Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I just finished my fifth pair of children's socks for Pine Ridge Reservation.

This pair is knitted with Opal yarn, 60 stitches, #0 circular needles. I knit them toe up with the 2 socks on 2 circular method. I used a different ribbing on the instep and cuff, it is *k3, p1, k1, p1*. Just a bit different from the k3p1 ribbing I've been using, but it doesn't show well with the dark Opal yarn.

The finished socks have a 7"(17 cm) foot, and are about 3.5" (9.5 cm) from the top of the heel to the cuff.

I have just joined Knitalong Sampler M, a Yahoo group that will reproduce a Dutch knitting sampler. There are 29 lace patterns that will be posted in Dutch and English beginning July 1st.

Monday, June 26, 2006

More Spiders - another Bobbin Lace Bookmark

I'm busy today, but I am writing a short post, just to show the next bookmark I've started. I'm using Bockens linen 40/2, and using a pricking I made myself. I started with a pricking that wasn't the right size for my thread, and transferred it to the right sized grid. Then I added a point instead of a blunt end, and finally made the whole thing a bit wider. I originally was going to alternate cloth stitch and half stitch diamonds down the center, instead I am again making spiders. I need the practise, at any rate. The linen is so much nicer than the perle cotton. Next I'm going to try some 6 cord cotton I have in my stash, and compare the 3 different threads while everything is fresh in my mind.

Dropped off three hats and 2 pairs baby socks for the hospital Saturday at the Knitting Social.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Too Many Spiders!

The bookmark is done, and I'm ready to start another. The camera doesn't lie, that is for sure. Once I scanned the bookmark, I could clearly see that huge gap on the left side, and all my mutated spiders. I think I will have to try this one again, but not right away. It's been awhile since I did any bobbin lace, and I have to refresh my basic skills.

I used #12 perle cotton, and it feels almost too fragile to me. I have some Bockens linen 40/2 left from my lessons, and I'm going to use that for my next bookmark. I told my DH this morning, life is too short to hoard the good stuff. I'm going to use my good thread, and buy more when I run out.

I will probably give this to my friend who makes the stamped cards. I think she could find a good home for it, and it will fit nicely inside her cards. The bookmark's finished size is 4.5 x 1.5 in. (11 x 3.5 cm) without the tails. Maybe the tails should be trimmed a bit, but I'll let her decide.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Here's my latest baby hat for the local hospital, knitted in Eyelet Mock Cable Ribbing, Cascade Cherub DK for the hat and matching 4 ply for the socks. Yes, *more* baby socks! Evidently the hospital can use baby socks, but "No one knits those!" Well, at least two of us do, and we are busy turning out socks to match up with hats.

The Eyelet Mock Cable Ribbing is a multiple of 5, based on a k3p2 rib, and I cast on 70 sts. I didn't think I'd like the way k3p2 would look on a cuff when it was turned up, so I knitted in k1p1 rib for 3". I had an even # of sts on my dpns for the rib, but moved my stitches so I had multiples of 5 for the body of the hat.

I found Eyelet Mock Cable Ribbing in the Perpetual Calendar, June 11. It wasn't hard to change to the round once I knitted a flat sample. It is a k3p2 rib, with the eyelet being created in the middle of the k3 column. Here's how it works out in the round:

Rnd 1: *sl1, k2, pass slipped stitch over 2 knit sts, p2*
Rnd 2: *k1, yo, k1, p2*
Rnds 3 & 4: *k3, p2*

As you can see, your stitch count will be off after round 1, because you decrease a stitch when you psso, and do not add the stitch back until the next round. It's not an issue unless you count your stitches and freak out when you discover you have apparently lost 1/5 of your cast-on.

I began my decreases after the plain rounds of ribbing, and now that I look at it, I think I would make my first decrease round be the 1st round of the pattern. I'd let the psso create my first decreases in the hat.

Due to the multiple of 5 in the pattern, I had to start the socks with 4 dpns instead of 5. I cast on 35 sts (10-10-15), and knit 3 rounds of k3p2 ribbing before starting the Mock Cable pattern. After 23 rounds, I increased 1 stitch, divided for my heel flap and switched to 5 dpns. The rest of the sock is the same sock I used for all my Opal baby socks. I was surprised at how different the Cherub 4ply is from Opal 4 ply. I think I knit a bit tighter with the Cherub, and need to loosen up a bit for the decreases in the toes and gussets.

Bobbin Lace Update: I have 3 spiders left, and hope to finish the bookmark today. I took lessons in '03 IIRC, and don't remember having this much trouble with spiders. I am a bit rusty, but I think this bookmark looks nicer than the first. Pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Normally I smash spiders, but I'll leave these alone

I've started another bookmark, this time in #12 perle cotton. So far the bobbins stay wound better, there's not as much unwinding, plus the threads are not untwisting. I've finished 4 four pair simple spiders, and 1 six pair simple spider. I finished up the little triangle and am ready to start the next 6 pair spider. I don't work on this for long stretches of time. I'll work until I reach a logical stopping point, then do something else for a bit. I come back and check my work carefully before I advance. I remember being frustrated because I would make a mistake and not find it until much later. I've found 2 or 3 mistakes in the little bit I've done, but I've been able to correct them without taking out inches and inches of lace. Old dogs can learn new tricks!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I finished my zigzag bookmark this afternoon. I will need to do something about the tail, perhaps I will unbraid it and cut it shorter. Maybe I'll let Lisa decide what she wants to do with it. I think this one will go to her for her bookmark cards. I'm ready to wind the bobbins for another bookmark, this time with perle cotton #12. I haven't decided on which one yet. As you can see by this bookmark, I'm still very much a beginner, and need to concentrate on very easy Torchon.

Knitting Update: I have finished 1 baby hat this week, and am ready to turn the heels on my current pair of sox for my Box O'Sox challenge.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Now that I have more bobbins, (thank you, Mrs. S.) it is much easier to have two projects on my pillows. I have an edging languishing on my roller pillow, and until now, not enough bobbins to do anything larger than a practice strip.

So I started a zigzag bookmark, using one of the prickings from the summer I took lace lessons. The original pricking has a large version (4 corners) and a small version (2 corners). I want to give this to my friend who makes the stamped cards, and adjusted the pricking at 3 corners. It should be big enough to use as a bookmark, but small enough to fit in the cards.

I am using DMC Cebelia, which works well enough for tatting, but I discovered does not work as well for bobbin lace. I am a bit rusty, and had to retro-lace the project after a few rows. As I got further into the bookmark, the thread on some bobbins began to untwist. I suspect the rolling bobbins started the whole thing. I persevered, and worked through the trouble spots. It’s in the cloth stitch area, and I was making that pretty firm.

My bobbin lace instructor recommended perle cotton for our beginning projects. I don’t care to tat with perle cotton, and so only have one or two balls. Now I wonder if perle cotton would be better than Cebelia for bobbin lace. I have used #80 tatting cotton, but that can be twisty, and slippery on the bobbins. I’ll have to make another bookmark in perle cotton and see if it stands up to the rolling and pulling. I’ve searched on the internet, and found that Herrschner’s carries colors for #12 and #8 perle cotton. Last time I checked locally, I could only find black, white, and ecru perle cotton in #12 and #8.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bobbin Lace!

Bobbins, pillows, thread, pins, scissors, pin lifters, tiny latch hooks, spangles and more. Our lace group received a wonderful gift last night.
I don't know the specifics, but a lacemaker died and her husband wanted her collection of bobbin lace equipment to be used and enjoyed. Alwen shared everthing with our group.

Our group has only 5 or 6 active bobbin lace makers, and when they were done, the box was almost empty. How wonderful that everything will be used. One gal who is trying to learn with the 'horror kit' was delighted to take a small ethafoam pillow and more bobbins. I took 12 pairs of continental bobbins for myself, they match some I already have.

I took whatever was left home with me and intend to make a 'take it home and try it' bobbin lace kit for the members of our lace group. I will supply thread, a book, prickings, bobbins and pins along with the large cookie pillow you see in the pictures. I can't call that pillow 'home-made'. I prefer to describe this beauty as 'hand crafted'. It is 22" with a nice heavy base, and green felt on the top.

The box is spectacular. My husband does a little woodworking, but nothing like this. I brought it into the house, and he looking it over immediately, exclaiming at the workmanship. Finally, you can peek into the drawers, a few spangled bobbins were left behind, along with some nice thread.

All I can say is, Thank you Mr. S. I will be sending a thank-you note soon. I know I will think of Mrs. S. when I use her bobbins.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Pi Only a Mother Could Love

It was 430 in the morning, and I woke, sweating from a bad dream. I got up and went to the front room, nestling in the big chair. Nope, this is not going to work. The aches and pains were gone, the dream was just a dream again, but sleep was definitely not on the agenda.

The room began to lighten with the coming dawn. I heard the birds begin to wake, a few random chirps greeting the new day.

I can knit in this half-light if I find just the right project. But I feel like Goldilocks. Lace Pi Doily? The thread is too small. 2 sox on 2 circs? Too twisty and dark. Baby hat? I can’t find the needles. What’s a knitter to do?

I reached for my secret stash Pi. This one is just right.

Yes, some women keep a secret cache of chocolate, I have secreted away another Pi project. In an earlier fit of start-itis, I started a Pi from sock yarn, using all the leftovers from my baby sock madness adventure. I’m near the end of the 48 round section, and am trying to decide if I want to rip back or buy a larger needle.

I put all my little balls of sock yarn in a bag, and choose the next color at random. I'll admit, I made some rather unfortunate selections in the beginning. In my more charitable moments, I think it looks like a bulls eye or a dartboard. I’m much happier with the current section, but still have my doubts about the beginning. I pinned it out to see if I can live with it.

I think I’ll keep it, even though that is one ugly Pi. This isn’t going to win any beauty competition. It will spend its life on the sofa, or the floor. I’ll take it camping, or wrap up in winter. My DH will use it as a pillow. Most important is its current duty of early-morning knitting.

Friday, June 09, 2006

2 More Baby Hats

I have 3 baby hats to take to the LYS tomorrow, I think the eyelet ribs make them so fancy. The pink one is the openwork rib stitch used in "Knitting Vintage Socks" on page 45. The blue hat is knitted with the rib pattern found in Links of Lace Woolease Socks on Woolworks.org.

Both hats passed the grumpy husband test (Would you put this on your baby?) so I wrote them out and posted the patterns on my website. It's a freebie site from Geocities, and this morning I realized I've been using too much bandwidth. I changed my knit menu, eliminated all the pictures, and hope that takes care of the problem.

I am looking at more sock patterns with baby hats in mind, and am finding many new rib stitches I can try. Sock rib stitches all have a bit of stretchiness, which will let the hats fit a wide range of babies. Another big plus is the stitches are already written for knitting in the round, my preferred method for hats. No more converting flat to round, no more little charts of Xs and Os.

I also finished my 4th pair of socks for the Box O'Sox challenge. I tried the Russian Bind off found on Heels and Toes and More..., but have to say I am disappointed with the results. The bound off edge is flaring out, and too loose for my taste. I may take them out and re-do them, but not right now. I have already started my 5th pair, only just starting the increases on my toes.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Baby Hat Pattern

I went to the library yesterday to return one book, and came home with three new ones. I browsed the knitting section, of course, and found ‘Knitting Vintage Socks’ by Nancy Bush. I bought ‘Folk Socks’ when I first started knitting socks, but hadn’t looked at this one yet.

Vintage Socks is a beautiful book, but at first glance not very useful to me. All the socks are top-down, and I’m knitting toe-up almost exclusively these days. Then I looked a bit closer at the rib stitches. Some are very fancy, almost lacey, and all are patterns I have not seen before. It struck me those fancy ribs might work on a baby hat.

I was concerned the patterns might not translate well from fingering weight to dk. The eyelets look small enough on the socks, but might turn into gaping holes when done with size 5 needles and dk yarn.

I started a hat last night, and finished 3” 1x1 cuff just before bedtime. This morning I am starting with the Bed Sock pattern on page 45. I have 2 repeats done, and it looks like a winner. It should be a very stretchy hat; the eyelets are visible, but not overly large. The pink emphasizes the feminine aspect of lace, and will be adorable on someone's little girl.

I realized this morning I should have cast on 36 stitches and knitted a long sampler of the patterns I want to try out. But this hat is almost half done, and I won’t rip that much. I’ll start a swatch after this hat is off the needles.

I’m pretty excited, I hadn’t thought of using sock patterns for baby hats. Sock patterns are a perfect source of new stitches, plus they are already written for knitting in the round. Earlier I knitted a pair of bed socks for myself using the Links of Lace pattern on Woolworks' site. I think that stitch would be another winner for a baby hat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On The Needles

I made it to the Knitting Social at my LYS. I bought more yarn for newborn hats, and have finished one already. Odessa again, in Cascade Cherub Collection Kaleidoscope 1324. The flash bleached the colors a bit, but the hat is a lovely blend of pastel pink, green and white.

I'm making progress on the socks, this weekend I turned the heels and am now inching up the cuffs. That's another complaint re:2sox2circs. It takes two inches of knitting to see one inch on the socks. I must remind myself it is a fair trade, since I feel compelled to have the second sock identical to the first.

That might spring from the time when I learned to knit in 4-H some 40 plus years ago. After a sampler and a hat, I knitted a pair of wool mittens on dpns. By the time I finished the second mitten, my tension had changed enough that the second mitten was a touch smaller than the first. I wore those mittens for years, all through high school and beyond. They kept turning up at odd times and places, and I wore them for shoveling snow when I could find them. Every time I put them on, I could see the difference, and it irritated me just a bit. I kept them around, though, because they were so warm, and I always liked the blue variegated yarn. I think I know where they are, but it's been 2 winters since I've seen them.

Yesterday I picked up the Pi Doily again, and tried another Clue from the KYOAPi. This time I'm using Clue 5a, Bleeding Hearts. I finished 5 rounds, started on round 6. I am so pleased that this pattern is not shifting one stitch as the earlier attempt with the Leaf pattern. I will probably knit only 20 rounds and then bind off. At first I was going to knit on a wide, elaborate edging, but now I'm thinking a picot bindoff might be enough. I know how to knit on an edging, and right now I just want to get this Pi Doily done and off the needles.

I want to knit a shawl for myself, a bit lacey and fancier than the blue shawl I wear around the house. I have just enough knitted projects going, so I must finish one before I start a shawl. The newborn hats are ongoing, and you can see I have at least 3 more skeins of Opal yarn for my box o'socks. So, Pi Doily is the one to finish. Maybe 15 rounds will be enough. hmmmm.....

uploaded the picture twice. blogger is having their fun this morning. pictures at 11.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Early Saturday Update

I woke early this morning, another headache forced me out of bed shortly after 530. Another night with only 5 hours of sleep. Grrrr.

While I drank my first cup of coffee, I read some more of ‘Wicked’, and finished the chapter. Now I’m up to p. 224, ready to start Part IV. I may be losing interest. I enjoy Elphaba, but don’t really care about the politics and intrigue of Oz. Some of the allegory is interesting, but I feel as though I’m missing most of it. If Part IV is more about her subversive activities, I may not finish this one right now.

Finally there was enough daylight I thought I could knit a bit on the socks. After all my bragging about marking my needles, the first thing I did was pick up the wrong circular needle, and knitted across the first sock. I didn’t notice anything was wrong until I tried to adjust the needles for the next sock. It was easy enough to fix, but it sent me for more coffee and a chaser of Tylenol.

I’m going to the Knitting Social at the LYS this afternoon. I’ve missed too many Saturdays and am determined to get there today. I am also low on dk yarn for the hats. I only have 4 baby hats to donate, and I’ve missed 3 weeks. I feel like a slacker, but I have started socks again. They seem to go very slowly.

That Pi Doily has been calling me, and I was distracted by her siren's song. After much thought, I decided how I would end it off, and started on the 5th section. I intended to knit a small section of a large leaf pattern, echoing the first section of 3x3 leaf, followed by an edging that repeated the snowdrop element. After 7 rounds of 576 sts, I could see I was having a problem. The double decreases that should line up in the middle of the leaf, were slanting to the left. I’m not sure what was happening, but I decided I didn’t like how it looked. I spent yesterday afternoon tinking those 7 rounds. Grrrr. At least I had a lifeline, but it was still tedious.

I think there is something about the delayed decreases that creates the problem. I know I need to move my markers one to the right after each round, but I’m not sure I want to try again. I don’t understand why some lace patterns do that in the round. My first thought is that if I start the repeat in a new spot, it would fix itself. As I study the pattern, I don’t think it can be done, since the increases that balance those double decreases are moving on a diagonal through the entire repeat. I need to study Susanna Lewis’ ‘Knitting Lace.’ She discusses how knitted lace is constructed, perhaps that will enlighten me. I checked that book out from the library, and have renewed it. I hate to take it back, I wish I could find a copy for myself.

It looks like good weather for our bike ride, then I may be able to squeeze in some gardening before my trip to the LYS.

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