 3, which will make it easier to find lace patterns that fit. I am waiting for Barbara Walker's book on lace knitting from the library. I hope to find a section that discusses lace based on garter stitch. Many of the patterns I've tried don't look great in garter stitch, so I'm going to consult the knitting expert, BW.

* at least I hope it is a small change. By the end of the shawl, this tiny change results in an additional 32 stitches in each outer round. We'll see if I end early with a short shawl. Those who know me IRL will agree this might not be a problem. For once in my life, I may be glad that I'm short!

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