Saturday, December 27, 2008
That's not me. I try to post at least a couple times a week and have something to say in that post worth your time. I know its not always successful but I try....
Not much going on today. I started knitting a new sweater and I'm not sure if I like it so I don't want to risk a picture until I decide if its a keeper. I do this often. There have been many projects I start and kill before you actually get to see them.
The boys are getting a bit too used to me being home. I had Wed thru next Monday (29th) off. Bert comes in the den every so often to cry at me and let me know I need to give him and butt stritch. And Chief - I went downstairs to shower and ended up in the messy part of the basement sitting on a chair going through more parent stuff to sort and Chief decided he needed a hug. We sat down there in the colder part of the basement for 15 minutes snuggling and petting and he even cleaned my face for me.
BIG CHIEF NEWS!
While we were snuggling I noticed a wonderful thing. The kitty treats I bought last week are doing their job. Chief has stinky breath. That cat loves to snuggle but, man, his breath can knock me over. I found new treats at Target - Whiskas Temptations. He can be picky about his treats but both cats have fallen in love with these. The package says they are complete oral care. Tarter control, Healthy gums, Fresh breath. They work. Chief has lovely breath and I am very happy! I've been giving each kitty about 3 a day. If you suffer from kitty breath give them a try.
So, does the fact that I'm talking about kitty breath give you a clue as to how little I have to say today? Let's see what I come up with next time. I promise it won't be about my bad breath!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Yup. you got it. I went over the deep end. I'm starting to make mitered sock yarn squares. They're 3" square. They take less than an hour to make. I figure I'll have enough to make an afghan before its time for me to move into a nursing home, if I'm lucky.
The squares are very basic.
CO 40 sts placing a stitch marker between 20 & 21. They're knit in garter stitch.
Odd rows. knit to 2 sts before the SM, k2tog, sl sm, sl 1, k1, psso, knit to end.
Even rows. Knit across.
Continue until 4 sts are left. BO.
Now here's where I figured out something different. I hate the way a regular BO looks on the end of mitered squares. After playing around a litle bit I came up with a Bind off that I really like. I'm sure there are others that use this but I haven't seen this before.
Mitered Bind Off.
Work the last row (wrong side) knit across.
K2tog, k2tog, pass first st over. break yarn and pull thru last stitch.
This gives a nice tight finish that looks very similar to the beginning and doesn't have that odd looking stitch that likes to hang out on the edge of regular sind off.
I'm going to try doing a k2tog on the last couple stiches of a regular bind off and see if it helps the look there also.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
One of the things I finished up already is a pair of gloves of a friend. I'll be giving them tomorrow night and he doesn't read the blog so I'm safe posting a pic. I have wrapped them already before I realized I didn't have a finished pictures so - here's an in-progress picture. - with the traditional assistance of one of the boys.
These gloves are from the Cigar Gloves pattern on Knitty but I made full fingers. The yarn is Swish from Knit Picks. I enjoyed the feel of the yarn and hope they hold up well. The pattern was a bit odd in shaping. As you can see from the partial glove on top it breaks off for the thumb as usual but also put the pinky fingers on hold while a bit more length was added to the body of the glove.
Quick and Easy Brioche Stitch Hat
Just in case you're still in need of a quick present. Here's a Brioche Hat we used to make 20+ years ago at the shop I used to work at. It's made from bulky yarn on big needles. The hat was a few hours of TV watching and knitting and the scarf is in process. This set will end up being for a new friend and will easily be done before Christmas. The yarn is a 20+ year old yarn from Bernat called Venetian it took less than 1 skein of 50gm - yardage not listed on ball band. I'll write up the hat and scarf more formally when I've finished the scarf but right now I don't know how much yarn it will take.
Here's the basic pattern - done in brioche stitch which is a slip stitch rib.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Back in one of my last knitting frenzies (I cycle through crafts every 3-5 years) I made presents for all the family. My cousins, aunts and uncles are all part of the Christmas day gathering and we used to swap gifts with everyone. I was poverty stricken as I had my own business and every penny went to the shop and not me. McDonald's was a big treat back then. Anyway- I made presents. I would use yarn from the shop but, as any shop owner can tell you, you still have to pay for that yarn. It's not magically free.
All of us know hand knit gifts are not cheap. There's the yarn, the pattern, the knitting needles, the time it takes to make the gift. All in all I actually spent more on the handmade gifts than if I just went out and bought something. Silly me, but I like giving of myself....
One year my one aunt got a throw pillow -cabled in ecru, I had to buy a pillow form besides all the above items. As she opened it she commented on how nice it was and a bit later in the evening mentioned how nice it was that I could make presents. Her kids weren't crafty and didn't have the time because they were teachers and didn't make much money so had problems getting presents- hinting that it was cheaper to make presents. Okay - at this point I took a deep breath and kind of nodded my head. BUT -
inside I was ranting and raving. Her poor poverty stricken teacher kids made more than I did. Worked less than I did (getting holidays and summers off) and paid less for their presents than I did without including my time! But I didn't say that out loud. I smiled. I made a mental note that I would buy presents (for her) from now on instead of making them and spend what her kids did. I have to add I like my aunt and I like my cousins and never held this incident against them. I just have a long memory and choose to make handcrafted gifts for people that realize the cost and time involved. People who see that handcrafted gifts are not just a way to give something cheaper.
Another aunt used to paint china. She was an artist with a plate and paint. I have several of her pieces and treasure them. She got it. Her plates were not cheap. The supplies, the kiln, the time and talent. WOW! When I gave her a handcrafted gift I knew she understood it wasn't to save money but to give extra of myself to her.
In the past several years the family quit swapping gifts. I said something to my friends about not having family to give gifts to anymore and they offered to accept anything I wanted to make. This year they'll get their wish. Last January I taught several of them how to knit (or at least tried!) Now that they have tried knitting on their own, the knowledge is there. They know it's a skill and talent and doesn't magically happen in a minute or two. They know how long it takes to make a small square much less how long it takes to make socks or gloves. They know the cost of yarn and that some yarns are better than others. Even if they never knit again my friends now know what I'm actually giving them with a knitted gift. I'm giving them my time and talent and my best wishes for them. Yup. they're ready for the knitted goodies they're getting this year and I'm excited to give them hats and gloves and socks and........
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Back when I was a kid Santa would come and visit every Christmas night before he headed back to the North Pole. Our entire family would get together for Christmas day - all the aunts, uncles, cousins and after the dishes were washed we kids would run from window to window watching for Santa. About 4pm we would hear a loud cow bell clanking outside and, yep, the front door would get a loud pounding knock as Santa let us know he had arrived.
We would all have to perform for him before he'd give out any presents. That is all of us except my youngest cousin. She was scared to death of Santa. Well, you can't blame her. See, Santa had a strange cloth-like face and that cow bell was really really loud. As time when on, Santa's face seemed to get a better look, less cloth-like - less scary and youngest cousin grew up enough to not be frightened.
When we got older Santa quit coming to visit for a while. Then my eldest cousin had a child and he started making return visits. One year when the girls (cousin's 2 kids) were starting to understand the "way of Santa". We knew it would be his last visit. As usual he came around the house, ringing the loud cow bell and sporting a fresh beard and no frightening cloth face. As he came in the house the little boy - Richard - from next door came running over to the house shouting with such excitement cause he saw Santa and there was nothing anyone could do except welcome Richard in and let him have his time with the jolly old guy. His thrill of the moment was so infectious that we all thoroughly enjoyed Santa's last visit to our family.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
In knitting news, I finished the Eagle's Flight socks last week and finally got a pic of them. It's really hard to get a picture without showing massively white legs and scaring everyone. As I mentioned last post - I increased the stitches on the last row of the leg (I knit toe-up) so that the edge would not be too tight. This sock fits perfect.
For my birthday Christine gave me a kit to make Cat Bordhi's Flying Carpet Socks. They're made with Mountain Color Bearfoot- Mountain Tango colorway and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport Yarn- Tahoe colorway. They're made using techniques from the New Pathway for Sock Knitters book and are lots of fun. I have the first sock done but the pictures just don;'t show the cuff properly. Head to the link and you'll see a much better pic!
Bert? - he's running around jumping on things right now. Oh to be young and energetic!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
These are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random, arbitrary things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Here we go -
1. I was a dietitian for 10 years but decided to change careers after being a department head with 10 years of experience and 7 years of college and finding out a beginning LPN was making more than me.
2. I have no kids but love to watch Disney channel and other "kid/teen" shows.
3. I try pretty much any craft that comes my way - stained glass, woodwork, quilting, pretty much anything having to do with fiber - weaving, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, sewing, etc.
4. I was a youth delegate to the United Nations in high school.
5. I once towed a pontoon boat filled with people across a lake by swimming with a rope wrapped around my shoulders (dead motor - no paddles).
6. I really bad at measuring things before I buy them so we had to take the side windows out of my living room so the sofa would fit in when I bought it.
Now the people I tag.
Well - that's as creative as I can get cause I have to save up my energy to be ready to head back to the rat race tomorrow. Darn.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
A little too much help.
The pictures did not come out as well as I had hoped. Maybe tomorrow we'll have better sun. In the meantime, here's the bag in Summer cardinal and Winter cardinal. Both are felted and a very easy knit.
Summer is light blue with green button leaves on the branches and was knit in a way to create a 3-D effect with the cardinal while Winter is dark green with a lighter branch with snow on it and the cardinal was knit to stay flat with the bag. The summer one is felted tight and the winter one felted loosely. This way everyone can see what amount of felting they want before they throw their own bag in the washer.
The pattern will be up on Ravelry for sale by the end of the weekend - if the sun cooperates!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
That's where this YouTube comes in. I'd be so happy if I had this technician to assist me!
Okay - back to getting ready for company tomorrow........
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
How many days till Thanksgiving (i.e. - how many days to get the house cleaned)
How long till I get out of work each day - so get working on the house cleaning.
How many pounds should the turkey be to feed everyone and have some leftovers.
How many pages can I get read during lunchtime to get the book I'm reading done before it's due back at the library.
How much yarn will the current project take.
One set of numbers I miss because I haven't been machine knitting for the past couple years is the numbering system for yarn. I really wish hand knitting would embrace this system. There's a couple systems - cotton vs. "worsted" type yarn. I'll explain the basics behind the "regular" yarn system. See if you don't agree that this would be great to have with hand knit yarns. All yarn is given a 2 digit number, a fraction. The most common I'd use was 3/15 weight yarn. Other frequently seen numbers were 2/15, 2/24, 2/8.
The way this system works is - the first number is the number of plys. The second number is the weight number of 1 ply. The bigger the number the thinner the ply and the more the yardage. I won't go into exactly what the numbers mean but the way most machine knitters used these numbers was to figure yarn size.
The number you get when you divide the numbers of ply and the yarn size tell you the "size" of the yarn. The closer to zero the fatter the yarn and the less the yardage.
For example: a 3/15 yarn is 3 plys of a 15 weight yarn. It's "number" is 5.
A 2/15 is 2 plys of the 15 weight yarn and its number is 7.5
So the 3/15 yarn would be bigger and have less yardage than the 2/15 yarn because its number (5) is closer to zero than the 7.5.
Not only does this give you the yarn size but it lets you substitute yarns with confidence.
Say your pattern calls for a 3/15 yarn but you have one that you absolutely love but it's a 2/24 yarn.
OK - the 3/15 yarn is a 5. The 2/24 yarn is a 12- too thin. If you take 2 strands of the 2/24 yarn you now have 4 plys and when you do the math you get 6. That's pretty close to 5 so if you double up your really pretty 2/24 yarn you can very probably make your pattern and get gauge.
Wouldn't it be nice to have our hand knit yarns have a system that gives us the most accurate sizing as possible. Right now a DK may really be an aran weight because the person who decided it's weight decided it looked thicker or thinner. I don't know how many times I seen a yarn that's marked dk weight but was really sport weight once I figured out gauge.
That's enough about numbers for now. The last number I'll mention is 1. Have a number 1 great day Thanksgiving with whoever you get to spend it with.
Thank you for taking time to read my blog the past few years. Thank you for your comments and friendship you've provided through the comments. Thank you for helping me get through the family problems this past year. Finally - Chief & Bert want to thank all of you for putting up with the billions of pictures I force upon you of them.
The boys first meal together - 4 years ago.
Bert joined the family 11-14-04
Friday, November 21, 2008
You may notice the kitty afghan FULL of cat hair. I made that several years ago to protect the top of the sofa. I learned early there's no way to keep cats off such a wonderful spot so you might as well protect it. The kitty afghan is about 18" wide and the length of the sofa. It's folded in half in the pic. Guess I was planning on grabbing it to clean and didn't quite make it. Maybe this weekend.
Meanwhile - Bert was camped out in front of the kitty tunnel and looked like he was ready for a quick get away if I tried anything.
So - what was in the package and what would actually make a Chief move? The Chief answer is - he found an empty box too tempting to stay on the sofa and had to check out the box. See the side of the box - it says "Knit P" in that purple script that can only mean I got something from Knit Picks.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I finally decided the sun and my camera will not be seeing each other for a long time during the week (Minnesota doesn't see the sun when you're not working during much of Nov., Dec, Jan.) So - here's some pics of the last few projects I've finished. Pics taken inside with a flash and colors are a bit off.
The Quick Suri Scarf - I had a couple skeins of Knit Picks Suri Hand dyed hanging around the house since last year so I decided to knit a simple scarf. It started out being garter st but I decided to add a lace section for a little interest.
The garter st section is 10 rows then the lace section is 3 repeats of a 2 row pattern - row 1: k2tog, yo. row 2: purl. Very simple. Very quick.
I bought some Talinay a few months ago thinking I would make a hat and mittens. When I came across Crazy Aunt Purls Quick Beret pattern I knew I found the hat. The color is fairly close in the picture but the blue/green is a bit more teal than the pic. This is a bulky yarn so I knit it on a size 13 and the hat was done in less than one night. I've already started the next hat in Knit Picks Suri. I see Christmas presents getting done rather quick this year with these hats!
Finally - Dad gets Elizabeth Zimmermann's Woodman's socks every year to warm his cold diabetic feet. This years socks are Woolease because they need to be machine washable at the memory facility. Last year's pair head up well and were in green. The white band at the top is so I can write his name on the inside while he still looks stylish.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
While Grandpa was busy being a Chief Petty Officer, his son (my uncle) was also serving in the Navy. Meanwhile – Dad was on board the USS Sands with my Uncle. Mom was about 22-23 years old at the time and Grandpa was worried that she was going to be an old maid. His answer was to bring home Navy guys. Dad was one of them and well – that story is for another day. Dad’s brother-in-law was also on the ship with them all.
Yup it’s a Navy family. But not to be out done, Mom’s sister married an Army guy. His son became an Army guy. My cousin married a Navy guy. I could go on.
This day is to remember all these family members and all the others who have serviced to keep our country safe. We take serving the country seriously in our family and those of us that did not serve but benefited from these Navy guys and Army guys are so grateful and proud to call these veteran’s our own.
Thanks Grandpa, Uncle B, Uncle B2, Dad, Uncle W, cousin P, cousin-in-law R. You’ve all made our lives so much better.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Hats finished at group last night
Have a great weekend and I'll try to get the camera out and get a few pics of all the knitting I've done lately.
OH- before I hit Publish Post I have to say how amazing it is that our senate race is so close. The votes between Norm Coleman and Al Franken are barely 200. That's 200 votes between them with over 2.8 million votes. Can you say recount?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
What does all this have to do with you and my blog? Well - there's an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (yeah- I know- stupid show- I watch it too) In this episode, one of her aunts uses some mental floss. You just run it through the ears and your brain gets cleaned out so you can think better. I could use some of that mental floss these days. I have so many things running through my brain I end up getting very little done.
We have multiple projects going on at work that require coming up with many ways to doing them because other people don't get their part done on time and you have to totally change the game plan in a seconds notice. So I have all these possible scenarios running through my head all day clogging things up.
At home I have so much that needs to get done I end up ignoring it all and watch stupid kids shows and knit instead. This isn't helping me make progress on some things I absolutely have to do. I need to get the basement cleared out enough to make it company usable by Thanksgiving when the extended family comes - the guys need a place to watch the games and sleep after the meal! I need to get some of the furniture in the garage moved downstairs - same reason. I have what feels like miles of paper (receipts, records, etc) to go through to be sure I have parent stuff taken care of properly. I have knit items that need to be finished - buttons sewn on, etc. and photographed for here and ravelry. I have many more things you don't want to read about. So what do I do - like I said- watch dumb TV and ignore everything else.
Today's game plan is to pretend I only have one of the huge list of things to do and get it done. Then I'll pretend I have one other thing to do and so on. I may not have the real mental floss but I can create my own version by getting my focus on one small goal at a time. Wish me luck - but first I think I'll watch some kiddie TV and knit!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
If you'd like to give it a try and use a few less paper towels - here's my simple little pattern.
Knit Sponge - 2 finishing versions
Worsted weight cotton such as Sugar N Cream.
size 8 needles (or whatever is around and close after all this doesn't have to be a specific size)
crochet hook size F or G
Cast on 20 sts.
Work 24 ridges of garter st (48 rows).
Finish version 1
Fold in half along a garter ridge.
Work single crochet around all 4 sides.
Finish version 2
Fold in half around a garter ridge.
Work 3 needle bind off across cast on and last row.
Turn and pick up and work 3 needle bind off on the garter st edges.
Turn and work bind off on the folded edge.
Turn and repeat garter st edge bind off. End.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here's the Knotty gloves in process. As you can see the thumb is knit up just like a mitten. When you get to the fingers put the 2 sides (front and back) on holders or extra yarn. Pick up the stitches for the first finger-cast on a couple stitches for between the first and middle finger and just knit in the round until you have your finger length. Knit a couple rounds of decreases and you're done.
Next finger- pick up the stitches from one of the holders for this finger, cast on a couple for between this finger and the ring finger, pick up from the other holder, pick up the stitched between the first finger and this finger. Knit around ,etc.
See- it's easy. Give gloves a try they're a great way to use all that sock yarn.
While I've been knitting gloves (and a few other things) the boys have been busy playing. Bert has this magical way of knowing the second I clear out a bookcase shelf and he loves it.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I'm here for ya Mom! - Bert
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Mom's birthday always signals my need to get busy with Christmas/winter knitting. This past week I started working on gloves and some other items that will end up as presents. There's a free pattern out there for a fun pair of gloves that uses sock yarn. Knotty. Do a search on Ravelry or - if you're not a member of Ravelry, join and then do a search!
Anyway - they take 1 skein of Socks that Rock , I'm using a couple skeins of KnitPicks Memory(no longer available). The gloves are long and have a bit of cable knot work at the wrist.
They're wonderful and easy to knit.
The cuff is nice and long and will keep things warm during the cold Minnesota winters.
The next time I make these gloves, and there WILL be a next time, I will use a yarn colorway that is closer to a single color. Something like a kettle dye that has some depth to the color but not such a variation as this yarn. The cabling just doesn't show up as much as I'd like.
Mom's birthday also means time to make comfort food. I love fall and the foods that come with it. I love apples, squash, soups and stews, fresh made warm bread and all the goodies we think of with fall. Every Halloween when I was a kid we would have breaded pork steaks, baked potatoes, squash, fresh bread, and dessert would end up being the candy we got from trick or treating. Yup - Mom's birthday-fall-Halloween - ya gotta love the food this time of year.
My cardinal bag pattern is almost ready. I'm hoping within the next week to have it available for sale. This is a felted bag pattern I created in memory of Mom. She loved red and cardinals. We used to play a game of trying to count all the cardinal stuff around the house. (but I babble) The bag has been test knit. I received some excellent feed back and I'll be refining the pattern this week.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I have seen people on other blogs and in ravelry talk about how to store your knitting supplies. Some people buy bags and cases, some people use a drawer or rubbermaid type item, some people make their own. I fall into the category of all 3.
Below are some of my handmade ones.
This first one is actually used for my hotel supplies. You know - the stuff that you need when you travel, shampoo, etc. But last time I pulled it out I got to thinking the basic idea would work well for a knitting supply case.
It's easy to make. I used material I had dyed and created the base shape but you could make this out of a cloth place mat.
Get 4-8 good zip lock storage bags. Very simply you over lap them across the center of the base.
One open to the left - next to the right - then left - etc. Stitch using a large stitch length about 1 inch either side of the center. Trim off the bottoms of the bags leaving about 1/2" "seam allowance. Sew on a couple ribbons for a closure and there you have it - a knitting supply case.