Thursday, December 29, 2016

My current works in progress and others

I've been debating with myself about wips.  I have a cedar chest full of them.  I have more in totes and baskets dotting the house like pats of butter on a casserole.  The big question is should I finish or frog?  Smaller questions that have been running around my mind are things like: do I really like this, do I really want this, why did I start it in the first place, why did I abandon/put into hibernation this project.

Current wips include things for my new classes (moebius shawl/cowl + samples, diamonds in the rough shawl), things for my granddaughters (pillows, purses, dresses), things that were to be gifts for Christmas (Advent scarves from 2009 - 2014 give or take), projects that are samples to be submitted for publication.  The new class patterns and projects I will keep at least in swatch form.  I don't know if I will ever finish all of them.  Things for my granddaughters and a new baby will be finished.  These are small and quick.  Items destined to be gifts may need some redoing.  I have discovered a few things over the year about myself and the recipients and the choices I made.  1) I hate laceweight yarn all by itself.  2) While I made good color choices, the patterns may have been not quite right for the recipients.  3) I'm planning to simplify life even more and knit more for me than others.  Items for publication, to be frank, unless they are accepted, will remain swatches with their proposals until I get around to them.  I might find something in this stack that will be wonderful for a gift or me and that will be great.  I won't hold my breath on this.

What am I currently actively working on???  Well let me tell you.  I have a moebius shawl/cowl similar to the tan one I made a couple of years ago.  The yarn is Bernat Alpaca blends, since discontinued.  A great substitute is Ella Rae Alpaca Chunky.  Both are a size 5 (Craft Yarn Council standard) and an alpaca/acrylic mix.  Both machine wash gentle and lay flat or hang to dry.  I hang my Moebius' on a skirt hanger to dry by folding in half  after laying flat.  I arrange the cross to hang on one side and clip on the skirt hanger.  4 layers thick and the weight keeps things from curling.  I have also hung it by laying over an ironing board and letting hang.  Bad idea as my cat likes to rub it.

I have an adult surprise jacket on the go for close to 10 years.  I really want to get that done.  It's a fuzzy purple bulky weight yarn that will be a very nice late autumn "coat" weight.

I have socks on the go and if they get put away, they get forgot.  I have 3 pairs in varying wool sock yarns.  I have counted up my sock yarn stash.  I could knit socks and have a new pair for every 4 days for a year. If I use them all for socks.

I have a bunch of projects for my knitting guild (information found here) and crochet guild (information found here).  Some I really want to finish for me.  Some I really want to finish for sale or donation.  Others I just wanted to learn or hone a technique.  I have been adding to my technique bases.  One thing I really want done is a series of blankets for my crochet guild to donate to Project Night Night(There's a Ravelry group here with more information).  I'm doing a Tunisian Sampler and a series of granny alternatives using bulky weight yarns.  Stash busting and doing a good deed. Double the brownie points.

Things I will be frogging or dismantling?  Who knows.  I don't.  I'd like to have a clue.  I'd like to know that these orphans will be done and homed or at least done.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Won't You Wear a Sweater Day

I've never heard of this day.  You would think that a knitter would know about sweater day.   Won't You Wear a Sweater Day is March 20.  It's a day to wear your favorite sweater.

Why am I telling you about this?   Better still where did I find out about it?   What is this day about?

Recently my husband and I were watching a cartoon on PBS, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, while waiting for the show we wanted to watch to come on.  We commented back and forth as married couples do in those little half sentences how this cartoon reminded us of Mr. Rogers and his long running show for kids.

Being the more curious of the two,  I hopped on Google and zoomed in on Wikipedia.   I had known he died of cancer.  But his wiki page had much more information about this man.  My husband was amazed he was a Pennsylvania native.  But we both agreed he did pretty great things for preschool kids and wondered if there was a memorial to him.  There is.  It's in Pittsburgh.

Picture of the Fred Rogers Memorial Statue located near Heinz Field on the North Shore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 8, 2009. 

Wikipedia has this to say about Won't You Wear a Sweater Day: Mr. Rogers production company planned and hosted several events to commemorate what would have been his 80th birthday.   Wear a Sweater Day is one.  It is still celebrated.  The date of March 20 is Mr. Rogers birthday. 

As you might be able to tell,  I'm a big fan of his.  He offered something special to children, beyond a calm interlude in the fast paved world children are living in these days.   I watched his show as a little girl.   My children watched him when they were little. 

At least some of the reasoning behind the day is Mrs. Rogers, Fred Rogers mom.  She knit all the sweaters he wore on the show.  She did an amazing job with the zipper installations, not a wrinkle to be seen if memory serves.   Wearing a sweater knit or crocheted by a loved one is like receiving a hug from that person even if they are far away. 

So remember March 20 and wear a sweater.   

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Year of Knitting and Crocheting by KAL/CAL

It's been a while since I posted.  I'm sorry about that.  I had a church bazaar to work on and company for Thanksgiving.  The church Christmas bazaar is something I have been working on for the last 10 or so years at the chance booth.  My hardest part is what to choose to put there.  Luckily, I have some standards that are guaranteed to draw.  Everything else is usually hit or miss.  Our company came at the same time as the bazaar and happily they could help me and the ladies with the end of the chance booth chaos.  I also have not posted a new calendar for a while.  I'm looking into other ideas for classes. 

And now back to the regularly scheduled content.

I listen to many podcasts.  They keep my mind learning while I do the mundane chores needed for daily life.  They provide background noise when I'm working on patterns or classes.  I'm not much for the video podcasts, but the audio do a lot for me.  They sometimes inspire a pattern idea based on a half-heard project someone is talking about.  Mine never look like what the inspiration was.

One thing that is almost a staple among them all are the periodic KAL and CAL.  Some are a specific time of the year.  Below is a partial year list of what I have heard being done, I'm sure there are more but they didn't stand out in my mind while I was writing.  Others are when the podcaster gets requests to do one or has an interest in doing a certain designer's work (Big Bad Berg A Long) or a specific pattern and are not done during a pre-determined time of year.  This post will be a year long look at how you can participate in many different KALs and CALs.  For those who don't know, KAL is Knit A Long and CAL is Crochet A Long.  If I have missed your favorite KAL/CAL that is held at a specific time of year, please let me know.

An ongoing KAL/CAL is the SwAMo, Sweater A Month.  There is the 16-or-12-sweaters-in-2016 group.  Others are held as Instagram or twitter KAL/CAL and use hashtags like #operationsweaterchest and #operationsockdrawer

A quick search of Ravelry shows there are KAL/CAL opportunities galore throughout the year.  Some are dishcloth/blanket square related.  There are cowls and sweaters being done.

January:  Typically January is selfish knitting/crocheting month.  Many have spent December and probably November knitting for everyone else for gifts.  Thus is born the idea to spend a month on yourself. 




May:  This month is the start of Stash Dash as proposed by the Knit Girllls.   This starts when the school year ends mid-May and ends when the new school year starts mid-August.  Can you tell one is a teacher?  The object is to finish as many things as possible during the summer vacation from school.  The rules can be found here.

July:  This month sees something a little different, a SPAL, spin a long.  It's Tour de Fleece and follows the Tour de France bicycle race.  There's a Ravelry group for this here.


September:  Those who go to wool shows or yarn conventions, Rhinebeck leaps to mind.  This is the month many knit their Rhinebeck sweater.

October:  This month is called by some Socktober.  There is a Ravelry group for this.  They love to see your socks year round.


December:  This is the month that the Knitmore girls run their yearly KAL named the Grinch a long.  This is named because they have seen or heard for many years the "complaints" of having to do X big present for so and so or so many small presents for this group and always with a deadline.  They are having none of that.  December is for enjoying the season and the activities that bring you joy.  You can't do that if you are working to a deadline according to them.  And to a point I can see it.  So December is for working on the things you enjoy and taking time out to go to the parties of all kinds, children's functions (who doesn't enjoy a pageant when your child or grandchild is participating), and the activities you enjoy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knit up? Pick up?

What does this mean?  How are they done?  What is the difference?  Is one better than the other?  Why?  Is one better for some applications and the other for different applications??  Does it really matter?

Let's dissect this bit by bit. 

First point. You have knit a shawl, scarf, afghan, or almost anything else and have bound off the edges, you suddenly decide you want to add a border or an edging.  This is when you either knit up or pick up. 

Second point. To pick up, means to go around and (usually from the right side to the wrong side) insert the needle into the stitch and pull a loop through.  IF you are knitting up, pick up a loop and then immediately put it onto the left needle and knit it.  Repeat either across the edges you want the border or edging to be located.  Be consistent.  When going down the side, you tend to need 3 picked up stitches to every 4 rows or a similar ratio.  When going across the end of the knitting at the cast on or bound off edge, do a stitch for stitch pick up.

Third point.  Yes it matters which one you do.  Picking up tends to be a looser stitch base than the knitting up.  This means that the edge as you work out might look pinched or pulled together.  It will be even more pronounced if there is ribbing, the opposite of ruffled edges that are not intentional.  If there is a lace, it might matter less since most laces stretch.  But the looser stitch base could also mean that the stitching is consistent all through the body and the edging/border but there is long stitches between the two.  That would perhaps not be the design aesthetic you are going for.  On the other hand, the pick up method, being looser, would make a very stretchy joining for a lace border/edging onto a lace body.  Blocking would not be a problem in this situation.

Fourth point.  In general, either method is acceptable and seems to be personal preference.  Generally speaking.  We each will pick the method that we find makes the finish we personally like.  Because humans tend to be creatures of habit, we will stick with one or the other unless specifically instructed to do one or the other for a specific reason.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

slip stitch knitting

Recently my guild did a presentation on slip stitch knitting.  The choice of what direction to take the class was a heady one.  Did we do texture slip stitches?  Should we do mosaic slip stitches?  Or should we choose something else in the color work field of slip stitches??  Ultimately the presenters chose to do the something else.

The project was a cell phone carry case.  The gusset/strap was fabric stitch/linen stitch because it doesn't stretch.  For the front, back and flap, we were given a choice of patterns.  Samples were given both in person and in the pattern as well as the directions, Indian cross stitch, royal quilting, honeycomb tweed, false flame stitch and crochet-knit cross stitch and a less than satisfactory stitch, the two color plaited basketweave.  All are patterns from Barbara Walker's Treasury of knitting patterns vols. 1 & 2.

This is my rendition.  I used the crochet knit cross stitch for the front.  The two color plaited basketweave done a needle 6 sizes larger than the rest is featured on the flap.  And starring on the back in the second picture is Royal Quilting.

I used size US 4 needles and Lily Sugar and Creme worsted weight cotton yarn in dark green and a green/white "stripes".  This second has a really long color repeat.  The linen stitch and the two color plaited basket weave are very firm stitches.

Some of the other women chose to do a long strap to make it a cross body bag.  I chose to make it a wrist strap.  When I started this I had a different phone that was smaller.  My new phone doesn't fit this case.  But my new phone does a few more things than the other one.  So I will definitely be making another.

Who knows what will be coming up in the next year of meetings.  I'm looking forward to the planning when the ideas are pitched.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Swatching to see what might happen in knitting

Swatching to see what might happen ... This sounds so innocent, yet opens so many options.  There is a reason behind this madness.  Many of us are creating garments that don't fit quite right.  For those who do get gauge one way but not the other, maybe it's too short  and pinches us somewhere or the length is great but that quarter of a stitch we didn't think would matter in the 4 inches has now made a sweater or skirt wide enough to drive a Mac truck through.

Keeping the yarn, stitch pattern and needles the only constant, these are some options.  Gather all your different materials of needles, making sure they are the same size, mm not US.

1.  throw the yarn, yarn held in right hand, English style
2.  pick the yarn, yarn held in the left hand, Continental style
3.  yarn around the neck and flicked with the thumb, Portuguese style.  I have yet to be able to do this.
4.  aluminum needles
5.  bamboo needles
6.  rosewood needles
7.  plastic needles
8.  chromed needles, steel needles
9.  straight needles
10. circular needles
11. Western knitting, knit in the front of the stitch
12. Eastern knitting, knit in the back of the stitch
13. combinations 1, 2, 3, 11, 12,
14. each combination from 13 with different materials of needles.
15. knit from left to right instead of right to left

Work two repeats wide, one repeat tall (a stitch pattern 8 - 16 stitches wide by 8 - 10 rows is good for this exercise) of your chosen stitch pattern with each method. Keep a written list of which method or tool each repeat corresponds to.  Wash and block the final swatch.  Do not stretch, just pin out.  Let dry.

Now take your measuring tool.  A quilter's square is very useful in this event, as it is a solid piece of clear acrylic marked off in 1/4".  Do you find that certain styles of knitting are wider, shorter, thinner, taller?  How about the different materials?  Do they have any effect that you can see?  Count your stitches and rows..... make notes on your list of what does what as well as your gauge for each.  Now keep the list and swatch together.  You have proof of what does what.

Ready to start a garment?  Use the extra ball of yarn you bought to swatch and work your first swatch.  Wash, dry and measure. What's going on?  Check your list against the swatch you just finished.  Swatch using the method or tools that seems like it might make the change needed.  Wash, dry and measure.  Good?  Now either change again and repeat or start your new project.

Happy knitting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What's Old is New Again

And what's new is old.

I love antique pattern booklets.  Some are not antiques in the usual sense but vintage.  I've also been looking through my books, booklets, sheets and magazines.  A friend was looking for a definite stitch and I thought I had seen it.  I didn't have it in my library but on Pinterest.

But I was looking through these while watching tv.  There is a new online car sales commercial that caught my eye.  It was crochet in the wild so to speak.  It was also too horrible to contemplate.  It was a man in a granny square suit that was ill fitting besides being a train wreck.  Let me clarify.  I like granny squares.  A lot.  They are a go to for afghans for me.  But this poor man was in a suit made of granny squares that pinched him if his walk it to be the proof of things.  See the commercial HERE.

But then I took another look through my magazines.  I have several Woman's Day Granny Square pattern magazines.  I'm certain there are some good uses for granny squares, maybe even clothes.  Thees might not be it for me.  I will grant that some of these are interesting in the construction.  The colors perhaps not so much, at least for my taste.  These are a few of the images that show up for granny square clothes images from google.  Interesting?

Image result for man in granny square suit  Image result for man in granny square suit  Image result for man in granny square suit

Image result for man in granny square suit  Image result for man in granny square suit

Image result for man in granny square suit Done in different colors that were not so jarring, This could be a comfy top.

Image result for man in granny square suit  I like this but again, the colors need to be updated.  Maybe some nice jewel tones in a mercerized cotton, slightly larger hook to open up the lace effect.....  Or perhaps to complement my red hair, greens and purples........

Most of the images, though, truly look like you are attempting to wear an afghan.
Image result for man in granny square suitImage result for man in granny square suitImage result for man in granny square suit
Image result for man in granny square suitImage result for man in granny square suitImage result for man in granny square suit

The grey and black suit is a tad frightening for office wear.