Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Problems with knitting Cables

I've been working on a cable sweater lately. No new pictures to show you because it all looks the same just more of it. So, if you want to see a pic, check out the last blog or so. Anyway - I have a few observations about cable knitting. Some may help you, some may seem really stupid.

1. Cable Needles. Many people try to knit cables without a cable needle. Some people MUST have a cable needle. I fall somewhere in between. I don't use a cable needle but I don't want to knit with "nothing" because I have cats and they like to suddenly visit my lap right when I'm part way through a cable row. So what do I do? I use my chibi. It's always sitting on the table next to me and its just big enough to hold the stitches while I switch them around. Once I have the 2 or 3 stitches moved to the front/back, I knit the next set and slip the chibi stitches back on the left needle. Works for me...

2. Reading patterns. Most cable patterns have multiple cables - each with their own pattern and they are never the same number of rows for a repeat. I use Excel spreadsheets to make a full width cable pattern with as many rows as the biggest repeat. My current pattern is 3 cable designs with 1 of them doing a mirror image on each side. The three patterns are 4, 24, & 24 row repeats. My spreadsheet is 24 rows high so the one design (4 row repeat) is repeated 6 times on the sheet. I also change the background color of each cable set to different colors so its easy to see where each cable is. Once I have this done I can have my computer sitting next to me (or on my lap) while I knit with the current row on the top line. (check out the pic of Bert & the computer last post) It's easy to see what to knit and at the end of the row I just move the sheet up one row to the next one. When I quit knitting I mark the left side with a yellow highlight so I know right where I left off. It sure saves losing the paper pattern.

The current sweater has 3 tabs. One for the front and back, one for the right sleeve and one for the left sleeve as they have different shaping.

3. Cables on sleeve increases. When I knit sleeves and other pieces with increases I don't start the cable until I have 2 stitches beyond the cable for the edge. If there's just 1 stitch before the cable, the cable gets caught up in the seaming. Having the 2 stitches just makes the sleeve seam look smoother.

I started this post by naming it "the problems with cables" but I guess I was wrong. It's The Solutions for Cables.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Peek a boo!

Somebody turns 7 years old this week. Hard to believe this little boy would grow up to be such a handsome guy. Happy birthday, Chief!

One nice thing about Ragdolls is how long they take to "grow up". They don't reach their full look until about 3 years of age. So - for the first 3 years I would always be amazed at the changes. He started out this cute little Gizmo looking critter and went through a definite juvenile period before reaching his full adult look. Through all his stages he's always been a Momma's boy and loves to cuddle, be in whatever room I'm in and he's just a sweetie pie. Best of all he's very polite and friendly to visitors.
Knitting News
I've been fairly consistent the past week on working on my Soft Shoulders sweater only. This pic is terrible for color - it's actually forest green. The front and back are done and I've started the first sleeve. I'd really like to have this done soon so I can enjoy wearing it while it's still cold out there. I tend to finish just in time for the wrong season!

Bert's been a big help in keeping me going. He checks on my progress very frequently to be sure I'm still working on it. I have the chart on an excel file on the computer so I can have it nice and large to see clearly and just move up each row as I need it.

Peek a boo! You still working on your sweater, Mommy? - Bert

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Too Much Help

Since starting this blog I haven't talked much about sewing. Good reason. I haven't done much sewing the past year +. But back in the day I did a lot. I made my own jeans for several years and could make a pair that fit perfect (with designer pockets) for about $5.00. I made blazers and quilts and all my pants and all my tops. I also made all my - er-um - undies. This I still do. I can make 6 pair in about 1/2 hour and they fit my strange body just right. They also cost about $.50 to $1.00 a pair. Why would I spend the time to go shopping and pay a bunch more for something that doesn't even fit as well?!

Anyway - I've been lazy lately and have been tossing the old ones without replenishing the supply. Things have been tough and I've needed to do laundry more often because of the supply and demand issue. So - out came the serger, material, and elastic to get the need taken care of.

I should have known I'd have help. Anything new comes out and the boys have to check it out.
Cool, look something blue and soft on the table. Looks like a place to take a nap. - Bert

Feels soft. Smells okay. You're right, great place for a nap. - Chief

It took multiple times of "encouraging" the boys to get down, and get down, and get down before I got everything cut out. Fortunately the serger didn't interest them this time so I got everything sewed up pretty fast. Now I don't have to do laundry quite as much. Yea!

American Swedish - time for a big knitting party - Institute

This weekend begins the Bohus exhibit at the ASI. All events are sold out but there's a knit-in Saturday from 1-4pm. I plan on being there to see the exhibit and knit with some friends. The Institute is a beautiful building with "way cool" fireplaces and woodwork. If you're in the area and have never been there - come. It will be well worth it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We are one

There's so much going on in our country this weekend and the next few days that blogging about cats and knitting seem a bit trivial.

HBO showed the celebration at the Lincoln Memorial today for everyone with cable for free. It's great to hear the music of our country with a feeling of hope. I know we aren't going to have things get better overnight. It will take all of us working together and be willing to serve instead of being served.

But - we have a new beginning, a chance to pull together and work as a whole. I plan to spend Monday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day thinking about how far our country has come in the past 46 years since he gave his "I have a dream" speech. Tuesday I'll celebrate the beginning of a new presidential term and wish him well. It really is a new day and if we pull together we can make a change.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm ready for my close up

Some days Bert sleeps all day, some days he hangs out in the hall crying for attention and some days he checks out every single corner of the house nonstop all day.

First he checks under the chair to see what's there.....

Then he goes out in the hall (running 90 miles an hour) only to return a few minutes later and leap up on the TV stand and collapse into a bizarre sleep position a second later.

Meanwhile Chief likes to show off his beautiful winter chest. With winter comes a lot of extra fluff in his chest and tail. The main problem with this extra chest fluff - it keeps getting stuck in his mouth when he cleans himself because the fluff is longer than he can raise his head. But - when it's clean doesn't he take a handsome picture!

After fluffing and running around like an idiot, all kitties like to take a rest and these two buddies are no different. Chief cozies into the kitty chair. Yes, they have their own chair. I was going to throw it out but they laid claim to it and I don't have the heart to take away their chair. Just don't try to sit on it if you ever come to visit - poor structure and a LOT of cat hair! Back to the story - After Chief settles in Bert usually comes up to join him for their nap.

Once they get settled in I can go into action and take "poor abused kitties wearing knitting" pictures.
Bert has never been great at posing which is why you rarely see him in a knitting picture. This is about the best I've ever gotten out of him.

Chief however was born to pose. This is the Elizabeth Zimmermann Heart Hat. It's all garter stitch and made by knitting the heart and then picking up stitches to create the body of the hat. It's finished with i-cord around the front and bottom making the ties. This one is out of Paton's Merino Classic I had sitting around the house.

I've made several of these hats including one for myself out of Lopi about 20+ years ago. It was the warmest hat I ever had and kept me warm even in below zero wind chills. I've started a new one for myself out of alpaca (brown) . This little red and black one will be headed to a charity once I make a few more hats.

Thank you Chief for posing so well today. Kitty treats for you. Bert, you get treats too for not immediately running away as soon as you saw the hat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Answer to - What the heck is it?

I posted a pic yesterday of a strange knitted shape with claims that it was something good. I also posted that picture on the SheKnits podcast group on Ravelry where I hang out quite a bit. I got a bunch of guesses as to what it was.

I got guesses of fuzzy dice for the car, cubes, a bag, and a few other. What is the strange thing?

A slipper. The computer in the background of the picture shows how you fold it up and sew it together.

It's a pattern from DROPS website.

They have so many free patterns that are great looking it's insane. I have several of their patterns in my "gotta make" list. Now if I only had enough time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do not ignore me

I WILL NOT be ignored! - Bert

OOPS! I didn't mention Chief and Bert in the things I'm grateful for last post. What was I thinking. They have let me know in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable and will not happen again. Mea Cuppa.

Well, if you've learned your lesson I'll let you pet me again. - Bert
(Chief is off sleeping somewhere but feels the same)
In other news - I've done some knitting and we get to play - "What the Heck is it!?"

Here's a picture of the knit item before it's put together. Bert got in the picture for scale. It's garter stitch, 15sts wide with strange added on squares of knitting. Come back tomorrow to see it finished.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life is Good

At the beginning of 2008 I decided it was going to be “The Year of being Selfish”. Well, that didn’t happen. Some things I did manage to do – I got to the doctor about some health issues (not settled yet but, I’m a work in progress) and I got to go to Stitches Midwest and enjoy the weekend thinking nothing but knitterly thoughts. Otherwise, it was a year of major highs and lows for the family and friends.

Summer saw a beautiful wedding for my cousin’s daughter and then the loss of my mother and my aunt within a month of each other. I reconnected with one friend but, I ended the year saying goodbye to one friend who lost her battle with cancer and another friend ended up in the hospital with complications of not taking care of his diabetes. For the past four years he hasn’t cared for himself and with a poor diet ended up with gout, his kidneys shutting down and being septic. Not the best way to end the year.

But throughout all this the constant has been knitting. I joined a group started through Ravelry that meets once a month. I DID make it to Stitches Midwest. I met many, many new friends on the SheKnits group on Ravelry and met some in person. I had a couple patterns become very popular. Rust Goes Green market bag is the 9th most popular crocheted bag on Ravelry.

What of 2009?
More knitting. Finish caring for my little health issue. Plan and go on a vacation (first in 7 years). I also plan to remember whatever comes - life is good. All the experiences we have, all the people we meet, they all work together to make us the person we are. I prefer to take all these things and stay on the positive side of life. I do have my moments of “poor me” but I work hard at keeping those moments to a minimum. Life is way too short to be depressed or gloomy. Enjoy 2009 and all the experiences it brings – I’m going to.